5 Places to See Live Blues in Chicago

Experience the Chicago Blues Scene Indoors or Outside, on the Northside or Southside

By Dennis LaMantia
Freelance Writer

It’s no coincidence that Chicago is one of the four U.S. cities hosting Exhibitionism – The Rolling Stones. The Rolling Stones have drawn on Chicago Blues to influence their music from the beginning, and that hasn’t changed. Before the group’s 2016 release “Blue and Lonesome” was released, Keith Richards said the album would feature "a lot of Chicago blues.1"

Chicago’s blues scene is still very active, with small venues on the south side, daily concerts on the north side, and a city-wide fest to highlight new musicians alongside blues legends. Here are five of the top blues clubs to visit when you’re in Chicago for Exhibitionism:

The Rolling Stones have drawn on Chicago Blues to influence their music from the beginning.
  1. Kingston Mines – Headliners play on Thursday, but you don’t wait until then to check out the music. Every night of the week, the club hosts two bands in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood2. The spacious but casual setting will get you close to the music and feeling the blues.
  2. Buddy Guy’s Legends – Legends draws a crowd during January, when Buddy Guy holds residence at his name sake club. But back in 2015 it drew perhaps its most famous crowd when the Rolling Stones stopped by to catch a show while in town for their Zip Code tour3.
  3. B.L.U.E.S. – If Kingston Mines isn’t your scene, you can walk 300 feet south on Halstead St. to B.L.U.E.S. More intimate than its northerly neighbor, B.L.U.E.S. hosts shows Thursday through Sunday and has a weekly jam on Wednesdays4.
  4. Rosa’s Lounge – Billing itself as “Chicago’s friendliest blues lounge,” Rosa's is a family-owned lounge that was founded by an Italian immigrant who, after meeting Jr. Wells and Buddy Guy in Milan in 1978, came to Chicago to open the club5.
  5. Blues Fest – Chicago is a city of festivals, and the Blues Fest is one of its most popular. The free, annual festival is hosted outdoors in Grant Park from June 9 – 11, 2017 and is a great way to hear a range of blues styles6.

Chicago blues were one of the many Rolling Stones influences. Want to learn more about others? Buy tickets to Exhibitionism – The Rolling Stones today!

The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author and individuals quoted and should not be construed as a recommendation or as complete. Dennis LaMantia is not affiliated with Jackson National Life Distributors LLC.

  1. n.a., (July 22, 2016). Eric Clapton to appear on new Rolling Stones album. BBC News. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-36864725
  2. n.a., About Us. Retrieved from: http://kingstonmines.com/about
  3. n.a., Buddy Guy’s Legends. Wikipedia. Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddy_Guy's_Legends
  4. n.a., B.L.U.E.S. Retrieved from: http://www.chicagobluesbar.com
  5. n.a., The Story of Rosa’s Lounge. Retrieved from: http://rosaslounge.com/The-Story
  6. n.a., Chicago Blues Festival. City of Chicago. Retrieved from: https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_blues_festival.html

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