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Friday 17

DARK FOG This local quartet features guitarists Kevin Walsh and Ray Donato, cofounders of Chicago's Original Sound Recordings label--home to Buried at Sea, Behold! the Living Corpse, and Bible of the Devil, among others. Dark Fog's three-song seven-inch single on OSR is lanky, languid, and lushly murky--three thick strands of psychedelic drool that writhe like a pit of serpents. U.S. Maple headlines, and Pelican plays third; Zombi opens. 8 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-252-6179, $20. All ages. --Monica Kendrick

END OF THE WORLD CHRISTMAS PARTY This bill, assembled by the local punk label Criminal IQ, features seven bands (plus Midwest Rumble, an all-female wrestling troupe) that bear little resemblance to each other--established acts like the garagey Vee Dee and the heavy Manaconda share the stage with up-and-comers like No Slogan, a south-side Latino band playing early-80s-style punk. Galactic Inmate, which unites ex-Hamicks bassist Arman Mabry and members of 36 Invisibles, haven't released an album yet, but two tracks on a sampler the label sent me verge on hot-and-heavy space-truckin' psych-metal, which fits their taste in song titles ("Belt Buckle of Power," "Too Much Johnson"). Eske, Shot Baker, and Infected also perform. 8:30 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-777-8932, $8 in advance, $10 at the door, 18+. --Monica Kendrick

STRUTS With Kelly Hogan focusing on her jazz-pop combo the Wooden Leg and Nora O'Connor plugging her surprisingly assured country-folk debut album Til the Dawn (Bloodshot), Struts gigs have been less frequent this year. But the group, which also features guitarist Andy Hopkins, has reconvened for the holidays, and their brand of dance-party R & B and quirkily arranged covers--like AC/DC songs done up Stax-style--should be a welcome treat. 10 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, $7 suggested donation. --Bob Mehr

Saturday 18

HAMID DRAKE & MICHAEL ZERANG Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang conceived their first winter solstice concert in 1990 as a spiritual celebration that wasn't tethered to any one religious tradition. The performance has the contour of ritual, though, and 14 years later their annual morning concerts have become traditions themselves. Drake and Zerang start off playing hand percussion by candlelight and move on to work with a vast multicultural array of drums, bells, and gongs before settling behind their drum kits. They then bring the show to a climax as fiery as the free jazz they've played with the likes of Ken Vandermark and Peter Brotzmann--before falling silent just as the dawn light streams through the windows. Drake also performs Friday, December 17, at the Velvet Lounge with Ernest Dawkins, Fred Anderson, and Darins Savage; see listings for more information. 6 AM, Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, 773-871-5318 or 773-281-0824, $15. See also Sunday and Monday. --Bill Meyer

WILL HOGE With originals like "Hey Mr. President (Anyone but You)" and a cover of "The Times They Are a-Changin'," Nashville's Will Hoge makes his political stance as clear as it gets on his self-released The America EP. There's nothing in Hoge's gruff, well-worn-blue-jeans heartland rock that'll make you set aside your copy of Nebraska, but it's good to see that even thoroughly committed (musical) middle-of-the-roaders aren't letting fresh dust accumulate on their recently repolished Vietnam-era sentiments. Burn Rome Burn and Dave Tamkin open. 10 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $10 in advance, $12 at the door. --Monica Kendrick

LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR This local trio released their full-length debut, Carnage (Southern Lord), in September, and it's a monolithic motherfucker--thick, chewy metal flavored with doom and thrash but with zero patience for anything that isn't dense as a brown dwarf star and heavy as a whole planet. As on their previous releases, mythological themes dominate, and songs like "Caravan of Blood Soaked Kentauroi" and "Carnage Fucking Carnage" explicitly spell out their violent proclivities--which makes me think they're probably the nicest guys you could ever meet. If the Dimebag Darrell tragedy teaches us anything, it's that the frustrated wannabes are the ones who are truly dangerous. Yakuza headlines, Minsk opens. 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $8. --Monica Kendrick

OSUNLADE One of the most prolific producers and remixers of deep house music, Osunlade brings a strong African vibe to much of his work. He's released a long string of singles for a variety of labels--including Yoruba, which he founded--but he's made only one all-original CD, Paradigm (2001), where you can hear the influence of 70s soul, funk, jazz fusion, and Latin rhythms. His comfort with nonhouse idioms has made him a favorite of international acts, and he's radically tweaked music by the likes of Salif Keita, Cesaria Evora, and Astor Piazzolla; the recent The Yoruba Soul Mixes (Rapster) collects some of that work. He performs tonight with a five-piece band as part of the multiarts Live Festival, which also features Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio (with guest violinist Billy Bang) and DJs Josh Deep and Andy Williams. 9 PM, River East Art Center, 455 E. Illinois, 312-755-2737, $20. --Peter Margasak

PARTS & LABOR Maybe you're at the point where hearing even one more shimmering art-rock band will push you over the edge and make you chuck your favoritest Black Dice CD. But rest assured: even though the New York trio Parts & Labor uses a swarm of dreamy, gnarly guitar textures, its music is different from anything you've heard before. The jackrabbit drums sound like they're humping the electric-can-opener bass, which growls and wobbles like it's strung as loose as a hammock; sometimes the onslaught of the rhythm section stops for a moment, yielding to broken-glass guitar that glitters like light hitting an ocean wave. This is a show for people who prefer their crust thick, without a lot of cheese. Pterodactyl and NineteenEightyThousand open. 10 PM, Camp Gay, $5 suggested donation. For directions to the show, e-mail --Liz Armstrong

Sunday 19

HAMID DRAKE & MICHAEL ZERANG See Saturday. 6 AM, Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, 773-871-5318 or 773-281-0824, $15.

Monday 20

HAMID DRAKE & MICHAEL ZERANG See Saturday. 6 AM, Link's Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, 773-871-5318 or 773-281-0824, $15.

PERFECT PANTHER, THE NARRATOR Perfect Panther is a local trio of some promise--they certainly have a way with waves of pealing, chiming guitars and the lightly lugubrious violin line. The Narrator's EP Youth City Fire (Flameshovel) lulls you into letting your guard down with jagged no-wave noise before it wallops you with a drive-by fusillade of pop--a nice inversion of the usual cliche. Tim Kinsella's latest band, the Make Believe, headlines. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600. Free. --Monica Kendrick

Tuesday 21

LITTLE MAN On Big Rock, the self-released second album from this Saint Paul trio, ex-Chicagoan Chris Perricelli and company sound like they're pushing their heartfelt, early-70s-smart-rock sound just a little too hard, so the songs come off as shrill. But anyone willing to invest in multiple listenings will hear some promising range and sweetness that's waiting to be better carved out. Dirty Things headline; Eighth Grade and Mr. Tumnus open. 9 PM, Subterranean Cafe & Cabaret, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $5. --Monica Kendrick

KEVIN SPACEY During an embarrassingly ill-conceived televised tribute to John Lennon in 2001, host Kevin Spacey surprised the audience with a brassy, bravura version of "Mind Games" that announced his deep-burning musical aspirations. The actor is currently on tour promoting the music of 50s teen idol Bobby Darin, in part to plug Beyond the Sea, his new biopic of the ill-fated singer. This show doesn't have the car-crash potential of recent attempts by other thespians turned singers like Minnie Driver or Russell Crowe; a gifted mimic, Spacey doesn't sing Darin's songs so much as inhabit his entire persona, letting his acting chops cover any vocal shortcomings. But at 35 bucks a pop this gig's strictly for stargazers and Darin fanatics. 7:30 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $35, sold out. --Bob Mehr

Wednesday 22

BLUE MEANIES These reuniting neo-ska "legends," who broke up in 2001, aren't has-beens so much as might-have-beens, and as a reminder of their potential Thick Records is reissuing their 1997 album Full Throttle in February with additional tracks. It's a lively and diverse album that's held up very well, but that's not surprising--they sounded like they were plucked out of time in the first place. Cougars open; the Tossers play second. See also Thursday. 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $15. --Monica Kendrick

Thursday 23

BLUE MEANIES, METHADONES Fronted by Dan Schafer, late of Screeching Weasel and the Queers, the Methadones recently released their third album, Not Economically Viable (Thick), one of the tightest, most rock-solid discs of post-Ramones melodic punk I've heard in years. The Meanies (see Wednesday) headline; also on the bill are MU330 and the New Black. At 10 PM, Smart Bar hosts a free 21+ afterparty featuring DJs from the Blue Meanies and other Thick Records bands. 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $15. All ages. --Monica Kendrick

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