Chicago / Milwaukee Concert Preview
April 12-21, 2011
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2011, Volume 18, #4
Written by John Metzger
Tue April 12, 2011, 06:30 AM CDT
4/12 - Rush - United Center - Chicago - 7:30 p
Rush is no stranger to taking its time in assembling albums of new material. Nevertheless, although four years have passed since the outfit cobbled together its 2007 set Snakes & Arrows, Rush has found a myriad of ways not only of maintaining, but also of bolstering its musical legacy. Last summer, the band embarked upon its Time Machine tour, which embeds a complete performance of its seminal set Moving Pictures within a song cycle that features a mixture of classic tracks (2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx, Closer to the Heart) and selections from its latest work-in-progress Clockwork Angels. On the heels of the release of the 30th anniversary edition of Moving Pictures — which presents the endeavor in surround sound — Rush will return to Chicago on April 12 for a one-night engagement at Chicago’s United Center.
4/13 - My Chemical Romance - Eagles Ballroom - Milwaukee - 7:30 p
4/15 - My Chemical Romance - Aragon Ballroom - Chicago - 8:30 p
My Chemical Romance’s 2006 effort The Black Parade was so successful that it established a set of expectations that the band couldn’t possibly meet. Exhausted from its lengthy tour to support the endeavor, My Chemical Romance went dormant as 2007 drew to a close. By the time the group reconvened in 2009, its members had suffered a heap of turmoil that left them questioning their future, so much so that their initial recording sessions with Brendan O’Brien were scrapped. In the end, the outfit shed its gloomy posturing, assumed an alter-ego, connected with producer Rob Cavallo, and filled its latest outing Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys with hard-driving, power-pop songs. When it performs at Milwaukee’s Eagles Ballroom on April 13 and Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom on April 15, My Chemical Romance won’t shy away from its early material, but the mood will be much lighter than the last time the ensemble was in town.
4/15 - John Wesley Harding - Lincoln Hall - Chicago - 7:00 p
John Wesley Harding is a folk artist at heart. For proof, fans need to look no further than the various collections of outtakes, demos, and live recordings that compose his Dynablob and Sings to a Small Guitar series. After all, these selections often sound more completely realized than his polished studio fare. Even so, Harding has also managed to line his canon with several power-pop gems, including his magnificent — and vastly underappreciated — 1998 endeavor Awake and last year’s Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, a collaboration with The Minus Five. He doesn’t visit Chicago nearly as often as he once did, and this time, instead of performing a pair of shows in the intimate confines of Schuba’s, Harding will settle into the more spacious environment of Lincoln Hall. Regardless, he’s such an engaging performer that he will make the room feel much smaller than it is.
4/15-16 - Jeff Tweedy - Vic Theatre - Chicago - 7:30 p
Jeff Tweedy’s solo performances once were rare events. Now that he has gained control over his anxieties, headaches, and addictions, however, Tweedy’s acoustic appearances are becoming an increasing part of his routine. Wilco fans would have reason to worry, save for the fact that Tweedy seems to be having a lot of fun wrestling with his stash of songs. On his own, he strips them to their barest essence; with Wilco, he repaints them with Technicolor flourishes. He long has been a supporter of the Youth Scholarship program, and his concerts at Chicago’s Vic Theatre on April 15 and April 16 are designed to raise funds for the charity. Over the course of each evening, Tweedy will tackle songs that span his career from his days with Uncle Tupelo to music from band’s latest set Wilco (The Album).
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