Besides being able to get into R-rated movies without asking the good-natured homeless man outside to buy you tickets, there's not a whole lot that changes when you turn 17. You're still a year away from most of the good stuff: porn, cigarettes, the military. But don't start channeling Janis Ian just yet; proving that they understand your plight, several Chicago music venues have opened up their doors to fans 17 and up (and, in some cases, enthusiasts of all ages). So get away from the Guitar Hero and have yourself a night out at one of these clubs.
This Roscoe Village venue caters to younger fans of live rock music with frequent 17-plus shows and early all-ages shows (usually starting at about 5:30-6:00 p.m.). A lot of local acts and some national rock acts, from indie to hardcore, are known to make an appearance here. Come early and order a burger or thin crust pizza from their front room menu, or if you're low on cash, grab a $2 slice of pizza at the show.
While Empty Bottle's main location routinely hosts 18+ shows, the venue's music bookers also present all-ages shows at a number of locations in the Ukrainian Village/Logan Square area several times a year: AV-aerie, Logan Square Auditorium, Congress Theater and The Mansion. These shows usually cost $10-$15 and include the kind of dance-rock artists that appeal to the indie-music bloggerati (think Does It Offend You Yeah, Girl Talk, etc.), meaning you can check out the buzz acts before they get big enough to play the larger, 21-plus venues.
There was a time where Metro was the only game in town for rock fans younger than 21. While many of the big-name acts that play here do 21-plus shows, Metro has long been known for hosting its fair share of early evening all-ages shows, particularly festival-style shows and multiple-act bills.
Reggie's Rock Club
Since it arrived on the local music scene over a year ago, Reggie's Rock Club has offered up weekly all-ages and 17-and-under rock shows, from punk to doom metal, and less frequently local underground hip-hop. A few blocks from the Chinatown Red Line stop, Reggie's has quickly become an oasis for younger rock fans; the median age at many shows is about 22. Even better, you can kill some time browsing CDs and old vinyl at Record Breakers upstairs or buying t-shirts at the adjacent Reggie's Music Joint before heading to a show.
So your fake ID wasn't convincing enough to get you into the Double Door? No worries, head over to Subterranean less than a block away; the venue's second floor hosts at least one 17-and-over show a week (and the monthly Emerging Artists Showcase is all-ages). A lot of under-the-radar acts with passionate fan bases (like Dub Trio and Matt and Kim) make their way to this venue.