• Ingrid Laubrock & Tom Rainey

The Blackout, HoZac Records’ annual rockin’ blowout, returns this weekend, and I suggest preparing for it by reading our recent Artist on Artist with “Handsome Dick” Manitoba of Dictators NYC, who headline the festival Saturday. If that’s not your bag there are plenty of other shows to check out this weekend.

Tonight Idan Raichel Project performs at Auditorium Theatre while Manchester Orchestra and Balance & Composure play at House of Blues. Tomorrow Gant-Man does a noontime set at the Chicago Cultural Center and influential emo experimentalists Owls celebrate the release of their excellent second album at Subterranean. If emo is your thing head to Beat Kitchen on Saturday for a Downwrite showcase with Matt Pryor, Bob Nanna, Mark Rose, and Warren Franklin. On Sunday you can see Coffins at Reggie’s Rock Club or WZRD’s 40th Anniversary celebration at Double Door with Acid Mothers Temple, Perhaps, and Silver Abuse.

Be sure to head to Soundboard for even more music listings and read on for a few picks from Reader critics.

Thu 5/15: Avicii at Allstate Arena

“Twenty-four-year-old Swedish EDM producer Tim Bergling, aka Avicii, burst onto the pop scene in 2011 with a maximalist, arena-ready sound—and his single ‘Levels,’ a hit on several continents, propelled him so fast and so far that he was playing in actual arenas seemingly overnight,” writes Miles Raymer. “If you aren’t a DJ, and therefore haven’t spent the past two and a half years fielding nonstop requests for it in every conceivable setting, the title may not jump out at you, but you’re sure to recognize it—it’s the song that samples Etta James singing ‘I gotta good feeling’ over squiggly synths and then explodes into a Red Bull-flavored neon fireball. ‘Levels’ spits in the face of subtlety and good taste, as does Avicii’s 2013 twee-folk/EDM smashup ‘Wake Me Up!’ (which reached number 4 on Billboard‘s Hot 100), and dance-music aficionados consider Bergling an abomination.”

Fri 5/16: Ulcerate at Cobra Lounge

“This New Zealand trio released three highly buzzed-about albums on the (relatively) little Willowtip label before signing to metal giant Relapse in 2011,” writes Monica Kendrick. “Their first full-length since then, the dazzling Vermis, came out last fall, and they’re riding the PR push their new paymasters can provide. Ulcerate falls under the ‘technical death metal’ umbrella, but Vermis blends tech-death’s restless, brain-rattling energy with the dark, oppressive atmosphere of doom metal. This best-of-both-worlds approach means that the album’s spiraling, unpredictable zigs and zags take place in a setting you can practically see and feel and smell, a sort of industrialized Mordor whose thick, poisonous air torments your lungs with a sensual gravity.”

Sat 5/17: Ingrid Laubrock & Tom Rainey at Constellation

“Saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey are not only married to each other but also play in several bands together, including Laubrock’s terrific quintet Anti-House and Rainey’s trio with guitarist Mary Halvorson,” writes Peter Margasak. “They’re both key figures in New York’s improvised-music community, with reputations as daring, aggressive players, so I was surprised at first that the vibe on their first duo recording, the all-improvised And Other Desert Towns (Relative Pitch), was so often subdued. To be sure, the couple sometimes whip up thrilling friction and energy—on ‘The Lemontown Riddles,’ Laubrock launches fiery, corkscrewing alto lines as Rainey drops one fractured pattern after another—but by and large it’s a hushed, intimate affair.”