The festival you’ve all been waiting for kicks off this weekend—Warped Tour! Kidding, kidding, I meant to say the Pitchfork Music Festival (be sure to read our prefest coverage). But if you want to check out the traveling punk minimall head to First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre on Saturday.
Of course there are plenty of opportunities to catch live music outside of the usual barrage of summer festivals. Tonight JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound headline Emporium and Dick Dale plays SPACE. Tomorrow night Owl Food stops by Burlington and Sewingneedle hits Quenchers Saloon. On Saturday Shoes perform at SPACE and Crosby, Stills, and Nash play Ravinia Festival. On Sunday you can see Avenged Sevenfold and Korn at First Midwest Bank Amphiteathre or Spanyurd and Den at Burlington.
Head to Soundboard to scope out all the Reader‘s concert listings and listen to our weekly “Best shows to see” playlist at the bottom of this post (and follow us on Spotify too). Read on for some more live music picks from our critics.
“The thing about guitarist Matt Pulos and drummer Evan Laffer—ahead-of-the-curve 19-year-olds from Agoura Hills, California, who play together as Dub Thompson—is that they can’t keep their genres in their pants,” writes Kevin Warwick. “Their eight-song debut, 9 Songs (Dead Oceans), is a barely structured mishmash of drug-rug psych, Krautrock, experimental noise, and dirty rock ‘n’ roll. Overseen by Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, himself an experienced space cadet, this fun but peculiar album will surely please folks entertained by intentional ‘skips’ (even on digital tracks) and carnival-music outros (the last minute of ‘Dograces’).”
“Wow, Dave Mustaine sure is an asshole, isn’t he? At a 2012 Megadeth concert in Singapore, he told the crowd that President Obama was ‘staging’ mass shootings—including those in Aurora, Colorado, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin—to help pass a gun ban,” writes Luca Cimarusti. “Only months before, he’d publicly praised Rick Santorum, claiming that the former senator—who’s so bananas conservative he opposes contraception, for fuck’s sake—has ‘some presidential qualities.’ If you like music made by assholes, though, you could do way worse than Megadeth, the pioneering thrash-metal band Mustaine formed in 1983, after being ousted from Metallica. (If you need more proof of his assholery, consider that even Lars Ulrich couldn’t stand being in a band with the guy.) Far and away the proggiest and shreddiest of the Big Four, Megadeth has made some undeniably classic records, the best of which are 1986’s Peace Sells . . . but Who’s Buying and 1990’s Rust in Peace—with their breakneck tempos and surgically precise musical acrobatics, they manage to sound fun, fresh, and hard as hell to this day. But I feel pretty safe saying that Megadeth’s newest effort, last year’s Super Collider (Tradecraft), will never be considered a classic.”
“I’ve got to salute the Donkeys for sticking to their guns: on their recent fourth album, Ride the Black Wave (Easy Sound), the San Diego foursome cleave tightly to the mellow SoCal sound they’ve been playing since day one,” writes Peter Margasak. “They’ve throttled back on the Gram Parsons worship, but they’re still all about chill, cosmic Americana-tinged rock—sometimes adulterated with silly ersatz Indian flavors (the tabla beats and tanpura drone on the bland instrumental ‘Imperial Beach’) or half-baked Hawaiian pop (the washed-out ‘Brown Eyed Lady,’ which has nothing to do with the Terry Callier song).”
“Some improvisers love to make their instruments speak in tongues utterly unrelated to their conventional vocabularies,” writes Bill Meyer. “New York-based cellist Daniel Levin works well with such folks—especially trumpeter Nate Wooley, a member of Levin’s well-documented quartet—but he’s not one of them. His ringing double stops, stark pizzicato gestures, and swooping bowed phrases will never make you think you’re hearing anything other than a cello. He’s a commanding presence, whether he’s playing bold, lyrical lines in front of a jazz rhythm section, carefully plotted polyphonic excursions with his relatively abstract quartet, or spontaneous bursts of dark, woody sound on his solo CD Inner Landscape (Clean Feed). Levin used to hold a de facto residency here every summer, and he’s played with many of the city’s best improvisers over the years; this month is the first time he’s performed in Chicago since 2011, though, and this Sunday will be his first trio date with veteran ARP synthesizer player Jim Baker and drummer Frank Rosaly.”