I've got a whole city to hold down

June 14, 2004

When it rains

The well of concert reviews has run bone-dry in recent weeks. Today, though, the drought is over.

Franz Ferdinand
Mark Guarino in the Daily Herald: "Ferdinand's hour-long, 14-song set began at top intensity and never waned."

Anders Smith Lindall in the Sun-Times: "A foursome of Glasgow chums who seem to write nothing but spiky, concise and irresistibly danceable rock nuggets, their journey to the cusp of fame looks as easy as the three-step swagger singer Alex Kapranos employs between the drum riser and the microphone."

Greg Kot in the Tribune: "With a precision that matched the creases in their slacks and arrangements as tight as their form-fitting shirts, the foursome put the locomotion in their vaguely sadomasochistic love songs."

The MC5
Jim DeRogatis in the Sun-Times: "Kramer's Stratocaster effectively summoned the roar of one of Detroit's biggest V8 engines. Thompson and Davis were still a massively hard-hitting but very swinging rhythm section. Power-pop legend Marshall Crenshaw did an admirable job of stepping into Smith's shoes. And Mudhoney vocalist Mark Arm ... reminded the packed crowd that after Kurt Cobain, he was the strongest and most distinctive singer to emerge from the Seattle grunge scene of the early '90s. The problem was that the vocal chores were divided with erstwhile Lemonheads leader and alt-rock lightweight Evan Dando."

Greg Kot in the Tribune: "Blending free-jazz explorations with rock 'n' roll raunch, the founding members were in terrific form. ... That wasn't the case with [Evan] Dando, however."

Jim DeRogatis in the Sun-Times: "Tweedy and Wilco are alive and well. In fact, the 37-year-old singer and his band never sounded better. The 17 songs in the sextet's main set concentrated almost exclusively on the arty, fractured songs from its last album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and the tunes from A Ghost Is Born. On the recording, many of the new songs have a subdued, almost somnambulant vibe. But in concert, they took on a fiery energy and a celebratory spirit."

Brett McNeill in the Tribune: "Always a compelling and heartfelt singer, Tweedy on Saturday also stepped into the spotlight as a guitar player. Starting the show on acoustic, he finally switched to a red Gibson SG for the show's sixth song, 'At Least That's What You Said,' and uncorked a dominating rawness that was both classic and new, insistent and melancholy."

Andy Argyrakis in the Daily Herald: "The sextet offered masterful acoustic layering on "Wishful Thinking," applied lush orchestration to "Company In My Back" and triple-stacked its electric guitar onslaught for "Spiders (Kidsmoke)." Tweedy was especially fluid as he searched for identity throughout the gruff and scuff of "Handshake Drugs," the falsetto-laced "Hummingbird" and the paranoia-drenched "Hell Is Chrome.'"

Chicago Blues Festival
Jeff Johnson in the Sun-Times: Reviews of Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Kevin McKeough in the Tribune: Reviews of Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Update: Jeff Johnson's I-camped-out-at-Blues-Fest-and-here's-my-obsessively-detailed-report-about-it Sun-Times series wraps with a review of Sunday's proceedings.