Replacements, Smoking Popes | Riviera Theatre | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Replacements, Smoking Popes 18+ Agenda Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Sold Out (Music) Soundboard Image

When: Wed., April 29, 8 p.m. and Thu., April 30, 8 p.m. 2015

Formed in the late 70s by four ragtag Minneapolis teens, the Replacements quickly evolved from a drunken mess of a basement punk band into a hugely influential alt-rock pioneer. Maybe best heard on their definitive third album, 1984’s Let it Be, the throaty, heartfelt croon of leader Paul Westerberg softens the edges of the band’s punk-rock anthems and is expertly complemented by the work of the Stinson brothers. Tommy’s groovy, swooping bass lines form the loose backbone of the beer-soaked ballads, while the elder Bob plays the band’s secret weapon, his sharp, unpredictable guitar leads adding a sense of excitement and beauty. The Replacements made even more of a name for themselves during live performances, as their alcohol consumption often got more attention than the songs themselves (they were banned from Saturday Night Live in 1986 after drunkenly stumbling onstage in dresses and dropping F-bombs into the mikes). By the time 1987’s Pleased to Meet Me came out, Bob Stinson had exited, and with him went most of the Replacements’ punk hardness. A serious departure for the band, that album dives into a mix of radio-ready pop-rock singles (“Alex Chilton”), bluesy and horn-soaked jams (“Can’t Hardly Wait”), and jazzy lounge music (“Nightclub Jitters”). When the band called it a day in 1991, Tommy and Westerburg were the only remaining original members; the front man went on to a prolific and highly regarded solo career, while Tommy picked up a hilarious gig as the bass player for Guns N’ Roses. The reunion circuit called in 2012, and the two joined forces for a handful of huge summer festivals. Tragedy has kept most of the original members out of the reunited lineup: Bob and late-era drummer Steve Foley both passed away due to drug- and alcohol-related complications, and the former’s replacement, Slim Dunlap, suffered a stoke a handful of years ago. Session drummer extraordinaire Josh Freese and guitarist and longtime friend of the band Dave Minehan have come aboard to pick up the slack, and the reception has been overwhelmingly positive—reports from Riot Fest in 2013 detailed a sea of middle-aged men breaking down in tears of joy as the band took the stage. —Luca Cimarusti

Price: sold out

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