Cold? Come Indoors: Tomorrow Never Knows Kicks Off Winter Festival


You can’t find a music festival during the winter in just any city. But, thanks to Schubas and Lincoln Hall, Chicago can warm up amid the winter with the Tomorrow Never Knows concert series.

The five-day indoor music festival begins tonight and ends Sunday, January 17. It will span among a couple venues — including Schubas and Lincoln Hall, but also the Metro and the Smart Bar, the Hideout, and even host a baroque-pop performance by San Fermin on January 14 at the ornate Athenaeum Theatre.

Kicking off the festival between Lincoln Hall and Schubas will be, respectively, indie artist Lady Lamb and the local psychedelic r&b flair of Whitney — who feature members of Smith Westerns and former drummer Julien Ehrlich of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Lou Barlow will end the weekend with a lo-fi bang at Schubas.

0117_LouBarlowTNKSITE Lou Barlow to end festival at Schuba's on January 17.

The festival, which started in 2005, has been known to feature both nationally acclaimed and up-and-coming local indie acts. Besides adding excitement to an otherwise bitter and cold month, Tomorrow Never Knows offers indoor and intimate performance spaces that aren't often offered by summer and outdoor festivals.

It might be a festival, but it’s also like a marathon of indoor concerts.

Better yet, a given lineup at a venue costs no more than $20. A few other headliners include the DJ Tobacco of Black Moth Super Rainbow, All Them Witches (you can read a recent interview with them by our writer and calendar curator Zach Blumenfeld here), Mild High Club, The Go! Team, and Bully. A few local favorites — such as Clearance, Wild Belle, and Eternal Summers — will be performing.

Bon Iver, The Walkmen, Dr. Dog, Darkside and Atlas Sound have performed at Tomorrow Never Knows Festival, just to name a few.

It won’t be possible to see all the acts, of course, but it’s an effective way to see your longtime favorites while discovering local talent. Like the John Lennon song from which the festival found its namesake, it might be time to “turn off your mind, relax, and go downstream.” Tickets are available hereNote that the smart bar is 21+ while the other venues are 18+.

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Colin Smith

Colin Smith thinks that Chicago right now is the place to be for music. He works for Illinois Humanities, is a freelance writer, and plays psychedelic-pop songs with his band.