Local Concert Preview for Chicago / Milwaukee
June 10-16, 2010
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2010, Volume 17, #6
Written by John Metzger
Wed June 9, 2010, 06:30 AM CDT
6/10 - Justin Currie - Lincoln Hall - Chicago - 8:00 p
Del Amitri never officially disbanded. Nevertheless, the more invested that Justin Currie becomes in his solo career, the less likely it is that Del Amitri will ever reunite. Currie not only founded the outfit, but he also served as the group’s principal songwriter and vocalist. Following a disastrous appearance at Woodstock as well as poor sales of its sixth effort Can You Do Me Good?, Del Amitri was released from its contract with Mercury Records. Rather than fight against the current, the band decided to put its future on hold.
At first, Currie seemed unsure of the direction in which he should proceed. As a result, five years passed before he quietly issued his solo debut What Is Love For. Throughout the effort, he tore his relationships apart at the seams with self-effacing honesty. His latest set The Great War continues in this vein, though, this time, Currie used stronger melodies and warmer arrangements to soften the blows of his words. It is the kind of endeavor that ought to win the hearts and minds of Del Amitri’s longstanding fans. Consequently, Currie will rely heavily upon his new material when he performs at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall on June 10, though he begrudgingly might also tackle a few old standbys, such as Roll to Me or Always the Last to Know.
6/11 - John Butler Trio - Riviera Theatre - Chicago - 7:30 p
Last summer, in a move that was designed to restore his creative energy, John Butler abruptly dismissed his longstanding rhythm section, replacing bass player Shannon Birchall and drummer Michael Barker with Byron Luiters and Nicky Bomba, respectively. This change may have been in motion for a while. Seven years ago, Butler had intended to enlist Bomba’s ongoing help, but after the recording of Sunrise over Sea was completed, Bomba returned to his own outfit. With his new supporting cast, Butler could be playing with fire. Both Bomba and Luiters are equally strong-willed writers and producers, and the success of Butler’s outfit likely will depend upon how well the musicians can contribute to his work while keeping their egos in check. Based upon Butler’s latest effort April Uprising, the alterations he made haven’t caused a dramatic shift in the core sound of his ensemble. Nevertheless, the group does strike a pose that is more commanding. In concert, the John Butler Trio has been offering an equal mixture of new material and fan favorites, such as Used to Get High and Better Than. There is no reason to expect anything different when the band performs at Chicago’s Riviera Theatre on June 11.
6/12 - Junip - Turner Hall Ballroom - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
6/13 - Junip - Lincoln Hall - Chicago - 8:00 p
In recent years, Jose Gonzalez has spent all of his time on this side of the Atlantic nurturing his career as a quiet, ruminative folk singer. His latest tour, which will stop at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Ballroom on June 12 and at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall on June 13, is designed to introduce his other persona to American audiences. For more than a decade, Gonzalez has fronted a rock-oriented outfit called Junip. The trio — which also features Elias Araya and Tobias Winterkorn — first surfaced in 2005 with its Black Refuge EP, though plans to do anything further were scuttled when Gonzalez became an indie sensation as a solo act. In late 2009, the ensemble reconvened to begin work on Fields, its full-length debut, which is due on September 14. These bargain-priced shows should provide a peek at the contents of the endeavor.
6/14 - Marah - Lincoln Hall - Chicago - 8:00 p
Over the course of its career, Marah has been a difficult band to peg. Scattering six proper studios sets as well as a live collection and a holiday EP across its 17-year existence, the outfit has dabbled in everything from roots-rock (Let’s Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later On Tonight) and Oasis-style fare (Float Away with the Friday Night Gods) to blue-eyed soul (Kids in Philly) and ’60s pop (20,000 Streets Under the Sky). Regardless of the textures in which its albums are immersed, however, the scrappy street scenes of Bruce Springsteen’s work unwaveringly have formed the music’s heart. Marah’s latest set Angels of Destruction extends the group’s obsession with Springteen’s output. Unfortunately, the effort’s detailed production often quells the forcefulness of its lifeblood. In concert, though, Marah should be able to restore the vitality of its new material, sending everyone attending its performance at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall on June 14 home with the feeling that the group just might have crafted its best outing yet.
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