CHICKFACTOR'S 20TH ANNIVERSARY: JOE PERNICE, THE SOFTIES, LOIS, SELECTOR DUB NARCOTIC (Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) Read our article on chickfactor.
MOGWAI, CHAD VANGAALEN (Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Scottish noisemakers Mogwai can probably best be summed up by the title of their last album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will. But that title pretty much sums up life. For nearly two decades, Mogwai has been the end-all be-all for those who live and die by the epic guitar instrumental. They are a band that is in complete control of the quiet-LOUD dynamic, the sonic equivalent of an Olympic long-distance runner. They're the link between My Bloody Valentine and about three-quarters of Thrill Jockey's roster. That's a good—nay, a great thing. And although it's not necessary to own Mogwai's entire catalog (Young Team and Rock Action should do), here's hoping that these guys never stop making music. MARK LORE Also see My, What a Busy Week!
LITTLE BARRIE (Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Once in a while, a modern band will ape retro gestures and just nail 'em so righteously that you toss out all your hard-won reservations about derivativeness and revel in the zealous, on-point replication of it all. That's the case with Little Barrie, a London via Nottingham, England, group with a gritty yet melodic R&B/blues-rock approach that doesn't really advance beyond anything pushed by Them, the Animals, and early Deep Purple some 45 years ago. Led by the engaging guitarist/vocalist Barrie Cadogan, a coveted session player for Primal Scream, Spiritualized, Chemical Brothers, Morrissey, and others, Little Barrie are super-competent resurrectors of a sound that ossified years ago. That's something. DAVE SEGAL
CASS MCCOMBS BAND, MICHAEL HURLEY (Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Look, I like plenty of mild shit. I don't need my music to have balls or grit or dirt or noise in order to dig it—I can get down and mope to a nice, sappy ballad as well as any softie out there. But sometimes Cass McCombs needs to rock my world a little harder. He plies his very subtle art by teasing out tepid, unhurried songs that wisp their way into listeners' ears like the lite-est of Lite FM hits. True, McCombs injected a little more verve into both his most recent full-length, Humor Risk, and his new single, the impassioned "Bradley Manning." But no one's gonna be breaking a sweat—or a heel—at this show. I've got several good, trustworthy friends with excellent taste who all think McCombs is the cat's pajamas, so maybe I'm alone in finding him dull. Or maybe he is what I suspect he is: this generation's James Taylor. NED LANNAMANN