What to See at the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival

Here are the best bets for four days of noise at the annual winter music fest.

Bare Mutants plays Schubas on Friday night.   Photo: Courtesy of Bare Mutants

If you missed the first day of the annual winter music throw down, Tomorrow Never Knows, don’t worry there’s still dozens of shows to catch this weekend. One hundred dollars buys an all access pass that includes line jumping privileges and a (cheap) beer at each show, while entry to most of the individual gigs runs $15–$20. Whether you’re in it for the whole stretch, or just cherry picking your live music poison, here is a look at the lineups and critic’s picks over the next few days. (All shows begin at 9.)

Thursday, Jan 16

Australian pop singer Betty Who does her best Katy Perry while NYC duo Ghost Beach crank ’80s-inspired party jams. However, a trio of heady experimentalists at Lincoln Hall is what to watch tonight. Local goth-steeped songwriter Haley Fohr, who performs as Circuit des Yeux, deftly sets the chilling tone for Canadian ambient artist Tim Hecker, who’s swirling electronic work simultaneously captivates and terrifies. The most visible act on the bill is Brooklynite Oneohtrix Point Never, whose 2013 debut for Warp, R Plus Seven, made many “best of” lists in December.

Lincoln Hall

  • Oneohtrix Point Never
  • Tim Hecker
  • Circuit des Yeux
  • Soleman

Schubas Tavern

  • Betty Who
  • Ghost Beach
  • Sombear
  • Future Feats

Metro

  • Snarky Puppy

Hideout

  • James Adomian (comedian)

Friday, Jan 17

Philadelphia shoegaze act NOTHING, obvious fans of My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, and local garage rock supergroup Bare Mutants, featuring ex Ponys frontman Jered Gummere, kick out the best guitar-driven jams of the day. Though both The Lone Bellow and The Rural Alberta Advantage offer palatable indie-folk fare, don’t miss Darkside, lauded electronic artist Nicolas Jaar’s new collaboration with multi-instumentalist Dave Harrington. Psychic, the pair’s debut for Matador, is a beautifully glorious journey down the electro-psych rabbit hole.

Lincoln Hall

  • The Rural Alberta Advantage
  • Kopecky Family Band
  • Mutual Benefit

Schubas

  • Weekend
  • Bare Mutants
  • NOTHING
  • StarTropics

Hideout

  • Nikki Glaser (comedian)

Metro

  • Darkside
  • High Waters

Athenaeum Theatre

  • The Lone Bellow
  • Fort Frances
  • Max Jury

Smart Bar

  • AndHim

Saturday, Jan 18

Truth and Soul signee Lady’s scrumptious revivalist fare guarantees a delicious throwback dance party. Former Chicagoan Ryley Walker’s fingerstyle guitar work and rootsy drawl are a pleasure live, and The Luyas follow with atmospheric indie-rock featuring a host of unusual instruments, such as 12-string electric zither known as a Moodswinger. Nineties indie-rock quartet Superchunk gets high marks for nostalgia and consistent showmanship, while the narrative-driven orchestral folk-pop of San Fermin impresses in a live setting.

Lincoln Hall

  • John Newman
  • Lady
  • Numero Group DJs

Schubas

  • San Fermin
  • The Luyas
  • Ryley Walker
  • Landmarks

Metro

  • Superchunk
  • Roomrunner
  • Split Single

Hideout

  • Natasha Leggero (comedian)

Smart Bar

  • Hugo Ball

Schubas (day)

  • School Of Rock Chicago perform The Beatles

Sunday, Jan 19

Grab the nearest earplugs and hit Lincoln Hall for the punishingly loud, but equally as compelling, 90s alt-rock platter of local quartet Pink Frost. Stay for Diarrhea Planet and Yuck, who both swim in a similar sonic pool, though the former nods to pop-punk while the latter adds shoegaze shimmer.

Lincoln Hall

  • Yuck
  • Diarrhea Planet
  • Pink Frost
  • Alvvays

Schubas Tavern

  • Indians
  • Milagres
  • Casimer&Casimir
  • Valaska

Hideout

  • Kyle Dunnigan (comedian)

Schubas (day)

  • School Of Rock Chicago perform The Beatles

Share

Advertisement

Submit your comment

Comments are moderated. We review them in an effort to remove foul language, commercial messages, abuse, and irrelevancies.

Note: To serve its readers better, Chicago has migrated its comments to Disqus, a popular commenting platform. Please feel free to contact us with any feedback.