• Underoath

This weekend the Tomorrow Never Knows festival (which kicked off on Wednesday) hits full swing, with an impressive variety of indie rock, pop, R&B, dance music, and comedy at six venues. Tonight a live version of the Low Times music podcast (hosted by Tom Scharpling of the Best Show on WFMU, Daniel Ralston, and Maggie Serota) comes to the Hideout, with guests alleged to include Steve Albini and Richard Marx. Also tonight but at Schubas is a concert by buzzed-about Florida postpunks Merchandise, who come especially recommended by Kevin Warwick.

Reader writers also weighed in on Hundred Waters (opening for Freelance Whales on Sat 1/19 at Lincoln Hall) and the Black Madonna (who plays Sat 1/19 at the Hideout, after a non-TNK show at Smart Bar), and they’ve only scratched the surface of the fest: just for starters, Ssion’s set opening for Niki & the Dove (Fri 1/18 at Lincoln Hall) is sure to be ridiculously fabulous and fabulously ridiculous, and King Dude (opening for Chelsea Wolfe at Schubas on Sat 1/19) turns up in In Rotation this week as one of the picks by Alma Negra guitarist and front woman Erin Page.

Of course, even in January one festival can’t monopolize all the good concerts happening in Chicago, and as always we’ve got more for you on our Soundboard page. Highlights after the jump:

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.