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Blue Man Group

Open run: Thu 8 PM; Fri 7 PM; Sat 2, 5, and 8 PM; Sun 4 and 7 PM
Briar Street Theatre 3133 N. Halsted St., Chicago Lakeview

Buy from Ticketmaster$49-$99


After 20 years and god knows how many bald caps and gallons of paint, this Chicago staple stays true to its mission: “Blue Man Group—enemy of monotony, remedy for boredom, promoter of overjoy and elation.” That experimental, interactive theater can remain both current and family friendly in equal measure speaks to the show's healthy mix of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it wit and larger-than-life clowning. Audience participation, voluntary and involuntary, is still a key component, whether it’s sharing Twinkies with the trio, donning a poncho in the splash zone, or being shamed as a latecomer, in showstopping fashion. Cultural references and parodies have certainly changed with the times (and devices), but the keys to Blue Man Group remain its hypnotic music and lively energy—if you’re not out of your seat dancing when the 90 minutes are up, you probably don’t have a pulse. —Marissa Oberlander 773-348-4000

ComedySportz Theatre

Open run: Thu 8 PM, Fri 8 and 10 PM, Sat 6, 8, and 10 PM
ComedySportz Theatre 929 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago Lakeview

Buy from Ticketmaster$19


Part of a national chain of comedy clubs, this company is known for quick improv games (think Whose Line Is It Anyway?), but it also stages long-form improv. LCD screens and sophisticated lighting and sound systems amplify the sports-style improv of the company's eponymous production, ComedySportz. There's a snobbery in the Chicago improv community that looks up at the "art" of the long form, with its emphasis on story and characters, and down on the "entertainment" of the short, with its emphasis on games and punch lines. ComedySportz falls emphatically in the entertainment camp; its bottom line is laughter, and it gets plenty of it. The show is structured as a competition between two teams performing multiple games that require audience participation. A referee ensures that the players--a rotating roster from a company of about 50--work clean or they finish the game with a brown bag over their heads. The formula is practically foolproof: players may flash their quick wits in winning responses, but they're even funnier when they fail. In one game a team had to devise a pick-up line, each member contributing a word. Moving rapidly from player to player, the line developed: "Tonight-I'll-tango-with-your-face." Probably wouldn't work at a bar, but at ComedySportz it killed. --Ryan Hubbard 773-549-8080 or 312-559-1212

Anne-Marie, Goody Grace

Mon., Sept. 24, 7 p.m.
Lincoln Hall 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago Lincoln Park

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773-525-2501

Lydia Loveless, Caseymagic

Mon., Sept. 24, 8 p.m.
SPACE 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston Evanston

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847-492-8860

Taj Mahal Trio

Mon., Sept. 24, 8 p.m.
City Winery 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago Near West Side

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312-733-9463

Leon Bridges, Khruangbin

Mon., Sept. 24, 8 p.m.
Aragon Ballroom 1106 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago Uptown

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773-561-9500 or 866-448-7849

Blitzen Trapper, Candace

Sept. 24-25, 8 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

Charlatans UK, Frankiie

Tue., Sept. 25, 7 p.m.
Bottom Lounge 1375 W. Lake St., Chicago West Loop/Fulton Market

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312-666-6775

We Were Promised Jetpacks, Jenn Champion

Tue., Sept. 25, 8 p.m. and Wed., Sept. 26, 8 p.m.
SPACE 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston Evanston

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847-492-8860

Trauma

Wed., Sept. 26, 7 p.m.
Reggie's Music Joint 2105 S. State St., Chicago South Loop

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312-949-0120

Wiegedood, Vukari, Dethbeds, Bruges

Wed., Sept. 26, 8 p.m.
Subterranean 2011 W. North Ave., Chicago Wicker Park/Bucktown

Buy from TicketWeb$10


773-278-6600

Butch Walker, Indianola

Wed., Sept. 26, 8 p.m.
House of Blues 329 N. Dearborn St., Chicago River North

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312-923-2000

Marcus King Band, Bishop Gunn

Wed., Sept. 26, 8 p.m.
Thalia Hall 1807 S. Allport Ave., Chicago Pilsen/Little Village

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312-526-3851

Vamps, Hrvy, New Hope Club

Thu., Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m.
The Vic 3145 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-472-0449

Sylvan LaCue, Khary, Treazon, Mfn Melo

Thu., Sept. 27, 7 p.m.
Schubas 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago Lakeview

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773-525-2508

Babys, Frank Viele

Thu., Sept. 27, 8 p.m.
SPACE 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston Evanston

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847-492-8860

Honey Island Swamp Band, Neal O'Hara

Thu., Sept. 27, 8:30 p.m.
FitzGerald's 6615 Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn Berwyn

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708-788-2118

Mount Kimble (DJ set), Savile, Hijo, Prodijo

Thu., Sept. 27, 10 p.m.
Smart Bar 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago Wrigleyville

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773-549-4140