Best shows to see: MusicNow, Public Enemy, and Stacian

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Public Enemy
Winter projects are a must for the seasonally depressed midwesterner. If you're pretty much confining yourself to your apartment for three solid months, you damn well better have something to shake out the cobwebs now and then. Build a chair, fix a motorcycle, watch The Wire in its entirety for the sixth time. Me, I'm cataloging my records on Discogs, the online database that allows you to buy and sell vinyl (or, gross, CDs), or just marvel at the depth of your own personal collection.

The whole ordeal is tedious, often resulting in your squinting at a record's run-out to locate the sometimes indecipherable matrix numbers so you know from what era your record was released. Which of the 136 versions of Abbey Road do you own? The Canadian reissue from 1976 with orange Capitol labels that's missing the listing of "Her Majesty" on the jacket, or the '83 Canadian reissue with a black center label and color band? Cataloging records also results in the unearthing of purchases you can't even fathom a good reason for having bought in the first place. Then you remember all the poor decisions you made in your life around the time you bought that record. Then you put that record on the turntable because you can't let sleeping dogs lie. Then you fall into a shame spiral.

Woof. I need to get out more. Here are some shows happening this Monday through Wednesday:

Mon 12/3: MusicNow at Harris Theater for Music & Dance

Described by Peter Margasak as a "forward-looking" and "invaluable" series from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and curators Anna Clyne and Mason Bates, MusicNow often showcases the work of talented young composers. Tonight it features work by Bates, Zosha Di Castri, and Steven Bryant, with the showcase of the evening being the U.S. premiere of Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina's Labyrinth, a 2011 piece for a dozen cellos.

Wed 12/5: Public Enemy at House of Blues

In response to NPR intern Austin Cooper's description of Chuck D's rapping style as "rough, rugged, built like a tank—and I'm coming at it expecting a Bentley," Leor Galil writes "Sure, Public Enemy is raw and loud, especially compared to Drake, but I find it beautiful the way the group ropes together so many harsh and potentially antagonistic sounds—cacophonous sirens, jagged horn samples, bone-dry snare hits, Chuck D's satisfyingly weighty and surprisingly bouncy bullhorn of a voice, and, um, Flavor Flav—into hooky, funky jams." Though the recent Most of My Heroes Still Don't Appear on No Stamp and The Evil Empire of Everything are "imperfect," Galil still describes them as "solid agitprop rap" that are as "accessible as anything in Drake's discography."

Wed 12/5: Stacian at the Empty Bottle

Something of a pupil of Karin Dreijer Andersson and Natasha Khan's dark electro sound, Dania Luck (aka Stacian), according to me, "makes music with a different emphasis: she's more interested in tense, heady swells of synthesizers than in tauntingly beautiful vocal melodies." Her debut, Songs for Cadets, often uses "sparse, wobbly, reverberating singing as a secondary or even tertiary instrument—the track "Sunlight," for instance, has a handful of simultaneous synth melodies, and she traces just one of with unintelligible, echo-drenched yeeps and yelps." Tonight is a Moniker Records showcase.

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