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Your mud-free weekend

| August 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

This weekend isn’t entirely without festivals, but regular shows are trickling in as Lollapalooza peels itself off our front lawn. Digitalism, Dntel, Disney’s Selena Gomez, Lil Wayne, and more will be stumbling through a patch of days that ends with a Bret Michaels marathon.

The X Sport Fitness Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon starts in Butler Field on Sunday morning, goes as far west as Ashland and south as 31st Street, and eats up Lake Shore Drive most of the morning. Live music will greet runners every mile, including such local stalwarts as M&R Rush, Windy City Rev Ups, and Overman. (Someone, at some point, will do the running man.) Frankfort native Dan Evans kicks off the afterparty at a quarter to 8 (a.m.!) with a country set located near the finish line in Grant Park, and then the Bret Michaels of Poison fame revives everyone’s spirits (distance runners don’t need much help putting away the booze, however) from 10 to 11:30. Again, all times are in the morning. Click here for details.

That’s Sunday.

If you’re still empty-scheduled on Friday night, we present a battle of the electronic heroes. Digitalism‘s new album, I Love You, Dude (V2/Coop) — though containing some indie-rock tilts — is the sound of a blinding lights display powered on and off to a pulsating beat. Synth blasts the size of former Eastern Bloc countries beam through it like a child passenger on the sunny side of a space shuttle opening and closing his window shade. It took four years for these Germans to find the 1.21 gigawatts of power — and to shake The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas free for “Forrest Gump.” (Friday@Congress with Jack Beats, Destructo, and Alex Zelenka.)

No offense to the band, but one of the reasons everyone now knows Death Cab For Cutie is Dntel. Jimmy Tamborello and DCFC’s Ben Gibbard started a band-by-mail, Postal Service, whose weightless electro along with Gibbard’s fluttering voice produced a hit, “Such Great Heights,” a copyright battle with the U.S. Postal Service, and cruised to the second-best-selling album in Sub Pop’s history (behind Nirvana’s Bleach). Not as many people flocked to Tamborello’s Dntel as they did Gibbard’s main band, but such is life. Sub Pop is trying to help rectify that, however, by reissuing Life Is Full Of Possibilitiesin a deluxe version, that features the sorts of things Tamborello mights end you in a care package. He teams with The One A.M. Radio, whose new Heaven Is Attached By A Slender Thread (Dangerbird) will strike some as a similar sound to Postal Service (indie pop + electronics), but Hrishikesh Hirway‘s lush orchestrations put more emphasis on the shadows of folk-pop than the modern textures he places on top.(Friday@Lincoln Hall with Geotic.)

Disney stars have to make music. They are forbidden to just go into acting. Selena Gomez — tabbed by most as Miley Cyrus’ successor — has jetted past the saving-myself schtick (she’s already 19) and launched into a pop career where all the bets — and, before long, the clothes — will be off. When The Sun Goes Down (Hollywood) is an entirely tolerable entry into the teen-pop marketplace. Gomez’s voice edges more toward the husky/smoky than chirpy/vibratory, and 90-percent of the music is buoyant synth pop about staying up all night and partying with friends. And while the lyrics are riddled with the sorts of phrases that no one has ever uttered outside the context of a pop song (“take me to the other side,” “DJ, play my favorite song”) and a couple have clunky, verbose hooks (“My Dilemma”), you won’t cringe when your daughter squeals with friends during a sleepover. Except. Except the intro to “Bang Bang Bang” — about trying to show up a former boyfriend — she moans as if in the midst of coitus. It’s an awkward, unnecessary moment early in the record that — being the only such instance on the entire set — could have waited ’til the next record. (Saturday@Rosemont Theatre with Allstar Weekend.)

Aside from Tha Carter 2and 3, Lil Wayne‘s reputation rests on a pair of similarly numbered mixtapes, The Dedication. So, after the tanking of his last full-length, when Weezy acknowledged his fans’ impatience for Carter IVby releasing a new mixtape, it was high-fives all around. Unfortunately, Sorry 4 The Waitcomes off like filler more than an actual, thought-out stopgap. When the production is great or the “covers” inspired, Wayne’s asleep on the mic, and vice-versa. Tha Carter IV better come hard. Opener Lloyd hasn’t found the crossover breakthrough he’s been looking for over three records. So for King Of Hearts (Interscope), he becomes The-Dream. Mainstream R&B has become increasingly accommodating to foul-mouthed lovermen, a door kicked open by R. Kelly and has recently seen Chris Brown and The-Dream barge through. Lloyd’s “Dedication To My Ex (Miss That)” doesn’t dance around what he so longs for: her pussy. But it’s not being crude that keeps King Of Heartsfrom flying away on the strength of a couple tracks, it’s his failure to sustain a unique personality. Lloyd reportedly left The Inc. Records to grow. But he’s not planting seeds, he’s tossing them. (Saturday@First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre with Rick Ross and Keri Hilson.)

If you’ve spent all week wondering aloud, “What the hell was I doing, standing there in the rain?” we have a solution: take a seat. Far from Uncommon Ground’s stereotypical plate of hyper-sincere, three-chord folk-pop savants, Ida Jo (not Spanish for Idaho) bases most of her Singer In The Bandon her tastefully invoked violin. Refusing to make a show of herself or it, the tracks creep with acres of open space and surprise with her innate sense of pacing and restraint. (Saturday@Uncommon Ground Wrigleyville with Jamie Kent.)

Finally, a quick few words about the outdoor Built Festival at 1767 N. Milwaukee on Friday and Saturday. The art initiative will use the open space to build a city out of empty containers, which will then be donated to other artists to build guerilla, alternative venues. Fifteen bands will play throughout the weekend, featuring headliners The Black Tape and White Mystery. (Black, White: get it?!) The full list of bands can be seen here: www.builtforart.com/music/

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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