Best shows to see: Magic Trick, Meek Mill, Underoath, Tomorrow Never Knows



  • Underoath
This weekend the Tomorrow Never Knows festival (which kicked off on Wednesday) hits full swing, with an impressive variety of indie rock, pop, R&B, dance music, and comedy at six venues. Tonight a live version of the Low Times music podcast (hosted by Tom Scharpling of the Best Show on WFMU, Daniel Ralston, and Maggie Serota) comes to the Hideout, with guests alleged to include Steve Albini and Richard Marx. Also tonight but at Schubas is a concert by buzzed-about Florida postpunks Merchandise, who come especially recommended by Kevin Warwick.

Reader writers also weighed in on Hundred Waters (opening for Freelance Whales on Sat 1/19 at Lincoln Hall) and the Black Madonna (who plays Sat 1/19 at the Hideout, after a non-TNK show at Smart Bar), and they've only scratched the surface of the fest: just for starters, Ssion's set opening for Niki & the Dove (Fri 1/18 at Lincoln Hall) is sure to be ridiculously fabulous and fabulously ridiculous, and King Dude (opening for Chelsea Wolfe at Schubas on Sat 1/19) turns up in In Rotation this week as one of the picks by Alma Negra guitarist and front woman Erin Page.

Of course, even in January one festival can't monopolize all the good concerts happening in Chicago, and as always we've got more for you on our Soundboard page. Highlights after the jump:

Thu 1/17: Magic Trick at the Empty Bottle

"These days far too many new bands seem hell-bent on ripping off Thee Oh Sees (and John Dwyer's Cyndi Lauper-esque 'whoo!'), and far too many music writers throw around the words 'garage,' 'indie,' and 'psychedelic' until you’re sure they have no clue what they mean," writes Brian Costello. That's part of what makes Magic Trick, a home-recording project of Fresh & Onlys front man Tim Cohen that's evolved into a full-fledged band, such a refreshing lsiten. "On their latest album, Ruler of the Night, Magic Trick compile a brooding, multifarious medley of moods and instrumentation in the vein of folk-pop masters the Dutchess & the Duke and Sonny & the Sunsets—and it's the details, such as the plaintive vocal harmonies of 'Sunny' and the ratchet-driven melancholic shuffle of 'Angel Dust,' that make the band such a fine addition to the prolific Bay Area scene." The Cairo Gang opens.

Sat 1/19: Meek Mill at the Congress Theater

"Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill spent a while in major-label purgatory after signing an unconsummated deal with T.I.’s Grand Hustle label in 2008, and he spent a little time in jail after that—but in 2011 he bounced back with some help from his new boss, Rick Ross, on 'Tupac Back,'" writes Miles Raymer. "Amen," from last year's mixtape Dreamchasers 2, is also the lead single from his official debut, Dreams and Nightmares, "and with a verse by Drake, a chorus by Jeremih, and a churchy piano part propping up the charmingly blasphemous lyrics, it was one of the highlights of radio in 2012."

Sun 1/20: Underoath at Metro

"Formed in 1997, Tampa’s Underoath is one of the more interesting bands to ascend to the top of the Warped Tour circuit in the past decade, pairing aggro metalcore with explicitly Christian lyrics," writes Leor Galil. "Their career peaked with 2004's They're Only Chasing Safety and 2006's Define the Great Line (which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200), albums that helped set the stage for hugely popular and roundly ridiculed subgenres such as crabcore and easycore. In fall 2012 Underoath announced they'd be breaking up this year, mapped out a farewell tour, and released a good-bye compilation called Anthology: 1999-2013."

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