Best concerts of the weekend | July 7-8, 2012
There's no shortage of big names in Chicago this weekend: Country superstar Kenny Chesney plays Soldier Field and Tenacious D rocks (or rawks?) into town. And if you're on a budget, there's tons of lesser-known but just-as-rocking bands playing around the city throughout the next few days. Check out some of our favorites.
Kenny Chesney + Tim McGraw + Grace Potter & The Nocturnals + Jake Owen
4:30pm, Soldier Field, $29.50-$259.50
There's something about Kenny Chesney's hammocks-beers-and-beach approach to country music that seems a little smug, if not outright patronizing, as if the promise of the lifestyle only stars like Chesney can afford serves a suitable substitute for the real thing. But the guy clearly has love for his fans, and when he hits the stage he does a great job making you forget you paid for the pleasure of his presence. The serviceable Tim McGraw shares the bill, along with a short set from Grace Potter & The Nocturals, supporting their new The Lion the Beast the Beat. Oh, and a lil' Jake Owen, too, if you're early enough.
Tenacious D + Urge Overkill + The Sights
7:30pm, Aragon, $40
Apparently, a half-decade heals all wounds, as demonstrated by the new album and tour for Rize of the Fenix. The short film promoting “To Be the Best” opens with a faux Extra segment tracing the fallout after D’s box-office bomb that skewers not only the anguish of D Tour, but also Black’s greater celebrity, before tangentially referencing Metalocalypse and the montage from Team America: World Police. The title track (also obsessed with Pick’s failures) is a slightly less funny video but a way more rocking song. Thank Satan for failure. Who wants to hear comedy from winners?
Beak + Rabid Rabbit + Ganon + Big Black Bird
8pm, Ultra Lounge, $6 in advance/$8 at door
Metallic local brood Beak fetes the vinyl release of its debut, Eyrie, following an in-store at Reckless Records' Wicker Park store. Support includes the avant-doomy Rabid Rabbit, playing behind its impressive latest, Czarny Sen.
CAVE + Paperhead + D. Watusi
9pm, The Burlington, $7 donation
CAVE churns out brain-scrambling avant-psych jams—good for dancing and/or trancing out.
The Young + Judson Claiborne
9pm, Hideout, $10
Austin’s the Young recently released its psych-rocktastic Dub Egg on Matador, but like many albums of its ilk, it’s sort of a dry run for the free-for-all that is live performance. Get an early taste of that when the group plays a 5:30pm in-store at Permanent Records.
9:30pm, B.L.U.E.S., $10
A renowned local bluesman who has played behind the likes of Otis Rush, Junior Wells and Son Seals, Johnson grafts his sizzling guitar riffs to funky Albert King–style grooves.
Man or Astro-Man? + Stagnant Pools
10pm, Empty Bottle, $15
Here's a reunion we can get behind: Man or Astro-Man?, the Southern surf-rock band that performed through the '90s, often garbed as spacemen and nerds. The group was always funny, in a Devo sense, but its surf songs meant business. The band delivers an encore set at the Bottle following an earlier set at West Fest.
The Sadies + Jon Langford
10pm, Schubas, $14
Canada roots-rock combo the Sadies are a class-A backing band—see their work with Jon Langford (who opens), Neko Case, John Doe and now Andre Williams. They're pretty cool on their own, too.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Idina Menzel
5pm, Ravinia Pavilion, $10-$90
Pop maestro Marvin Hamlisch is known for marrying classical musicians with popular music stars. He directs stage and screen star Idina Menzel, plus the CSO, through a varied program of popular hits.
Wilco + Andrew Bird + The Congregation
5:30pm, Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, $50
Four years ago, Wilco sang at Wrigley's seventh inning stretch. Now the all-American act is taking over a ballpark. Five-tool songwriter Jeff Tweedy and curveball guitarist Nels Cline never fail.
Dick Dale + Ambassadors to Earth
7pm, SPACE, $25-$45
There are plenty of flashy guitarists, but few bona fide guitar heroes. Surf master Dick Dale, however, is one of them, a crowd-pleasing pioneer who loves the spotlight almost as much as he loves twangy reverb.
7:30pm, The Venue at Horseshoe Casino, $45-$200
The ponytailed, peace-sign-flashin' Beatles thumper rolls the dice in Hammond, Indiana.
Mayor Daley + Toupee + The Hecks + onYou
9pm, The Burlington, donation
The disjointed, experimental racket of Mayor Daley bookends a bill with the cinematically synthy, sometimes skronky, always unpredictable onYou.
The Mentally Ill + Liquor Store
9m, Crown Tap Room, donation
The mysterious ’70s punks in Mentally Ill celebrate the recent re-press of their legendary "Gacy's Place" single.
Mates of State + Blonds
9:30pm, Empty Bottle, $15
Mates of State's Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel make indie pop that's almost too joyous. Their cute, bubblegum voices weave around one another ntil they fall in harmonic step over shimmering synths and glittering piano. The duo heads to the Bottle after shutting down West Fest, playing behind last year's Mountaintops.