Here is a look at my picks for the best live music this weekend.
Before the alternative explosion of the early '90s, Jeff Lescher's power-pop trio Green was one of the few bright sports on a generally moribund Chicago music scene; Material Issue was another. The latest version of Green finds Lescher ably backed by the latter band's drummer, Mike Zelenko, as well as Eddy Ulm from the Desperate Club and musician-about-town Tommi Zender, who also put out a fine ambient guitar album a few months back. Green's latest D.I.Y. release is a strong effort called "Planets," but the band also is reissuing five discs from its back catalog: its self-titled debut, the classic "Elaine MacKenzie," "White Soul LP & Bittersweet EP," "Green 5," and a greatest hits collection called "The Flowers in the Grass." Lescher and company will be celebrating all of this activity on the middle of a bill at Martyr's, 3855 N. Lincoln, starting at 9:30 tonight (Friday, June 11) with Standby Radio and headlined by another phenomenal and enduring local combo, The Luck of Eden Hall. The cover is $8
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Alex and Francis of White Mystery
Also tearing it up this evening is the Chicago-based force of nature known as Alex White, whose latest incarnation, White Mystery, finds her fronting a duo with brother Francis on drums. The pair top the bill at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, with Cool Memories and Great Society Mind Destroyers starting at 10 p.m. The cover is $8.
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Staying on the high-adrenaline local tip, the Goldstars, a garage-rock supergroup comprised of bassist/vocalist Matt "Sal" Favazza, New Duncan Imperials legends Skipper and Goodtime on keyboards and drums, and guitar god Dag Juhlin trumpet the release of "The Race EP" with what they're billing as their "Last Show Ever" tomorrow night (Saturday, June 12) at the Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake -- though since it appears exactly that way, in quotes, every time they mention it, this may not really be their end of these "Nuggets"-loving wildmen. (Says their press release, "Hey, you can't have a reunion unless you break up, right?)
In any event, as if these local favorites weren't enough to entice garage-heads from their caves, the Goldstars are opening for what arguably was the first (and some would say best) of any of the garage revival groups, the Fleshtones. And, kicking things off starting at 7 p.m., the Earth Program, Tomorrow the Moon, and Teenage Impostors open, which is a whole lot of bang for a mere 13 bucks.
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Finally, on the heels of last week's well-programmed Do Division soiree, we have the first full onslaught of street fest season. I have long maintained that most of these are of negligible interest from the hardcore music lovers' perspective -- and even those with the best bookings are subject to unavoidable street-fest annoyances such as blazing heat, soaking rain, obnoxious yuppies who won't stop chatting on their iPhones, and kids who insist on slamming into you so you spill your beer. Nevertheless, for those hearty souls willing to brave these elements, there are three outdoor celebrations of musical note this weekend.
Logan Square's second annual Metronome Celebration takes place on Milwaukee between Armitage and Western from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (June 12 and 13), with a suggested donation of $5. Musical highlights include Split Lip Rayfield at 8:30 p.m. Saturday and the closing troika of the Arrivals, Deals Gone Bad, and Pegboy at 6:30, 7:30, and 9 p.m. respectively on Sunday. The full schedule can be found here.
At Ribfest Chicago, taking place at the intersection of Lincoln, Damen, and Irving Park from 5 to 10 p.m. tonight and from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, you can add to the standard list of street-fest aggravations enumerated above the special spectacle of "the Midwest's first professional rib-eating contest." (Oh, joy.) But there are a few musical merits, including Mucca Paza, the Ike Reilly Assassination, and Robbie Fulks tonight; Califone, Those Darlins, and the Bottle Rockets tomorrow, and These United States on Sunday. The full schedule can be found here.
Last but not least, there's a new entry in the field with the Stars of Tomorrow Summer Free Music Festival on Saturday starting at noon at the Fosco Park Playground, 1312 S. Racine. Performers include the best bands featuring kids from ages 5 to 18 from the Intonation Music Workshop, the after-school music program that works with South Side youth (and which grew out of the first Intonation Music Festival, which paved the way for Pitchfork). More information can be found here.