Prichard | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

I've always thought that in a more perfect world Prichard would be king. But this is their first show after a hiatus of nearly eight years, so if that's in the cards, they're getting an awfully slow start. The words "power trio" take on new meaning here--not because the unholy maelstrom the band whipped up onstage didn't fit the description, but because questions of social and economic power (or more often powerlessness) were at the center of their ethos. During Prichard's heyday in the late 90s, singer-guitarist Neil Hoying (also of Star Vehicle) worked with disadvantaged youth, breaking his knuckles against the West Town machine. His experiences wrangling with gangbangers and bumping heads with ward operatives lent authority to his delivery of the band's Situationist-inspired lyrics, written by drummer Mike Bulington (also of Clyde Federal, Grimble Grumble, and tonight's headliners, Mr. Rudy Day). Six foot seven, frequently shirtless and clad in overalls, Bulington manhandled the drums like he was driving a tractor up the side of a barn, and his words provided an outlet for the band's blue-collar social conscience, embodied in the everyman character Prichard, who navigated an existential universe in songs like "Prichard's Lament" and "Prichard's Crossroads." And violinist Seamus Harmey, raised in Dublin and educated at Trinity College, pumped the narratives full of vigorous soul with his jagged, atonal Celtic-modernist fiddle and guitar, abetted by truckloads of wattage. He's moving back to Dublin soon, so Prichard won't be playing many more gigs, if any, but they're shopping a slew of old recordings--they only put out two singles during their lifetime. Full disclosure: I engineered some of those recordings, back in the summer of '96; they can be heard online at a blog I contribute to: a 9 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433 or 866-468-3401, $8.

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