Noah & the Whale, Ferraby Lionheart, Anni Rossi | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Noah & the Whale, Ferraby Lionheart, Anni Rossi Recommended Member Picks Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Sat., April 25, 10 p.m. 2009

Violist and singer Anni Rossi knocked me out last fall with her Afton EP, and her recent full-length, Rockwell (4AD), is even better. Rossi’s memorable songs have a bewitching flavor distilled from country, soul, and folk, and rather than abiding by symmetrical, predictable structures, they seem to simply go where they’re pointed, following their own idiosyncratic imperatives. On the EP she generally fleshed out her arrangements with a small combo drawn from a larger pool of players, but on Rockwell she’s accompanied only by drummer Devin Maxwell (and, on three tracks, cellist Caroline Burdette). This bare-bones instrumentation not only gives her more freedom to range about but also lends an intimate clarity to the dazzling variety of sounds she extracts from her viola—from guitarlike pizzicato grooves to harmonic scrapes, alternately dissonant and resonant. My only problem with Afton was her self-indulgent vocals—the outsize swoops, theatrical flutters, and jarring leaps felt purely ornamental rather than expressive—but she’s now curbed that excess and focuses mainly on shaping her exquisite little melodies. Noah & the Whale headline; Ferraby Lionheart and Rossi open. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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