Local Concert Preview for Chicago:
June 10-16, 2009
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2009, Volume 16, #6
Written by John Metzger
Wed June 10, 2009, 06:30 AM CDT
6/12 - P.J. Harvey / John Parish - Riviera Theatre - Chicago - 7:30 p
P.J. Harvey and John Parish recently issued A Woman a Man Walked By, their first full-fledged collaborative project in 13 years. The album boasts its share of boisterous material — including the demented title track and the howling assault of Pig Will Not. For the most part, however, the music that fills A Woman a Man Walked By — as well as its predecessor Dance Hall at Louse Point — is often too intimate and haunted to fare well within the venues that Harvey and Parish are forced to perform. Rather than take the easy route by shying away from the quieter fare and delving into Harvey’s considerable solo canon, to which Parish also has been a frequent contributor, the duo has built their tour solely around the songs from the two albums that bear both of their names. The result is a strangely fascinating, modern take on the dark side of the blues.
6/13 - BoDeans - Ravinia - Highland Park - 7:30 p
Last year, the BoDeans broke its self-imposed, four-year hiatus from recording — which was spurred by a legal battle with its former label — by reuniting with producer T Bone Burnett to craft its latest endeavor Still. The collaboration, which failed in its bid either to move the ensemble forward or to recapture the essence of its debut Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams, was too much of a hit-and-miss affair to bear the fruit that many had hoped. Nevertheless, it did spark renewed interest in a band that seemed to lose its way after Closer to Free became utterly inescapable. The BoDeans has never had trouble attracting an audience in the Midwest. At its best, the tight harmonies that grace the outfit’s infectious, roots-rock material are well suited for basking beneath the star-filled summer sky.
6/13 - Alice Peacock - Schuba's - Chicago - 7:00 & 10:00 p
It may look glamorous on paper, but writing and performing music for a living is largely a thankless job. Only a few artists ever manage to find any semblance of success, and often it comes as much from luck as it does from talent. Ever since she issued her debut Real Day in 2000, Alice Peacock has been wading through an array of folk-pop personas in an attempt to find her niche. To this end, her 2005 set Who I Am was something of a breakthrough both professionally and personally. Armed with newfound confidence, she approached her latest outing Love Remains by settling into a Nashville studio and adopting an earthier tone. The result is the most musically broad, but thematically cohesive effort of her young career.
6/14 - Metric - Metro - Chicago - 7:30 p
Four years ought to provide ample time for growth, but judging from its latest set Fantasies, Metric has remained relatively stagnant. Longtime fans, of course, will be pleased with the endeavor. Anyone hoping that the band would put its obvious talent to better use, however, is bound to be frustrated by the affair. There are moments when Metric seems to want to shake up its formula by exploring more ambient moods. Yet, instead of jumping in with both feet, the outfit stopped short of embracing a new outlook. Perhaps, in concert, Metric can inject some much needed intensity and urgency into its material, but in many ways, its new set feels like an album by a group that has stretched itself to the point of burnout.
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