It must be strange to be Sérgio Dias Baptista these days. When he and his brother Arnaldo founded Brazilian rock band Os Mutantes in the late 60s, a military coup had thrown the country into disarray. Out of the unrest emerged an artistic movement known as tropicalia.
When the Who released Quadrophenia in 1973, it was an enormously ambitious album by the standards of the day. The double album was the band's second rock opera, incorporating complex horns (Entwistle played the horn arrangements on the record himself as Pete Townshend would remind us when he introduced the Who's live horn players last night), keyboards, and an operatic storyline about Jimmy the Mod growing up in the '60s, struggling with an identity crisis amid the clashes between mods and rockers. The record was a triumph, though initially it got a lukewarm reaction—today it rates higher than Tommy for many fans and critics. It's certainly a more mature piece of art. Pete Townshend calls it his favorite Who album. But the Who's early tours for Quadrophenia were inconsistent. Keith Moon struggled to play with the stage tapes the Who found it needed to complete the sound of the record. The band wanted to show films during the UK tour for Quadrophenia—which was, naturally, toured in quadrophonic sound—but that didn't happen.
Last night at Allstate Arena, the Who—Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend plus a band of expert journeyman including longtime Who touring members Zak Starkey on the drums and Pino Palladino on the bass as well as Townshend's brother Simon on rhythm guitar and taking lead vocals on "Dirty Jobs"—brought Quadrophenia to life, in every sense, then played a few more songs. As a storytelling vehicle, the stage presentation turned the now very specific tale of Jimmy the Mod into a style-conscious visual story of the Who and the post-war English generation. Musically, the band played the enormously complex and difficult record at a prodigious level of detail, celebrating the music of the rock opera in a way that sometimes challenged the crowd (namely the long instrumental passages in "the Rock" and "Quadrophenia") and definitely challenged the band (Townshend told us the "music is a tough ride for us as musicians" after folding up the green binder of notes he used during the Quadrophenia set), but paid off in an artful arena rock experience.
I discovered the Lawrence Arms in 2003, by way of an interview with bassist Brendan Kelly in Thrasher magazine. At thirteen, I was scrambling for an identity in an ever-deepening sea of adolescent bullshit. That particular issue of the punk-as-fuck skate zine introduced me to two bands who were beacons of sanity during my teenage years: the increasingly fascinating Against Me!, and Chicago’s own the Lawrence Arms.
After a brief West Coast tour, iconic and soulful Spaniard Enrique Bunbury touched down at the Congress Theater for a six-encore performance. The Chicago Sun-Times notes that the set list centered around Bunbury’s 2011 release Licenciado cantinas, while also featuring songs from earlier Bunbury solo efforts. The track “No me llames carino” from 2004‘s El viaje a ninguna parte, found Bunbury rolling magic talismans around the Congress stage.
A fixture in the international rock scene ever since his mid-90s success with the band Héroes del Silencio, the 45-year-old Bunbury has performed as a solo act since Héroes’s break-up in 1996. He was accompanied at the Congress Theater by the four-piece Los Santos Inocentes.
Gravel-voiced Bard of Montreal Leonard Cohen hit the Akoo Theatre at Rosemont to support his recently released album Old Ideas. Check out these pics of Cohen, now 78, showing the rest of us how it's done.
New Jersey’s wordiest sons, Titus Andronicus, swung by the Metro on Sunday night on the final leg of their National Business tour. The “fellas,” as frontman Patrick Stickles kept referring to the band, were in fine form, churning out songs from all three albums over the course of the night. The band’s lineup has expanded and contracted over the years, but last night’s quintet version featured the actual members who recorded Local Business, the crew’s scaled-back new album. With a no-frills three-guitar attack on stage, it almost looked like Stickles and company had shaved off all of the wonderful excess—extended songs, a Civil War meta-narrative, bagpipes—that characterized their 2010 masterpiece The Monitor.
St. Paddy's Day isn't till March 17, but Celtic-punks the Dropkick Murphys begin the boozy festivities early on their St. Patrick's Day Tour, which arrives at the Aragon February 22. Riot Fest has already put tickets on sale for next year's extravaganza, which returns to Humboldt Park September 13–15. The lineup hasn't been revealed yet, but three-day passes are available at an "early bird" discount through Christmas. Another fest, Tomorrow Never Knows, added a couple acts to its lineup: TNK vet Bear in Heaven plays Schubas January 16, while the Metro welcomes Lucero January 19. A couple days later, long dormant alt-country act Freakwater stops by the Hideout for a rare set. If you're still figuring out how to wind down 2012, consider spending New Year's Eve at the Chicago Theatre with Gap Band singer Charlie Wilson and soulful chanteuse Ledisi. Find these and other newly announced concerts below or visit timeoutchicago.com/bookingahead for a more extensive list of upcoming shows.
Electronic Dance Music's deep thinker, Richie Hawtin, brought the CNTRL tour, a college-campus lecture and show series, to Columbia College this past week. Check out our article about the tour, including an interview with Hawtin, here. Our photographer caught up with the tour at Metro, where Hawtin performed, along with Kevin Saunderson and Gaiser.
Without a doubt, EDM was alive at The Congress Theater on Saturday night. Quintino, Rehab and Shermanology, dubbed the “JACKED team,” psyched up the crowd—a mix of girls sporting glitter and brightly colored tutu’s and guys donning customized shirts of a green cereal box that replaced the words Apple Jacks with Afro Jacks. This is what we have come to know as the electronic dance music culture.
Yet by midnight, the lyrics “I Think It’s Time To Let You Know” echoed through the sold-out theater accompanied by a melodic mash-up of the Dutch sensation's catchiest tunes. As the three-minute countdown built up tension and excitement, all eyes were focused on the starry main stage. A figure adorned in a hoodie appeared, raised his right arm into the smoke infused air and asked, “Are you ready for some Afrojack music?” As he dropped the beat, the crowd went ballistic.