Best shows to see: Yuna, Ray Anderson, Califone, Damien Jurado



Damien Jurado
  • Damien Jurado
The Super Bowl isn't the only thing shaking down this weekend: the polar vortex has retreated, so get on out there and take in some of this action-packed lineup of live music to enjoy.

Tonight garage rockers Bass Drum of Death take on the Empty Bottle with locals Blasted Diplomats and the Lemons, and Screaming Females plays their first of two shows at the Hideout. On Fri 1/31, Screaming Females play their second Hideout show, while the Velcro Lewis Group plays a free show at Cole's and Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys hit up FitzGerald's in Berwyn. On Saturday, local metal unit Bloodiest plays at Double Door as part of the Epitonic Deep Freeze Festival, while Meat Wave headlines Subterranean and experimental electronic artist Chris Madak performs at the Graham Foundation. And on Super Bowl Sunday itself, we have the weekend's highlight, Tight Phantomz performing a Tom Petty-cover set at Empty Bottle during the big game's half-time show because why not?

As usual, some other great Soundboard recommendations are after the jump.

Fri 1/31: Yuna at Schubas

"Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna makes delicate, detailed music that would fit comfortably alongside guitar-based Western indie pop a la Feist and Vampire Weekend and light Top 40 rock a la the Lumineers and Fun," writes Leor Galil about the Muslim pop star. "Last year's Nocturnal (Verve) begins with some familiar sounds: on 'Mountains' Yuna plays sparse, chilly guitar reminiscent of the XX, and on 'Lights and Camera' she uses a stuttering vocal sample that recalls the likes of Purity Ring and Keepaway. As the record progresses, though, these indie-friendly sounds gradually yield to laid-back R&B and airy radio pop—but because every track has Yuna's gorgeous, breathy vocals and euphoric, tightly written melodies in common, the transition barely feels like a transition." This show is sold out. So consider this a reminder to the people who already bought tickets.

Fri 1/31: Ray Anderson Pocket Brass at Symphony Center

Jazz trombonist Ray Anderson, a Chicago native, will be fronting his Pocket Brass combo at Symphony Center, opening for the Branford Marsalis Quartet. Writes Peter Margasak, "A scrappy, agile quartet formed in the early 90s, the Pocket Brass Band projects a lot more sound and contrapuntal zip than you'd expect from a group this size, transposing the New Orleans second-line tradition into the funk era and beyond."

Sat 2/1: Califone at Lincoln Hall

Another Chicago native makes a homecoming this weekend: Califone leader Tim Rutili. His new record, Stitches, is essentially a solo LP with different players coming in and out on different songs. Peter Maragsak says, "Rutili's sweet, wounded voice and dusky slide guitar remain at the center of Califone's richly layered music, but its old twisted rootsiness is much diminished without Becker, and its rhythms are missing much of their rickety wheeze. Though 'Frosted Tips,' with its post-Stones swagger, connects the old Califone to the new, most of the new album feels more streamlined and airy, if not exactly more sunny. 'Magdalene' and 'We Are a Payphone' have a honeyed beauty that never could've come through so strongly in the company of vintage Califone's saw-toothed textures and out-of-sync riffing."

Sat 2/1: Damien Jurado at Schubas

"According to Jurado, Brothers and Sisters is a sequel to 2012's Maraqopa, their themes extensions of each other: both involve a man disappearing and/or searching for himself," says Kevin Warwick about indie-folk singer Damien Jurado's new record. " But the musical settings for those themes make for Jurado's most adventurous and interesting album to date—it's not just its title that's out-there. Maybe it's [songwriting collaborator and producer Richard] Swift's influence or maybe Jurado was just ready for a change, but the singer has opened up his vocals to a more up-front sort of soulfulness—and on top of that he drowns them in echo-laden psych effects, weaves in tribal drumming and other extracurricular percussion, and pushes the grooves till they're practically danceable."

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