the Flat Five | Hideout | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

the Flat Five Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Fri., Dec. 10, 7:30 & 10:30 p.m. 2010

Earlier this year this five-piece group was chosen by the Reader as the Best Cover Band That Only Plays One Gig a Year, and there's a surprisingly large amount of competition for that spot. The Five are Scott Ligon (principal arranger), Kelly Hogan, Nora O'Connor, Gerald Dowd, and K.C. McDonough—all connected to Chicago's healthy alt-country scene—and at their annual shows they turn their powerful but creamily blended voices loose on a wide variety of pop, country, and folk from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, spiced with the occasional relatively contemporary number. The surprise of the set list is part of the fun, so don't expect me to get specific here—I will say, however, that in past years they've done tunes by Dolly Parton, Asleep at the Wheel, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, the Staple Singers (a gimme, considering Hogan's work with Mavis Staples), Tom Paxton, the Dukes of Stratosphear, the Beach Boys, the Zombies, Roy Orbison, and (unforgettably) the Magnetic Fields. No matter what the material turns out to be, you'll be getting beautiful singing in a fun version of a wintry wassail, Hideout style. The Flat Five's loose, almost improvised-sounding approach and often startling arrangements sometimes make it seem like they're taking a great song apart to see what makes it tick—and they never fail to put it back together in perfect working order. —Monica Kendrick

Price: $12

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