Rick Rizzo & Tara Key | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Rick Rizzo & Tara Key


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe



Guitarists Rick Rizzo and Tara Key formed a mutual admiration society back in the mid-80s, when their bands--Eleventh Dream Day and Antietam, respectively--ranked among the most incendiary live acts in the land. Key has augmented countless Eleventh Dream Day encores, as well as a track on the band's 1993 album, El Moodio (Atlantic), with her demolishing feedback; on EDD's last tour, in 1997, she filled in on second guitar. But while the news that she and Rizzo had decided to make a record together wasn't a surprise, the form their collaboration took definitely was. To make the new Dark Edson Tiger (Thrill Jockey) they traded tapes through the mail for almost nine months, and though they don't completely forsake the noise--"Low Post Movement in D" crackles with the extroverted, punk-meets-Crazy Horse energy of their onstage rave-ups--most of the album explores a far more atmospheric and carefully composed kind of music. On the opener, a big-sky fantasia called "Good Evening Mr. Peckinpah," a stately electric lead unfurls over strata of cello, synthesizer, and gently strummed acoustic guitar. The spacey "Farfisa Wail" and "Chasing Tails" are constructed from layers of keyboard and guitar loops, and "Missive" is over 11 minutes of swirling, dreamy ambient sound. However, reports from a recent New York show suggest that the duo will have a harder time restraining themselves live; they'll be backed by bassist Tim Harris (Key's husband, also of Antietam), guitarist Chris O'Rourke (of Sleepyhead), and drummer Peter Walsh (ex-Hypnolovewheel). Saturday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. Rizzo and Key play unaccompanied at a free in-store performance Sunday at 3:30 PM at Borders Books & Music, 830 N. Michigan; 312-573-0564.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tim Harris.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment