Starlicker | Hideout | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Starlicker Soundboard

When: Wed., July 27, 9 p.m. 2011

The first time I saw Starlicker—the trio of cornetist Rob Mazurek, drummer John Herndon, and vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz—it looked like all they wanted to do was blow down the walls of the Hideout. For two full sets the group sustained an awe-inspiring level of energy, but the relentless volume isn’t simply an end unto itself; Starlicker’s recent debut, Double Demon (Delmark), makes it abundantly clear that these guys play hard in order to saturate the sonic palette with dense, ringing overtones, so that the music’s melodic and rhythmic details seem to dance around inside the din that’s filling your ears. The album consists of six Mazurek originals, which he based on melodic kernels that emerged during free improvisation, and the composed material guides and shapes the band’s furious swells. Starlicker occasionally uses conventional soloing, but its default mode is to think and move as a unit, with the members all girding, shadowing, and reinforcing one another. Adasiewicz creates the thickest, most resonant sound, banging out new chords while the old are still hanging in the air, but Herndon packs a wallop too, playing with blunt, crashing force—his cymbals mesh with the vibes to create a plush cushion for Mazurek’s visceral blowing. The cornetist’s written themes are typically elegant, but Starlicker’s output is nonetheless intensely physical, even a little harrowing. This isn’t music to be parsed but rather to be surrendered to—give your ears over to it, and the payoff will increase exponentially. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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