Michael McDermott | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Michael McDermott Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Fri., Dec. 17, 7 & 10 p.m. 2010

Chicago singer-songwriter Michael McDermott has been such a steady presence for the past 20 years that it's not hard to take him for granted. But whenever I hear a new album from him, I kick myself for my laziness, because the man can sure raise goose bumps. On last year's Hey La Hey (Oarfin), he used his knack for wordplay—which has made a fan of Stephen King, who in 1996 wrote the liner notes to McDermott's self-titled third album—to weave together his family history and his intellectual but deeply felt Catholicism. There's something sepia-toned and eerie about McDermott's work, but it's tempered by a hopefulness that only veers into sentimentality at the right moments. He performs twice tonight: at 7 PM he plays solo, basing his set list on online requests (given the size of his discography, there's a lot of room for surprises), and at 10 PM he's accompanied by a full band for a set of his own choosing. Julia Klee opens the early show and Musikanto opens the late one. —Monica Kendrick

Price: $15, $12 in advance

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