Best shows to see: Baauer, Cody Chesnutt, Iris DeMent, Mikal Cronin


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  • Baauer
This Sunday I turn 36 years old, and—strangely enough for someone whose life revolves around music—I don't think I've ever thought to look up what was going on in the music world on my birth date. Turns out I was born the same week Fleetwood Mac's Rumours and Hall & Oates's "Rich Girl" were released, and tells me that I came into the world while Rod Hart's "C.B. Savage"—a charming mash-up of the 70s CB fad, country music's "songs about truckers" phase, and shockingly blatant homophobia—was at its highest point on the charts. Good to know, I guess.

If you have a birthday this weekend and you're looking to celebrate by going to a show, you're in luck, because there are a ton of good ones going on. Tonight local rap authorities Fake Shore Drive present a showcase featuring Freddie Gibbs, Sasha Go Hard, ShowYouSuck, and Tree, and Reader favorite Matt Clark opens for Angela James at the Hideout. Fans of 90s rap can go see Ghostface Killah at the Shrine, and fans of weird 90s retro fads can head up to Skokie to see Swingers-approved swingsters Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Retribution Gospel Choir and Stagnant Pools play at Schubas on Saturday night, and if I was in Chicago on my birthday I would likely be celebrating it at the Cam'ron show at the Double Door. For more picks from Reader music critics, hit the jump.

2/8: Cody Chesnutt at Martyrs'

The neosoul revival that began in the 90s produced a whole lot of eccentric auteurs, including Erykah Badu and D'Angelo, but singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Cody Chesnutt—best known for his Roots-assisted "The Seed (2.0)"—had an oddball sensibility all his own. Last year he released his long-awaited follow-up to The Headphone Masterpiece, his 2002 debut. Leor Galil says that "with its luxuriant surfaces, Landing on a Hundred could pass for a remastered version of an early-60s soul album with a Motown-size budget."

2/8: Bauuer at the Mid

People who complain about dance music being "obnoxious" are like people who blame low-budget horror movies for looking "cheap"—I guess to some people those are negative qualities, but to those of us who are obsessed with the stuff, that's part of the appeal. Last year's "Harlem Shake," by the young NYC producer Baauer, was hands-down one of the most obnoxious releases of the year, and that's one of the reasons I love it so much. Equally worth the admission price is Baauer's recent production partner, Just Blaze, who's best known as a high-end hip-hop producer but who's unexpectedly entered a second career phase as a maker of hyperactive EDM.

2/9: Iris DeMent at City Winery

Iris DeMent will always have a special place in my heart for "In Spite of Ourselves," her 1999 duet with John Prine, which is one of the most unabashedly (but effectively) cornball love songs in pop history. Last year she released Sing the Delta, her first album of original material in 16 years, and Peter Margasak says "her singing and writing are as remarkable as ever—she can combine tenderness and empathy with skepticism and unsentimentality, and despite (or because of) her religious upbringing, she expresses doubt with great sensitivity."

2/10: Mikal Cronin at Saki Records

The two shows Bay Area garage-rock troubadour Mikal Cronin is playing at the Empty Bottle with longtime musical partner Ty Segall are sold out, but this in-store, organized by local label Trouble in Mind (who put out Cronin's first solo material), is first come, first served. It's definitely worth ditching your brunch plans for if you're into hearing garage rock pushed, as Leor Galil describes it, "into all sorts of strange, noisy, and usually endearing directions."


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