Local Concert Preview for Chicago / Milwaukee
May 16-20, 2010
First Appeared in The Music Box, May 2010, Volume 17, #5
Written by John Metzger
Fri May 14, 2010, 06:30 AM CDT
5/18 - Them Crooked Vultures - Aragon Ballroom - Chicago - 7:00 p
In recent years, John Paul Jones frequently has been trading his bass for a mandolin while exploring his love of old-time folk songs with groups like Uncle Earl, Mutual Admiration Society, and The Duhks. When the long-anticipated reunion of Led Zeppelin in late 2007 failed to produce a worldwide tour, Dave Grohl took it upon himself to coax Jones back onto the rock ’n‘ roll stage. Joining with drummer Josh Homme to form Them Crooked Vultures, Grohl and Jones revisit the hard-edged blues that had defined Led Zeppelin. Instead of playing it straight, however, Them Crooked Vultures laces its output with an abundance of shifting textures. Last August, the group made its debut at Chicago’s Metro. For its show on May 18, Them Crooked Vultures will settle into the spacious environment of the Aragon. With its sophomore effort tentatively slated for release this fall, Them Crooked Vultures seems destined to be stepping up and playing in small arenas very soon.
5/18 - Turin Brakes - Lincoln Hall - Chicago - 8:00 p
Turin Brakes emerged relatively late in the post-Radiohead era. By this point, though, the scene had become so crowded that the group wasn’t able to gain much notice for its work, which included its finest endeavor Ether Song. With each album it has released, Turin Brakes has broadened its sound, a decision that culminated with the lush atmospheres that it concocted for Dark on Fire with producer Ethan Johns. On its latest effort Outbursts, Turin Brakes returned to its roots. Re-embracing the collaborative process that originally had spawned the outfit, founding members Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian stripped away the excess accouterments that had begun to infiltrate their arrangements. Not surprisingly, then, Turin Brakes immediately embarked upon an acoustic tour that is designed to showcase its rejuvenated indie-folk outlook. The band not only will highlight material from Outbursts but it also likely will dig deeper than usual into its canon when it performs at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall on May 18.
5/19 - Dan Bern - Shank Hall - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
5/20 - Dan Bern - Martyrs - Chicago - 8:00 p
To casual fans, it might appear as if Dan Bern has been relatively quiet over the past few years. After all, he hasn’t issued a proper album via traditional distribution channels since his 2006 set Breathe. Bern, however, is a prolific writer, and taking a cue from the faltering music scene, he has sought other methods of getting his material into the hands of his followers. Not only has he used iTunes to feed them a steady diet of recordings, but he also wrote the music for Judd Apatow’s Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, entered the family-music market (Two Feet Tall), and issued a career-spanning concert album (Live in Los Angeles). There is no doubt that Bern’s propensity for foul language will irritate anyone who is easily offended. Those who stick with him, though, will find that he often has a point to make. Bern’s lyrics have always been insightful and witty, and if anything, his pen has grown sharper with time. He will skewer everything from politics to relationships when he performs at Milwaukee’s Shank Hall on May 19 and Chicago’s Martyrs on May 20.
5/20 - Gary Louris - Lincoln Hall - Chicago - 8:00 p
Things are looking bright for fans of The Jayhawks. Not only have founding members Mark Olson and Gary Louris been reuniting with increasing frequency of late, but also last year’s retrospective (Music from the North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology) has opened the floodgates to a series of archival recordings. Restored to its original 13-track song cycle, The Jayhawks’ self-titled debut will be reissued on May 18. Later this year, new versions of Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass, both of which will feature an abundance of bonus material, will hit store shelves. In addition, Louris and Olson are lining up another slate of collaborative shows as well as working on their second album as a duo. With so much happening, it’s safe to say that just about any tune that Louris has ever penned could surface during his performance at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall on May 20.
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