Two years ago Jeremy Enigk, front man for the Seattle emo-core band Sunny Day Real Estate, hit spiritual rock bottom, locked himself into a room for a month, and emerged a born-again Christian; shortly thereafter he left SDRE, effectively breaking up the band. The rhythm section joined Dave Grohl's Foo Fighters, and Enigk, after struggling with whether it was still OK to be a rock musician, recorded his solo debut, last year's lush, psychedelic, decidedly un-grungy Return of the Frog Queen. Contemporary classical composer Mark Nichols helped Enigk communicate his vision to a 21-piece orchestra, and the resulting mix of pop and pomp recalls the latter-day Beatles. The brass and strings are augmented by bells and whistles like glockenspiel, harp, and calliope, while Enigk's fragile voice, alternately hopeful and despairing, brings to mind Nick Drake or Syd Barrett without sounding pretentious or forced. Rather, his mysterious (but not overtly Christian or even religious) lyrics really do come across as heartfelt. For this show he'll be backed by an 11-piece orchestra; Plastics Hi-Fi opens and Red Red Meat closes. Friday, 10 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203. CARA JEPSEN
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Charles Peterson.