Are you heading to a heavy metal concert in Chicago?
There are a plethora of awesome heavy metal music venues in Chicago. As one of the most vibrant artistic hubs in the United States, Chicago is always welcoming an incredible array of artists. You have everything from massive acts like Iron Maiden playing the United Center (where the Chicago Bulls play) this upcoming October, as well as Rammstein performing at Soldier Field (where the Chicago Bears play) this upcoming September.
But what are the heavy metal music venues in Chicago offering the more, perhaps, intimate live music experiences? Maybe you are visiting the city and want to hit up a live show that isn’t at a massive arena. Perhaps you want something a little smaller, but still packs a hell of an exhilarating time. Well, we got you covered in this feature.
As the world is opening back up for live entertainment, we wanted to shout out some of the great heavy metal music venues in Chicago you should consider going to if you’re in the city.
The Riviera Theatre
Not too big, but not too small, The Riviera Theatre is an excellent place that attracts a great variety of big bands. Later in the year, it’ll host that of Behemoth, Arch Enemy, Napalm Death, and Unto Others. The merch booths for each band tend to be at the entrance of the venue, and it is a very brief step into the next door that introduces you to a small bar and the main pit area (with a seating section above). As a venue though that pulls in these larger bands, you never feel that far away from the experience; there aren’t any barricades that make you feel at a distance from the stage, but you also get a spacious quality to the pit.
Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom
The Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom has great presence to it; with a super large pit area, and the building interior displaying lavish designs, you may feel that you’ve entered a theatrical world. As you enter the building, ahead of you there is a massive merch booth section, with a small drink stand typically by the side. You’ll have to take some stairs to make your way up to the main pit, but once you are there, you will more than likely be in awe given how much space there is. It’s a venue perfect for epic acts, like that of Nine Inch Nails and Coheed and Cambria. This month the venue will be hosting that of Opeth, Mastodon, and Khemmis. Later in the year, Sabaton will be coming through this Chicago heavy metal music venue for their The Tour to End All Tours run.
The Empty Bottle
Shifting gears to a much more intimate setting, The Empty Bottle is an incredible Chicago heavy metal music venue that hosts a plethora of excellent artists and bands. In the past they’ve hosted the likes of Lingua Ignota and Bloodyminded, and in the future, they will be hosting live shows for The Body and Steve Von Till (of Neurosis). If you’re in the mood for a show where you’re right under the breath of an artist – if you want more of a dive bar vibe than that of a large venue – The Empty Bottle is truly one of the best spots you can go to in the city.
Thalia Hall has a comfy, yet theatrical presence to it that is similar to the Aragon Ballroom. It attracts a great array of heavy music acts, with bands like Sun O))), Chelsea Wolfe, and Behemoth having played there in the past. With a lavish bar and décor, Thalia Hall exudes an incredible atmosphere. The staff and environment offer a pleasant aura that will make metalheads feel welcomed as they head bang and mosh around the hall’s incredible pit area.
Then again, maybe you just want to be up close and personal to that of the performers. Maybe the atmosphere you want is a little more grimy – although, well kept. Then Reggies is the place for you. If you’re someone who is looking for a venue that attracts new death metal acts, or underground grindcore bands, then this is where you’ll find your ideal pit. We are personally looking forward to the Gatecreeper and 200 Stab Wounds show coming up in the near future. Reggies is a dive bar-esque place for those metalheads looking for awesome heavy bands.
We hope that this feature exploring heavy metal music venues in Chicago provides you some good ideas for future adventures to be had!
Words by: Michael Pementel