This week’s top arts and entertainment picks around town, from the guy who’s paid to pick them:
Chicago garage rockers the Ponys
are the probably the least pretentious and ambitious group to come out of the scene over the past few years. Their latest CD, Turn the Lights Out, sounds like an afternoon-long beer buzz, with crunchy guitar riffs leading the way. It’s primal stuff -- which simultaneously nods to Nuggets-era rawk as well as to contemporary indie-rock. They’re at the Grog Shop tonight.
Tuesday: Gogol Bordello’s
gypsy punk just keeps getting more frantic. Their new album, Super Taranta, piles on fiddles, super-fast rhythms, and Eugene Hütz’s spitting vocals. It’s ideal for dancing, drinking, or just sitting back and trying to take it all in. The NYC band is even more fab onstage, where Hütz becomes an even more unleashed maniac. They’re at House of Blues.
Over the past 18 years, Nickel Creek
redefined the concept of bluegrass. At its core, the trio plants itself in O Brother, Where Art Thou? territory. But their music stretches across the pop landscape -- everything from dance-pop (they’ve performed Britney Spears songs in-concert) to hipster-approved indie rock (they’ve covered Pavement on record). They’re calling it quits after one last farewell tour, which stops at Cain Park.
The third-annual Ingenuity Festival
kicks off this afternoon at Playhouse Square. Over the next four days, more than 1,100 performers, artists, and music ensembles will showcase their work. Highlights include Brazil’s Beat the Donkey percussion group, the Brooklyn dance troupe Troika Ranch, and Grandmaster Flash, the influential DJ who recently became the Rock Hall’s first hip-hop inductee. The fest runs through Sunday throughout the Playhouse Square District downtown.
In case you haven’t heard, the final Harry Potter book comes out at midnight. And tons of places are holding special Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows events that’ll keep your kids up way past their bedtimes tonight. Some of our favorites: Joseph-Beth Booksellers’ Potter Party in the Village
, the Great Lakes Science Center’s
sleepover, Hudson’s Harry Potter Land
, and the Blue Heron Bookstore-sponsored Harry Potter Fest
. Plus, all local Borders
host a Grand Hallows Ball. --Michael Gallucci