Monday, September 19, 2011

This week: Jane's Addiction, Swans, Peter Hook & more

By Gene Wagendorf III

Jane's Addiction play Metro Saturday and Sunday
Yes, the summer has wound down, but that's no reason to start moping over hot chocolate and bad TV. This week is loaded with tons of great shows that will make it easy to wait another seven days before beginning your fourth attempt at reading War and Peace.

Wednesday - Kaki King at SPACE

Kaki King has developed a reputation as a strong songwriter with out-of-this-world picking skills, but on her new album Junior she takes a huge step towards smashing any thoughts that she might be a one-trick-pony. Produced by Malcom Burn (Patti Smith, Emmylou Harris), the album's songs find King collaborating with multi-instrumentalist Dan Brantigan and drummer Jordan Perlson. The result is a lush, fluid album that is both saccharine and haunting. The show ought to be a mellow affair, but definitely a great kickoff to a string of excellent shows.

Thursday - Swans at Bottom Lounge

The legendary Michael Gira is bringing his revamped Swans back to Chicago on Thursday night in a show that has the potential to steal the thunder from anything that happens afterward. The group's recently released My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, is a dynamic assault on the senses, at times brutal and grainy, at times highly melodic and almost understated. Swans are notorious for their visceral live performances, being described by Gira himself as "soul-uplifting and body-destroying." Not bad for a Thursday night, huh? The band is winding down an eighteen month tour and in a world that guarantees nothing for the future this show is not to be missed.

Friday - Peter Hook & The Light at Metro

So, if you were a good boy or girl you got a chance to see Gira on Thursday. What can Friday do for an encore? How about another music god, former Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook? His new group, The Light, have been paying homage to Ian Curtis by touring the world playing the classic album Unknown Pleasures to thrilled audiences. Expect the evening to carry a dark, yet danceable punch and leave you cursing the fact that you weren't old enough to see Joy Division back in their heyday. Now in their second year of touring, the group is pulling out Closer, which could make this your one chance ever to see "Atrocity Exhibition" or "Isolation" live. Hook takes over most of the vocal work in these gritty, bass-driven renditions, though he has given up the mic for collaborations with Rowetta and Perry Farrell. With Jane's Addiction playing the following night, what are the odds that Perry joins him again?

Saturday & Sunday - Jane's Addiction at Metro

Most Chicago rockers have that asshole friend who hasn't shut up about seeing Jane's at Metro back in '91. Here's your chance to silence them, as the god father's of the '90s alt-rock scene come back to Chicago for two shows celebrating the release of their new record, Great Escape Artist. This city knows full-well that front-man Perry Farrell is one of the world's premier party-throwers (see: Lollapalooza), and these two sets are sure not to disappoint. Recent Jane's Addiction shows have seen a nice mix of high energy new material ("End to the Lies," "Irresistable Force") and spastic romps through the old stuff ("Mountain Song," "Been Caught Stealing"). The feel good moment of the weekend may be the totally predictable yet ultimately satisfying encore sing along to "Jane Says." Get your vocal chords ready.

Sunday - Asobi Seksu at Schubas

I can think of few better ways to come down from this marathon of madness than with the silky voice of Asobi Seksu's Yuki Chikudate. Shoegaze bands tend to flourish at Schubas thanks to excellent soundwork and this show should be no different. The band has the ability to ping pong between moments of subtle beauty and thrashy bends, allowing the songs to take off into something a bit bizarre before landing back on Earth. If you're the type that rereads old love letters after a breakup, Asobi Seksu has all the heartbreak medicine you'll need to wind down your weekend. That isn't to say the happy shouldn't attend however, as Chikudate's smile is as infectious as her music.

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