Bevis Frond | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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BEVIS FROND

Nick Saloman, who for most intents and purposes is the Bevis Frond, is single-handedly keeping aloft the torch of first-wave psychedelic rock. As a teenager in the 60s, he played in a group called the Bevis Frond Museum, but he didn't release any records under the name until Miasma in 1986. Since then, though, 15 studio albums--some of them doubles--have poured out of him, full of songs untouched by post-1972 musical developments but too graceful and serious to be period pieces. Saloman is an extraordinary guitarist who writes mostly in the house styles of the old Fillmore West: the ultraheavy guitar odyssey, the extended hippie groove plus solo, the taut, lacy acoustic strummer. But he's not oblivious to the tentacles of his chosen form: he's also the publisher of the zine Ptolemaic Terrascope, which has assembled three well-regarded festivals of modern psychedelia. The Bevis Frond's set was the climax and highlight of Terrastock II, held last year in San Francisco: in the center of a glorious light show, Saloman commanded the stage like the rock god he might have been if timing and luck had conspired a little more efficiently. The forthcoming Live at the Great American Music Hall (out this Tuesday on Flydaddy) was recorded on the same trip; after all these years, it'll be good to have a document of the band's live power. For this tour, the Frond will be a trio, with sometime Hawkwind bassist Adrian Shaw and Silver Apples drummer Joe Popetier. Mary Lou Lord, also on the bill, is a major Bevis Frond fan--Saloman wrote or cowrote more than half of her 1998 album Got No Shadow. Sean Na Na (who's releasing a split CD-EP in November with Lord) and Texas space rockers Seven Percent Solution open. Thursday, October 14, 9 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. DOUGLAS WOLK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Charles Peterson.

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