Guitarist Michael Hill, who hails from the South Bronx, is attempting to do with the blues what fellow New Yorker Gil Scott-Heron has done with funk-jazz: retain a spirit of celebration while sending out serious messages of liberation and warning. Hill's lyrics portray a world that's far from the juke-joint revelry of most blues. Urban decay, unjust wars where young men of color die for white men's money, inner-city violence, and racial unrest fill the songs with anguished outrage that finds its musical expression in a relentless sonic onslaught--the Mob sprays you with notes the way a guerrilla army would spray you with bullets. But this is no exercise in dour PC agitprop: these guys love life as passionately as they hate injustice, and it shows in the joy they take in improvisation, as well as in the moments of tenderness, both musical and thematic, that they intersperse into the bone-shattering intensity. Not for the faint of heart but definitely for the hopeful, Hill and company scream their truths like modern-day urban prophets--inviting us to listen and daring us to ignore. Friday, 9 PM, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-0333 or 427-1190.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Ebet Roberts.