With artists like Andrew Bird, Kanye West and Wilco originating from Chicago, the area has a solid reputation for music. But while many of the pleasures of being 21 are easy enough to come by, accessing concerts for the 21+ set isn’t always so easy.
Why all the 21 plus shows? “It’s really not up to us,” says Maureen Newell, manager of Schubas Tavern. “The band will prefer it one way or the other.” Other venues keep all of their shows 21+ to keep a certain atmosphere and to avoid worrying about underage drinking. But with the following tips, making it to the front row of a 21+ concert may be a reality, even if you were born in the 90s.
Get friendly with the band.
If the guy in your chem lab knows the bassist’s brother, take advantage of it. Often musicians will be willing to put you on their guest list or help you sneak in. Offer to come early and help them load in their guitars and amps.
Offer to help out at the venue.
Venues are always looking for college kids to put up posters or pass out publicity material on their campus. “Go on to the venue and search for internships,” says Kristin Clarke, a junior at UIC and intern at a Western Avenue concert venue. “If you’re willing to put in some time, you can usually get in.”
Know the venue layout.
Venues that have multiple entrances or back doors often allow for sneaking past the bouncer. At Metro, you can slip in through the door that attaches the Metro Store to the venue. At Reggies Rock Club, sneak through the back door.