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updated: 8/10/2012 11:12 AM

Music notes: Kenny Wayne Shepherd plays Viper Alley

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A rootsy evening
Grammy-nominated Kenny Wayne Shepherd is known for his blistering, contemporary take on blues guitar and songwriting. He'll make a stop this weekend in the suburbs on a bill that also includes Sammy Llanas, a singer-songwriter who's recently gone solo after a long stint in the Midwestern roots-rock band the BoDeans. (Llanas contributed the high-pitched twangy vocals to that group.) If you're a fan of stripped-down American music, this looks to be a show for you.
9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at Viper Alley, 275 Parkway Drive, Lincolnshire. Tickets start at $35. Go to viper-alley.com.

Alt-era survivors
Ohio's Guided By Voices was one of the keystone underground bands of the 1990s alternative era. GBV combined the raw sounds of '60s garage rock and psychedelia with elliptical, often surreal lyrics from frontman Robert Pollard. (If you're unfamiliar with the group, I urge you to buy/download the GBV best-of, "Human Amusements at Hourly Rates." You'll be thankful.) After numerous lineup changes, the band went on hiatus in 2004, but it has returned and is on the road behind its latest album, "Class Clown Spots A UFO," out earlier this year.
9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago. $36. Go to metrochicago.com.

Come on 'Down'
The recently reunited System of a Down, whose sound is a unique blending of punk, pop and metal, will bring its searing live attack to the suburbs next week. The band emerged in the early 2000s and turned heads with its punk-edged ferocity and lyrics that ranged from personal to poetic to political.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, at Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont. $50. Go to ticketmaster.com.

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