IKE REILLY ASSASSINATION | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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I've been interested in most anything Ike Reilly attaches his name to since I first heard his 2001 debut, Salesmen and Racists, an album that took the much-practiced and little-mastered tradition of rootsy songwriter rock and rendered it lupine and hungry again. On the new We Belong to the Staggering Evening (Rock Ridge), his third full-length with the Assassination, Reilly is again in great form, conjuring the hair-raising agoraphobic terror of the heartland's wide-open spaces (the blues-noir instrumental "Bugsy Salcido Has Fled the Desert") and tackling the unfair fairness of love and war with an affable cynicism (the angrily resigned "It's Hard to Make Love to an American"). On boozy, smoky ballads like "Charcoal Days and Sterling Nights" and short, pungent numbers like "The Nighttime Is a Liar," he sounds a bit like Faces-era Rod Stewart; thankfully, it's hard to imagine Reilly mangling standards and settling into middle age as an adult-contemporary hack. The Gwalla Gwallas open. a 8 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $18, 18+.

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