• The Ox King

A couple of cross-town festivals are shaping up this week: Tomorrow Never Knows begins on Wed 1/15 with Cayucas at Lincoln Hall, the Jim Jones Revue and Minor Characters at Schubas, and an in-store at Saki with Diane Coffee. The Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival is underway as well, which features Tiny Miles & the Big Kids at Tonic Room on Tue 1/14, and the David Grisman Folkjazz Trio at City Winery on Wed 1/15 and Thu 1/16.

And as usual, there’s a big handful of other great shows to catch, too, such as Robbie Fulks tonight at the Hideout, Deftones side project Crosses at House of Blues on Tue 1/14, and Baroque Band at Symphony Center on Wed 1/15.

After the jump you can see some of our top picks, along with some coverage from our writers.

Mon 1/13: The Ox King at Empty Bottle

It’s a free night of heavy metal at the Empty Bottle, headlined by locals the Ox King. Kevin Warwick says, “‘Negative Reaction,’ the second track from the self-titled, self-released debut of local hardcore-metal punishers the Ox King, works on a couple levels. One, the opening salvo—descending in fury like a boulder tumbling down a cliff—sounds like the second coming of the riffdom laid down by early-aughts stalwarts such as Botch and Coalesce. Two, the band defies hardcore’s ham-fisted stereotypes in a couple ways: David Klingenberg’s vocals combine the usual spitting-and-screaming style with slurring 80s punk attitude, and in the breakdowns the sludgy grooves are offset by crescendos of postrock-like guitar that hover in the background.”

Mon 1/13: Jon Batiste & Stay Human at City Winery

New Orleans-bred, New York-based pianist Jon Batiste goes genre-hopping on his new release. According to Peter Margasak, “Pianist and bandleader Jon Batiste, a New Orleans native now based in New York, is a boundlessly talented prodigy, and on the recent Social Music (Razor & Tie) he seems hell-bent on showing off his range. The scion of a musical family that’s long had an outsize presence in Crescent City jazz, Batiste leads his nimble band, Stay Human, in a breathless rush through rock, soul, ragtime, gospel, jazz, folk-rock, blues, and more.”

Tue 1/14: Cloud Control at Schubas

“In an early press release, Cloud Control vocalist Heidi Lenffer wrote that the four members of this psych-tinged Australian pop-rock group had met during rehearsals of an amateur production of The Pirates of Penzance, but it’s not clear why she thought anybody would fall for that tall tale,” writes Leor Galil about the Aussie group. “It’s not as though band’s accessible, shape-shifting songs sound like Gilbert and Sullivan. Cloud Control’s 2013 album, Dream Cave (TurnOut), jumps around like a jukebox filled with pop hits dating back to the 50s that’s playing on shuffle.”