• Catherine Irwin

Normally by mid-December the live music scene is already hibernating. Maybe it’s global warming, but this weekend there are still plenty of touring musicians risking inclement Midwest weather to bring their music to Chicago, although the action does seem to drop precipitously after this coming weekend. But why worry about that now? Aside from the four Soundboard recommendations after the jump, there are plenty of other events vying for your attention. On Thursday the Puerto Rican jazz drummer Henry Cole debuts his rugged, multi-stylistic Afrobeat band at Mayne Stage, while on Friday veteran jazz pianist Willie Pickens presents his final Christmas concert at the Hyde Park Union Church. Local harmony-happy psych-rockers Outer Minds celebrate the release of their second album of 2012 with a show at the Empty Bottle, while veteran hip-hop weirdo Kool Keith holds down the fort at Reggie’s Rock Club. On Sunday afternoon a veritable roll call of Chicago new music ensembles get together to play a benefit for New Amsterdam Records at the Empty Bottle, which was seriously victimized by Hurricane Sandy, and later New York klez vets the Klezmatics bring their raucous soulful Jewish music to Space in Evanston.