Travis Morrison | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Travis Morrison

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Former Dismemberment Plan front man Travis Morrison realizes that most indie rockers don't need to be argued out of reelecting George Bush. Instead he spends his first solo album, Travistan (Barsuk), analyzing the ways in which politics and history impinge on the personal lives of himself and his mostly white, reasonably privileged cohort. On "Che Guevara Poster" he nonjudgmentally contrasts collegiate armchair leftism with his granddad's socialist (and racist) past; on "Born in '72" he scrutinizes his white-male liberal guilt with the same insightful candor he formerly brought to bear on his romantic/sexual agendas. I know, sounds about as much fun as Charlie Rose fronting Son, Ambulance, but Morrison balances his earnestness with self-awareness and humor: the goofy ditty "Get Me Off This Coin," on which four dead presidents (Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR, and Washington) take turns sharing their gripes and fears, is Schoolhouse Rock with attitude. Morrison's straightforward beats--moderately funky at times, avoiding the distracting complexities that occasionally diffused his melodies on the Plan's swan song, Change--also help. And though most of Travistan moves past the coupling and decoupling of aging indie kids, Morrison is sharp enough to know that recounting his refusal to fight the thug who jumped him in front of a Gap is a surefire way to impress the ladies. Death Cab for Cutie headlines. a 7:30 PM, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine, 773-275-6800 or 312-559-1212, $20. All ages.

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