Chicago / Milwaukee Concert Preview
October 1-7, 2010
First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2010, Volume 17, #9
Written by John Metzger
Mon September 30, 2010, 06:30 AM CDT
10/2 - Farm Aid - Miller Park - Milwaukee - 12:00 p
In 1985, during his performance at Live Aid, Bob Dylan drew attention to the plight of America’s family-owned farms. His comments spurred Willie Nelson into action. A few months later, Nelson launched Farm Aid, an important and vital institution that now hosts the longest-running series of benefit concerts in the country. In fact, it is difficult to believe that any family-owned farms would still be in operation if Farm Aid hadn’t come to their rescue. This year, in celebration of its 25-year existence, Farm Aid will be held at Milwaukee’s Miller Park. This is the first time that a major-league ballfield is hosting the event. As always, board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews will perform at the concert. Norah Jones, Kenny Chesney, BoDeans, Jeff Tweedy, Jason Mraz, Band of Horses, Amos Lee, and Robert Francis will complete the line-up for the charity show. For those fans who don’t reside in the Milwaukee area, DirecTV will be airing portions of the program, beginning at 5pm CT on its own 101 Network.
10/2 - Bettye LaVette - Old Town School - Chicago - 8:00 p
Bettye LaVette’s career began in 1962 when, at the age of 16, she scored a hit with her debut single My Man — He’s a Loving Man. Despite an extensive string of solid recordings, she never again cracked the Top Ten of the R&B charts. Consequently, she still deserves more attention than she has received. Nevertheless, in recent years, LaVette has staged a remarkable comeback. Produced by Joe Henry, her 2005 set I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise featured a careful selection of songs composed by contemporary female artists — everyone from Lucinda Williams and Rosanne Cash to Aimee Mann and Fiona Apple were represented on the affair. On her subsequent endeavor The Scene of the Crime, LaVette was backed by Spooner Oldham and southern-rock revivalists Drive-By Truckers. Issued earlier this year, her latest outing Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook takes aim at material penned by the likes of The Beatles (The Word), Traffic (No Time to Live), Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here), Led Zeppelin (All of My Love), and The Who (Love Reign O’er Me). LaVette’s ridiculously low profile allows her to play intimate performance spaces, such as Chicago’s Old Town School, where she’ll be holding court on October 2.
10/5-6 - Teenage Fanclub - Lincoln Hall - Chicago - 9:00 p
Teenage Fanclub was in the right place at the right time when it issued Bandwagonesque in 1991. The album was gritty enough to attract attention from the grunge scene, yet tuneful enough to please the purveyors of power pop. Over the years, it has become clearer that Teenage Fanclub always has had more in common with Big Star and The Byrds than it does with Dinosaur Jr. and Neil Young. Nevertheless, the outfit has struggled to retain the interest of its audience, particularly on this side of the Atlantic. Shadows, the ninth outing of Teenage Fanclub’s career, took nearly two years to come to fruition. Fortunately, the group has succeeded in its bid to shove aside the darkness that had shrouded its 2005 endeavor Man-Made. Without a doubt, Teenage Fanclub will deliver several tracks from its recent outings when it performs at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall on October 5 and 6. At the same time, though, the outfit consistently showcases the full-range of its canon, meaning tunes from Everything Flows and The Concept to Sparky’s Dream and I Need Direction are likely to line its set.
10/6-7 - Bobby Bare, Jr. - Schuba's - Chicago - 9:00 p
Much as the title to his latest endeavor suggests, Bobby Bare, Jr. has a flair for mixing drama, humor, and darkness. Born from a storm that devastated his mom’s home and left her with a pair of broken vertebrae, A Storm, A Tree, My Mother’s Head is grounded in reality, offering reflections upon birth, death, and divorce. Like his father — country songwriter Bobby Bare — he has a knack for telling stories as well as an ear for good melodies. Yet, amidst the expansive landscape of music history, Bare, Jr. frequently is overlooked. When he teamed with members of My Morning Jacket to concoct The Longest Meow in 2006, it appeared as if he finally was going to expand his base of fans. Alas, the attention was fleeting. Based upon his latest single — the infinitely infectious Sad Smile — Bare, Jr. hasn’t lost hope. Wisely, Schuba’s snagged him for a pair of shows on October 6 and 7 as his move to Chicago’s larger music venues seems as imminent as ever.
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