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Friday 30

GO-GO'S What's most remarkable about the Go-Go's touring on the 25th anniversary of Beauty and the Beat isn't that they're still around 25 years later (if mostly confined to the casino/Six Flags circuit), but that in that time only one other group of women who actually played instruments--the Bangles--have achieved anything like their full-on mainstream success. Live, the Go-Go's remain as much fun as you might hope, or imagine: MILF-punks kicking out pop gems, undulled by age. a 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, sold out. --Jessica Hopper

CHRIS MILLS Former Chicagoan and current New Yorker Chris Mills is still touring behind last year's The Wall to Wall Sessions (Ernest Jenning Record Co.), on which he forsook his usual brand of weepy alt-country for more ambitious orch pop. The opus has scored him some high-profile slots opening for the likes of Aimee Mann and Ben Folds; he'll test out a batch of new songs at this solo show. Detroit fuzz-rock trio I, Crime opens. 10:30 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10. --Bob Mehr

PLAGUE BRINGER This local duo, spearheaded by Greg Ratajczak, is part of a growing faction: metal bands with drum machines. Some might call this cheating, or at least a bad idea; others argue that it's the next logical step. It's a valid question--which is more badass, the flesh-and-blood ubermensch or the evil machine--but like the relative merits of pirates and ninjas, it may never be convincingly settled. Maybe it doesn't have to be. Plague Bringer's debut, As the Ghosts Collect, the Corpses Rest. (Lo-Fi Violence), is a proud bastard child, merging a sense of extremity worthy of the Japanese noise movement with a theatrical flair that reminds me more of hard industrial music than anything else. Indian headlines, Raise the Red Lantern plays second, and Plague Bringer opens; this show is a benefit for the Anti-Cruelty Society. 9 PM, the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-0011, $8. --Monica Kendrick

TAKING BACK SUNDAY The video for Taking Back Sunday's 2002 single "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut From the Team)"--a Fight Club takeoff in which guitarist Fred Mascherino is beat to a bloody, smiling pulp by a roomful of hotties wearing tight wifebeaters--still stands as the best example of emo's pathological self-obsession and lurking misogyny. But Adam Lazarra nearly matches that feat with his girl-threatening lyrics and hysterical shrieks on "MakeDamnSure," the first single from the band's new album, Louder Now (Warner Brothers). Angels & Airwaves, Head Automatica, and the Subways open. 6:30 PM, Charter One Pavilion, Northerly Island at Burnham Harbor, 312-540-2000 or 312-559-1212, $25.50. All ages. --Miles Raymer

Saturday 1

CHEB I SABBAH Last year San Francisco producer/DJ Cheb I Sabbah released his best album, La Kahena, a digitally assembled patchwork that showed his command of disparate sounds from Morocco, his native Algeria, and the Sahara. The best producers on the new La Kahena remix album, La Ghriba (Six Degrees), are North Africans like the members of Moroccan hip-hop group Fnaire, who add swift Arabic rapping, but too many participants water down the tracks with bland house beats and numbing loops. Expect something more kaleidoscopic from Sabbah on the decks. Bombay Beatbox with VJ Stoptime341 opens. 10 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $15 in advance, $20 at the door. --Peter Margasak

FINAL FANTASY He Poos Clouds (Tomlab) is the second album by Final Fantasy--aka Owen Pallett, violinist and string arranger for the Arcade Fire. On last year's debut, Has a Good Home, he focused on solo violin and the wonders of the loop pedal, but he assembled an ensemble for the new one, and though the sound is less introverted it's no less wiggy. Hints of stories drift through his discombobulated lyrics, and wisps of melody--from piano, harpsichord, and string quartet--meander around each other like elegant strangers at a cocktail party. It's an oddly beautiful record that disguises itself as a featherlight trifle. Alex Lukashevsky and Baby & Hide open. 8 PM, Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N. Broadway, 773-472-3492, $10. All ages. --Monica Kendrick

MINISTRY You can't accuse Al Jourgensen of false humility: the bio for Ministry's new album, Rio Grande Blood (13th Planet/Megaforce), reads, "If 9/11 was the Reichstag fire, then Rio Grande Blood is D-day." Laden with martial metaphors, the album never wavers from its mission: focused, intense, unrelenting Bush hating. It's as if all those anonymous, villainous yous on The Land of Rape and Honey and The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste finally have a face. The Revolting Cocks and Pitbull Daycare open. See also Sunday. 6:30 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $38.50 in advance, $40 at the door. All ages. --Monica Kendrick

NINE INCH NAILS, BAUHAUS In the space of about three months back in the early 90s, Trent Reznor went from opening for Peter Murphy to having Peter Murphy open for him, a true passing of the guttering goth-rock torch. Nowadays they're both in full-on "elder statesman" mode, though Trent's been doing his best to keep up with the kids--witness the online-remix arm of the With Teeth project and his predilection for fashionable opening acts like Death From Above 1979. Bauhaus, for their part, are reportedly playing several bona fide new songs this time around. So expect something old, something new, and--as Reznor's latest recruit is Peaches--something relatively young and hot. Nine Inch Nails headlines, Bauhaus plays second, and Peaches opens. 7 PM, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, I-80 & Harlem, Tinley Park, 708-614-1616 or 312-559-1212, $20 lawn (buy three get one free), $28.50-$47.50 pavilion. All ages. --Brian Nemtusak

Sunday 2

JAMES HUNTER On his delightful third album (and U.S. debut), People Gonna Talk (Go/Rounder), British soul man James Hunter artfully evokes the glory days of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Arthur Alexander, Bobby "Blue" Bland, and early James Brown. He has a scrappy yet easygoing voice, and producer Liam Watson (White Stripes, Holly Golightly) frames it in spare arrangements that emphasize the singer's stinging guitar lines. The songs practically erase the decades between soul's heyday and today, but Hunter also makes rocksteady grooves and the dynamics of dub part of the mix. Hunter was discovered by Van Morrison in the early 90s, but he's more direct and unembroidered than Morrison in his singing, making every line count with his canny phrasing--some careful repetition, a bit of rhythmic variation, a well-placed growl. Los Lonely Boys headline. 7 PM, Pavilion, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay & Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park, 847-266-5100, $45, $15 lawn. All ages. --Peter Margasak

MINISTRY See Saturday. The Revolting Cocks and Pitbull Daycare open. 6:30 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, sold out. All ages.

NILS PETTER MOLVAER This Norwegian trumpeter has remained a staunch believer in jazz electronica since his debut for ECM back in 1997, diligently smothering his horn in digital effects and burying it under drum 'n' bass grooves. Prior to reissuing some of Molvaer's later European releases, Thirsty Ear has collected tracks from them on the new An American Compilation; there's more than a little late-period Miles Davis in the brooding, atmospheric lines, but this music just hovers like a slow-moving cloud--it's important-sounding fluff. This is Molvaer's Chicago debut; Frank Rosaly opens. 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8. --Peter Margasak

Monday 3

TRAGICALLY HIP We have R.E.M., Ireland has U2, and Canada has its eternally beloved Tragically Hip. I used to hope that Athens's most famous landlords (and to a lesser extent the Dublin boyos) would follow a career path more like that of Ontario's finest: no pop experiments in Marshall-stack excess, no winking embrace of "selling out," no swapping out musicians (or just guitar) in favor of machines in the ill-founded spirit of "reinvention," "growing," or other such nonsense. Last year's four-disc retrospective, Hipeponymous (Universal Music), was a long time coming, and it's a great distillation of the band's forte: hypercatchy, at worst hyperpleasant, alt guitar rock. Plus it's beautifully packaged--a clothbound book of collages provides apt visual accompaniment to Gordon Downie's workaday lyrics. 8 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, sold out. --J. Niimi

Wednesday 5

RICHARD SWIFT & THE SONS OF NATIONAL FREEDOM LA songsmith Richard Swift made a splash last year with The Collection Vol. 1 (Secretly Canadian), an audacious combined reissue of two self-released albums. Taken together, the discs present Swift as a literate, Dylan-influenced lyricist who's prone to Tin Pan Alley detours--an aesthetic not unlike that of left-field songwriters like Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks, and Jimmy Webb. He arrives here fresh off a series of dates with the Walkmen, and he'll preview songs from his forthcoming album, Dressed Up for the Letdown. Talkdemonic and Kissing Cousins open. 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8. --Bob Mehr

Thursday 6

PRIESTESS Montreal was bound to spawn a band like this sooner or later: the more arch and artsy the indie scene, the more shameless its underbelly of gut rockers. The cover of Priestess's first record, Hello Master (RCA), looks like it was swiped from a mid-80s Dio disc, but thankfully that's not false advertising. There's no ironic hipster winking in the music: the guitar solo on "Lay Down" sounds ripped clean from Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, for heaven's sake. Priestess proudly invokes the magical era before hair metal or the thrash backlash it kicked off, when hard rock was still blues based and heroic. And had plenty of cowbell. Bible of the Devil headlines; the Resinators and Blackmaker open. 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $8. --Monica Kendrick

SKA CUBANO The name pretty much says it all: on its new album, Ay Caramba! (Cumbancha), this British combo weds the loping rhythms of ska to the clave grooves of Cuban son. (There's some Colombian cumbia too, but just a pinch.) The disc's liner notes explain that the group is imagining what might've happened if Jamaica and Cuba had developed closer ties, but the sound is more pomo pastiche than organic synthesis. The music's fun, and Cuban singer Beny Billy brings some authority to it, but ultimately it feels like a trifle. Mambo lessons begin at 6 PM. 7:30 PM, Spirit of Music Garden, Grant Park, 601 S. Michigan, 312-742-4007. Free. All ages. --Peter Margasak

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