Waxwings | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

In a perfect world, the Waxwings would be known solely for their music. Repurposing 60s rock is a familiar enough tactic these days, but the Detroit quartet's genuine enthusiasm sets them apart from other similarly inclined groups: the sound of their first two albums--Low to the Ground (2000) and Shadows of the Waxwings (2002)--is the sound of four guys with The Kink Kronikles running through their bloodstreams. The world's not perfect, though, and a lot of people became aware of the Waxwings as a result of a leaked 2002 e-mail in which the owner of their label, the local Bobsled Records, savaged the band for an allegedly weak performance at the Shadows release party. The 1,700-word screed became an instant Buddy Rich-style classic for its essential irony as much as its vitriol: rarely has an accusation of unprofessionalism seemed itself so flagrantly unprofessional. The Waxwings understandably changed labels, and they tinkered with their musical approach as well. Recorded by fellow 60s-pop fan Brendan Benson, the new Let's Make Our Descent (Rainbow Quartz) is scruffier and less polished--the Stones' Between the Buttons sounds like the current starting point--but a breezy 35-minute run time (with only one break for an acoustic number) helps keep the album taut and focused. For this show, Benson fills in for guitarist Dominic Romano. Del Psychos and Paper Airplane Pilots open. $7. Friday, August 20, 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.

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