Chicago Concert Preview
December 1-9, 2010
First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2010, Volume 17, #11
Written by John Metzger
Tue November 30, 2010, 06:30 AM CST
12/3 - Peter Mulvey - Schuba's - Chicago - 7:00 p
The rigors of the road make it difficult for musicians to live in a way that is healthy for both their bodies and the environment. Between the need for finding budget-friendly dining options and the carbon footprint left by tour buses, many performers temporarily are forced to set aside their preferred lifestyle choices in order to build a sustainable career. Wisconsin native Peter Mulvey has discovered a unique solution to the problem. An avid bicyclist, Mulvey frequently pedals from venue to venue. Along the way, he sheds a few pounds, saves some money, and avoids polluting the planet. Most likely, his journeys also provide him with an abundance of ideas from which to sculpt new material. Oddly enough, though, Letters from a Flying Machine — Mulvey’s latest effort — contains reflections on life that are threaded together via a series of letters he wrote on an airplane. Chicago’s early winters can make travel by bike a little challenging. Nevertheless, if the weather is good surrounding his show at Schuba’s on December 3, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for Mulvey to ride into town on two wheels instead of four.
12/3-4 - Dean and Britta Play Galaxie 500 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago - 10:00 p
Dean Wareham formed Galaxie 500 in 1987. Four years and three albums later, however, he abruptly jettisoned the project. Wareham didn’t take long to regroup, though, and in 1992, he resurfaced with Luna, an outfit that not only had a longer shelf-life than Galaxie 500 but also earned him a nationwide following. When the band’s original bass player Justin Harwood departed, Wareham brought Britta Phillips into the fold. Nevertheless, Luna arguably was on its last legs. Perhaps knowing this, Wareham and Phillips increasingly focused their attention on writing film scores and crafting solo efforts. Shortly after Luna’s demise, the duo married. In spite of the changes in personnel, Wareham’s output has been remarkably consistent, and the thread that binds it all together is his obsession with the Velvet Underground. Now that Galaxie 500’s catalogue is back on the market, Wareham and Phillips are returning to the music on which Wareham first explored New York City’s urban soundtrack. Their journey continues with a performance at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall on December 3 and 4.
12/4 - Roger McGuinn - Old Town School - Chicago - 8:00 p
Roger McGuinn is, perhaps, never happier than when he is standing on stage at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Although the venue is relatively new, the institution itself has a long and vibrant history. After all, this is the place where he first learned to perform many of the traditional folk songs that still fill his repertoire. Following the lead of Pete Seeger, McGuinn admirably has spent the past two decades preserving America’s musical heritage. Instead of resting on his laurels, he has been recording new versions of long-forgotten tunes. When he returns to the Old Town School on December 4, McGuinn not only will highlight the selections he has uncovered, but naturally, he also will provide a thorough overview of his output with The Byrds. Connected by commentary that provides insight into his own artistic development, McGuinn’s repertoire is always as educational as it is entertaining.
12/7 - Indigo Girls - House of Blues - Chicago - 8:00 p
With the release of its latest full-length endeavor Holly Happy Days in October, the Indigo Girls jumped with both feet into the lucrative market for holiday music. To support the affair, the duo has assembled a brief string of performances, including a concert at Chicago’s House of Blues on December 7. Over the course of the evening, the Indigo Girls not only will be supported by a full band, but the collective also will be joined by several special guests. Considering the festive nature of the show, fans can expect to hear a healthy dose of Holly Happy Days as well as key selections from the Indigo Girls’ back catalogue. Of course, this also would be the perfect opportunity for the group to revisit its immaculate rendition of Joni Mitchell’s River. This event is part of WXRT’s Holiday Concert Series, which raises money to provide needy children with toys and warm clothes.
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