A look ahead at shows worth seeing (and hearing) this week ...
Wilco played half a dozen different Chicago venues last December, including a great show at the opera house, so this summer they're heading to the ballpark. No, not that ballpark. The acclaimed Chicago-based alt-rock band will be in the 'burbs, along with two other revered local acts: Andrew Bird and his folkie whistling coos, and the Congregation with their hard soul grooves. Great show.
At 5:30 p.m. July 8 at the Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, 34W002 Cherry Lane in Geneva. Tickets: $50. Call (800) 514-ETIX; etix.com.
-- UPDATE: WXRT-FM (93.1) will be broadcasting the whole show live Sunday night, on air and via wxrt.radio.com.
Chicago's West Town neighborhood boasts one of the summer's coolest and largest (last year the crowd was 50,000 strong) hootenannies, West Fest. This year the lineup includes: the Black Lips on July 7, preceded by Man or Astroman, Pet Lions and more. On July 8, it's the delicious electro-duo Mates of State, the dark folk of Crooked Fingers and more. There's also a DJ stage, a kids music stage and plenty of food, drink and shopping.
Music runs from 1 to 10 p.m. July 7-8 on Chicago Avenue between Damen and Wood. Admission: $5 donation requested. Call (312) 850-9390; westfestchicago.com.
'AMERICAN IDOL' LIVE!
The current Top Ten trot of "American Idol" finalists is sponsored by Ritz and Chips Ahoy, a fitting marriage of empty calories both physical and musical. Pay close attention to your faves -- Colton Dixon, DeAndre Brackensick, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Heejun Han, Hollie Cavanagh, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips and Skylar Laine -- because they only get a few songs each.
At 7 p.m. July 7 at Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Rd., Rosemont. Tickets: $29.50-$65. Call (800) 745-3000; ticketmaster.com.
Hello again. He's coming through America. Because he still turns on your heartlight. He sings the song blue. He's a believer. He'll come running. The good times never felt so good. He thanks the Lord for the night time. But you don't bring him flowers anymore. And you'll be a woman soon. So just enjoy some red, red wine.
At 8 p.m. July 6 at United Center, 1901 W. Madison. Tickets: $55-$120. Call (800) 745-3000; ticketmaster.com.
B-52's & SQUEEZE
This '80s-nostalgia package tour has drawn raves thus far. The bouncy, flouncy B-52's are still leering toward the "Love Shack," and Fred Schneider is still hysterically barking about "Quiche Lorraine." Squeeze, featuring the Lennon-McCartney-esque writing duo of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, still bash through their tuneful singles ("Tempted," "Hourglass," "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)").
At 7:30 p.m. July 6 at Charter One Pavilion, 1300 S Lynn White Dr. Tickets: $25-$125. Call (800) 745-3000; ticketmaster.com.
THE SHAMS BAND
Developing into one of the more reliable rock acts in town -- and drawing from both classic and modern rock influences -- the Shams Band are celebrating their second album, "Cold City," with a hot summer residency at Schubas. Catch them every Monday night in July starting next week.
Shovels & Rope, Jeremy David Miller and DJ Mr. Gac open at 8 p.m. at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport. Tickets: $6 ($15 for four-night residency pass). Call (773) 525-2508; schubas.com.