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friday26

cchicago symphony orchestra From All Sides, premiering this week, is a commission by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's composer in residence Mark-Anthony Turnage, working with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo. It's Turnage's first work for dance, and the title refers to his wish to surround the audience with sound, including offstage brass and percussion. The six short scenes--"Fanfare," "Snapshots," "Slow Dance," "Tango," "Collage," and "Moto Perpetuo"--form a suite that reportedly spans a range of styles and moods. It should be exciting--Turnage is known for propulsive rhythms, vivid orchestration, and emotional depth, and Elo's recent work with the New York City Ballet drew raves. The program opens with Beethoven's Leonore Overture no. 2 and closes with the score of Stravinsky's groundbreaking The Rite of Spring, which remains wonderfully visceral and savage. Esa-Pekka Salonen, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, is natural and persuasive with modern music and seems the ideal conductor. Turnage and Gerard McBurney will give a lecture in the Grainger Ballroom at 7 PM. See also Saturday. a 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $25-$125. --Steve Langendorf

the last town chorus Singer, songwriter, and lap-steel guitarist Megan Hickey is the lone constant in the New York-based ensemble the Last Town Chorus. She's got a uniquely pretty voice, melancholy and austere--she sometimes sounds like a member of a humanoid-but-alien race--but nothing compares to the distorted, haunting keen she coaxes out of her instrument. The group's second album, Wire Waltz, released in the UK and Europe in the fall, will finally see a stateside release via Hacktone Records in March. Tim O'Reagan opens. a 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $12. --Monica Kendrick

cplastic little These guys have the goods to be 2007's Spank Rock, or maybe even 2010's Beastie Boys. On their full-length debut, She's Mature (Free News), their ingratiating everydude chemistry is simultaneously funky, playful, smart, stoopid, ear-opening, and hilarious. The album's my early pick for livest rap release of the year, and the pasted-together camcorder footage on the accompanying DVD is flat-out classic. The Philly foursome radiate an easy charisma in two proper videos, but the live clip of them turning out a nightclub stage--complete with the off-camera sounds of crashing chairs and bottles and a club employee threatening to bounce them and their friends if they don't "chill the fuck out"--makes you feel drunk just watching it. Same goes for the basement-party footage that follows: under a bare swinging lightbulb, the gents deliver their sweaty verbiage over the lease-breaking sound of a beatbox blowing out a cheap PA. Big-name Philly heads like Diplo have already thrown their weight behind Plastic Little--an unsuspecting nation awaits. Kid Sister headlines; Vyle and the Gutter Butter DJs open. a 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8, $3 in advance. --J. Niimi

cvelcro lewis & his 100 proof band, tijuana hercules You don't need to nose around in the Fat Possum trough to find jumpy, fierce, dirty blues rock that sounds like somebody put too much turpentine in the barbecue sauce: two of Chicago's most underrated party bands are combining forces for a 500-copy split 12-inch on Original Sound Recordings and a release party that ought to lift the roof off the joint (which at the Hideout admittedly doesn't take much). VELCRO LEWIS & HIS 100 PROOF BAND have evolved over the years from a simple and solid PBR rock band into a rattling, trippy, fuzz-toned R & B six-piece where instruments get passed around like bottles. Meanwhile, John Forbes's junkyard-dog combo TIJUANA HERCULES just keeps on getting better at what it's always been good at, namely finding a skanky, swampy groove and beating it till it cries for its mama. It's as mesmerizing as minimalism but a whole lot sweatier, and even the hallucinations thus induced have trouble competing with Forbes's endless assortment of pimpwear. On the question of which front man acts more like a demon-possessed wino onstage, the jury's been out for a long, long time. Lewis and co. headline, Tijuana Hercules plays second, Dark Fog opens, and Naomi Walker spins. a 10 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $7. --Monica Kendrick

weekend nachos These locals seem to have found their aesthetic deep within the colon of a carnivore. Their short blasts of profane, constipated grindcore--if you wanna get technical, it's "powerviolence," at least according to the rave reviews they've gotten in a few obscure metal zines--are raw, meaty, quick to upset, and slow to break down. This show is a memorial for Dave Tayag, who killed himself earlier this month; a regular on the hardcore scene, he was friends with all the bands playing. Proceeds will go to help Tayag's family meet funeral expenses, and representatives from suicide-prevention groups will attend. The entire bill, headliner first: the Killer, Kungfu Rick, Expired Youth, Hewhocorrupts, Once for All, the Few and the Proud, Weekend Nachos, and the Chicago Thrash Ensemble. a 6 PM, Knights of Columbus, 15 N. Hickory, Arlington Heights, 847-255-4483 or 312-399-0426, $10. A --Liz Armstrong

saturday27

cchicago symphony orchestra See Friday. a 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $25-$125.

cdeerhoof Deerhoof has slimmed down to a trio on its new album, Friend Opportunity (Kill Rock Stars), but in a lot of ways this bubblegum-prog band is bigger than ever. Never skittish about their disjointedness, they've gotten bolder with it: twinkling micropop gives way to manic drum fills and dissonant guitar freak-outs, or symphonic ELO-esque choruses are interrupted by boogie breaks. Sometimes the changes come all at once; other times they're preceded by awkwardly long pauses. But for all this mishmash, Deerhoof is first and foremost about precision and control. And while that steely perfection sometimes comes off a bit cold, here the band has managed to turn in an absolutely ass-shaking album, underscored by plenty of disco cowbell and half-time wood-block clacking. That's even factoring in singer (and bassist) Satomi Matsuzaki, an unlikely dance-band diva: between her cute ESL baby voice and her lyrics about hearts, animals, and candy, her vocals are like someone describing a Lisa Frank sticker collection to a blind person. Busdriver, Trin Tran, and Maps & Atlases open. a 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $13. A --Jessica Hopper

cjohnny drummer The latest from veteran Chicago blues journeyman Johnny Drummer, Rockin' in the Juke Joint (Earwig), is his most satisfying album yet. He throws his hat into the contemporary soul-blues ring on funk-driven numbers like "Too Much Information," but when he picks up his harmonica things get down-home in a hurry. On "Working With Your Mojo," "Stress Reliever," and "I Had a Dream," Drummer squalls, swoops, and caterwauls like a demented rooster. He isn't above appropriating well-worn riffs and themes, but in the great juking tradition he puts so much of his own personality into everything he touches that even the most tried-and-true ideas are practically reborn. The last time I saw Drummer, his chops (on keys and harp) were more than up to par, and his tight backing band, the Starliters, already had several of the new songs down. Leroy "Junkyard Dog" Jones, Peachez, and the Arkansas Belly Roller open. See also Monday. a 10 PM, Lee's Unleaded Blues, 7401 S. South Chicago, 773-493-3477, two-drink minimum. F --David Whiteis

the life and times This trio's newest EP, The Magician (on the Japanese label Stiff Slack), pretty much follows the shoegazery blueprint laid out on its 2005 full-length debut, Suburban Hymns: big, burly bass, a guitar sound you could lose a small car in, and vocals that are more colorative than melodic, courtesy of former Shiner front man Allen Epley. J. Robbins (of Jawbox and Burning Airlines) produced the five tracks; this show is a benefit for his son Callum, who is afflicted with Type I spinal muscular atrophy, a profoundly debilitating and often fatal genetic motor neuron disease. The lineup, from headliners on down, is Eleventh Dream Day, Chin Up Chin Up, Bobby Conn, the Life and Times, and Red Eyed Legends; among the myriad prizes to be raffled off are a dinner at Lula with benefit organizer (and Reader contributor) Jessica Hopper and a command performance in the winner's home by Saturday Night Live's Fred Armisen. a 8 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $15. --J. Niimi

C. spencer yeh Cincinnati experimental musician C. Spencer Yeh is best known as Burning Star Core, a name he uses for both solo projects and collaborations. Here he's going by his real name, but that's not to say he'll abandon his usual obsession with drone and noise. Yeh records prolifically, and given the relatively narrow niche he inhabits, his work--even the small sampling I've heard--is refreshingly diverse. On A Brighter Summer Day (Thin Wrist, 2002) he saws at a violin, creating a huge, brittle sheet of noise, while wildly irregular beats stagger and flail--it sounds a little like Tony Conrad chewing his way through a crumbling cinder-block wall. And many of the pieces from the double-CD collection Mes Soldats Stupides '96-'04 (Cenotaph) combine processed voice and analog synthesizer into a kind of queasy sci-fi miasma. For this Lampo show Yeh will perform two pieces: a solo for amplified violin and a vocal improvisation called "Two Mouths Breathe as One." For the latter he'll be obscured from the audience so his facial expressions won't influence them--not a bad idea, since when he makes the inhuman sounds he prefers, most of his face (not to mention the mike) often gets covered with drool. a 9 PM, Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, 5811 S. Ellis, 312-282-7676 or 773-702-8670. F A --Peter Margasak

sunday28

ODAWAS This Indianapolis band seemed to be onto something with its 2005 debut, The Aether Eater (Jagjaguar)--a hefty thick-crust slice of dreamy, fairly traditional psychedelic rock, it seemed comfortable in its own seething skin and cerebral sensuality. But there hasn't been a follow-up from Odawas yet; last year front man Michael Tapscott adopted the name More Animals of the Arctic to put out a solo record instead. An Appendix of Whaling Terms (Standard) is in some ways prettier and more accessible than his band work--and oddly more self-indulgent for all that. Dreamweapon headlines, Function plays third, Odawas goes second, and Elephant Micah opens. a 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $7. --Monica Kendrick

monday29

cjohnny drummer See Saturday. a 7 PM, Geno's Place, 12401 S. Ashland, Calumet Park, 708-385-3100. F

municipal waste I never thought 80s-style hardcore-slash-thrash metal would see a revival. It seemed like most everybody who played it or listened to it was so dedicated to maximum brain damage through chemical experimentation and skateboarding accidents that the idea of "crossover thrash" didn't have a prayer of making it out of the glue-fume haze. But this Virginia band pulls off a pretty persuasive breakneck re-creation of the sound made famous by Corrosion of Conformity and Suicidal Tendencies--it's starting to look like the genre was just passed out somewhere for 15 years. You might feel a flicker of irony here--check out the Suicidals-style hat they're selling, with the flip-up brim that says "wasted" underneath--but it's sure to be overpowered by a desire to get in the circle pit and go completely bonkers. Destruction headlines; Into Eternity, Municipal Waste, Bible of the Devil, and Cardiac Arrest open. a 8 PM, Joe's, 940 W. Weed, 312-337-3486 or 312-559-1212, $17. --Miles Raymer

the zoo wheel Town and Country may be on an indefinite hiatus, but its members are hardly resting up--between their proliferating solo efforts and the almost monthly gigs by Dreamweapon, an ecstatic-drone ensemble that includes the entire band, they're actually pretty busy. The recent First Born, Grand Days (Lucky Kitchen) is the first full-length release by the Zoo Wheel, a solo project from multi-instrumentalist Liz Payne. Its opening piece is rooted in Town and Country's acoustic-drone aesthetic, but the rest of the record branches out. On a couple tunes she plays brief phrases on assorted hand percussion and a plethora of stringed instruments, then layers them into hypnotic grooves. On two others she mixes those elements with nature recordings and wavering electronic tones to create a wistful sort of musique concrete; and her woozy vocals and distorted viola tilt "30-30" toward disorienting psychedelia. Tonight she'll present a set of new material, playing guitar and viola augmented by a couple looping devices. Zelienople headlines and P.D. Wilder opens. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600. F --Bill Meyer

tuesday30

curi caine Over the past decade jazz pianist Uri Caine has established a niche for himself that might seem like a gimmick if inhabited by a less formidable talent. Since 1997's Primal Light, a unique and beguiling take on the music of Mahler, he's used compositions by Bach, Schumann, Wagner, and Beethoven as the basis for radical fusions that both honor the original material and reinvent it--sometimes by merely tinkering with the feel of a piece, sometimes by smashing it into fragments that serve as building blocks for improvisations. The new Uri Caine Ensemble Plays Mozart (Winter & Winter) continues in this vein with stellar results. Playing solo on selections from the Piano Sonata in C Major, Caine seems to have internalized the work entirely--he toys with the rhythm like a cat with a ball of yarn. Just as impressive are the group performances: guitarist Nguyen Le, turntablist DJ Olive, and drummer Jim Black scream, scratch, and stutter their way through some of Mozart's most beloved melodies, shuttling in and out of the source material with razorlike precision. For tonight's program, called "Mozart to Mahler," Caine will participate in a discussion with U. of C. faculty and then, in his first local appearance as a leader since 2000, perform with violinist Joyce Hammann, clarinetist Moran Katz, trumpeter Ralph Alessi, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Ben Perowsky. a 7 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th, 773-702-8069 or 773-702-8080, $5-$15. A --Peter Margasak

death factory When you listen to noise music, what you're always hoping for is that moment when everything outside your trippy headspace gets canceled out. And local noise artist Mike Krause, aka Death Factory, is a hell of a reality blocker on the self-released CD-R Death Factory Volume I. (Despite its name, he's been putting out music since the late 80s.) "Pinocchio's Phallic Dream" piles up touchy-feely guitar strumming, murderous analog-synth burps, 60s sci-fi space transmissions, a hilariously lame cymbal solo, the sound of children romping on a playground, and the kind of sinister drone you hear sitting near the engine on an airplane--all those noises squirm and writhe together like a heap of earthworms. I can't tell if he takes himself seriously as an improviser (he's not too good at it) or thinks the whole thing's a joke (he thanks Amon Duul I & II in the liner notes--yeah, I'm sure they hang out). And most of the rest of the CD-R is pretty typical: terrified women screaming, snippets of satanic invocations or sex-ed lectures, dental-drill screech, et cetera. But that one track validates the album all by itself. Golden Birthday headlines; Coyote, Death Factory, Big Gold Hoops & Kosher Dill Spears, and Nate Murphy of Lazer Crystal open. DJ New Jack and VJ Ron MILF spin throughout. a 9:30 PM, Sonotheque, 1444 W. Chicago, 312-226-7600. F --Liz Armstrong

idan raichel project Israeli keyboardist, producer, and songwriter Idan Raichel has become a sensation in his homeland by weaving bits of traditional Ethiopian music into slick balladry and jaunty dance pop. I have no doubt that at least some of his band is talented--Raichel employs a cast of almost 70--but you won't hear any evidence of it on his self-titled U.S. debut, a Cumbancha Records collection culled from two Israeli albums. He so thoroughly smothers his music in bland Western melodies and one-world bromides that it makes Sting sound like a heavyweight. a 8 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $35. A --Peter Margasak

wednesday31

dwarves San Francisco's notorious Dwarves--who could've been Chicago's notorious Dwarves if they hadn't bailed in the late 80s--haven't given us a new album of their brilliant and appalling scum punk since 2004's The Dwarves Must Die (Sympathy for the Record Industry). Their latest offering is FEFU, a somewhat slapped-together DVD that revolves around a video shoot for the song of the same name, complete with nekkid Suicide Girls, and also includes interviews and live footage going back two decades. It looks surprisingly tame on the small screen, but as far as home versions of the Dwarves go, this is as close to the real thing as you're gonna get without Smell-o-Vision. The Turbo A.C.'s, Mexican Cheerleader, and Hotlips Messiah open. a 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $14, $12 in advance, 18+. --Monica Kendrick

THUNDERBIRDS ARE NOW! Struggling for an identity and maybe hoping to stumble into one, this quirky Detroit-area punk-pop band continues to rummage through an early-80s grab bag on its third album, Make History (Frenchkiss): solid hooks and melodies flail around in a sea of jangly guitars, cheeseball vintage synths, and unconvinced vocals. The occasional bursts of energy don't always seem to belong in the song they're in, but at least that energy is real and infectious--by the Thunderbirds' next record all this may look like steps in the right direction. The Oxford Collapse and the Narrator open. a 9 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10, 18+. --Monica Kendrick

czs This New York band is among the most accessible avant-prog acts going, and for one simple reason: no matter how far-out their unpredictable song structures, no matter how rich their dissident dissonance, no matter how jittery their pattering vamps or abrupt their metric and textural shifts, they utterly lack the diddlier-than-thou machismo that makes so many similar bands seem outright hostile to their audiences. The new Arms (Planaria) is Zs' first studio full-length in more than three years, but they've certainly kept busy--last year they released a three-inch CD and a live album and contributed to a Tzadik disc compiling interpretations of Earle Brown's works, and the other projects involving members of the collective are too numerous to list here. The music on the new record creates a constant sense of tingling anticipation that borders on anxiety, but there's real warmth in it too--though admittedly it seems to come from an unfamiliar source, not necessarily our trusty old sun. The group has gone through a few lineup changes since it formed in 2000: for this tour Zs are a quartet with a drummer, a saxophonist, and two guitarists (one of whom doubles on electronics). KK Rampage and Wizie open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $7. --Monica Kendrick

thursday1

rikters These locals are celebrating the release of their second EP, Don't You Get It (HEYOU!), which was recorded entirely on analog equipment to get what they call a "classic sound." As disheartening as it is to realize that tape is now "classic," something about the process must have tapped into the primal side of these Smoking Popes fans, because on "Want It You Got It" they sound like they want to cut loose with some genuine parking-lot mullet rock. They try to act arch and smart for the rest of the disc, but too late, guys--you've already let it show. Villains of Verona and Amsterband open. a 7 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $7. A --Monica Kendrick

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Music
ASAP Ferg, Jay IDK House of Blues
July 17
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Guards at the Taj Steppenwolf Theatre
June 13

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