Recommended Live Music for the Weekend

Some selections to help you cool down as summer heats up

Metal to SoundCloud rap on Friday, beach rock and soul on Saturday, and some good ol' folk rock on Sunday, this weekend has it all.



Skyline Theater @ the Long Center
Fri., July 13, 6:30pm

An entire legal drinking age worth of time passed between the 1996 breakup of Jawbreaker and their headlining 2017 reunion at Chicago’s Riot Fest. The superlatively influential melodic punk band, from S.F. by way of L.A. with a 1986 NYC foundation, perpetually ranked among the most desired reunions after the trio essentially disbanded in sidewalk fisticuffs while touring 1995 swan song Dear You. On that very tour, they played for 500 on the outside stage at the old Emo’s.

Upon their return, they’ve upgraded to the 7,000-capacity open-air Skyline Theater Downtown at the Long Center.

Drummer Adam Pfahler and bassist/vocalist Chris Bauermeister, led on vocals and guitar by Blake Schwarzenbach, released just four studio LPs, with the posthumous Etc. compiling unreleased and non-album tracks in 2002. Each album showed a marked progression in songwriting, beginning with the gruff, Eighties emo-tinged Unfun (1990), released during their short-lived L.A. residency. The Bivouac (1992) era included Schwarzenbach undergoing throat surgery, Steve Albini engineered crowd favorite 24 Hour Revenge Therapy (1994), and Dear You brought with it misguided accusations of selling out for its cleaner studio sound.

After the split, the three scattered to the winds. Schwarzenbach’s Jets to Brazil (1997-2003) ranks among the most notable of his Brooklyn endeavors, the one full-length and double 7-inch from Forgetters and the blink-and-miss-it Thorns of Life notwithstanding. Bauermeister joined the ranks of Chicago’s Horace Pinker until 2001, then relocated to Olympia, Wash., where he continues to play in a variety of DIY punk bands. Pfahler still resides in the Bay Area, running a video store out of the Alamo Drafthouse’s New Mission theatre. – Greg Stitt

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Fri., July 13, 8pm

UMO’s Sex & Food arrived in April like the New Zealanders’ previous three LPs: catchy, psychedelic, lo-fi. Ruban Nielson promises no decoder ring for his lyrics since he revealed the polyamorous relationship that inspired predecessor Multi-Love and found subsequent album interpretations narrow. Soul, funk, and disco thus do the talking. Las Vegas’ Shamir Bailey, 23, offers a stunningly sweet countertenor of club-pop past and indie present with March release Resolution. – Christina Garcia


Empire Control Room
Fri., July 13, 9pm

Twenty-year-old Jahmier Velazquez quit his mechanic gig when last year’s “Bozo” and “Hella Choppers (Remix)” blew past 500,000 SoundCloud streams, and “Piped Up” hit 3 million on YouTube. As Comethazine, the St. Louis rapper imbues cliches about cars and lean with a syrupy delivery and ominous, repetitive ad-libs. He opened for Post Malone in 2016 after debuting EP Aloe Vera and aims to be “the next Rick James.” – Clara Wang

Ludovico Einaudi

Bass Concert Hall
Fri., July 13, 8pm

Italian pianist/composer Ludovico Einaudi, 62, boasts more Spotify followers than Beethoven! Pop crossover, his works include 2015 chart topper Elements, numerous film and television scores, and arrangements of music by Blonde Redhead. Critics deride the “anti-virtuoso” as too populist, too safe, but fans of his 2016 “Elegy for the Arctic,” played from a small raft among melting glaciers, disagree. – Christina Garcia

Ugly Beats' Birthday Bash

Continental Club
Fri., July 13, 12pm

Joyously rambunctious locals the Ugly Beats have torn homegrown stages for 15 years now with Sixties-marinated garage rock, pop, and even punk. Bandmembers will be in high spirits as they throw down for the 50th birthday of vocalist, guitarist, and founder Joe Emery. No presents, please, just your best party ’tude. – Jay Trachtenberg

Antone's 43rd Anniversary w/ Bun B

Fri., July 13, 10pm

Consider Bernard Freeman, 45, the Willie Nelson of Texas rap. Born in a landmark holler (Port Arthur) and a hit cottage industry (UGK) before going solo to mass acclaim (the Trill quadrilogy), he’s man (of the people) enough to sport a Lagomorph nickname. – Raoul Hernandez


Jamila Woods, Sarah Jaffe

Photo By Shelley Hiam

Hogg Auditorium
Sat., July 14, 7:30pm

Ivy League-educated soulstress Jamila Woods blessed fellow Chicagoan Chance the Rapper with vocals on the nostalgic “Sunday Candy” and heavenly “Blessings.” Texas native Sarah Jaffe evolved her precocious vocals from small-town folk acoustics and indie orchestrals to sci-fi electro-pop on last year’s Bad Baby. Together with a much-teased “special guest,” they mark five years for KUTX. – Clara Wang

Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis

Broken Spoke
Sat., July 14, 9pm

More than a decade passed since either Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis released a solo album, but the past year brought both back in for an individual close-up. The former offered up 2017’s easy and freewheelin’ Bruce Robison & the Back Porch Band, while his spouse delivered this spring’s stellar Back Being Blue. Thankfully their individual projects haven’t quelled the couple’s impulse to fill the Broken Spoke dance floor. – Doug Freeman

Summer Salt, Hot Flash Heat Wave

Sat., July 14, 9pm

Closest we’ll get to a beach in July, Summer Salt reps Austin with its Southern take on surf rock. Breezy acoustics and howling vocals on 2017 EP So Polite join the bossanova, soul, and blues influences throughout the group’s growing catalog. San Francisco New Wave quartet Hot Flash Heat Wave supply coastal support, while Chicago indie rockers the Symposium open with a marine layer of an acid rock haze. – Jeremy Steinberger


Sat., July 14, 8pm

Alternative L.A. outfit Espresso fall somewhere between the diluted funk of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the indie punkadelia of Alt-J. “Space Ship, Space Dick” transfixes with Gil Scott-Heron sensibility. Leading support comes from Indoor Creature, local rock from a chance encounter at a sushi restaurant on North Lamar. Their 2015 debut Present Thinking channels the provisional pleasures and concerns of young adults with forward thinking indie-pop. – Jeremy Steinberger


Photo by Jana Birchum

Langhorne Slim

Sun., July 15, 8pm

Langhorne Slim has carved out an eclectic path through folk-rock since 2005’s rousing debut LP When the Sun’s Gone Down, but last November’s Lost at Last Vol. 1 felt like a full-circle return. Raw and rootsy behind the Nashville-based songwriter’s twinging nasal whine, the album left behind the raucous stomps of recent efforts like The Spirit Moves for low down ballads and NOLA piano. – Doug Freeman

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Live Music, Jawbreaker, Unkown Mortal Orchastra, Comethazine, Ludovico Einaudi, Ugly Beats' Birthday Bash, Bun B, Jamila Woods, Sarah Jaffe, Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis, Summer Salt, Hot Flash Heat Wave, Espresso, Langhorne Slim

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