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The List: January 24, 2008

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cChicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Finnish conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen is known for unusual programming, and this CSO concert is typical. First is Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms for orchestra and chorus, an apocalyptic work that weaves together Latin choral parts and edgy orchestral writing. Next ebullient violinist Leila Josefowicz performs Oliver Knussen's 17-minute violin concerto. The composer has likened the violin part to a tightrope walk; Josefowicz plays it without a net. The concert concludes with Mozart's Mass in C Minor: an unfinished piece, looking back to Bach and Handel, that can seem like a patchwork of potent choral sections and florid arias with a sum less than its parts. But the soloists—soprano Camilla Tilling, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, tenor Lawrence Brownlee, and bass Eric Owens—are a vibrant young quartet. The CSO and chorus will present this program four times; see also Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $22-$199. —Steve Langendorf

ELLIOTT BROOD Not a man but a band—a Toronto-based trio whose sepia-toned North American roots look owes a lot to 50-year-old movies' imaginings of what 50 years before then looked like. The songs, lots of murder ballads and historical narratives featuring acoustic guitar and banjo, romanticize even dustier times: "Jackson," off 2005's Ambassador (Six Shooter Records), isn't a cover of the Johnny and June Cash tune. It's about Stonewall Jackson, the Confederate general. I'm sure the boys would appreciate it if you turned up tonight in a sunbonnet or string tie. Speck Mountain and Murder Mystery open.   9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $6, 18+. —Monica Kendrick

GRINNER It's always sad to see a band break up while they're still improving. But this is a farewell show for the local trio Grinner—their drummer is moving to Japan. In 2006, after a couple self-released EPs, these Tallahassee transplants put out their sole full-length, The Trap, and it's good enough that they can at least claim to be quitting while they're ahead: positioned comfortably between red-blooded postpunk and lightly psychedelic stadium rock, it's crunchy, ambitious, and loaded with the sort of propulsive rhythms that are more vital to a long, late-night road trip than gasoline and fast food combined. Sequoia and Bad Veins open.  9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $7. —Monica Kendrick

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy House of Blues, 9 PM

FAQtet Velvet Lounge, 8 PM

Buddy Guy Buddy Guy's Legends, 9 PM, sold out

Monika Heidemann Band; Princess, Princess; Headhunter Darkroom, 8 PM

Johnny & the Limelites; Them, Roaringtwenties Subterranean, 9:30 PM

Marcus Intalex, Casper Smart Bar, 10 PM

Mung, Pillars and Tongues, A Tundra Hideout, 9 PM

Supersuckers Brauerhouse, 8 PM

Velvet Revolver Riviera Theatre, 7:30 PM

Zing!; Nicole Mitchell, Marianne Trudel, and Tomeka Reid Elastic, 10 PM


cChicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus See Thursday.  8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $23-$199.

cDAN DEACON & JIMMY JOE ROCHE Nerd-riot instigator Dan Deacon has been fingered as the hot thing out of Baltimore, and he's trying to drag all the current and former members of the Wham City collective—the scene that birthed him—into the spotlight too. If he can pull that off, he's likely to end up as more than this year's Paul Barman. For instance, he's done his most interesting work with a filmmaker, Wham City's Jimmy Joe Roche. Roche might be the collective's best hope for a legitimate art legacy: on Ultimate Reality (Carpark), a new DVD he made with Deacon, his video work puts a little weight behind the usual neon blast wave of 80s signifiers. To the accompaniment of his friend's epic, hyperactive video-game music, he creates layers of saturated psychedelic colors in frenetic motion, editing together footage jacked from Arnold Schwarzenegger movies at such a blitzkrieg pace you'll be hard pressed to recognize anything besides Conan the Barbarian. Hollywood-style action and terror dissolve into a dazzling muddle of jet fighters, giant snakes, helicopters, and guys on fire—it's like a feel-bad thesis on American violence gone rave. During this screening drummers Kevin O'Meara of Video Hippos and Jeremy Hyman of Ponytail will play along with Deacon's soundtrack. Deacon will do his own set before the film, and Jason Ajemian opens with a solo performance. Deacon also opens both sold-out Girl Talk shows Saturday at Metro.  9 PM, Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N. Broadway, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. —Jessica Hopper

cLOWFISH As a kid, Canadian electronica producer Gregory de Rocher was infatuated with the Donna Summer/Giorgio Moroder electro-disco classic "I Feel Love," and he became irrevocably smitten with electronic music after he saw a demonstration of modular synthesizers at a science museum. He's released four full-lengths and stacks of 12-inches and EPs over the past 11 years, and in keeping with his stage name (a sort of contraction of "lo-fi-ish") he makes what he calls "drum machine electro-pop" using vintage monophonic synths like the Roland System 100 and early polyphonic models like the ARP Odyssey and the beloved Roland Jupiter-6. On his latest full-length, Burn the Lights Out (Satamile), his modern-primitive aesthetic melds the disco-tech pulse of Moroder, the industrial abrasiveness of Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb, and the amorphous textures of early IDM like Aphex Twin. This tour, called "Now We Are Dead," marks the end of the Suction label, which de Rocher founded with frequent collaborator Jason Amm, aka Solvent; its swan song is a Solvent/Lowfish split 12-inch of the same name, available at the show. Solvent, Mandate, and Team Dethlab open.  10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10. —J. Niimi

c ORGAN WOLF This local quartet made a nice little splash in 2002 with its self-titled, self-released debut, a garage-lab concoction of fuzzy undulations and lava-lamp burble. The new I Didn't Come Here and I'm Not Leaving (So You Can Just Kiss My Ass That's What You Are), which this release party celebrates, picks up where that left off and then some. The band's still churning out space rock and the organ's still central, but the music is richer and more variegated. "Demon E" achieves liftoff on heavily patinated, crusty-chunky guitar lines. The horns on "Dancing Shoes," one of the relatively few tracks with vocals and lyrics, are languorous a la Soft Machine. This is out-of-time music—smart background for a righteous nerd party with lots of sci-fi talk and rubbery dancing. The Danglers open, David Singer plays second, and Organ Wolf headlines.  10 PM, Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln, 773-404-9494 or 800-594-8499, $10. —Monica Kendrick

TODD RUNDGREN Todd Rundgren is a cult hero but not just for his work as a singer-songwriter. As a producer for everyone from Patti Smith and the New York Dolls to Meat Loaf and Hall and Oates, he helped shape the sound of the 70s and 80s. Ever the techno geek, he was among the first artists to develop a serious and sophisticated presence on the Web back in the 90s, and in 2006 he went before a Senate committee to argue against a digital rights act that would restrict the recording of webcasts. His testimony wasn't as sexy as Frank Zappa's snarky attack on Tipper Gore in '85, but like a lot of his old hits, it was earnest and well crafted. This is Rundgren's first solo tour since his outing with the, ahem, New Cars. He'll play a second show at the same venue next Thursday, January 31, for which tickets are still available.  8 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 773-929-5959, sold out. —Monica Kendrick

TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET When these Groovie Ghoulies proteges play their song "In the Basement," about a cellar that gives 'em the heebies, it's hard not to think: Come on, how scary can it still be, seeing as how the Ramones set up shop down there 30 years ago? Of course, to be as truly derivative of the Ramones as these leather-jacketed Laramie boys are is hardly a bad thing—all it really means is your songs have a boingy, anthemic tightness that's a virtue in any era. Warning Device (Red Scare) is the third Teenage Bottlerocket album, and like the others it can be admired simply for its irreducible pop-punk WYSIWYGness. The Copyrights, Chinese Telephones, and the Frantic open.  7 PM, Reggie's Rock Club, 2105 S. State, 312-949-0120 or 866-468-3401, $10, $8 in advance. —Monica Kendrick

cVANDERMARK 5 In the early days of the Vandermark 5, trombonist Jeb Bishop doubled on electric guitar, adding a frenetic, invigorating roar to the mix—and after he phased it out, not even his prodigious skill as an improviser could prevent the band from sounding a bit more conventional. Cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm replaced Bishop a few years back, and at first I thought that would mean a return to the sound of those halcyon days: Lonberg-Holm amplifies his instrument and often uses effects like distortion and delay. But now that he's settled in—the new Beat Reader (Atavistic) is his second album with the band—it's clear he's carved out a different kind of role for himself. Ken Vandermark's elegant, episodic compositions on the new disc—alternately serpentine and aggressive, and all up to his usual high standards—sometimes employ Lonberg-Holm in unison lines with bassist Kent Kessler, thickening up the ensemble sound, and sometimes cut him loose to play freewheeling patterns or indulge himself as a sort of improvisational prankster. By flirting with the music's propulsive core, he not only gives Vandermark and fellow reedist Dave Rempis more freedom than ever but also pumps up the power of the rhythm section. See also Saturday.  9 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $12. —Peter Margasak

VYLE Chicago's Vyle (pronounced "villie") is one of the rappers associated with the Flosstradamus DJ crew, but he'd been around the block once or twice before they made the scene—he was still a west-side high school junior when he released his 2001 debut, Post-Paleaeontologist (Birthwrite), a bracing rush of hyperabstract rhymes and dizzying, Dalek-like beatscapes. As he suggests on his MySpace page, Vyle really does manage to conjure the "Dirty South of Europe" with his street mixes, one of which, Oh I Think Dey Like Hoodtronics, brought him Internet-fueled acclaim in 2006. (A second volume, featuring Flosstradamus, Mano, and A-Trak plus cameos from Kid Sister and Sinden, followed last year.) Most recently he's collaborated with Uffie (of Paris's Ed Banger hip-hop corps) and with Brooklyn DJ Eliot Lipp as the electro-crunk duo Neonstriderbitrate. V8 headlines; DJ Zebo spins.  9 PM, the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-0011 or 866-468-3401, $7, $5 in advance. —J. Niimi

Steve Aoki Crobar, 9 PM

The Changes, Bronze Double Door, 9 PM

The Chicago Chamber Musicians perform Paul Dresher's The Tyrant Museum of Contemporary Art, 7:30 PM

Larry Coryell & Bombay Jazz World Music Company, 8 PM

Crooklyn Clan Enclave, 10 PM

Editors, Louis XIV, Hot Hot Heat The Vic, 7:30 PM

Eve 6 Chicago City Limits, 10 PM

Anna Fermin's Trigger Gospel FitzGerald's, 9:30 PM

Robbie Fulks, Jon Langford, and others play at Chris & Heather's Winter Spectacular Hideout, 9 PM

Buddy Guy Buddy Guy's Legends, 9 PM, sold out

Lee Boys House of Blues Back Porch Stage, 10:15 PM

Marah Schubas, 7 (acoustic set) and 10 PM

Nicole Mitchell & Marianne Trudel Velvet Lounge, 9:30 PM

Moe. Riviera Theatre, 9 PM

Yuri Shevchuk & DDT Congress Theater, 8 PM

Supersuckers Brauerhouse, 8 PM

Who Cares How Long You Sink Heaven Gallery, 10 PM


cChicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus See Thursday.  8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $24-$199.

DIANOGAH This Chicago bass/bass/drums trio has finally finished the follow-up to 2002's Millions of Brazilians; recorded with John McEntire at Soma, the still-unnamed album is due out sometime this spring. Frankly, I've always liked Dianogah just OK—they were a little plodding at times, a little self-indulgent. But a CD-R of the new one leaves the bulk of their back catalog in the dust, particularly the moody pop chanting of "A Breaks B" (which, besides actual vocals, features a snaky violin cameo by Andrew Bird) and the metallic boil of "Qhnnnl" (imagine "Immigrant Song" for really fat Vikings). The track titles remain as whimsical as ever: what can you say to a song called "I Like Juice in a Shark Suit" besides, "uh, me too"? Bear Claw and Quatre Tete open.  10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. —Monica Kendrick

DYNAMITES FEATURING CHARLES WALKER We're now in the midst of a laudable trend where veteran soul singers find new energy and a new audience by hooking up with backing bands of young Turks: think of Andre Williams's work with the Sadies and the Diplomats of Solid Sound, or Bettye LaVette cutting tracks with the Drive-By Truckers. The Dynamites, rock-solid James Brown devotees from Nashville, have enlisted old-schooler Charles Walker as their front man, and on their debut, Kaboom! (Outta Sight), this king-size group (ten strong, with a full horn section and a Hammond B-3) generates a swaggering, backward-leaning, barely reined-in sort of freneticism—a sound that's almost, as Walker mutters at one point, "too funky to be true." The Sol Reys open; the East of Edens Soul Express DJs spin.  10:30 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10. —Monica Kendrick

cVANDERMARK 5 See Friday.  8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $12.

Micky Dolenz, Grass Roots, Buckinghams Star Plaza Theatre, 7:30 PM

Eighth Blackbird with DJ Dennis DeSantis Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 7:30 PM

Foghorn Stringband, Carolina Chocolate Drops Old Town School of Folk Music, 7:30 PM

Girl Talk, Dan Deacon Metro, 7:30 and 11:30 PM, both shows sold out

Glitch Mob, Edit, Ooah Kinetic Playground, 10 PM

Buddy Guy Buddy Guy's Legends, 9:30 PM, sold out

Jackopierce, Creede Williams Park West, 8:30 PM

Lenny Kravitz Riviera Theatre, 7:30 PM, sold out

Metal Porpoise Ronny's, 9 PM

Nicole Mitchell & Marianne Trudel Velvet Lounge, 9:30 PM

Michael Martin Murphey Woodstock Opera House, 8 PM

Alice Peacock World Music Company, 8 PM

Pillars and Tongues, Ensemble Pamplemousse Heaven Gallery, 10 PM

Teenagers Sonotheque, 9 PM

Turtles The Hemmens, 8 PM


cChicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus See Thursday.  3 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $25-$199.

Jim Becker, Scott Tuma, Emmett Kelly, and Joe Adamik Hideout, 9:30 PM

Boss Carpenter Hungry Brain, 10 PM

Ethel with Kaotic Drumline Lund Auditorium, Dominican University, 3 PM

Buddy Guy Buddy Guy's Legends, 7:30 PM, sold out

Charlie Musselwhite, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and others play a tribute to Will Shade Old Town School of Folk Music, 7 PM

Parkway Drive Knights of Columbus, Arlington Heights, 7 PM

Spares, Rachel Ries Schubas, 7:30 PM

Steel Train, Person L Beat Kitchen, 7 PM

Tittsworth Le Passage, 9 PM


BLUE RIBBON GLEE CLUB These locals tip the scales at around 30 members, culled from the lineups of other Chicago groups, but you can't blame that on the Polyphonic Sufjan mega-band trend—they're a bona fide glee club. Their sound is so wobbly, so amateur and informal, that calling them a choir would be a bit grandiose, and they plunge into the songs they've chosen—mostly punk and indie-rock standards—with a reckless enthusiasm for which glee is really the only proper synonym. They ooh and aah and bomp-bomp-baah their way through Fugazi's "Waiting Room" and the Clash's "Spanish Bombs," bringing out the songs' latent whimsy—plus you can finally understand the words. Performances are entirely a cappella, save for some sparse drumming or tambourine shaking—they even sing the riffs and solos. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin headlines; the Blue Ribbon Glee Club, Black Apple, and the Notes and Scratches open.  9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600. —Jessica Hopper

cSIDSEL ENDRESEN Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin wrote LautLeben with and for Norwegian soprano Sidsel Endresen, who'll sing it tonight as part of a program of contemporary works. According to Wallin's program notes, the "singer is placed in a soundscape made almost entirely by computer manipulations of her own voice. What she sings is totally without words and totally improvised, only with certain guidelines given by the composer." I haven't heard the piece, but I've heard enough of Endresen to strongly recommend this concert. On her first solo records, including a couple for ECM, she brought bold austerity and impressive concision to the kind of jazzy pop-folk that Joni Mitchell still can't get quite right, and more recently she's plunged into radical experiments, showing off the raw creativity and effortless range she'll need here. For Merriwinkle (Jazzland, 2003) she collaborated with electronicist Helge Sten (aka Deathprod from Supersilent) and jazz keyboardist Christian Wallumrod, who abrade her precise, gorgeous singing with gurgling noise and ominous synthetic textures—to which she sometimes responds with a powerful rush of wordless sounds. And those sounds are the only thing on her latest, One (Sofa, 2006), a dumbfounding display of seat-of-the-pants invention. The other two pieces on tonight's program are by conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen (directing members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and Oliver Knussen.  8 PM, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, 312-334-7777, $20. —Peter Margasak

Jason Ajemian Experience Skylark, 10 PM

Cobra Starship Subterranean, 6:30 PM, sold out

Ernest Dawkins directs the Chicago 12 in the premiere of his tribute to Emmett Till Velvet Lounge, 9 PM

Ultra Sonic Edukators, Maradona Schubas, 8 PM

Wasteland Jazz Unit with Fred Lonberg-Holm, Bruce Lamont & Dylan Ryan Elastic, 9 PM


cTOUMANI DIABATE'S SYMMETRIC ORCHESTRA Malian kora player Toumani Diabate can create such intricately detailed music with his instrument—whether he's threading iridescent skeins of notes into Timbaland's beats on Bjork's Volta or spinning kaleidoscopic swirls around Ali Farka Toure's reflective guitar on their duo record In the Heart of the Moon—that he sounds like an orchestra all by himself. So it's not surprising that his reasons for forming this band weren't just about a bigger sound. The Symmetric Orchestra, which has held down a regular gig in Bamako for years, includes musicians from several West African nations that were once part of the Mande Empire, and Diabate sees the group's lineup and approach—a combination of traditional and modern instrumentation and material not only from Mali but also from countries like Senegal and Ivory Coast—as a metaphor for the reconstitution of that empire. But the orchestra's stirring Boulevard de l'Independence (World Circuit/Nonesuch) also includes ripe, cinematic strings, massive horn arrangements from Pee Wee Ellis and Mike Smith, and the occasional salsa groove—factor all that in and you get a vibrant musical amalgam that spans a much bigger chunk of the globe. The Princes of Futa open.  7:30 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $18. —Bill Meyer

cTHE PACK If I'd actually started my fantasy record-label league last year—seriously, it could be a lot more fun than it sounds—one of my first signings would've been this Bay Area group. How could a bunch of hyperactive black teenagers who treat retarded-Casio party rap like it's a religion, rock Misfits shirts onstage, and talk about skateboarding over hooks 12 blocks wide do anything but blow the fuck up with the suburban white kids who bankroll the hip-hop industry? So now that the hype hasn't panned out, I know exactly how the people at Jive Records must feel—except that I only predicted the Pack would be huge, while Jive actually put money on it. If MTV had played the video to the addictive "Vans" a little sooner and a little less edited (apparently they can't tell the difference between a song about sneakers and a sneaker ad) or if more people had seen the Pack's destroyer of a live set (last year at SXSW they used a Toyota hatchback as a stage, and when they were done it looked totaled), then maybe their Based Boys would've sold more than, like, five copies outside the bay. But I guess there's always next year. Tyga opens.  7 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10. —Miles Raymer

Cobra Starship Subterranean, 6:30 PM, sold out

E-snaxxx Funky Buddha Lounge, 10 PM

Headhunter Empty Bottle, 9 PM


Cornmeal Martyrs', 9 PM

Frame Quartet featuring Ken Vandermark, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Nate McBride, and Tim Daisy Hideout, 9:30 PM

Go Go's, Whore du Jour House of Blues, 9 PM

Buddy Guy, Dave Specter Buddy Guy's Legends, 9 PM

Michael Smith, Small Potatoes FitzGerald's, 8 PM

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