Snobs sometimes call a showman "crowd-pleasing" in order to praise with faint damnation, but in the case of Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) the adjective is simply a statement of fact: if you are in the crowd the British DJ's spinning for, he'll please you. But on his latest album, Palookaville (Astralwerks/Skint), he's so eager to make his message of good times accessible to everybody that his preferred source material is sometimes overly familiar. The album's two catchiest tracks are little more than glorified remixes of solid-gold moldies: "The Joker" slightly recasts the Steve Miller song with a Bootsy Collins vocal, and "Don't Let the Man Get You Down" whittles down the Five Man Electrical Band's "Signs" (if not the entire hippie ethos) to a single looped banality. Such occasional ham-fistedness aside, Palookaville is filled with easy-rolling if modest pleasures: Bay Area MC Lateef nimbly skipping across "Wonderful Night," an electro-Africana reworking of Babatunde Olatunji's "Jin-Go-Lo-Ba," and a dollop of domestic quietude lifted from Scottish singer-songwriters John and Beverley Martyn's "Primrose Hill" in "North West Three." But Palookaville is only a CD, and Cook's true forum is the DJ booth, from which he mercilessly bludgeons the dance floor into a state of ecstasy. Friday 11/12, 10:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $23 in advance, $26 day of show, 18+.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Timothy Saccenti.