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Events Search – Member Picks

107 total results

Todd Glass

11/20-11/22: Thu 8 PM, Fri-Sat 8 and 10:30 PM

Glass is a thinking man's comic with a boisterous stage presence and a well-informed opinion on virtually any topic. On his podcast The Todd Glass Show, he and fellow comedians dissect everything from their starts in stand-up to Glass's love of candles, but tonight he'll probably just tell some great jokes. $20

Up Comedy Club (map)
230 W. North Ave.
Old Town
phone 312-337-3992
Todd Glass

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Kingston Mines (map)
2548 N. Halsted St.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-477-4646

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James Davis's Beveled

Fri., Nov. 21, 9:30 p.m.

With his newish sextet, Beveled, local trumpeter James Davis flexes his muscles as a composer and arranger—on the band’s self-titled debut, released by Ears & Eyes, his melodies blossom from a calm, restrained aesthetic that recalls chamber music. Paired flugelhorns (Davis and Chad McCullough) and bass clarinets (Mike Salter and Anna Najoom) put flesh and skin on the rhythmic skeletons provided by bassist Dan Thatcher and drummer Juan Pastor, and this unusual instrumentation creates a striking, elegant timbre, like dark polished wood and brass. Beveled plays Davis’s tunes with measured resolve and crisp precision, so that solos emerge from the extended ensemble passages like comets streaking the sky. The music might benefit from a wider range of moods and tempos, but its lapidary beauty and serene composure are lovely to behold. —Peter Margasak $10, $5 in advance

Constellation (map)
3111 N. Western Ave.
Roscoe Village James Davis's Beveled

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Jimmy Johnson

Fri., Nov. 21, 9 p.m. and Sat., Nov. 22, 9 p.m.
B.L.U.E.S. (map)
2519 N. Halsted St.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-528-1012

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Kingston Mines (map)
2548 N. Halsted St.
Lincoln Park
phone 773-477-4646

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Run the Jewels, Ratking, Despot

Sat., Nov. 22, 5:15 p.m.

The new Run the Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal) is the kind of powerful, instantly gratifying rap record that makes all the other music in your regular rotation feel irrelevant. The duo of dystopian Brooklyn MC-producer El-P and earnest Atlanta rapper Killer Mike proved themselves capable of greatness on their 2013 self-titled debut, which owes its appeal to much more than just their rap-game buddy-cop pairing. But I wasn’t prepared for just how great their follow-up would be, and I’m still not sure I’m done wrapping my head around the pointed, playful, wide-ranging postindustrial rap on Run the Jewels 2. I always seem to get stuck on one song—right now my ears are in the vise grip of the dronelike low-end hum and chattering, chipmunky vocal sample of “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry.” El-P and Killer Mike’s back-and-forth rapping, by turns loping, singsong, swarming, and aggressive, has enough character and color just as sound that it took me several listens to digest their lyrics—lines such as “You can all run naked backwards through a field of dicks” might have seemed silly in other hands, but with Run the Jewels silliness is part of the appeal. Their fierceness isn’t any less compelling just because they’re sometimes goofy and endearing. —Leor Galil Run the Jewels also plays at 9 PM. $24

Buy Tickets
Metro (map)
3730 N. Clark St.
Wrigleyville
phone 773-549-0203

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First Aid Kit, Samantha Crain

Sat., Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m.

On last year’s Kid Face (Ramseur), Samantha Crain demonstrates her skill at providing a broader context for ideas and themes drawn from a life on the road. The narrator in “Taught to Lie” says she’s become almost pathologically irresponsible because her rootlessness has allowed her to escape accountability—she admits, sounding almost proud, “I’ve learned to tell the truth sometimes.” Crain has explained that her song “Paint” is about how long solo tours make her feel like a ghost: “I’m trying not to disappear / Into the shadows,” she sings. The music’s strummy, Neil Young-flavored country-rock melodies and loping grooves support her remarkable voice without upstaging it. With her strong, precise singing, full of daring swoops and unexpectedly liquid phrasing, she sometimes sounds like a jazz vocalist—and a good jazz vocalist, one who doesn’t stoop to self-indulgent grandstanding. In “For the Miner,” she makes the absence of the sun feel like a life-altering deprivation simply by stretching out the last word in the line “Is it overcast and gray?” Crain hasn’t played Chicago in a couple years; tonight she’ll play material from Kid Face and preview new songs she plans to record for release next year. —Peter Margasak sold out

Buy Tickets
the Vic (map)
3145 N. Sheffield Ave.
Lakeview
phone 773-472-0449
First Aid Kit, Samantha Crain

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Riviera Theatre (map)
4746 N. Racine Ave.
Uptown
phone 773-275-6800
Fitz & the Tantrums, Big Data

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Wet, the GTW

Mon 11/24, 8 PM
,

New York indie R&B trio Wet have only released a self-titled four-song EP (which came out on Sonic Gold last year) and a track on a Kitty Cash mixtape this summer, but they’re not lying low because they’re modest. It looks like they’re waiting for the right label to come courting (reps from the majors have turned up at their shows), at which point the white-hot underground hype they’ve fomented will bubble over into a well-deserved record deal. Wet’s brand of R&B isn’t lush with sky-high hooks fit for sequined outfits and onstage choreography—front woman Kelly Zutrau admits a love for mid-90s swagger-and-excess R&B, but her band is minimalist and sharp. On the EP, wisps of guitar and stark electronic drums play the backbone to her delicate, soulful vocals, which have a diva’s confidence and range without the polish and gloss—she often sings nearly a cappella without seeming to give it a second thought. Zutrau’s breakup songs are so focused and bare that she sounds like she’s experiencing an emotional revelation in the act of singing them. Wet’s forthcoming full-length—released by a label to be determined—is more eagerly awaited by the day. —Kevin Warwick $13

Schubas (map)
3159 N. Southport Ave.
Lakeview
phone 773-525-2508
Wet, the GTW

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Pseudo-Chum

10/23-11/29: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM

In this absurd satire, writer/director/actors Sean and Carolyn Benjamin use fish to tell us it's a dog-eat-dog world. Depending on the situation—and, they suggest, the situation changes from moment to moment—we're all either sharks or chum, predators or the edible crap fishermen throw overboard to lure sharks to them. The Benjamins send the message in a luxuriously inefficient way, crosscutting between (a) a performance of a terrible play called Chum, about a dysfunctional fishing family hired to kill sharks for the Australian government; (b) comically tense rehearsals for the play; and (c) an interview between Chum's smoking-jacket-clad author and a smarmy television personality. Each element gets increasingly bizarre, but none of them actually goes anywhere. The occasional late-landing laugh or wild idea notwithstanding, this 90-minute show could've done everything it needed to do in 30. —Tony Adler $20

Neo-Futurarium (map)
5153 N. Ashland Ave.
Andersonville
phone 773-275-5255
Pseudo-Chum

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Game of Mobile Homes

11/8-11/29: Fri-Sat 8 PM

A Game of Thrones satire set in a trailer park. $20

Public House Theatre (map)
3914 N. Clark St.
Lakeview
phone 800-650-6449

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The Cryptogram

Through 11/16: Thu-Fri 8 PM, Sat 5 and 8 PM, Sun 7 PM

If it weren't for one insufferably long scene change, director Joe Jahraus's taut, elliptical, flabbergasting production of David Mamet's 1994 play would be damn near perfect. The unfailingly precise cast understand the terror inherent in the seemingly innocuous suburban living room where addled ten-year-old John tries to make sense of his father's unexplained absence. His frazzled mother, Donny, and her dubious friend Del offer nothing but euphemisms, evasions, and lies, driving the child into a full-on existential crisis. It's no surprise off-Loop stalwarts Abigail Boucher and Darrell W. Cox convincingly convey the intricate script's life-and-death stakes. But as John, seventh-grader Aaron Lamm turns a nearly impossible role into a harrowing, pitch-perfect depiction of childhood's psychic evisceration. It's almost too honest to bear. —Justin Hayford $35-$40

Profiles Theatre, Alley Stage (map)
4147 N. Broadway St.
Uptown
phone 773-549-1815
The Cryptogram

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