It is usually around this time that our wonderful, smaller music clubs, like Viper Alley in Lincolnshire, smirk at us as we seek them out when most big venues take a holiday hiatus. Luckily, the local haunts welcome us anyway, and deliver the goods. At Viper Alley the weekend kicks off with Triadd, a group of veteran musicians performing covers from the Beatles to Jason Mraz for Ugly Holiday Sweater Night (8:30 p.m. Friday; $5, free when wearing a holiday sweater); and five-time country music male vocalist of the year nominee Collin Raye wraps up the week with his repertoire of ballads (8 p.m. Thursday; $22, $100 for VIP meet and greet).
Why go: It turns out the bands we had been meaning to check out all year before we were swept up by a lot of Lolla artists, and praising rap kings at the United Center, are worth getting to; even now.
Reconsider: When the lights come back on, Big Time Rush and Coldplay come to town.
Details: Viper Alley, 275 Parkway Drive, Lincolnshire;             866-468-3401      ,