Local Concert Watch for Chicago:
January 8-23, 2009
First Appeared in The Music Box, January 2009, Volume 16, #1
Written by John Metzger
Wed January 7, 2009, 06:30 AM CST
1/8-9, 15-16, 22-23 - Buddy Guy - Legends - Chicago - 9:00 p
1/10, 17 - Buddy Guy - Legends - Chicago - 9:30 p
1/11, 18 - Buddy Guy - Legends - Chicago - 7:30 p
Every January, veteran blues man Buddy Guy sets up shop in his local club for an extensive series of fan-pleasing shows. The criticism that has dogged him, however, is that he typically has had a tendency to draw from the same slate of songs and deliver them with flashy moves that long ago became routine. This year, however, might be different as Guy’s career is in the midst of yet another resurgence. Although he’ll always be considered a showman and entertainer, his canon also has been bolstered significantly by material from his new album Skin Deep. Not only will the outing square off against B.B. King’s One Kind Favor at the Grammy Awards, but these concerts also will serve as a prelude to a tour featuring both artists. The main point of these gigs, though, has always been to showcase an array of lesser known acts, and Carl Weathersby, Jimmy Johnson, and Larry McCray are among performers who will support Guy on a rotating basis, every Thursday through Sunday, all month long.
1/15 - The Hold Steady with Tom Morello / The Nightwatchman - House of Blues - Chicago - 8:30 p
With each passing album, The Hold Steady seems to scale back its abrasiveness to further reveal its penchant for crafting Bruce Springsteen-worthy epics, which it delivers as if Joe Strummer and Paul Westerberg had started a ’70s-metal band. Its latest set Stay Positive continues this trajectory, albeit with one noticeable difference: The group’s usual cast of characters — Gideon, Charlemagne, and the like — is absent from the endeavor. Nevertheless, a similar band of lost souls stands in their place. Like their predecessors, they are struggling to hold onto their youth while also seeking deeper meaning in their lives. Joining The Hold Steady at House of Blues on January 15 is Rage against the Machine’s Tom Morello, whose side project The Nightwatchman recently issued its sophomore set The Fabled City. In crafting the album, Morello expanded upon the folk-oriented sound of the outfit’s debut, and he has been continuing this trend in concert, too. Perfectly paired, these acts undoubtedly will leave fans with a lot to ponder in the days following the show.
1/20 - The Killers / M83 - UIC Pavilion - Chicago - 7:00 p
In the world of public opinion about The Killers’ sophomore set Sam’s Town, there was no middle ground. Critics and fans alike either loved or hated the group’s foray into good, old-fashioned, American rock ’n‘ roll. On its latest outing Day & Age, The Killers once again has shifted direction. In part, the band has retreated to the dance-rock sound of its smashing debut Hot Fuss, though it also has turned its infatuation with glam-era David Bowie up a notch or two. M83, another collective that is in the process of redefining itself, will join The Killers for a show at UIC Pavilion on January 20. On last spring’s Saturdays=Youth, the collective pushed its atmospheric instrumental excursions to the side in order to embrace an accessible, ’80s-derived sound. This approach isn’t always successful, of course, but Graveyard Girl, the collection’s best track, is ridiculously irresistible.
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