Metro Chicago
Kraut Music Fest
Lovers Lane

Laughing, dead people, and fictional music

| July 20, 2011 | 0 Comments

This weekend’s menu has so much (little) variety (consistency), it’s a surprise Pitchfork hasn’t sponsored it. It also means one of you out there might have interest in one of The People Under The Stares, Gillian Welch, Air Guitar Championships, intimate Kelley Deal, or Tally Hall. Surely, one of you.

We don’t give you much choice for Thursday, and you might question the musicality of the event. It is, after all, Drag City Records’ monthly comedy night at Hideout, which ekes out mention in our roundup because of musical backing by Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kids. Otherwise you’ll GET READY TO LAUGH with Brent Weinbach, Kyle Kinane, and Michael Sanchez. (Thursday@Hideout.)

Gillian Welch still records under her own name, even though guitarist David Rawlings figures heavily into the conceptualizing and execution of her artistic designs. I guess you could say Rawlings might as well be dead to her, then. Everything might as well be dead to Welch. The new The Harrow & The Harvest (Acony) is her first album since 2003’s Soul Journey, sounds as if it were written and recorded on the banks of a Civil War battle — God knows her Tennessee home was venue for a battle or nine — and she perseveres with hymns that lament neither the causes that drive men to violence nor the violence itself. Her purview is those challenges that face generations regardless of progress — or, specifically, those things that continue to hold us back. (Friday@Vic Theatre.)

Former (current? who knows?) Breeder Kelley Deal makes some off-the-beaten-path stops this weekend under the eye of the Urban Folk Circuit. First she’ll instruct the “Road Bag” knitting workshop at Sifu Design Studio (5044 N. Clark) in the evening, then retires to record store/future emporium Transistor (5045 N. Clark) with her backing band R.Ring at 8 p.m. During all this, a mini festival of sorts will hoe-down in the backlot, featuring crafts and the music of Rachel KatzmanFarr, Joey Basketball, and The Adaptations. (Saturday@Transistor.)

If you’re like us, you boast, “Man, we saw Jordan dunk from the free-throw line back in ’88. What more could there be?” At risk of you sounding like the 19th-century dude who suggested the U.S. Patent Office be closed because there was nothing more to invent, The US Air Guitar Championships National Finals beckon you to Metro this weekend. For two months, 20 other cities have been painstakingly deciding what still cuts it as original air-guitar work. As an American, you owe it to them to judge. (Saturday@Metro.)

Finally, some sanity: the idea is to so disorient you, that Tally Hall can show up wearing their trademark neckties and you won’t question where you’ve been taken. While not quite a William Henry Harrison term in office, Tally’s stint on Atlantic Records was short enough to earn a “their mistake” condemnation, but also a brisk turnaround for the band in question. Their latest album, Good & Evil (Quack), doesn’t reveal some sort of shock at their descent. There’s a song titled non-verbally, and a childishness (both innocent and juvenile) pervades the songs to a degree that not only pokes at their former status, but their genesis from a university town. (Saturday@Lincoln Hall with Speak and Casey Shea.)

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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