Weekend Picks & Peeks: July 26-28

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The weekends in major cities can be overwhelming-so much to do and see with so little time. In order to make your life a little easier, I’ve decided to tell you exactly where to be and when, so the only decision you’ll need to make is whether you need another beer or should you get a funnel cake. There’s a couple different cool fests going on, and some great shows as well, so scroll through here and get ready to party.

We all know that the weekend really starts on Thursday night. Well guess what? There’s a fantastic show going on at Chicago Theatre this Thursday! Actor/Comedian/Novelist/Playwright/Banjo virtuoso Steve Martin brings the Steep Canyon Rangers to Chicago along with Edie Brickell, with whom they just released an album. If you dig bluegrass music at all, these guys are amazing. Martin has been playing the banjo for a long, long time but only recently started recording and releasing music. If you haven’t heard it yet, check out the groups episode of Austin City Limits. There are still a few tickets left HERE.

Friday night there’s only one place to be, and that’s Lincoln Park Zoo to see Michael Franti & Spearhead with openers Fort Frances! I’ve personally never been that into Michael Franti, but I know a lot of people that are. If I were going it would be all for Fort Frances, and they are definitely reason enough to go hang out at a zoo and rage with the baboons. Tickets are still on sale, but I’m guessing they’ll be gone before the show. Get yours HERE.

Wicker Park Fest kicks off your Saturday afternoon with great sets by a couple of my favorite local bands. At 2, Dirty Pigeons get things going, and they’re followed directly by The Damn Choir! If you don’t mind walking a bit you can get over to the other stage to catch Santah after that. And then just stick around and fill your belly with food and alcohol, as Bahamas plays what is sure to be a great set, and closing out the night is Man Man. I’ve never seen Man Man live, but I saw Honus Honus play keys for Mister Heavenly with Michael Cera on bass at Lincoln Hall, and it was awesome.

If you feel like you’ve had too much sun and want to get indoors for a while, House of Blues also has a great show Saturday featuring locals Gemini Club and My Gold Mask with headliner Metric. I’ve seen Gemini Club and met them-super nice guys and really good performers. I never really liked Metric, but I thought their most recent album was pretty good. The show is part of a Red Bull thing where they’re hosting a bunch of shows around the country featuring local bands opening for big superstar groups. Kind of a fun thing for them to do.

If you’re feeling super ambitious you could get back over to Wicker Park Fest early for Chicago’s psych rock band Secret Colours at 3:25. But after your Saturday night of drunken debauchery, it’s probably best to stay in bed as long as possible. You should attempt to be up and ready to go in time to catch Brighton MA at 6, though. And then you can refuel with a couple Chicago dogs and 312’s before making your way over to the stage that Ted Leo & The Pharmacists are closing out. They’re also playing at SubT on Saturday night, but this is free so….yeah. The only time I’ve ever seen Ted Leo was the night he played at Fireside Bowl a couple years ago-it was like $5 and worth at least five times that.

And that’s it! Enjoy your weekend. Please be safe and responsible. Make sure you drink plenty of Gatorade following all this excitment-you’re gonna need all the electrolytes you can get to survive Lollapalooza next weekend.

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