Local Concert Preview for Chicago & Milwaukee:
February 23-28, 2009
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2009, Volume 16, #2
Written by John Metzger
Mon February 23, 2009, 06:30 AM CST
2/24 - Brett Dennen - Turner Hall - Milwaukee - 7:00 p
2/26 - Brett Dennen - Park West - Chicago - 7:00 p
Brett Dennenís star most certainly is on the rise. Although he didnít exactly storm the gates of the kingdom with his sophomore set So Much More, he was able to milk two years of upward growth from the endeavor. By the time the outing reached its zenith, culminating with widespread proclamations that he was an artist to watch, Dennen had readied Hope for the Hopeless for release. If he isnít careful, however, Dennen might wind up swapping his artistic integrity for fleeting fame as his influences give way to a framework that is pleasant but generic. For now, though, Dennen remains on the right side of the fence. At their best, his deceptively simple songs evoke memories of the í70s singer/songwriter scene, though he also sprinkles them with an infusion of world beats, drawn straight from Paul Simonís Graceland. Not one to waste his moment in the sun, Dennen is pushing Hope for the Hopeless as hard as he can. He will return to the region for shows at Milwaukeeís Turner Hall on February 24 and Chicagoís Park West on February 26.
2/26 - Dark Star Orchestra - Vic Theatre - Chicago - 8:30 p
2/27 - Dark Star Orchestra - Riverside Theater - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
Believe it or not, Dark Star Orchestra has been recreating the Grateful Dead concert experience for more than 11 years. In that time, the ensemble astoundingly has made more than 1,600 appearances in celebration of its favorite band. In the process, it also has played a key role in keeping the Grateful Deadís spirit alive. At the very least, Dark Star Orchestra deserves credit for introducing the Grateful Deadís long, strange trip to a new generation of fans. It will conclude its winter tour by returning home for shows on February 26 at Chicagoís Vic Theatre and on February 27 at Milwaukeeís Riverside Theater.
2/27-28 - moe. - Riviera Theatre - Chicago - 8:00 p
In crafting its latest endeavor Sticks and Stones, moe. broke the mold of its recording process. Rather than using the road to iron out the kinks in its material, the outfit opted instead to create the foundation for its songs as it was making its new album. Although the ideas behind the conception of the outing were sound, the results clearly demonstrated that moe. requires more practice in this approach. Regardless, a year later, these tunes have been assimilated fully into the bandís repertoire, where they have begun to thrive. Its two shows at the Riviera Theatre on February 27 and 28 will provide moe. with an opportunity to prove just how far its latest batch of compositions has come.
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