Full List: January Concert Guide

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December 18, 2011|Andy Downing, For RedEye

Chicago's concert season slows to a crawl with January's plummeting temperatures. Still, there are a number of shows worth braving the elements to see, including visits from a rowdy Southern rock crew (Drive-By Truckers), one versatile troubadour (Alejandro Escovedo) and a slew of local bands (White Mystery, Rise Against, Mucca Pazza) sure to get the blood pumping in even the coldest bodies.

Milano
January 6 at Beat Kitchen
Milano frontman Jonathan Guerra said the local crew's diverse sound is driven in large part by his scattered brain. "This gypsy rock-slash-electronic sound we've arrived at could just be due to my own musical bipolar-ness," he said. "I tend to be all over the place."

Vulgar Boatmen
January 7 at Schubas
The 2010 documentary "Drive Somewhere: The Saga of the Vulgar Boatmen" depicted what was intended to be the final show in the roots-pop crew's winding, three-decade-plus career. Fortunately for all the group has soldiered on, but catch the crew here before it hangs it up for good.

Wu-Tang Clan
January 8 at Congress Theater
The Staten Island collective has evolved into the hip-hop Rolling Stones, churning out by-the-number sets filled with greatest hits rather than challenging itself or its audience.

Plants and Animals
January 12 at Schubas
The Montreal roots-rock crew is at best when it slows the pace and lets it's loosely psychedelic songs build steam gradually.

Tycho
January 12 at Lincoln Hall
On "Dive," Scott Hansen's second release under the Tycho banner, the electronic producer layers warm synths and chirping electronic textures to craft a lush spring meadow of digital sounds.

Theophilus London
January 13 at Lincoln Hall
The Brooklyn rapper's debut, "Timez Are Weird These Days," is as out-there as its title suggests, blending hip-hop, new wave and classic rock.

Led Zeppelin 2
January 13 and 14 at House of Blues
Since it seems less and less likely we'll ever see Jimmy Page and Robert Plant sharing the stage under the Led Zeppelin banner, this local crew, led by Yakuza howler/Plant stand-in Bruce Lamont, remains the next best thing.

Com Truise
January 14 at Schubas
Seth Haley, the mastermind behind the ridiculously named Com Truise, turns out more textures than actual songs on "Galactic Melt," an album of atmospheric synth-wave tracks that could double as the score to a sci-fi film.

Alejandro Escovedo
January 14 at Old Town School of Folk Music
The Texas-born singer-songwriter is equally adept at heart-stopping ballads ("Sister Lost Soul") and menacing alt-country rockers ("Everybody Loves Me").

Chairlift
January 14 at Schubas
Though pared down to a duo for the forthcoming "Something," synth-poppers Chairlift somehow sound even bigger, plundering 80s new wave and pumping it to stadium-level volume on cuts like "Met Before."

Two Gallants
January 14 at Lincoln Hall
Despite only having two members, the San Francisco blues-folk duo can kick up an impressive amount of noise.

The Walkmen
January 14 at Metro
The Walkmen emerged from New York City in the early 2000s sounding as though they were fresh off a street fight. The band's sixth album, "Lisbon," is a much tamer affair by comparison, rich with sweeping string sections and hazy, Southwestern horns.

Grouplove
January 14 at Lincoln Hall
On it's debut album, "Never Trust a Happy Song," this California indie-pop quintet—like the state it originates from—sounds eternally sunny.

White Mystery
January 15 at Schubas
The brother-sister duo churns out garage-rock rumblers as loud and explosive as their dueling red 'fros.

Bryan Adams
January 17 at Chicago Theatre
The raspy Canadian soft-rocker, best known for his 1991 power ballad "(Everything I Do) I Do For You," hasn't strayed much from that formula over the years, filling his songs with cliched pledges of never-ending love.

Akron/Family
January 17 at Hideout
The eclectic art-rock collective, which had grown more accessible in recent years, reaches back to its exploratory roots on 2011's "S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT," an album every bit as weird as its title would suggest.

Jimmy Webb
January 20 at Old Town School of Folk Music
The singer-songwriter's concerts are perfect showcases for both his well-crafted tunes and time-honed stories, which he delivers between songs like a relative sharing favored tales over a holiday meal.

The Kills
January 20 at Riviera Theatre
Few bands are as skilled at building tension as this London based garage-rock duo, which delivered a career best in 2011's aptly titled "Blood Pressures."

Martin Sexton
January 20 at Park West
The blue-eyed soul shouter, who honed his craft busking in Boston's Harvard Square, fills his songs with equal amounts of heartache and longing.

Tortoise
January 24 at Empty Bottle
The versatile Chicago crew long ago outgrew the post-rock tag, and its music flirts with everything from jazz to classical to rock to dub.

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