Best shows to see: Negative Scanner, Rustie, Hamid Drake & Michael Zerang, 88 Fingers Louie, Waffle Fest 3, and more | Bleader

Best shows to see: Negative Scanner, Rustie, Hamid Drake & Michael Zerang, 88 Fingers Louie, Waffle Fest 3, and more


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  • Rustie
Before diving into the holiday week, why not treat yourself to some great live music? There's actually more of it than usual this weekend, and a bunch of these shows are ones you're not going to want to miss.

For starters, Minneapolis-based jazz trio the Bad Plus will be playing nine shows over four days at Jazz Showcase, and there's Japanese doom-metal band Church of Misery, who are at Township after a postponed tour and closing of their show's original venue. Local noise punks Nones are headlining a show at Empty Bottle tonight as well, playing with the garage punkers in Liquor Store. Brother-sister duo White Mystery headline a holiday show at DIY space Multikulti along with other local acts like Twin Peaks and the Lemons, and on Sunday Oval tops the bill for a night of experimental music at Empty Bottle.

And as always, a huge chunk of the weekend's best shows were covered by our writers. Check them out after the jump.

Fri 12/20: Negative Scanner at Burlington

Exactly one year to the day from their very first show, local jangle-punk band Negative Scanner will be playing at the Burlington, the place which hosted that show as well. Kevin Warwick writes about the band and their excellent front woman Rebecca Flores, "Soulful and raw but with an unapologetic flamboyance, they put her in a class with Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females. Flores's current project, Negative Scanner has more snarl and bite than [her former band] Tyler Jon Tyler, and its occasional dives into dark postpunk let her brood and cut loose even more."

Fri 12/20: Rustie at the Mid

English dubstep artist Rustie, whose work recently showed up on Danny Brown's Old, brings his EDM to the Mid tonight. "Thirty-year-old Glaswegian electronic musician Russell Whyte, aka Rustie, is part of a generation of dance-music artists and listeners that seemingly overnight has almost entirely abandoned the practice of dividing things into genres," writes Miles Raymer. "In the late aughts, in the wake of the first wave of UK dubstep, he made his name by applying some of dubstep's production tricks to a bright, rave-influenced tonal palette and fusing the whole thing to a hip-hop framework. There's no real consensus about what to call the result—aside from 'bass music,' which is too inclusive to be helpful—but it's remarkably fluid and easily tweaked to suit rappers and EDM kids alike. Rustie hasn't released a full-length album since 2011's paradigm-setting Glass Swords, but in October three tracks he produced turned up on Old, by Detroit MC and dance-music aficionado Danny Brown—including the standout 'Way Up Here,' which channels the brash swagger of southern rap and the loopiness of old-school rave techno without sounding much like either."

Sat 12/21 through Mon 12/23: Hamid Drake & Michael Zerang at Constellation

For more than 20 years, jazz percussionists Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang have celebrated the solstice with a series of dawn performances. They continue the tradition over the weekend, this time around at Constellation. "Every year since 1990, percussionists Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang have convened before dawn in a candlelit room on the second floor of Links Hall to usher in the return of longer days with an improvised performance that spans traditions and genres. Some years, these winter-solstice shows have been just about the only time you'd get to see these in-demand musicians together, but 2013 is different," says Bill Meyer. "Because Drake was the artist in residence at this year's Jazz Festival, it's been only four months since he shared a Chicago stage with Zerang. And because Links Hall has moved into a shared space with Constellation, on Western just south of Belmont, concertgoers will no longer get to watch el trains roll past the windows during the show. But you can still count on this: two drum masters will use their instruments (and sometimes their voices) to invite a crowd of predawn congregants to commune with the seasons, with the divine, and with one another until daylight streams into the room."

Sat 12/21: 88 Fingers Louie at Concord Music Hall

Feeling nostalgic? Relive your 90s Warped Tour days with a 20th-anniversary performance of Chicago's 88 Fingers Louie. I covered this show, saying, "So much poppy mid-90s skate punk—or 'melodic hardcore,' according to the dudes making it—came out of southern California that it's easy to forget about little ol' 88 Fingers Louie from Chicago, Illinois. But these guys' hypercatchy, breakneck punk was just as great as anything their labelmates on Fat Wreck Chords did, and it's aged remarkably well—probably because they never had to rely on dick and fart jokes. Their final release, a split EP with Kid Dynamite that came out weeks before they broke up in 1999, is an overlooked treasure." This show will feature the band's original lineup, including sets played by all three of their former drummers.

Sat 12/21: Waffle Fest 3 at Empty Bottle

Shawn "Awedazcate" Childress, leader of Chicago hip-hop collective Waffle Gang, hosts the third edition of his showcase. Writes Miles Raymer, "This one features short performances by at least 15 artists, including Childress (who recently self-released an album, Cognac Signature, that sounds like Chicago-style OutKast) and scene veteran Pugs Atomz, plus DJ sets by Mulatto Patriot, juke pioneer Gant-Man, and others."

Sun 12/22: Wil Blades, Mike Clark, Donald Harrison Jr., and Jeff Parker at SPACE

These four jazz heavy hitters come together for a special performance at SPACE. "Earlier this year Hammond B-3 maestro and Evanston native Wil Blades formed a relaxed trio with drummer Mike Clark—who brought the funk to Herbie Hancock's mid-70s bands as well as to the Hancock-inspired Headhunters—and multifarious New Orleans reedist Donald Harrison, who'd previously played with Clark in the 21st-century version of the Headhunters," says Peter Margasak. "A video of their debut at Yoshi's in Oakland—a show that also featured guitarist Rez Abassi—shows them to be a slick, bluesy organ combo with a thoroughly modern sense of harmony and rhythm. As a dyed-in-the-wool Crescent City musician, Harrison is a key binding agent, weaving together threads of postbop, funk, and blues—and his clear investment in all three genres fends off the glibness that sometimes afflicts such ad hoc concerns. For this special gig Jeff Parker, Blades's old friend and frequent collaborator, will join the trio on guitar; like Harrison he has an easy versatility, which should strengthen the music."

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