Thursday, July 10, 2014

Best shows to see: Fucked Up, Circles, Lee Fields & the Expressions, Jon Mueller's Death Blues

Posted By on 07.10.14 at 07:38 AM

Lee Fields
  • Lee Fields
If you're looking for an unorthodox way to ring in the Sabbath on Friday, I'd recommend going to Concord Music Hall to see Say Anything, who are touring in support of their new album—Hebrews. Show up early for You Blew It! and the Front Bottoms to get a fourth-wave emo fix.

Of course, there are plenty of other concerts worth seeing this weekend besides that one. Tonight Lucki Ecks headlines Reggie's Rock Club to support his forthcoming sophomore mixtape, Body High. Tomorrow night Lady Gaga takes over the United Center and Tree headlines Emporium. On Saturday, Better Than Ezra (yep) plays Burger Fest and Roy French hits Tonic Room. On Sunday night you can check out Death by Icon and the Whoevers at Empty Bottle or Have Mercy and Gates at Beat Kitchen.

Be sure to jump to Soundboard for all our concert listings and take a listen to our weekly "Best shows to see" Spotify playlist, which is at the bottom of this post—and follow us on Spotify while you're at it! Read on for some picks from Reader critics.

Thu 7/10: Fucked Up at Bottom Lounge

"Around the time the mammoth David Comes to Life came out in 2011, I heard a friend compare Fucked Up to the Gin Blossoms fronted by Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed," writes Kevin Warwick. "I laughed, then laughed again—and the joke has been burned into my brain ever since. Because even though I know what to expect from Fucked Up by now—this Toronto hardcore band has been together more than a decade, releasing four studio albums and five million singles, demos, and cassettes—it still startles me every time front man Damian Abraham first opens his mouth, as the gravelly, husky avalanche of his voice rips through the crystalline triple-guitar melodies. You have to be willing to settle into a Fucked Up record for the combination to sound halfway normal, and the new Glass Boys (Matador) is no different."

Fri 7/11: Circles at Empty Bottle

"Garagey indie-pop four-piece Circles are celebrating the release of their first full-length, Shadowgraph, out on their own Diminished Arc label, and this release show—with their buddies in Bare Mutants and Outer Minds—promises to be just as big a party as the album," writes Luca Cimarusti. "This mostly local band formed as a trio, with guitarist Srini Radhakrishna (Football, France Has the Bomb), bassist Melissa Elias (Ponys), and drummer Ken Coulman, and last summer they released their debut, the EP Are You Watching the Masters? Because the Masters Are Watching You (engineered by Mike Lust). Its jangly, organ-driven pop tunes, topped with hooky, slightly sour vocal harmonies, appear again on Shadowgraph as its B side, while the album's front half consists of six songs that Cave's Cooper Crain recorded late last year; Anthony Cozzi of Radar Eyes has taken over on bass (Elias, who's now a mom, did only vocals on the new material), and Empty Bottle talent buyer Christen Thomas has come aboard to play the keyboard parts."


Sat 7/12: Lee Fields & the Expressions at West Fest

"Veteran soul singer Lee Fields has all but completely shed the James Brown fixation he developed as a young turk in the late 70s, instead focusing on a more classic sound—and it serves him better than ever on the new Emma Jean (Truth & Soul)," writes Peter Margasak. "Most of the songs are slinky, sultry ballads or midtempo struts that summon the spirit of various 70s soul models—among them a bit of late Stax, some Philly soul, a touch of disco, and a heaping helping of the late Bobby Womack. Fields inhabits every number so thoroughly, though, that you'll probably end up feeling silly if you distract yourself with influence spotting. His raspy voice has never sounded so authoritative, and it seems to pick up extra fire when it encounters unexpected elements in the songs—among them the woozy pedal steel that glides through 'Paralyzed' (written by Dan Auerbach of Black Keys) and the blaring Bill Conti-worthy brass in 'Standing by Your Side.'"

Sun 7/13: Jon Mueller's Death Blues at Constellation

"Singing the blues is one way to free yourself from them," writes Bill Meyer. "Jon Mueller's Death Blues project aims to use the awareness of death to inspire people to fully live for whatever time they have. To that end, the Milwaukee percussionist has staged multimedia spectacles, commissioned writings, established a website, and made several records. The latest album, Non-fiction (Sige), is the best expression yet of Death Blues' drive toward transcendence. Over the course of two side-length pieces, Mueller's drums mesh with the acoustic guitars of Ken Palme and Jim Warchol (which they lay flat and play like hammered dulcimers) to build a series of towering riffs, about which Mueller's electronically layered voice spins like a cloud of wheeling birds."

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