One of the most talked about parts of the annual SHRM Conference experience, good or bad, is the Tuesday night entertainment. While this year’s headliner has not been announced yet, I would like to encourage you to check out the music that calls Chicago home, the blues. Chicago has been key in blues music (which has influenced rock, folk, jazz, R&B heavily in the last half century) and has a number of places where you can experience that genre live every night of the week.
The first place I would recommend would be Buddy Guy’s Legends. For those who don’t recognize the name, Buddy Guy is one of the most important guitar players living or dead in the world. He has won 6 Grammys as well as a Life Time Achievement Award. His playing has influenced such guitar heroes as Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix. It is relatively close to McCormick Place, offers live blues every night (and some afternoons) and has a good kitchen to boot. It has been known to attract legendary musicians visiting Chicago the likes of the Rolling Stones.
My next recommendation is a Chicago institution known as the Kingston Mines, located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. It is the largest and oldest continuing operating blues club in the city, with a reputation to match. Its two stages have been graced by the likes of Magic Slim, Koko Taylor, Sugar Blue, Billy Branch, Junior Wells, Mike Wheeler, Joanna Connor, and scores of other musical greats, and are packed with the finest nonstop blues seven nights a week. How can you not like a place whose motto is: “Hear Blues – Drink Booze – Talk Loud – You’re Among Friends!” ™
How can you go wrong with a blues place founded by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi…..yep the Blues Brothers. Check out the House of Blues Back Porch Stage, It’s a well lit venue meant to look like a true juke joint. If you are looking for a place to fill your stomach and soul before the opening keynote on Sunday, I highly recommend the House of Blues Gospel Brunch, a one of a kind experience.
World-renowned Blue Chicago has been presenting the best in authentic Chicago Blues in a warm and friendly atmosphere since 1985. Located in the heart of the River North entertainment district near popular hotels and restaurants, Chicagoans and Blues fans from all over the world pack the house nightly. Blue Chicago is known for featuring female blues artists.
Finally, B.L.U.E.S. is another joint in Lincoln Park that is a little bit more intimate than others but don’t take that to mean quiet. A good place to enjoy some fine local acts and an adult beverage or two.
If the blues aren’t exactly your cup of tea, Chicago does have a number of other great music clubs that are not hard to find. Some more of my favorites include The Earl of Old Town (folk), the Old Town School of Folk Music and the Green Mill (jazz). Music is all over Chicago….you just have to look and listen.