Chicago Drive-In
Pavement Entertainment

Day-Glo soul

| September 5, 2012 | 0 Comments


Call it a soul resurgence or just chalk it up to a younger generation realizing that even with striking advances in modern medicine, the clock is ticking for the voices of yore. How else to explain the teaming up of Charles Walker and Bettye LaVette in the performers’ third act? Walker used to warm up the crowd for James Brown’s roof-shaking revivals at the Apollo Theater in the ’60s before floating away into oblivion. Thankfully, a Nashville guitarist with a keen ear regaled the charismatic funkmeister out of obscurity to front The Dynamites, an explosive sevenpiece heavy on pelvic-thrusting horns. In a group that considers pastiche a dirty word, The Dynamites churn out soul-baring testimonials coupled with enough friction to keep Sunday houses of worship in business. The band previews its forthcoming release, which revolves around “Yours And Mine” – a stirring spiritual that pits Walker’s buttery croon against LaVette’s sassy skronk. In LaVette’s absence, let’s hope Ruby Velle pops up to fill in. The unlikely powerhouse rounds out the sweaty bill with The Soulphonics to celebrate their appropriately titled debut, It’s About Time, finally seeing the light of day. (Thursday@Schubas.)

When Chris Robinson‘s hippie schtick wears thin and watching him shimmy barefooted across the stage proves too much for your gag reflex, simply focus on his voice. Whether it’s crackling like a campfire or scorching like a gulp of Southern Comfort, those pipes warrant rapt attention. Big Moon Ritual, Robinson’s release under the Brotherhood moniker, undulates with an easy-like-Sunday-morning vibe. Without brother Rich and the rest of the Black Crowes to keep things moving, the album tiptoes around Grateful Dead-like excess, which is a welcome burst of sun-kissed reverie on “Rosalee” (and a plodding chore on “Tulsa Yesterday”). Expect a similar course on The Magic Door, the companion piece to this summer’s debut due out on Sept. 11 through Silver Arrow/Megaforce Records. Guitarist Neal Casal, keyboardist Adam MacDougall, drummer George Sluppick, and bassist Mark Dutton suck the humidity out of their wiry peacock of a frontman, replacing that sagging stickiness with a golden (state) sheen. (Thursday and Friday@Lincoln Hall.)

The struggle to balance work and family keeps self-help authors employed and made Oprah one of the richest people on the planet. But, what about those of us who would gladly take the stress of serving both masters unequally in all its mind-numbing and soul-crushing glory if it meant never reaching across a double bed and feeling a cold, empty pillow again? The jangly new single from Canadian collective Rah Rah, “Art And A Wife” tackles the notion that one just needs the presence of both to stay sane. The song seems to imply that despite their flamboyant confetti-strewn, piñata-bashing antics onstage, this co-ed bunch longs for a loving embrace once the tour bus pulls away. (Sunday@Double Door with Pyro Fighter, Exit Ghost, and Glowing House.)

Stevie Nicks drapes wispy, swaths of chiffon and ribbons from her mic stand. Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler wraps bohemian paisley cloaks around his. Basically, you can glean a lot about the inner workings of a singer’s mind from the choice of decorative accessory taped, tied or tacked to that lone pole. In the case of Rubblebucket, the flair comes dipped in Day-Glo and it trails every caffeinated member of the eight-piece. The University of Vermont edumacated Brooklynites veer off into the ridiculous in a live setting (a crowd-surfing horn section – if getting smacked in the face with a foot is traumatic, try meeting the blunt end of a trombone slide) and that kookiness rubs off on the lyrics (“Came out of a lady/and I want you to save me), but their steadfast ebullience trumps the gimmicks. Sax-wielding frontwoman Kalmia Traver looks and sounds like she came out of the same lady that bore Juliette Lewis while whistling band leader, Alex Toth embodies the band’s whimsical side. However, “(Focus) Oversaturated,” the lead track from the band’s upcoming EP, pursues a dreamy landscape that bests Hot Chip at its most sincere. (Tuesday@Lincoln Hall.)

— Janine Schaults

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Category: Featured, Stage Buzz, Weekly

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