Best shows to see: Ty Dolla $ign, Classixx, George Strait, Vattnet Viskar

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Classixx
  • Classixx
On Tuesday local indie hip-hop label Closed Sessions released the official debut album from Treated Crew's Mic Terror, Fresh Prince of Darkness, and the rapper's celebrating its release with a party on Friday at the Hard Rock Cafe downtown. The lineup is pretty killer; Mic Terror are Saint Millie, Taylor Bennett, Treated Crew, and the reunited Cool Kids are all set to perform. VIP J, Mattboy White, Manny Muscles, Million Dollar Mano, and Closed Sessions' RTC will spin throughout the night. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and it all kicks off at 10 PM.

That's not the only show worth checking out during the next few days. Tonight there's Cibo Matto at Lincoln Hall and An Evening Dedicated to Sparklehorse at Tonic Room. Tomorrow night you can catch Miley Cyrus and Icona Pop at Allstate Arena or Dan Deacon at Subterranean. On Saturday there's the Hideout's SXSW Send Off Party and Mixtapes at Concord Music Hall. Wrap up the weekend on Sunday by taking in Bo Deal at Abbey Pub or Nona and Pet Symmetry at Township.

There are plenty of other concerts to go to this weekend—head to Soundboard to peruse all our listings and read on for some picks from Reader critics.

Thu 3/6: Ty Dolla $ign at Reggie's Rock Club

Fake Shore Drive's always snagged a great national act to headline its Sound Select series, which showcases talented up-and-coming Chicago rap acts. As I wrote tonight's headliner is no exception: "The minimalist Los Angeles hip-hop subgenre called 'ratchet' shares its name with a slang term for being on your worst behavior, and Tyrone Griffin, aka Ty Dolla $ign, demonstrates that the connection is no coincidence. He loves to sing and rap about sex—apparently with anyone and everyone who has two X chromosomes—and he does it with sometimes icky frankness. Griffin's golden voice and smooth, intoxicating delivery make his words seem less raunchy, and he's so flattering and matter-of-fact about his propositions that it's easy to forget that he's operating outside just about every human female's comfort zone. 'Girl, be yourself, ain't nothing wrong with being ratchet,' he sings in a half-whisper on '1st Night / 4 a Young (Remix),' a sinuous track from last year's Beach House 2 mixtape—you can picture him grinding on some young thing on the dance floor and leaning in close to her ear." Leather Corduroys, Mick Jenkins, and Saba open.

Fri 3/7: Classixx at Double Door

"Los Angeles electronic dance-music duo Classixx will show you, in the words of fellow Angelenos Poison, nothin' but a good time," writes Tal Rosenberg. "Cheesy, right? Well, that's just it—invoking hair metal and its winking approach to heavy music goes a long way toward explaining how Classixx mashes up synth-pop, 90s house, and 80s boogie, then lacquers it all with a Euro-indie sheen. Their debut album, Hanging Gardens (Innovative Leisure), sounds nothing like the Cure song with a similar name, but both are hilarious and make douchebags inappropriately emotional. What it does sound like are its track titles—'Rhythm Santa Clara,' 'A Fax From the Beach,' and 'Jozi's Fire' are preposterously sunny Coachella jams for shiny people in tank tops. The album's first single, 'I'll Get You,' reminds me of Mylo (remember him?) and features a sample of someone asking the rhetorical question 'Do you like bass!' through a vocoder over and over again."

Sat 3/8: George Strait at Allstate Arena

"Country icon George Strait closed the 2011 album Here for a Good Time with the mawkish ballad 'I'll Always Remember You,' which celebrates the longevity of his career and the devotion of his fans," writes Peter Margasak. "'I don't know how many more years I've got left to do this,' he sings, 'but I figure a few.' It doesn't exactly count as prophetic for Strait to acknowledge that he's mortal, but this weekend's concert—part of a two-year farewell tour—will likely be his last in the Chicago area. The most mild-mannered and reliable of the hat acts to emerge in the 80s, Strait released Love Is Everything (MCA) last year, and on his 28th studio album he carries on with the same formula that's kept him a mainstream country star for decades (in 2004 he put out a double CD called 50 Number Ones, collecting the staggering number of his songs to hit the top of the country chart). Like just about every record he's made, Love Is Everything alternates between sentimental ballads and good-time up-tempo numbers, addressing traditional Music City themes such as letting go on the weekends, recognizing a good woman, and appreciating your car."

Sun 3/9: Vattnet Viskar at LiveWire Lounge

"This progressive black-metal band from the small town of Plaistow, New Hampshire, whetted a lot of appetites with its four-song self-titled debut EP in 2012," writes Monica Kendrick. "Vattnet Viskar's first full-length, last fall's Sky Swallower (Century Media), had a lot to live up to, and it doesn't disappoint—except that there's not enough of it (and I'm old enough to remember when 40 minutes was considered a standard album length, not a little on the short side). These guys are environmentalists inspired by nature, and even though Sky Swallower is short enough to leave 'em wanting more, it's got a lot of breathing room—stretches of eerie, contemplative calm, like a winter forest of ominously whispering trees beside a rippling lake. In its moments of glorious, mountainous grandeur, there's not a growl wasted—the quiet valleys magnify the height of the stormy summits."

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