James Blackshaw
  • James Blackshaw

Music

Show: James Blackshaw A 12-string guitar can be an unwieldy thing, but in the right hands it’s a peerless source of rich sonorities. Young Englishman James Blackshaw has such hands, and he puts them to good use on the splendid live album Waking Into Sleep (Kning), a solo performance recorded in Sweden in 2006: the stirring melodies of “Spiralling Skeleton Memorial” and “Sunshrine” billow into kaleidoscopic patterns of swirling tones.

10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8, $5

Dinner: Big Star Unlike Paul Kahan’s other ventures (Blackbird, Avec, the Publican), Big Star is a bar. But you may have to remind yourself of that, because it’s got probably the tastiest Mexican menu of any bar in Chicago. Both food (by Justin Large, formerly of Avec) and drink (by Michael Rubel of Violet Hour) are pitched to a very agreeable price point, making the place a surefire, low-cost, high-value good time.

1531 N. Damen, 773-235-4039