When: Sat., July 9, 8 p.m. 2016
Since 2010 the Rockford, Illinois, power-pop giants of Cheap Trick have been without their heart and soul. Thanks to an exhausting series of feuds and lawsuits, founding drummer Bun E. Carlos has been absent from the band’s live lineup, leaving guitarist Rick Nielsen’s son Daxx to man the drum throne. And while Daxx has the right name, what he doesn’t have is Carlos’s hallmark lumbering groove, snappy swing, and clean, round tom-tom fills. Carlos has kept busy with different projects over the past few years—laying down his signature snare-drum crack in the process—and he just released a covers record that includes 11 classics sung by a colorful cast of characters. Popping up on the new Greetings From Bunezuela! (Entertainment One) are Alejandro Escovedo singing “Tell Me” by the Rolling Stones, Eleventh Dream Day guitarist Rick Rizzo taking on “I Can Only Give You Everything” by Them, and faintly remembered boy band Hanson doing a rendition of “Him or Me” by Paul Revere & the Raiders. The record’s only original track is its opening and best number, “Do Something Real,” written by indie-rock royalty Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices. Himself a student of the Cheap Trick school of the pop hook, Pollard plays and sings on the track, and when its dissonant guitars envelop its buttery chorus, it sounds like Guided by Voices and Cheap Trick have had a beautiful baby. Tonight Carlos’s band will be fronted by several of Bunezuela!’s guests, including Rizzo, Nicholas Tremulis, Derek Brand, and some guy named “Xeno” who fronted Cheap Trick way back before Robin Zander.