OLIVER LAKE 8/5, BELMONT HOTEL The supple-toned alto saxophonist from New York meets the Chicago rhythm section of bassist Harrison Bankhead, drummer Dushon Mosley, and pianist Ari Brown (the last better known as the saxophonist in the Ritual Trio). Lake, perhaps best known for his charter membership in the World Saxophone Quartet, is a spellbinding improviser and composer, his rich wellspring of ideas emanating from an R & B-drenched base. This is his first Chicago gig in years. JESUS LIZARD 8/5 & 8/6, LOUNGE AX Chicago stalwarts the Jesus Lizard perform in support of what is unquestionably their finest record, the brand-spankin'-new Down (Touch & Go). The new album finds them continuing to stratify their lumbering approach to sideways rock with ever-cleaner, more clearly articulated parts. Maniacal front man David Yow's sputtering rants go well beyond his usual porcine grunts to take varying forms, among them a downright appealing tunefulness that could almost be called singing. Guitarist Duane Denison displays a remarkably wide palette of sounds for someone whose band is pretty much responsible for the mass proliferation of ugly rock among antisocial oily-skinned boys. While the imitators keep stampeding, the Jesus Lizard are nonchalantly shifting course. JACKYL 8/6, WORLD The proudly dumb-ass hard rock on Jackyl's second album, Push Comes to Shove (Geffen), evokes washed-up 70s icons Kiss and Ted Nugent and the party-hard stupidity that accompanied them. But this Atlanta band distinguishes itself from the swelling packs of retro hard-rockers with its innovative use of a chain saw. As wild-child vocalist Jesse James Dupree exclaims, "You're goddamn right we put the chain saw on the second album. Using it...validates it as a true musical instrument." These pioneers open for Aerosmith. CHANTAY SAVAGE 8/6, WASHINGTON PARK Chicago-bred new-jack soulstress Chantay Savage performs material from her just-released debut Here We Go (RCA). Amid a flurry of beats and synth textures, Savage belts out mid- to slow-tempo ballady stuff rife with jazz-touched flourishes. It's not quite captivating or ground breaking, but the potential's certainly there. JIMMIE LEE ROBINSON 8/8, Chicago MUSIC MART, 8/11, HAROLD WASHINGTON LIBRARY Guitarist Jimmie Lee Robinson makes a couple of moderately rare appearances, both of them at lunchtime. On his recent Lonely Traveller (Delmark), the deliciously scrappy bluesman plays it authentically raw and stripped down. In the 50s he recorded and performed with the likes of Freddy King, Elmore James, and Little Walter, but most of the 70s and 80s found him driving a cab, so this is a welcome return even if some of his unburnished gems tend to plod a bit now and then. He'll be backed on Monday by 50s Chicago blues purists the Ice Cream Men, led by WBEZ expert blues/R & B/ gospel DJ Steve Cushing; Thursday he'll be interviewed by WLUP's Scott Dirks. DHAMBA 8 8/7, CHICAGO PEACE & MUSIC FESTIVAL, 8/9, VIC Dhamba 8's indistinctive blend of reggae and African pop is perfectly pleasant and even manages to hold down a pretty solid groove now and then. On their ambitious self-released second album, Peasants, Kings & Fools, the septet blunt the music's effect by chucking in too much of everything. But if you've got a light beer in your hand and just want to dance like a loon it'll work just fine. Tuesday they open for Youssou N'Dour. HELMET, SAUSAGE 8/11, ARAGON BALLROOM New York's Helmet are out touring in support of their recently released third album, Betty (Interscope). Their trademark sound--ridiculously terse, stiff, and flat "antimetal"--remains in effect, but now they've "expanded" into tedious, robotic, faux funk ("Biscuits for Smut") and hackneyed deconstructions of jazz standards ("Beautiful Love"), and descended further into supposedly melodic material ("Wilma's Rainbow"). Urban music for the suburbs. Proving there's no excess like success is Sausage, a trio led by Primus main man and bassist Les Claypool, further serving wank-off modern prog-rock fans with more of nothing. This lineup--with drummer Jay Lane and guitarist Todd Huth--was actually the original Primus, who used the name Sausage on their first demo tape. Though it still features Claypool's overly busy bass slapping and whiny nerd vocals, the attack is a bit more stripped down than that of Primus, but the same emphasis of technical precision and quantity of notes over quality sends them down like a sinking shit. Also on the bill is bodybuilder Hank Rollins.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/John Falls.