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thursday28

cNICO MUHLY The subject of a 6,800-word feature in the New Yorker earlier this year, composer and pianist Nico Muhly is the current poster boy for classical crossover. But where others have acquired this status via little more than a punk haircut and a pop repertoire, the 27-year-old Muhly has earned it with legit writing chops and a set of ravenous ears: the music on his second album, Mothertongue (Brassland), is wide-ranging, serious, and substantial. Though he draws inspiration from English religious music of three centuries ago, his collaborators include various indie-rock types, and stylistically his work is clearly linked to that of name-brand minimalists like Philip Glass (who happens to be his employer) and Michael Nyman. On "Wonders," multitracked female voices form a dizzying lattice of chopped-up syllables floating above a nest of patterns played on oboe, harp, keyboards, violin, viola, and electric bass by Icelandic producer Valgeir Sigurdsson; the components are in constant motion, but the music seems to hover, spinning wildly in place. "The Only Tune," by contrast, mashes up the old-timey songbook, with the lazy vocals of Sam Amidon conjuring Will Oldham amid banjo and ominous electronics. Here Muhly will mainly play solo, but he'll get help from openers Doveman and Amidon as well as violist Nadia Sirota. a8 PM, Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N. Broadway, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $15. A —Peter Margasak

VOLCANO! For better or worse, local trio Volcano! doesn't sound like anyone else. The vocal style of front man Aaron With is a real love-it-or-hate-it proposition: he declaims with as much density as Mark E. Smith but employs in the process a fake-soul croon-and-squeal combo. Meanwhile the accompanying jumble of post-rock noises is so insistently burbly yet disjointed that it sounds like the band is making fun of him behind his back; on the forthcoming Paperwork (Leaf) Volcano! seem to be fighting their way toward us through a thick wall of cough-syrupy incomprehension—theirs, not ours. But the single "Africa Just Wants to Have Fun," a piss-take on earnest pop-charity whoring, shows a bit of a mean streak, and a damn funny one too. Maurice and Mung open. a9 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $8. —Monica Kendrick

Allman Brothers Band, Bob Weir & Ratdog Charter One Pavilion, 6:30 PM

Finch, Scary Kids Scaring Kids Metro, 5:30 PM

Jonny Lang, Buddy Guy Ravinia Festival, 8 PM

Mahjongg, Yea Big & Kid Static Schubas, 9 PM

Microcosmic Sound Orchestra Heaven Gallery, 10PM

Michael Moore, Jim Baker, Jason Roebke, and Mike Reed Elastic, 10 PM

Nobunny, Johnny & the Limelites Permanent Records, 6 PM F

Prarie Cartel, Hey Champ, Ruby Isle Empty Bottle, 9:30 PM

Sonny Rollins opens the Chicago Jazz Festival (see page TK) Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 6:30PM F

Ira Sullivan and guests Jazz Showcase, 9 PM

Tub Ring, Dance Club Massacre Beat Kitchen, 6 PM

Marshall Tucker Band Beverly Arts Center, 8 PM

friday29

cAFRIKA BAMBAATAA Hip-hop wasn't always hemmed about with rules and orthodoxies spelling out what was or wasn't allowed. When the style was brand-new it crackled with anarchic energy that attracted lots of eccentrics and far-out thinkers—and few got as far out as Afrika Bambaataa. An Afrocentric electro extraterrestrial—like Sun Ra with a taste for Kraftwerk records—Bambaataa not only helped introduce harder synthetic sounds into the funk- and disco-based rap of the time, he also converted a bunch of street gangs into a politico-spiritual Zulu Nation and helped foster the idea of hip-hop as a multidisciplinary movement encompassing dance and visual art. His most commercially successful work, the deeply funky 1982 single "Planet Rock," is only a footnote as far as most people are concerned, but whether you know it or not Bambaataa's ideas have had as much impact on the past 20 years of global culture as Bill Gates's. He'll spin records here; Tone B. Nimble and Intel open. a10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-4140, $15, $10 before 11 PM with text-message special (see smartbarchicago.com). —Miles Raymer

cGREG OSBY For more than 15 years, saxophonist and bandleader Greg Osby has consistently demonstrated a tech savviness rare in jazz—in the late 90s he cut a live album with a MiniDisc recorder, and he was posting free MP3s on his Web site long before it became the norm. He's also been upholding a tradition that's just as rare today, using his bands as a kind of finishing school, a la Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, to mentor potent young players and give them a high-profile platform—Osby alumni include pianist Jason Moran, drummer Rodney Green, and bassist Matt Brewer. He hasn't released much since parting ways with Blue Note a couple years ago, but for the fine new 9 Levels (available digitally on his own Inner Circle label, with a CD version forthcoming) he's assembled an unusual group with guitarist Nir Felder, drummer Hamir Atwal, bassist Joseph Lepore, pianist Adam Birnbaum, and a Portuguese singer, Sara Serpa, whom he discovered on MySpace. They handle his twisty postbop compositions with impressive fluidity and clarity, darting through precise arrangements marked by running contrapuntal commentary and taut unison figures—Serpa is especially impressive, her wordless vocals locked to Osby's sax lines in perfect tune. For these shows vibraphonist Matt Pinto replaces Birnbaum. See also Saturday. a9 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $12. —Peter Margasak

TWIN WRECKS THE MEMORY After seven-plus years honing its garage-punk chops, local quartet Twin Wrecks the Memory has decided to end on a high note: tonight is both its final show and the release party for its monster full-length debut, Suffer and Sell. The band starts off pit-bull fierce, grabbing the Iggy/Dolls/surf/greaser formula by the neck and shaking ("More Sex, More Money," "Alcohol and Rock n' Roll"), then winds down with a heartbreaking epitaph ("Rise Again"). Front man Ryan Paveza says 100 copies of the self-released record will be available; there were hopes for more but a label deal fell through. Bone Tosser, the Derbys, and Lasers and Fast and Shit open. a9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. —Monica Kendrick

Cavashawn Metro, 6:30 PM

Cealed Casket Reggie's Rock Club, 10 PM

Consumer Electronics, Bloodyminded Enemy, 9 PM

Alice Cooper Genesee Theatre, 8 PM

DeBarge Country Club Hills Theater, 7 PM

Al Hudson & One Way, Fertile Ground, and others play the African Festival of the Arts (see page TK) Washington Park, 2:30 PM

Anthony Gomes FitzGerald's, 9PM

Cream Tangerine, the Nouveau Quartette, the Dukes of Yore, and others play a benefit for the Old Town School Old Town School of Folk Music, 8 PM

Mark Knight Sound-Bar, 9 PM

Mantra Blue Free Orchestra, Sacred Round Heaven Gallery, 10 PM

1997 Reggie's Rock Club, 5 PM

Pacific Division, Rashaan Ahmad, Million Dollar Mano Subterranean, 10 PM

Eddie Palmieri, Roscoe Mitchell, Isotope 217, and others play the Chicago Jazz Festival (see page TK) Grant Park, noon F

DJ Jimmy Singh's Barack Obhangra Schubas, 9 PM

Dave Stewart Ravinia Festival, 8 PM

Ira Sullivan and guests Jazz Showcase, 9 PM

Billy Bob Thornton & the Boxmasters Joe's, 9 PM

Marshall Tucker Band Clearwater Theater, 7 PM

saturday30

DEATH VESSEL What with all these people hanging dreamcatchers in their vans and singing about, like, going out to the desert and learning to talk to the wolves, it's hard to remember sometimes that not all folk is of the "freak" variety. But Joel Thibodeau and his coconspirators in Death Vessel give you little reason to suspect that they even know what their spirit animals are—they combine the gentle catchiness and faux naivete of twee pop with a sophisticated jazz flavor a la Joni Mitchell and some adventurous ideas about instrumentation (I'd never seen anyone credited with "railroad spikes" before). Thibodeau's high, girlish voice takes some getting used to, and the title to Death Vessel's new Nothing Is Precious Enough for Us (Sub Pop) is in fact several degrees too precious, but the generously tuneful music and its little touches of rigorous, cerebral weirdness incline me to be charitable. Micah Blue Smaldone opens. a10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10. —Miles Raymer

cDON CABALLERO, PONYTAIL Damon Che is doing his bit to lay all those old jokes about dumb drummers to rest, but his mazelike, counterintuitive music may end up inspiring a few new ones about crazy drummers. There's a lot you can say about his band DON CABALLERO, but throughout its bumpy career it's never been boring—something few of its compatriots in "math rock" can claim. Don Cab split for a few years in the early aughts, ending its relationship with Touch and Go, but since recruiting an all-new set of comrades Che has been signed to Relapse, where the group's instrumental prog continues to grow ever more complex and satisfying. On the new Punkgasm, I hear of scraps of kicked Can, fucked Mothers of Invention, and even a little melted Plastic People, all liquefied into a burbling metallic brew—and Che leads the way throughout, his giant shuddering rolls and meaty thumps like the sounds of a spirited round of orc-skull polo. One of the perks of being an instrumental band: there's no pressure to come up with worthy lyrics after you give your songs titles like "The Irrespective Dick Area" and "Pour You Into the Rug." —Monica Kendrick

Though Baltimore continues to squirt Nickelodeon-obsessed neon-rainbow pop trash from every orifice, every once in a while something decent flies out. PONYTAIL have all the goofed-out spazziness you'd expect from a Charm City product, but without the keyboards and unicorn damage; mostly they're just a breakneck art-punk band that sounds like an ungracious east-coast Deerhoof. —Jessica Hopper

Don Caballero headlines, Ponytail plays second, and Mt. St. Helens opens. a9:30 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 866-468-3401, $12, 17+.

cNEBULA, TOTIMOSHI LA trio NEBULA is neither the flashiest nor the cleverest of the stoner-rock pack, but it is among the most consistent and community oriented, spending of a lot of time jamming for the skater crowd when not in Europe playing for the reliable crop of psych fans there. Last year's digital release Nine Live, a "bootleg" recording of a hometown show, demonstrates the band's ferocity onstage, and on this tour they're selling a new six-song EP, Heavy Psych (Salt of the Earth). Simultaneously sharp and burbly, it's suffused with Technicolor space boogie that sounds straight out of a 1970s dream of the future.

Guitarist Tony Aguilar and bassist Meg Castellanos have been making Latin-influenced sludge metal for more than a decade under the name TOTIMOSHI. For their fifth album, Milagrosa (Volcom Entertainment), they took on a new drummer, Chris Fugitt, and worked with producer Page Hamilton (Helmet) and engineer Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Tool). Though the influence of those bands shows, the heaviness here has a dreamy Meat Puppets-style quality that actually makes you want to pause and listen to the lyrics.

Nebula headlines; Totimoshi and Lucid Ground open. a8 PM, Reggie's Rock Club, 2105 S. State, 312-949-0121 or 866-468-3401, $15, $12 in advance, 17+. —Monica Kendrick

cGREG OSBY See Friday. a8PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $12.

Fred Anderson & Kidd Jordan Velvet Lounge, 10 PM

A/V Murder, Headache City Hideout, 9 PM

Big Daddy Kane, Les Nubians, and others play the African Festival of the Arts (see page TK) Washington Park, 2:30 PM

Eddy Clearwater, Lonnie Brooks FitzGerald's, 9 PM

Gerald Cleaver's Violet Hour, Misha Mengelberg Hungry Brain, 10 PM

Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy, the Vijay Iyer Quintet, and others play the Chicago Jazz Festival (see page TK) Grant Park, noon F

Finntroll Pearl Room, 7 PM

Flosstradamus Sonotheque, 9 PM

Flower Kings Martyrs', 9 PM

Richie Hawtin, Magda, Troy Pierce, Heartthrob, Gaiser Metro, 10 PM

Hot Mix 5 House of Blues, 9 PM

Patti Labelle Country Club Hills Theater, 7 PM

Lucky Dragons, Hecuba AV-aerie, 8 PM

Martina McBride, Jack Ingram First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, 7:30 PM

Liza Minnelli The Venue at Horseshoe Casino, 8 PM

Nicole Mitchell, Ben Boye Heaven Gallery, 10 PM

Mucca Pazza, the Waco Brothers, and others play the Bash on Wabash (see page TK) Wabash between 13th and 14th Place, noon

Nine Pound Hammer Double Door, 9 PM

Southport All-Stars Katerina's, 10 PM

Donna Summer Ravinia Festival, 7:30 PM

Ira Sullivan and guests Jazz Showcase, 9 PM

Sweet Cobra, Auxes Beat Kitchen, 6:30 PM

Unicycle Loves You Empty Bottle, 10 PM

sunday31

cROKY ERICKSON & THE EXPLOSIVES F. Scott Fitzgerald's dictum about second acts has been proven wrong too many times to quote it with a straight face anymore, but even so Austin songwriter Roky Erickson has a knack for the comeback that's seemingly explicable only by some stray strand of feline DNA. The documentary You're Gonna Miss Me tells the story of his lifelong struggle with mental illness, drug abuse, and poverty, but with far greater eloquence his music describes what this struggle looks like from the inside: mundane real-world details fall away and arise transformed into space invaders and mind-controlling demons, a contest between good and evil rendered fearfully ambivalent and orgiastically cathartic. SteadyBoy Records recently released Halloween: Live 1979-1981, which documents performances by the original lineup of Erickson's quartet the Explosives (three of whom play in the current group). If you've thought of Erickson during that period as some sort of savant who needed to be propped up to function, this disc will blow those ideas away in a frenzy of dead-on, razor-sharp psychedelic terror. The Wisebloods open. a9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $22, $20 in advance. —Monica Kendrick

STRESS APE One of the most aptly named bands I can think of offhand, Stress Ape is part of the local Hardscrabble Amateurs cassette scene that also includes Mayor Daley, Cave, and Rotten Milk vs. Bubblegum Shitface. The band's latest release, 42012, is the perfect soundtrack for giggling maniacally while beating the guy in the next cubicle to death with a femur. Not quite industrial, not quite noise, not quite Melt-Banana spaz rock and yet closely related to all three, Stress Ape stake out a niche for themselves by acting erratically enough to make potential competitors edge away nervously—yet there's a crisp, lean quality to their fucking about that suggests Machiavellian premeditation. According to the Bottle's calendar, this is their last show; Vigilante and Catacombs of Rome open. a9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $3. —Monica Kendrick

Fred Anderson & Kidd Jordan Velvet Lounge, 10 PM

Ornette Coleman, 8 Bold Souls, the ICP Orchestra, and others play the Chicago Jazz Festival (see page TK) Grant Park, noon F

The Delta Spirit, Death Ships Schubas, 9 PM

Dread Zeppelin Durty Nellie's, 8 PM

Fall Out Boy Soldier Field, 7:30 PM, register at nikeplus.nike.com/nikeplus/humanrace

Hellmouth Ronny's, 9 PM

Hillsong United Arie Crown Theater, 7 PM

Lucky Dragons, Hecuba, Nick Butcher, Younger Berry United Methodist Church, 8 PM

Macrocosmic Sound Orchestra, David Boykin Expanse Heaven Gallery, 10 PM

Mulligan Mosaics FitzGerald's, 6 PM

Murder by Death, William Elliott Whitmore, and others play the Bash on Wabash (see page TK) Wabash between 13th and 14th Place, noon

Nas, Talib Kweli House of Blues, 6 and 11 PM

Nice and Smooth, Keith Murray, Mulgrew Miller, and others play the African Festival of the Arts (see page TK) Washington Park, noon

Sonnets, Suede Brothers, Mr. Gnome Darkroom, 9 PM

Squeeze, Aimee Mann Ravinia Festival, 7 PM

Ira Sullivan and guests Jazz Showcase, 9 PM

Treaty of Paris, Quietdrive Metro, 6 PM

Walls of Jericho Pearl Room, 7 PM

monday1

NICHOLAS PAYTON Though he's one of the most formidable horn men in jazz, Nicholas Payton has only occasionally captured on disc the fire he brings live—and on the new Into the Blue (Nonesuch) he doesn't seem to be trying to. The album is chill and moody, its heady atmosphere flowing from Payton's intimate rapport with pianist Kevin Hays. The rest of the rhythm section—drummer Marcus Gilmore, percussionist Daniel Sadownick, and bassist Vicente Archer—carves out a deep pocket and mostly stays there. In this subdued context Payton sounds more lyric and concise than ever, but I'm betting he'll turn up the heat and stretch out onstage. The group from the record plays here, except with the wonderful Robert Glasper subbing for Hays and singer Nicole Hurst joining in. Payton plays on the Dee Parmer Woodtor stage at the African Festival of the Arts; see page TK. a6:15 PM, Washington Park, 51st and Cottage Grove, 773-955-2787, $15, $10 in advance, $5 for children and seniors. A —Peter Margasak

Hidden Mitten Empty Bottle, 9:30 PM F

Kool & the Gang, Brand Nubian, Black Sheep, and others play the African Festival of the Arts (see page TK) Washington Park, noon

Poi Dog Pondering Pritzker Pavilion, 3 PM F

Los Tigres del Norte, Primavera Plaza Garibaldi, Heath Park, 1 PM

tuesday2

cN*E*R*D Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams, aka pop and hip-hop production wizards the Neptunes, have famously omnivorous musical tastes, but that can be both good and bad. In their work for hire they've helped create a decade's worth of ridonkulously catchy and aggressively experimental singles that reference everything from Run-DMC to New Orleans jazz to Nirvana, but in their own band, N*E*R*D, the urge to cover new ground often dead-ends in hookless set pieces and self-indulgent filler—the stuff you have to slog through in order to find the handful of bangers that invariably pop up on each of their albums. But damn are those bangers good. For those who'd rather not do their own slogging, the cuts to hear on the new Seeing Sounds (Star Trak/Interscope) are the drum-'n'-bass-tinged old-school hip-hop workout "Spaz," the snapping R&B groove "Yeah You," and "Everybody Nose," a high-speed mess of breakbeats, sax honks, chant-along vocals, and DJ cutting that despite its anticocaine lyrics bumps and trips along with a jumpy ADHD feel that practically demands the use of illicit stimulants. Bad Brains open. a8 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn. 312-923-2000, sold out, 17+. —Miles Raymer

cSCOTT TUMA & MIKE WEIS Scott Tuma isn't shy about taking his time. Not for Nobody (Digitalis), his first solo CD in five years, only gives the impression of haste on the few tracks where he sped up the tape to create not-of-this-world vocal and instrumental timbres. Generally his acoustic fingerpicking proceeds so slowly that I can imagine an Amish buggy driver stuck behind one of his melodies, and his pieces for pump organ could lose a downhill race with a glacier. But if you throttle back your metabolism to match theirs, his lyrical, gradually unfolding tunes yield rich rewards—it's like watching a real sunset instead of an accelerated one on TV. For the upcoming LP Taradiddle (Digitalis), Tuma worked with Zelienople percussionist Mike Weis, who also plays with him in Good Stuff House, but notwithstanding the conventional wisdom about drummers, Weis's contributions increase the depth of the music rather than its pace. His cymbals add a flickering aura to the delicate melody of "Soire," and his solitary drumbeats, barely-there scrapes, and isolated piano notes bring the hovering drone of "Unearthed" into sharp focus. Metal Rouge headlines and Mako Sica opens. a9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $7. —Bill Meyer

Fred Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, 5:30PM F

wednesday3

cELLEN ALLIEN, MODESELEKTOR After successive album-length explorations of dance music's poles—2005's severe Thrills and 2006's lush Orchestra of BubblesELLEN ALLIEN has dropped another game changer: Sool, released on her own Bpitch Control, is electro stripped down to the bone. It's also her most adventurous album since Berlinette, the 2003 breakthrough that put minimal techno fans on alert—Cologne, it turned out, was not the center of the universe. The new record is marked by Detroit-style deep-freeze foreboding—space bells twinkle till they beep and splatter, beats ride alone for measures at a time, Allien's vocals come in quarter-second percussive snips—but even when the music is at its most minimal, she throws in details that make it rich, nuanced, and feminine. In Europe, Allien is an icon with cred—like Ian MacKaye if he were more like Beyonce—and her DJ sets are pure star power. Thom Yorke cited her work (as well as that of labelmates Modeselektor) as the primary influence on Radiohead's Kid A.

Macho, meaty, and aggressive isn't exactly the current trend in Teutonic beats—the Berlin techno scene MODESELEKTOR hail from is dominated by plinky austerity—but the fact that they're odd men out at home has probably helped America catch on to them. (The Thom Yorke cameo on 2007's Happy Birthday! must've helped too.) Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary's acid-rave pasts can be heard in their love of extreme dynamics—from deep shuddering bass to 909 squelching—but they throw all kinds of pop detritus into the mix too. Miami booty bass, synth pop, the crunchy end of dancehall, laser bass, old-school cornfield rave, nods to the KLF's finer stadium-techno moments, shuffling post-Cologne-ial beats, percolator time, Jean-Michel Jarre soundtracks, and nu-school IDM get rolled together into one totally bangin' whole.

Andrew Kevins opens, Modeselektor plays second, and Ellen Allien headlines. a9 PM, Sonotheque, 1444 W. Chicago, 312-226-7600 or 866-468-3401, $15. —Jessica Hopper

cPRURIENT I can't put my finger on when, but the specs on your average harsh-noise dude have changed from socially inept doughbody in an oversize black T-shirt to sweaty jock stripped to the waist and punching the air, howling a paean to permanent hearing loss. By and large both species make my belly shake like a bowl full of jelly—but not Dominick Fernow, aka Prurient, even though he's of the latter sort. With a voice like a leaden vane turning carelessly in a windstorm and a melancholic hand that sows his tracks with salt, he's gutted, saturnine, barren. His latest, And Still, Wanting (No Fun), is the sound of someone suffering from the kind of breakup that drives people into lifelong celibate hermitude. You can picture him sitting there, dumbstruck, tortured into despair by the accumulation of tiny banalities, and in fact the record's crumpling, shrieking noise is like the actual sounds of loneliness amplified and distorted: bugs skittering through the kitchen, a match struck against brick, a glass filling from the tap. And Fernow recites dull, emptied-out words to match: "I can't tell you the number of letters unsent," he says on "Total Terrorism." He'd come off emo if he were parading his pain, but there's neither pride nor shame in it—only catharsis. Xiu Xiu headlines and Common Eider, King Eider opens. a8 PM, Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake, 312-666-6775 or 866-468-3401, $15, 18+. —Liz Armstrong

Andrew Bird, Occidental Brothers Dance Band International Pritzker Pavilion, 6:30 PM F

GBH, Whole Wheat Bread Abbey Pub, 9 PM

Hal Ketchum Schubas, 6 and 9 PM

Kronos Quartet Ravinia Festival, 8 PM

Reggie & the Full Effect House of Blues, 6 PM

Shalloboi Empty Bottle, 9:30 PM

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