Silos | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Silos mainstay Walter Salas-Humara has been at it now for more than 15 years--and he seems to have packed everything he's learned in that time onto his current trio's most recent album, Laser Beam Next Door (Checkered Past). The 11 songs were distilled over a couple years of touring, during which bassist Drew Glackin and drummer Konrad Meissner seem to have removed every single extraneous note. Glackin is the primary melodic voice, his nimble, rollicking lines serving as sturdy girders for the leader's scrappy minimalist guitar parts. The lyrics are also stripped-down, but they don't benefit as much as the phrasing from it: they're yet another batch of lost-in-love stories, many of which feature the narrator getting tough with the target of his affection only after she's already ditched him. "You left me behind / I'll see you someday soon / I'll see you when the sun refuses to shine," he sings on "Drunken Moon." But sometimes it's not what you say, it's how you say it. Occasionally the trio still reveals its old predilection for twang, but a new Stones-like swagger dominates, and it suits Salas-Humara's dusky, laconic voice particularly well. On the conga-enhanced groove "Satisfied"--which owes a big debt to "Sympathy for the Devil"--and the bottom-heavy, booty-shaking "Wooky Do," he makes masterful use of his limited range, each subtle syllabic twist hitting like a ton of bricks. Friday, November 2, 10:30 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.

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