This is your guide to catching the best live music both in the city and throughout the suburbs. This week, Mastodon decimates Uptown, Ray Davies works out the kinks at the Chicago Theatre, Judas Priest rides into northwest Indiana and Paul Simon attempts to show that, at 70, he is indeed still crazy after all these years. All of this plus much more...
In The City…
Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials (9:30PM Friday 11/11/11 and Saturday 11/12 at Rosa’s Lounge. $15, 21+) - Ear splittingly loud slide guitar in an intimate blues club. Does it get any better than that to start the weekend?
Skrillex (7:30PM Friday and 8PM Saturday at the Congress Theater. $25, 17+) – Having worked on remixes with the likes of Lady Gaga and Snoop Doog, the DJ now brings his brand of electro and samples to the Congress stage.
The John Scofield Quartet with The Ravi Coltrane Trio (8PM Friday at Symphony Center. $26-52, All ages) - One of the most respected guitarists in jazz, Scofield has recorded with everyone from Chet Baker, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis to Mavis Staples, Dr. John and Warren Haynes. John's Coltrane's son, 46 year old saxophonist Ravi Coltrane opens.
Mastodon (7PM Friday at the Riviera Theatre. $36, All ages) – Dillinger Escape Plan and Red Fang open. Touring in support of September's The Hunter, one of metal's finest could really be playing a much larger place (afterall, in March they released their first live album Live at The Aragon recorded right here in Chicago at the much larger Aragon Ballroom). I hope you're off Saturday morning. You'll need some time to recover from this one. See you there.
Meat Puppets (9PM Friday at Double Door. $15, 21+) - The Blackbox Revelation and The Sweeps open. Yes, the nineties alt heroes are still around! Yes, both Cris and Curt Kirkwood are still in the band! Yes, they have a new album (Lollipop was released in April)! Any more questions? Good. Go see this!
Patrick Stump (7PM Friday at Metro. $24, All ages) – Rockie Fresh and Mark Rose open. The former Fall Out Boy frontman is in the midst of an image change as he supports his debut solo album Soul Punk. Don't expect to hear Fall Out Boy's pop-punk emo stylings as Stump tries to refashion himself as a pop star with funk/soul roots. Not that that's a bad thing... Just... Different.
Ray Davies (7:30PM Friday at the Chicago Theatre. $52-93, All ages) - While fans of The Kinks seem to salivate non-stop at the far fetched idea of a Kinks reunion, for now they'll have to just be satisfied with Davies' solo tours. Having released three well received solo albums in the past five years, Davies is certainly at no shortage of great material. Hear's to hoping he busts out "Waterloo Sunset."
David Sedaris (8PM Saturday at the Auditorium Theatre. $53-68, All ages) - The humorous short story writer, spoken word artist and frequent NPR contributor is back in the country for a rare tour. He's a funny guy. So, go. Laugh.
Mike Doughty and His Band Fantastic (9PM Saturday at House of Blues. $25, 17+) – MoonHooch opens. I caught the former Soul Coughing frontman here in July and was impressed indeed by His Band Fantastic. Expect great repartee between Doughty and bassist/cellist Scrap Livingston. In the live setting, Doughty performs hits like "27 Jennifers," "Busting Up a Starbucks," and "Looking at the World From the Bottom of the Well" in a variety of ways like solo acoustic, full band and just vocal/guitar/cello for a witty, engaging and fun live show.
Bell X1 (8PM Sunday 11/13 at Lincoln Hall. $18, 21+) - Favourite Sons open. Ireland's second favorite rock band melds melodic pop hooks with electronic elements that Snow Patrol seems pretty fond of. The melodies, not to mention the soothing voice of singer Paul Noonan, sounded great when I saw them last October acoustic at Schubas. You, however, can catch them plugged in this weekend. Bloodless Coup was released in April.
Adema (8PM Sunday at Elbo Room. $15, 21+) - MisMatch, Divyded, Emisis and Munger open. A melodic, hard-rock band that features the half brother of Korn's Jonathan Davis on vocals. Two area appearances in fairly small venues this weekend.
Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors with vocals by Dave Brock (6:30PM Sunday at Congress Theater. $30-85. All ages) - Remember when Manzarek and Krieger tried to tour with Stewart Copeland instead of John Densmore on drums as "The Doors of the 21st Century" a few years back? Well, that debacle fell apart amongst bickering and lawsuits, hence the billing change above. But apparently Densmore and the boys have sorted out some of their problems as he has allegedly collaborated with the band on what Manzarek has dubbed "the first new Doors track of the 21st century." The trio worked with Skrillex on that track for a forthcoming documentary called RE:GENERATION. Did you notice above that Skrillex is performing at the Congress on Friday and Saturday while Manzarek and Krieger play there on Sunday? See where I'm going with this? Regardless, Densmore will likely not be in attendance. Oh, and Jim Morrison probably won't be either so Dave Brock will be handling lead vocals. Not unlike Journey, Manzarek and Krieger discovered Brock while he was singing with a Doors cover band. This could be a trainwreck. Please report back if you are in attendance as I am highly curious. Thanks.
In The Suburbs…
Local H (10:15PM Friday 11/11/11 at Viper Alley in Lincolnshire. $15-35 with tables of 8 for $480, 21+. And 10PM Saturday 11/12 at Q Billiards in Darien. $10, 21+) - One of alternative rock's more underrated acts. Presumably touring in support of the April release of Icon - The Island Years (a compilation of some of the biggest hits, along with some rarities and b-sides, that the band recorded while with major label Island Records) the Chicago power duo is a true tour de force live.
Sonny Landreth (8PM Friday at SPACE in Evanston. $27-46, 21+. And Saturday at 8PM is SOLD OUT) - Lurrie Bell opens on Friday. Paul Cebar opens on Saturday. Southern slide guitar at it's finest in one of the area's coolest new venues.
Adema (7PM Friday at Penny Road Pub in South Barrington. $12, 21+) - Savior Self, Shallow Side, Paragon and Persistence of Memory open. A melodic, hard-rock band that features the half brother of Korn's Jonathan Davis on vocals. Two area appearances in fairly small venues this weekend.
Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy and Black Label Society (6PM Saturday at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino Chicago in Hammond, Indiana. $55-150, 21+) - Judas Priest is in the midst of what is supposedly their farewell tour. Rob Halford still sounds great so catch them while you can. And since you'll be in Indiana, if you smoke inside the casino you won't be "Breaking the Law." Get it? Sorry. Alas, Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society is outstanding as Zakk tears off the best guitar screams in hard rock (seriously, just ask Ozzy). Thin Lizzy (what's left of it), on the other hand, really has no business touring at this point as both Phil Lynott and Gary Moore are now dead.
Robbie Fulks & The Country All-Starts (8PM Saturday at the Montrose Room at the Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont. $12-20, 21+) - Fulks performs acoustic with Mike Bubb, Robbie Gjersoe, Jenny Scheinman and Ron Spears. A little bit of Nashville makes its way to Rosemont courtesy of one of Chicago's finest singer-songwriters. Hopefully Robbie plays you some Michael Jackson covers as his heartfelt renditions are surprisingly solid.
Rusted Root (9PM Saturday at Viper Alley in Lincolnshire. $30, 21+) - Mr. Blotto opens. Come on... You remember "Send Me on My Way!" See. Caught these guys in 2010 and they were surprisingly upbeat in the live setting. Should be a fun show.
"Ricky Nelson Remembered" Featuring Matthew & Gunnar Nelson (7:30PM Saturday 11/12 is SOLD OUT. 3PM on Sunday 11/13 at the Fine and Performing Arts Center at Morraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills. $15-25, All ages) - Yep. You read that correctly. Nineties, twin brother, hair metal cheesters Nelson are covering their father's hits at a community college. Need I say more? How in the hell did this sell out? Hey, gotta make a living somehow, right? At least it doesn't cost a lot.
Everlast (8:30PM Sunday at Cubby Bear North in Lincolnshire. $18, 21+) - I've heard, but cannot confirm, that Everlast is not a terribly compelling live act these days and that he sits in a chair for most of the performance. I hope that's not true.
Suzanne Vega (Two shows at 5PM and 8PM Sunday at SPACE in Evanston. $35-65, 21+) - The singer-songwriter that did just as much to influence Lilith Fair as its founder Sarah McLachlan is in town for a pair of shows that will showcase her sweet voice and knack for haunting songs (think "Luka").
Paul Simon (7:30PM Sunday at the Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont. $63-140, All ages) - One of the all-time great singer-songwriters is going strong at seventy years of age coming off critically acclaimed shows in Chicago earlier this year at both the Chicago Theatre as well as the intimate confines of the Vic Theatre. Touring in support of his new album So Beautiful or So What, Simon is still a thrill live. And if, like me, you think this show costs entirely too much, you can take solace in the fact that WXRT (93.1FM) will be airing it live, free of charge as this week's edition of the "Sunday Night Concert."
Filed under: Weekend Music Spotlight