Live, Matthew Sweet leaves the crisp sound separation of his albums behind for sloppy guitar bashing. As an homage to Time Fades Away-era Neil Young and "Helter Skelter"-y hard rock, it works; as a concert experience, however, it can be a little trying--especially when Sweet's voice gets buried under a mix that can't accommodate the volume of his guitar, as has invariably occurred in his recent local appearances. If his sound person can get it together to make the noise pleasurable for the thousands gathered to hear XRT's impeccably programmed free Fourth of July concert it should be fabulous: his band includes gun for hire Richard Lloyd, Tony Marsico (late of the Cruzados), and onetime dBs drummer Will Rigby. Opener belly is ex-Breeder Tanya Donelly's solo outing; the debut Star is sparked by the roaring, inscrutable "Feed the Tree." The Jayhawks are the unadorned country-rock outfit from Minneapolis whose Hollywood Town Hall last year created crisp new-country song settings for Mark Olson and Gary Louris's yearning compositions. The band rocks live, however: they're perfect to hear while lazing in a park on a summer day. Sunday, 3 PM, Petrillo Music Shell, Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson; 744-3315 or 744-3370.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/E.J. Camp, Deborah Feingold, Paul Natkin.