The Electric Daisy Carnival has its roots in the 90s underground rave scene in southern California, but since the 2008 edition—which by the estimate of its promoter, Insomnia, brought out 65,000 attendees, or twice the expected number—it’s become the preeminent name-brand festival in stateside EDM culture. Every year it expands into new cities, and this year is its inaugural Chicago edition. True to the Electric Daisy Carnival’s reputation as a mecca for spray-tanned cornballs, the bill features a busload of the world’s most mainstream-famous superstar DJs, including Tiesto, David Guetta, Avicii, and Kaskade. But lower on the bill the organizers have booked a number of acts that will appeal to the discerning dance-music fan, among them the psychedelically slanted Run DMT, legendary drum ’n’ bass DJs Ed Rush & Optical, modern house visionary L-Vis 1990, trap-music phenomenon UZ, Chicago juke godfather DJ Gant-Man, and D.C.-born, LA-based DJ-and-production duo Nadastrom, who laid much of the groundwork for the moombahton sound that’s begun creeping up from the underground toward the pop charts. —Miles Raymer $175 three-day pass, $295 three-day pass plus camping
The sophomore album from prolific chiptune band Anamanaguchi, Endless Fantasy, is an endurance test. Yes, you could probably parlay that statement into a load of analogies to eight-bit video games, but the more relevant fact is that listening to 22 songs of glitchy synths, galloping rhythms, and what occasionally amounts to Nintendo-based dubstep—the title track has its fair share of “drops”—is like parking in front of an orchestra of strobe lights for nearly 80 minutes. But that’s the idea, of course. A band that develops an instrumental pop sound based on digging into a Game Boy and deforming its insides probably isn’t concerned with mass appeal so much as with developing and mastering its own eccentricities. That’s not to say Endless Fantasy doesn’t have some catchy numbers—my favorites are the too-fun “Meow,” which takes its name from the sound it cartoonishly mimics, and the clubby guest-vocal jam “Prom Night.” Think of them like power-ups to help get you through the album’s seriously schizo levels. —Kevin Warwick Chrome Sparks, Infinity Shred, and Sharpless open. $12
Though long overlooked in music-history books, Milwaukee’s Die Kreuzen were a crucial part of the posthardcore puzzle. Formed in 1981, they released their self-titled debut, which laid out the connections between hardcore and metal, in 1984—by which time labels such as SST, Touch and Go, and Homestead were all releasing records by independent bands that had emerged from punk but bucked its limitations. Die Kreuzen played with a punk ferocity and velocity—bassist Keith Brammer and drummer Erik Tunison formed a precise, heavy rhythm section—and the combination of Brian Egeness’s metallic, serrated guitar and Dan Kubinski’s scorched howl seemed to anticipate the tortured, brutal screech of death metal, which was coming around the bend. Starting with their next album, 1986’s October File, Die Kreuzen began easing up on the tempos and moving into an arty hard-rock sound, with Kubinski mastering a proto-metal cry and Egeness finessing an almost prog-rock tone. The band went on to make a couple more albums (like the others, for Touch and Go), but after Egeness left in ’92, Die Kreuzen’s days were numbered. Last year the group reunited—with former Couch Flambeau guitarist Jay Tiller replacing Egeness, who declined to participate—and they’re bringing their career-spanning show to Chicago for the first time in more than two decades. —Peter Margasak We Are Hex and Canadian Rifle open. $17
This young couple walked by me as I headed up the street after seeing Charles Mee's Big Love at Strawdog Theatre. They were probably in their late teens, early 20s. The boy put the girl in a headlock and kissed the part in her hair. She laughed, but in a fakey, uncertain way, like she hadn't quite decided whether she should be pissed or pleased. Still, when he let go, she stuck with him. And there you have it: the paradoxical, not to say creepy, glory of love. A headlock and a kiss. Big Love draws wisdom from that paradox. An oddball yet deadly serious update on Aeschylus's The Suppliants, it tells the tale of 50 (yes, 50) Greek sisters whose father has promised them in marriage to their 50 male cousins. Rather than go through with the wedding, the sisters commandeer a yacht and head for Italy, where—still in their bridal gowns—they ask asylum of wealthy Piero. Soon enough, the 50 cousins show up at Piero's estate as well. What follows is a comic, tragic, utterly terrific battle that makes The Taming of the Shrew look like the kid's stuff it essentially is. Matt Hawkins's staging is also terrific. The precisely choreographed cast of 30 (yes, 30) play for keeps—especially those in featured roles, such as the fierce Michaela Petro, the convincingly dangerous Shane Kenyon, the girly-girlish Sarah Goeden, and Stacy Stoltz and John Ferrick as gender warriors who find themselves caught behind enemy lines. Paul Fagen and Cheryl Roy float through in delightful character roles, and Mike Mroch's apparently simple set discloses its value as the show goes along. All in all, this Big Love is a marvel of big ensemble work in a tiny space. —Tony Adler $28
Adam loves Luke. Luke loves Adam. Luke also loves Jesus. Adam worries about which of them Luke loves more. Luke worries about Adam's immortal soul. Next Fall, making its Chicago premiere at AstonRep, looks back on their sometimes prickly five-year relationship. At times, like when the subjects of prayer, sin, and the Rapture come up, it risks becoming a play of ideas, with more speechifying than conversation. Fortunately, Geoffrey Nauffts's script leaves room for ambiguity and gives the characters personalities as well as points of view. The cast give them life and humor—particularly Ryan Hamlin and Mark Jacob Chaitin, who play Adam and Luke, and Lona Livingston and Jim Morley, who play Luke's parents. The result is charming, funny, and, ultimately, moving. —Aimee Levitt $15-20
Phil Pospychala guides a walking architecture and culture tour that promises stops at "a dozen joints planned into the early evening—no trendy spots or places on the beaten path." $5
Jennings signs copies of On the Ladder of Humanity and On the Edge of Greed, the two newest editions to his "Jolene Harley" series.
Bernstein, Debussy, Marquez.
Enjoy local music, food, and arts vendors. Raffle prizes include gift certificates to Fleur, Chicago Diner, and New Wave Coffee.
The two comic book artists discuss and sign copies of their respective work.