Best shows to see: Local Natives, Howl, Ana Moura, Martha Wainwright | Bleader

Best shows to see: Local Natives, Howl, Ana Moura, Martha Wainwright

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Local Natives
  • BRYAN SHEFFIELD
  • Local Natives
If you're like me you're still recovering from the weeklong live-music binge that is SXSW (you can read my thoughts on it here), and the idea of seeing another musical performance sounds about as tempting as a slice of pizza when you've already finished off an entire extra-large pizza by yourself. But Chicago has an extremely generous schedule of shows worth checking out over the next few days. Tonight there's a showcase of local hip-hop headlined by GLC and Tree, and former Le Tigre member JD Samson's spinning at Berlin. Tomorrow night Rihanna and A$AP Rocky are at United Center and indie quirkster Darwin Deez plays Schubas. On Saturday local garage pop outfit Twin Peaks, who recently returned from a buzzy week at SXSW, open for the Orwells at Beat Kitchen, while industrial icons KMFDM headline the House of Blues. And on Saturday and Sunday ska legends the English Beat play the SPACE in Evanston.

And those aren't even the shows that made it into Soundboard. Hit the jump for more.

3/21: Local Natives at the Vic

Indie darlings Local Natives have graduated from the club circuit to playing theaters, and according to Leor Galil their sound's grown to fit. On their sophomore album, Hummingbird, he says, the group has "gone big with their sound without sacrificing the intimacy it gets from hushed vocals and pitter-pattering snare drum—they pull off this shift to wide-screen with light touches such as the subtle buildup of horns on "You & I," proving that their songwriting sophistication has caught up with their instrumental talents."

3/22: Howl at Ultra Lounge

The Providence band Howl frequently gets filed alongside other metal groups who are keeping alive the "doom" sound that has roots running all the way back to the first Black Sabbath record, but according to Kevin Warwick that label might not be so appropriate anymore. "Sure, they’ll hit you with pile-driving Sabbath-style guitar licks and rhythms that sound like 100 armored cavalry galloping in slow motion to ransack your castle. But on Bloodlines (Relapse), due at the end of April, Howl shift within three songs from classic doom to a double-kick hat tip to speed metal, a versatility that makes them that much more absorbing and, really, that much heavier."

3/23: Ana Moura at City Winery

Portuguese singer Ana Moura specializes in the traditional style known as fado, and while in the past she's stuck with the form's customary instrumentation, on her new Desfado, Peter Margasak says, "folk-pop producer Larry Klein has polished Moura's sound for mainstream audiences, adding drums, keyboards, and on one track the watery soprano saxophone of Tim Ries." Thanks to Moura's talents and the assistance of her rhythm section, though, "she survives this treatment largely unscathed."

3/24: Martha Wainwright at City Winery

On her latest album, Come Home to Mama, singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright is, according to Margasak, "caught up in the cycle of life: she gave birth to her first child in November 2009 and lost her mother, singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle, to cancer in January 2010." Wainwright's writing is "empathetic and sharply observant as ever," and "her full-bodied, fearless singing, with its bold strokes and virtuosic, sometimes wordless acrobatics, suits her lyrics perfectly."

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