Best shows to see: DonChristian & Rahel, Otis Clay, Sam Prekop | Bleader

Best shows to see: DonChristian & Rahel, Otis Clay, Sam Prekop

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Otis Clay
  • Courtesy the artist
  • Otis Clay
New Year's Eve has passed, but there are plenty of concerts this weekend to help you keep the celebration going a little longer. Take Ian's Party; the annual fest will flood Township and Quenchers with loads of alternative bands from Friday through Sunday.

There are plenty of other shows going down through the weekend. Tonight Palmer Squares and Martin Sky swing by Tonic Room; tomorrow night Jump Up honcho Chuck Wren celebrates the 20th anniversary of his label's first release, American Ska-thic, at Metro (read more about it in this week's Gossip Wolf); on Saturday Rockie Fresh and Casey Veggies play Lincoln Hall; and on Sunday Evanston-reared folkie Ezra Furman performs at SPACE.

Be sure to jump over to Soundboard for even more concert listings and check out a few more picks from Reader critics after the jump.

Fri 1/3: DonChristian & Rahel at Empty Bottle

"Born in Philadelpia and based in New York, the protean DonChristian moves easily between music and visual art, producing vibrantly impressionistic paintings and psychedelic rap beats with what seems like equal ease," writes Miles Raymer. "He’s just as malleable on the mike: as many vocalists on pop’s leading edge do, he blurs the line between singer and rapper, sometimes emphasizing melody, sometimes rhythm, and generally landing somewhere in between. Like his frequent collaborator Le1f, DonChristian goes for stoned sonic textures, and though he drifts over them with blissed-out weightlessness, he offsets that airy feel with a smoked-out croak of a voice that adds some necessary physical heft."

Sat 1/4: Otis Clay at SPACE

"In 2013 Chicago hard-soul veteran Otis Clay released Truth Is, his first studio album in six years, on his own Echo Records," writes Peter Margasak. "Though time has eroded away the highs and lows in his appealingly raspy voice—he sounds cautious when he deploys his falsetto on the lovely ballad 'Even Now'—the album is a potent reminder of his warmth and versatility. In the 60s, after leaving his roots in gospel to sing gritty, secular R&B, Clay became a major soul star; he made a heap of great records for Chicago label One-derful, including the bona fide classic 'That's How It Is,' before the label collapsed and his contract was sold to Atlantic subsidiary Cotillion. He achieved his greatest fame in the 70s with Hi Records (also home to Al Green, O.V. Wright, Ann Peebles, and fellow Chicagoan Syl Johnson), where he cut indelible tracks such as 'Trying to Live My Life Without You' and 'I Die a Little Each Day.'"

Sun 1/5: Sam Prekop at Empty Bottle

"When artists switch media, the results can be mixed: though Miles Davis and William S. Burroughs might have really enjoyed painting, you’d have to search long and hard to find anyone who'd say that they were better at it than they were at playing or writing. But the analog electronic music that Sea and Cake singer-guitarist Sam Prekop introduced on his 2010 solo record, Old Punch Card (Thrill Jockey), not only sounds unlike anything else he's done, it also has virtues that you’ll find nowhere else in his discography," writes Bill Meyer. "The rippling blips, bursts of static, and sputtering rhythms on 'The Silhouettes,' for example, have a playfulness that’s miles from the Sea and Cake's slick, purposeful pop." Prekop headlines a six-band festival curated by local label Hausu Mountain.

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