Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

Concertline: James Murphy, B.B. King, more

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A look ahead at shows worth seeing (and hearing) this week ...

He's turned off his LCD Soundsystem, and now electropop pioneer James Murphy is indulging in collaborations with other artists as well as his passion behind the turntable. With classic rock and new wave influences this deep, his DJ sets are rich and textural. He leads a dance bill that includes DJ LA Jesus, Mister Joshua and Kool Hersh.
At 10 p.m. March 23 at the Mid, 306 N. Halsted. Tickets: $20. Call 312-265-3990;

One of the most interesting musicians from the '90s, the leader of Soul Coughing now looks back on that decade as an unhappy time of addiction. He just published a memoir, The Book of Drugs, and he's reading from it during his current shows, which also include what's become a requisite feature for him: Q&A with the audience.
He's got two suburban shows this week, first at 7:30 p.m. March 22 at S.P.A.C.E., 1245 Chicago Ave. in Evanston ($32-$42; 847-492-8860;, then at 8:30 p.m. March 23 at the Montrose Room at the InterContinental Hotel, 5300 N. River Road in Rosemont ($25; 847-544-5300;

Gotta say it every time: Hey, everybody! B.B. King's in town! The blues guitar legend -- and his legendary blues guitar, Lucille -- still tours at age 86 with much of the same spirit he had at "Sweet Sxteen." He was just on stage with President Obama at the White House, now he's back in the prez's town for two shows.
At 8 p.m. March 22-23 at the House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn. Tickets: $82.50. Call (800) 745-3000;

The lilt of Rosie Thomas' voice is irresistible, and she's back after a few years without a record, this time with members of Sufjan Stevens' band and a Sufjan remix. Do not, however, miss the opener for this one. Bhi Bhiman's sophomore album earlier this year is a rich and rewarding set of humorous, poignant songs with some surprising folk traditions.
At 8 p.m. March 25 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport. Tickets: $13. Call (773) 525-2508;

The most exciting reunions are sometimes the ones no one asked for. Before Peter Case led the Plimsouls ("A Million Miles Away") and Paul Collins led the Beat ("Rock N Roll Girl"), they were in the Nerves together, a bright blip in power pop that produced "Hanging on the Telephone," which Blondie made into a hit.
At 7 p.m. March 25 at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western. Tickets: $15. Call (773) 276-3600;

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Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on March 21, 2012 9:00 AM.

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