cstewart goodyear Pianist Stewart Goodyear describes his early fascination with classical music as a form of rebellion–his Trinidadian and British parents preferred calypso and rock. The 29-year-old Toronto native has made a career of musical exploration, establishing a broad repertoire that includes some of his own compositions. He typically improvises the cadenzas during his concerto performances, a practice he traces back to Christmas parties at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music, where he was challenged to improvise on carols in the style of composers from Mozart to Messiaen. For this concert he joins the Grant Park Orchestra, conducted by Hugh Wolff, in Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F Major–not as pungent as its more famous predecessor, Rhapsody in Blue, but still unmistakably Gershwin. The program opens with Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony: very good middle Beethoven that has suffered the misfortune of coming between the Third and Fifth symphonies. Wolff also conducts the sunny, exuberant Symphony no. 5 (“Joyous”) by George Antheil, a composer he has championed. See also Saturday. a 6:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan, 312-742-7638. F A –Steve Langendorf
cDANIEL LEVIN Daniel Levin’s recordings offer an incomplete accounting of his versatility. On the cellist’s two albums as a leader, both with a quartet including vibes, trumpet, and bass, the music can be intense, despite its chamber-jazz restraint, but the instrumentation lends itself best to carefully woven melodies and fine gradations of texture. Levin appears on three discs as a sideman, most notably Sounds (Clean Feed) by free-jazz-friendly alto saxist Rob Brown–but Brown recruited him to help explore a “quieter, more exotic” idiom. Levin can be aggressive, though: in the unnamed, unrecorded trio playing here this weekend, with Brown and local drummer Tim Daisy (in a spot previously held by Gerald Cleaver), he draws on the earthy, adventurous 70s music of Henry Threadgill’s trio Air and cellist Abdul Wadud, an invaluable foil to Arthur Blythe and Julius Hemphill. Levin is the group’s main writer but not its front man–he functions more like a bassist, anchoring Brown’s free-jazz acrobatics. The trio’s two sets may also include tunes by Brown and Daisy and some fully improvised material. Brown also plays the Pitchfork Music Festival (see page 2) on Saturday as part of the William Parker Quartet. a 11 PM, Heaven Gallery, 1550 N. Milwaukee, second floor, 773-342-4597, $5 suggested donation. A –Bill Meyer
c spoon Although they started out more than a decade ago as a capable, Pixies-like guitar band, Spoon didn’t get good until 2001’s Girls Can Tell, where they added piano and traded some grit for hooks. They didn’t get great until 2005’s near-perfect Gimme Fiction, which bent 70s-ish pop melodies to fit the melancholy avant-garde aesthetic of front man and mastermind Britt Daniel, scattering bursts of noise and ragged crooning over mechanical beats and swooning pianos. Their kick-ass new Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge) ups both the experimental and pop tendencies. The abstract “The Ghost of You Lingers”–just vocals and a fast staccato piano line that recalls either house or classical music, depending on which angle you’re coming at it from–somehow sits comfortably next to the horn-enhanced retro stomper “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb.” It’s like Daniel couldn’t decide whether he wanted to be Brian Eno or Billy Joel and figured he’d just do both. The result of his artistic bipolarity is more than merely interesting–it’s utterly compelling and catchy. Chin Up Chin Up opens. a 11 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, sold out. — Miles Raymer
CALLE 13 This Puerto Rican act seems determined to refute the charge that all reggaeton sounds the same. On the duo’s recent second album, Residente o Visitante (it means “resident or visitor,” but those are also the MCs’ names), they spice up their playful and frequently racy rhymes with ingredients gathered from all over Latin America: the Bajofondo Tango Club adds elegance to “Tango del Pecado,” “Pal Norte” gets a taste of trova from the Cuban hip-hop group Orishas, tough cumbia grooves propel “La Cumbia de los Aburridos,” and “Un Beso de Desayuno” gets an unlikely hint of electro-bossa. Even when that trademark reggaeton beat disappears momentarily in the overall rhythmic swirl, the fusion is so vibrant and natural-sounding you hardly notice. a 7 PM, Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee, 312-559-1212, $25. A –Peter Margasak
cCHROMEO The first few times I heard Chromeo I didn’t like them much; something about their retro electro-funk style struck me as a little too ironic. But after I saw them live my mind was changed completely–bands that don’t respect their material simply can’t rock it that hard. Chromeo’s jams are double cheesy, the sort of gleefully nasty pop Prince would bust out after he’d had one too many Frankie Beverly records, but you won’t catch these guys winking. Their forthcoming full-length, Fancy Footwork (Vice), is a delirium-inducing slurry of vocodered vocals, synthesized cowbell, and mildly suggestive lyrics, and the title track has already conquered dance floors all over the place. They may not take themselves seriously–the dude who wears the Wayfarers sometimes likes to shred and the dude on the talk box dresses like a thug–but that doesn’t mean the shit’s not real. This is night two of the Empty Bottle’s “We © Chicago” weekend; Flosstradamus and Vyle open. Advance tickets are sold out, but a limited number will be available at the door. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $12. –Miles Raymer
frisbie Frisbie is one of those potentially great bands held back by bad luck and bad timing. After their 2000 debut they lost their momentum in a flurry of personal problems, and New Debut (Appendix), their first studio effort in seven years, has all the energy of a redeemed sinner eager for a second chance. Original members Liam Davis and Steve Frisbie, who both sing and play guitar, have recruited a couple new musicians and written a glorious batch of power-pop songs. Despite hints of self–sabotage–“S.F.B.,” the catchiest track, won’t get radio play thanks to lines like “You’re so fucking beautiful / I can’t be in a room with you”–the new disc bodes well for the band’s resurrection. This is a release party, and Pitchfork attendees get in free. Dolly Varden and DJ Billy O open. a 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $12, $10 in advance. –Monica Kendrick
cstewart goodyear See Friday. a 7:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan, 312-742-7638. F A
PROFESSOR MURDER, OXFORD COLLAPSE See today’s entry in the Pitchfork Music Festival guide, page 2. The Narrator (under the pseudonym “Reveals Tracklist, Talks Tour”) opens; Bobby Burg of Make Believe and the Walk This Way DJs spin. a 9 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $10.
ZE RENATO For roughly 30 years Brazilian songwriter Ze Renato has played a refined blend of samba, bossa nova, and the catchall style called MPB, blatantly aiming for grown-up ears. A longtime member of the popular group Boca Livre, he’s done his best work on his own albums. The most recent, 2004’s Minha Praia (Biscoito Fino), includes new versions of old tunes, songs of his he hadn’t previously recorded (such as “Anima,” written with and recorded by Milton Nascimento), and material written with contemporaries like Arnaldo Antunes but never before released. Renato’s crystalline voice is smooth and graceful well into its upper register, and he’s a nimble, sweet-toned guitarist. While his music can sound extremely slick at times, that shouldn’t be a problem here: for his first American solo tour he’s fronting a stripped-down trio. a 10:30 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $12, $10 in advance. –Peter Margasak
Slint See entry under Friday in the Pitchfork Music Festival guide, page 2. Minnow opens. a 11 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $25.
The Twilight Sad See today’s entry in the Pitchfork Music Festival guide, page 2. Sparrow House opens. a 11 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10, $5 for the first 100 Pitchfork attendees.
cVALET Honey Owens has been part of the experimental-music scene in Portland, Oregon, for more than a decade now, but she isn’t too well-known outside it for anything besides her stints in Jackie-O Motherfucker. Blood Is Clean (Kranky), her debut under the name Valet-, could easily change that. She chops quiet drones and blasts of noise into bite-size pieces that owe as much to IDM as they do to burnout blues. The title track perfectly captures Owens’s subtle ferocity: she sings with a creepy sort of sangfroid, like a Stepford wife waxing mystic, as a train whistle blows in the distance and another layer of vocals rises up to ooh along. Then she lets loose with three minutes of hot-lava psych-damage guitar scuzz, a shredding SOS from the ghost world. Valet opens for Good Stuff House and Mise en Abyme. See also Sunday. a 8 PM, South Union Arts, 1352 S. Union, southunionarts.com, $10 suggested donation. A –Jessica Hopper
john doe band On his seventh solo album, A Year in the Wilderness (Yep Roc), the former X front man delivers more grizzled country rock with elegiac grandeur. Doe has a gift for melody and, like any country singer worth his grit, tells familiar tales with a fresh twist. The ghostly lover in the motel room, the jewel that’s the heart, the lonesome train journey–you’ve heard these yarns before, but not the way Doe spins ’em. Jill Sobule, Aimee Mann, and Kathleen Edwards pitch in for some poignant duets. Doe also plays with Exene Cervenka (who cowrote “Darling Underdog”), Dave Alvin, and the rest of the Knitters on Saturday at the Chicago Folk & Roots Festival; see guide on page 34. Dead Rock West and the August open. a 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $15. –Monica Kendrick
The Field See today’s entry in the Pitchfork Music Festival guide, page 2. Chris Widman and James Lauer open. a 10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-4140 or 312-559-1212, $5.
cGOGOL BORDELLO A few weeks ago The Colbert Report did a segment about civic-minded volunteers in Arizona who were building their own fence along the Mexican border. I like to imagine one of those xenophobic spoilsports stuck at a Gogol Bordello show, slouching against the wall with a tumbler of scotch while everybody else dances like they’re on fire. This family-size New York band, fronted by the explosively charismatic Eugene Hutz, is a wild-ass celebration of immigrant culture that proposes an unstable common ground between Gypsy music and other archetypally marginalized genres like punk and dub. No one’s shut out of this party: “Harem in Tuscany (Taranta),” from the new Super Taranta! (Side One Dummy), careens from Italian folk to flamenco to traditional Ukrainian dance music, and Hutz often slips into a kind of transatlantic patois. (“Was your grandma anti-anti? / Was your grandpa panty-panty?” he asks cryptically on “Super Theory of Super Everything.”) Their raucous, postmodern circus of a stage show is equally disrespectful of borders–the ones between performer and audience, between playing and dancing, and sometimes between showmanship and self–destruction. a 7 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $20. A –J. Niimi
cValet See Saturday. Members of Deerhunter, who play the Pitchfork Music Festival today (see page 2), open with a DJ set. a 10 PM, Danny’s, 1951 W. Dickens, 773-489-6457. F
MAXIMO PARK The biggest thing Maximo Park have going for them on Our Earthly Pleasures (Warp) is their economical songwriting, comparable to Paul Weller’s in the Jam–like a good mod band, they don’t beat around the bush, instead compressing their ideas into dense, unfussy packages. Not that they have all that many ideas: their lyrics seem to have originated inside an SSRI fog, and they partake in the long Brit alt-rock tradition of exalting the mundane. (“The pounding rain continued its big fall,” Paul Smith sings in “Books From Boxes.”) Occasional bits are catchy, like the guitar refrain in “Karaoke Plays,” but by and large these brisk tunes cohere by virtue of momentum rather than ingenuity. Monsters Are Waiting and the Oohlas open. a 8 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $15, $12 in advance. –J. Niimi
WEEDEATER The last album from these North Carolina hell-raisers (led by bassist “Dixie” Dave Collins, of Buzzov*en and Bongzilla fame) was 2002’s Sixteen Tons; the title pays homage to the ultimate working-class anthem and hints at the heftiness of the band’s sound, and I’d wager it’s also the total weight of their controlled-substance ration during the sessions. They haven’t undergone much aesthetic drift since: their SXSW set in 2003 reportedly melted laminates 50 yards away, and the forthcoming God Luck and Good Speed (Southern Lord), recorded to the exacting standards of Steve Albini at Electrical Audio, depicts pretty much the same sludgy, shambling hulk of eldritch horror we’ve come to expect from Weedeater–except at very, very high resolution. Minsk and Lair of the Minotaur open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600. F –Monica Kendrick
cMIRAH Last year’s double disc of dance remixes was hit-or-miss, but Olympia-based songstress Mirah is back to form with Share This Place: Songs and Observations (K Records), due out later this month. Conceived as the soundtrack to a series of animated shorts by filmmaker Britta Johnson, it’s a swoony collection of bedroom orchestrals with Spanish guitar flourishes, featuring nimble bass and cello work by Lori Goldston and Lyle Hanson (billed here as Spectratone International). As always, Mirah has an easy way with big words and bookworm concepts, draping them in layers of soft charm. The album opener, “Community,” includes lines like “The sum of all / All of us all / Outweighs humanity’s obstinacies”; it’s armchair sociology with a hint of entomology (the lyrics were partially inspired by French scientist and poet Jean-Henri Fabre), but Mirah’s voice is so sweet you’d swear she’s singing about true love. Laura Veirs opens. a 9:30 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $13. A –Jessica Hopper
Comas These Chapel Hill fixtures have survived a short but tumultuous affair with a major and front man Andy Herod’s breakup with a Dawson’s Creek starlet without outgrowing their innocent power-pop sound. Their latest, Spells (Vagrant), sets guy-girl vocals over swelling organ and spurts of guitar, but even at their most rockin’, they still sound spaced-out and dreamy. The slight variations in tone and tempo are pleasant, like shifting summer clouds–but sometimes you need a burst of rain. Great Northern and the Electric Shoes open. a 8:30 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $10, 18+. –Monica Kendrick-
cDJ DOLORES & APARELHAGEM Few musicians mix traditional song forms with contemporary sounds better than Helder Aragao, aka DJ Dolores. A native of Recife in Brazil’s musically rich northeast, he has a deep understanding of the regional styles he incorporates on his most recent album, Aparelhagem (Crammed Discs, 2005). The spontaneous rhythms and cadences of embolada, an improvised form akin to rap, are surrounded by wiggy postsurf guitar, slinky trombone, and booming electronic beats on “De Dar Do,” while the sentimental working-class pop form known as brega is wedded to houselike grooves on “Sanidade.” Aragao is also a savvy talent scout, employing an impressive cast of musicians that includes guitarist Fernando Catatau (Cidadao Instigado), members of Nacao Zumbi, and the frevo brass band Orquesta Popular da Bomba do Hemeterio. For this show he’ll be joined by two horn players from OPBH, guitarist Gabriel Oliveira, and singer Isaar Franca, a former member of Comadre Florzinha who recently released an excellent solo album, Azul Claro. Shirley Vieira and Edilson Lima will give Brazilian funk-style dance lessons an hour and a half before the show, part of the city’s SummerDance series. Aragao also spins solo July 20 at Sonotheque. a 7:30 PM, Spirit of Music Garden, Grant Park, 601 S. Michigan, 312-742-4007. F A –Peter Margasak