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Music At Midnight

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 28, 2005 8:00PM

We at Chicagoist pride ourselves on our contrarian attitude; there’s nothing in the world so loved that it can’t be mocked. And so we turn our smarmy attentions to New Year’s Eve (from the Latin phrase annus novus magnus pecunia et difficilis vestis, which, loosely translated, means “the same shit you’d do any other night only for more money and in less comfortable clothing.”)

2005_12_28_midnight.jpgSeeing a band play out on New Year’s Eve is a dodgy proposition. In most cases, you’re getting the same show you’d get any other night for about $40 more and with a different (read: less interested) audience and an extra slice of “champagne toast” cheese. The New Pornographers show at Metro is a prime example. Their show there in October showcased a band at the height of its powers (all the more impressive considering most of them were three sheets to the wind). But even the addition of The M’s isn’t reason enough for us to throw down $61.

And then there are those “very special” shows featuring “an evening with” bands you haven’t seen in a while. House of Blues, we’re looking at you. We’ll always hold a special place in our heart for Soul Asylum, but paying $85 for a show with Fastball? The only thing more idiotic would be paying $155 for a bill with Train (!!!) and Everclear. Apparently, this is a retro show since those bills look more like New Year’s Eve 1998.

But we’ll begrudgingly admit that a little extra cash can buy you a good time. The Local H/Tossers/Last Vegas show at Double Door will set you back $60 but it includes a hosted (a.k.a. free) bar. And the WXRT show at Navy Pier with Fountains of Wayne has the potential for a memorable evening.

Still, we’re cheap bastards. So these are our best bets for a New Year’s Eve of good music that won’t break your wallet:

Tributosaurus at Martyrs’: Chicago’s best cover band covers an artist with one of the deepest catalogs in R&B: Stevie Wonder. And for as little as $20 at that.

Head of Femur, Catfish Haven and Canasta at Beat Kitchen: It’s an evening of pop confections that’s worth seeing if only to see how many members of HOF can fit on the Beat Kitchen’s meager stage.

The Changes and Office at Schubas: This will be your last chance to see The Changes before they play the Sundance Film Festival and Paris proclaims them to be “hot.” More importantly, Office opens the show and if you'll arrive late then you'll miss Chicago's next big thing.

The Polkaholics at Zakopene (1734 W. Division St.): A polka punk band? For $5? Oh hell yes.