Chicago Concert Preview
October 15-18, 2010
First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2010, Volume 17, #10
Written by John Metzger
Thu October 14, 2010, 06:30 AM CDT
10/15 - Massive Attack - Riviera Theatre - Chicago - 8:30 p
Massive Attack has always seemed to take its good, old time making albums. This is partially because it hasn’t always been easy to strike a balance among the ideas of the group’s hard headed members, though this hardly is the only reason for the outfit’s slow pace. The departure of Andy Vowles might have lessened the amount of squabbling within the band by solidifying the leadership of Robert Del Naja. Yet, because Massive Attack has often leveraged its status in order to secure a wide array of other assignments, it still took seven years to create Heligoland, the follow-up to its 2003 set 100th Window. Where the latter collection was roundly pummeled by critics for its failure to break new ground, Heligoland — which boasts a sizeable supporting cast that includes Martina Topley-Bird, Horace Andy, Elbow’s Gus Garvey, TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, Blur’s Damon Albarn, and Portishead’s Adrian Utley — has been hailed in some circles as a new beginning for the ensemble. Topley-Bird is joining Massive Attack on its latest trek across America, and during its show at Chicago’s Riviera Theatre on October 15, the collective might offer a glimpse at its sixth studio endeavor, which it plans to complete later this year.
10/15 - Tony Joe White - Schuba's - Chicago - 7:30 p
Tony Joe White is better known for his songs than his albums. His work has been covered by everyone from Tina Turner (Steamy Windows) to Elvis Presley (Polk Salad Annie), though his own efforts largely have been ignored. For a long time, White didn’t seem to care, but over the past decade, he has been taking steps to elevate his profile. On his 2002 endeavor The Heroines, White was paired with an abundance of talented female artists, including Emmylou Harris and Jessi Colter, while on his 2006 set Uncovered, he teamed with an array of like-minded admirers, such as Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler. White’s latest set The Shine forgoes the all-star lineups that have appeared on his recent projects. Instead, it boasts a selection of new material that White penned with his wife Leann earlier this year. White’s month-long tour to support the endeavor will stop at Schuba’s in Chicago on October 15.
10/15 - Sufjan Stevens - Chicago Theatre - Chicago - 8:00 p
Sufjan Stevens once proclaimed that he was going to create an album for each of America’s 50 states. This concept is as ridiculous as it is confining, and not surprisingly, he abandoned ship after bringing only two of the efforts (Michigan and Illinois) to fruition. Stevens, however, has had trouble determining his next move. Instead of building upon his successes, he has spent the past five years running from them by embarking upon a series of distractions that included The BQE, a multimedia piece that paired footage he shot of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway with an orchestral accompaniment. Maybe Stevens just needed to buy some time to reduce the pressure upon himself. Earlier this week, he issued The Age of Adz, his first proper studio set since Illinois. Instead of scripting an overarching narrative for the endeavor, he chose to construct a series of loosely knit songs that explore the familiar themes of love and loss. Stevens undoubtedly will unveil many of his new compositions when he performs at the Chicago Theatre on October 15.
10/16 - Gorillaz - UIC Pavilion - Chicago - 7:30 p
It is quite remarkable that Gorillaz remains an entity that is both critically successful and commercially viable. The outfit began with the gimmicky pretense of a fictional band living in a cartoon world. With time, however, Blur’s Damon Albarn — who gave voice to the animated characters created by Jamie Hewlett — has broadened the scope of the collective, allowing it to transcend its roots. The group’s third endeavor Plastic Beach is its most focused effort yet. Better still, the star-power that was attracted to the project — Lou Reed, The Clash’s Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, Snoop Dogg, and Bobby Womack are just a few of the outsiders who contributed to the affair — bodes well for Gorillaz’s future. In the midst of its first world tour, Gorillaz — with help from Jones, Simonon, and Womack — will perform at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion on October 16.
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