Local Concert Preview for Chicago & Milwaukee:
February 12-18, 2009
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2009, Volume 16, #2
Written by John Metzger
Thu February 12, 2009, 06:30 AM CST
2/12 - Antony and the Johnsons - Vic Theatre - Chicago - 7:30 p
2/13 - Antony and the Johnsons - Pabst Theater - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
For an up-and-coming band, four years is an eternity to wait between albums. This, however, doesn’t mean that Antony and the Johnsons didn’t make the most of its hiatus. Even before the release of I Am a Bird Now, its critically acclaimed sophomore set, the group’s front man Antony Hegarty found himself in high demand. In fact, he frequently has spent his downtime collaborating with and learning from an array of other artists, including Lou Reed (Animal Serenade and The Raven), Rufus Wainwright (Want Two), and, most recently, Hercules and Love Affair. With the release in mid-January of The Crying Light, its latest collection of operatic pop songs, Antony and the Johnsons is back in business with a tour that stops at Chicago’s Vic Theatre on February 12 and Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater on February 13.
2/15 - Eagles of Death Metal - Eagles Club - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
Although it was founded more than a decade ago by Jesse Hughes and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Eagles of Death Metal didn’t release an album until 2004. When its debut Peace Love Death Metal finally hit store shelves, the group immediately was tagged by many as a side project for Homme. He has been fighting against this notion ever since. With the release of Heart On — its third album in five years — Eagles of Death Metal takes its fun-filled jabs at the excesses of ’70s rock to new heights. The closest it will get to Chicago on its latest trek through the Midwest is a show at Milwaukee’s Eagles Club on February 15.
2/15 - Pretenders - Riviera Theatre - Chicago - 7:30 p
2/17-18 - Pretenders - Northern Lights Theater - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
Like a cat, the Pretenders seems to have nine lives. Although the deaths of guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and bass player Pete Farndon fueled its third album Learning to Crawl, the group subsequently softened its sound and aimed for a wider audience. Still, its fame grew, while its art suffered. Over the past few years, however, the Pretenders has been trying to rekindle its early fire while also advancing its approach. In 2002, Loose Screw signaled a new beginning for the band, and inspired by blues, country, and early rock ’n‘ roll styles, its latest offering Break Up the Concrete has earned the Pretenders its best slate of reviews in years. Regardless of how its albums have fared, the Pretenders has always delivered the goods in concert. The outfit will perform on February 15 at Chicago’s Riviera Theatre and on February 17 and 18 at Milwaukee’s Northern Lights Theater.
2/17 - The Submarines / The Morning Benders - Schuba's - Chicago - 9:00 p
On their latest endeavor Honeysuckle Weeks, The Submarines picks up where its debut Declare a New State! left off. Throughout the album, the duo of Blake Hazard and John Dragonetti not only has continued to refine their infectious, southern California-imbued style, but they also have transformed their rekindled romance into a better working relationship. The Submarines will bring its folk-pop fare to Schuba’s Tavern for a show on February 17. Fellow Californians The Morning Benders and local act Kyle Andrews will also perform.
2/17 - Lyle Lovett / John Hiatt - Pabst Theater - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
2/18 - Lyle Lovett / John Hiatt - Rialto Square Theatre - Joliet, IL - 7:30 p
When he re-emerged in August 2007 with It’s Not Big, It’s Large, Lyle Lovett’s fans drew a collective sigh of relief. After all, Lovett seemed to have slipped into a long-lasting, somnambulant stupor. Although he continued to re-trace his footsteps each summer, he also was unable to pull the trigger and add a new batch of songs to his esteemed canon. With It’s Not Big, It’s Large, the 13th album of his esteemed career, Lovett broke free from his creative slump, and ever since, he has been making up for lost time, touring relentlessly with both his Large Band and with fellow songwriters John Hiatt, Guy Clark, and Joe Ely. Hiatt, meanwhile, has issued Same Old Man, which is, perhaps, the most accessible outing in his canon. Lovett and Hiatt have reunited for a winter tour that will stop at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater on February 17 and the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Illinois on February 18.
2/18 - Ben Kweller / The Watson Twins - Turner Hall - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
Ben Kweller and The Watson Twins are two artists that are heading in opposing musical directions. Over the course of his career, Kweller has shifted from the post-punk musings of his work with Radish to the pop-infused framework of his solo debut On My Way. For his latest outing Changing Horses, Kweller embraced the Americana-imbued essence that long has lurked beneath the surface of his material. Meanwhile, The Watson Twins came to light by backing Jenny Lewis’ roots-oriented excursion Rabbit Fur Coat. On its proper debut Fire Songs, however, the collective paved a path into the territory of indie-pop. Kweller and The Watson Twins are in the midst of a month-long tour that will stop at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall on February 18.
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