Last fall Chicago drone explorers Bitchin Bajas released a cassette of synthesizer-only Sun Ra covers called Switched on Ra (Drag City). The trio of Cooper Crain, Rob Frye, and Dan Quinlivan combine feel-good vibes with versatility and flexibility—they’ve shape-shifted into a free-jazz-inspired combo on Frye’s 2021 solo LP, Exoplanet (Astral Spirits), and leaned into their over-the-top glam-pop side on 2020’s Jacqueline (Drag City), the second album Haley Fohr of Circuit des Yeux released as her Jackie Lynn alter ego. It was inevitable that they’d eventually get around to paying homage to the ultimate uplifting sonic experimenter. Though Bitchin Bajas sharpened up their Ra set live during a short European tour in April 2022, up till now they’ve only performed the material once in town—in October 2021 at the Hungry Brain. According to Crain, this is the last scheduled performance of the Switched on Ra material, which makes this show unmissable for serious fans, heads, rockers, jazz freaks, and curiosity seekers.
Bitchin Bajas Opener TBD. Fri 8/19, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, $15, $13 in advance, 21+