A wampa from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (credit: Lucasfilm)

By Mason Johnson

Let me be the first to say it: I miss winter.

Don’t hit me.

The thing about winter, is that it’s an easy excuse to stay in. That’s extraordinarily important for those of us who are socially inept mutants. Your excuses of snow and cold and wild wampas waiting to kill you and drag you back to their cave like that one scene in The Empire Strikes Back can’t be used anymore. You have to go outside again.

And, if you gotta go out, you might as well have fun. Here are some events for April that will help you in that endeavor…

XRT Shows

There’s more than a few good shows coming up, a handful of them presented by 93XRT.

On April 1st, Noel Gallagher is here with his High Flying Birds. Check out the former Oasis brother at The Riviera Theatre (4746 North Racine Avenue).

Note: these “flying birds” are musicians and not actual, literal birds.

On April 5th, acoustic pop heroes Guster are here with Jeff Garlin helping to entertain the audience. You may recognize Garlin from the extraordinarily uncomfortable Curb Your Enthusiasm. This will be at The Vic Theatre (3145 North Sheffield Avenue).

On April 9th, you can see British pop rock band The Cribs at Schubas (3159 North Southport Avenue). This is probably my favorite out of the XRT shows. Their record “Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever” would have worn out my record player if, you know, I owned a record player instead of an iPod.

On April 17th, there’s not one, but two shows you might want to go to. Death Cab For Cutie plays the Chicago Theatre (175 North State Street), and Portugal. The Man plays the Vic Theatre (3145 North Sheffield Avenue). Choose wisely!

Check out 93XRT for more shows and events!

Matt Rowan reads at Hungry Brain. (credit: Mason Johnson)

Two Cookie Minimum Reading Series

April 3rd, 9:00 pm

For lovers and words and entertainment, check out some great stories at The Hungry Brain on April 3rd. Though the stories can run the gamut of moods, most tend to be funny and genuinely enjoyable.

Performers include Daniel Shapiro, Maggie Ritchie, Laura Szumowski (zoo mouse key press), Dave Snyder, Keith Rosson (avow zine from Milwaukee), Jill Summers, and Adam Drent. The night is hosted by Johnny Misfit.

I don’t think that’s his real name.

Jeff Samardzija. (credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Cubs & Sox Home Openers

April 5 & April 13

Cubs fan or White Sox fan, it don’t matter, we’re all one city. Everyone should be able to enjoy their own home opener in piece. So get to your favorite bar on the 5th and 13th to watch Chicago’s two best Baseball teams play! (I’m not going to choose sides.)

Also, if you can’t make it to the Sox game, you can always listen to it on 670 The Score, or even stream it to your computer from this very website! How about that?

Oh, and go Cubs…

Ben Nichols of Lucero (credit: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

Bomb the Music Industry! and Lucero

April 7

If you’re truly interested in me, my life, what I feel and think, then you should know that two of my favorite bands will be in town on the seventh… at separate venues.

Bomb the Music Industry!, the crazy ska-inspired, slightly electric, but not really anymore, but totally punk rawk band will be playing at the Beat Kitchen (2100 West Belmont Avenue). If you’re into immature yelling, then you should check out this Jeff-Rosenstock-led mess! You can get all their records, for free!, off Quote Unquote Records.

Lucero, the band that combines punk and alt country like no other, will be at The Metro (3730 N Clark St.). Most of their songs are romantic, musical portraits of whiskey and women. You can listen to their new album, “Women & Work,” on their website. It’s a bit more soulful than their previous, grittier albums, but that isn’t exactly a problem. They’ll be accompanied by William Elliot Whitmore, whose powerful voice, usually backed by guitar or banjo, carries the blues straight into you.

There you go, some of my favorite upcoming events. Feel free to tell me about the events you’re excited about by emailing me at mason.johnson@cbsradio.com!

Mason Johnson, CBS Chicago