Part of the World Music Festival.
Last year Nashville outsider Mary Gauthier released Live at Blue Rock (In the Black), a career survey recorded before a small audience in Wimberley, Texas, just outside Austin. That locale makes good sense for her, because she’s much closer to Texas troubadours such as Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark than she is to most Music City types; she didn’t get serious about music till she was 35, several years after finally kicking alcohol and drugs, but since then she’s become a hardscrabble storyteller with a clenched delivery and the raspy voice of someone who’s survived a rough life. —Peter Margasak, 2013
While [the Breeders'] Last Splash leans more on quirky pop and alt-rock, Pod has more in common with the early work of front woman Kim Deal's other band at the time, the Pixies (you may have heard of them). It's creepy, eerie, and haunting, kept alive by Steve Albini's massive antiproduction. Kurt Cobain said that Pod was one of the biggest influences on Nirvana's sound, and it shows in their abstract poppiness and huge dynamic shifts. —Luca Cimarusti, 2013
This weekend West Town turns into a live version of HGTV; for the fifth year local home and garden designers and design enthusiasts gather for Design Harvest. Marvel at handcrafted examples of the latest design trends from places like Dock 6, Glassbaby, and Urban Source while enjoying live tunes from the Hideout-curated music stage. If you're feeling ambitious, join in on one of many do-it-yourself seminars or interactive demonstrations. $5 suggested donationhttp://design-harvest.org
In April local heroes Common and Rhymefest announced the creation of a nonprofit employment initiative called the Chicago Youth Jobs Collaborative, to be launched in the fall with a community-focused hip-hop party called the Aahh! Fest. It was originally meant to be a two-day event in Jackson Park, but as DNAinfo reported in mid-August, logistical problems forced it to move to Union Park and slim down to one day. That speed bump instantly seemed like a distant memory, though, as soon as the lineup came out the next week. It includes not just hometown heroes Common and Lupe Fiasco but also New York hippie-rap icons De La Soul and borderline mythical hip-hop recluse Jay Electronica—and seeing Dave Chappelle host the show ought to be worth the ticket price all by itself. Lupe’s been in fine form since dropping the monstrous, scrambled-funk single “Next to It” in June; the other local on the bill, Lil Herb, released his debut mixtape, the gripping and lyrical Welcome to Fazoland, in February. Herb also appears on Common’s recent Nobody’s Smiling (Artium/Def Jam), an imperfect but well-intentioned album that attempts to respond to Chicago street violence. Actress and singer was added to the lineup in early September, and the festival promises a “surprise special guest” too, which I imagine could be Kanye West—his youth arts organization, Donda’s House, helped organize the Aahh! Fest community showcase, hosted by Rhymefest and preceding the main event. —Leor Galil The late-show lineup, headliner first, is Common, Jennifer Hudson, Lupe Fiasco, De La Soul, MC Lyte, Jay Electronica, Lil Herb, and Diggy; Dave Chappelle hosts. The early show is a “community showcase” curated by Rhymefest. $20 for early show, $60 for late show, $125 for late show with reserved seating, $70 for both shows, $250 for both shows with VIP