Chris Ligon All Ages Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sat., Aug. 6, 8 p.m. 2016

Chris Ligon is hilariously odd in a way that can’t be faked. The gangly singer-songwriter has a sublime talent and an innate inability to write tunes that hew to conventional country or pop molds, but he forever tosses in bizarre non sequiturs and casually fractures song forms without a second thought. Beloved Chicago roots-pop combo the Flat Five have been working on an album of his songs for several years, which ought to get him some of the attention he deserves. In the meantime, after dropping a couple of great band albums for Clang!, the label owned and operated by NRBQ keyboardist Terry Adams, Ligon returns to the low-key solo mode he’s worked in for most of his wayward career. His new Outa the Can (Weenie Arm) features him on a Baldwin Fun Machine—a cheap electric organ manufactured in 1974 that produces tacky drum-machine presets and synthesized sounds like the fake flamenco guitar on “Mexican Wedding”—but the lo-fi production doesn’t detract from the hookiness of a tune like the instrumental “Look at Me Now,” which has a kind of off-kilter funk vibe a la Marvin Gaye’s “Gotta Give It Up.” The title track imagines the narrator far out at sea with Popeye, Olive Oyl, Swee’Pea, and Bluto as they all seem to be giving one another STDs, while on “The World Missed Out” Ligon recounts how the world has overlooked his peculiar genius since childhood (“I was a Hot Track-chewin’ little dude / But the world missed out on me”). This CD release show will be preceded from 6 till 8 PM by an exhibit of his photographs and drawings by his wife, cartoonist Heather McAdams, as well as an assortment of 16mm films from the couple’s eclectic collection.

Peter Margasak

Price: $15 suggested donation

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