Zoë Jakes of Beats Antique
Though Riot Fest is the most exciting show looming on the horizon at the moment, there's plenty of fine noise in the clubs this weekend before that punk-rock smorgasbord gets underway in the middle of next week.
First up, the Abbey Pub is hosting a fine co-headlining bill tonight featuring long-running Dutch alternative guitar-rockers Bettie Serveert, celebrating their strong ninth album "Pharmacy of Love," and local heroes David Singer and the Sweet Science (see my two-part interview with Singer on the occasion of his own strong new release "Arrows" here and here). Mean Creek and Tiny Bones open starting at 8:30 p.m., and tickets are $15.
The Abbey has another winner the next night, too. I've been a fan of the San Francisco trio Beats Antique since I first saw it at South by Southwest last March. The group is as spell-binding musically (with its mix of electronica and world rhythms) as it is visually (gotta love the bellydancing!), and the Abbey certainly will be a more intimate venue for the group than Lollapalooza last August. Plus, the ensemble has a strong new album in the recently released "Blind Threshold." Vapor Eyes, hot local up-and-comers Save the Clocktower, and Lynx open starting at 10 p.m., and tickets are $16 in advance or $18 at the door.
Sunday brings a worthy event to the Old Town School of Folk Music: A benefit concert honoring two underappreciated pre-war blues greats, Joe and Charlie McCoy, surveying their musical development from Mississippi to Memphis to Chicago, as well as raising funds to purchase memorials at their graves in suburban Alsip. Performers include the Second Fiddles, Sule Greg Wilson, Rick Sherry, BLT, my favorites the Northside Southpaws, the Barehand Jugband, and the Hump Night Thumpers, and tickets are $20 ($18 for Old Town members, $16 for seniors and children).
The Quarrymen, back in the day, Lennon at center, some other guy on the left.
Finally, another unique event with a deep history closes out the weekend at the Music Box Theater and marks the 70th anniversary of the birth of John Lennon. Following a 7 p.m. screening on the new film "Nowhere Boy" focusing on Lennon's childhood, veteran members of his early band the Quarrymen will perform and take part in a Q&A session with audience members moderated by everyone's favorite Beatlemaniac, XRT DJ Terri Hemmert. Tickets are $30 to $45 in advance.