Saturday: Maps & Atlases with Mutts, Brontosarus

Did you contribute precious tourism money to Chicago last week by attending Pitchfork Music Festival? Well, this weekend the Windy City gives back. It’s a Chicago showcase on Saturday when Maps & Atlases, Mutts, and Brontosaurus hit the Terrace.

The members of Maps & Atlases are some of the finest musicians you’ll ever encounter. Dave Davison, besides sporting a pleasing southern rock-flavored voice (and a most impressive beard), makes up half of a wicked tandem of guitarists, with the other being Erin Elders. It won’t be long into their set on Friday before your jaw drops as their fingers fly with seeming effortlessness. Their rhythm session will produce no less amazement, as it may be tough for you to spot Chris Hainey’s arms once the music starts. Speed is impressive, but when you add to it that he creates some of the most imaginative and complex beats, it’s not surprising that many fans walk away floored by Maps & Atlases’ sets (“walking away floored” may be an oxymoron, but we’ll go for it). Bassist Shiraz Dada provides the pulse of the band.

Formed in 2005, Maps & Atlases released numerous EP’s before 2010’s highly successful debut LP Perch Patchwork, which was followed up by this year’s Beware and Be Grateful. Their music appeals to fans of all different kinds of music, as their tour history hints at: they’ve traveled the country with Ra Ra Riot and Minus the Bear, as well as acts like Circa Survive and The Fall of Troy. The diversity of their backgrounds and influences brings a little bit of everything to their music. It’s melodic like pop, active like experimental rock, easy to connect to like alt-rock, and avant-garde and occasionally surprising like indie rock. Maps & Atlases is a mutt, but one made up of the best parts of the purebreds.

Speaking of Mutts, the fellas leading in for Maps & Atlases happen to go by that moniker – and they deserve it just as much. Though often described as “if Tom Waits fronted a garage band,” that doesn’t even begin to describe the uniqueness of Mutts. How many garage bands do you know that don’t have a guitarist? Don’t get me wrong, however – they make a lot of noise. Theirs is just supplied by keyboards, bass, drums, and the growls of frontman Mike Maimone. Chicagoans seem to like it, as The Deli Chicago and their readers chose Mutts as Chicago’s Emerging Artist of 2011, largely due to their fantastic release Pray for Rain. Wisconsinites clearly approve, too, as there was such a demand for Mutts in the Dairy State that they played shows at Summerfest, at High Noon Saloon, and live on UW-Madison’s own WSUM… all within 24 hours of each other (and they documented it on video). Lucky for you, all their music is available for free download at their website, so you can see what all the fuss is about. In case their debut LP and three EP’s aren’t enough for you, they’ll release Separation Anxiety LP on August 2nd.

Brontosaurus will kick off the evening at 9 p.m. with their eerie pop melodies. A dynamic duo of members both named Nicholas (Kelly and Papaleo), Brontosaurus debuted in 2010 with Cold Comes to Town. Available for free preview (or download for a single dollar) at their bandcamp, the EP features sullen guitars, haunting piano, and beautifully dark vocal melodies. Continuing the theme of the night, the two members’ influences cover a diverse range of genres: classical, indie rock, metal, and prog rock.

Make sure you find your way to the Terrace at 9 p.m. on Saturday for this night of some of the Midwest’s finest rock… We’ll even supply the Maps & Atlases. I’m sorry, that was corny. Just check out Maps & Atlases’ “Solid Ground” music video below and we’ll forget I ever said that.

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