Chicago / Milwaukee Concert Preview
October 19-25, 2010
First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2010, Volume 17, #10
Written by John Metzger
Wed October 20, 2010, 06:30 AM CDT
10/21 - Dr. Dog - Vic Theatre- Chicago - 8:00 p
10/22 - Dr. Dog - Turner Hall Ballroom - Milwaukee - 9:00 p
Dr. Dog’s music has always been unabashedly retro. Everyone who has heard the group has made the same three comparisons, drawing parallels between Dr. Dog and The Band, The Beach Boys, and, of course, The Beatles. Not surprisingly, then, when a modern spin is placed upon Dr. Dog’s output — the kind that propels its sixth set Shame, Shame into the present — the result sounds like a cross between The Flaming Lips and Wilco. Some fans will love it; some fans will hate it. Most of them, however, simply won’t care. Shame, Shame isn’t quite as urgent as its predecessors, which allows the darker textures of the endeavor to rise to the surface. Nevertheless, the psychedelic grandiosity of Dr. Dog’s blues-pop arrangements remains intact. The band’s attempts to promote the effort were nearly derailed when Zach Miller was hospitalized with a nasty viral infection. He since has fully recovered from his ailment, and Dr. Dog is making up for lost time by performing at Chicago’s Vic Theatre on October 21 at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Ballroom on October 22.
10/22 - Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Lincoln Hall - Chicago - 10:00 p
Based upon historical precedence, musical couplings of artists who already have achieved some semblance of success via other projects don’t tend to last very long. Fortunately, Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan — she of Belle & Sebastian, he of Screaming Trees — have found a way to make it work. Hawk, their third full-length collaboration, quietly surfaced in late August, and although the juxtaposition of their vocal hues still seems a little creepy, time has drawn them closer together, transforming their material into something that is strangely beautiful. When they first began performing as a team in concert, there was a lot of emotional distance between them, which was, perhaps, by design — a means of magnifying the loneliness in their work. Hopefully, when they unite for a show at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall on October 22, they will lighten the mood at least a little bit.
10/23 - Jackie Greene - Double Door - Chicago - 9:00 p
Venturing inside the Grateful Dead’s circle of friends can be a dangerous thing. Just ask Bruce Hornsby, whose concerts frequently devolved into screams for Scarlet Begonias, Sugaree, and Dark Star instead of selections from his own canon. Still, this hasn’t stopped a whole slew of other artists from stepping into the Grateful Dead’s vortex, hoping that the price to be paid for such tremendous exposure would be minimal. Jackie Greene became the latest performer to gamble with his career when an invitation to join Phil Lesh’s band for a few dates proved irresistible. Three years later, the Grateful Dead’s songs — such as Friend of the Devil, Sugaree, and New Speedway Boogie — have been integrated into his standard stage routine. On his latest set Till the Light Comes, Greene shifted away from his roots in folk and blues, and the polished precision of the outing might take some fans by surprise. When he performs at Chicago’s Double Door on October 23, Greene will try to squeeze as many original songs as he can into his show, but if the crowd grows restless, he’ll have no choice but to quiet them with a healthy slate of cover tunes.
10/23 - Ryan Bingham - Subterranean - Chicago - 8:00 p & 11:30 p
There’s something to be said for striking while the iron is hot. Ryan Bingham currently has more attention than he probably ever fathomed. The insanity began last year when his song The Weary Kind was featured in the film Crazy Heart. By February, his name was everywhere, thanks to an Oscar nomination and victory in the category of Best Original Song. Bingham wrote The Weary Kind with T Bone Burnett, and the duo reconnected to craft Bingham’s third full-length studio effort Junky Star. Unfortunately, the collection feels like a marketing ploy that has been rushed to completion. For all of Junky Star’s flaws, though, its songs are sturdy enough to take on the road. Backed by his crack band The Dead Horses, Bingham almost certainly will whip the material into shape when he performs two shows at Chicago’s Subterranean on October 23.
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