Here is a look at this week's best bets for live music.
Once again, the weekend is dominated by a big outdoor music fest. This one is a new arrival on the scene -- the North Coast Music Festival -- but it's taking place in a familiar location, Union Park on the West Side, now best known in the rock world as the home of the annual Pitchfork Music Fest.
North Coast is more Lollapalooza than Pitchfork in terms of having a relatively scattered and unfocused aesthetic. Silver Wrapper Productions, a local promotions company in its tenth year doing street festivals and shows at the Logan Square Auditorium, is one of the key entities behind the shindig, and got its start in the jam scene. But the North Coast lineup can't neatly be pegged to any one genre -- there's some electronica, some hip-hop, some jam stuff -- and that's both a strength and a weakness.
Key acts in the lineup tonight include the Chemical Brothers and Paul Van Dyk. On Saturday, there's Umphrey's McGee, Jay Electronica, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, De La Soul, and Moby doing a DJ set, and Sunday brings Nas with Damian Marley, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Lupe Fiasco, and the Disco Biscuits, among others.
The full lineup can be found on the festival Web site, and tickets are $40 per day or $85 for a three-day pass.
Back in the clubs, a solid option tonight is the atmospheric and moody indie-rock band I,Crime from Detroit, which is sharing a bill starting at 9 p.m. with locals Model N at Quenchers at Fullerton and Western in Logan Square. The group's been hitting Chicago regularly, and this time, it's celebrating its new album, "Spread Like Water/Block The Sun." It cites English art-punks Wire and L.A. legends X among its influences -- never a bad thing in my book -- but rather than slavish imitators, these musicians share those group's smart but aggressive, minimalist but ambitious aesthetics. Check out the song "Fight" on the band's MySpace page.
Taking the stage at Martyrs' on Saturday night, the versatile genre-hopping multi-instrumentalist Tommi Zender holds forth in the middle of a bill that starts with fellow locals Machinegun Mojo at 9:30 p.m. and is headlined by Chicago's Bakelite Army. The cover is $8.
Finally, it will be a primo Chicago garage-rock flashback at Reggies Music Joint tomorrow when the New Colony Six headlines a lineup that starts at 8 p.m. with Go Hang, Blue Road, the Bama Lamas, and fellow '60s veterans the Mauds. It's the latest installment of a cool series of garage nights at the friendly South Side club -- which is fitting, because it once was a garage -- and tickets are $10.