COVID-19 can close venues, but it can’t stop Chicago’s music community | Music Feature | Chicago Reader

COVID-19 can close venues, but it can’t stop Chicago’s music community 

Concerts are all canceled, but you can still support artists by buying their music.

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Midnight, (Sandy) Alex G, Lil Wayne - COURTESY THE ARTISTS
  • Midnight, (Sandy) Alex G, Lil Wayne
  • Courtesy the Artists

The events of last week were unthinkable until they happened—including the weeks-long closure of Chicago's beloved live-music venues (along with bars, restaurants, and many other businesses) to slow the spread of COVID-19.

But rather than admit defeat or grind to a halt, the local music community has banded together and risen to the occasion. Venues have launched dozens of fundraisers to support staff who've lost most or all of their livelihoods; artists have begun livestreaming concerts, dance parties, and jam sessions. Somebody on Facebook has even called for a Chicago window sing-along, inspired by widely circulated videos of quarantined Italians belting out pop ballads ("My Heart Will Go On") and metal ragers ("War Pigs") along with their neighbors. Though the battle against this virus is just beginning, it's inspiring seeing so many people stepping up to support friends and strangers alike.

Because Chicago's music venues are shuttered, the Reader has transformed its usual concert previews into album reviews—links to this week's batch are alphabetized below. We hope this helps boost sales for artists who have temporarily lost the ability to tour. And we're not about to let a virus stop us from championing great music!

Though the future is uncertain, it seems likely this shutdown could continue for weeks or months. If you have the means, please consider donating to one of the many fundraising campaigns for venue staff or buying albums or merch from musicians. And please e-mail us at to tell us about new fundraisers or direct-action campaigns in Chicago's music community.

Blacks’ Myths, Blacks’ Myths II

Irreversible Entanglements, Who Sent You?

Lil Wayne, Funeral

Lord Dying, Mysterium Tremendum

Midnight, Rebirth by Blasphemy

Bill Nace, Both

(Sandy) Alex G, House of Sugar  v

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
March 21
Performing Arts
March 22

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