Chicago / Milwaukee Concert Preview
January 18-31, 2011
First Appeared in The Music Box, January 2011, Volume 18, #1
Written by John Metzger
Fri January 14, 2011, 06:30 AM CST
1/18 - Charlie Hunter - S.P.A.C.E. - Evanston - 8:00 p
Although he is no stranger to recording albums live in the studio, Charlie Hunter went a step further while crafting his latest full-band set Gentlemen, I Neglected to Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid. Turning to a decidedly old-school approach, Hunter used analog equipment from the 1950s to capture the music that can be heard on the endeavor. Everything on the outing is presented exactly as it occurred, without mixing or overdubs. Hunter won’t have his new horn section in tow when he performs at Evanston’s S.P.A.C.E. on January 18. Nevertheless, backed simply by drummer Eric Kalb, Hunter will deliver an evening filled with propulsive rhythms and freewheeling improvisational grooves.
1/21 - Liz Phair - Turner Hall Ballroom - Milwaukee - 8:00 p
1/22 - Liz Phair - Metro - Chicago - 8:00 p
When it signed Liz Phair to a recording contract, ATO Records likely thought that it was going to get the mainstream pop star that had concocted Somebody’s Miracle in 2005. Perhaps the company also hoped that she might return to the lo-fi indie rock of her breakthrough effort Exile in Guyville. Phair didn’t follow either path, and rather than authorize the release of any new material, ATO decided simply to wait her out. Eventually, Phair and ATO agreed to disagree by terminating their relationship. Phair eventually opted to issue her latest set Funstyle independently, and it immediately is easy to see why ATO had a problem with it. Refusing to be predictable, Phair dabbles in rap (Bollywood) and distorts her voice (Smoke) while weaving bilious yet humorous stories about entertainment industry executives and suburban housewives. Even so, Funstyle is mediocre at best. Fortunately, fans will only have to endure a few songs from Phair’s new album when she performs at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Ballroom on January 21 and Chicago’s Metro on January 22. The rest of her set will feature an abundance of old favorites, such as Supernova, Polyester Bride, Nashville, and Flower.
1/27-28 - The Jayhawks - Vic Theatre - Chicago - 8:00 p
At long last, The Jayhawks’ classic efforts Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass were remastered and reissued by Sony Legacy on January 18. The latter set, in particular, was padded with an abundance of previously unreleased bonus material. This probably would have been enough to justify The Jayhawks brief reunion tour, which stops at Chicago’s Vic Theatre for two shows on January 27 and January 28. In December, however, The Jayhawks gave its longtime fans something that made them even happier: The outfit announced that it had begun to assemble a brand new record. The effort will mark the first full-fledged collaboration between Gary Louris and Mark Olson in fifteen years. Initial plans called for the outing to be completed before the end of last year, so it’s highly likely that at least a few of The Jayhawks’ latest crop of songs will debut at these concerts.
1/29 - Guster - Riviera Theatre - Chicago - 7:30 p
Guster fans have been complaining of late about the absurdly high surcharges that typically are added to the price of a ticket, making the final cost much higher than the purported face value. In Chicago, the band’s devoted followers also have been squawking about the fact that it has been a long time since the outfit has performed a full-fledged concert in the region. With one fell swoop, Guster has corrected both wrongs. As part of its winter trek across the country in support of its latest effort Easy Wonderful, the group will visit the Riviera Theatre on January 29. To avoid paying excessive fees, however, those wanting to attend the performance will have to score their ducats at the Vic Theatre’s box office. Still, it could be a worthwhile sojourn for some, considering that a quick ride on the El could lower the bill by 25 percent.
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