So you don’t have tickets to Lollapalooza this weekend. Big whoop. By the time Big Boi and Andre 3000 finish dazzling Grant Park Saturday night, Chicago indie hall-of-famer Mike Kinsella will be preparing to do the same—just in a more sensitive way.
Owen is first and foremost Mike Kinsella’s solo project, but its dozen-album discography could double as a history of Kinsella’s life after American Football (his posthumously seminal college band). Owen’s 15-year run makes for quite the narrative, too: Songs that once soundtracked Kinsella’s young/drunk/lonely forays into Chicago’s early-aughts music scene turned first into love songs, then into marriage songs, and eventually into parent songs (Kinsella now lives in Roscoe Village with his wife and kids).
That isn’t to say family life hasn’t hampered Owen too. Back in March, Kinsella tweeted that he’d follow up 2013 LP-7 L’Ami du Peuple with an album of covers. “Super excited to de-amplify / snooze-up some of my all-time favs,” he wrote, and later told Exclaim! that the covers album was (record label) Polyvinyl’s idea, since the idea of starting new Owen material sounded “mentally overwhelming.”
Given Kinsella’s other projects, “mentally overwhelming” sounds about right. In addition to full-time dadhood and part-time Owenhood, Kinsella plays drums in Their / They’re / There and the newly reunited Owls (with brother Tim). And come September, he’ll front the first American Football shows in 15 years (one at Pygmalion in Champaign and three in New York).
Which is to say: An old-school Mike Kinsella solo show is becoming rarer and rarer these days, and given how dextrous the guy’s gotten over years of open-tuned finger-picking, you best buy, beg, or sneak your way into Beat Kitchen Saturday night.
Owen plays Saturday night at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont. 10 p.m. doors, 10:30 p.m. show. 17+. Tickets: $15.