Chicago Open Air
After a year away, Chicago Open Air, the city’s hard rock and metal fest, returns with a full slate of much-anticipated acts. System of a Down takes the headlining slot Saturday, and Tool caps off the evening Sunday. And the rest of the lineup — featuring the likes of Ghost, The Cult, Meshuggah, Gojira, Beartooth, Knocked Loose, In This Moment and more — kicks off summer fest season in a solid way. 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 18-19, at SeatGeek Stadium, 7000 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview. Single-day passes $69.50-$249.50; two-day passes $129.50-$459.50. chicagoopenair.com.
Celebrate summer vacation
Put the homework off for the weekend and celebrate the upcoming summer break with Penny Road Pub’s End of the School Year Bash this weekend. The lineup, packed with local jams, shines the spotlight on Will Orlyk, When the Sun Sets, The Dead Seahorses, Four Stars and Opshional, for a night to blow off some pre-finals, mid-finals or post-finals steam. Doors open at 6 p.m. Friday, May 17, at Penny Road Pub, 545 Penny Road, Barrington. $12 at the door; $10 when you purchase tickets directly from bands. (847) 428-0562 or pennyroadpub.com.
A Million Reasons to see Rotten Mouth
One of the strengths of Chicago four-piece Rotten Mouth’s recently released album “The Moon Man” is tricking you into thinking one thing and then delivering something even better: What at first feels like a high-end jam in the album’s first track “Moon Man” blooms into a solid, groove-based rock song in the capable hands of Josh Guelzow, Ryan Wade and Clay and Chris Mutert. And the rest of the album follows suit, especially “King Rat” and “Young Man’s Game,” both of which sneak under the radar with deliberate pacing and slow, sexy grooves. Catch Rotten Mouth when they share a Beat Kitchen bill with the intoxicating The Million Reasons (Do yourself a favor and wrap your ears around “Dizzy.”), Local Motive and Rosella Records. 8 p.m. Friday, May 17, at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. $8. (773) 281-4444 or beatkitchen.com.
Observing in Lansing
The recent acquisition of shiny new lead guitarist Noah Childs is leading Lansing alt-rock foursome Observing With Annie into a big year. With some fresh songs on the setlist and designs on a string of releases later this year, Annie — founded by Leah Lagestee, Josh Triezenberg and Jonny Van Til — brings a pumped-up sound to a homecoming show of sorts at South suburban JJ Kelley’s. Childs leads off the night with a set of his own, before The Uneven Toes take the stage, leading into a full headlining set by Annie. 8 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at JJ Kelley’s, 2455 Bernice Road, Lansing. $5. (708) 474-9977 or facebook.com.
Kings Rising release
After teasing fans with the recent release of the single “Afternoon in Bloom,” The Kings Rising is ushering in its new album, “Tuxedo Slim,” with a release show this weekend. The Woodridge-based blues-tinged rockers Jarred Mason, James Lippert, Ryan Mason and Josh Fritschle will be joined by Radar and Drew Scott of Led Pig. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at White Tavern, 423 E. Ogden Ave., Naperville. $5. (630) 357-1890 or whitetavern.com.
• Brian Shamie is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor and local music fanboy. Find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @thatshamieguy. Brian also keeps tabs on the Chicago-area music scene at chicagosoundcheck.com.