Matt Keen heads to Aurora as part of The Venue's fourth birthday week celebration. // Courtesy of Alyson Deering

Sound check: The Venue’s birthday week, Bollweevils release show

Hangin’ tough

Calling all Blockheads! The New Kids on the Block are drawing fans for a weekend full of events at Blockcon this weekend in Rosemont. Starting with an intimate concert Friday at the Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, the celebration of the pop group continues Saturday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. 5555 N. River Road, with panels, exhibits and appearances, culminating in the “I’ll Be Lovin’ You Forever: NKOTB Prom”-themed party. Sunday morning, the Kids host a farewell event with fans. Tickets for the weekend run $379 to $1,499 at Friday through Sunday, May 26-28

Ralph’s realm

Glen Ellyn musician Ralph Covert has range. He’s rocked nationally with The Bad Examples. He’s played for kids with his popular Grammy-nominated Ralph’s World. And this week he’s playing with a string section at Hey Nonny, 10 S. Vail Ave., Arlington Heights. Tickets are $20-$55 at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 26

The Venue’s birthday

This week, The Venue (21 S. Broadway Ave., Aurora) marks its fourth anniversary bringing live music to Aurora. The Pete Ellman Big Band shares Tuesday, May 30, with the Belford Hernandez Quartet to kick off the week. Friday, June 2, the Fab Four(th) Beatles Birthday Bash puts three bands on stage, with drinks, food vendors and artists available. And Fox Valley-area artist Matt Keen wraps up the week with his Southern soul and blues.

• The Pete Ellman Big Band: 6:15 Tuesday, May 30, at The Venue. $5.

• The Fab Four(th) Beatles Birthday Bash: 7 p.m. Friday, June 2, outside at The Venue. $35-$40 (ticket prices increase by $5 if purchased at the door).

• Matt Keen: 8 p.m. Friday, June 3, at The Venue. $15-$20 (plus $5 if purchased at the door).

Wendy, DB and the blues

Chicago’s kid-tested, Grammy-nominated blues duo Wendy & DB brings their lively, family-friendly and musically educational show to Berwyn for a jubilant Saturday morning blues session conjuring the magic from their latest release, 2022’s “Into the Little Blue House.” Tickets for the Patio Kids Series concert at FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt Road, are $25 per family at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 27

The Bollweevils will bring their highflying antics to the stage when they perform an album release show at Chop Shop Saturday, May 27. // Courtesy of Patrick Houdek

Bollweevils live

Earlier this month, Chicago stalwarts The Bollweevils dropped “Essential,” a 10-song collection of heart-racing, no-holds-barred, high-velocity punk tracks marking the band’s first full-length release in more than 14 years. (Read our interview with frontman Dr. Daryl Wilson at The group celebrates with a release show at Chicago’s Chop Shop this weekend, joined by The Dopamines, The Reaganomics, Rad Payoff and Butchered. 8 p.m. Saturday, May 27, at Chop Shop, 2033 W. North Ave., Chicago. $22.22.

Heading to Homegrown

The local scene keeps on rolling toward this summer’s Homegrown Art & Music Festival (Saturday, July 29, at BaseCamp Pub in Lisle) with another Road to Homegrown battle of the bands showcase this weekend. Hosted by fest founder Aaron Williams along with Zachary “Sonny” Edwards, Brian Christian Adam and Bryan Joseph Kuhn, the performance will give eight local artists — V, Kristin Rose Kelly, JJ Smith, Brad Yeoman, Luke Young, Grant Milliren, COMIN UP and Modern Daybreak — the opportunity to vie for two slots at the upcoming festival. 7 p.m. Sunday, May 28, at O’Neill’s Pub, 236 E. St. Charles Road, Lombard. $5.

Libido Funk Circus

Rosemont’s Rockin’ in the Park concert series kicks off this weekend with a performance by Libido Funk Circus at Parkway Bank Park, 5501 Park Place, Rosemont. Enjoy dance, disco and rock hits under the stars, followed by a fireworks show. The show is free, and food and drinks will be available for purchase from vendors around the park. See the full series lineup at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 28

Shows to see

• Local Nation presents “Songwriters of Chicagoland Series” with Aaron Williams, Justin Frosch, Jared Rabin and Patrick Gemkow: 7 p.m. Thursday, May 25, at Uncommon Ground, 3800 N. Clark St., Chicago. $11.

• Foreign Sunsets, Dear Dario, Rotundos: 7 p.m. Friday, May 26, at Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave., Chicago. $12.

• Sunfallen: 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 26, at Carol’s Pub, 4659 N. Clark St., Chicago. $5-$15.

• Cut Your Losses “Reflections of Ghosts” release show with Scarlet Demore: 8 p.m. Saturday, May 27, at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. $15.

• Tiny Kingdoms “Endless Love for a Limited Sky” album release show, Iris Blue, Dead Dog, The Weekend Run Club: 8 p.m. Saturday, May 27, at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. $15.

• Sparkle Carcass, Mose Wilson: 9 p.m. Saturday, May 27, at Carol’s Pub, 4659 N. Clark St., Chicago. $9.

• Boy Band Review: 8 p.m. Sunday, May 28, at Hideaway Brew Garden, 5510 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates.

• Songwriter Circle with Jason Benefield, Nick Wiesner and Michelle McCarthy: 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, at FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt Road, Berwyn. Free.

• Sunglaciers, 8-bit crEEps, ORISUN: 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, at Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., Chicago. $10.

• Brian Shamie is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor and local music junkie. Email him at or follow him on Instagram (@chicagosoundcheck).

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