Because I am the life of the party, I am often asked to be party coordinator. It's a tough job — sometimes I have to forgo my own pleasures in order to ensure that others might have a maximally pleasurable experience — but it's one I love. In my capacity of party coordinator, I recommend two shows to you this weekend: Girl Talk at the Egyptian Room at Old National Centre (Aug. 26) and Ghostland Observatory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Aug. 27). If you are fond of partying, you will be fond of these shows. Here's an anatomy of both, followed by other concerts, which also have a lot going for them, even if they may not be officially party coordinated:
Girl Talk at Egyptian Room at Old National Centre: Maybe the most unlikely part of the Girl Talk phenomenon is just how popular the live shows have become; after all, they do still center around a guy and his laptop, even if Greg Gillis, the mashup artist known as Girl Talk, does perform live in a certain sense by triggering samples (or loops of samples) in real time. But, of course, it’s not just about Gillis: He’s simply the maestro conducting a massive, glittery, un-ironic dance party. Friday, Aug. 26; 9:30 p.m., $25 advance (plus fees), all-ages.
Ghostland Observatory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Ghostland Observatory is probably a perfect pick to headline this weekend’s Moto GP entertainment. Over the top in a love-em-or-hate-em way, the Austin-based duo steals big riffs from Gary Glitter, vocals from Freddie Mercury, and song structures from LCD Soundsystem. They’re a good time it you’re not a party pooper, and party poopers probably won’t make the drive out to the speedway, because it’s loud and smells like gas and rednecks. Saturday, Aug. 27; 6 p.m., $15 student, $20 grown person (plus fees), all-ages.
End Times Spasm Band, Irene & Reed at White Rabbit Cabaret
A couple bands taking pages from the Great American Songbook. Fort Wayne’s End Times Spasm Band play it hot, looking towards café jazz of the ‘20s and ‘30s and citing Django Reinhardt and Billie Holliday as prime inspirations — and there is both an acoustic guitarist and female vocalist in the group. Locals Irene & Reed keep things a little cooler and close-mic’ed, with a torch song flavor. 8 p.m., $6, 21+.
Langhorne Slim at Radio Radio
Langhorne Slim started out calling himself the “bastard son of Hasil Adkins,” which says a lot about where he’s coming from — not only had he listened to a lot of records by the time he came of age, but he was evidently inspired by one of the wildest guys to ever make folk music. Once a solo act, Slim has amassed a small battalion of accompanists over the past few years. For more, check out Daniel Brown's recent interview with Slim. 8 p.m., $10 advance, $12 door, 21+
Elsinore, Hotfox, Accordions at Rock Lobster
With its drummer fully recuperated after being struck by a car, the Champaign, Ill.-based art-rock band Elsinore returns to action with a new EP, Life Inside an Elephant. Rounding out the lineup: Hotfox, who also have a new record, You, Me, and the Monster (Roaring Colonel Records), for you to take a listen to; and Accordions, also back in action and with a few new members. 9 p.m., free, 21+.
Chicago Afrobeat Project at The Mousetrap
The Chicago Afrobeat Project may live up to its name by trying new players and pieces every few months — it’s a rather large band, and there’s quite a bit of turnover — but what remains constant is their mix of juju, highlife, funk and Afro-Cuban music, with a little from the Chicago experimental jazz and post-rock scenes to boot. In short, awesome for dancing; and, since this is a Mousetrap show, very reasonably priced. 10 p.m., $3, 21+.
J.WAIL feat. Chuck Morris at Earth House
Multi-instrumentalist J. Wail is getting a little help on beats these days, courtesy of percussionist Chuck Morris, a percussionist for the Manchester, Ind.-born jam band Lotus who has the summer off from his day job. Morris, who usually mans the bongos for Lotus, is playing drum set for this project; Wail, a mainstay on the festival circuit, makes liberal use of the fuzz bass and warbly jam band-style synth. 7 p.m., $7, 21+.
Sleeping Bag, DMA, Everything, Now! at White Rabbit Cabaret
The band Sleeping Bag is only about 18 months old, having been formed in Bloomington in spring 2010 by drummer and lead singer Dave Segedy. In that short time, however, they’ve already cut a self-titled, debut album with Indy-based Joyful Noise Records, and are currently wrapping up a 16-day tour with Indy one-man-band DMA that will culminate with shows in Indianapolis and Bloomington. For more, read Grant Catton's interview with Segedy. 9 p.m., $5, 21+
Tim Warfield and The Unusual Suspects at The Jazz Kitchen
A long-time collaborator of trumpeter Nicholas Payton, Tim Warfield has made his career stationed out of a somewhat unlikely city: York, Pennsylvania, which may not have a thriving jazz scene, but is within striking distance of all your major East coast hubs. The saxophonist has recorded several well-received records for NYC label Criss Cross, most notably a soul-jazz tribute to B-3 master Shirley Scott, whom Warfield befriended shortly before his death. 8 and 10 p.m., $10, 21+.
Bomb the Music Industry! at Vibes Music
To be clear, the guys in NYC-based ska-punk collective Bomb the Music Industry! haven’t done any harm to pop stars or record execs since they started playing together in 2004. It’s more about bombing in the graffiti bombing sense, and their opposition is more about doing things in a DIY-punk fashion than directly challenging the powers-that-be. With Cleveland’s The Sidekicks, whose most recent record was named best of the year by punknews.org. 7 p.m., $8, all-ages.
Chely Wright at the Studio Theater at the Center for the Performing Arts
When country singer Chely Wright came out publicly last year, she had no illusions about what she was up against, noting in interviews that her decision wouldn’t earn her any fans in the mainstream country world. But she’s been playing for Americana and roots audiences lately, which tend to draw to be more free-thinking. Her show at the Studio Theatre is one of the first in the newly-opened 120-seat space. 8 p.m., $40, all-ages.
Guster, Jack’s Mannequin at The Lawn at White River State Park
A couple pop-rock act share headlining duties at The Lawn. Once a goofy college-rock trio comprised of acoustic guitars and bongos, Guster has grown into a serious pop band while on the job. But through the growing process, they’ve kept much of the charming lightness and quirkiness that made them an unlikely success when they launched from Tufts in the mid-'90s. Drawing from a younger fan base than Guster, Jack's Mannequin mixes piano-pop and power ballads. 7 p.m., $26-$36 (plus fees), all-ages.
Rock the Bells Tour: Raekwon and Ghostface, Mobb Deep at the Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
The Egyptian Room becomes a musical reanimation chamber Tuesday night, with some hip-hop legends bringing back to life their hit records of 1995. In one corner we have Wu-Tang Clan members Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, performing Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx in its entirety; in the other, Mobb Deep, revisiting every track from their sophomore album, The Infamous. 8 p.m., $32.50 advance, $40 door (plus fees), all-ages.