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John Legend and De La Soul party on till the brink of dawn. Prog-psych rockers Datetenryu bring the noise from Japan

While performing with pianist/singer John Legend at this year's BET Awards, Stevie Wonder proclaimed Legend's hit "Ordinary People" his "favorite song of the year." That's high praise, but not unjustified: While there's an old-soul voice that lurks in Legend's young body, his real gift is for creating classic-sounding songs that still thrill modern ears. When Legend rolls through town, he'll be joined by rapper and fellow Chicago native Common, who recently released Be, one of the most critically praised hip hop albums of the year, as well as hip hop heroes De La Soul . While last year's The Grind Date didn't generate any hit singles, De La Soul's infectious, nutty rapping can currently be heard on the Gorillaz hit "Feel Good Inc.," the title of which effectively describes the New York trio's enduring positive vibe. Expect Legend, Common, and De La Soul to provide salve for wounded urban ears when they hit the Fillmore this Friday, Aug. 19; call 346-6000 or visit www.thefillmore.com for more info. Those who want more feel-good time with the crew should head over to Club Six for De La Soul's "Official Afterparty," which runs from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. There, De La's Posnus, Trugoy, and Maseo will be manning the decks (in addition to local DJs Mind Motion, Mr. E, Sake One, and JPro), and lyrical surprises are practically guaranteed as Common and John Legend are both scheduled to make guest appearances; call 863-1221 or visit www.clubsix1.com for more info. -- Tamara Palmer


Funky bass, swirling keyboards, melodic riffs, epic, soaring solos -- Japan's Datetenryu sports all the hallmarks of the notorious psychedelic prog-rock genre. And well it should: This group from the Kansai area (Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto) dates back to 1971, and is considered a prog progenitor in its native land. The band -- which was named after a racehorse (Datetenryu loosely translates as "cool flying dragon") -- went into hibernation in 1983, re-emerging 18 years later, as documented by the CD Live in Jittoku 2001! That album is a mishmash of Western styles refracted through a Japanese lens: Echoes of everything from jazz fusion to the gamut of classic rock can be heard. Datetenryu is currently visiting the U.S. for the first time, and seeing a group with a sound this big in the cozy back room of the Hemlock this Sunday, Aug. 21, could be a mindblower. Local progmeisters Mushroom open; call 923-0923 or visit www.hemlocktavern.com for more info. -- Mike Rowell

 
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