A look ahead at shows worth seeing (and hearing) this week ...
If you thought that if you have an acoustic guitar it means that you are a protest singer -- think again. Sexton is super soulful as he strums through his considerable catalog, which turns 20 this year. He's a ferocious performer with a versatile voice and wolfish personality. Then again, his latest album, "Fall Like Rain," is a little protesty -- tinged with social commentary and featuring a cover of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth."
At 8 p.m. Jan. 20 at Park West 322, W. Armitage. Tickets: $27. Call (800) 514-ETIX; jamusa.com.
This raffish rock duo just celebrated a 10th anniversary with a video directed by actress Samantha Morton. The scorching guitar-vocal attack of Jamie Hince and Alison Mossheart, respectively, made for one of the best shows last year, and they'll no doubt hit just as hard on the return trip.
At 8 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine. Call (800) 514-ETIX; jamusa.com.
TEA LEAF GREEN
The San Francisco group is a "jam band" but considerably more. Each player in the quintet boasts impressive instrumental chops -- they added former Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey bassist Reed Mathis last year before recording "Radio Tragedy!" -- but when they jam, your brain doesn't turn to jelly. They're adept at succinct, lovely pop melodies, too. The sharp country rock of Ha Ha Tonka opens.
At 9 p.m. Jan. 20. Tickets: $20. Call (773) 525-2508; lincolnhallchicago.com.
CLEARED with EXPO 70 and SAM PREKOP
A great night of innovative local music starts with Sam Prekop, the breathy lead singer from Chicago's veteran pop band the Sea & Cake; his solo work is similarly effortless and breezy. Expo 70 is Justin Wright's meditative synth-drone project (not to be confused with the local covers band Expo 76!). Cleared is a duo of Steven Hess and Michael Vallera, celebrating the release of their second album, "Breaking Day," self-described as: "Elements of noise, drone, and psychedelia are filtered through a dark, unifying lens that ranges from relentless rhythmic assault to monolithic tonal sculpture." Enjoy, but bring your ear plugs.
At 9 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Burlington, 3425 W. Fullerton. Tickets: $8 door. Call (773) 384-3243; theburlingtonbar.com.
CHICAGO PSYCH FEST 3
Established now as a successful annual event, Chicago's Psych Fest returns with two nights of some of the best local and modern psychedelic rock. Friday night features the phenomenal CAVE, its two drummers pounding through woolly, mammoth-sized material. Also Friday: Bil Vermette, the Velcro Lewis Group, Killer Moon and Strychnine. Saturday's headliner is the droney Dark Fog, preceded by Classic Plastic Crimewave Sound, Rabble Rabble, Verma and Red Plastic Buddha.
At 7 p.m. Jan. 20-21 at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia. Tickets: $10. Call (773) 227-4433; hideoutchicago.com.