This summer's festival schedule started with the frisson of a behind-the-scenes flap: Most of the credit for the success of last year's inaugural Intonation Music Festival went to its curators at Pitchfork Media, not to organizer Mike Reed and the events-planning and publicity company Skyline Chicago, who got the whole thing off the ground. So when Skyline announced they'd be parting ways with Pitchfork (and Reed) and picking a different curator for each subsequent festival, it surprised just about everyone--including Pitchfork's staff. Skyline hired Vice magazine to curate the Intonation fest in June, and the first Pitchfork Music Festival follows this weekend, also in Union Park.
The lineup for Pitchfork is heavier on established indie-rock acts (and lighter on hip-hop, metal, and Boredoms) than Intonation. But the 41 artists on the bill--with an average Pitchfork rating of 7.6--span a range of styles, from the indie pop of Yo La Tengo to the backpacker rap of Aesop Rock to the kitchen-sink tropicalia of the reunited Os Mutantes. In addition to the two main stages, Aluminum and Connector, there's a smaller side stage booked by the local PR firm Biz 3, and the festival features a variety of attractions to supplement the live music, including the WLUW Record Fair, a market for handmade clothing and accessories organized by the DEPART-ment collective, the American Poster Institute's Flatstock 9 convention, and about two dozen other vendors and sponsors, including Whole Foods, eMusic, and the Reader.
The two main gates, both on Ashland between Washington and Lake, open each day at noon. Sunday passes and $30 two-day passes are sold out, but some $20 Saturday passes are still available, either through pitchforkmusicfestival.com or the festival box office, which is at the Page Brothers Building (191 N. State) through July 28 and then moves to the festival grounds, where it opens at 10 AM both days. The concerts are all-ages, and children under ten (accompanied by an adult) get in free. Reentry is prohibited, as are professional cameras, audio recording devices, weapons, and all outside food and beverage (except sealed bottled water). Folding chairs are permitted, and a guarded lot will be available for bike parking. Unlike Pitchfork itself, the festival will be accessible without Internet access, and concertgoers would do well to leave their laptops at home.
Pitchfork is sponsoring a number of off-site activities before, during, and after the festival. Events this weekend include screenings of D.A. Pennebaker's 1973 David Bowie concert film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars at the Gene Siskel Film Center, a lunchtime tribute to Curtis Mayfield on Friday at the Chicago Cultural Center with Abraham Levitan of Baby Teeth, Nora O'Connor, and others, a poster exhibit at the Page Brothers Building, and an
official prefestival concert at the Metro with Wolf Parade side project Sunset Rubdown, Voxtrot (see the Treatment), the Joggers, and comedians Eugene Mirman, Todd Barry (see Comedy Critic's Choice in Section 2), and Aziz Ansari. On Saturday and Sunday nights, festivalgoers can get into shows at the Empty Bottle, the Metro, Schubas, the Hideout, or Martyrs' for free, either by presenting their two-day pass or surrendering that day's ticket stub. --Miles Raymer
By Keith Harris (KH), Jessica Hopper (JH), Monica Kendrick (MK), Peter Margasak (PM), Bob Mehr (BM), Bill Meyer (BiM), J. Niimi (JN), and Miles Raymer (MR)
Pitchfork's guide was circulated as in insert in this week's paper. Here's our own take on the festival.
Biz 3 Stage
1:00 8 Bold Souls
Led for more than two decades by Edward Wilkerson Jr., one of Chicago's greatest tenor saxophonists, this excellent octet takes a page from Henry Threadgill and refracts its elegant arrangements, reminiscent of Ellington or Mingus, through a modern avant-garde prism; the sophisticated contrapuntal writing provides a lush setting for the soloists' wide-ranging improvisations. PM
This dynamic DJ duo has built a rabid following in Chicago in what seems like no time, both with their monthly parties at the Town Hall Pub and assorted freelance gigs. It's totally warranted, though--their sets speak a lingua franca that bridges boomin' systems, club gangers, and MP3-blog nerdery, perfectly balancing tracks you'd never expect with exactly what you need and guaranteeing that the Flosstrafaithful will be bouncin' till last call. JH
Also tonight at Sonotheque; see the Treatment for details.
2:50 Chicago Underground Duo
Neither cornetist and electronicist Rob Mazurek nor percussionist Chad Taylor live in Chicago anymore, but at least the "underground" part of their duo's name is still justified: their latest album, In Praise of Shadows (Thrill Jockey), finds the hidden connections between lyrical free jazz, minimalist composition, and pure-sound exploration. BiM
Also Monday, July 31, at DANK Haus (as the Chicago Underground Trio) and Wednesday, August 2, at the Empty Bottle; see the Treatment for details.
3:45 Tyondai Braxton
A key member of angular art-rock quartet Battles, Tyondai Braxton also records under his own name, spilling over boundaries with the irrepressible spirit of his father Anthony: he weaves electronic mosaics, singer-songwriter incantations, grandiose prog rock, and Technicolor noise into an appealing tangle. I don't always get it right away, but it makes me want to keep trying. PM
4:30 Ghislain Poirier
This Montreal producer's latest, Breakupdown (Chocolate Industries), slithers into the cracks between hip-hop, electronica, dancehall, and a half-dozen other beat-driven forms. Guest MCs like Beans and Omnikrom make charismatic cameos, but Poirier's brilliant, bass-heavy tracks don't need their help--he can find the funk in numbingly dense patterns of splintery rhythms and noisy, fog-draped samples. PM
Also Tuesday, August 1, at Gallery 37; see the Treatment for details.
5:25 Spank Rock
Spank Rock's full-length debut, Yoyoyoyoyo (Big Dada), puts the "ass" in "bass"--a steamy, stanky mix of techno, Baltimore house, and old-school hip-hop with seriously X-rated lyrics, it'll make your subwoofers dance like Yosemite Sam's shooting at them. If you've somehow missed the party album of the summer, hey, there's still half a summer left--to get up to speed, start with the new video for "Rick Rubin" on YouTube. And be sure to practice the official Spank Rock party maneuver, the ACT ("Air Cock Thrust"), before today's set: for pointers visit aircockthrust.com, where you can also upload video of your own ACT. JN
I can't think of anyone else who could get away with combining abstract musical portraits of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Larry Levan, Patricia Highsmith, and Valerie Solanas on a single album, but this San Francisco duo pulls it off with panache on the recent The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast (Matador). As usual the complex rhythms and elastic melodies are constructed from a combination of electronic sounds and manipulated samples, and this time artists like Maja Ratjke, the Kronos Quartet, and Zeena Parkins make live contributions as well. Some of the samples seem gimmicky--on "Germs Burn for Darby Crash" you can hear what's supposedly band member Drew Daniel screaming while Don Bolles of the Germs puts out a cigarette on his wrist, and "Public Sex for Boyd McDonald" includes recordings of "anonymous sex acts made surreptitiously at Blow Buddies in San Francisco during International Bear Weekend," according to the liner notes--but the album's rescued from mere cleverness by its musicality and stylistic range. PM
7:40 Matthew Dear
Electro darling Matthew Dear has a big heap of alter egos, one for each of his ideas, and lately he's been getting the most attention for his ouchy techno releases as Audion. (The most recent is a split remix EP with Ellen Allien.) Here Dear will DJ under his own name, which means minimal, modest, house-inflected tracks, not the acidic abrasiveness and chingy 909s of his Audion sets. JH
Turntablists are like the Yngwie Malmsteens of the 21st century: self-indulgent and technical for technicality's sake, they're boring as hell to anyone outside their cult of slobbering fan boys. Maybe the lone exception is A-Trak, whose nearly inhuman feats of manual dexterity actually produce something funky and--oh my god--fun. MR
Also tonight at Sonotheque and Tuesday, August 1, at Gallery 37; see the Treatment for details.
1:00 Hot Machines
This local garage-rock supergroup--cofronted by Jered Gummere of the Ponys and Miss Alex White and propelled by drummer Matt Williams of LiveFastDie and the late, lamented Baseball Furies--is a bit of a tease: all three members are so busy with their main bands that the Hot Machines rarely play live, and even after four years the group's total recorded output consists of two seven-inches and a compilation track. The absence of a full-length is all the more painful because those seven-inches--one released last year by Cass Records, the label run by Dirtbombs drummer Ben Blackwell, the other out this winter on Dusty Medical, run by Mistreaters guitarist Kevin Meyer--are bona fide scorchers. But early next year Dusty Medical is supposed to release a live album of the band's second show, recorded at the Beat Kitchen in 2002. Cross your fingers. BM a Aluminum Stage
1:30 Chin Up Chin Up
The hit-and-run death of bassist Chris Saathoff in early 2004 could've derailed this fledgling local postrock combo, but instead they chose to finish their full-length debut, We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers (Flameshovel), recording around the tracks Saathoff had already laid down. Now with the Narrator's Jesse Woghin on bass, they've signed with Seattle indie Suicide Squeeze, and their forthcoming second album, This Harness Can't Ride Anything (due in October), adds a bit of rock crunch to the band's dreamy, melancholy sound. BM a Connector Stage
2:00 Man Man
A year ago nobody knew the indie scene was nursing a mean thirst for woozy, boozy cabaret, but Man Man--currently on top of Philadelphia's weirdos-with-facial-hair heap--has earned quite a rep for slaking it. High on theatrics and God knows what else, they make music that's like nothing this side of variety night in the personality-disorder wing. MR a Aluminum Stage
2:35 Band of Horses
Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke, both vets of the beloved Seattle band Carissa's Wierd, open up that group's melancholy pop sound in their new project--there's a touch of Neil Young in the rambly song structures and fusillades of filigreed electric guitar. Band of Horses' recent full-length debut, Everything All the Time (Sub Pop), has attracted such a sticky mess of adoring press that I hesitate to add to it--except to say that after I first played the album it didn't leave my CD changer for days, and I discovered that it had a brooding, perfectly turned lyric or shimmering spurt of guitar to suit every possible flicker of mood and weather. MK a Connector Stage
3:30 Mountain Goats
John Darnielle has concentrated quietly and steadily on the development of his gift across a raft of albums--were he a writer, this most literary of indie stars would be the sort to find himself on a Nobel short list in his gray-haired glory days. On the forthcoming Get Lonely (4AD), the follow-up to last year's devastating The Sunset Tree, he augments his desperate-but-dignified vocals and tense guitar with a small ensemble, which creates comforting oases of sound on the long road back from heartbreak. MK a Aluminum Stage
Destroyer, aka Vancouver singer-songwriter Dan Bejar, makes mesmerizing glam folk that balances Bowie-esque musical perversity with lyrics that could be the work of a tweed-jacketed English professor. Earlier this year he put out Destroyer's Rubies (Merge), his seventh and finest album under that name, distilling and combining the best elements of the previous LPs--the cryptic imagery of Streethawk: A Seduction, the gritty guitar of This Night, the high narrative drama of Your Blues. BM a Connector Stage
5:10 Art Brut
These proud purveyors of rudimentary fun-time postpunk tacked a couple duds onto the overdue U.S. release of Bang Bang Rock & Roll (Downtown). But the third bonus track, the adorable "Maternity Ward" (a gaggle of newborns turns front man Eddie Argos from glum to giddy), not only makes it sound like the band might have a bright future--it kinda makes you want to feel hope for your own again. KH a Aluminum Stage
Also Friday, July 28, at the Empty Bottle; see the Treatment for details.
6:10 Ted Leo + Pharmacists
East coast pop-punk idol Ted Leo has been delivering the goods for more than a decade in influential but underappreciated combos like Citizens Arrest, Chisel, and the Sin Eaters, but he's been on the roll of a lifetime since forming the Pharmacists in the late 90s. On albums like 2001's The Tyranny of Distance and 2003's Hearts of Oak, he merges the anthemic spirit and ideological lyrics of the Clash with an ear for melody worthy of songsmiths like Neil Finn and Chris Difford, cementing his place in the indie-rock firmament. Leo's fifth LP (and his first for Touch and Go) is due early next year, and his Pitchfork set will include a handful of new songs. BM a Connector Stage
There's something about the Walkmen's anxious, romantic indie rock that's decadent in its too-muchness, like forgoing an entree and filling your plate with dark chocolate mousse instead. On the band's latest, A Hundred Miles Off (Record Collection), that feeling starts just a few minutes in--when the horns and piano come in on "Louisiana," it's like a blinding shaft of southern sun piercing the curtains of a dark, manky Manhattan art-student pad. It actually almost hurts--and from that point on the album adds eloquent insult to exquisite injury till all you can do is lie there, blissed out as a gourmand in the grip of a food coma, and watch it all unfold beautifully in front of you. MK a Aluminum Stage
Though the Futureheads were properly acknowledged as the cream of the recent crop of XTC clones, like so many other successful spazzes they've matured before their time, slowing down and sobering up. The deliberate pace of the new News and Tributes (Star Time International/Vagrant) places an undue strain on their tunesmanship, but cuts like "Yes/No" and "Skip to the End" hold up nonetheless. KH a Connector Stage
9:10 Silver Jews
David Berman, poet and sole constant member of the Silver Jews, reminds me of Jesus. When biblical scholars study noncanonical gospels, trying to separate the real Jesus lines from the fakes, they look for pithy puzzles that speak to an absolute truth. Berman's lyrics, unmatched in both their literacy and their dry humor, are much the same: with lines like "When you are 15 / You want to dress poor," for instance, he pierces the voluntary amnesia that's part of our diaspora into adulthood. On his latest, 2005's Tanglewood Numbers (Drag City)--a comeback on the order of Dylan's Blood on the Tracks--Berman is possessed of a heretofore unseen intensity, perhaps due to the desperation that comes with his newfound sobriety. "Punks in the Beerlight" and "Sometimes a Pony Gets Depressed" are among his best songs, and when he sings about smoking the gel off a fentanyl patch or likens his life to a K-hole, the flat melancholy of his voice convinces you he's seen the other side--and makes you grateful he's made it back. JH a Aluminum Stage
Biz 3 Stage
1:00 Jeff Parker-Nels Cline Quartet
Led by two excellent jazz guitarists best known as members of rock bands (Jeff Parker is in Tortoise, Nels Cline in Wilco) and rounded out by bassist Nate McBride and drummer Frank Rosaly, this quartet will reprise the material it played in its live debut last December--an interpretation of the classic Paul Bley-John Gilmore album Turning Point. PM
1:55 Bonde do Role
Philadelphia DJ and producer Diplo was the first to sort through the thousands of jams cranked out by Rio de Janeiro's funk-carioca scene, and by collecting the best of them on a pair of compilations he's almost single-handedly turned the grimy, simplistic music--imagine a combo of Miami bass beats, hyperactive MCing, and blatantly plagiaristic sampling--into a stateside sensation. Bonde do Role, the first Brazilian signing to his new Mad Decent label, tweaks the genre to appeal to the basest of instincts: they nick AC/DC riffs and melodies from Grease, conduct inept Portuguese-language sing-alongs to Manfred Mann tunes, and rap raunchy lyrics like "I was at a party / And I saw a whore / I put my tongue into her asshole / And my tongue came out all dirty." A tad disposable, sure, but completely irresistible. PM
Also tonight at Smart Bar; see the Treatment for details.
This coed Brazilian combo's fresh new debut, Cansei de Ser Sexy (Sub Pop), sounds like what might happen if a bunch of friends picked up instruments they didn't know how to play and set out to make the most ultrafun party-punk record of the year--and as it turns out, that's basically how it went down. They're like a somehow-even-sassier Romeo Void, dishing out simple, candy-sweet hooks and lyrics with a message you might be able to make out if you could stop jumping around. MR
Last year's Hell's Winter (Definitive Jux) was a dark and paranoid hip-hop autobiography, steeped in the pain of addiction and the overwhelming horror of American life, and it established Cage as the most thoroughly fucked-up of the Tortured White Rappers. Who else would go to Yo La Tengo's James McNew for their beats but a man on the brink of insanity? MR
4:30 Tarantula A.D.
Book of Sand (Kemado), the debut full-length from these New York prog rockers, is technically impressive but not particularly memorable or coherent--it comes off like overblown chamber music, alternating between heavy-metal bombast and faux-classical melodrama, and in the end it adds up to little more than a spliced-together series of florid introductions, hydroplaning interludes, and incendiary climaxes. PM
The renaissance woman of the German techno renaissance, Ada stands almost alone in her field--one of very few techno artists to perform live, she sings and plays her self-produced tracks rather than ignoring the audience and gazing into the halo of a Powerbook. On last year's "I Love Asphalt" 12-inch (Areal), which followed the acclaimed Blondie LP in 2004, her dance pop sprouts a tangle of beautiful details. JH
6:10 Glenn Kotche
Mobile (Nonesuch), the latest solo album by Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, is largely a tribute to his new label: the music is inspired by (among other things) Steve Reich's minimalist compositions and the international discoveries of Nonesuch's Explorer series (like Indonesian monkey chant and the Shona music of Zimbabwe). Using a wide array of drums, tuned percussion--mini-gamelan, vibraphone, dulcimer--and subtle electronics, Kotche crafts impressive little epics of contrapuntal rhythms that constantly superimpose and invert their melodies and grooves. Kotche's imaginative enough to do more than just imitate his models, but unlike his previous albums his personality gets swallowed up by the concept of each piece. It's an impressive piece of work, but I wish his idiosyncrasies were apparent more in the execution than the arrangements. PM
7:10 Dominik Eulberg
Though he's been making tracks for more than a decade, this German minimalist techno producer and DJ broke out in 2004 with Flora and Fauna (Traum), which folded nature sounds into robotic beatscapes--a formula that's now made him one of the genre's hottest DJs. PM
Whether they're pumping up Brazilian funk-carioca, Baltimore house, or pomo disco diva M.I.A., Diplo's DJ sets and mix tapes have helped ignite almost every ass-centric trend on the hipster dance-party scene for the past two years. It's like he has "six months into the future" in his MySpace top eight. MR
Also tonight at Smart Bar; see the Treatment for details.
1:00 Tapes 'n Tapes
This Minneapolis buzz band has just rereleased its first full-length, The Loon, on XL Recordings. It's bouncy and passionate, has heart and cleverness in equal measure, and front man Josh Grier isn't afraid to get down 'n' nerdy--he plays the diffident-and-desperate angle like David Byrne with hormones, or Jonathan Richman with a mean streak. MK a Aluminum Stage
The devil has all the good music, the saying goes, but Daniel Smith's dizzyingly eclectic family act, Danielson, claims a whole mess of stick-in-your-head tunes for the other side--its latest, Ships (Secretly Canadian), is chock-full of what would be hit singles in an alternate universe. Smith was born too late to ride around in a Jesus-movement psychedelic bus, but that just means he's not stuck in a hippie rut--he's plundered the whole past quarter century of weird-ass indie pop for his challenging confections. MK a Connector Stage
2:00 Jens Lekman
Swedish indie-pop guru Jens Lekman mostly plays melancholy music that glows like a hearth on a cold Scandinavian winter's night. But tunes like "A Sweet Summer Night on Hammer Hill"--a tribute to "Heat Wave" that Lekman claims was recently featured in a washing machine commercial without his permission--are perfect for a sun-soaked outdoor fest. JN a Aluminum Stage
2:35 The National
The National's front man, Matt Berninger, has one of those voices that's all too rare in indie rock--it's not only distinctive but distinctively good. On last year's Alligator (Beggars Banquet) he croons like an unripe Leonard Cohen over unfussy rock arrangements that sound like R.E.M. before they started buying the fancy pants. MR a Connector Stage
The Liars' latest release, Drum's Not Dead, needs a better word than album to describe it--it's an ambitious package that combines a concept record and a collection of 36 very short films, all tethered to a story that doesn't make a lot of linear sense. They've come a long way from the slightly snotty dance punk of their debut, both literally--they relocated from New York to Berlin in 2004--and sonically. On the new disc, their stiff-legged percussiveness is exponentially more sinister, fluid, and expressive--they've finally created a sound that lives up to the expansiveness of their imaginations. MK a Aluminum Stage
4:20 Aesop Rock & Mr. Lif
When the backpacker scene started gaining renown in the late 90s, Aesop Rock was hyped as one of its first MCs who'd make it to the mainstream. (This was when the idea of backpacker rap hitting it big seemed plausible.) Alas, Aesop and his eruptive rhymes have remained underground--talent isn't the problem, but the fact that he hasn't put out a full-length album since 2003 might be. His most recent output might explain his absence: The Next Best Thing is a faux children's book, with artwork by Jeremy Fish and a picture-disc seven-inch, about trying anything and everything to overcome writer's block and constantly failing. JH
Mr. Lif's new disc, Mo' Mega, is a Def Jux production to the core: the gaps between the spare, jagged beats are crammed to bursting with scrambled snippets of noise and dense, paranoid rhymes. The lyrics are typically sweeping in their political vitriol: Katrina ("The Bush administration's worth nothing / Just fuck 'em") hasn't made Lif forget Rwanda ("Fuck Clinton too"). But working in the Perceptionists, his more danceable collaboration with Fakts One and Akrobatik, may have loosened him up some--"Washitup!," his sole self-produced track on Mo' Mega, is as playful and friendly as a demand for feminine hygiene gets. When your sociopolitical outlook is this pessimistic, you've got to enjoy yourself somehow. KH a Connector Stage
5:10 Mission of Burma
It's pretty cool that Mission of Burma picked up after a 19-year hiatus without missing a beat, but what's more exciting is that they've been able to keep going without tripping up. The Obliterati (Matador), their second album since re-forming in 2002, extends their reach in several directions without sacrificing the core instability that originally made the postpunk quartet such a thrill. They still play as if the music could fly apart at any moment, and lyrically they still grapple with confusion instead of handing out pat answers--bassist Clint Conley offers brittle midlife musings on "Is This Where?" and Peter Prescott weighs in with a roaring protest anthem, "Period." But melancholy strings and stark harmonics deepen the poignancy of guitarist Roger Miller's ballad "13," and a lead-booted disco beat unlike anything in their repertoire amplifies the bleak humor and bitter disappointment on "Donna Sumeria." And thanks to the grainy, in-the-red recording--courtesy of soundman and tape-loop manipulator Bob Weston--the band hits harder than ever. BiM a Aluminum Stage
6:10 Devendra Banhart
I suspect that Devendra Banhart, being a spiritual-minded folkie, is the type who believes in destiny of some sort, and his brightest star of fortune has to be Young God Records honcho Michael Gira, who wielded a big stick in Swans before becoming a convert to speaking softly. Gira writes of Banhart: "The songs were so good in their raw state that there was no need to bolster them with sonic fluff or cheap impact." I concur, but nobody's opinion is going to stop Banhart from covering his songs in crayon and glitter--he's playful that way. MK a Connector Stage
7:10 Yo La Tengo
My relationship with Yo La Tengo has felt a bit like repeatedly falling in love with the boy next door--they're a stable presence in a chaotic world, which makes them all too easy to take for granted. But when they go on tour or put out a new album, as they will in September with I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (Matador), their rich, glorious, sad songwriting reminds you of how bleak a place Indierockistan would be without them. I admit I fall hardest for them when they display their goofy side: currently available through their Web site is Yo La Tengo Is Murdering the Classics, a compilation of their appearances at WFMU during its fund-raising drives, where they take stabs at the likes of "Raw Power," "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," and "Oh Bondage, Up Yours!" MK a Aluminum Stage
Spoon is one of the most original and consistent bands in indie rock, melting down classic rock, funk, and bits of white-boy soul into lean compositions with insanely catchy melodies, elliptical lyrics, and spare but dynamic instrumentation. I wish they put out albums more often, but being good matters more than being prolific--a year from now, when everybody starts feeling dumb for liking Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Spoon's music will still sound fresh. PM a Connector Stage
9:10 Os Mutantes
I'm usually skeptical about reunions, but this one has my mouth watering. Os Mutantes were the rock 'n' roll arm of tropicalia in the late 60s, applying the musically omnivorous template of the Brazilian movement to psychedelia; over time they morphed from concise pop rockers to a prog behemoth, but at their best they transcended genres. On its self-titled 1968 debut, the band blended twisted originals, which encompassed everything from samba to French chanson, with charismatic takes on tunes penned by Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil--the disc has the definitive versions of Veloso-Gil's concrete-poetry masterpiece "Bat Macumba" and Veloso's critique of consumer culture, "Baby." The songs were succinct and catchy to boot, and though they never matched the wiggy alloy they invented on that record, they made four more strong albums until singer Rita Lee departed in 1972, followed by Arnaldo Baptista a year later. (The version of the band that dissolved in 1978 bore little resemblance to the original.) The band's reputation surged in the 90s, when folks like Beck, Kurt Cobain, and Stereolab championed its early work, and the group agreed to reunite earlier this year for a show in London connected to the tropicalia exhibit that opened here last year at MCA. This show is one of only six U.S. performances; the lineup includes the group's two founders, brothers Sergio Dias and Arnaldo Baptista, with flexible pop singer Zelia Duncan filling in for Rita Lee. The set list concentrates on early material, and reviews of the band's London gig were overwhelmingly positive. Better late than never. PM a Aluminum Stage