29 best concerts of the weekend | August 16-19, 2012


Sebadoh Photograph: Jens Nordström

Thursday 16
Nappy Roots
8pm, The Cubby Bear, $10
We kind of forgot about Nappy Roots and their jokey Southern rap since, well, forever. Last October the Bowling Green, Kentucky, ballers released Nappy Dot Org, helmed by Organized Noize, the producers behind OutKast's Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik.

Sebadoh + Lou Barlow + Circle of Buzzards
8pm, Schubas, $20
Sebadoh was perhaps the prototypical ’90s indie-rock band—can you imagine a contemporary young band writing a song called "Gimme Indie Rock"? We're keeping fingers crossed for material from Bakesale and Harmacy.

Mumford & Sons
8pm, Chicago Theatre, $49.50
Having emerged from London's thriving folk scene, Mumford & Sons saw their gravelly 2009 debut, Sigh No More, become a huge hit stateside. The folk stompin' dudes play ahead of a sold-out party-bus fest in Dixon, IL.

Heath Brothers Quartet
8, 10pm, Jazz Showcase, $20-$25
The first family of Philly jazz suffered a big loss when Modern Jazz Quartet bassist Percy Heath left us, but brothers Jimmy (tenor) and Albert “Tootie” (drums) show no signs of putting their swinging institution to rest. Their powers are undiminished.

Janiva Magness
8:30pm, FitzGerald's, $15-$27
Over the course of her two Alligator albums, Magness has thrived, blurring the lines among R&B, blues, jazz and standards, never wallowing in formula while, best of all, showcasing her expressive vocals. The Detroit native skews more Nina Simone than Bonnie Raitt.

Jon Langford & Skull Orchard + Home & Garden + No Grave Like the Sea
9pm, Hideout, $10
Jon Langford’s a perpetual, prolific local preference, so it’s easy to take the man for granted. But ignore him at your peril. Last year Langford re-recorded his 1998 debut, Skull Orchard, with the aid of the Burlington Welsh Male Chorus. Hence, Skull Orchard.


Friday 17
Eef Barzelay + Bobby Bare Jr.
7pm, Schubas, $15
Eef Barzelay began his solo career before his band Clem Snide broke up, but ever since getting the group back together again he's kept the solo thing going, apparently often just as an excuse to bust out some eclectic covers. Schubas favorite Bobby Bare Jr. released two knockout records in 2010: Twistable, Turnable Man (a Shel Silverstein tribute album produced by Bare and his father) and A Storm, A Tree, My Mother’s Head (his strongest solo disc yet).

Bass Kitchen: Krewella + Stratus
7pm, Logan Square Auditorium, $25
The savvy chefs behind Bass Kitchen cook up another low-end-heavy auditory feast, this time with low-end-pushing, pop-hook-laden Chicago trio Krewella as the plat du jour. With the Yousaf sisters at the mics and the Rain Man on the beats, Krewella is yet another Windy City entry into the growing dubstep scene. Speaking of, 22-year-old hometown bass rough houser Stratus opens.

The Dreamchasers Tour: Meek Mill + Rockie Fresh
8pm, House of Blues, $35 in advance/$37.50 day of show
Don't think for a second that Philly rapper Meek Mill doesn't know how to play the game; dude sticks to the rulebook like a magnet. Associations with bigger fish, in this case T.I. and Rick Ross? Check. A mix-tape of sorts, in his case the major-label-underwritten Maybach Music showcase Self Made Vol. 1? Check. A couple of hit single showcases, namely "Tupac Back" and a place on the posse cut "Ima Boss" remix? Check. But now it's up to Meek to write his own rules and see how far he can push himself as a solo artist, with the October arrival of his debut, Dreams & Nightmares, surely an indicator of staying power.

Ben Miller Band
8:30pm, Beat Kitchen, $7
Missouri’s Ben Miller Band covers all the Americana bases, from bluegrass to blues to mountain music, all with the frenetic energy of a one-man band thanks to its members' broad multi-instrumentalism.

Psychic Twin + Chandelier + Jimmy Whispers
9pm, The Burlington, $5 donation
Trio Psychic Twin is a smooth synth-pop act from Urbana with pretty girl vocals, handclaps, shakers and what sounds like a mini xylophone. Chicago's Chandeliers fall under the catchall of "dance music," and the group’s members have clearly done their research, immersing themselves not just in the genre but the gear itself. Analog keyboards are revered with the same degree of curiosity that a crate-digging DJ brings to the decks. The woozy, warbling funk jams that ensue are surreal and saturated, like a downtempo daydream.

Bryan Lee + Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames
9:30pm, Buddy Guy's Legends
Known as the "Braille Blues Daddy," Bryan Lee was born in Minnesota and cut his teeth in Chicago. But he's long been a favorite in his adopted hometown of New Orleans. As you might guess, there's a touch of the Delta in his modern electric blues.

The Very Best + Seye + Kid Static
10pm, Lincoln Hall, $15
A collaboration between London production duo Radioclit and Malawi singer Esau Mwamwaya, the Very Best is fusion in the truest sense, with songs sung in Chichewa and music pulled in from every corner of the globe. The group’s upbeat second album, MTMTMK, features input from African superstars Amadou & Mariam, Baaba Maal and K'naan but also Bruno Mars. With the Nigerian-born Seye (who appears on the album, too) and Kid Static.

Mannequin Men + Outer Minds + Football
10pm, Empty Bottle, $8 in advance/$10 day of show
Chicago racket-makers Mannequin Men bid farewell to their bassman, Miles Raymer, who's ditching Chicago for NYC. Openers include garage disciples Outer Minds, who create a rough-and-tumble ruckus, and Football, which collects members of the Ponys, Tight Phantomz, A/V Murder and the Guilty Pleasures.


Saturday 18
Mad Decent Block Party 2012
12-10pm, Fulton Street (from Ashland to Justice), free
Diplo’s Mad Decent stable stakes out a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue for a second year of blaring air horns all day long. Weed rap fave and recent Pitchfork Fest guest Curren$y tops the lineup, with other guests including Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross and Bosco Delrey. Admission is free and all ages; visit maddecentblockparty.com to register.

onYou + Deep Sleep + Windbreakers + Songs for Gods
5pm, Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar, donation
Squeezing out the last few drops of outdoor summer shindigs, Maria's throws down a BBQ and bands party in its parking lot. The cinematically synthy, sometimes skronky, always unpredictable onYou plays along with Deep Sleep, the arty solo endeavor of onetime Icy Demons member Jeremiah Chiu, Windbreaker and Songs for Gods.

Jason Aldean + Luke Bryan
7:30pm, First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre, $29.50-$59
Country star Jason Aldean will likely play from 2010's My Kinda Party. And yep, if you like your country music flavored with squally guitars and rock bombast, this will indeed be your kind of party.

Marshall Crenshaw
8pm, SPACE, $18-$38
Few know how to rock hand claps in a song as pop-music auteur Marshall Crenshaw does. He has a gift for peppy tunes, powered by a penchant for jangly guitars, catchy melodies and sly lyrics—yet he retains the strength needed to play with the revived MC5, as well.

Tony Bennett
8:30pm, Ravinia Pavilion, $28-$91
It's safe to say that more kids dig Tony Bennett now than at any point in his 50-year career; chalk it up to overpopulation and his shrewd late-career courtship of MTV. It matters little that his poperatic tenor isn't what it once was; no one puts a song across like Uncle Tony.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre + Magic Castles
9pm, Metro, $21
Cali garage-pop eccentrics the Brian Jonestown Massacre take to the stage at Metro. Fingers crossed for Dig!-style antics…or not.

Starring + Guardian Alien + E+
9pm, Hideout, $10
Brooklyn crew Starring, which includes Pterodactyl drummer Matt Marlin, plies a uniquely infectious form of art rock. Upstart postpunk foursome E+ features half of hometown fave Disappears.

Ken + Mahjongg
10pm, Co-Prosperity Sphere, donation
Following an outdoor shindig at Maria's Packaged Goods, Edmar and crew move the party to the 'Sphere where beloved (and reformed?!) electro-Afrobeat-dance-punk weirdos Mahjongg kick it with Barbie's better half.

Mucca Pazza + Occidental Brothers Dance Band International
11pm, Bottom Lounge, $15
Reactions to the Chicago-based punk marching band Mark Messing cofounded, directs and performs in are usually dramatic. A mix of delight and confusion is typical, as the ensemble’s unpredictable live shows burst with Balkan circus fanfare and surf-rock guitar licks.


Sunday 19
Varsity All-Stars
12pm, Undisclosed location, $20
Moretti's annual 12-hour DJ fest is back again, but sadly Moretti's is not. The downtown Italian spot shuttered this year, so Varsity All-Stars has had to go off the grid, taking things up a few flights for this rooftop jam. The summer soiree sees Indiana techno maestro Troy Pierce, one of Richie Hawtin's only American signees to his minimal tech M_nus label and owner of Items & Things with Magda and Marc Houle. Varsity All-Stars’ creator, onetime Chicagoan Mike Khoury, also headlines. Additional talent includes Dory, Naveen G, Sassmouth, Tim Baker, Wahi, Funk Shui, Dela, Gavin Marks and more.

Arlo Guthrie & The Guthrie Family Reunion + Mary Chapin Carpenter
7:30pm, Ravinia Pavilion, $22-$55
Arlo Guthrie owes everything to dad Woody, but tonight his lineage is particularly important, as the extended Guthrie clan (well, Arlo’s kids, at least) gathers to pay tribute to the late folk paterfamilias, who would have turned 100 this year. With the ever-earnest Mary Chapin Carpenter, whose latest, Ashes and Roses, was released earlier this summer.

Teddy Thomas with Von Freeman's Rhythm Section
7:30pm, Room 43, $10
Drummer/vocalist Teddy Thomas performs with Ben Paterson (piano/organ), Christopher McBride (sax), Matt Ferguson (bass), Mike Allemana (guitar) and Michael Raynor (drums) as part of the Sunday jazz series.

Howth + The Rutabega + Tiger Waves
8pm, Schubas, $8
Brooklyn-based Howth achieves a difficult task: creating indie-folk that feels fresh and interesting. Songwriter Carl Creighton hails from Minnesota, lending a Midwestern sensibility to sounds that, when anchored by a full band, are given a full scope and breadth without feeling hollow. Howth is touring in support of its full-band debut, Newkirk.

Shiloh + Bone & Bell + The Heavy Bombers
9pm, The Burlington, $5 donation
Chicago seven-piece Shiloh lifts moods with low-fi, stomp-happy friend folk. Bone & Bell, Heather Smith's unfailingly pretty folk project, fetes a new EP, Organ Fantasies.

Sunday Transmission Series: Blonk/Bishop/Mallozzi/Rosaly
10pm, Hungry Brain, $10 donation
Jaap Blonk (vocals), Jeb Bishop (trombone), Lou Mallozzi (turntables/electronics) and Frank Rosaly (drums) play as part of the Mike Reed– and Josh Berman–curated weekly jazz series.

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