This weekend's best concerts | August 10-12, 2012
It's already August, and summer is slowly but surely coming to a close. But hopefully you still have it in you to squeeze in at least a couple more summertastic events—here are some of our favorite concerts and club nights going on around Chicago this weekend. Choose wisely, and enjoy!
Taj Mahal Trio
7pm, 10pm, Old Town School of Folk Music, $41-$45
Taj Mahal's not what you'd call a blues original—how could he be, having come up during the ’60s blues revival? But he was among the first to make sure folks noticed that rock, R&B and soul come from you-know-where, and he's still experimenting with those connections.
Billy Boy Arnold
8pm, SPACE, $15-$27
Born in the middle of the Great Depression, Billy Boy Arnold learned harmonica at the feet of Sonny Boy Williamson and later recorded with Bo Diddley, though he never made much headway on his own. But being one of the last of a generation does count for something, and as we move further and further out from the origins of the blues, links like Arnold become more and more valuable.
United Sounds of Africa
8pm, House of Blues, $39.50 in advance/$45 at door
The hip-hop curious will want to check out this sampling of some of Africa's biggest names. Highlights include Nigeria’s 2Face Idibia and rapper M.I. (a.k.a. Mr. Incredible), lauded West African MC Ice Prince, plus his labelmates Brymo and Jesse Jagz, showcasing some of the contemporary sounds of the continent’s coast. Visit unitedsoundsofafrica.com for more info.
Mares of Thrace + Pilgrim + Primitive Weapons + Chrome Waves + Like Rats
9pm, Cobra Lounge, $10
Canadian doom act Mares of Thrace recently expanded into a three-piece with new drummer Rae Amitay, a Berklee College of Music grad, and, for the first time, a bass player: Chicago artist and musician Scott Shellhammer (Tetsuo, Ghosts & Vodka, American Heritage), who also created the cover art for the new record, Act I: David Glimpses Bathsheba. Per usual, Thérèse Lanz helms vocals and guitar.
Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues + Joanna Connor
9:30pm, Kingston Mines, $15
Ever since he was mentored by the likes of Willie Dixon in the '70s, Branch has continued to live up to his early promise as a fine singer and harmonica player.
9:30pm, B.L.U.E.S, $10
One of this city's finest blues artists, Johnson has been around since the ’50s but didn't release an album stateside until he was in his fifties. His intense vocals and soul-dripping guitar continue to groove after all these years.
Broncho + Bad Weather California + Warm Ones
9:30pm, The Ace Bar, $10
Local power-poppers Warm Ones recorded a trio of legit tunes with Steve Albini (which were then mastered by Bob Weston) at Electrical Audio late last year. The band opens for Oklahoma’s garagey Broncho, led by Ryan Lindsey of the Starlight Mints.
Eskmo + Haywyre
10pm, Bottom Lounge, $13
Bay Area beatmaker Eskmo fits his label, Ninja Tune, like a glove. The producer, who cites whacked-out funk-rock outfit Primus, U.K. big-beat legends the Prodigy and electronic savant Aphex Twin as early influences, has made his name crafting murky, post-Dilla bass music that sits well next to Amon Tobin, whom he collaborated with as Eskamon. Live, he sings, samples, loops and triggers with psychedelic spacescapes lighting up the stage behind him. It's a trip, for sure.
Strung Out + The Darlings + Handguns + La Armada
6pm, Reggie's Rock Club, $20
Simi Valley, California, metal-tinged punk band Strung Out hasn’t lasted an impressive 20 years by deviating from its formula. And when you’ve set the standard for this style of punk, why change? The band plays its '90s standard-bearers, Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues and Twisted By Design, in their entirety, back to back.
Silver Abuse + The Party Downers + Big Sur + Caligari
7pm, Township, $5
Early adaptor Silver Abuse formed in 1977 and touts itself as one of Chicago's first punk acts. But of course the resuscitated version of the band bears little in common, personnel-wise, with the original.
RZA + Fess Grandiose + Free Ajents + Aerias + Anti Crew
8pm, Double Door, $25
A man who needs no introduction, RZA revolutionized hip-hop with the Wu-Tang Clan and as alter-ego Bobby Digital, among others. Lately he has spent much time showing his skills and interests beyond the world of rap. He’s a genius, simple as that, with a better idea of what needs to go between the beats than the legions of lesser DJs.
My Gold Mask
8pm, SPACE, $10-$12
My Gold Mask, the duo of Gretta Rochelle and Jack Armondo, plays its spooky racket with an attitude. Rochelle growls, snarls, howls, moans and drums over Armondo's gritty, reverberating guitar as if she's the world's first girl gone wild.
Guided By Voices + Radar Eyes
9pm, Metro, $36
What’s that you say? Another three-hour GBV marathon featuring Robert “high kicks” Pollard swilling from a liter of dime-store vodka? Yes, please.
Deep Time + Blizzard Babies + Nonnie Parry
9pm, The Burlington, $7
Austin, Texas–based Deep Time's (ex–Yellow Fever) howling pop recalls the dark-and-wild syncopation of Dirty Projectors but also the monolithic charm of '90s indie such as Mary Timony's Helium—a feat considering this band is a duo. Jennifer Moore's (vocals, guitar, organ) haunting delivery layered atop Adam Jones's jazzed-up drums meld for a lineup of tunes that are sweet with a latent sting.
Atom TM + Tobias
9pm, Viaduct Theater, $15 in advance/$20 at door
A testament to the Viaduct's importance as an alternative music venue in the city, this fund-raiser organized by socially conscious music apparatus Electronic Sound + Art Chicago boasts a double-headliner bill from Atom TM (a.k.a. Señor Coconut) and studio whiz Tobias Freund. The two met back in '86 and have been playing impromptu and improvised techno and IDM shows across the globe since. This, their Chicago debut, also features tag-team DJ sets from Chris Widman and Striz, DJ Warp and Frankie Vega as well as solo sets from Radius, Time Nice and (((Sonorama))).
Kelan Phil Cohran Ensemble
9:30-10:15, 10:45-11:30pm, Hideout, $12 in advance/$15 at door
Diehard fans might lament the injustice of one of Chicago’s most historically significant experimental artists playing a series spotlighting forgotten musicians (presented by Reader strip The Secret History of Chicago Music). But seeing this fascinating figure in a cozy setting should offset any perceived slight.
Kool A.D. + Fat Tony + Tray & Puzzle + BBU + Stacks
3pm, Reggie's Rock Club, $12 in advance/$15 at door
For an MC who’s made his bones riffing on MTV Generation touchstones such as Taco Bell and Michael Jackson, rapper Kool A.D.’s appearance tonight represents a surprisingly straightforward stance.
American Chamber Opera: Don Giovanni
4pm, Chicago Temple, $20/$10 for seniors and students
One of the city's newest opera companies showcases a slew of emerging stars in Don Giovanni. The young cast, all under 40, produces a fresh, modernized version of Mozart's standard repertoire piece.
9pm, Reggie's Music Joint, $7 in advance/$10 at door
Janice Spagnolia (a.k.a. Jan Terri) is a Chicago outsider act considered legendary by some—such as Marilyn Manson, who has invited her to perform at his private soirees—and absolute crap by others. For reference, take a gander at her YouTube video, "Losing You," which has more than 2 million views and 15K comments like "The budget for the video was $3.50 in McDonald's coupons." An appearance from her is a rare thing, so catch the spectacle (hot mess, what have you) while you can.
Boom Boom Room
9pm, Dolphin, $10
This legendary, polysexual Chicago house night is finally waking from its almost yearlong slumber at the newly revamped Green Dolphin Street, er, Dolphin. It remains an awe-inspiring blend of clubbers and regular city folk who like to party, and it's something of a Chicago institution. Rechristening the night, New York hotshot Junior Sanchez teams up with underground German techno whiz Guti.
10pm, Smart Bar, $5
Smart Bar maintains its hold on Sunday-night polysexual dancing with Queen! Gathering former Boom Boom Room resident Michael Serafini, Donovan DJ, Garrett David and highlights from Chicago's rich house music past weekly, Queen! also spices things up with guest DJs from a spectrum of sounds and scenes weekly. On Aug 19, house legend Derrick Carter makes another of his frequent appearances here.
Transmission Jazz Series: Nick Broste Trio + Nick Mazzarella Quartet
10pm, Hungry Brain, $7 donation
The first set features trombone blower Nick Broste working with reedist Keefe Jackson and bassist Anton Hatwich. Alto saxist Nick Mazzarella plays in quartet form with Jim Baker (piano), Joshua Abrams (bass) and Mike Reed (drums), who curates this weekly.