VIC CHESNUTT His newest release is still 2003’s wonderful Silver Lake, but Vic Chesnutt’s long-out-of-print first four albums got the red-carpet reissue treatment earlier this year, with an abundance of bonus tracks and new liner notes by adoring fans like Ian MacKaye, filmmaker Jem Cohen, and Chesnutt’s old producer Michael Stipe. With his almost painfully naked style, he’s much in demand as a collaborator (and has done remarkable work with Widespread Panic and Lambchop), but he’s probably most riveting when he goes it alone, as he does here. Carter Little opens. 8 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, 773-728-6000, $20, $16 seniors and kids. All ages. –Monica Kendrick
HEIRUSPECS On its new album, A Tiger Dancing (Razor & Tie), Minnesota’s premier hip-hop band jettisons the horns, downplays the guitars, and more strongly emphasizes keyboardist dVRG’s gauzy washes, a decision that might have resulted in a CD of pretentious atmospherics–and another dispiriting victory for the Roy Ayers wing of funk revisionism. But Heiruspecs’s drummer, Peter Leggett, never lets the music stray very far, and his clutter-free attack highlights his taut interplay with supremely melodic bassist Sean “Twinkie Jiggles” McPherson. Heiruspecs has regularly performed with Slug from Atmosphere, and A Tiger Dancing shows how much the Twin Cities rap icon has influenced the jocular interplay between MCs Felix and Muad’Dib. But even the Saint Paul unit’s most consistent recording barely hints at the energy of their live show, where the MCs truly preside as ace masters of ceremonies and the keyboards never just simmer if they can rise to a full boil. Abstract Giants, POS, and Bad News Jones open. 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-777-8932, $10 in advance, $12 at the door, 18+. –Keith Harris
BOB PAISLEY & THE SOUTHERN GRASS Although his name scarcely appears in most histories of bluegrass, 73-year-old singer and guitarist Bob Paisley has kept pace with the genre’s luminaries. Born in the North Carolina mountains but raised in southeastern Pennsylvania, Paisley began playing guitar as a child, absorbing the old-timey music his parents loved as well as the early country music he caught on the radio. Thanks to a full complement of fluent pickers and a two-guitar lineup (Paisley’s son Danny plays the other one), the Southern Grass has a fierce rhythmic drive, but Paisley’s deeply soulful singing is still the center of attention. His music has the controlled recklessness that distinguished the earliest country and bluegrass, so whether he’s pleading for love or asserting his own his tone is always feverish. For the American Legion Hall show the opening act is Stamen Gardzhev, a Bulgarian transplant to Chicago who plays a goatskin bagpipe called a gadje. The Harold Washington Library concert is free. 12:15 PM, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State, 312-747-4300. Also 8 PM, American Legion Hall, 1030 Central, Evanston, 847-573-0443, $15 requested donation, $10 for those 16 and under. –Peter Margasak
PLASTICENE Improviser, composer, and instrument inventor Eric Leonardson has been performing locally since the 1980s without ever catching much of the spotlight that’s followed younger experimentalists like TV Pow. That’s probably because his most frequent gig, as musician and sound designer for the highly physical performance ensemble Plasticene, keeps him off to one side of the stage. Leonardson’s even less visible than usual in the troupe’s new production, The Perimeter, but his music is in the thick of the action. Instead of accompanying the show with instrumental playing or prepared tapes, he and Robb Drinkwater (his colleague on the SAIC sound faculty) have embedded a network of sensors throughout the set that enables the performers to trigger natural and processed sounds from Leonardson’s laptop. 8 PM, Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, 312-409-0400, $15-$20, $10 rush tickets available to students an hour before showtime. The Perimeter opens Thursday, October 28, and will be performed five times a week through Sunday, November 21. See also Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday. All ages. –Bill Meyer
ALASDAIR ROBERTS Will Oldham’s Palace Records released the first single from the Scottish band Appendix Out in 1996, and the relationship’s continued: Oldham has also produced Appendix Out front man Alasdair Roberts’s latest solo album, scheduled for an early 2005 release. Roberts usually aims to create off-kilter versions of traditional folk, but You Need Not Braid Your Hair for Me–I Have Not Come A-Wooing (Drag City) consists of unadulterated early British ballads. Roberts and Appendix Out play often in the UK and Europe, but U.S. appearances are fairly rare. Plush headlines (see the Meter); By Lightning to the Womb and Drag City DJs open. 10 PM, Open End Gallery, 2000 W. Fulton, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $10 in advance, $12 at the door. All ages. –Monica Kendrick
NRBQ This cult band’s cult band is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year with its first live DVD, which captures a 1989 concert, and its first studio album since 1999, Dummy (Edisun). Fans have joined the festivities too: The Q People: A Tribute to NRBQ (Spirithouse), released in March, features covers by heavy hitters like Yo La Tengo, Steve Earle, Los Lobos, and Ron Sexsmith. I know you have to see NRBQ live to understand the cult, but even on record the band’s unpretentiousness communicates an appealing generosity of spirit. Their rolling, tuneful American pub rock, inflected with classic R & B, comes from a simple world where to “Do the Primal Thing” is good, “Misguided Missiles” are bad, and songs have exactly as many notes as they need–no more, no less. Los Straitjackets open. 10 PM, FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn, 708-788-2118 or 312-559-1212, $15. –Monica Kendrick
PLASTICENE See Friday. The troupe performs The Perimeter, a theater piece featuring live electronic sound designed by Eric Leonardson and Robb Drinkwater. 8 and 10:30 PM, Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, 312-409-0400, $15-$20, $10 rush tickets available to students an hour before showtime. All ages.
THE GOBLINS’ MONSTER PARTY! The next project from the mask-wearing punk pranksters who brought you “Blood Drinkers” and “Teabaggin'” will apparently be a children’s record. While I’m not sure that’s what the local scene’s been waiting for, it’s certainly welcome news for those parents worried about their offspring growing up insipid from overexposure to standard kids’ fare, and there’s a good chance trick-or-treaters will get a preview of the material at tonight’s event. (There are also reports that Chic-a-Go-Go’s puppet cohost, Ratso, might do something special for an adult audience–I don’t think I want to devote too much of my imagination to that idea.) Watchers and Terror at the Opera open. 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $8. At 2 PM the Goblins play an all-ages kids’ show at the Bottle, presented by Chic-a-Go-Go. The Hoyle Brothers open; donation requested. –Monica Kendrick
PLASTICENE See Friday. The troupe performs The Perimeter, a theater piece featuring live electronic sound designed by Eric Leonardson and Robb Drinkwater. 7 PM, Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, 312-409-0400, $15-$20, $10 rush tickets available to students an hour before showtime. All ages.
TELEVISION POWER ELECTRIC Local experimental electronic trio TV Pow takes the name Television Power Electric when it performs and records with an expanded lineup; for this show, local collaborator Ernst Karel and Tokyo-based musician Toshimaru Nakamura join in to help celebrate the recent release of the group’s 2 (Kuro Neko Music). The music is so spare and quiet that at first it’s hard to believe it took five people to make it (the album was recorded live in late 2002 and later mixed by TV Pow’s Brent Gutzeit and Michael Hartman). But in fact it requires real discipline and listening skills to make electronic music this pure and uncluttered. If you anticipate big gestures or wild noises you’ll be disappointed, but close listeners will be rewarded with a bounty of subtly shifting textures and microscopic phrases within the album’s hear-a-pin-drop context. Opening the show is a duo of bass clarinetist Gene Coleman and Japanese guitarist Kazuhisa Uchihashi; Uchihashi may sit in with Television Power Electric as well. 8 PM, Link’s Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, 773-281-0824, $8, $5 seniors and students. All ages. –Peter Margasak
ENTRANCE Entrance’s Wandering Stranger (Fat Possum) is one of the best blues albums I’ve heard in years. Guitarist-singer Guy Blakeslee is still young–he’s 23, and this is his trio’s third release–but he sounds like he’s been playing this desperately for decades. Powered by drums, piano, and violin, Wandering Stranger’s songs won’t agree with your old blues-purist roommate: Blakeslee’s sound world makes room for young Dylan, early Velvets, and maybe even Spacemen 3 and Slint. When he pays homage to old-school howlers and crooners like Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, and Uncle Dave Macon, it doesn’t sound merely nostalgic–he channels the life in their voices and the blood on their fingers. Two songs on the album exceed ten minutes, increasing in power and intensity as they go along; a gorgeous cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “Rex’s Blues” is yet another plus. John Beasley headlines; Six Parts Seven, DJ WKK, and DJ Nikki Stix open. 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499, $5. –Monica Kendrick
Lots of parties today–see the covers of Sections 2 and 3 for what to do after you vote.
AUGIE MARCH Strange Bird (Spinart), the U.S. debut by this Australian quintet, has a musical flexibility similar to the Beatles’ and Fleetwood Mac’s studio masterpieces. Each song is a sonically distinct entity: the album accommodates the Beatles-esque “The Vineyard,” the mournful “The Night Is a Blackbird,” which sounds indebted to Sister Lovers-era Big Star, and “Song in the Key of Chance,” a relatively brawny rocker that seems to come from a parallel universe where Marc Bolan was macho. Satellite 66 and What Made Milwaukee Famous open. 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10. –Monica Kendrick
TRIPTYCH MYTH New York pianist Cooper-Moore has recorded infrequently during his 30-year career, but on the eponymous debut by Triptych Myth (Hopscotch), an equal partnership with bassist Tom Abbs and drummer Chad Taylor, more of his own aesthetic makes it to disk. The roiling clusters and splayed notes a la Cecil Taylor that he employed on earlier albums are still prevalent, but we also hear him in more measured settings; pieces like “Spatter Matter” and the ballad “Susan” prove he’s absorbed lessons in lyricism from Herbie Nichols, Herbie Hancock, and Lowell Davidson. The album also includes solo pieces by Taylor (Chad, not Cecil), who layers Zimbabwean mbira over a swirling groove on “Harare,” and Abbs, who showcases his Mingus-meets-Parker ferocity on “Raising Knox.” 7 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630. Free. –Peter Margasak
WEAKERTHANS On last year’s Reconstruction Site (Epitaph), this Canadian quartet combined flawless collegiate indie rock with a far-flung lyrical profligacy: song titles like “Plea From a Cat Named Virtute,” “Our Retired Explorer (Dines With Michel Foucault in Paris, 1961),” and “Psalm for the Elks Lodge Last Call” hint at the album’s musical sprawl. The band’s members are split between Toronto and Winnipeg; lacking a distinct music scene to call home, they seem to have created an ideal one in their heads. Piebald and the High Strung open. 7 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-252-6179, $12. All ages. –Monica Kendrick
YOWIE Yowie’s Cryptooology (Skin Graft) is a cartoonishly surreal record, with persistently boinging guitars and drums that clack on mindlessly, like windup chattering teeth. The tracks are less songs than knock-down, drag-out fights between two warring sides: when one of the two guitarists (Jeremiah Wontsewitz and Jimbo) seems to get woozy from the excitement, Defenestrator’s drums launch into an electroshock-torture twitch to fill the space. There are no lyrics and hardly any melodies here–just carve-a-maze-in-your-brain no-wave compositions that get most of the guys in the crowd excitedly pulling their beards but bore most of the girls to pieces. I won’t deny Yowie’s obvious technical talent, but their incessant noodling fucking gets on my nerves. Kabuki Mono and Kayo Dot headline, Mouth of the Architect opens. 8 PM, Bottom Lounge, 3206 N. Wilton, 773-975-0505 or 800-594-8499, $8. –Liz Armstrong
PLASTICENE See Friday. The troupe performs The Perimeter, a theater piece featuring live electronic sound designed by Eric Leonardson and Robb Drinkwater. 8 PM, Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, 312-409-0400, $15-$20, $10 rush tickets available to students an hour before showtime. All ages.
REVEREND GLASSEYE Reverend Adam F. Glasseye, former front man of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, now heads up an Americana outfit that’s conceptually based not so much on po’-but-proud sharecropping bluesmen or toothless banjo-pickin’ coal miners but on huckstering carnies and snake oil salesmen. On last year’s debut Black River Falls and the new EP Happy End and Begin (Music for Cats), Reverend Glasseye uses a quasi-musical oratory style (flavored with an occasional Jello Biafra-like vibrato) to spin shaggy-dog stories like “Spook the Turk’s Nag” and “Sins of Portsmouth.” The six-piece band, using horns, keyboards, and strings, deliberately makes the music sound half-drunkenly off. Dead Horse Hill headlines; Great Crusades and the Tallest open. 8 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-252-6179. All ages. –Monica Kendrick
TIGER LILLIES Cabaret’s early days were bawdier than you’d guess just by watching a vaguely titillating Liza Minnelli star vehicle, and the Tiger Lillies are dedicated to preserving the form’s original raunchy spirit. The veteran British trio’s lengthy discography includes a record about shady seafaring characters, an adaptation of The Threepenny Opera (theirs is Two Penny Opera–“it’s one cheaper”), and a collaboration with the late Edward Gorey, who admired their work so much he sent them some of his unpublished stories, which they later adapted. The cheerfully blasphemous attitude that drove the Tiger Lillies to create Farmyard Filth (1997), a concept album about bestiality, has naturally prompted some outrage–Australian family advocacy groups objected to their recent publicly funded performances there. But the group persists: its latest album is the self-released Punch and Judy, a song cycle that places the puppets in the midst of violent, sexual, and miscellaneously nasty shenanigans. 7 PM, Reserve Lounge, 858 W. Lake, 312-455-4111, sold-out. –Monica Kendrick