World Music Festival starts today. Riot Fest kicks off tomorrow. The Reader put together comprehensive guides for both eye-grabbing musical bashes, so read our previews for World Music Festival and Riot Fest if you plan on attending either (or both). Besides those two big events are a mess of other concerts worthy of your time.
Tonight Future and a slew of Chicago up-and-comers hit UIC Forum and Bear in Heaven headline Lincoln Hall. Tomorrow night Gel Set plays Township and Beach Slang drop by Beat Kitchen. On Saturday Maceo Parker performs at The Promontory and Reptar and Whitegold party down at Schubas. On Sunday you can see Califone and S. Carey at Lincoln Hall or Robert Glasper Trio at Jazz Showcase.
Comb through Soundboard for all the weekend’s concerts and read on for a few picks from Reader critics. Be sure to listen to our weekly “Best shows to see” Spotify playlist at the end of this post (and follow us on Spotify).
“Psychedelic garage rock is reaching a saturation point, and not just because Ty Segall releases four records a year and Thee Oh Sees go through so many highly publicized breakups and reunions that it’s no use counting them,” writes Luca Cimarusti. “But if you think you can’t stomach another reverb-soaked guitar lick, the Blind Shake will smash that preconception—along with everything else in their path. This Minneapolis band recently caught the attention of Thee Oh Sees’ Jon Dwyer, whose Castle Face Records released their 2013 LP Key to a False Door. The album’s hypnotic, outer-space garage stomp sounds almost robotic—imagine a more tightly wound Coachwhips or a circuit-fried Devo on hyperdrive.”
“On its self-titled debut, released by Cuneiform earlier this year, improvising trio Thumbscrew achieves a remarkable balance, its tightly knotted figures and puzzle-piece constructions remaining surprisingly lucid,” writes Peter Margasak. “The group is a leaderless collective, consisting of guitarist Mary Halvorson, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara (agile, omnivorous New Yorkers who also work together in many other contexts) as well as veteran Baltimore-based bassist Michael Formanek, who has a dark, woody tone and an ear for zigzagging shapes that he perfected in Bloodcount with saxophonist Tim Berne in the 90s. Each musician contributes three pieces to the album, but their transparent arrangements don’t spotlight their respective authors—instead the music’s constantly shifting focus creates an ensemble aesthetic. Most of the improvisation is embedded within sturdy forms, alternately asymmetric and foursquare, and each player either deviates from the script—with asides, displacements, or scrabbly blurts—or closely follows notations that change from bar to bar.”
When it comes to Seattle’s scene I’d prefer to forget that rapper whose name starts with an “M” and ends with “acklemore” and focus on the talented folks pushing hip-hop in all sorts of directions: “Some of them pump warmth into cold beats (Blue Sky Black Death, Key Nyata), while others unshackle the darkest demons of their ids (Nacho Picasso), freak the funk out (Thee Satisfaction), or get super smoove ‘n’ sexy (Sax G). At the forefront of this crowd are Shabazz Palaces, an experimental Afrocentric collective led by Ishmael Butler, aka Butterfly from Digable Planets. Their recent sophomore album, Lese Majesty (Sub Pop), expands the intergalactic funk universe of 2010’s Black Upthe new LP is longer and stranger, and the songs are thoroughly immersive, though Butler and crew don’t seem to care whether any of their choruses ‘bang.’ The album flows like a perfectly sequenced mixtape, with every track in the exact right place, reliant on what comes before and after; it has a serene, cosmic ambience, with songs that float through the stars on gentle flurries of synths and rippling echo-treated vocals.”