The mighty Slayer
The UIC Pavilion really is a lousy place to see a concert—more even than the United Center or the Allstate Arena, it can never shake that sports dome ambience, and of course the sound is miserable—and I never have been much of a fan of openers Testament or Megadeth, despite the love that the latter’s bandleader has been getting of late for his new autobiography. None of that will matter a whit, however, when the indomitable Slayer takes the stage: Quite simply, it is one of the best live bands you’ll ever see. Regardless of whether you think you like death metal or not, you owe it to yourself to once in your life put your head into this blender. The show starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are $10 to $59 through the dreaded Ticketmaster.
On a more tuneful but still high-energy tip, Tokyo Police Club headlines Metro tonight; I'm not a big fan of the group's last album, but it's kicked butt every time I've seen it live, including the thankless slot of opening for Weezer at the Allstate Arena in Fall 2008. Freelance Whale and Arkells open starting at 9 p.m., and tickets are $18 in advance or $20 at the door.
Remember the Avalon Niteclub, that charming dive on the corner of Belmont and Sheffield? Plenty of veteran Chicago scenesters probably wish they could forget it -- or at least that treacherous staircase -- but it had its charms, and hey, it was the site of the first club show I ever reviewed when I got to Chicago. (Trenchmouth! With Fred Armisen on drums!) In any event, you can relive the glory days thanks to former staffers who've organized an Avalon Reunion starting at 9 tonight at Martyr's and featuring old club mainstays the Charming Beggars, the Webstirs, and the Delafields, plus veteran Avalon DJs David Floodstrand and Bill Saveley. The cover is $10.
Don't wanna live in the past? One more solid option for tonight is Canasta, the wonderful local ork-pop band that's been working hard behind its exquisite if awkwardly titled new album, "The Fakeout, the Tease and the Breather." The group precedes Champaign's Elsinore celebrating its new release onstage at Lincoln Hall, but it follows the Bears of Blue River starting at 10 p.m. The cover is $10.
After Slayer, my second most enthusiastic recommendation for some rock-roll chaos this weekend is the Russian punk/art-noise/New Wave band Mumiy Troll, which is making a second rare trip to the U.S., after the one that brought it to SXSW last March, where it was one my festival highlights. Infamously banned by the Communist party in its early days, the group is front by the inimitable Ilya Lagutenko, who brings to mind the John Lydon of early PiL, and he continues to put it all on the line for his art -- unlike the former Mr. Rotten, last seen peddling butter in a British television commercial. Raided on Zenith and Run Run Run open at the Empty Bottle starting at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, and tickets are $25.
Finally, following the Smashing Pumpkins' fundraiser for the very good cause of Matthew Leone's mounting health care bills a few weeks ago, there are two more benefits this weekend. Leone's band Madina Lake, in the guise of an acoustic performance by Nathan Leone and Mateo Camargo, headline at the Double Door after opening sets by AM Taxi, the Fold, the Lifeline, and David Costa starting at 8 p.m.; tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. And the good will continues on Sunday at the Hard Rock Hotel starting at 7 p.m. with performances by Lovehammers, Kill Hannah, Scott Lucas, Makeshift Prodigy, and the Frantic ($25 at the door). More info can be found on the Through the Pain Web site.