Local Concert Preview for Chicago & Milwaukee:
May 25-31, 2009
First Appeared in The Music Box, May 2009, Volume 16, #5
Written by John Metzger
Fri May 22, 2009, 06:30 AM CDT
5/26 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Aragon Ballroom - Chicago - 7:00 p
5/31 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Eagles Club - Milwaukee - 7:30 p
Yeah Yeah Yeahs may be an art-rock band, yet it always has had a knack for building its songs around melodies that are ridiculously infectious. Therefore, the group’s latest effort It’s Blitz isn’t as big of a stretch as some seem to think. With the help of TV on the Radio’s David Sitek, Yeah Yeah Yeahs has dodged expectations by climbing from the darkness of its previous endeavor Show Your Bones to embrace an array of synthesized atmospheres and funky beats. To its credit, Yeah Yeah Yeahs has succeeded in positioning itself to invade the dance floor without losing sight of its rock ’n‘ roll essence. In effect, the band — along with fellow New Yorkers The Rapture — has found a way of making disco seem cool again, by connecting it to the eccentric moves and hearty introspection of Talking Heads and Sly Stone. Fresh from an appearance at the Sasquatch Music Festival, Yeah Yeah Yeahs will kick off its summer tour with a show at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom on May 26. After encircling the region, it will return for a concert at Milwaukee’s Eagles Club on May 31.
5/26-27 - The Tragically Hip - Vic Theatre - Chicago - 7:30 p
Fourteen years ago, The Tragically Hip earned a slot on Saturday Night Live and flirted with widespread popularity, but the group never managed to capitalize on its success. Although the outfit consistently has satisfied its existing base of fans, it also has failed to attract new customers. On We Are the Same, its latest offering, The Tragically Hip once again is making a bid for big-time stardom by refining its approach and expanding its sonic palette. Fully rejuvenated by the process of recording the endeavor, the band rehearsed roughly 90 songs from its existing catalogue in preparation for its upcoming tour. The Tragically Hip has promised to fill its lengthy, two-set shows with a mixture of old and new material that forsakes most of its familiar touchstones. In other words, anything can happen when the ensemble visits Chicago’s Vic Theatre on May 26 and 27.
5/29 - Nine Inch Nails - Charter One Pavilion - Chicago - 8:00 p
The history of Nine Inch Nails highlights some of the pros and cons of working within the music business. Undeniably, the industry has more than its share of problems, as Nine Inch Nails’ guiding force Trent Reznor enjoys illustrating. Yet, it also is highly unlikely that he and his band would have been able to achieve the same level of success without the financial backing and marketing muscle that his former label provided. Now working as an independent act, Reznor has the power to decide everything for himself. He quickly followed his expansive instrumental set Ghosts I-IV with the full-bore, rock ’n‘ roll assault of The Slip, which he not only offered for free via his website but also encouraged fans to remix at will. For his latest sojourn, Reznor has reunited with guitarist Robin Finck. Former Beck bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen, and Lostprophets drummer Ilan Rubin complete the current incarnation of his group. Chicagoans will have to wait until Lollapalooza to see the outfit’s touring mates Jane’s Addiction, though this didn’t stop Nine Inch Nails’ concert on May 29 at Charter One Pavilion from selling out rather quickly.
5/29 - Doves - Vic Theatre - Chicago - 7:30 p
Nine years ago, Doves issued its debut Lost Souls and promptly was nominated for a Mercury Prize. Although the award was given to Badly Drawn Boy, Doves has managed to remain a regular fixture atop the British music charts. At the same time, though, it also has failed to generate the same amount of buzz on this side of the Atlantic. Unfortunately, its latest set Kingdom of Rust isn’t likely to change its fortune, either. For what it’s worth, Doves continues to forge ahead by placing its Britpop songs within increasingly adventurous surroundings. The band will treat Chicago’s Vic Theatre as if it were a massive outdoor arena when it unveils its latest batch of anthems in concert on May 29.
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