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Stage Buzz: Tomorrow Never Knows Festival

Free Energy

Tomorrow Never Knows is one of those festivals that somehow manages to stay just under the radar despite being in existence for quite a few years. Despite recently cracking into larger rooms, including the Vic and Metro, the majority of shows still take place at Schubas and Lincoln Hall, with Hideout hosting comedy.

This year’s edition is one of the finest in the history of the festival. The lineup reflects the true purpose of the annual winter event, bringing together some of the best up-and-coming bands, artists, and comedians.

For those who wish to immerse themselves in the week, five-day passes are still available for $100, however, individual tickets are also for sale through each venue.

Who better to plan your TNK experience than us? Here’s a few don’t-you-dare-miss highlights:

1/16Bear In Heaven at Schubas – Bear In Heaven makes painfully indulgent synth-driven rock that runs the gamut from ’80s South Beach to ’70s Berlin. Their latest, I Love you, It’s Cool was an early 2012 critics favorite.

1/17 – Wild Belle at Lincoln Hall Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based Wild Belle are playing one of the most anticipated sets of TNK having delighted audiences in August at the Hideout Block Party. With a totally unique sound that includes a baritone sax, plenty in town have been rooting for the brother and sister duo to break big.

1/18Free Energy, The Orwells at Schubas – This TNK set might as well be a record release party for vintage power-poppers Free Energy. Love Sign, their second release through James Murphy’s DFA Records is hitting shelves on Jan. 15. Local punk heroes The Orwells, who’ve had a quite a year despite their young age, support.

The Walkmen/Father John Misty at the Vic – The Walkmen are back for another go with TNK and are helping to add the Vic into the mix as a new venue for the festival. They are certain to be one of the most memorable sets of the week as they rarely disappoint.

1/19 Lucero – Alt-country stalwarts bring their darkly-tinged twang rock to the Metro with Matrimony and Houndmouth opening the evening.

Freelance Whales - Using an impressive array of obscure instruments to create a sound that ranges from soaring to strikingly delicate, Freelance Whales have quietly made two fantastic records, which translate effortlessly into a live setting.

The Delocated Witness Protection Program featuring Urge Overkill – The Hideout continues to host the comedy/non-musical portion of the festival with Adult Swim’s Delocated holding court for several nights. The Saturday performance should be a safe bet with a performance from Larry Murphy of “Bob’s Burgers” and “Ugly Americans” fame. BONUS – Urge Overkill is performing. You’ll probably remember them for famously serenading Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction with a cover of “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon.”

1/20 – Jessie Ware at Lincoln – Probably most familiar to TNK goers as a vocalist for SBTRKT, Ware’s “Wildest Moments” helped the English artist cross the pond in her own right this year. If there’s someone deserving the “on the brink” label among this crowd, Ware is definitely a strong contender.

School of Rock: A Tribute to Wilco – Come on, it’s really talented kids playing the best of Wilco, this one is going to be good. The show is also an early one since they all have curfews, so no excuses.

— Mike Sosin

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