Miss Alex White & the Red Orchestra | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Miss Alex White & the Red Orchestra


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Fake IDs are for chump kids with shitty bands. Twenty-year-old singer and guitarist Miss Alex White--already a veteran of five different groups, including the Hot Machines, a three-piece with Jered Gummere of the Ponys and Matt Williams of the Baseball Furies--has been carving her name on the walls of local clubs for years. In mid-2004 she released a 12-inch on In the Red that captured a primal, guttural live show at the Double Door, her last with drummer Chris Saathoff (aka Chris Playboy), who'd been killed in a hit-and-run accident that February. (The driver, William Giraldo, pleaded guilty in August to aggravated DUI and was sentenced to seven years.) Then this summer In the Red put out her full-length debut, Miss Alex White and the Red Orchestra, a ballistic set where she's backed by two former Clone Defects, guitarist Wes Kerstens and drummer Eddie Altesleben. (The live band now includes bassist Eric Villa from the Murder City Wrecks.) White's never been big on restraint, and on the new record she adds more depth to her feral, overwhelming singing and channels at least as much force through her guitar as she does her voice--for the first time they don't sound like they're taking turns overshadowing each other. On songs like "Cut in 3 Pieces" and "Picture My Face" (a Teenage Head cover) she's got a battered, hard-won soul that would sound just fine at any volume level--that is, assuming she ever gets interested in any of the numbers below 11. This is a belated release party for the Red Orchestra disc, celebrating the fact that the band finally has both CD and vinyl copies on hand. Opening the show is Sleep Out, a local band with guitarist Quinn Goodwillie of Mt. St. Helens and Kleenex Girl Wonder, and playing second is the new Detroit combo SSM--keyboardist John Szymanski from the Hentchmen, drummer Dave Shettler from the Sights, and guitarist Marty Morris from the Cyril Lords. Wed 11/23, 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8 in advance, $10 at the door, 18+.

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