Chalk it up to the lingering Lollapalooza hangover or the dog days of summer slowing everybody down, including the folks in club land; whatever the reason, the pickings for great live rock 'n' roll are slim this weekend -- though, as always, there are a few reasons to venture out if you dig a bit.
Saturday night at the Abbey is headlined by Last False Hope, a seven-piece local combo that combines classic bluegrass with street punk and metal, abusing their banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and standup bass like nobody's business. The music starts at 8:30 p.m. with the Cortland Homes and the All-Girl Boys Choir, and tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door.
Martha, not Rufus
I've never been a huge fan of overly emotive singer and songwriter Rufus Wainwright -- though my friend and former colleague Thomas Conner gives him a lot of love in this Sun-Times column -- but I do adore his sister Martha, and she shares the bill when her brother performs at the Bank of America Theatre at 8 p.m. tonight. Tickets are $58.50 or $48.50 through jamusa.com or the dreaded Ticketmaster.com.
Back on the loud tip once again, Japanese experimental noise-rockers Boris take the stage tonight at Metro. The group hasn't released a new studio album since "Smile" in 2008, but it's really all about the live experience anyway. The Life & Times and Russian Circles open starting at 9 p.m., and the cover is $18.
When I first caught the Toronto-based electronic group Crystal Castles at SXSW 2008, it blew me away, and its recent second album, appropriately entitled "Crystal Castles II," is even better than the self-titled 2008 debut. The group performs tonight at the Congress Theatre after Rusko, Sinden, and the Twelves starting at 9 p.m. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster-owned Ticketweb. You can sample Crystal Castles' sounds on its MySpace page, and read Greg Kot's chat with multi-instrumentalist Ethan Kath here.
Finally, Lincoln Hall's Saturday night also is a strong one, thanks to headliners Admiral Radley, a psychedelic-pop supergroup comprised of former Grandaddy bandleader Jason Lytle and Aaron Burtch of that group, plus Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray of the underrated Earlimart. Hooray for Earth opens at 10 p.m., and tickets are $12 in advance or $14 at the door.