cDADDY YANKEE Puerto Rican reggaeton star Daddy Yankee made his name weaving gangsta iconography into street-smart Spanish raps, and he’s rarely strayed far from that formula. On the recent El Cartel: The Big Boss (El Cartel/Interscope), though, he does his best to reach across the language barrier. Yankee’s famous enough at this point to attract major American producers like Scott Storch and, and he mixes things up with more bilingual rhymes and more cameos by hip-hop and R & B stars. But while El Cartel has a few straight-up descents into hip-hop, not to mention a de rigueur appearance from soul singer Akon, the galloping reggaeton beat still leads the way. I can imagine quite a few of these songs crossing over the way “Gasolina” did in 2004, but it remains to be seen if Yankee will stick with English-speaking audiences. If he doesn’t, El Cartel may be considered a failure; I just wish more “failures” were this good. Outbreak opens. a 8 PM, Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim, Rosemont, 847-635-6601 or 312-559-1212, $45-$85. A –Peter Margasak

cOCTOPUS PROJECT I’ve been a big fan of the Octopus Project from the get-go, so it’s nice to see their wild, upbeat instrumentals finally getting some recognition (some high-energy SXSW shows helped, landing them a recent David Fricke shout-out in Rolling Stone). Their third full-length, Hello, Avalanche (Peek-a-Boo), out next month, is the first produced by an outside engineer: the band traveled to Seattle’s Bear Creek Studios, where Ryan Hadlock helped them collage newly recorded studio sounds with existing elements from demos and rehearsal tapes. The new MO suits their schizo aesthetic: the opener, “Snow Tip Cap Mountain,” is a Brian Wilson-esque space symphony of vibraphone, strings, and what sounds like a giant chorus of buzzing insects. It all makes for a strangely apt intro to the next track, “Truck,” a barn-burning rocker that stacks up to Yo La Tengo’s best for sheer catchiness and unbridled energy. Stereo Total headlines, the Octopus Project plays third, Aleks & the Drummer play second, and All the Creatures of the Sea open. a 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $15, 18+. –J. Niimi

cANDERS PARKER Sometimes talented artists get miscast early in their careers, having hoisted sail under some prevailing trend out of shrewdness, naivete, or desperation–Elvis Costello, for one, debuted as a new wave act when his closest precursor wasn’t Bryan Ferry or David Johansen but Randy Newman. Anders Parker began releasing records in the mid-90s as the gritty, lo-fi indie-rock act Varnaline despite being at heart a singer-songwriter in the mold of Steve Earle (who put out a few Varnaline albums on his E-Squared label) or Jeff Tweedy. After a decade of skin shedding, last year he finally got around to making an album called Anders Parker (Baryon). The straightforward title prefigures the disc’s emphasis on unadorned, quick-and-dirty performances, though for Parker “raw” largely means “breathtakingly elegant.” Assisting him is an able crew comprising folks from Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, the Mekons, Son Volt, the Jayhawks, and the backing bands of Warren Zevon, Freedy Johnston, and Steve Wynn. Bikes Will Take Us opens. a 7 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10. –J. Niimi

Dan Sartain “Young girls are stupid / and they’re cruel / but I still want them,” sings Dan Sartain on “Young Girls,” the best track on Join Dan Sartain, released last year on Swami. But despite all this macho melodrama, Sartain’s hardly the rockabilly savior the UK press has painted him to be. A lanky Alabaman with the face of a cretin, he’s just a shack rocker who’s ditched the basement scuzz for studio clarity but keeps on singing about getting in fights, getting fucked-up, and getting in trouble with women. Sartain plays the Electric City Rockfest, which started on Thursday; full schedule on page 26. Detroit Cobras headline and Willowz open. a 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $15.– Jessica Hopper


cDIRTY PROJECTORS Dirty Projectors’ new album, Rise Above (out September 11 on Dead Oceans), is a “reimagining” of Black Flag’s 1981 hardcore masterpiece Damaged, reportedly inspired by the discovery of an empty cassette case for the album. Bandleader David Longstreth leads the Brooklyn-based quartet, now on its fifth lineup, through 10 of the original 15 tracks, but you won’t recognize much beyond the lyrics: The guitar rhythms are playful, recalling African highlife, peppered with runs owing more to flamenco than Greg Ginn. Longstreth sings like Antony Hegarty and Prince having an argument, and lines like “I got a six-pack in me alright!” get treated with lush three-part coed harmonies. The spare instrumentation and deliberate arrangements call to mind another Brooklyn songwriter, Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear, who coproduced and played on the new record; Grizzly Bear drummer Chris Bear also joined in on percussion. The current incarnation of the band, featuring guitarist Amber Coffman, new bassist Angel Deradoorian, and drummer Brian McOmber, has a reputation for a badass live show–though I wouldn’t worry about fending off moshers during “Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie” or anything. Yacht plays second and Nat Baldwin opens. a 9:30 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444 or 866-468-3401, $10, 18+ –Areif Sless-Kitain

hot mix 5 In the baby days of Chicago house music, local DJs the Hot Mix 5–Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, Kenny “Jammin” Jason, Mickey “Mixin” Oliver, Scott “Smokin'” Silz, and Ralphi “Rockin” Rosario–brought jackin’ to the masses, at the clubs and on the radio. After Silz left in ’84, the group played out the rest of the decade working with a rotation of scab DJs, splitting, re-forming, and then moving from station to station doing shows with sometimes only four dudes fillin’ out the 5. Since that time most of the crew has stayed active on local radio, and given that Funk is still considered the godfather of house and Oliver, who heads Hot Mix 5 Records, seems to be gunning for a comeback, this reunion of the original lineup is hardly the case of creaky old duffers being dusted off for show. See also Sunday. a 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, first night sold out. –Jessica Hopper

cSPECTRUM Jason Pierce’s Spiritualized remains the most populist and successful band to emerge from the breakdown of Spacemen 3. But Spectrum and E.A.R., the major projects from Pete Kember (aka Sonic Boom), have a certain timeless density to their sound(s) that’s helped them age considerably better. Holed up in his lab in Rugby, UK, the mad scientist of minimalist richness hasn’t extensively toured the States in some five years, but his late-90s shows at the Empty Bottle and elsewhere were pulsing, surging revelations. What Kember can do with electronics, organ, guitar, and theremin has to be heard live to be fully appreciated: his drones and swells gradually set your senses on fire; then, when your head finally stops, drops, and rolls, he’s right there to wrap you in a thick blanket. With his first album in quite some time due for release around the end of the year, Kember will likely debut some new material here. Randall Nieman of Fuxa provides extra viscosity via keyboards and guitar. Plastic Crimewave Sound, Ian Hixxx & Beau Wanzer, and Hands of Hydra open; DJ Brock spins. a 7 PM, AV-aerie, 2000 W. Fulton #310, 312-850-4030, $12 suggested donation, 18+. –Monica Kendrick

cRANDY WESTON With the recent death of Max Roach, it’s tempting to characterize Randy Weston as one of the last living links to the golden era of modern jazz. But though that would be accurate enough, it underplays the 81-year-old pianist’s singular style and undimmed vitality. His ongoing fascination with African music–particularly that of Morocco’s Gnawa people–continues to inform his writing and soloing, and while last year’s superb Zep Tepi (Random Chance) contained only older compositions, it confirmed that Weston still brings substance and power to anything he plays. (Trumpeter Dave Douglas, who recently formed a band to perform Weston’s music, suggests that the composer’s tunes haven’t been widely interpreted by others mainly because it’s so hard to top his own versions.) An overwhelming command of the bass register gives his sound a deeply satisfying heft, while his right-hand work delivers strong melodic ideas articulated in spare, heavily percussive bursts. And the interplay of his longtime trio, with bassist Alex Blake and percussionist Neil Clarke, is a study in rhythmic efficiency and near orchestral movement. Weston performs on day two of the African Festival of the Arts; see page 28 for a complete schedule. a 6 PM, Dee Palmer Woodtor stage, African Festival of the Arts, Washington Park, 51st and Cottage Grove,, $12, $10 in advance, $5 kids and seniors, $30 for a daily family pass (one adult and up to four children) or an adult four-day pass, $90 for a weekend family pass (two adults and four children). A –Peter Margasak


hot mix 5 See Saturday. a 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $45-$50.


c VHS OR BETA There was a time when this Louisville band was filed under “experimental” and shared bills with the likes of U.S. Maple, but those gigs opening for Duran Duran a couple years back were more in line with where they were heading: straight to 80s-inspired dancey art-rock. Bring On the Comets-, their upcoming full-length on Astralwerks, sounds like a document from a past golden age where rockers and club kids could all get along. The songs are sharply turned out, hooky as hell, and at their edgiest recall Ideal Copy-era Wire. But the title track–the most glorious–sounds like the follow-up hit to “Melt With You” that Modern English never made. Walter Meego opens. a 7:30 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 866-468-3401, $14, $12 in advance. A –Monica Kendrick


c ACID MOTHERS GURU GURU Contemporary psychedelia often raises the question, hasn’t inner space been explored enough already? Well, yes and no. The psychedelic experience, like the religious one, is unique to the individual–while there’s no denying the commonalities, everyone interprets it his own way. Japanese guitarist Kawabata Makoto takes cues from past masters in pursuing his own voyages and leading his cosmic crew. This spring he released a solo tribute to the classic Popol Vuh album Hosianna Mantra. A couple years before that he joined his band Acid Mothers Temple with Daevid Allen’s Gong. Now Makoto’s matching wits with German drummer Mani Neumeier, the lefty psychonaut and free improviser who founded one of Europe’s premier space-rock motherships, Guru Guru. Psychedelic Navigations, their album with Acid Mothers bassist Atsushi Tsuyama, will be released later this year on Important Records. Phantom Family Halo opens. a 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $12.– Monica Kendrick

cVladimir feltsman Pianist Vladimir Feltsman, born and trained in Moscow, emigrated to the United States in 1987, but he didn’t bring the unbridled Russian style with him. The cerebral Feltsman is best known for his Bach, and his program here opens with the English Suite no. 2 in A Minor, a mostly buoyant precursor to the better-developed partitas. Feltsman plays Bach with more clarity than emotion, eschewing the romantic approach of Barenboim or Argerich. Beethoven’s beloved Sonata no. 8 in C Minor, op. 13 (Pathetique) follows. C minor was a heroic key for Beethoven, and there is already struggle in this early work as he begins to push the piano’s expressive capabilities. The remainder of the program is devoted to Chopin’s four ballades. Emulating the dramatic narratives in 19th-century literary ballads, the writing is among the composer’s richest, bursting with contrast and invention. In this music one wishes for more abandon in Feltsman’s playing. a 8 PM, Martin Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook, Highland Park, 847-266-5100, $10-$50. –Steve Langendorf

c VHS or Beta See Monday. Walter Meego opens. a 9:30 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 866-468-3401, $14, $12 in advance, 18+.


Marissa Nadler On her latest album, Songs III: Bird on the Water (Kemado), mystic folkie Marissa Nadler expands her instrumental palette. Her acoustic guitar arpeggios still anchor her subtle melodies, but they’re ornamented with delicate details–including cello, mandolin, synthesizer, and even some corrosive if gently mixed electric guitar–thanks largely to producer Greg Weeks of the Espers. Nadler has a gorgeous voice, ethereal and narcotic, and the way she ends some phrases with a forlorn curlicue of vibrato intensifies the sadness of most of the characters in her songs. Nadler will play solo for this performance. Picastro and Angel Olsen open. a 9 PM, Ronny’s, 2101 N. California, 773-235-6591, $7. –Peter Margasak


BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW From their name and song titles, you’d guess this group of Pennsylvanians (from the woods, but relocated to Pittsburgh) was from the school of trying-too-hard psychedelic pop defined by the Happy Flowers’ “Mom, I Gave the Cat Some Acid.” But their latest album, the wild and woolly Dandelion Gum (Graveface), hangs together like a fur of iron filings on a magnet–they’re hardly trying at all, and they’re at their best that way. Their snowballing, slightly dizzy-making psychedelic sounds all but effortlessly live up to song titles like “Jump Into My Mouth and Breathe the Stardust” and “Drippy Eye.” Although the music has an anarchic quality, it’s relentlessly sunny–like Lord of the Flies with a lot of group hugs. Plastic Crimewave Sound and Tirra Lirra open. BMSR also opens the Flaming Lips’ all-ages show next Friday, September 7, at the Aragon Ballroom. a 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $10, $8 in advance, 18+. –Monica Kendrick

MACY GRAY Macy Gray, dropped by Epic and picked up by, probably titled her new album Big more out of wishing than boasting, but no such luck–the March release long ago peaked at number 39 in Billboard’s Top 200. That may have been inevitable given its attempt to reach both the older soul audience (“Finally Made Me Happy,” featuring Natalie Cole) and the younger pop audience (“Glad You’re Here,” featuring Fergie). This tour, though, is all about wish fulfillment: reunited coheadliners the Brand New Heavies lend Gray some hip-hop drawing power, and the classy midsize venue should allow the Amazonian singer to live large naturally, through her sweeping stage presence and a voice whose appeal is in the details (burr, phrasing, timing), not diva virtuosity. a 8:30 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $46.50-$48, 18+. –Franklin Soults

NUMBERS Thumbs up to San Francisco trio Numbers for switching up their Chihuahua-robot barf-disco before they became a parody of themselves. But Father Time can be a real prick: they softened with age but didn’t get any wiser. Sure, a better sense of pacing and melodic narrative works when you’re getting all tricky on your instrument, but when you’re seven years into your band and you’re still making three-chord tunes and can’t really sing, it’s better to keep it punk . . . or else break up. Numbers aren’t quite done yet–some good fucky moments sour the twee, borderline classy Now You Are This (Kill Rock Stars). Dave Broekema’s guitar creaks like a rusty hip, and Indra Dunis still plays drums like a caveman. Thank goodness. Detholz! play second and Trin Tran opens. a 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10. —Liz Armstrong

KIM RICHEY Kim Richey got her start writing for the likes of Trisha Yearwood and Radney Foster, but it was clear when she launched her own singing career more than a decade ago that she wasn’t interested in fitting the Music City mold. Still, I never expected she’d make anything like the polished adult pop of her latest record, Chinese Boxes (Vanguard). Richey gives love’s travails the same poetic treatment she did on her early stuff, but she sounds a lot more like Aimee Mann than Loretta Lynn. Peter Bradley Adams opens. a 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $15. –Peter Margasak

tirtha Vijay Iyer is a dynamic, multifaceted keyboardist who excels at improvisation and composition informed by everything from jazz to hip-hop to Indian classical music. With rapper Mike Ladd he’s also created some dazzling multimedia works, including Still Life With Commentator, an elaborate performance piece about the 24-hour news cycle and the blogosphere in wartime that included video, spoken word, and live music. (Savoy released an album version this year.) Tirtha is Iyer’s new project with tabla player Nitin Mitta and electric guitarist Prasanna, who has developed a unique mix of jazz-style improvisation and the Carnatic music of south India. a 7 PM, Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630. F A –Peter Margasak