Calla, Celebration | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Celebration singer Katrina Ford might sound familiar because of her guest appearance on TV on the Radio's dance-floor hit "Staring at the Sun" (though her anodyne girl vox are often misattributed to Karen O). While Celebration's connection to TVOTR is being used as the primary selling point for their debut record on 4AD (the press materials repeatedly mention that David Sitek produced the record and that every other member of his group makes a guest appearance), the band's material is more than capable of standing up on its own. Ford and longtime collaborator/multi-instrumental powerhouse Sean Antanaitis were previously the nucleus of coffin-core faves Jaks and Love Life, and while Celebration doesn't pack the blunt punch those bands could, it's still adequately spooky: fun-house organ, funereal pacing, guitar parts with tremolo and delay calling to the beyond, and Ford purring and howling in a mannish register; imagine Nick Cave as a wicked femme. It's grown-up goth: dark and classy. BYO blood caps. --Jessica Hopper

CALLA have been drifting in a more song-oriented direction ever since their 1999 Sub Rosa debut, but the move away from their early maelstrom was so gradual it was almost like they didn't want anyone to notice. On their fourth album, Collisions (Beggars Banquet), they take a bigger step--and blow it. The thick and shimmering guitars reflect a shoegazer sensibility that's too dour for pop and too flat-footed for art. But there are still a few smoky, droning passages that sneak up on you, like a snake slinking down a tree trying not to scare the bird it's about to eat. --Monica Kendrick

Calla headlines, Celebration plays second, and Boxstep opens. Sun 10/30, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $10.

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

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