The dog days of summer are upon us, and if you aren't scouring the club listings, it can seem as if there's nothing going on but street fairs and mega-festivals. But dig a little deeper, and there are plenty of reasons still to head to the clubs.
Though the notion of an "exclusive singles label" sponsored by a sugary, ultra-caffeinated soft drink is an absurd one, I have to hand it to Green Label Sound for using these hot days to bring a cool bill to one of my favorite joints in town, Reggie's down in the South Loop. The Cool Kids -- a.k.a. Chick Inglish and Mikey Rocks -- have released three fine mix tapes of old-school hop-hop to date, though they're chronically overdue to give us a proper album. "We want to put out a classic, and we don't want to do anything less than a classic," Rocks told me a few months ago; here's hoping that we'll finally see the results of the Kids' labors before the end of the year. Meanwhile, they share a bill that starts at 7 p.m. tonight with Theophilus London; the cover is $10.
Question Mark and the Mysterians
Meanwhile, a garage-rock super-bill holds forth in the smaller room at Reggie's, topped by Question Mark and the Mysterians, the '60s legends who brought us "96 Tears" and who still sheared the top of my head off nearly four decades later when I last saw them at the Empty Bottle. Things kick off at 8 p.m. with the Bama Lamas, the Runnies, Outer Minds, and the Electric Mess, and the cover is $15.
I make no claims for quality in recommending this next act, but even as someone who was just a year or two too old to ever appreciate KISS during my formative years as a prepubescent rock fan -- the only time when it is acceptable to embrace Gene Simmons & Co. -- I am intrigued by Slutter, which bills itself as "the best all-female KISS cover band." The Chicago quartet headlines over Makahiya amd I Love Rich starting at 9 tonight at the Bottom Lounge, and the cover is $7.
Very Truly Yours
On a completely different tip, the Chicago band Very Truly Yours plays a wispy, lilting brand of pre-Beatles '60s pop that falls on just the right side of twee, thanks largely to the seductive cooing of singer Kristine Capua. The group plays an early show at the Double Door starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday after openers Craig Ramsey and Bears performing an acoustic set. The cover is $5. Back in the not-so-great outdoors, the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival takes places this weekend on Milwaukee roughly from California to Kimball in Logan Square. Admission is by a suggested $5 donation, and there are 50 bands playing on three stages Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. My picks for the best bets are, on Saturday, Tom Schraeder and His Ego (8 p.m.) and the 1900s (9:30), and on Sunday, Detholz! (4 p.m.) and White Mystery (9:30).
Much less appealing as an overall event, Taste of Lincoln Avenue takes place from noon to 10 Saturday and Sunday between Fullerton and Wrightwood. There is little to recommend the big headliners -- the Freddy Jones Band on Saturday and Soul Asylum on Sunday (ugh) -- but the 6 p.m. slot on Sunday is held by reunited ska heroes Heavy Manners, who also are throwing an after-party starting at 8 p.m. at the Elbo Room, with DJ and tireless ska champion Chuck Wren spinning the tunes in between "special guest performances."