Best shows to see: James Murphy, Beak, Danilo Perez Quartet, Aahh! Fest | Bleader

Best shows to see: James Murphy, Beak, Danilo Perez Quartet, Aahh! Fest

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Common headlines Aahh! Fest on Sunday
  • Courtesy of Def Jam Records
  • Common headlines Aahh! Fest on Sunday.
Riot Fest is all done, but World Music Festival is going strong; I suggest digging into our guide to the 11-day blowout to see which of the remaining shows might strike your fancy. There's plenty of other concerts beyond World Music Festival that are also worth seeing.

Tonight Shonen Knife headline Bottom Lounge while Sham 69 visit Reggie's Rock Club. Tomorrow night Lemonheads bring Mike Kinsella and Kittyhawk to Wire in Berwyn and Yuna plays Old Town School of Folk Music. On Saturday Black Lips and King Khan & BBQ Show hit Thalia Hall and Chico Freeman headlines the Englewood Jazz Festival. On Sunday Bryan Ferry plays Chicago Theatre and Andy Stott and Demdike Stare swing by Thalia Hall.

Head to Soundboard to scope out all our concert listings and read on for some more picks from Reader critics. And if you want to hear some of the acts we've written up take a listen to our handy "Best shows to see" Spotify playlist at the bottom of this post (and follow us on Spotify).

Thu 9/18: James Murphy's DJ set at Smart Bar

"As the mastermind behind LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy presented the anxieties of an aging New York hipster via straightforward lyrics and gold-standard musical touchstones (Bowie, Eno, the Fall, New Order, et cetera)," writes Tal Rosenberg. "Murphy's taste has shaped and been shaped by his undoubtedly drool-inducing record collection, which he takes out for a spin during his frequent DJ sets. Alongside LCD bandmate Pat Mahoney, Murphy used to host a biweekly event at New York City's Santos Party House called Special Disco Version, where they flipped between popular and obscure disco, boogie, and electro cuts; it was one of the best DJ nights I've ever been to anywhere. Despite his status as a style-conscious tastemaker, Murphy's mixes never feel snobbish or impenetrable—a recent set for Red Bull Music Academy included Diana Ross, Bill Withers, and the fucking Bee Gees."

Fri 9/19: Beak at Beat Kitchen

"You're supposed to mellow out as you grow grayer and life beats you into submission, but the members of Chicago instrumental postrock institution the Timeout Drawer formed a metal band called Beak instead," writes Kevin Warwick. "They crank up the volume and with it the rage in their sound, largely by adding vocals. Beak's new Let Time Begin (Someoddpilot) is still heavy postrock in many respects—the meandering interludes, the omnipresent moodiness, the rapid picking that foreshadows a monstrous crescendo—but when guitarist-vocalist Jon Slusher bellows like he's struggling to expel the bile that's eating the pit of his stomach, the tracks become crushing."

Sat 9/20: Danilo Perez Quartet at Jazz Showcase

"Brilliant Panamanian pianist Danilo Perezthinks big, and as a bandleader almost every album he's made has had some sort of conceptual underpinning—sometimes it's simple, such as his adaptations of Thelonious Monk's music that incorporate Latin American rhythms, and sometimes it's dazzingly complex, such as the densely arranged suites he wrote to explore the complex interplay of cultures throughout the Caribbean's turbulent history," writes Peter Margasak. "Lately he's deployed large canvases and loads of guest musicians to make his points, and his compositions have often collapsed (or at least sagged) under the weight of his ambitions. Perez's latest album, Panama 500 (Mack Avenue), provides a musical portrait of his homeland that covers its five centuries of multicultural history since the arrival of Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa in 1513, but he renders its rich patchwork with a smaller, nimbler group of musicians." Tonight's performances are part of a four-night engagement at Jazz Showcase that begins Thursday.

Sun 9/21: Aahh! Fest at Union Park

The inaugural festival keeps adding acts to its lineup (most recently Twista), but the strong bill hooked me immediately: "In April local heroes Common and Rhymefest announced the creation of a nonprofit employment initiative called the Chicago Youth Jobs Collaborative, to be launched in the fall with a community-focused hip-hop party called the Aahh! Fest. It was originally meant to be a two-day event in Jackson Park, but as DNAinfo reported in mid-August, logistical problems forced it to move to Union Park and slim down to one day. That speed bump instantly seemed like a distant memory, though, as soon as the lineup came out the next week. It includes not just hometown heroes Common and Lupe Fiasco but also New York hippie-rap icons De La Soul and borderline mythical hip-hop recluse Jay Electronica—and seeing Dave Chappelle host the show ought to be worth the ticket price all by itself. Lupe's been in fine form since dropping the monstrous, scrambled-funk single 'Next to It' in June; the other local on the bill, Lil Herb, released his debut mixtape, the gripping and lyrical Welcome to Fazoland, in February. Herb also appears on Common's recent Nobody's Smiling (Artium/Def Jam), an imperfect but well-intentioned album that attempts to respond to Chicago street violence."

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