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Tue 11/20: Death Grips at Bottom Lounge
Miles Raymer remarks on the presence of male genitalia on the cover of Death Grips' recent album No Love Deep Web, which in combination with the band's abrasive and uncommercial noise-rap may have had something to do with the briefness of their relationship with a major label: "What Epic intended to do with an album as aggressive as Deep Web—which consists largely of frenetic front man Stefan Burnett shouting himself hoarse over ugly electronics and frenzied, zig-zagging drumming by underground art-rock hero Zach Hill—remains a mystery. But judging by the deafening buzz raised by the album and a string of vicious shows at CMJ directly after its leak, the boys will do just fine without them."
Tue 11/20: Werther at Civic Opera House
"Tenor Matthew Polenzani, a Wilmette native and Ryan Training Center alum, is outstanding in the desperate and vocally soaring title role," writes Deanna Issacs of Lyric Opera's new production of Jules Massenet's 19th-century French opera version of Goethe's 18th-century blockbuster novel The Sorrows of Young Werther. "And there are strong performances by soprano Sophie Koch as the object of his affection, Kiri Deonarine (a current member of the Ryan Training Center) as her sister, and Craig Verm as her hapless husband. But the production, directed by Francisco Negrin, with sets by Louis Désiré (coproduced by the San Francisco Opera) has them climbing a stairway to nowhere, sinking as if into manholes, and vying for attention with an incredibly clunky series of projections (including something that looks like a giant thermometer), registering, and making banal, the sturm und drang that's so exquisitely communicated by the music alone."