Local Concert Preview for Chicago / Milwaukee
November 17-24, 2009
First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2009, Volume 16, #11
Written by John Metzger
Tue November 17, 2009, 06:30 AM CST
11/19 - Dinosaur Jr. - Turner Hall Ballroom - Milwaukee - 7:00 p
Two decades ago, J Mascis and Lou Barlow parted ways in a fashion that was less than amicable. Barlow turned his attention to his side project Sebadoh, which became a minor indie sensation. Meanwhile, Mascis continued to deploy the Dinosaur Jr. moniker. Although he achieved a great deal of commercial success, he left his devoted followers feeling puzzled about his increasingly formulaic approach. In 1997, Dinosaur Jr. finally went dormant after the release of Hand It Over, as Mascis embarked upon a solo career. The reconciliation of Mascis and Barlow was a long, slow process, but wisely, they took their time to allow their old wounds to heal fully. As their recent output attests, they truly do need each other to survive. With Beyond, Dinosaur Jr. mounted a full-fledged reunion and brushed off years of indifference by returning to its mid-’80s heyday. Its latest offering Farm proves that the ensemble’s creative energies are flowing once again. Fans can expect an evening of eardrum-shattering, mind-melting rock when the group performs at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Ballroom on November 19.
11/19-21 - Pixies - Aragon Ballroom - Chicago - 7:30 p
Maybe it’s fatherhood. Maybe it’s middle-age. Whatever the reason happens to be, Frank Black’s retrospective examinations of his career have been a boon for his fans. Over the past few years, Black has been trolling through his past with a vengeance. He not only pulled highlights from his solo career together to form the two-disc affair 93-03, but he also resurrected his Black Francis persona to craft Bluefinger, his ode of sorts to painter Herman Brood. In between these projects, Black also reignited the Pixies, and in the wake of its monstrously successful reunion tour, the group now has taken to charging through the entirety of its classic, highly influential endeavor Doolittle. In other words, when the outfit stops at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom on November 20 and 21, it will deliver a pair of shows that Black’s devotees surely won’t want to miss.
11/19 - John Fogerty - Riverside Theater - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
11/21 - John Fogerty - Auditorium Theatre - Chicago - 8:00 p
When he delivers his material in concert, John Fogerty doesn’t tend to make any drastic modifications to his songs. Therefore, the success of his shows largely hinges upon two factors: how engaged he is and how much energy he brings to the proceedings. The good news is that, based upon his latest endeavor The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again, Fogerty hasn’t sounded this loose in years. Throughout the album, Fogerty playfully romps through a series of cover songs from the likes of John Prine, Buck Owens, and John Denver. When he performs at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater on November 19 and Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre in November 21, Fogerty undoubtedly will commingle material from his new effort with a healthy dose of classics from Creedence Clearwater Revival’s canon.
11/20-21 - Poi Dog Pondering - Vic Theatre - Chicago - 8:00 p
Like it or not, Frank Orrall — the guiding force behind Poi Dog Pondering — has a deliciously wicked habit of testing the faithfulness of his fans. The guy can change directions on what seems like a whim, and he dabbles in projects that push the boundaries of what it means to be eclectic. He pursued his interest in electronic music by joining Thievery Corporation, and with help from Chicago Sinfonietta, he led Poi Dog Pondering to create unique interpretations of Dvorak’s New World Symphony and Bizet’s Carmen. Last year, however, Orrall surprised everyone when he reconvened his group to produce 7, a startlingly effective and remarkably potent return to Poi Dog Pondering’s origins. In early October, the outfit performed at the Austin City Limits Festival. Despite the sound problems that plagued its set, Poi Dog Pondering easily won over the crowd with its energetic grooves. The ensemble is planning to celebrate with a big-band arrangement when it performs at the Vic Theatre on November 20.
11/21 - Steve Forbert - Schuba's - Chicago - 7:30 p
11/22 - Steve Forbert - Shank Hall - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
The days of Steve Forbert’s widespread commercial appeal may lie in the distant past. Nevertheless, 31 years after he issued his debut, Forbert’s career continues to roll along at a comfortable pace. With a gleam in his eye, he uses his latest set The Place and the Time to examine an array of modern situations — from identity theft to the price of concert tickets — and the maturity of middle-age lends him the right amounts of wistfulness and optimism to pull it all together to form an emotionally effective narrative. Forbert already has begun work on his next endeavor. In the meantime, he recently trolled through his archives to unearth Down in Flames, a three-disc suite of material that includes an album that was shelved by Columbia Records in the early 1980s as well as a healthy selection of concert material and other previously unreleased compositions. Forbert will draw upon the full-range of his output when he performs at Schuba’s in Chicago on November 21 and at Shank Hall in Milwaukee on November 22.
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