The Lawrence Arms aren’t leaving Chicago punk fans without a gift this year: Their annual War on X-mas Holiday Special will stream Friday, Dec. 11.

Lawrence Arms, Jingle Ball 2020, Barenaked Ladies and more bring the musical jolly to your holidays

It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas as artists bring their musical acts streaming to you this year.

The lead-up to the holidays isn’t going to be recognizable from years past. With COVID-related closures of venues and theaters throughout Chicago and the suburbs, many of our beloved holiday traditions — Christmas concerts and holiday rock and pop star tours that somehow wrapped the spectacle in a big, jolly bow — have had to be modified.

Many holiday performances are going virtual, so you can still get a taste of the festive this season. Sure, it’s not the same, but much of this year hasn’t been.

Here’s a sampling to help get the holidays started:

Chicago’s Ramsey Lewis, Grammy Award-winning jazz musician and longtime radio personality, performs his 1961 classic “Sound of Christmas” online on Nov. 28. // Courtesy of Todd Winters

Ramsey Lewis “Sound of Christmas”

1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28; $20 at stageit.com

Chicago icon Ramsey Lewis shares his jazzed-up take on Christmas favorites as part of his weekly Saturday Salon performance series.

“CMA Country Christmas”

8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, on ABC; more info at cmachristmas.com

Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins host the 11th annual holiday music special, featuring festive performances by Darius Rucker and Lindsey Stirling, Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw, Dan + Shay and more.

Jim Brickman “Comfort & Joy at Home LIVE!”

7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4; $40, $75 and $125 for various meet-and-greet and merch packages at jimbrickman.com

Grammy-nominated songwriter and pianist Jim Brickman is bringing his talents directly to your home, and benefiting local theaters along with it. A portion of proceeds from this show — which also features appearances from Wayne Brady, Pat Monahan from Train, Matt Nathanson, Jewel and former Chicagoan Jane Lynch — will go to Naperville’s North Central College Fine & Performing Arts.

St. Charles Singers “2020 Candlelight Carols”

4, 7 and 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, at stcharlessingers.com

The 35-member, mixed-voice ensemble St. Charles Singers presents a 45-minute program of traditional seasonal songs from the Renaissance era to the 20th century, recorded at St. Michael Catholic Church in Wheaton.

Christmas with Castro

8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6; free at ftpresents.com

American Southern rock and blues guitarist Tommy Castro takes to the stage with a holiday show to raise funds for Wednesday’s Child, a nonprofit organization helping families struggling to make ends meet this holiday season.

Billie Eilish headlines the iHeart Radio Jingle Ball 2020 as it heads online Thursday, Dec. 10. // Associated Press

iHeart Radio Jingle Ball 2020

8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10; free at cwtv.com or The CW app. Get all the info at iheart.com.

Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, Sam Smith, Shawn Mendes and The Weeknd won’t be coming to the Allstate Arena this December, but you can catch the pop star-studded show streaming with access to The CW.

The Lawrence Arms’ War on X-mas 6 Holiday Special

7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11; $11 for the stream, with merch packs available at lawrencearmsdealer.com

Chicago fans look forward to the annual three-day punk showcase to blow off some preholiday steam, but this year Riot Fest and The Lawrence Arms are condensing and elevating the show. The single-night streaming event also will feature Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath (from Rolling Meadows), McHenry’s Matt Skiba (of Alkaline Trio and blink-182), Elgin’s Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio), Brian Fallon, Worriers, Sincere Engineer and more in what Arms’ Brendan Kelly calls a “Pandemexstraviganza!” Oh, and proceeds will benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository, too, so you get to give while getting a great show.

VetsAid 2020: Home For The Holidays

5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12; $20 for the stream, with additional merch packs available at vetsaid.veeps.com. More info at vetsaid.org.

Joe Walsh’s annual benefit show to raise funds for U.S. veteran organizations goes online this year, with a stacked lineup: Jon Bon Jovi, Alice Cooper, Melissa Etheridge, Brandon Flowers, Gwen Stefani, Amanda Shires, Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, Richard Marx and … well, the list goes on. Plus, it’s a great cause.

Dennis O’Brien Holiday

7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12; free, but a portion of donations will benefit the Fox Valley Music Foundation. More info at themusicvenue.org.

Dennis O’Brien brings his three-and-a-half decades of experience as a vocalist and guitar player to The Venue’s stage for a concert of classic acoustic rock favorites.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a staple of holiday traditions for many. The holiday rock spectacle goes online Friday, Dec. 18. // Courtesy of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Trans-Siberian Orchestra “Christmas Eve and Other Stories Live in Concert”

7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18; $30 for livestream access, and merch bundles up to $185 at trans-siberian.com and tsolivestream.com.

The rock holiday tradition — complete with all the spectacle — comes straight to your home.

Barenaked Ladies

8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, and 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19; $15 for streaming admission, with merch/ticket bundles from $25-$195 at sessionslive.com

Nearly two decades ago, the Barenaked Ladies released a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings” that grew into a staple of the pop-holiday music landscape. Barenaked Ladies performs two streaming variety shows with sketch comedy and musical favorites from the “Barenaked for the Holidays” album.

The Empty Pockets “Xmas From North Ave.”

Noon Saturday, Dec. 19; $20 at the-empty-pockets.myshopify.com

Chicago’s The Empty Pockets presents its annual harmony-rich, roots-rocking holiday show streaming live from the band’s North Avenue studio.

Dick Smith’s Holiday Hoo Hah: A Dark n’ Shiny Quarantine Wrangle

8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 23; free, but a portion of donations will benefit the Fox Valley Music Foundation. More info at themusicvenue.org.

Dave Nelson and Chicago’s Dave Ramont lead their band in a night of bluesy country hits and hilarity, just in time for some last-minute, preholiday stress relief.



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