The List: June 17-23, 2010 | Soundboard | Chicago Reader

The List: June 17-23, 2010 

Critics' Choices and other notable shows: Kings Go Forth, Shemekia Copeland, Eyehategod, the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, Jeff the Brotherhood, DM Stith, and more

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Kings Go Forth

Kings Go Forth

Thursday17

Tinariwen

Friday18

Shemekia Copeland
Millie Jackson Postponed
Kings Go Forth
Locks
MGMT
Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby

Saturday19

Eyehategod
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
Tinariwen

Sunday20

Eyehategod

Monday21

Jeff the Brotherhood

Tuesday22

DM Stith
Wooden Wand

Wednesday23

Devin Hoff, Kent Kessler, Nate McBride, and Jason Roebke

thursday17

TINARIWEN Tinariwen recorded their latest album, Imidiwan: Companions (World Village), in Tessalit, a village in the Malian Sahara that's the closest thing this band of Kel Tamashek nomads (aka Tuareg) has to a hometown. Accompanied by friends and neighbors, they sound at once relaxed and energized; the massed vocals manifest the community whose survival is Tinariwen's raison d'etre, and the patiently unwinding guitar lines evoke the desert spaces that are its ancestral home. The group is reliably excellent in concert, and at its very best when singer-guitarist Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, who writes the lion's share of the songs, contributes his grave and commanding presence. Alhabib has health troubles and isn't always up to touring, but he's along for this one, which began last week at the World Cup kickoff celebration in Johannesburg. Turkish multi-instrumentalist Omar Faruk Tekbilek and his ensemble open. See also Saturday.  6:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph, 312-742-1168. —Bill Meyer

click to enlarge Shemekia Copeland

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SHEMEKIA COPELAND Mentored by her father, guitarist Johnny "Clyde" Copeland, Shemekia Copeland arrived on the blues scene in the late 90s fully formed. Still in her late teens, she sometimes sounded almost overwhelmed by her gifts: though she was capable of belting out a houserocking blues with awe-inspiring force, on ballads or soul-styled numbers her voice could seem like a living thing with a will of its own, barely contained and constantly threatening to overpower both the singer and the song. On her latest CD, last year's Never Going Back (Telarc), Copeland finally sounds like she's made peace with her own talent. She delivers the lyrics of hard-driving blues-rock crunchers like "Sounds Like the Devil" and "Rise Up" as if she's shouting for joy rather than shouting down her sidemen, and even at her most jubilant she has a nuanced control of timbre that summons complex emotions instead of just cheap thrills. And on relatively introspective outings, like her cover of Joni Mitchell's "Black Crow," she achieves an almost conversational intimacy even as she flawlessly negotiates the challenging chord changes; her voice, softened into a velvety croon, allows the song's simmering passion to rise slowly but surely to a soul-warming boil. Rick Simcox & the Tone Questers open. 9 PM, FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn, 708-788-2118 or 866-468-3401, $20, $15 in advance. —David Whiteis

MILLIE JACKSON This show has been postponed till October. Da Brat has called Millie Jackson the "mother of hip-hop," and her brash persona, legendarily risque stage shows, and profanity-laden novelty songs—all part of a style she'd developed by the early 70s—do seem to foreshadow rap in certain ways. Unlike some of her alleged musical progeny, though, Jackson is much more than a potty mouth: to cite only two examples, her 1977 version of Merle Haggard's "If We're Not Back in Love by Monday" (retitled "If You're Not Back in Love by Monday") mines depths of pathos that the original could only hint at, and her tour-de-force 11-plus-minute rendition of the Luther Ingram soul classic "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right," which she had to fight her record company to release as a two-sided single in 1975, is an eloquent portrait of a bad bitch with a tender heart. These days Jackson spends most of her time as a take-no-prisoners AM-radio host on KKDA in Dallas, Texas, though she also maintains a touring schedule that keeps her fairly busy on the southern circuit. Her most recent CD of new material, 2001's Not for Church Folk! (on her own Weird Wreckuds label), includes a few of the obligatory four-letter-word raunchfests, but as usual she shines most brightly on more substantial fare like "Water, Water," an ode to the immolating power of passion, and "Leave Me Alone," a declaration of independence that also lays bare the anguished vulnerability beneath the loner's misanthropic pose. This concert is a celebration of 50 years in show business for soul and gospel legend Otis Clay; along with Jackson and Clay, the bill also includes the Soul Stirrers, the Victory Travelers, and child prodigy Tariq Griffin. Ali Ollie Woodson, a former member of the Temptations, was originally scheduled to perform as well, but died of leukemia on May 30 at age 58; tonight's program will include a memorial tribute. This show has been postponed till October. 7 PM, UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt, 312-280-1380 or 866-448-7849, $35-$50. —David Whiteis

KINGS GO FORTH Representing Milwaukee in the vintage soul revival that also includes Sharon Jones and Eli "Paperboy" Reed, Kings Go Forth are a prismatic celebration of the genre's past glories and future potential—they make an excellent case that the recent resurgence of interest in soul ought to continue for decades to come. In the 70s lead vocalist Jesse "Black Wolf" Davis was in a midwestern group called the Essentials that recorded some unreleased tracks in Curtis Mayfield's studio, and his high tenor, similar to Mayfield's, makes comparisons pretty much inevitable—albeit about as enlightening as likening a garage band to the Stooges, a metal band to Black Sabbath, or a polka band to Frank Yankovic & His Yanks. It helps that The Outsiders Are Back (Luaka Bop), which mostly collects the band's singles to date, is rife with Mayfieldisms—not a bad thing, mind you. Kings Go Forth are a tentet, and their buoyant arrangements—the disco foundation of "Don't Take My Shadow," the Purdie shuffle of "High on Your Love," the ahead-of-the-beat drive of "Now We're Gone"—allow everybody so much freedom to play that the rich three-part vocal harmonies and killer horn charts can kick the songs up to majestic heights. The Soul Summit DJs open. 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 877-435-9849, $5. —Brian Costello

LOCKS This experimental power duo's new Suicides Don't Commit Themselves (Static Station) is one of the most interesting albums to come out of Chicago this year. Theo Katsaounis and Patrick Scott have a thing for couching serious musical experimentation in punk songs, a fondness for testing their audience's attention span with lots of repetition and long running times, and a warped sense of humor, heavy on the inside jokes, that permeates their whole aesthetic. That makes them sound kinda Shellac-ish, which is maybe part right, but unlike many Albini devotees out there Locks have no use for his constraining stylebook: songs like "More Boring Heroes" tend to start out as one thing (in this case minimalist postpunk pop) and make whiplash transitions into something totally different, like ambient electronic soundscaping. Follows headlines; Locks and Craig Klein open. 10 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $10, $8 in advance. —Miles Raymer

MGMT This spring's fuss about the new MGMT album, Congratulations—that they went from pure pleasure pop to tripping the hippie fantastic—seems a little excessive with three months' hindsight (roughly an eon in Stereogum time). Yes, granted, the 12-minute opus "Siberian Breaks" makes them sound like they should have been local openers on David Crosby's 1971 tour behind If I Only I Could Remember My Name—but why celebrate a band into semi-stardom and then shame them for indulging in all the fine, fine weed that their new success affords them? Tame Impala opens.  7:30 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 866-448-7849, $30. —Jessica Hopper

WRECKLESS ERIC & AMY RIGBY When they first started playing together a few years ago, the transatlantic duo of gravel-voiced Stiff Records alumnus Wreckless Eric and silver-throated singer-songwriter Amy Rigby worked up a set of covers, hoping to land bar gigs around their new home in France. Things didn't work out quite like they'd hoped—they're touring the eastern United States, not the Loire valley—but their effort did yield the material for the new Two-Way Family Favourites (on their own Southern Domestic label). Their contrasting vocals tower over stripped-down arrangements for guitar, bass, and keyboard, playing up the poignancy of the Byrds' "Ballad of Easy Rider" and Tom Petty's "Walls." They give Abba's cornball melodrama "Fernando" more respect than it deserves, but their version of "Living Next Door to Alice," an international hit for the English band Smokie in 1977, is simply epic. Show up on time; there's no opening act. 7:30 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $12. —Bill Meyer

saturday19

EYEHATEGOD Few bands do misery like Eyehategod. For the past 20 years or so they've been perfecting a type of hideous, slow-motion sludge metal that crawls and howls like a man shot in the gut, hitting your ears like the distilled essence of human suffering. It's a fitting sound for a band that spent decades lurking in the least savory corners of New Orleans, at least until the city (along with most of the members' homes) was wrecked by flooding and fires after Hurricane Katrina. If you pick apart Eyehategod's music—their 1996 masterpiece Dopesick, reissued in 2006 by Century Media, is a good place to start—you'll find not only Sabbath riffs played at DJ Screw tempos but also traces of doom metal, hardcore, and occasionally southern rock that's been warped and degraded almost past the point of recognition. For any well-adjusted listener it's probably just sickening noise, but for a certain kind of masochist it's nirvana. This two-night stand is Eyehategod's first visit to Chicago since singer Mike IX Williams spent three months in jail on charges related to a trove of pharmaceuticals liberated from a ruined Walgreens after Katrina, during which time he allegedly kicked a heroin habit of mythological proportions. At these two shows they'll be playing the entirety of their first two albums: 1992's In the Name of Suffering on Saturday and 1993's Take as Needed for Pain on Sunday. They haven't released a full-length since 2000, but a new record is allegedly in the works. Nachtmystium (see Sharp Darts), Plague Bringer, Strong Intention, and Weekend Nachos open. See also Sunday. For more on Eyehategod, our Q&A. 8 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $25, $20 in advance. —Miles Raymer

SCOTLAND YARD GOSPEL CHOIR Normally, comebacks are for people making their way out of retirement or obscurity. Scotland Yard Gospel Choir's comeback is from the brink of death, after a 2009 van accident that hospitalized all six members, three with serious injuries, and very nearly paralyzed leader Elia Einhorn. Even as some were still undergoing long-term treatment and rehab, SYGC began practicing again this spring, and tonight's show celebrates their official, full-band return as well as their triumph over disaster. They're already working on their follow-up to 2009's melancholy indie flight . . . And the Horse They Rode in On (Bloodshot). Very Truly Yours and Wells-Next-the-Sea open.  9:30 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 866-468-3401, $10, 17+. —Jessica Hopper

TINARIWEN See Thursday. This set is part of the Takin' It to the Streets festival presented by the Inner-City Muslim Action Network. Gates open at 9 AM.  6:30 PM, Streets Stage, Marquette Park, 6734 S. Kedzie, streets2010.com, donations encouraged.

sunday20

EYEHATEGOD See Saturday. Eyehategod will play Take as Needed for Pain in its entirety. Nachtmystium (see Sharp Darts), the Atlas Moth, Yakuza, and Bongripper open. At 3PM two members of Eyehategod, singer Mike IX Williams and drummer Joey LaCaze, will play a free in-store at Reckless Records, 1532 N. Milwaukee, improvising in a one-off noise/electronics group called the Ten Suicides that also includes Mark Solotroff and Isidro Reyes of Bloodyminded. 8 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $25, $20 in advance.

click to enlarge Jeff the Brotherhood

monday21

JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD Their band name, the title of last year's Heavy Days (on the band's own Infinity Cat), and the stoner-van bubble lettering on its cover are pretty big tipoffs that this Tennessee grunge-punk duo—actual brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall—are kind of the band equivalent of Jeff Spicoli. For a small group, Jeff the Brotherhood makes a pretty massive sound: Heavy Days is a loving, burnout-friendly tribute to fuzz pedals and big-ass riffs handed down from 70s guitar boogie bands by generations of devotees (and burnished by loving use along the way). But if you can look past the Orralls' caveman-rock moments and their "yeah bro" vibe you'll find a surprising amount of subtlety in the mix. "U Got the Look" is a high-performance burner with a propulsive and tricky guitar lead that justifies the Hawkwind comparisons, while underneath its thick layer of distortion "Bone Jam" sort of resembles some of the dreamier garage pop being made these days. Rabble Rabble, Natural Child, and State Champion open.  9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600. —Miles Raymer

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DM STITH Like some of his Asthmatic Kitty labelmates, David Michael Stith was a young renegade from Christian music who found his way to the weirder side of the indie scene. His recent collection of covers and outtakes, Heavy Ghost Appendices, features Stith at his most fitful, sighing in his reedy voice (which lapses into an easy and frequent falsetto) over sparse, rattling tracks. His version of the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" is far from familiar, save for Stith's high, girly-voicing of the melody; the rest is reverb and fingers scraping along the strings of his acoustic guitar. Like much of his work, it's tender, lonely sounding, and phenomenally creepy. Inlets and Silje Nes open.  7 PM, Andrew Rafacz Gallery, 835 W. Washington, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10. —Jessica Hopper

click to enlarge DM Stith

WOODEN WAND Just like you can never step in the same river twice, you can never listen to the same James Jackson Toth twice—he's so prolific, and works with such a large and shifting group of collaborators, that by the time you check back in with him there's another stream flowing into his music. His wife and on-and-off Wooden Wand bandmate, Jessica Toth, has released two EPs in the past year with sinister occult-psych outfit Jex Thoth, and last summer James scored a coup by signing to Young God, run by creepy-folk fellow traveler Michael Gira. In April he released a painfully hard-to-find CD-R called Wither Thou Goest, Cretin, a practice run for the new Wooden Wand album, Death Seat, recorded in upstate New York with members of Mercury Rev and Lambchop and due in October. The first teaser track, released a few weeks ago, is like a breadcrumb at the edge of a dark and ominous forest—there's no way to tell if it's the start of a path except by walking in. The Horse's Ha and the Bears of Blue River open.  8:30 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-463-5808 or 866-468-3401, $12, $10 in advance. —Monica Kendrick

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DEVIN HOFF, KENT KESSLER, NATE MCBRIDE, AND JASON ROEBKE This past winter Nate McBride faced off with Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten for an electric-bass duo that made extravagant use of the wall-busting powers of big amps and effects pedals. For this concert, dubbed Lumber Night, he's part of a foursome with Kent Kessler, Jason Roebke, and recent transplant Devin Hoff—all bassists active in the city's creative-jazz community—that will play unamplified acoustic duos, trios, and quartets. While a whole night devoted to multiples of just one instrument might seem like a bit much, these four players command such a wide range of techniques and approaches—keening bow work, explosive thwacks, barely-there sighs, densely knotted clusters, good old-fashioned walking bass lines—that I expect they'll leave the audience wanting more. John Corbett and Jim Dempsey (of the Corbett vs. Dempsey gallery) will spin records between sets. 9:30 PM, Hideout, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $7. —Bill Meyer

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