First of all, you should go read that badass interview with Chad VanGaalen that Jonathan just posted. He's playing a show tonight at Chop Suey


Tonight's Show Suggestions

First of all, you should go read that badass interview with Chad VanGaalen that Jonathan just posted. He's playing a show tonight at Chop Suey; it starts at 9 p.m. and costs $12.

Miguel Migs, Lisa Shaw, Brian Lyons, Lu Rob at Neumos, 9 p.m., $15

Deep house high priest Miguel Migs occupies a position in electronica somewhere between France's Bob Sinclar and fellow San Franciscan (by way of Las Vegas) Halo. Even though he's done remixes for A-listers such as Macy Gray, Lionel Ritchie, and Britney Spears, Migs remains a DJ's DJ, maintaining both a heavy tour schedule, especially on the West Coast, and a firm presence in the crates (or, as is more likely, hard drives) of jocks all over the place. What's particularly refreshing about Migs' live sets is that he doesn't focus on drawing clubbers to the dance floor at the peril of playing a good, soulful groove. In that regard, his ability to contour a night around physical movement as much as emotional appeal makes him shine, even if it's not as bright as many of his contemporaries. KEVIN CAPP

Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson at Paramount Theatre, 8 p.m., $45-$65, all ages

Has "freedom" ever fallen out of fashion in America? Short answer: No. But during the past height of Bushmania, there's no question it came dangerously close. That's what makes this pairing of Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson so potent. Having served for armed robbery in San Quentin during the late '50s, Haggard learned to appreciate freedom--meaning its absence--from an early age. Prison is bound to change your perspective, as it surely did Haggard's music. He's a no-bullshit artist whose songbook is quintessentially American: sometimes liberal, sometimes conservative, always confusing. Kristofferson, on the other hand, has never been in prison (instead, he was a Rhodes Scholar). But he's spent his entire musical career exploring what it means to be free in America. His 1969 debut gave us one of the finer lyrics on the matter ("Freedom ain't worth nothin', but it's free", from "Me and Bobby McGee"), and his latest album, This Old Road, maintains that blunt, clear-headed outlook. Most would agree that both men are living legends, but only Haggard is considered a giant of American music. If anything, this tour should offer proof that Kristofferson is at least on his way to being one, as well. BRIAN J. BARR

Ab Baars Trio with Ken Vandermark at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, 8 p.m., $7.50-$15, all ages

Tenor saxophonist Ab Baars (pictured) arguably exemplifies why jazz has remained alive and well in its European incarnation while the majority of Americans mistakenly view it as an embalmed art form. A veteran of the Dutch jazz community who first came to prominence over 25 years ago as a member of Holland's rowdy, anarchistic ICP Orchestra, Baars and his trio -- standup bassist Wilbert de Joode and Martin van Duynhoven -- can certainly summon their share of chaos but, at times, display a considerably more subdued temperament. With his forward-thinking style, Baars' music isn't necessarily an easy listen, but he and his bandmates are masters at toying with the relationship between refinement and abrasion. They also blur the hard distinction between "free" and traditional playing, landing on various points in between rather than treating the two approaches as distinct polar opposites. By turns, their work together can sound abstract, cacophonous, somber, peaceful, and whimsical -- sometimes within the same piece or even the same phrase. Special guest Ken Vandermark, a critically acclaimed Boston transplant who now lives in Chicago, brings his own brand of tenor firepower, as well as a next-generation's perspective, to the colorful mix. SABY REYES-KULKARNI

Gerald Collier Group, the Maldives, Kim Virant at Tractor Tavern, 9:30 p.m., $8

When this show was announced nearly six months ago, the good news traveled fast. Gerald Collier's sizable, longtime fan base was understandably thrilled that last summer's reunion show between Collier, guitarist William Bernhard, bassist and vocalist Jeff Wood, and drummer John Hollis Fleischman was not a one-time occurrence. Few musical unions I've witnessed in all my years in this business have produced as much downright magical energy as what transpires when these four are on stage together. Even more heartening is the fact that they are in the midst of writing material for a new album, and the demos I've heard are as good (if not better) than the gorgeous, dark-hearted Americana they carved out when they first convened more than ten years ago. HANNAH LEVIN

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