Neil Hamburger, Alvarius B, Junior Stopka | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Neil Hamburger, Alvarius B, Junior Stopka Member Picks Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sat., June 21, 10 p.m. 2014

Alan Bishop of Sun City Girls has performed solo as Alvarius B since the mid-90s, combining gnarled improvisation with splinter-under-the-fingernail humor. In 2007 the death of his SCG bandmate Charles Gocher put an end to that group, and since then Bishop’s solo output has experienced a slight uptick; several records of early guitar material have also been reissued. For Record Store Day this year, Three Lobed released If You Don’t Like It . . . Don’t, a split with his more prolific brother, Richard, where Bishop showcased his terse, aggressive approach to the acoustic guitar—with splintered licks, dissonant harmonies, jagged melodies, and a furious rhythmic drive, he creates a persistently unsettled, acrid vibe. As in Sun City Girls, he seems determined to rouse his listeners from complacency and mediocrity, even if that means making them uncomfortable. For this rare Chicago performance, Bishop will focus on singer-songwriter material, or at least as close as he gets to it. He reveals that side of himself on 2011’s Baroque Primitiva (Abduction), which sprinkles a handful of originals amid inventive interpretations of Ennio Morricone film music, the James Bond theme “You Only Live Twice,” and the Beach Boys classic “God Only Knows” (reimagined as “God Only Be Without You,” it ends up as a raga). Bishop employs overdubbing and enlists the help of Eyvind Kang (on viola, bass, drums, guitar, and piano) to create lush, dark arrangements with an accessible pop feel that was only ever fleetingly evident in Sun City Girls. Of course, “accessible” doesn’t exactly mean “friendly”: in “Humor Police” he spits, “Caller ID got a hold of me, sawed off my index finger / Now I dial the telephone with the tip of my tongue / And jam my thumb up their ass, let them know that I’m number one.” —Peter Margasak

Price: $18

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