Wednesday, September 11th: Savage Sister at Cafe Mustache (All Ages, FREE)
For some impossible to figure out reason, there isn't a time for this show listed on either Mustache's or Savage Sister's websites/Facebook pages. Irritating, I know, but Savage Sister is good enough, and Cafe Mustache enjoyable enough, to justify just showing up, having a drink and waiting for the shoegaze. Savage Sister's self-titled June release is the kind of record that blurs sense of time and place anyway, so a few cocktails will probably fit nicely. It'll be dreamy and it'll be free.
Thursday, September 12th: SISU at Empty Bottle (9pm, 21+, $13)
SISU's Light Eyes EP has been a regular visitor to my turntable since its April release. The mix of sulking darkwave and fragile melodies is as compelling live as it is on record and singer Sandra Vu's voice walks the line between forlorn and downright icy. Opening for Dirty Beaches in support of their new full-length, Blood Tears, SISU should have more than enough material to whip up a full set of intoxicating, heartbreaking daydreams.
Friday, September 13th: MAMA at The Mutiny (9pm, 21+, $5)
Local punk/power pop three-piece MAMA offer a solid blend of riot chugging and catchy hooks that should please fans of bands like The Ramones, The Buzzcocks and Material Issue. The band's debut record, Big In Chicago, is set for release any day now, but until then you can check out a track from their set at The Burlington in July.
Saturday, September 14th: Tight Phantomz at Double Door (11pm, 21+, $25)
No, that's not a typo, this show is $25 bucks. Why such a high price for Tight Phantomz? Because this is an official Riot Fest After Party headlined by Rocket from the Crypt. It's the openers who I'm interested in though, and the chance to see them perform material from their massive, swagger-heavy throwback double-album Silk Prison. Released after years of frontman Mike Lust doing some serious label searching, the album has been earning Phantomz comparisons to the likes of Van Halen and Kiss. I'm hearing something closer to a grungy, pissed off Urge Overkill, but either way, it's a big, bad, bold sound. Don't be shocked if Crypt doesn't even want to follow these guys.
Sunday, September 15th: Peter Hook & The Light at Double Door (11pm, 21+, $22)
Original Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook has been touring with his new band for a while, playing classic albums from his back-catalogue in their entirety. 2011 saw him finish up Joy Division's material with a performance of Closer at Metro that featured a guest appearance by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. This year Hooky is doing a set of Joy Division songs at Riot Fest, and working through New Order's early material at an After Party at Double Door. On tap are performances of iconic records Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies. The legendary bassist takes on vocal duties with The Light; his muscle and grit lent new layers to some songs from Closer and Unknown Pleasures. It'll be worth the price of admission alone to hear him tackle the more upbeat synth-pop of New Order.
Monday, September 16th: An Aesthetic Anesthetic at The Burlington (9pm, 21+, $5)
Oppressive riffs, sublime melodies and a genuine sense of anything-can-happen-wonder are the hallmarks of local "instrumental ghost rock" quartet An Aesthetic Anesthetic's sound. The band crafts songs that aim at the majesty of Explosions in the Sky while scraping the maniac aggression of fellow Chicagoan's Unmanned Ship. While those extremes aren't fully embraced by AAA, the resulting sonic wizardry is a superb blend of math, post-rock and punk.