Best shows to see: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Motley Crue, Carlene Carter, Boris

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Carlene Carter
  • MARINA CHAVEZ
  • Carlene Carter

The music calendar gets fairly quiet the week after Lollapalooza, though "quiet" doesn't mean silent. If you're eager to get your live-music grind on this week there are plenty of great shows to see.

Tonight Katy Perry drops by the United Center and experimental-rock outfit Shapers play Burlington Bar to celebrate the release of their new double album, Pierce Islands. Tomorrow night the GTW headlines a killer lineup at Schubas featuring Cities Aviv, Dre Green, and Juketastrophe. On Saturday the Cult plays Concord Music Hall and Danny Black performs at Gingerman Tavern. On Sunday you can see Echo & the Bunnymen at Metro or Alex G at Township.

Head to Soundboard for all our live music listings, and be sure to listen to our weekly "Best shows to see" Spotify playlist at the bottom of this post (while you're at it, follow us on Spotify). Read on for more concert picks from Reader critics.

Thu 8/7: Chicago Symphony Orchestra with the Chicago Children's Choir, the Chicago Chorale, and the Lakeside Singers at Ravinia Festival

"You don't have to be a Tolkien fan to appreciate the Ravinia Festival's screenings of the last film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King," writes Deanna Isaacs. "I've never read Tolkien's books, and I'm mostly clueless about their lore—but I am a fan of movie music and its awesome capacity to bestow emotional depth and power. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing a great score live while the film it accompanies plays on a screen above the musicians promises to be the kind of maximum aesthetic experience you can otherwise get only with, say, grand opera: virtuosity on a majestic scale. And the technical innovation that makes it possible—the recorded music can be peeled away from the film while preserving dialogue and sound effects—is as nifty a piece of magic as you're likely to find in Middle-earth."

Fri 8/8: Motley Crue at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

"Thirty-three years ago Motley Crue self-released their debut, Too Fast for Love, a perfect collision of power pop and punk that would become the first in a string of big-selling albums for the band—they spun their tales of the Sunset Strip's glam aspirations and grimy day-to-day realities over thrashy guitars played with a smeared-mascara wink," writes Maura Johnston. "Crue went into a bit of a tailspin during the grunge era, but in 2005 the original lineup reunited, and since then they've remained one of their cohort's few remaining big-venue draws—the burners 'Kickstart My Heart' and 'Girls, Girls, Girls' have popped up in Super Bowl commercials and on classic-rock stations, and the weepy letter from the road 'Home Sweet Home' has stuck around well into the text-message era. Motley Crue's live shows have maintained a sense arena-rock grandeur, thanks to the solo-as-thrill-ride antics of wiry drummer Tommy Lee and the pyrotechnics that add extra menace to growlier tracks such as 'Wild Side' and 'Too Young to Fall in Love.'" Alice Cooper also performs.

Sat 8/9: Carlene Carter at City Winery

"Carlene Carter is the daughter of June Carter and her first husband, overlooked honky-tonk great Carl Smith (June later married Johnny Cash); she's also the granddaughter of Mother Maybelle Carter, who sang and played guitar in the original lineup of the Carter Family," writes Peter Margasak. "Carlene launched her musical career in the late 70s, injecting honky-tonk fundamentals with the energy of punk, but she didn't directly address her lineage till this year. Most of the songs on the recent Carter Girl (Rounder) are classics from the Carter Family repertoire, dating from the late 20s and early 30s, but she also remakes her own 'Me and the Wildwood Rose,' looking back to her childhood in the early 60s: 'In my grandma's house, her children would sing / Guitars a twangin', their laughter would ring / I was little, but I was the biggest kid / I wanted to do what the grown-ups did.' You might expect such nostalgia to permeate the music as well, but Carter doesn't embrace the rustic sound of her forebears; instead she works with producer Don Was to deliver a contemporary country-rock sound, with Sam Bush's mandolin doubling as a sort of sonic link to a much earlier era."

Sun 8/10: Boris at Bottom Lounge

"Japanese heavy-metal trio Boris have taken on a lot of forms in their two decades of existence: They've played tectonic doom, heavy psych, raucous thrash, tough-as-nails hard rock, and wall-of-sound shoegaze, to name a few," writes Luca Cimarusti. "On this year's Noise (Sargent House), Boris seamlessly merge all their past identities into a streamlined metal-pop hybrid with a sound that's completely, uniquely their own. They pay a great deal of attention to stellar melodies on Noise, but they're still a metal band, so they deliver them with pummeling ferocity: 'Heavy Rain' is massive, disjointed sludge topped with sweet, dreamy vocals from guitarist Wata; 'Quicksilver' is a ten-minute exercise in west-coast melodic hardcore; and 'Taiyo No Baka' is crunchy pop rock, complete with trebly palm-muted guitar and radio-ready whoa-ohs."

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