Best shows to see: Jack Oblivian, Man or Astro-Man?, Vieux Farka Toure, Buika | Bleader

Best shows to see: Jack Oblivian, Man or Astro-Man?, Vieux Farka Toure, Buika


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Jack Oblivian
  • Courtey of the artist
  • Jack Oblivian
Thunderstorms and flash flooding—must be summer. Let's hope we got the worst of it out of the way before all the outdoor music this weekend. Helping you sift through the festival frenzy is your trusty, if slightly smelly, jean-shirt-wearing friend, Soundboard.

Spring Awakening takes over Soldier Field from Friday through Sunday, featuring Porter Robinson and the lot but also Chicago staples such as Flosstradamus and legends including Green Velvet and Paul Oakenfold. And obviously, afterparties—a Moby DJ set at the Mid on Friday and Zeds Dead at the House of Blues on Saturday, for instance.

Friday is also the first day of the Taste of Randolph Street, a West Loop restaurant party that likewise runs through Sunday and features music by JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, the Joy Formidable, Milo Greene, and many others. Bottom Lounge and City Winery host afterparties.

Humboldt Park's annual Fiestas Puertorriqueñas starts today and runs through the weekend. The Puerto Rican People's Parade is on Saturday and the Puerto Rican Beatles tribute band (you know you're curious) is on Sunday.

On Thursday, Dirty Projectors visit Lincoln Hall and Falty DL plays a free show at Pritzker Pavilion. On Friday, Slum Village comes to Reggie's, Priest headlines at Burlington, and Crystal Fighters play at Lincoln Hall.

Dikembe opens for Signals Midwest at Township on Saturday, while the Reverend Horton Heat and JD McPherson play the Aragon Ballroom. Finally, on Sunday the Mountain Goats play at SPACE, and Daniel Lanois graces the Old Town School.

Thu 6/12: Jack Oblivian at the Empty Bottle

The Oblivians released their first new album in more than 15 years this month, but you'll have to wait a few weeks to see them together at the Empty Bottle. Tonight, Jack "Oblivian" Yarber plays with his solo project, which leans "in a bluesier direction than the reckless raunch of his former band," writes Luca Cimarusti. "Yarber plays gritty, hooky blues-rock that comes in a wide range of flavors, from Springsteen-esque middle-American soul to the behind-the-beat stomp of the Black Keys."

Fri 6/13 and Sat 6/14: Man or Astro-Man? at Empty Bottle

"Some people think these Alabama-based weirdos have made a 20-year career (give or take a long hiatus in the aughts) out of nothing but shtick," writes Monica Kendrick. "I suppose their pulpy sci-fi iconography and B-movie costuming, as well as their Alpha and Gamma Clone tours (for which they sent other people out on the road as Man or Astro-Man?), might rub certain whimsy-impaired stick-in-the-muds the wrong way. But the extraterrestrial foolishness is part of a package deal with their music, which has always backed it up with substance—the wildness and ferocity of their space-age surf-rock rips ironic distance to shreds."

Sat 6/14: Vieux Farka Toure at Marquette Park

"Malian singer and guitarist Vieux Farka Toure has often seemed to be working hard to distinguish himself from his famous father, Ali Farka Toure, who pretty much introduced West African blues to the world," writes Peter Margasak. "For his strong new album, Mon Pays, recorded in Bamako, he'd planned to focus on the traditional acoustic styles of the country's northern and southern regions, but as violence spread in Mali—Tuareg and Islamic fundamentalist groups have been trying to seize control of the country—he decided instead to make a record that celebrated the country's history of diversity and tolerance." The Inner-City Muslim Action Network hosts Toure, Rhymefest, Brother Ali, and others for Takin' It to the Streets at Marquette Park; Black Star headlines.

Sat 6/14: Buika at the Old Town School of Folk Music

"Early in her career Buika dabbled in slick but muddled pop-flamenco, and thankfully that's one phase she doesn’t revisit on the new La Noche Mas Larga," writes Peter Margasak. "Instead she tackles iconic Spanish-language pop songs that she grew up with—'Yo Vengo a Ofrecer Mi Corazon' by Argentine singer Fito Paez, 'La Nave del Olvido' by Mexico's Jose Jose, 'Santa Lucia' by Spanish crooner Miguel Rios—and makes them her own, transforming them into jazz-flamenco hybrids that favor emotional directness over instrumental excess." For this rare intimate performance she's joined by longtime pianist Ivan "Melón" Lewis and cajon player Ramon Porrina.

Sun 6/15: Eleventh Dream Day at the Hideout

Eleventh Dream Day rescheduled their canceled April show to come on the heels of the release of New Moodio, a sort of prototype of their 1993 album El Moodio—which arguably makes up for the earlier disappointment. Recorded with Brad Wood after the band escaped an ill-fated Atlantic deal, "the fiery, stripped-down treatments are pretty impossible to resist," writes Peter Margasak. EDD ultimately went back to the label and released El Moodio, a "slicker, more contemplative version" (though Atlantic barely promoted it, then dropped the band). A handful of these songs have remained in the group's repertoire ever since, and singer-guitarist Rick Rizzo says they'll probably dig out a few rarely played gems.

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