Raspberries | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The recent re-formation of Cleveland pop legends the Raspberries is the most unlikely concert event this side of the Pixies reunion last year--and, for those who regard power pop as a religion, a moment on par with the Second Coming. The group broke up in 1974, after a postshow fistfight between singer Eric Carmen and guitarist Wally Bryson in a Chicago parking lot; ever since, they've been unfairly deemed a lesser contemporary of the likes of Big Star and Badfinger. Their Tiger Beat good looks and early affinity for white leisure suits discouraged critics from taking them seriously; it didn't help that Carmen pursued solo success in the late 70s and 80s as a hairy-chested AOR god, or that Capitol was disinterested in keeping Raspberries albums in print in the U.S. Yet their music remains the gold standard for all power-pop bands: the group's epochal Who-Beach Boys pastiche "Go All the Way" is untoppable, but each of their four albums, recorded in a remarkable two-year burst between 1972 and 1974, is studded with exquisite highlights. The reunion was originally planned as a one-off hometown gig in November, but the success of the concert--which sold out in minutes--encouraged the group to consider a tour. (This'll be their first show outside Cleveland since.) Their set list leans heavily on the hits but also includes songs from the pre-Raspberries combo the Choir and some Beatles and Who chestnuts. The Drysdales open. Sat 1/15, 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212, $43.50 in advance, $46 day of show.

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