Local Concert Preview for Chicago
April 8-14, 2010
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2010, Volume 17, #4
Written by John Metzger
Wed April 7, 2010, 06:30 AM CDT
4/9 - Drive-By Truckers - Vic Theatre - Chicago - 8:00 p
Initially, the departure of Jason Isbell seemed as if it would leave a gaping hole in Drive-By Truckers’ sound. Although the outfit had always been guided most strongly by Patterson Hood, Isbell along with guitarist Mike Cooley provided the group with a more balanced attack. In retrospect, Drive-By Truckers hasn’t skipped a beat. If anything, the outfit has grown even more productive without sacrificing the quality of its work. Over the past two years, Hood issued his second solo effort [Murdering Oscar (and Other Love Songs)], while he and Cooley refined their collaborative efforts on Brighter than Creations Dark. In addition, the ensemble not only assembled a collection of rarities (The Fine Print), but it also recorded and toured with music legend Booker T. Jones. Continuing this trend, the recording sessions held by Drive-By Truckers during the first half of 2009 produced its latest offering The Big To-Do as well as its still-untitled follow-up set. In other words, the group has plenty of new material to play for its fans when it performs at Chicago’s Vic Theatre on April 9.
4/10 - Soul Asylum - Cubby Bear - Chicago - 9:00 p
Grammy-winning bands sometimes take the hardest falls. After all, it is not easy to deal with the mounting pressure of repeating a successful sojourn. Soul Asylum exploded in the early-to-mid 1990s by not only scoring a pair of platinum-selling albums (Grave Dancers Union, Let Your Dim Light Shine) but also by turning its hit single Runaway Train into omnipresent background noise. By the latter part of the decade, some of Soul Asylum’s sparkle had been lost. Dumped from Columbia Records, the group began to flounder. When bass player Karl Mueller was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2004, it looked like the outfit had reached the end of the line.
Nevertheless, founding members Dave Pirner and Dan Murphy weren’t quite ready to give up hope. They already had been working on a new recording, and Mueller’s death only increased their determination to complete the project. Bolstered by the addition of Tommy Stinson and Michael Bland, Soul Asylum completed The Silver Lining and hit the road to support it. Ever since, the ensemble has been making annual treks to Chicago. Soul Asylum’s latest visit is designed to celebrate the start of the 2010 baseball season. The group will perform at the Cubby Bear on April 10. As luck would have it, Soul Asylum also has working on a fresh batch of material, so the show might serve as a platform for testing some of its new songs.
4/10 - Madeleine Peyroux - Old Town School - Chicago - 7:00 p & 10:00 p
Madeleine Peyroux’s entry into the music business has been a slow, methodical march forward. Each album that she has released — from Careless Love to Half the Perfect World to Bare Bones — has followed a carefully plotted course that was designed to lure new fans into the fold while also giving her greater artistic freedom. Released last spring, Bare Bones is the fourth album of Peyroux’s career. Although it superficially falls into line with all of her other endeavors, it is the first outing for which she penned all of the material herself. Perhaps Peyroux’s biggest challenge is that there are very few establishments left in which her music truly can be appreciated. Chicago’s Old Town School provides a perfect forum for her style, which frequently evokes the smoky jazz clubs of yore. Consequently, Peyroux likely will revel in the opportunity to perform a pair of shows at the venue on April 10.
4/10 - Atoms for Peace - Aragon Ballroom - Chicago - 8:00 p
4/11 - Atoms for Peace - Aragon Ballroom - Chicago - 7:00 p
Thom Yorke’s latest project sprang out of nowhere. Last November, he was slated to perform a pair of solo shows in Los Angeles when, at the last minute, he hastily assembled an outfit for support. His group boasted an enviable line-up, too; Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker, and Mauro Refosco are its members. Not surprisingly, fans eagerly began to anticipate the enterprise’s expansion. Designed as a way for his band to rehearse prior to its appearance at Coachella, Yorke plotted an eight-date, five-city tour with his new collective. Dubbed Atoms for Peace, the ensemble has been leaning heavily upon material from Yorke’s solo effort The Eraser. Given the new songs that the ensemble unveiled last fall, it is possible that its sequel will be unveiled before Radiohead’s next venture. In the meantime, Atoms for Peace will perform at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom on April 10 and 11.
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