Spot Check | Spot Check | Chicago Reader

Music » Spot Check

Spot Check

by

comment

ETERNALS 6/11, EMPTY BOTTLE This local trio--Wayne Montana on bass, melodica, and keyboards; his former Trenchmouth bandmate Damon Locks on vocals and more keys; and Dan Fliegel, who most recently displayed his skill with exotic rhythms in Tom Ze's backup band, on drums--has just released its first record, a three-song 12-inch called Chapter and Verse (Thrill Jockey). Thanks to mixers Casey Rice and John McEntire, the recordings are somewhat trippier (dubbier?) than the live show, which over the past year has nonetheless spun heads and shaken booties (including Locks's own--his onstage boogie outbursts are a crowd pleaser) in increasing numbers. The Eternals' cerebral, layered, heavily percussive electronic funk, which lifts lightly from sources like Fela, Augustus Pablo, and Curtis Mayfield, should provide a strange complement to the rest of the bill, which is decidedly punk rock: Nerves, whose second album on Thrill Jockey is forthcoming, headline; the Dishes open. NEW MUSIC SOUTHPORT 6/11, CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER The 23-year-old local jazz label Southport has a hit-or-miss roster but a relentless can-do spirit--and what it really can do is put together a festival. The sixth annual edition of the Southport Festival, which started Tuesday, includes nightly gigs at Pops for Champagne (see Neil Tesser's Critic's Choice for Elijah Levi, who caps it off on Saturday) and a broadcast on WNUR, as well as this bill of label vets at the Cultural Center: it includes performances by vocalist April Aloisio with guitarist Fareed Haque; flutist Michael Mason with bassist Harrison Bankhead; bassist Tatsu Aoki; and vocalist Joanie Pallatto with soul-jazz guitarist George Freeman, among others. How they're going to cram ten sets into the paltry two hours allotted for this early afternoon show is a bit of a mystery--but if things get a little dull, it won't be for long. TENACIOUS D 6/13, HOUSE OF BLUES This musical-comedy duo, who debuted in the justly forgotten 1996 movie Bio-Dome, has parlayed some ten-minute skits for the HBO renegade comedy series Mr. Show With Bob and David into a weekly HBO spot of its own. Jack Black (whose acting resumé also includes The X-Files series, The Cable Guy, Mars Attacks!, and a local production in progress of Nick Hornby's boy-man chronicle High Fidelity) and partner Kyle Gass do for sensitive folk rock what Spinal Tap did for metal, and just in time. I was starting to suspect that it's a much more banal and humorless genre than metal ever was--I mean, even the lamest metal band writes about something besides the singer's belly button once in a while, even if that just means ripping off the latest sword-and-sorcery novel they've skimmed for the gory/dirty parts. Tenacious D invokes Apocalypse Now and Hammer of the Gods, Satan and Sasquatch, and more than a pinch of Wayne's World in the course of skewering it good. The duo headlines over two Drag City acts--slightly too slack motherfuckers Chestnut Station and Papa M, aka David Pajo. BLOQUE 6/16, DOUBLE DOOR The 1998 Luaka Bop debut from this eight-piece Colombian band had lots of folks slavering over the possibility of a true rock-en-español crossover, one that would pierce the xenophobia of English-language pop radio and spew fierce Latin rhythms and steamy psychedelic funk all over the lily-white heartland. That would be nice, but apparently the record, for all its joyous density, righteous rage, and infectious charm, is still too, well, espanol. Those who've managed to hear Bloque anyway take note: they're supposed to be even better live. DIRTY OLD MAN RIVER 6/17, LOUNGE AX Fronted by Drunk Tank veteran Julian Mills, this local quartet finds its one note--grim, brooding roots gothic--and hovers there, counting on the buildup of spurts, hisses, and whines from bass, piano, and prepared guitar to maintain the intrigue. It induces the creepy sensation of being trapped on a dark country road as a supernaturally long train crosses, altering your perception of time and making the slightest rustle seem sinister. On the band's 1997 debut, the dark ax atmospherics were provided by lone-wolf Chicago improviser Kevin Drumm; on its latest, The Saddest Movie Screen (Radial), his shoes are filled by Ben Miller, a vet of Detroit punk legends Destroy All Monsters and the brother of Mission of Burma's Roger Miller. TOGETHER AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME 6/17, HEARTLAND CAFE Quick--somebody call Tenacious D. According to the PR the promoter of this acoustic series, Vincent Mulvihill, went trolling on the Internet for "artists with little or no common thread." But the demo tape he sent me of several of the artists he's found reveals one giant, unfortunate commonality: true-confession-style folk pop that stands out only when it's extra annoying (like Chris Parsley's sympathy-seeking whine about personal ads). The dubious exception is Mulvihill himself, who under the name Vincent Truman is also front man for the not entirely acoustic band Rhumbox Hill. Truman does a terrifyingly precise imitation of Lou Reed circa 1986, and his scatological "Puppeteer" is as mean and funny as anything Reed himself has done since 1983 or so--and yes, that's damning him with faint praise. --Monica Kendrick

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Juan Mauel Garcia Torres.

Add a comment