5 shows in the suburbs you should see in 2016

  • James Levine returns to Ravinia 20 years after stepping down as the festival's music director. The maestro will conduct Mahler's Symphony No. 2 July 23.

    James Levine returns to Ravinia 20 years after stepping down as the festival's music director. The maestro will conduct Mahler's Symphony No. 2 July 23. Courtesy of Ravinia Festival

 
 
Posted1/1/2016 5:30 AM

Taylor Swift and her best friend tour is so 2015.

We'll go out on a limb and guess Swift fans may not to want hear this, but why not put big stadium concerts and scripted shows in the rearview mirror?

 

In 2016, stop squinting for your favorite musician and enjoy intimate performances from historic theaters or picturesque pavilions. Even better? Those landmarks are right here in the suburbs.

Here's a look at some of the must-see acts in the new year:

James Levine

Turn back the clock to Ravinia 1971. Levine makes his festival debut, taking the baton for Mahler's Symphony No. 2. The maestro will again conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in that piece when he returns for the first time since stepping down as the music director in 1993. Ravinia is billing the July 23 gala concert as a homecoming for the conductor who reinvigorated the Metropolitan Opera and made a comeback four years ago from a spinal injury. For tickets, visit Ravinia.org.

Blues on the Fox

The lineup for the two-day summer festival at RiverEdge Park in Aurora hasn't been announced yet, but save the date: June 17-18. It's always a draw for blues and gospel royalty -- Buddy Guy, Mavis Staples and Otis Taylor have headlined in the past -- and what's more, this year marks the 20th anniversary. Riveredgeaurora.com.

The Temptations play North Central College's Pfeiffer Hall April 1.
The Temptations play North Central College's Pfeiffer Hall April 1. -
The Temptations

"My Girl," "Get Ready," "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" -- listen to those Motown chart-busters, and your mood instantly brightens. The quintet's ranks and sound have evolved through the years, but founder Otis Williams is a constant. Catch the Tempts at the 1920s-era Pfeiffer Hall on North Central College's Naperville campus 8 p.m. April 1. Tickets are $55-$75. Finearts.northcentralcollege.edu.

Durty Nellie's hosts Reel Big Fish, a ska-punk band, Feb. 12.
Durty Nellie's hosts Reel Big Fish, a ska-punk band, Feb. 12. -
Reel Big Fish

The ska-punk, horn-heavy band from California takes the stage at Durty Nellie's, a mainstay in Palatine that somehow blends the warmth of an Irish pub and some rockin' live music, 7 p.m. Feb. 12. 21 and older. $21 (advance)-$23 (doors). Durtynellies.com.

The Bo Deans take the stage at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles Feb. 12.
The Bo Deans take the stage at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles Feb. 12. -
The BoDeans

An alt-radio darling, the band with roots in 1980s Milwaukee will perform before loyal fans at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles 8 p.m. Feb. 12. $39-$89. Oshows.com.

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