Daevid Allen's University of Errors | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Daevid Allen's University of Errors




Daevid Allen has been around and around and around. Upon arriving in France from his native Australia, he collaborated with William Burroughs; not long after arriving in England from France, he cofounded Soft Machine. He was so far ahead of that game that he left before their first album, and in 1970, back in Paris, he started the art-rock collective Gong, whose early "Radio Gnome Invisible" trilogy still stands as a benchmark of inspired psychedelic excess. Now 62, he's apparently as happy as ever to get dizzy. A couple years ago the songwriter and guitarist teamed up with members of the Bay Area band Mushroom to form the University of Errors, and the infusion of blood young enough to have been influenced by Wire, Gang of Four, and My Bloody Valentine proves very, very invigorating. A good reference point for grokking their forthcoming second release, E2x10=Tenure, is old cohort Kevin Ayers, who in the 70s released a string of exquisite albums that teetered thrillingly between genteel whimsy and mugging menace. Allen and his young friends up the ante, erupting out of the crumpets-and-'shrooms school of psychedelia into real acid savagery. "Iced Tea Overture" juxtaposes a searing guitar freakout with the cheesiest rhythm track ever, "Ocean Mother" is a cyclical grind whose cumulative effect is Lovecraftian shudders, "Pinky Psycho's Party Song" is tinny barrelhouse art-punk, and "Innesfree" is a delirious campy rendering of Yeats's best-known poem that builds to a horrifying, gibbering climax. Live they're reportedly even more entrancing, and generally Allen draws from as many of the periods of his variegated career as he can whenever he's onstage. They're currently shopping for a label for this wonderful album; for the time being it's available at shows or through the band's Web site, www.universityoferrors.com. Saturday, 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.


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