Eleventh Dream Day, 1900s | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Eleventh Dream Day, 1900s Member Picks Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Fri., April 22, 9 p.m. 2011

Eleventh Dream Day cut the new Riot Now! (Thrill Jockey), their first album in five years, in a single day, and its raw, rugged sound recalls the midnight-hour immediacy of their 1988 debut LP, Prairie School Freakout. Douglas McCombs's bass playing and Janet Bean's drumming are much more precise now than they were back then, but front man Rick Rizzo provides a perfect counterbalance with his guitar—despite the eloquence that his playing has developed over the years, at its heart it's still post-Neil Young gutbucket. His creaky guitar noise gets a dose of almost angelic grace, though, from harmony vocals by Bean and guest Sally Timms. Rizzo is smarter and wiser than he was in the late 80s, if no less cynical, and the new album meditates soberly on the helplessness so many Americans feel as they lose faith that the country's democratic system will ever include their voices. He wants to shake up the complacent (on "Sonic Reactor" he shouts, "Riot, riot now!"), but feelings of futility or weary resignation generally win out ("Free fall is the best / It's when you can rest," he sings on the sweetly melancholy "That's What's Coming"). Even the glint of optimism on "Divining for Water" is hardly encouraging: "What's left behind / Might be enough / But it's going to take a whole lot more than luck." There is something hopeful about the record, though, and it's the fact that Eleventh Dream Day have held onto their love for playing for nearly three decades—listen to Riot Now! and you can feel it yourself. As usual Eleventh Dream Day is joined by keyboardist Mark Greenberg, who's become a more or less permanent member; the 1900s open. —Peter Margasak

Price: $14, $12 in advance

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