Festival, schmestival -- let's get rock 'n' roll back indoors and in the dark where it belongs.
With summer's concert season cooling off, and those festival radius clauses beginning to expire, Chicago's slate of autumn musical offerings is taking shape. Among the usual list of current stars and perennial favorites are some new and unique bills, as well as some curious and can't-miss tickets.
Here's a look at the highlights from this fall's concert calendar, including Jane's Addiction, Smashing Pumpkins, Herbie Hancock and, of course, Kanye West & Jay-Z, and more ...
Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements
OK, one more festival. Then we're done. Really. From Pitchfork fest co-owner Mike Reed comes this new creation, a "live mash-up of art forms" including music, comedy, film and circus acts (like Chicago's El Circo Cheapo). "Our ultimate goal is to create a distinct environment that allows a wide audience to be entertained with the most creative ideas and performers regardless of genre," says the fest's mission statement. The music is key, though: out-of-the-box band Shellac, somnambulant singer-songwriter Bill Callahan, world-folk troubadours A Hawk and A Hacksaw, sonic artist Dan Deacon, Mali guitarist Sidi Toure and much more. It's three days of a kind of contemporary Vaudeville and should be fun for the whole family.
-- Sept. 16-18 at Eckhart Park, Chicago & Noble. Visit brilliantcornersofpopularamusements.com.
Crystal Bowersox -- The folk-rocking "American Idol" fave is shy about performing within the city limits of her adopted hometown, but she's finally set up a show in the burbs. Sept. 17 at Dominican University Performing Arts Center in River Forest. Visit dom.edu/pac.
Cut Copy -- This Australian dance-pop band was exciting and refreshing in July at the Pitchfork festival. Imagine how great they'll be indoors where you can actually dance. Sept. 20 at the Riviera Theatre. Visit jamusa.com.
Ani DiFranco -- The fiery singer-guitarist with duct-taped fingers is at work on a star-studded new album, "Which Side Are You On." She's always worth watching as well as hearing. Sept. 21 at the Vic Theatre. Visit jamusa.com.
They Might Be Giants -- The quirky alt-pop band from ye olde "college rock" days finally just released an album, "Join Us," that's not so kid-oriented. Welcome back, particle men! Sept. 23 at the Riviera Theatre. Visit jamusa.com.
<< Jane's Addiction
Perry Farrell's revived Jane's Addiction returns this month to Chicago's Metro, where it once launched its "Nothing's Shocking" album in 1988, to kick off its fall tour supporting a new album, "The Great Escape Artist," due out Oct. 18. The gang's mostly all here: guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins, plus Chris Chaney on bass, all behind the loopy grand marshal of Lollapalooza.
-- Sept. 24-25 at Metro. Visit metrochicago.com.
Another act worthy of following from the Pitchfork park into Chicago's clubs is fey young Londoner James Blake. Influenced by American R&B (and vocally often a dead ringer for Aaron Neville), the 22-year-old Blake makes cold dubstep beats and fragmented samples come alive with a spectral approach and haunting results. A full set in the intimate but reverberating space of Metro has transcendent potential.
-- Sept. 29 at Metro. Visit metrochicago.com.
Fleet Foxes -- Indie-rock's CSN moved well beyond pretty harmonies on its sophomore album, "Helplessness Blues." Little surprise they've sold out a two-night stand. Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at the Chicago Theatre. Visit jamusa.com.
The 1st annual Diane Izzo Memorial Concert
Acclaimed local songwriter Diane Izzo -- her 1999 debut "One" is a landmark of songwriting talent -- died earlier this year from a brain tumor at age 43. Not only acclaimed, Izzo was beloved by many, so it's not surprising that a tribute to her memory has been organized before the year is up. The show will feature performances from Califone, along with several of Diane's other friends and collaborators, including Souled American, Cheryl Trykv, Crooked Mouth String Band and the Friends of Diane Izzo Band. A worthy tribute, and a heckuva lineup.
-- Oct. 2 at Hideout. Visit hideoutchicago.com.
Foster the People -- Remember how sweaty Foster the People's Mark Foster got in the midday sun at Lollapalooza last month? Maybe he can work up the same sweat indoors. They've got a lot more grooves beyond their summer single, "Pumped Up Kicks." Oct. 5 at the Riviera Theatre. Visit jamusa.com.
Red Bull Riot Fest
Chicago's annual multi-day, multi-venue punk festival has gone through some changes. The bill is larger and weirder than ever this year -- featuring a reunion performance from Glenn Danzig and some old bandmates (yes!) as well as Weezer (wha?!) -- and the event now has a big, corporate sponsor. Can we look past that and still enjoy Social Distortion, the Descendents, All (two eras' worth), X (playing "Los Angeles") and more?
-- Oct. 5-9 at the Congress Theatre, Double Door, Bottom Lounge and Cobra Lounge. Visit riotfest.org.
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks -- Pavement's slacker-in-chief is back with the Jicks and just released "Mirror Traffic," produced by Beck. The new stuff is typically loopy and light, and he's usually good for a puzzling night out. Oct. 6 at the Vic Theatre, Visit jamusa.com.
Roger Daltrey -- The Who leader lumbers out on a new tour performing the whole of "Tommy," by himself. Good thing he's at a casino for this, because it's dicey how it could turn out. Oct. 7 at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind. Visit horseshoe-indiana.com.
Wild Flag >>
Two-thirds of Sleater-Kinney support this new quartet, which often blows right past that original trio on its fresh, rousing self-titled debut (out next week). The band's one-off shows thus far this year -- an industry premiere at SXSW, a jam-packed affair in July at the Wicker Park Fest -- have been rollicking blasts, start to finish. They could fill a venue much bigger than this, but the intimacy is going to be electric.
-- Oct. 8-9 at the Empty Bottle. Visit emptybottle.com.
Bryan Ferry -- We're still crazy about this sharp-dressed man, and the classy leader of Roxy Music should be cool and crafty in this solo outing in a venue appropriate to his romantic ambitions. Oct. 11 at the Civic Opera House. Visit civicoperahouse.com.
Portishead -- Trip-hop lives, but this genre-defining band has evolved to be much more. There's no new album to support since 2008's "Third," but the band promises one to come and likely is working out new sounds on this go-round. Oct. 12 at the Aragon. Visit jamusa.com.
Odd Future -- Lock up your daughters, it's the rampaging, filthy-minded L.A. rap crew OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) that caused such a fuss around its Pitchfork fest performance this summer. Leader Tyler the Creator was just named best new artist at MTV's VMAs. Will a legit nod spoil them? Oct. 14 at Metro, Visit metrochicago.com.
<< Smashing Pumpkins -- Billy Corgan & Co. plan a big tour in 2012 to support the upcoming "Oceania" album, but they're warming up with a 12-city jaunt this fall. Oct. 14 at the Riviera Theatre. Visit jamusa.com.
Portugal. The Man -- All their gear got stolen after Lollapalooza. Oh no! Then Chicago cops nabbed a guy allegedly trying to fence it. Hooray! Let's hope their road crew now includes German. The Shepherd. Oct. 15 at Metro. Visit metrochicago.com.
Deadmau5 -- These mouse ears likely are more identifiable to a lot of people than Mickey's, and the DJ's shows this year (including Lollapalooza) have been wild, mad-mixing affairs that earn screaming acclaim. Oct. 22-23 at the Aragon. Visit livenation.com.
The Chicago-born pianist is looooong overdue for a victory lap. After upsetting the 2008 Grammys by winning album of the year (for his 47th album, "River: The Joni Letters") and landing a United Nations ambassador gig earlier this year, Hancock is now embarking on what he calls his first-ever solo tour, playing picks from the entirety of his lengthy, lauded career. The master can still rockit!
-- Oct. 29 at North Central College's Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville. Visit northcentralcollege.edu/showtix.
tUnE-yArDs -- The intrepid Merrill Garbus is one of the most creative musical muppets out there at present, a war-painted iconoclast who loves her vocal loops. A one-woman choir and innovative rhythmatist, Garbus makes for a compelling, arty evening. Oct. 9-10 at Lincoln Hall. Visit lincolnhallchicago.com.
Kanye West & Jay-Z
Despite all the on-stage pyro, hip-hop's latest superstar duo didn't exactly set anything ablaze during their MTV VMAs performance, and their debut collaboration, "Watch the Throne," is good but not great. Still, it feels foolish to bet against this tour once Yeezy's ambition and Hova's style become fully realized in an arena production. Expect guests and garishness.
-- Dec. 1 at the United Center. Visit livenation.com.
Plus, like, totally '80s
Reading the fall schedule of concerts in Chicago, you might experience temporal displacement -- as if suddenly it's actually 1985 and you've got a date this weekend to see "Desperately Seeking Susan." To wit:
Erasure, Sept. 16-17 @ Congress Theatre, congresschicago.com
OMD (Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark), Sept. 24 @ Vic Theatre, jamusa.com
Psychedelic Furs and the Tom Tom Club, Sept. 24 @ House of Blues, houseofblues.com/chicago
The English Beat, Sept. 28 @ S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston, evanstonspace.com
Bob Mould, Sept. 30-Oct. 1 @ Montrose Room in Rosemont, montroseroom.com
Bryan Adams, Oct. 8 @ Chicago Theatre, jamusa.com
The Bangles, Oct. 10 @ House of Blues, houseofblues.com/chicago
Duran Duran, Oct. 21 @ Chicago Theatre, jamusa.com
Howard Jones, Oct. 27 @ Bottom Lounge, bottomlounge.com
The Toasters, Nov. 3 @ Subterranean, subt.net
-- Follow @chicagosmusic