Here is a look at my picks for the best live music this weekend.
I've long pegged Americana singer and songwriter Tom Schraeder as one of Chicago's most talented up-and-comers, with a sophisticated style that belies his startling youth (and no, the 23-year-old muso has never gotten extra points for once having been my next-door neighbor; I've tried to forget all those nights he spent on his stoop strumming Dave Matthews songs on his acoustic guitar). Now, the wildly ambitious Schraeder and his band, His Ego, are celebrating the release of a strong new indie album entitled "Once Lace, Now Cotton!" with a show that starts at 10 tomorrow night (Saturday, June 5) at Lincoln Hall (2424 N. Lincoln).
Released on vinyl and CD by Austin's Township Records and one of three albums Schraeder plans to release this year (shades of Ryan Adams!), "Once Lace, Now Cotton!" was compiled by fans, family, and friends from their favorite tracks off the three unofficial/D.I.Y. discs he's released in the last year and a half: "The Death of St. Thomas," "Dear Brooklyn, I'm Sorry...," and "...bad things aren't necessarily not beautiful." (The tracks "Carry On" and "Patbaby (An Ode To)" can be sampled via streaming audio.)
The cover for the 18-and-over show is $10, and the bill is rounded out by Richard Edwards of the (rather overrated) Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, Danny Malone, and DJs Pretty Good Dance Moves. For more info, visit the Lincoln Hall Web site.
Nearly as prolific and ambitious as Schraeder -- he's about to release his seventh indie album -- electro-hip-hop/industrial-electronic composer Emmanuel Vinson is another young talent who's every bit as promising. He's landed a cool gig opening for underground buzz band and psychedelic/noise-rock/trance-out mavens Pocahaunted at the always charmingly divey Ronny's (2101 N. California) starting at 10 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday, June 5). Also on the 21-and-over bill: Champagne Champagne, E.T. Habit, and Brain Idea. The cover is $10; visit the MP Shows Web site for more information. (Vinson also is playing later in the month, on Tuesday, June 22, at Reggie's Rock Club, 2105 S. State, opening for Cage.)
For noise of the much more traditional garage-rock variety, it's hard to beat Chicago's Mannequin Men. They'll be tearing up the stage at the Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western) along with Jacuzzi Boys, CoCoComa, and Maximum Wage on a bill that starts at 10 tonight (Friday, June 4; $8 cover).
Then things get even louder and more chaotic on Saturday (June 5) with a fine bill that the Bottle has booked for the Do Division Festival on the stage at Damen Avenue (all-ages; $5 donation). Things get underway with Jeremy Messersmith at 1 p.m., followed by Maritime (2:30), CoCoComa (4), Headlights (5:30), mighty instrumental metalheads Pelican (7), and mash-up masters the Hood Internet (8:30).
The festival lineup on Sunday, June 6, is nearly as strong, featuring the Ponys and Yacht as the headliners, while Scott Lucas and the Married Men perform at 6:25 that evening on the Leavitt Stage programmed by Subterranean. (And Pelican also is playing indoors at the Bottle Sunday night, atop a bill that starts at 10 p.m. with Medusa and Miracle Condition; $12 cover.)
Much more information on Do Division can be found here.
Finally, while its appeal is visual as much as musical, the wonderfully diverse and creative Hot & Heavy Burlesque Troupe continues to stretch the boundaries of that once-again thriving art form, following its recent tribute to "The Wall" by Pink Floyd with a show inspired by "Spinal Tap," my contender for the best rock movie ever made.
Says the ensemble's wicked rock den mother, Viva La Muerte: "Come 'Smell the Glove' as a full theatrical cast re-creates classic scenes from the movie with some of Chicago's finest actors. Then enjoy epically crafted burlesque performances sprinkled throughout the show to all of your Spinal Tap favorites, including 'Sex Farm,' Stonehenge,' Big Bottom,' Bitch School,' and more!" All that, plus "special Spinal Tap cupcakes available in the lobby pre-show (and during intermission if you're good!)."
The Hot & Heavy guys and gals will be staging five shows at the Viaduct Theater (3111 N. Western) at 10 and midnight tonight (Friday, June 4), 10 p.m. Saturday (June 5; midnight show already sold-out), and 7 p.m. Sunday (June 6). Tickets are $15 via TicketWeb. More info on Hot & Heavy can be found here (and yes, that includes pictures and videos); next up for the gang: a tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio at Debonair Social Club, 1575 N. Milwaukee, on June 23.