• Alessandro Simonetti
  • EMA

With the end of Riot Fest, the summer music-festival season comes to a close. But you’d be crazy to think that live music around town would just stop. Tonight, Australian slacker-rock band Scott & Charlene’s Wedding play for free at the Empty Bottle. On Tue 9/15, veteran soul singer Lee Fields will be at the Bottle, while Ed Sheeran plays at Allstate Arena. And on Wed 9/17, Fay headlines a show at the Empty Bottle with a ton of local support, including Touched by Ghoul, Brian Case, Matt Jencik, and more.

Check out some other top picks for this week, and be sure to listen to our weekly “Best shows to see” Spotify playlist, below.

Mon 9/15: Skygreen Leopards at Hideout

Bay Area psych-folk duo Skygreen Leopards play at the Hideout tonight. About their new record, Family Crimes, Peter Margasak says, “the harmonizing of their frail voices evokes Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth’s ragged singing in the Jacobites, but where that band seemed entranced by the Faces, Skygreen Leopards love the Byrds—in ‘Mascara Priscilla’ they sing, ‘I’m all right with the Christian life,’ an obvious nod to the Louvin Brothers song ‘Christian Life,’ which the Byrds cover on Sweetheart of the Rodeo. The duo’s customary rough edges are still in place on the new record too—it sounds like an informal porch session that just happens to include drums and keyboards.”

Tue 9/16: EMA at Chicago Theatre

The Future’s Void, the second full-length from EMA, is brooding and prophetic, its vast sound as bottomless as the future. Erika M. Anderson’s vocals often seethe within towering walls of high-octane noise and dark, industrial folk—the raw rhythms and feverish ravings of ‘Neuromancer,’ for instance, recall Michael Gira’s most ethereal moments,” writes Kevin Warwick. “But for every ‘Neuromancer’ there’s a ‘When She Comes,’ which drapes Anderson’s airy vocals over a cozy, dreamy four-chord acoustic-guitar line and ends with the words ‘It’s not too long we’re in this world / So what’d you even come here for.'”

Wed 9/17: Meshell Ndegeocello at Thalia Hall

“Whether despite or because of her sui generis talent, bassist and songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello sometimes seemed to be getting in her own way in the 90s, trying on so many ideas that she seemed to lack an identity—and it hardly helped that she changed direction (jazz, funk, rock, soul) with every record,” says Peter Margasak. “Over the past five years, though, she’s seemed to settle into herself; she no longer relies on intense displays of virtuosity, and she’s more willing to sit back and let the messages in her music do their own talking. Her new album, Comet, Come to Me, is as technically accomplished as anything she’s done, but it foregrounds the sensuality and grace of the performances. A cover of the Whodini rap classic ‘Friends’ features a spindly constellation of acoustic guitar and layers of gut-rumbling low end (agile electric bass from regular collaborator Chris Bruce and hefty synth bass from guest Amp Fiddler), and it flows naturally into the seductive ballad ‘Tom,’ with luminescent guitar lines from blues-rock veteran Doyle Bramhall and heartbroken lyrics from Ndegeocello.”