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Christmas 2012 pop concerts in Chicago

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Christmas concerts aren't all choirs and kid's stuff. Here's the run-down of actual concert fare this holiday season ...

Mannheim Steamroller -- Christmas music with synthesizers, extreme dynamics and beat-you-over-head emotions! 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Akoo Theater, 5400 N. River Rd. in Rosemont. (800) 745-3000; ticketmaster.com.
Jingle Bell Rock Tour -- Eddie Money goes out for another December run, bringing along Edgar Winter and John Cafferty for a night of their has-been rock and, yegods, Christmas classics. 8 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Arcada Theater, 105 E. Main St. in St. Charles. Tickets: $35-$59. (630) 962-7000; oshows.com.
Judith Owen & Harry Shearer's Holiday Sing-A-Long -- Comic and writer Shearer and his singer wife Owen and their annual holiday romp, featuring special guests Julia Sweeney, CJ Vanston, Howard Levy and Julia Fordham. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at S.P.A.C.E, 1245 Chicago in Evanston. Tickets: $22-$36. (847) 492-8860; evanstonspace.com.
Dave Koz & Friends -- The jazz saxophonist's annual holiday tour in its 15th year, featuring pianist David Benoit, drummer-singer Sheila E., Javier Colon and Margo Rey. 8 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. Tickets: $43-$88. (800) 745-3000; ticketmaster.com.
Johnny Mathis -- The velvety voice of Christmas returns, with Gary Mule Deer. 8 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Akoo Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd. in Rosemont. Tickets: $65-$95. (800) 745-3000; ticketmaster.com.
The Blind Boys of Alabama -- Get into the real spirit of the season with this 70-year-old vocal wonder and their "Go Tell It on the Mountain: The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show." Dec. 8 at City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph. Tickets: $38-$45. (312) 733-WINE; citywinery.com.
Brendan Bayliss & Jake Cinninger -- The two soundposts of jam-rock band Umphrey's McGee celebrate their 10th anniversary of these holiday benefit shows. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at Park West, 322 W. Armitage. Tickets: $25. (800) 514-ETIX; jamusa.com.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra -- The seasonal prog-rock franchise has assembled a new spectacle called "The Lost Christmas Eve." 3 and 8 p.m. Dec. 8 at Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Rd. in Rosemont. Tickets: $30-$69. (800) 745-3000; ticketmaster.com.
Straight No Chaser -- A cappella favorites return armed with '80s and '90s covers, plus the usual bevy of holiday carols -- twisted and traditional. 3 and 8 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. Tickets: $29.50-$49.50. (800) 514-ETIX; jamusa.com.
Milly's Holiday Spectacular -- Brigid "Milly" Murphy has been hosting Milly's Orchid Show for 25 years now, and now she tames the rowdy fun for a "family style" performance. 3:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln. Tickets: $20-$22. (773) 728-6000; oldtownschool.org.
The Polyphonic Spree -- The alt-rock choir's 10th annual holiday extravaganza this year supports an ambitious holiday album, "Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays, Vol. 1." 6 p.m. Dec. 11 at Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie. Tickets: $18. (866) 777-8932; ticketweb.com.
The Colors Of Christmas -- The smooth and soulful side of the season, featuring Peabo Bryson, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., Stephanie Mills and James Ingram. 8 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Star Plaza, I-65 at U.S. 30 in Merrillville, Ind. Tickets: $60-$70. (800) 745-3000; ticketmaster.com.
The Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-a-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice -- On the heels of another massive Christmas-music collection, indie-rock's Sufjan Stevens returns with his audience-participation holiday hootenanny. 8:30 p.m. Dec. 15 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark. Sold out.
Brave Combo Holiday Dance Party -- Our favorite rockin' polka-cha-cha-zydeco band is back for their annual boogie-buster holiday concert. 9 p.m. Dec. 15 at FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt in Berwyn. Tickets: $15. (866) 777-8932; ticketweb.com.
Andrew Bird -- The indie-pop whistler has established these lovely annual Gezelligheid Concerts as an elegant new holiday tradition. 8 p.m. Dec. 19-21 at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut. Sold out.
NRBQ -- The prolific pop band extraordinaire rounds up its favorite Christmas classics. 9:30 p.m. Dec. 21 at FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt in Berwyn. Tickets: $20. (866) 777-8932; ticketweb.com.
The Siegel-Schwall Band -- Corky Siegel and Jim Schwall were part of the blues revival of the 1960s, and here they are again with two dedicated Christmas concerts. 8 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 11th St. ($28-31; 773-445-3838; beverlyartcenter.org) and 8 p.m. Dec. 21 at Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse ($20-$30; 866-777-8932; ticketweb.com).

These shows are billed with a Christmas connection, though actual jingling bells are only a possibility ...
The Night We Stole Christmas -- Q87's bill of pop-rock acts AWOLNATION, Morning Parade, Anberlin, Atlas Genius and Youngblood Hawke. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence. Sold out.
Big Holiday Concert -- XRT's annual show is two separate nights: first, a solo acoustic evening with Ray Lamontagne (8 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. Sold out); then an earth-shaking double bill of Band of Horses and Alabama Shakes (7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. Sold out).
Miracle on State Street -- 101.9 FM's bill of glossy pop, featuring Train, Karmin, Ed Sheeran and Tristan Prettyman. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. Sold out.
Jingle Bash -- B96's bill of chart-topping pop, featuring Justin Bieber, Pitbull, Carly Rae Jepsen, Calvin Harris, Austin Mahone, Afrojack and, yes, PSY. 6 p.m. Dec. 15 at Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Rd. in Rosemont. Tickets: $39.50-$135. (800) 745-3000; ticketmaster.com.


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Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.

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