• Red Fang

Busy nights full of great shows don’t stop until we’re right up to Christmas, apparently. This week, even with the holiday right around the corner, there are huge gigs to catch every night.

Tonight in jazz, there’s Keefe Jackson Trio playing at Skylark and the Mingus Awareness Project at Martyrs’. There’s also John Tesh playing in Saint Charles, which is one you surely can’t miss. Tomorrow Wale and Meek Mill bring their hip-hop the the Aragon and the Wooten Brothers, a family of musical wizards, are playing at Reggie’s. And on Wednesday Hugh Cornwell will be playing Reggie’s while Yarn is at City Winery.

The most exciting picks of the week, however, are after the jump.

Mon 12/16: Red Fang at Logan Square Auditorium

Heavy metal band Red Fang might be best known for their beer-soaked music videos, but they kill it on record too. “A lot of people have probably heard Red Fang and just don’t realize it. Over the past three years or so, two of the band’s music videos have gone viral—’Prehistoric Dog’ off their 2008 self-titled debut and ‘Wires’ off 2011’s Murder the Mountains—earning more than 2.5 million YouTube views between them (and that’s only including the official label accounts, not the uncountable reposts),” I wrote in this week’s Soundboard. “So even if you’ve seen the boys in Red Fang crash a LARP session in homemade beer-can armor or transform a beater station wagon into a battering ram, you might not have heard a single other song from them. And that’s a shame, because they fucking rip. Red Fang play groovy post-stoner metal with plenty of massive guitars and caveman drums—a sound not too far from Doomriders or midperiod Baroness—and they steadfastly refuse to take themselves too seriously.” Fun fact: Red Fang released a new music video at the end of last week. This time it features zombies. And of course beer.

Tue 12/17: MT Coast at Empty Bottle

When Jeff Milam isn’t playing drums in one of our favorite local bands Mines, he’s creating solo soundscapes as MT Coast. Peter Margasak says, “Texas-to-Chicago transplant MT Coast swaddles the skittering ambient music on his recent instrumental album, Beach (Dismantle), with the sounds of nature, both real and synthesized: rain, crashing waves, insects, and ‘a whale with a speech impediment’ (as he told Jessica Hopper in the Trib). But while the outdoors were clearly an inspiration, he made the record in a bedroom using primitive gear and a computer. Clicks, scratches, and static puncture the music’s glassy surface, and its mesmerizing tones are often produced by harsh feedback on the brink of exploding—only the serene context prevents them from sounding violent.”

Tue 12/17 and Wed 12/18: Kanye West at United Center

Have you heard about this guy Kanye West? The Chicago native, one of hip-hop’s biggest and most controversial stars, brings his ambitious Yeezus tour to the United Center after a postponement last month. “Kanye West’s sixth solo LP, Yeezus (Roc-a-Fella), is a messy pile of contradictions: a rap record that sounds like industrial music, it vacillates between enlightened political consciousness and garish celebrity complaints, between self-aggrandizement and self-loathing, and between snarling noise and hooky pop,” says Miles Raymer. “Created with help from a broad range of collaborators, including Daft Punk, Chief Keef, Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver), and an entire squad of underground electronic musicians, it’s a harsh, sharp-edged album that inverts the sumptuous, hyperluxurious sound of his 2011 Jay Z collaboration, Watch the Throne; that prickly sound, combined with Kanye’s occasional foul-ball lyrics (‘Eatin’ Asian pussy, all I need was sweet-and-sour sauce’) has helped make it one of the most polarizing recordings in recent memory. But Yeezus’s sonic aggression makes for a bracing listen, and for all the self-absorption and self-contradiction in the self-portrait that emerges out of the chaos, it’s also a sui generis work on par with Dylan at his most turbulent.”

Tue 12/17 and Wed 12/18: DKV Trio at Hideout

Jazz heavy-hitters Hamid Drake, Kent Kessler, and Ken Vandermark make up this powerful trio. “Drummer Hamid Drake was artist in residence at this year’s Chicago Jazz Festival, and I imagine he had a difficult time choosing which of his many projects to bring onto its stages. He didn’t book the DKV Trio (Drake, bassist Kent Kessler, and reedist Ken Vandermark), but Chicagoans have been blessed with annual appearances by the group every December, when these three road dogs come home for the holidays,” says Peter Margasak. “The trio has been sporadically active over the past few years, yet even when these guys haven’t worked together for many months they can lock in at the drop of a hat, improvising over imperturbable grooves and gritty melodic motifs. The trio is in fine form on Schl8hof (Trost), a scalding live date cut at the Wels Festival in Austria in 2011: on the opening cut, a rigorous, shape-shifting 19-minute epic called ‘The Building Is on Fire,’ the group demonstrates its inexhaustible capacity to build logically developing phrases and structures from scratch without the slightest hesitation.”