The 36th annual Chicago Jazz Festival kicks off at noon, which means you still have time to read our guide to the free four-day fest. If you’re looking to check out some other performances throughout the weekend, you’ve got plenty of options.
Today Iron Lung play an in-store at Saki and Fujiya & Miyagi join Chet Faker at Concord Music Hall. Tomorrow night Rakim swings by Abbey Pub and One Direction headline Soldier Field. On Saturday Disappears headline Remix Chicago on Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square and Pillars & Tongues play Experimental Sound Studio. On Sunday Monster Mike leads a strong bill of hip-hop acts at Jerry’s and Killer Moon perform at the Burlington.
Jump over to Soundboard for all our concert listings, and read on for some more picks from Reader critics. You can also find our weekly “Best shows to see” Spotify playlist at the bottom of this post (follow us on Spotify too).
“In 1992 this San Jose band helped light a fire under the infant genre of stoner rock with their second LP, Sleep’s Holy Mountain, slowing their blues-based riffs to a muddy crawl and blasting them through a wall of planet-shaking amps—it sounds like Master of Reality creeping through a thick cloud of cannabis smoke,” writes Luca Cimarusti. “Sleep’s true monument, though, was to be their next album, the heady and hypnotic Dopesmoker, whose single hour-long track traded in the heavy-bottomed boogie of Holy Mountain for massive, meditative waves of sludge—in no time at all it was enshrined as the soundtrack to dorm-room bong sessions across the country. Work on Dopesmoker began in 1995, but record-label nonsense delayed its release until 2003—even a slightly abridged version called Jerusalem didn’t see the light of day until 1999.”
Saint Paul rapper-producer Allan Kingdom hooked me a year ago: “He bends words into oddball shapes, and sometimes it sounds like the effort pushes his voice up into an endearingly silly yawp. Kyariga deftly switches up the pace of his flow midstream, and he can swiftly transition from pent-up rapping to soothing falsetto singing. He produced the majority of the 12 songs on his most recent self-released EP, the low-key Future Memoirs, and they’re exciting even at their quietest moments. On ‘Observe’ Kyariga gooses a minimalist, shimmering instrumental with the sort of stuttering percussion that’s usually deployed in gut-punching turn-up raps—a combination that helps his rapping pop, even though he’s backed down from his usual vocal athleticism in favor of nuanced shifts in tone.”
“On last year’s Small Constructions (Sunnyside), a baroque and airy duo album with Kneebody reedist Ben Wendel, pianist Dan Tepfer offers the most convincing demonstration yet of his versatility,” writes Peter Margasak. “The program mixes original material with themes by Monk, Tristano, and Handel, and the high-level interaction and easy balance of the performances make jazz, classical, and pop feel less like mutually exclusive categories than complementary choices. In most settings, though, Tepfer plays in one particular bag; on the recent First Meeting: Live in London, Volume 1 (Whirlwind), for instance, he provides crisp postbop accompaniment for Lee Konitz.”
“The conversation around current country music tends to assume that dudes with ‘chicks’ and ‘beer’ at the top of their to-do lists dominate the landscape, but the rush to cede that territory to the bros has shoved aside a few men who take breaks from partying for relatively introspective moments,” writes Maura Johnston. “Take Arizona native Dierks Bentley and his current single, ‘Drunk on a Plane,’ from his seventh album, Riser (Capitol). The tune’s title spoils much of its story, sure, but the reasons the narrator has had a few go beyond ‘because the bar cart was there,’ which gives it an aw-shucks pathos reminiscent of country’s best drinking songs. Throughout his career, Bentley has split the difference between arena-ready anthems and miniature narratives, and onstage he can turn a somber track such as the bluegrass-tinged ‘Up on the Ridge’ into something that can fill a stadium.”