Credit: James Richards

For many of us, the malaise and isolation that often accompany Chicago winters have been exacerbated by the pandemic—when the weather is at its most brutal, it can be hard to leave your warm, cozy home to go see a show, and it doesn’t get easier when you have to worry about picking up COVID there. That alone would make the return of Ukrainian Village block party Music Frozen Dancing extremely welcome, even if the lineup weren’t stacked with bands that’ll help you shake off your seasonal blues. Headlining this free outdoor concert is Chicago four-piece Divino Niño, whose genre-blending psychedelic songs (the September single “Drive” incorporates elements of trap and yacht rock) feel like relaxing on a beach no matter how damn cold it gets outside. (One of Divino Niño’s front men, Camilo Medina, who formed the band with childhood friend Javier Forero in 2013, told NPR in a 2019 interview, “I would love to give people a little vacation.”) The rest of the six-act bill is loaded with a mix of local and touring bands, including two more Chicago acts: noise-punk outfit Stuck and scintillating dance trio Pixel Grip. The out-of-towners provide equally good reasons to brave the elements: Sweeping Promises from Lawrence, Kansas, deliver new-wave and postpunk hooks like they were born to do it; Los Angeles’s Automatic play sleek, sinister synth-punk that could cut through ice; and unhinged New York trash rockers Surfbort throw so much stuff at the walls that a lot of it sticks. Here in the midwestern tundra, we don’t get too many outdoor shows in the middle of winter, so put on your warmest boots and come ready to dance till you sweat through your coat.

This year Music Frozen Dancing is raising money for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, both by accepting donations at the gate and by selling raffle tickets. Raffle prizes include an FOB (Friends of the Bottle) Gold Pass worth one year of free Empty Bottle shows, a $300 gift card to Brown Brothers Tattoo, and a $50 gift card to Pizza Friendly Pizza.

Music Frozen Dancing Divino Niño headlines; Sweeping Promises, Pixel Grip, Automatic, Surfbort, and Stuck open. Sat 2/26, 1 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, free, all ages