Chicago / Milwaukee Concert Preview
October 26-November 1, 2010
First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2010, Volume 17, #10
Written by John Metzger
Mon October 25, 2010, 06:30 AM CDT
10/26 - Dar Williams - S.P.A.C.E. - Evanston - 8:00 p
After 17 years in the music business, Dar Williams decided that the time was right for her to take stock of her career. Many Great Companions combines 20 songs from the eight albums that she has released with 12 additional selections that Williams re-recorded with the help of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nickel Creek’s Sean and Sara Watkins, and Patty Larkin. Considering the strength of her material, which typically pairs poetic lyrics with engaging melodies, it is surprising that Williams has managed to float under the radar for so long. As Many Great Companions demonstrates, Williams has blossomed into one of the most underrated performers on the singer/songwriter scene. When she performs at S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston on October 26, Williams likely will mirror the contours of her new retrospective by touching down at various points along the full timeline of her canon.
10/26 - Willie Nelson - Northern Lights Theater - Milwaukee WI - 8:00 p
11/1 - Willie Nelson - Rialto Square Theatre - Joliet - 7:30 p
Considering how many albums Willie Nelson adds to his canon each year, it is somewhat strange that the repertoire for his concerts has remained relatively stagnant for the better part of the past several decades. His latest set Country Music — much like Last of the Breed from 2007 and You Don’t Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker from 2006 — provides plenty of material that would fit comfortably alongside his longtime touchstones (Crazy, On the Road Again, Me and Paul, and Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, to name a few). Nevertheless, because he is unwilling to tamper with his well-established, crowd-pleasing formula, Nelson has failed to mine these albums as thoroughly as he could. In fact, only his haunting rendition of Nobody’s Fault but Mine from Country Music has consistently found its way into his shows. Even so, there is something to be said for Nelson’s steadfast reliability. Relaxed and comfortable, his performances routinely feel like familial gatherings. There is no reason to expect that Nelson’s appearances at Milwaukee’s Northern Lights Theater on October 26 and Joliet’s Rialto Square Theatre on November 1 will be any different.
10/27 - Matt Costa - Double Door - Chicago - 8:00 p
In spite of his best efforts — as well as the high-profile assistance he received from Jack Johnson and No Doubt’s Tom Dumont — Matt Costa has suffered the same fate of many young artists. Although his 2006 debut Songs We Sing proved that he is capable of stringing together a solid batch of material, there simply are so many singer/songwriters in circulation that it isn’t easy for someone of Costa’s ilk to differentiate himself from the pack. With his latest album Mobile Chateau, Costa is hoping to brush aside the indifference that greeted his sophomore collection Unfamiliar Faces. Building upon the Donovan-inspired tones that have always lined his output, Costa reinvested in ’60s psychedelia by borrowing heavily from the likes of The Zombies and 13th Floor Elevators. Hopefully, this playful energy will also surface during his appearance at Chicago’s Double Door on October 27.
10/30 - The Dandy Warhols - Vic Theatre - Chicago - 8:00 p
The Dandy Warhols emerged in a post-grunge world and proceeded to travel backward through time, picking up an odd assortment of followers along the way. Considering its moniker as well as its fondness for the Velvet Underground, it’s a given that at some point in time David Bowie would become a fan of the outfit. Yet, The Dandy Warhols also managed to pull Nick Rhodes, Mark Knopfler, Nile Rodgers, Evan Dando, and Mike Campbell into its orbit. The group spent the bulk of its career signed to Capitol Records. Nevertheless, as its creative juices — and more important, its commercial viability — evaporated, it was dropped from the label’s roster. The Capitol Years, 1995–2007 not only culls the best material from The Dandy Warhols’ uneven canon, but it also serves as the impetus for the ensemble’s latest tour, which will stop at Chicago’s Vic Theatre on October 30.
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