On Fillmore | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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On Fillmore


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Between them, percussionist Glenn Kotche and bassist Darin Gray cover a lot of ground. In the past year Kotche has played rock on Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and supper-club jazz with Fred Lonberg-Holm and Jason Roebke on A Valentine for Fred Katz (Atavistic), and he released a solo album full of dreamy electronic treatments of his drums and cymbals called Introducing (Locust/Quakebasket). Gray's solo record St. Louis Shuffle (Family Vineyard) consists mainly of buzzes and blurts achieved by plugging in and unplugging his bass, but his trio, Grand Ulena, plays aggressive, ass-clenchingly precise jazz rock on its upcoming debut, Gateway to Dignity (Family Vineyard). When the two men join forces as On Fillmore they limit themselves to exploring two phenomena--resonance and endurance. Kotche's layers of chimes, vibes, and pot lids enshroud the voluptuous groove laid down by his insistent cowbell and Gray's fat-toned acoustic bass on "Cave Crickets," the 13-minute opening suite from the duo's self-titled CD (Locust/Quakebasket). The percussionist plays some similarly radiant vibe figures on "Captive Audience," which earns its title by maintaining a holding pattern with such determination that it feels like a major event when after 12 minutes he modulates up one tone. But that's just a prologue for "Beautiful Funeral," a stately 19-minute dirge that's as exhausting as it is lovely. If you're reluctant to surrender, the album can be maddening; I was skeptical myself until I witnessed the duo's ferocious concentration live. Gray will also play piano with the Chicago-based Polish ensemble Rope; on their demo, featuring singer Grazyna Auguscik's space whispers, they sound like Laibach crossed with Gong. U.S. Maple guitarist Mark Shippy opens. Tuesday, November 26, 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.

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