Local Concert Preview for Chicago & Milwaukee:
August 1-5, 2009
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2009, Volume 16, #7
Written by John Metzger
Thu July 30, 2009, 06:30 AM CDT
8/1 - Crosby, Stills and Nash - Riverside Theater - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
On June 4, Crosby, Stills and Nash performed in Chicago to celebrate the release of its archival project Demos. Nearly two months later, the outfit will return to the region for a show at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater on August 1. In the meantime, a few more details have surfaced regarding the group’s forthcoming collaboration with producer Rick Rubin. Recently, Crosby, Stills and Nash have begun to insert songs by the Rolling Stones (Ruby Tuesday), the Grateful Dead (Uncle John’s Band), and Tim Hardin (Reason to Believe) into its sets. Rubin has the best chance of anyone to revitalize the trio’s career, and considering the careful selection of material he has introduced to its repertoire, it’s safe to say that expectations are sky-high for the upcoming endeavor.
8/2 - Paolo Nutini - Vic Theatre - Chicago - 7:00 p
Paolo Nutini has yet to create an album of consistent quality, let alone one that feels like it has some substance. Yet, with his latest effort Sunny Side Up, he has proven that pop music doesn’t have to feel stifled, forced, and manufactured. By working with producer Ethan Johns, Nutini seems to have freed himself from the constraints that marred his debut These Streets. The album’s first single Candy is a delicious slice of bittersweet folk-pop beauty. Elsewhere, he dabbles in jazz (Pencil Full of Lead), soul (High Hopes), and country (Simple Things). His eclectic approach often bears mixed results, but at least he sounds like he’s engaged in his work. His backing band The Vipers helped him to record Sunny Side Up, too, and this bodes well for his upcoming tour, which stops at the Vic Theatre on August 2.
8/3 - Tori Amos - Chicago Theatre - Chicago - 7:30 p
8/4 - Tori Amos - Riverside Theater - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
No matter how one feels about her albums, it’s impossible not to admire how tenaciously Tori Amos has approached her craft. She has long been infatuated with the idea of making conceptually cohesive endeavors, and over the course of her career, she has never wavered from this goal. Her latest outing Abnormally Attracted to Sin explores the relationship that women have to power. The deluxe edition of the outing includes a DVD of visual accompaniments that help to clarify its narrative arc. In other words, Abnormally Attracted to Sin is exactly the kind of effort that Amos needed to create under her new contract with Universal. Her fans have always been fiercely loyal, and it feeds directly into their expectations. In concert, Amos is a tireless performer who is capable of changing direction on a whim. She is unafraid to peer into the dark corners of her soul, yet she makes it clear that everything will be all right in the end. No one should expect anything less when she ventures to the Chicago Theatre on August 3 and Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater on August 4.
8/3-4 - Pete Yorn - Park West - Chicago - 8:00 p
Not wanting to fall into too much of a routine, Pete Yorn ventured to Nebraska to build his latest endeavor Back and Fourth with the likes of producer Mike Mogis, drummer Joey Waronker, guitarist Jonny Polonsky, and vocalist Orenda Fink, to name a few of the artists who appear on the effort. Considering that he previously had staked his reputation on doing almost everything himself, this is quite a departure for Yorn. In the process, though, he also managed to resurrect his slumping career, which hit a brick wall in the wake of his 2003 outing Day I Forgot. At his recent concerts, Yorn has been mixing material from Back and Fourth with tracks from his first three endeavors. With another new collection due in September — Break Up, a collaboration with Scarlett Johansson — he has more than enough songs in his repertoire to keep things interesting all summer long — or at least for a pair of consecutive shows at Park West.
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