Night Beats, the Mystery Lights play Beat Kitchen

Night Beats
Night Beats

Mystery Lights
The Mystery Lights

There’s a great rock ‘n’ roll lineup at Beat Kitchen Friday.

Headliner Night Beats put out a cool (and recommended) album, Who Sold My Generation, earlier this year.

Recently, I’ve been immersed in the Mystery Lights, which just put out its self-titled debut album last month. These guys are a blast. Definitely try to catch these guys as well.

Opening for both bands is the promising Chicago group the Evening Attraction.

Pitchfork festival preview


(Above: Savages)

Every year there’s a debate over “last year was better” or “this year is lame,” but there’s always something for everyone at Pitchfork’s Chicago music festival.

Here’s is my primer and personal picks.

Also, check out the after shows.


I would absolutely get to the park early to see Car Seat Headrest, the first band at 3:30 p.m.

Whitney is a personal favorite. I’d love to hear those syrupy sweet pop songs — from the recently released debut album — performed live.

Broken Social Scene and Beach House each seem like a must see.


The early Saturday sets are very strong. Girl Band gets started at 1:45 p.m. Kevin Morby and Royal Headache overlap. Try to check out both.

Savages should not be missed. Blood Orange is another act you should see.

Finally, see a piece of musical history when Brian Wilson performs Pet Sounds.


Two excellent acts start the day. Porches begins at 1:45 p.m. and the legendary Sun Ra Arkestra plays at 1:55.

I won’t miss a minute of Woods, one of my favorite bands.

New (yet old-school) jazz great Kamasi Washington plays later in the afternoon. This is one of the must-see highlights.

The great ’80s-sounding group Holy Ghost! plays late afternoon, warming up for Neon Indian, which made a fantastic album last year.

The closer options are FKA Twigs on the main stage and Oneohtrix Point Never on the often-interesting (blue) side stage.

Just two years ago, FKA Twigs was playing on the side stage opposite St. Vincent on a Saturday night of Pitchfork. So if you missed her then, here’s another chance.

Big Thief, touring its great debut album, hits Chicago area again


Big Thief doesn’t come across as a band audacious enough to call its debut album Masterpiece. But here we are. This buzzed-about album really is good.

If you don’t believe me, ask Jeff Tweedy: “Great guitars, great lyrics, great melodies … what more could you possibly want,” Tweedy wrote on Twitter recently.

Sharon Van Etten also is a fan.

Big Thief’s music reminds me a little of Van Etten but it also recalls Jason Molina in parts, including on the title track. There’s a lot of pop, rock, country and folk to please a lot of musical palates.

Check out the band at Space in Evanston Wednesday.

These guys already played at least two shows in Chicago this year. The gig at Space is a headlining slot.

Mark Sultan keeps grinding out great garage rock, plans tour

Mark Sultan

Mark Sultan has an uncanny ability to keep churning out very good, old-school garage rock. Once better-known as BBQ when collaborating with his friend King Khan, Sultan is doing his solo thing this summer, which includes a stop at Chicago’s East Room August 1.

Listen to a new song, Believe Me, which will be released on a record in the coming months.