Hamid Drake (outside) and Michael Zerang (inside) Credit: Marc PoKempner

In a 2015 Reader oral history of the long-running winter solstice concerts led by drum masters Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang, critic Bill Meyer calls the annual event “an anchor, a beacon, and a seasonal tradition in its own right.” But like so many other traditions, this year’s concerts—the 30th anniversary installment—have been disrupted by COVID-19. Zerang says the duo has “pared down the proceedings” and will host only one dawn show instead of the usual three. “We will approach this concert as a sort of reflection on these 30 years, since so much of what this morning concert is about is our community and how they gather together,” he explains. “Since that can’t happen, we will pull back and reflect and look forward to when we can all gather again.” Zerang and Drake will perform at 6:30 AM on Monday, December 21, via a livestream presented by Links Hall, and that evening they’ll collaborate with bassist and guimbri player Joshua Abrams and dancer-choreographer Ayako Kato for an 8 PM livestream from Constellation. While both concerts are free to view, donations are requested.

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  • Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang livestreamed a summer solstice duo in June as part of the Quarantine Concerts series.

When the live-music world isn’t on COVID lockdown, Che Arthur fronts Chicago postpunk squad Pink Avalanche, runs live sound at several local venues, and works as a tour manager for alt-rock legend Bob Mould. Like many other industry peeps, though, he’s had a lot of spare time on his hands since March. Last month, under the name Professor Downfall, Arthur posted a pair of solo instrumental EPs to Bandcamp: he says the “weird proggy electronic posthardcore” on EADJ was “part of a batch of songs I’d been working on sporadically for a long time,” while the more piano-centric tracks on Sol “showed up in a period of about ten days this past April, and were obviously related to each other.” Both EPs should hit streaming services on Wednesday, January 6.

Gossip Wolf has long been curious about short-lived Chicago posthardcore band Cinco de Gatos, who contributed tracks to a few mid-90s punk comps before disappearing. Last month the band released a “lost” album called Epiphany Wants to Come Home that they’d recorded at Steve Albini’s house in 1995—and as it turns out, they’ve also reunited! Two 90s members, bassist Jason Dummeldinger and singer-guitarist Jonathan Scott (also of Doleful Lions), recruited two new members, guitarist Rob Scott and drummer Jerry King, to play a four-song set at GMan in January. “That went really well, and we decided we could do this as a band again,” Dummeldinger says. On Saturday, December 19, Cinco de Gatos debut new material on Jason Zdora’s JZTV, a livestream concert series celebrating underground Chicago bands.  v

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