Live Review: Amy Ray; CD Review: Brimstone Howl; The weekend…

Category: Blog — @ 6:08 pm October 24, 2008

First, Amy Ray last night on Slowdown’s big stage. They had the balcony closed; and you know why. Fewer than 100 were in the “alternative” crowd to see one-half of the Indigo Girls. I’ve got a couple of IG albums from back in the day, an era when there were a lot of new female singer-songwriters taking over the scene — Tracy Chapman, Edie Brickell, 10,000 Maniacs, Suzanne Vega, The Sundays, Sinead O’Connor, Blake Babies, Throwing Muses, Cowboy Junkies, Mazzy Star, and so on. Where’d they all go? It was IG’s folky numbers that I liked, not so much the Melissa Etheridge blues rock stuff. Ray hasn’t gone in that direction; her new stuff sounds more like hard rock, not really bluesy at all. I just wanted to hear her play an acoustic and leave the electric in the rack. And it was during the very few acoustic moments that her set shined brightest.

* * *

The Reader‘s monthly CD reviews are in the current issue. Here’s my contribution:

Brimstone Howl, We Came in Peace (Alive) — Brimstone Howl is part of the Midwest’s garage rock retro revival that bows down to the ’60s and ’70s by way of Detroit and NYC. And as with any genre exercise, too much of a good thing can get pretty dull. Someone should have told that to The Howl when they decided to squeeze 15 tracks onto this disc, especially when so many have an inescapable similitude, which, combined with the flat production (from White Stripes producer Jim Diamond) and tiresome, over-reverbed vocals, makes this a challenge to sit through from beginning to end. Back-to-back, previous album Guts of Steel had a bigger swagger and a wider stance. And the vocals on Guts merely sounded cheap and dirty vs. this endless echo chamber from yesteryear. Still, taken in small doses (like their superior 7-inch singles) Brimstone Howl provides big rewards. Rating: Yes. (Reader rating: 3 stars).

The weekend is upon us. Here’s what I have on my radar screen.

Tonight

— Sokol Underground has a good punk show with The Yuppies, Columbia Vs. Challenger and UUVVWWZ. Starts at 10. No idea on the cover.

— Meanwhile, The Dinks (three ex members of The Shanks) have a show at O’Leaver’s with The Last Vegas and Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship. $5, 9 p.m.

— Up the street at The Waiting Room, Shiver Shiver opens a show with It’s True, The Great Atomic Power and headliner The Pendrakes. $7, 9 p.m.

— Finally, down at The Barley St, the Big Al Band uncorks some It’s War You Die on your ass. No idea on the cover, but the openers start at 9.

Saturday night

— Down at Slowdown Jr. it’s The Whipkey Three CD release show with It’s True. $5, 9 p.m.

— The Barley St. has a five-band bill featuring A Tomato A Day and Thunder Power. $4, 9 p.m.

— And The Waiting Room is having a “zombie ball” in conjunction with Benson’s Zombie Walk. Bands include Social Distortion tribute act Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell and Fremont/Lincoln punk band Officially Terminated. $7, 7 p.m.

Sunday

— On the Lord’s day of rest, Fromanhole tries to burn down O’Leaver’s with touring band Prize Country. $5, 9:30.

Now is it ever going to quit raining?

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