Surprising no one who's been following the story, the U.S. Justice Department formally approved the merger of monopolistic ticket brokers Ticketmaster and giant corporate concert promoters Live Nation on Monday, cavalierly dismissing the objections voiced by many independent promoters and consumer advocates.
Located at the corner of California and Dickens in Logan Square, before its reincarnation as a neighborhood watering hole, Ronny's Bar was a garage. Chicago's ace punk-rock promoters MP Productions regularly stage shows there, and for those occasions, they've renamed it "Ronny's Center for the Performing Arts." But there is considerable irony in that grandiose title.
Ronny's is inarguably best described as "a sh*thole." But it is as wonderful a sh*thole as sh*tholes come.
Its nondescript façade can make Ronny's hard to find, especially amid the chaos of post-Puerto Rican parade festivities. But we knew Saturday would be special when, for the first time any of us in Vortis or anyone at MP could remember, the neon marquee magically flickered on. Sure, it was missing an "n." But it still was "phonetically correct," as Louie Vortis enthused.
Here is a look at my picks for the best live music this weekend.
Long one of my favorite vaguely stoner-rock, unconditionally hard-hitting local bar bands, Land of the El Caminos once again is going strong after a burst of relative inactivity, and Dan Fanelli, Ken Wallin, and Aaron Cleall are certain to tear it up on a bill with Versailles, System and Station, and Panther Style starting at 9 tonight (Friday, June 18) at the Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake. The cover is $8, and more info can be found here.
Given their high-profile success, it's inevitable that any two-person, guitar/drums duo arriving on the scene these days draws comparisons to the White Stripes and the Black Keys, so in what may be an effort to head that off at the pass, Chicago's Black Birdies drop the former name as the first on their list of influences (though the second is, oddly, missing).
Music industry gadfly Bob Lefsetz can be a difficult read--HE ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE SHOUTING ON HIS LEFSETZ LETTER BLOG (to say nothing of being endlessly redundant)--but everyone in the music business reads him because, well, he's often the first to root out the kernel of what becomes a much bigger story.
Formed in Seattle, based in South Carolina, and previously a partnership between vocalist/main man Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke, Band of Horses is now a quintet on its third album, with Bridwell and his plaintive, Neil Young-like vocals the only link to the group's earlier incarnation and albums number one and two.
End-of-summer babes Pavement
With Sunday, July 18, the third and final day of the 2010 Pitchfork Music Festival officially sold out, promoters Jam Productions have announced that the big draw in Union Park that day--reunited '90s alternative-rock heroes Pavement--will return to Chicago for an encore performance at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park n September 13.
No Age will open the show at 7 p.m., and tickets go on sale Saturday (June 19) at 11 a.m., with reserved seats priced at $40 and lawn seats at $15‚ (plus egregious Ticketmaster service fees, of course).
Christina Aguilera, "Bionic" (RCA)
Nothing is less sexy than a coquette trying way too hard to be sexy -- unless perhaps it's a life-size sex-toy robot, which has moved out of the realm of cheesy science fiction (see that enduring 1973 classic, "Westworld") to become a reality in these digital times. But on her fourth proper studio album, former Disney pop machine product and aging '90s teen diva Christina Aguilera plays both roles again and again, while making a predictable shift from the jazz/cabaret pretensions of her last album "Back to Basics" (2006) and the toothless, radio-friendly R&B and dance-pop of earlier discs into toothless, radio-friendly electronica.
Everybody wants to be Lady Gaga these days, doncha know.