Thu. Apr 15th, 2021
Tim McIlrath Rise Against

Tim McIlrath, of Rise Against, joins The Lawrence Arms' War on X-Mas 6 Holiday Special, livestreaming Friday, Dec. 11. // Courtesy of Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Sound check: The War on X-Mas goes big and goes home (your home, that is)

The Lawrence Arms and Riot Fest have adapted the annual three-night War on X-Mas to a single night of top-notch acts streaming straight to you; Joe Walsh’s VetsAid 2020; Umphrey’s McGee’s annual tradition; and Mike Maimone streams a holiday performance.

The War rages on

There’s lots of chatter about the war on Christmas out there, but Chicago music fans know where the real War on X-Mas is. This year, Chicago punk band The Lawrence Arms and Riot Fest doubled-down on the annual festivities, compressing the usual three-night show into one talent-packed livestreaming The Lawrence Arms’ War on X-mas 6 Holiday Special, featuring 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 and Sincere Engineer, plus comedian Kyle Kinnane. A portion of the proceeds from the tickets and merch bundles will go to help the Greater Chicago Food Depository, so you get to give back while watching a great show. 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11; $11 for the stream, with merch packs available at lawrencearmsdealer.com

VetsAid 2020

Legendary rock guitarist Joe Walsh’s annual benefit show to raise funds for U.S. veteran organizations goes online this year — VetsAid 2020: Home For The Holidays. The lineup is a lengthy one: 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. Tack on some archived performances from Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, The Doobie Brothers, Haim, Brad Paisley, ZZ Top and more, and you’ve got a full, genre-spanning night of entertainment. Plus, it’s a good cause. 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12; $20 for the stream, with additional merch packs available at vetsaid.veeps.com. More info at vetsaid.org.

Umphrey’s holidays

Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger of Chicago/Indiana-based jam band Umphrey’s McGee head to the Vinyl Room at Big Room Studios for the 18th edition of the band’s holiday show (but streaming for the first time). While the usual fundraiser raffle is limited by the pandemic this year, ticket-buyers will be entered into drawings for prizes throughout the event. Proceeds from ticket sales and all donations will benefit the Chicago-based People’s Music School, an organization dedicated to delivering music education across socio-economic boundaries in the city. 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12; $20 for livestream, with merch bundles available and donations welcome, at boxoffice.mandolin.com.

Maimone online

Mike Maimone, frontman for Chicago blues-rock band Mutts, has taken his act solo, even branching out to Nashville. Maimone recently dropped the holiday song abut his own family’s isolation, “Christmas In Quarantine,” a jazzy number that touches on what many of us are feeling as the holidays creep closer. This weekend, Chicago fans can get a hit of his grit and growl when he livestreams a free holiday performance on YouTube. 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, on YouTube

Holiday treat

Lux Cantorum Chicago, the city’s premier sacred choral ensemble, presents a free concert of traditional holiday carols, from the five movements of Randol Bass’ medieval-era “Christmas Ornaments” through more modern pieces we know and love. The free half-hour concert is streaming at the Lux Cantorum YouTube page.

• Brian Shamie is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor and local music junkie. Email him at bshamie@dailyherald.com, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter (@thatshamieguy) or Instagram (@chicagosoundcheck).



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