Best concerts of the weekend | July 12–15, 2012
So, I'm assuming you know Pitchfork is happening this weekend. But if you're not going to the fest—or want options for your Pitchfork off nights—check out our picks of the best music shows happening this weekend, below.
Death Cab for Cutie
5:30pm, Pritzker Pavilion, $25/free on lawn
Hear “You Are a Tourist” sung to tourists! Lighten up, corn is in season. Grab the buttery emo sentiments of Death Cab at the Taste.
Jack the Dog + Andrew Weathers Ensemble
7:30pm, Comfort Station, donation
Percussionist Carrie Biolo and pianist Jeffrey Kowalkowski's experimental duo Jack the Dog shares a bill with the texture-minded Andrew Weathers Ensemble at the cozy Comfort Music showcase.
Ledisi + Eric Benét
8pm, Country Club Hills Theater, $25-$60
Ledisi is a funkified singer with a smooth Southern twang who performs a mix of jazz, soul, hip-hop and R&B that's all her own. Tonight you'll hear from her latest, Pieces of Me. Opening is R&B smoothie Eric Benét, who scored a smash more than a decade ago with "Spend My Life With You" (though you may know him better as Halle Berry's ex-husband).
Steve Turre Quartet
8pm, Jazz Showcase, $20
Trombonist Steve Turre has been a fixture in the Saturday Night Live band for decades, plus he's a star "shellist"—mastering the unusual art of conch-shell blowing.
8pm, SPACE, $40
A folk-pop icon since the ’60s, Judy Collins has a way of wrapping her inimitable pipes around any song and turning it into gold. Collins sings with a radiant decency that verges on holiness—in a good way—and uses her voice like a fine crystal vessel: to elevate and beautify but also to expose.
Delicate Steve + The Earth Is a Man + noumenon
8:30pm, Subterranea, $10
The vaguely spastic (musically, and in a good way) home-recording act from New Jersey Delicate Steve, a.k.a. Steve Marion, is back with his second disc for Luaka Bop, Positive Force.
The Astronomer + The Paulina Hollers
9pm, Hideout, $7
Former Pinetop Seven player Charles Kim delivers haunted, roots-imbued melodies as the Astronomer, sharing a bill with Jim Becker's Paulina Hollers.
Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls
9pm, Andy's, $10
Drummer Ted Sirota leads this local group of young jazz firecrackers through a rhythm-heavy repertoire.
Otis Clay + The Revelations featuring Tre Williams
8pm, SPACE, $17-$30
Gospel-circuit grad Otis Clay evolved in the ‘70s into something more soulful and secular, though as with most soul singers, God's never that far removed from the big picture. His 2007 disc, Walk a Mile in My Shoes, showed he still has the goods, though anyone who's caught him live as of late already knew that.
The Hussy + The Man
9pm, The Burlington, $5 donation
On the Hussy's latest, Weed Seizure, the boy-girl guitar-drums duo clumsily crafts a humongous mess of music that combines shameless classic rawk influences with beautifully ugly garage fuzzouts. The feeling is not so much psychedelic as representative of how it feels coming down from psychedelics: strange and disoriented. Heather Sawyer’s heavy drumming contrasts coolly with her pleasant voice, which makes an off-kilter partner to guitarist Bobby Hussy’s howling.
Javelina + Mariposa + Trevor de Brauw
9pm, Township, $7
Pelican guitarist Trevor de Brauw has recently picked up some attention for his entrancing drone soundscapes, which open a bill with the similarly soothing uke-pop of Mariposa. The headline slot features the ambient folk of Albuquerque's Javelina, not to be confused with the Philly hardcore band.
9:30pm, Rosa's Lounge, $15
We suspect that in some quarters, this blues veteran is still touted as the Guy Who Played Harmonica on "Miss You" by the Rolling Stones. But in blues circles he's known as the man who took Little Walter's innovations on that same instrument clear into the stratosphere. It's safe to say that if you're looking for the magic place where Blues Traveler's John Popper got all his tricks and licks, this here is the source.
Simian Mobile Disco (DJ set) + Zebo + Jason Patrick + Funk Shei
10pm, The Mid, $20
The duo of James Ford and Jas Shaw has steadily been shedding its indie roots since it hit the big time with "We Are Your Friends." The focus now is the wonderful world of techno and the myriad analog gear that comes with it. The guys generally look like a pair of frantic knob twiddlers on stage, but this appearance sees them selecting songs instead of creating them. It's a soulful techno affair nonetheless. Friday resident Zebo and faithful technoists Jason Patrick and Funk Shui open.
Lower Dens + No Joy + Alan Resnick
10pm, Empty Bottle, $12
Baltimore's Lower Dens craft shoegazey, colorfully off-kilter pop songs, as heard on their newest, Nootropics. If you missed the group's opening set at Pitchfork this afternoon, then you're not out of luck. Two-girl guitar duo No Joy supports with rich, effects-slathered shoegaze pop.
Lotus Plaza + Dent May + Hollow Stars
10:30pm, Subterranean, $10 in advance/$12 at door
Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt fronts Lotus Plaza, whose crystalline jangle isn't too far removed from his main gig. Playing ahead of his group's Pitchfork set tomorrow, Pundt and his posse are joined here by oddball songman Dent May, signed to Animal Collective's Paw Tracks imprint.
Purity Ring + Born Gold
11pm, Schubas, $12 in advance/$14 at door
Purity Ring is Corin Roddick and Megan James, who together make low-end-driven electronic pop. The Canadian pair's 4AD debut, Shrines, drops next week, but Chicagoans have two chances to catch the mega-hyped duo, which does a victory lap at Schubas following a sorta headlining set (going against Feist, oof) at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Purity Ring bud Born Gold opens.
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly + Patti LaBelle + The O'Jays + Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds + Tank
6pm, Charter One Pavilion, $55.75-$150.75
Forget global warming. The heartbroken, heart-aching and sometimes just plain horny have always known that there's only one weather pattern that matters: the quiet storm. In the hands of Maze leader Frankie Beverly, the forecast calls for smooth, with an impressive supporting cast of R&B vets helping.
Dawnbringer + The Skull + Bible of the Devil + Oblong Box + Borrowed Time
8pm, Reggie's Rock Club, $12 in advance/$15 at door
Into the Lair of the Sun God marks Dawnbringer's fifth album since it formed in the ‘90s, yet tonight is apparently only the Pennsylvania metal act's fourth gig in 15 years. The Skull features members of Chicago doom pioneer Trouble, with a trio of Midwest metallers up first.
Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
8pm, SPACE, $22-$42
Dan Hicks survived not just the '70s but also the decision to dissolve his ace band the Hot Licks before its time was up. Fortunately, they (and we) got a second chance when Hicks brought them (or at least the name) out of retirement and back to the stage and studio. The resulting Tangled Tales makes good on that comeback, with a new slate of unclassifiable swing-imbued roots(-ish) rock.
Ty Segall + The Men + The Msytic 100's + Zath
9:30pm, Empty Bottle, $12
Blend the Wipers' pedal-meets-metal drive with the sludge-blues raucousness of Pissed Jeans, and you'll arrive at something resembling fast-rising local art-punk outfit the Men. Terrific San Francisco songwriter Ty Segall follows a timeworn formula, in which welcoming pop melodies come layered in antisocial fuzz. You might think of Segall as a weirder, more genuinely psychedelic Nathan "Wavves" Williams. Both Segall and the Men play ahead of their Pitchfork slots tomorrow.
Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King + After Midnight Blues
9:30pm, Buddy Guy's Legends, $20
Kubek's sizzling guitar work and King's countrified vocals never overtake each other, combining for well-balanced, groovy roadhouse rock.
The Atlas Moth + Why Intercept + Jar'd Loose + Encrust
10pm, Ultralounge, $5 (free with Pitchfork wristband)
Local psychedelic-doom merchant the Atlas Moth follows up today's Pitchfork set with a late gig, for which it should be loosened up. Considering how early in the day the set is, maybe too loose.
Liturgy + Lasers and Fast and Shit
10pm, Hideout, $10
Black-metal hellion Liturgy chases an afternoon Pitchfork set with this transcendent evening-closer, joined by the DIY stone-punk dudes in local group Lasers and Fast and Shit.
Chromatics + Baio
11pm, Lincoln Hall, $16
Portland Italo-disco revivalists Chromatics follow up today's Pitchfork Music Fest set, joined by Baio, a.k.a. Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio.
Taste of Chicago: Dierks Bentley + Lindi Ortega
3:30pm, Petrillo Music Shell (Grant Park), $25 for seats/free on lawn
Country star Dierks Bentley and Canadian export Lindi Ortega are the main attraction at the final day of Taste, playing the Petrillo Music Shell at 3:30pm, with an eclectic roster of music throughout the day on the Bud Light Stage including Las Guitarras de España, Zamin and Birds of Chicago, the Americana-imbued duo of JT Nero and Allison Russell.
The Olivia Tremor Control + Daughn Gibson + Whitman
8pm, Reggie's Rock Club, $5
Now that Jeff Mangum's returned to circulation, it seems slightly less remarkable that the long-dormant Olivia Tremor Control is still going strong after its own reemergence in 2005. Don't take it for granted, though; this follow-up to its Pitchfork Fest set is still a special occasion. Support comes from fast-rising rocker (and Danzigesque heartthrob) Daughn Gibson, who spins out country-noir ballads by sampling everything from gospel chants to Burialesque beats, anchoring the creepy atmospherics with his dark, booming voice.
Wake Up Madagascar: Jaojoby + Razia Said + Charles Kely + Saramba
8pm, Martyrs', $20 in advance/$25 at door
"Wake Up Madagascar" gathers Malagasy acts Jaojoby, Razia Said, Charles Kely and Saramba to raise awareness of illegal logging in the rain forests of Madagascar, particularly rosewood, which got guitar manufacturer Gibson in hot water a couple of years ago.
Thee Oh Sees + The Blind Shake + Terrible Twos + The Mallard
9pm, Empty Bottle, $12
Bay Area punk artist John Dwyer—infamous for his take-no-prisoners work in Coachwhips and countless other outfits—has channeled his raw aesthetics into something anyone could love in the badass garage-pop outfit Thee Oh Sees. The band hits the Bottle after playing Pitchfork this afternoon.
Tanlines + California Wives + Only Children
10pm, Lincoln Hall, $14
At first listen, Mixed Emotions, the debut full-length from Tanlines, sounds like a straightforwardly good-time album: honest pop with swelling synths and giddy arrangements. But as you delve deeper, dark undercurrents emerge and wonderfully anthemic choruses begin to convey lostness and uncertainty. Likewise, the band members engage in multiple identities: Brooklyn indie entertainers who make lighthearted synth-rock, and complex, introspective artists who disclose further depth with each album spin. Opening this Pitchfork after-party is local outfit California Wives, recently signed to Vagrant Records.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra + Dirty Beaches + A Lull
10pm, Schubas, $12 in advance/$14 at door
A trio of Pitchfork Fest players hits Schubas for the after-party, with Unknown Mortal Orchestra's foamy psych-pop following the stylized rockabilly deconstructions of Dirty Beaches and the percussive drama of Chicago's own A Lull.
The Banyans + Andrew Weathers Ensemble
10pm, Hungry Brain, $7
The Sunday Transmission Series welcomes a texture-minded outfit fronted by Oakland-based improviser Andrew Weathers (who hustles over to the Whistler afterward for a late set), followed by the Banyans, a spare, reflective piano-bass-drums trio featuring Sam Yulsman, Dion Kerr and Matt Carroll.
The Eric Andre Show: Flying Lotus
10pm, Bottom Lounge, $10
Electro futurist Flying Lotus makes a guest appearance at this Pitchfork Fest after-party.