Though, needless to say, the fifth (or sixth, if we count its first year as Intonation) Pitchfork Music Festival is the major musical event in town this weekend, and one of the biggest nationally, for that matter, all three days already are sold-out. If you’re not inclined to listen from outside the fencing on the perimeter of the West Side’s Union Park–or to check this blog throughout the weekend as I cover the festival on-site–here are some other fine musical happenings this weekend.
It’s a night of seriously old-school punk at the Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, starting at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday (July 17), and while neither the crowd nor the performers will be pretty to look at, there should be no shortage of adrenaline. Celebrating the release of Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine ’79-83 , a book compiling the legendary fanzine that gave birth to both an aesthetic and a Chicago record label, Tesco Vee of the Meatmen will lead his current band Hate Police and oversee an evening of hardcore frivolity that also includes White Flag (L.A.’s satirical answer to Black Flag back in the day), Das Kapital, and Fester. Tickets are $12 in advance.
Both of these shows are sold-out, too, but the two-night stand by Cap’n Jazz Saturday and Sunday at the Bottom Lounge, 1375 W Lake St., can’t go unremarked. Hugely influential in the emo/indie rock underground, these Midwestern legends perform with Plaguebringer and Gauge starting at 9 p.m. Saturday and with Tongues and Gauge starting at 9 p.m. Sunday at a show booked by MP Productions, though it also bears mention that a new hand is taking over the tiller in booking the Bottom.
A veteran of a decade and a half booking Metro back in the ’90s, Sean McDonough recently returned to Chicago to work at the Bottom Lounge after a stint spent deep inside the Death Star, working for Live Nation in New York City. McDonough is as sharp a talent as I’ve ever encountered in the club world, and it certainly will be interesting to see what he does with the venue, a fine room with excellent sound, a great bar, good food, and friendly staff, though it has trouble filling its sizable music room since its grand reopening a while back.
Speaking of fine and friendly rooms, the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, has a strong bill tonight (Friday, July 16) with the garage-rockin' Mannequin Men and openers Vacations (the spawn of Chinup Chinup featuring one member of Mannequin Men) and the intriguingly named Danny Black Saying Jokes starting at 10 p.m. The cover is $10 and, thankfully, this gig is not sold-out. Visit www.hideoutchicago.com for more info.
Finally, there’s the resurrected—but barely—Lilith Fair, pulling into the special circle of hell known as the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park starting at 1 p.m. Saturday. Plagued by cancellations across the U.S., the Chicago tour stop is going ahead, but without much-hyped American Idol Kelly Clarkson or meltdown-prone indie-rocker Cat Power on the bill. What you will get is sleepy tour founder Sarah McLachlan, R&B powerhouse Mary J. Blige, pioneering hard-rockers Heart, and or synth-pop goddess La Roux, my choice for the best act of the day, though the Wilson sisters always deliver as well. But, goddess almighty, these ticket prices! Ticketmaster/Live Nation has set the range at $127 for the pavilion to $41.50 for the lawn, inclusive of the egregious service fees of about $20 per ticket, though VIP parking ($30), VIP fast lane admittance $10, and the just plain VIP Upgrade ($50) all are extra. And they wonder why the mainstream summer concert industry is tanking this summer?
On the flip side, I did receive this press release highlighting one of numerous extra-musical offerings at Lilith:
In between great performances from their favorite female artists, concert-goers can cool off and snap pics in the free photo booth at the breezy Lilipad lounge, courtesy of tour sponsors Carefree, Stayfree and o.b. ‚ They've also turned one women's bathroom at the venue into a luxury ladies' room -- complete with a bathroom attendant to keep it tidy and loads of freebies, making it a serious step up from the standard festival bathroom. More details on the Lilipad lounge and luxury ladies' rooms available in our social media release here: http://lilipad.presslift.com/lilithtour.