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By Andy Argyrakis
B.B. King Weekend Report: B.B. headlines Blues Fest, R.E.M. returns to the road
Friday, June 6, 2008

Ever since R.E.M. whittled down to the threesome of front man Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck and bassist Mike Mills (following the departure of drummer Bill Berry in 1997), its sound softened considerably, particularly on 2004's drowsy Around the Sun. While it looked like the one time alt-rock innovators had settled into adult contemporary mediocrity, 2008's Accelerate (Warner Brothers) lives up to the title and hearkens back to the band's late 80s/early 90s glory days. Thankfully the album's eleven tracks clock in under forty minutes and are loaded with searing guitars, lean songwriting and some of Stipe's most urgent vocals to date. (Worth a shot Friday at United Center- Chicago, IL: www.ticketmaster.com).

After a cancellation at the House of Blues and several false starts due to routing issues, Alicia Keys is finally touring in support of last year's As I Am (J Records). The singer/songwriter/piano player is one of the best modern day examples of neo-soul to pop crossovers who continues to interject old school influences with occasional club flourishes on her current collection.Alicia Keys Last time through the venue, she opened for Beyonce, though this time she'll top the bill thanks in part to smashes like "No One" and "You Don't Know My Name." (Worth a shot Saturday at Allstate Arena-Rosemont, IL: www.ticketmaster.com).

Chicago's annual Blues Festival is always a star studded affair pitting local players with the best from deep down in the Delta. This year is no exception, thanks in part to headliner B.B. King, who provides anyone in the Windy City region a real steal (considering he rarely plays a free gig). Others on the card include Buckwheat Zydeco, Koko Taylor & Her Blues Machine, Johnny Winter (with James Cotton) and Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials. (Bet your life all weekend (B.B. King Sunday) at Grant Park- Chicago, IL: www.chicagobluesfestival.us).

Weezer Street Week: Mayall's masters, Weezer goes red
Monday, June 2, 2008
Weezer photo by Karen Bondowski

The members of Weezer don't look "just like Buddy Holly" anymore, and if the cover of its third self-titled CD is any indication, the guys are individually sporting the styles of a shaggy indie rocker, a prep, a cowboy and a cool guy. No, it's not the Village People, but just another sardonic statement from the pioneering geek rockers, who this time are decking out the disc's decor completely in red. As for the tunes packed inside, expect production from Rivers Cuomo and company, plus outsiders like Rick Rubin (Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Jacknife Lee (Bloc Party, R.E.M., Kasabian).

Old school blues hero John Mayall scores two separate re-issues on Eagle Records, both culled from vintage concert performances. Live At the Marquee 1969 comes straight out of London's famed venue and features classic tracks such as "Can't Sleep This Night," "Don't Waste My Time" and "The Laws Must Change." The two disc project The Masters doubles as a soundtrack to the rockumentary The Turning Point, John Mayallfeaturing an extensive track listing, plus interview clips with Peter Green, John McVie and Eric Clapton. And just for the record, Mayall's band The Bluesbreakers, housed Slowhand, those Fleetwood Mac members, plus future Rolling Stone Mick Jones long before they found fame.

Capitol Records squeezes the last drop out of Radiohead's catalogue by issuing the double disc The Best Of, which is technically the band's first ever retrospective, but pointless for core appreciators who already own everything. Indie rocker Aimee Mann turns in her seventh solo CD @#%&*! Smilers (Superego), Gavin Rossdale (one time Bush front man turned Mr. Gwen Stefani) drops Wanderlust (Interscope), while Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark ("If You Leave") release Live: Architecture & Morality and More on DVD (Eagle).

The Dish Archives - 2008

May 26 - 30
May 19 - 23
May 12 - 16
May 5 - 9
Apr. 28 & May 2
Apr. 21 & 25
Apr. 14 & 18
Apr. 7 & 11
Mar. 30 & Apr. 4
Mar. 24 & 28
Mar. 17 & 21
Mar. 10 & 14
Mar. 3 & 7
Feb. 25 & 29
Feb. 18 & 22
Feb. 11 & 15
Feb. 4 & 8
Jan. 28 - Feb. 1
Jan. 21 - 25
Jan. 14 - 18
Jan. 7 - 11
Jan. 1 - 4
Daily Dish Archives - 2007

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