April is shaping up as a busy month for concert going, with lots of cool indie-rock shows crowding onto the calendar. Here are a few of the promising concerts coming up in the next week that I recommend seeing.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7
FANFARLO with LAWRENCE ARABIA and ROBERT FRANCIS at Lincoln Hall. The British band Fanfarlo put out one of my favorite records last year, Reservoir, and the group’s live performance in 2009 at Schubas was a joyous, celebratory show. They should be great at Lincoln Hall — especially if they stretch out and play a bit longer. The New Zealand act Lawrence Arabia is also intriguing, with some sunny psychedelic folk-rock, and I believe this is the first chance to see him (a.k.a. James Milne) in Chicago. There’s good word of mouth about opener Robert Francis. Also tonight, TITUS ANDRONICUS is at the Bottom Lounge. I saw Titus Andronicus put on a riveting in-store show last month at Reckless Records, and it’ll be even better in a room where people can actually dance and move around. An intense band that plays songs with a deep sense of history.
THURSDAY, APRIL 8
THE XX are doing two shows at Lincoln Hall. Both are sold out. Good luck getting in if you don’t already have a ticket. WIll this cool, minimalist Brit band live up to the hype? Also on Thursday, THE SINGLEMAN AFFAIR plays at the Hideout. Great psychedelic folk-rock artist from Chicago, always worth seeing.
FRIDAY, APRIL 9
Lots of possibilities on this night: THE DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS and LANGHORNE SLIM at the Vic. FRED EAGLESMITH at FitzGerald’s. THE SOFT PACK at the Empty Bottle. MI AMI at the Hideout. JAPANDROIDS at Lincoln Hall. Take your pick. Any one of these could be a great show.
SATURDAY, APRIL 10
Another jam-packed night: BILL CALLAHAN (the guy formerly known as Smog) does two shows at the Hideout. MISSION OF BURMA is at the Double Door. Radiohead singer Thom Yorke’s solo project ATOMS FOR PEACE plays the first of two nights at the Aragon. And OWEN PALLETT, the multi-track-looping violinist and singer formerly known as Final Fantasy, plays at Lincoln Hall. His new record, Heartland, is a rich collection of beautiful songs which should sound terrific in concert. And oh, yeah, one of Chicago’s most excellent young garage bands, THE SMITH WESTERNS, are playing at Schubas. And THE BLANK DOGS are playing the Empty Bottle. I’ve never followed that band too closely, but they have a good reputation — and 17 records! So much to do and so little time!
SUNDAY, APRIL 11
If you were busy with one of the other shows on Saturday, this might be the night to catch ATOMS FOR PEACE. I hope Yorke’s music survives the notorious acoustics at the Aragon.
MONDAY, APRIL 12
Maybe a night to rest? Nah. How about catching Robbie Fulks at the Hideout. (I said yesterday that he isn’t playing next Monday, but Fulks himself left a comment on my blog reporting that he is indeed going to perform. Check the Hideout calendar for confirmation.
TUESDAY, APRIL 13
Instead of seeing a concert, how about some poetry? (Or catch some live poetry before you head out to a late show. Poetry slam champion Roger Bonair-Agard, a native of Trinidad who now lives in Chicago, will perform during a poetry reading sponsored by the Society of Midland Authors at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave. Admission is free. A social hour with free appetizers and a cash bar begins at 6 p.m., followed by the poetry at 7. (I am president of the Society of Midland Authors’ board.)