Throughout its thirty-five years as a band, Eleventh Dream Day has regularly sprinkled its incendiary sets with carefully chosen covers of obscure and well-known rock songs. Since I started listening to them, I’ve accumulated many vivid memories, such as hearing them trace the seething rise and fall of the Dream Syndicate’s “Halloween,” embrace the idiotic hokum of Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” (with singer Rick Rizzo masterfully replicating the song’s trademark stuttering chorus), and ripping like a buzzsaw through the Urinals’ punk masterpiece “I’m a Bug.” But few of their covers say more about their prime inspiration than the music they’ve tackled by Neil Young, including mid-career material like 1981’s “Southern Pacific” and early classics such as his debut solo single, 1969’s “The Loner.” Tonight the band performs a full-album set of Zuma, one of Young’s greatest efforts, his 1975 album with Crazy Horse. Several distinct strains of Young’s genius explode across the effort, including the lumbering, countrified strum-fest “Don’t Cry No Tears,” the ambling front-porch picking of “Pardon My Heart,” and especially the grinding dirge of “Cortez the Killer”—a structural model that the band has borrowed in their own music to house some of Rizzo’s most transcendent, scrappy guitar solos.
The evening is complemented by the presence of Chicago trio Health & Beauty, who will cover Young’s 1974 album On the Beach. Though it’s not as stellar as Zuma, there’s no messing with loosely funky “Walk On,” the crude acoustic blues of “For the Turnstiles,” and the brooding “Revolution Blues.” Plus, the prospect of hearing the group’s leader Brian Sulpizio unwind across these jams is hard to resist. v