Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shows to see: Sonny & the Sunsets, Billy Boy Arnold, Guided by Voices, and more

Posted By on 08.09.12 at 02:08 PM

Guided by Voices
  • Guided by Voices
The drama lingers, but Lollapalooza is officially over—please feel free to indulge in a collective deep sigh of relief. And though North Coast, the Jazz Festival, Riot Fest, the Hideout Block Party, and the World Music Festival remain on the horizon (to name a few), for me the gigantor not-so-indie indie festival's death knell begins the countdown to the end of summer. Not to mention the temperature has dipped to a chilly 76 degrees, and I ate hot soup the other day. What the hell, might as well go Christmas shopping.

But if you're a festival addict—favoring beer dispensed in plastic cups and any kind of jewelry that glows—and refuse to give up the chase, you can still get your fix this weekend. You could go to Northalsted Market Days (hey, who doesn't like the Pointer Sisters!), or you could just hit a bunch of the huge variety of venue shows so that it feels like going to a festival. Buy a ticket to each and you'll probably have spent less than you did for three days at Lollapalooza, factoring in the money spent on food, alcohol, and drugs. Also, there almost certainly won't be a mass evacuation if it storms. This week's Soundboard is seriously packed with highlights. Check out a handful of the notable notables below:

Thu 8/9: Sonny & the Sunsets and Magic Trick at Schubas

According to Miles Raymer, Sonny Smith of Sonny & the Sunsets has made a "country" record, Longtime Companion, that not only includes a "polished take on the Bakersfield sound that swept the country charts in the 60s" but also proves Smith to be a deft songwriter who's earned the right to join "heavyweights such as Bob Dylan and Neil Young in the very small group of pop musicians who've pulled off that conceit without completely embarrassing themselves."

Fresh & Onlys front man Tim Cohen opens up for Sonny & the Sunsets with his side project Magic Trick. Peter Margasak writes that the band's new album, Ruler of the Night, "retains [Cohen's] one-take methodology and features the same sort of washed-out bedroom-studio sound as earlier solo material, but his intimate, psychedelic folk-pop gets a new depth from the lovely vocal harmonies of Noelle Cahill and Alicia Vanden Huevel."

Fri 8/10: Billy Boy Arnold at SPACE

A former harmonica man for Bo Diddley, venerable Chicagoan Billy Boy Arnold pays tribute to the great guitarist-songwriter Big Bill Broonzy with his newest album, Billy Boy Arnold Sings Big Bill Broonzy. Reader blues correspondent David Whiteis writes, "Backed by a crew of stalwart traditionalists, Arnold strips down his style to its deep-blues basics: his harp tone alternates between hawk squalls and throwbacky wheezing that recalls a medicine-show accordion or a foot-pumped player piano, and his playful improvisations are relentlessly linear."

Sat 8/11: Guided by Voices at Metro

Robert Pollard is nothing if not prolific. The reunited Guided by Voices have already dropped two albums this year and still plan on releasing a third. Plus, Pollard has banged out two solo records. Of GBV's releases thus far in 2012, Peter Margasak favors Class Clown Spots a UFO because "it's got fewer of the band's new experiments with keyboards and electronics—that is, it sounds more like vintage GBV. That means bringing classic-rock throttle to Pollard's hook-crammed tunes—and no version of GBV is more fun to watch."

Sun 8/12: Jan Terri at Reggie's Music Joint

Jan Terri broke in the early 90s with a string of hokey, underfunded music videos that are as brilliant as they are hilarious. YouTube helped spread the gospel when Terri dropped out of sight—for the past decade she's had to care for her ailing mother and deal with her own health problems and medical bills. "But you can't keep a good self-identified ham down," writes Monica Kendrick. "Her current comeback has been in the works for a year, and included her Seattle debut this past spring and an interview and performance on WGN at the end of July."

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