1) You may not have heard of Nick Hexum, but you probably know his music. The singer/songwriter/producer/activist hits Stage AE as frontman of the Nick Hexum Quintet. The Wisconsin native is better known as the lead singer for the alternative band 311 and the producer of the 50 First Dates soundtrack. Hexum’s quintet keeps the reggae infusion that made 311 famous, but with a more adult contemporary direction. For those of us who grew up listening to songs like “Down” and “Amber” when WXDX was a new radio station, NHQ’s sound in songs like “Super Natural” and “The Getaway” demonstrate a seamless progression and maturity of Hexum’s music, leaving this Cool Picker running for the box office. Guest artist is Kevin Garrett. Doors open at 7 p.m. 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.
2) Going a little further back than the ’90s, you’ll find a groovy time at Club Café with the Detroit Cobras. Described as a “human tornado” (Amplifier magazine), lead singer Rachel Nagy gives a high-energy performance that radiates to the audience. The Cobras have a distinct 1960s feel to their music as a lovechild of both Motown and rock and roll. With songs like “Cha Cha Twist” and “You Don’t Knock,” the Cobras generate a desire to dance that’s hard to resist. Let your hair down and listen to some rock and roll the way it’s supposed to sound. Special guest The Devilz in the Detailz warms up the crowd. 8 p.m. 56-58 S. 12th St., South Side.
3) The hearty harmonies and complex plucking of Greensky Bluegrass invade Rex Theater today. While their instruments match those of traditional bluegrass, Greensky brings a modern twist to the table with updated rhythms, chords, and lyrics. Touring at music festivals almost constantly since 2006 has paid off for the band; they’ve gained popularity and brought their brand of music to new audiences across the country. Songs like “Demons” and “Atlantic City” conjure memories of youthful summer shenanigans that will definitely warm you in mid-January. Warm-up act is Tumbleweed Wanderers. Doors open at 7 p.m. 1602 E. Carson St., South Side.
4) The Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Montreal Canadiens at the Consol Energy Center. With both teams well represented at the upcoming Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, this game features world-class talent on the ice without the cost of a plane ticket across the Atlantic. Get your NHL fix before the two-week pause for the Sochi Games. 7 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown.
5) Yeah, that’s the ticket: a mid-week trip to the movies to get you through hump day. For something a little off the beaten path, Her is definitely worth a chance. Director Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich) pushes the boundaries of societal norms and our ever-growing dependency on technology. The eccentric, enigmatic, and extremely talented Joaquin Phoenix stars as Theodore Twombly, who is in the process of a divorce. The lonely protagonist buys the world’s first artificially intelligent computer operating system and finds himself drawn to Samanta (Scarlett Johansen), the voice behind the operating system. As their interactions escalate, their feelings deepen. In a world of Siri and myriad online dating sites, Her isn’t exactly as far-fetched an idea as it might seem, ultimately asking the question: How far will we go to find love? See Fandango for theaters and showtimes.