(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) While you weren't paying attention, Ween became a fucking cottage industry, a cult band that's blown up in slow motion. So here we are now in 2011, and Ween are playing big, respectable houses without much airplay or media attention. I once thought that Ween squandered too much of their considerable talent on juvenile musical pastiche and shock-jock lyrics. But now, 20-plus years into their career, Ween have proved themselves to be seriously accomplished, eclectic musicians who simply had a periodic weakness for scatological tomfoolery and half-assed genre parodies. When they want to, which has been happening with greater frequency over the last 15 years, Ween can pen gorgeous, moving rock songs with serious psychedelic ramifications (e.g., "A Tear for Eddie," "Springtheme," "Marble Tulip Juicy Tree," and much of The Mollusk). The brainiacs in Autechre consider Ween geniuses, and there's some truth in that. DAVE SEGAL
RA RA RIOT, GIVERS, PEPPER RABBIT
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) The music of Ra Ra Riot meets at the complex crossroads of dance party and depth, and the opportunity to see them now should not be taken lightly. We all know the good bands are soon followed by masses of people that drive them into arenas, right? Let's just say arenas aren't that awesome... CHARMAINE PRITCHETT
DARWIN DEEZ, FOL CHEN, FRIENDS
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) We all hide behind something. Fol Chen are a secretive clan of artistic electro-prog rockers who keep their identities a secret in band photos—onstage in their coordinated pastel outfits they are far more transparent—yet create a complex, open-ended sound that is both inviting and warm (like getting a hug from Liars). Darwin Deez chooses to hide out in the open behind a Ned Flanders mustache and limp perm, the pair of which is either appealing or appalling, all depending on your acceptance of vaguely ironic facial hair. But beyond the 'stache, Deez's bouncy pop songs are unassuming in nature, yet absolutely infectious to the ear, a simple formula the hyperactive New York singer has mastered. Songs this good won't stay hidden for long. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
A complete listing of this week's shows can be viewed here.
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