If you've picked up Nightspots this week, you're probably looking to us for a bit of guidance around one of the country's biggest gay street festivals, Northalsted Market Days. You probably didn't pick this up to hear a music critic complain. You might get a bit of that as this music critic gives the salty with the sweet, as they say, but I'll try to point you in the proper, positive directions since you've asked so sweetly, and your time is important. So let's help you plan out your days as efficiently as possible.
You have four stages to choose from, one of which is the Jazz stage, and since Jazz is not my specialty and the organization has chosen not to list the performers, I'll just assume if you like Jazz, you'll seek that out. Besides the Jazz stage, you have The North Stage up near Addison, The Roscoe Stage near everything, and the Belmont Stage awkwardly placed in the CTA parking lot by Spin. North and Roscoe tend to be the most coveted for bigger acts, while Belmont tends to get more of a cover band vibe.
Let's get started with Saturday. No big rush to get there early like you'll see you have on Sunday. Take your time, but if you are there on the early, show some love to dance hottie Aiden Leslie who, if he's smart, will sing his cover of Erasure's "Love To Hate You" in hopes that Sunday's Andy Bell is in the 'hood. Post Aiden, I'm not even going to try to endorse Aaron Carter (who apparently is still 12 if you see the NHMD poster) who follows him at 3:15. After that go browse the fest, open your mind to new bands, and cruise for boys because it doesn't get more interesting until 7 p.m. Then you can check out Estonian Rock/Goth/Dance Barbie Kerli. While not my taste, she does attract a certain element of Eastern Bloc hotties that we all mostly enjoy. If you're at Kerli, don't lose your spot because YouTube sensation Steve Grand will be basking in his recent rise to fame with his big gay country hit, "All American Boy." If country isn't your flavor, I'll be down at the Roscoe Stage at the same time seeing legendary Runaways singer Cherie Currie's solo set. At 8:30, you have a choice: '90s girl group Wilson Phillips, rocking cover band Dot Dot Dot, or 10,000 Maniacs. My choice would be Carney and pals, as we do love them even if we can only remember two songs, and 10,000 Maniacs is minus their two main creative forces, including Natalie Merchant. Nothing against their current lead singer, Mary, but I'd rather hear her do her material with husband John (John & Mary) from the '90s than trying to front and unfrontable band.
Sunday, as Mr. Savage says, gets better, but not by much. Be there at 1 p.m. for powerhouse singer Kristine W ("One More Try") at the North Stage. You might not recognize her name right away, but you'll know the tracks if you lived through the late '90s. The adorable Kat Graham (Vampire Diaries) follows Ms. W at 3 p.m. with her very high-quality dance pop. If you come for her TV show, you'll leave a fan of her music even more. Now take a break as the next notable act is Alexis Jordan ("Acid Rain," "Hush Hush"), again at North Stage, but don't stay too long if you want to dash down to Roscoe and catch a glimpse of TV's Wonder Woman Lynda Carter doing her cabaret act. Now I can't really endorse this as I've never loved her voice or see why you'd book a cabaret act that only folks over 40 know who she is, but it will be lovely to see her in person, if only for a song or two. For that timeslot though, my bet is on the amazing 7th Heaven down at the Belmont Stage. They are right up there among the best of our cover bands, along with Rock Candy and Sixteen Candles.
And speaking of Sixteen Candles, they close out the night after Lynda Carter, so stick around. Though watch your time if you're an Erasure fan, because lead singer Andy Bell will be on at the North Stage at 9 p.m. to work over some of his great solo material. And while I can't promise, he's always worked a bit of classic Erasure into his sets. Maybe a nice duet of "I Love To Hate You" with Aiden Leslie would be the appropriate way to end this year.
P.S. David Cassidy of the Partridge Family played at 6:45, but you probably missed him due to Lynda Carter ... or your bedtime.
Come relive the great music of 30 past Market Days as DJ Moose presents Mary's Old Skool Pre-Market Days Party, August 9 at Mary's Attic.