Holiday wishes were granted to Chicago music fans with a series of uniquely intimate performances by Andrew Bird. The multi-instrumentalist troubadour played a series of four sold-out shows appropriately entitled “Gezellingheid”, a Dutch word loosely translated to “coziness” and referring to a warm, affable, harmonious atmosphere. The aim was to construct a solo-symphonic experience primarily featuring Bird’s compositions for violin, in which the audience would be both “lifted and comforted as we head into another cold and dark winter”.
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As sweet and understated as Jens Lekman is, he has managed build up quite the audience of devotees. Playing three sold out shows from New Years Eve to January 2nd at the Empty Bottle couldn’t have been easier for the Swedish folk musician. In addition to this brief residency he also added a solo show at The Viaduct Theater as a Sunday matinee that, in turn, sold out just as quickly. The fans were clearly waiting for Lekman with baited breath.
December in Chicago is typically nothing short of frigid, full of blistery winds and unpredictable weather patterns. For me the long winter months lead to hibernation, longing for warm sunny days filled with ample outdoor activities, and endless concert opportunities. On Saturday December 12th my longing paid off in the form of the second annual Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival (CBB) at the city’s historic Congress Theater.
Anna Ternheim’s van has broken down. It’s a classic touring blunder that is an inconvenience at best or tragedy at worst. But Anna is committed and undaunted. She takes an emergency flight to Chicago in order not to miss her show at the Bottom Lounge later that evening—which has now officially become a solo one—or our interview.