Joan of Arc’s umpteenth studio album, this summer’s Testimonium Songs (Polyvinyl), documents the band’s involvement in a multitiered performance piece put together by Chicago artists Lin Hixson and Matthew Goulish (aka Every House Has a Door), which premiered in October. Called Testimonium, it was inspired by the objectivist poetry of Charles Reznikoff, who in 1933 began transforming American criminal courtroom transcripts into poetry (eventually published in the unfinished 528-page book Testimony). In his liner notes Goulish writes that Reznikoff “imagined an alternate history of the United States, one that would include voices omitted from the history books.” Only the hooky opening track, “Amelia,” borrows directly from the poet, whose work can be quite specific to its period; for his original lyrics, bandleader Tim Kinsella devised present-day analogues to Reznikoff’s writing, delivering philosophical inquiries and gnomic observations. Joan of Arc developed this material over a two-year period, but it never feels overworked or fussy; though the songs complicate the objectivist notion of the poem as a kind of self-contained object, the knotty music carries its own weight, especially on the 14-minute “The Bird’s Nest Wrapped Around the Security Camera,” which unspools constantly shifting permutations of a simple set of phrases. Kinsella and company are coming off a long European tour, and knowing them this show will balance glad-to-be-home casualness with the dialed-in sharpness that comes from playing almost every night for six weeks. —Peter Margasak Pinebender opens. $10
The wholesome twosome shows off its signature holiday cheer.
So much poppy mid-90s skate punk—or “melodic hardcore,” according to the dudes making it—came out of southern California that it’s easy to forget about little ol’ 88 Fingers Louie from Chicago, Illinois. But these guys’ hypercatchy, breakneck punk was just as great as anything their labelmates on Fat Wreck Chords did, and it’s aged remarkably well—probably because they never had to rely on dick and fart jokes. Their final release, a split EP with Kid Dynamite that came out weeks before they broke up in 1999, is an overlooked treasure. It was starting to seem like 88 Fingers Louie might be remembered only as the group that gave birth to Rise Against—the commercially accessible and massively bro-y band that guitarist Dan “Mr. Precision” Wleklinski and bassist Joe Principe started next. But successful reunion tours in 2009 and 2010 (Principe didn’t take part) proved otherwise, and tonight’s show is a 20th-anniversary party for Louie—the lineup once again includes Principe, and the set will be divided up between all three of the band’s former drummers, who include founding Alkaline Trio member Glenn Porter and John Carroll, who now plays in Paper Mice and Mucca Pazza. —Luca Cimarusti The Bollweevils and the Bomb open. $17.50
Wishgift are only mostly local, which is why this is only their second show in the past year and a half—the band’s bass player, John Paul Glover, lives on the west coast. They blow through what’s best described as wigged-out, free-form noise rock, except maybe during those fleeting moments when the snarling, herky-jerky guitar and rumbling low end blend into a monstrous swell that’s kept barely steady by drummer Marc Riordan (a staple on the Chicago improvised-music scene, where he also plays piano). The trio’s most recent EP, 2011’s Folk Twain (Sophomore Lounge), is a five-song blitz that kicks off with “Drover (Wish for Death Gift),” a tumble of greasy, seesawing guitar and glammy, sassy hardcore vocals that sometimes sound like a heated argument between David Yow and Jello Biafra. The EP’s wild deconstructive riffing—perhaps augmented by, say, saxophonist Mars Williams, blowing switchblades out of his bell—achieves a kind of deranged circus-punk aesthetic, all flourishing capes and gritted teeth. —Kevin Warwick Mayor Daley headlines; Wishgift, Foul Tip, and the Hecks open.
Local rock institution Waco Brothers play their 11th annual Waco Weekend, an end-of-the-year, two-day residency at Schubas. Stick fight opens on 12/27, Amy Gore & Her Valentines on 12/28.
The long-running symphonic rock band is touring on what it claims will be the final performances of their holiday album The Lost Christmas Eve.
Psych-rock pioneer and former 13th Floor Elevators front man Roky Erickson gets far out with a pair of year-end dates. $30
In April 2012, when Gossip Wolf made the first proper mention of Girl Group Chicago in the pages of the Reader, the band had yet to perform: vocalist and manager Shana East anticipated a debut that summer, “once its costumes, choreography, and sets are finished.” No way is it an easy task to coordinate anywhere from 15 to 30 musicians (including the crowd of instrumentalists, sometimes a dozen strong, that makes up the group’s backing band) for full-band rehearsals as well as sectionals, to say nothing of devising new arrangements for just the right blend of 60s girl-group numbers. But East had a vision, and that vision has culminated in a proper spectacle. Decked out vintage style, with elaborate hairdos and the sort of turquoise dresses you’d find at an American Graffiti shake shop, these ladies don’t so much work the stage as commandeer it—even when they’re just doing a simple sway-and-swim routine behind soulful renditions of “You Don’t Own Me” or “Last Minute Miracle.” —Kevin Warwick The Yolks open. $20
Founding Parliament-Funkadelic keyboardist and his psych-funk band play.
Call 'em what you want—alt-rock, Americana, adult contemporary—the dudes from Waukesha, Wisconsin, are heading down for New Year's. $49.50-$59.50
Austin's blues and soul revivalist with a soft spot for James Brown. $71, $61 in advance
The massive emo institution teams up with the local pop-punk mainstays for a good-vibes celebration. $100