Eels | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Eels front man Mark Oliver Everett, who goes by E, is a depressive's depressive. On his 1998 masterpiece, Electro-Shock Blues, he dealt head-on with the deaths of his parents and his sister's suicide and seemed a likely suspect to join the dour party of eloquent sorrow that Nick Drake, Ian Curtis, and Elliott Smith are no doubt throwing somewhere. But on Blinking Lights and Other Revelations (Vagrant), the Eels' sixth studio disc, I hear a tenacious survivor; E's obsessively listing the things that make his life hell, sure, but he's also keeping track of all the things that make it worthwhile. The 33 songs on the album are for the most part simple and short, practically naked except for strategically placed ribbons of piano and strings, but they never sound insubstantial, and E's stinging lines of hard-won wisdom accumulate potency through the album. By the time he sings "If I had to do it all again / Well, it's something I'd like to do" on the closer, "Things the Grandchildren Should Know," you not only believe him wholeheartedly, you want to stand up and applaud. Wed 6/22, 7:30 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 773-929-5959 or 312-559-1212, $23.50. All ages.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →