Best concerts this weekend | Jan 11-13
This weekend brings a full slate of shows to Chicago, running the gamut from the old school (Buddy Guy continues his January residency) to the new (Friday brings Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem to town), a few killer cover bands, and so much more. Far too many shows than can be mentioned in one pithy paragraph, so check the full list below:
Friday Jan 11
5pm, Reckless Records (Wicker Park), free; Sat 9pm
You might recognize Aaron Dilloway as the now-departed guitarist of experimental act Wolf Eyes. His current solo work incorporates a lot of in vogue elements such as field recordings, eight-track tapes and modular synths. Dilloway performs at Reckless ahead of an appearance at the space formerly known as Enemy.
6pm, The Whistler, free
The former Karate frontman brings his signature guitarwork to the Logan Square cocktail lounge.
Third Coast Percussion
7:30 pm, International House at the University of Chicago, $15/$10 seniors and students
Ores are the order of the day as the local quartet jams exclusively on instruments made of metal, from the meditative chimes of Thai gongs to the clatter of household pots and pans. The evening features David Lang's hammering The Anvil Chorus, John Cage's First Construction (in Metal) and the U.S. premiere of Philippe Manoury's Métal for homemade instruments.
Sons of the Silent Age + Waco Brothers + Death of the Autobahn
7:30pm, Metro, $20 advance/$25 day of show
Sons of the Silent Age is essentially a David Bowie cover band. But hold up: It's a David Bowie cover band with Shirley Manson. True story. Assembled by Chris Connelly of Ministry and the Revolting Cocks to raise money for the Pablove Foundation, an org that supports pediatric cancer research, the Garbage frontwoman is just one in a cast of Connelly's musician friends who are willing and ready to put on their red shoes and dance the blues for charity. The Waco Brothers plan to cover T. Rex, and Death on the Autobahn does its best Kraftwerk. But we suspect that nobody really gives a hoot about that. Omg, Shirley Manson!
Jodee Lewis + Jonas Friddle & The Majority
8 pm, City Winery, $15
Best known as half the Chicago country-ish duo the Spares, the oft-riveting Lewis goes it alone here. Self-described "orchestral folk," Jonas Friddle & the Majority mesh horns and rich string arrangements with Americana.
8pm, SPACE, $22–$34
Miami's Chris Smither has been making music since the ’60s, and his most recent releases have shown the folk/blues singer-songwriter has justified sticking around.
Emmylou Harris & Her Red Dirt Boys
8pm, Genesee Theatre, $37.50–$72.50
Pop stars are put out to pasture early. Hip-hop generally fares worse. But country? Country singers get better the older they get, especially when they age as gracefully as Emmylou Harris. Her upcoming LP of duets, Old Yellow Moon, reunites her with former bandmate Rodney Crowell, who has grown even better in his later years, too.
Led Zeppelin 2
9pm, Sat 9pm; House of Blues, $23 advance/$25 day of show
There are a lot of Led Zeppelin tributes out there, but this one's our favorite, not least because its members fully immerse themselves in the musicianship and style of the four classic-rock heavyweights. That Yakuza howler Bruce Lamont does a mean Robert Plant is icing on the cake.
Chicago Psych Fest IV: Mako Sica + Variety Lights + Dark Fog + Plastic Crimewave Syndicate + Energy Gown
9pm, Hideout, $10–$16
Mako Sica does not write songs. The local three piece instead swaps traditional pop structures for an open-ended form that ebbs and flows much like a movement in a symphony. The band's newest, Essence, stays true to its sound with a kitchen-sink approach to percussion that incorporates found objects, barbed guitar lines and Brent Fuscaldo's guttural howls, which elicit moods rather than leave a linguistic imprint. Variety Lights features David Baker, original vocalist of Mercury Rev, back when the band vied with the Flaming Lips for weird psychedelic dominance. Underrated local psych punishers Dark Fog, Plastic Crimewave Syndicate and Energy Gown also perform at day one of the Hideout's annual Psych Fest.
Victor Villarreal + Zeus, Jr. + Poor Lister + Transmontane
9pm, Township, $5
Mysterious Cap'n Jazz/Joan of Arc member Victor Villarreal visits Township with his unique approach to the guitar.
Rakim + DJ Tony Touch + DJ O-Zone
9pm, The Shrine, $20
Many consider Rakim’s 1987 Paid in Full the genre’s apex, and “The God Emcee” still possesses metahuman oratory skills.
9:30pm, Sat 9:30pm; Rosa’s Lounge, $15–$20
Now here's something different. Linda Valori is a soulful, B.F.D. Italian singer (she sang for the pope, for cryin' out loud) of Romanian descent who sometimes sings the blues and R&B in English. Here, she makes her U.S. debut upon the release of a new record, Days Like This, which she recorded in Chicago with a cast of pop and R&B session men. Holy crap, can this woman sing.
The Life and Times + Planetexploder + Redgrave
9:30pm, Empty Bottle, $10
The Life and Times is led by Allen Epley, formerly of Kansas City's Shiner. Turns out the singer-guitarist is still a master at penning soaring melodies, atmospheric guitar washes and a big, boomy drum sound. The band plays in support of its excellent sophomore LP, No One Loves You Like I Do.
Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem
10pm, Smart Bar, $10 advance/$12 before midnight/$15 after midnight
A key figure in bridging the realms of dance music and punk as drummer in LCD Soundsystem, Pat Mahoney has also been honing his skills behind the decks, usually with LCD cohort Murphy, often under the Special Disco Version name. Since LCD's retirement, Mahoney has stepped out with more touring as a club DJ. He's advanced from the oddball, punky disco classics of the Fabriclive.36 mix. These days, he slings Balearic beats, edits and contemporary tropical sounds—real dance music with an ex-punk appeal. Chicago's Kid Color spins the early set.
Saturday, Jan 12
4pm, Saki, free
Chandeliers' electronic stew technically falls under the catchall of "dance music," and the group’s members have clearly done their research, immersing themselves not just in the genre but also the gear. The local crew's latest is Founding Fathers, a tranced-out affair we thoroughly enjoy.
Grant Hart + Ripley Caine + Jeremiah Webb
8pm, Red Line Tap, $10 advance/$12 day of show
A founding member of Hüsker Dü, Grant Hart is famous for not only his music and visual art, but also one of the most famous punk-rock feuds, with bandmate Bob Mould. Though Mould gets the lion’s share of attention these days doesn’t mean Hart’s reputation has faded. To the contrary, his Dü songs still scream with passion and huge hooks, while his uneven solo career has nonetheless resulted in its own share of classics as well.
ShowYouSuck + St. Millie + Warhound
8pm, Bottom Lounge, $20
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-approved MC ShowYouSuck headlines this lineup of local talent—including local MC St. Millie and suburban hardcore outfit Warhound—which serves as a release party for his new mix-tape, One Man Pizza Party III: Rest in Pizza. Cowabunga.
8:30pm, The Shrine, $35
Dwele works within the R&B spectrum, coating each of his albums in a smooth veneer, but the Detroit native doesn't gloss over matters of the heart. Many of Dwele’s tunes are tailored to the bedroom, and his silken tonal palette easily lends itself to seduction. While cuts like “PATrick RONald” (Patron, get it?) find him at ease in flirtation mode, he’s by no means lecherous, instead more in line with someone like John Legend, even if he lacks the name recognition. Like the Grammy-elevated piano crooner, Dwele exudes class, though he eschews the classic model that Legend aspires to.
Chiacgo Psych Fest IV: Outer Minds + The Velcro Lewis Group + Miracle Condition + Underground Symposium + Bitchin Bajas
9pm, Hideout, $10–$16
Steady-gigging garage disciples Outer Minds excel at the kind of rough-and-tumble jangle-pop championed by local purveyors HoZac and Plustapes. Local selector Andy Slater showcases his swamp-boogie alter ego, Velcro Lewis, while Miracle Condition favors tranced-out beauty. Underground Symposium and Bitchin Bajas, the solo endeavor of CAVE's Cooper Crane, open.
Webb Wilder + Falling Stars
9pm, FitzGerald’s, $15 advance/$20 day of show
Ages before Big and Rich started yukking it up, Webb Wilder was taking country-music themes on a comic detour through vigorous vintage flying-saucers, rock & roll, B-movie parodies and outsize stage personae. He's combined an unreconstructed love for Southern-roots music—rockabilly, gospel, blues—with imaginatively novel, original material. It's stuff that plays sympathetically on tradition while somehow standing outside the pedestrian norm of contemporary-country fare. He converts fans by the roomful.
Quicksand + Single Mothers
9pm, Metro, $29
For Quicksand, see Top live shows. The last time volatile punk act Single Mothers played Chicago, it was at the Fireside Bowl with no less than four other bands, so this is a giant step up.
The Soft Moon + Majical Cloudz + Pillars & Tongues
9:30pm, Empty Bottle, $10
Captured Tracks artist the Soft Moon of San Francisco takes some of its cues from dark, synth-laced acts of the postpunk era. Openers are Majical Cloudz, with welcomingly warm and tactile synth-scapes, and the downcast Pillars & Tongues.
Sunday Jan 13
CSO Chamber Music Series
2pm, Art Institute of Chicago, $26
The popular series, enjoyed by music and art lovers, currently focuses on works inspired by Eastern cultures. Soprano Regina Hilse joins CSO musicians in instrumental vocal works by Beethoven and Arensky.
Pillars & Tongues
6pm, Saki, free
Chicago trio Pillars and Tongues lives up to its grandly mysterious name, offering enveloping dronescapes with hints of experimental jazz and freak folk.
7:30pm, Chicago Cultural Center, free
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Katinka Kleijn is known for her monster cello chops, and this evening's concert in the Sidney R. Yates Gallery offers a peek inside the cranium from whence they originate. Via an electroencephalography (EEG) device, Kleijn's brainwaves will provide audible, real-time counterpoint during her premiere of co-composers Daniel R. Dehaan and Ryan Ingebritsen's "Intelligence in the Human-Machine."
Buddy Guy + Carlos Johnson
7:30pm, Buddy Guy’s Legends, $55
You can tell it's January in Chicago when Buddy Guy plays a row of shows at his own venue. Appearing with Guy tonight is Carlos Johnson, who first gained notice playing in Billy Branch's Sons of Blues.
Bobby Bare Jr. + Angela James
8pm, City Winery, $15
Bobby Bare Jr. has been on a tear in the last couple of years, appearing on a tribute to Shel Silverstein in addition to releasing 2010 solo album A Storm, A Tree, My Mother’s Head, which included contributions from his dad (country singer Bare Sr.) and four fifths of My Morning Jacket (playing as his backing group). Twangy singer-songwriter Angela James (who is also a member of indie-folk outfit Judson Claiborne) plays in support of her debut solo EP, Down and Out.
John Fullbright + Julia Klee
8pm, FitzGerald’s, $15
Like the best folk singers, Oklahoma’s John Fullbright, formerly of the Turnpike Troubadours, places more emphasis on stories and characters than tunes, but those stories are as captivating as they come. His 2012 solo debut, From the Ground Up, was nominated for the Best Americana Album Grammy award.
The Ocean Blue + The Starfolk +Dewi Sant
8pm, Schubas, $15
Hershey, Pennsylvania's the Ocean Blue began as an echo of then current college-rock favorites, and all these years down the line, it hasn’t really deviated from form. A new record, its first in about 13 years, is due this month. The unabashedly dreamy indie-pop of the Starfolk and Michael Morris’s folk-leaning Dewi Sant open.
Russ Johnson Quartet
10pm, Hungry Brain, $7 donation
In this installment of Hungry Brain’s weekly Sunday Transmission Series, Trumpeter Russ Johnson leads a quartet consisting of tenor saxophonist Keefe Jackson, bassist Anton Hatwich and drummer Tim Daisy.