Local Concert Preview for Chicago & Milwaukee
February 1-16, 2010
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2010, Volume 17, #2
Written by John Metzger
Wed February 3, 2010, 06:30 AM CST
2/3 - Gov't Mule - The Rave - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
2/5 - Gov't Mule - House of Blues - Chicago - 8:00 p
Amidst the celebration surrounding the 40th anniversary of the Allman Brothers Band, guitarist Warren Haynes somehow also managed to find time to record By a Thread, the eighth studio set from his other outfit Govít Mule. Throughout the endeavor, Haynes largely revisits the concepts and ideas that long have dominated his work. He ponders global issues (World Wake Up) and puts an old folk tune back into service (Railroad Boy). He also dabbles in reggae-tinged undercurrents (Frozen Fear), and with help from ZZ Topís Billy Gibbons, he unleashes a Texas-blues tempest (Broke Down on the Brazos). The biggest difference between By a Thread and Govít Muleís previous endeavors is that the album marks the debut of the bandís new bass player Jorgen Carlsson. His hard-edged approach pushes Govít Mule to attack its music with renewed ferocity. This intense, visceral assault ought to translate quite well into a concert setting, too. Fans can witness the uprising for themselves when Govít Mule visits The Rave in Milwaukee on February 3 and House of Blues in Chicago on February 5. The latter show is a benefit for Dare 2 Dream, a charity that supports pediatric cancer research and treatment.
2/6 - Mavis Staples - Old Town School - Chicago - 8:00 p
Soul queen Mavis Staples will be back in Chicago on February 6 for a hometown performance at the Old Town School of Folk Music. In the 1960s, as a member of The Staple Singers, she was an integral part of the civil rights movement. By covering tunes like Bob Dylanís A Hard Rainís A-Gonna Fall and Stephen Stillsí For What Itís Worth, the group was able to bring its message of social justice to a wider audience. Try as she might, however, Staples has struggled to gain traction as a solo artist. Consequently it has seemed for a long time as if The Staple Singersí 1972 hit Iíll Take You There would remain the pinnacle of her career. Over the past decade, though, Staples has crept back into the limelight. Her 2004 effort Have a Little Faith was a moving ode to her gospel-imbued roots, while her latest set Weíll Never Turn Back serves as a nifty summation of her entire canon as well as a bold new beginning.
2/16 - Switchfoot - House of Blues - Chicago - 7:00 p
Despite the success of its 2006 outing Oh! Gravity, Switchfoot found it necessary to step back and take stock of the direction in which its career was heading. The group hadnít been happy with its relationship with Sony, largely because the label kept changing the people with whom Switchfoot was supposed to be forging a working relationship. In 2008, the collective slammed the door shut on its recording contract by issuing The Best Yet, an 18-track retrospective. After a lengthy gestation period, the ensembleís latest effort Hello Hurricane was released last fall, and although it doesnít deviate far from the outfitís alt-rock roots, it nevertheless is the most varied album in the collectiveís catalog. If anything, Switchfootís homages to U2 provide the best foundation for its future, though the garage-rock of Bullet Soul is equally appealing. Switchfootís latest sojourn will bring the outfit back to the Chicago area on February 16 for a concert at House of Blues.
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