Chicago Drive-In
Pavement Entertainment

The ol’ switcheroo

| March 9, 2011 | 0 Comments

The process of selecting opening acts will confuse and frustrate fans until their dying (fandom) days. The mind still spins when wondering why Bobcat Goldthwait warmed up for Nirvana on their final American tour.

Ninety-five percent of ill-fitting choices aren’t quite so perplexing (though Smashing Pumpkins/The Frogs and Coldplay/Santogold spring to mind), and often most are negligible. We probably wouldn’t have noticed the fact Oh Land is opening for OMD if we didn’t know Xylos were playing the same night right across town.

Any other night, and Oh Land would be a great match. Her ebullient, self-titled Epic debut feels like Lykke Li working her way through a package of Big League Chew. The synth tones are retro without being nostalgic, and her lyrics could be the thoughts of any mixed-up John Hughes creation and the infectious “Sun Of A Gun” their theme song. She pulls from Italo disco and dubstep, hitting all the right notes without spiralling off into Weirdville. Befitting her past as a classically trained dancer, the layered orchestrations and harmonies take days to digest. (Saturday@Park West with OMD.)

But Xylos might be slightly more apt. The Brooklyn-based band’s self-titled debut — due April 5th — was tracked by Yeasayer and Chairlift producer Britt Myers, who slides it right in the pocket of European synth pop of OMD (and Kate Bush’s) era. Again, that’s not to say it’s a carbon-copy throwback, but the way lead singer Monika Heidemann styles her voice keeps her distant from the Myspace-bred assembly-line divas of the milieu. She expertly sighs and soars, lilts and teases. It’s a theatrical tool that would give OMD’s older fans something to chew on before they went on bashing new music. (Saturday@Schubas with The Parlotones and Bright White.)

Of course, you could go for a show that needs no opener because it’s like three-in-one. The lead singers of Dawes, Deer Tick, and Delta Spirit (what’s with all the Ds?) have formed Middle Brother. While they could have gone and simply rehashed their steady bands’ songs in a new environment, the trio crafted a self-titled record that shows they’ve been listening to a lot of The Band, and maybe The Felice Brothers to see how to do it in a modern context. That said, they did bring some openers, and you’ll never guess who. (Saturday@Metro with Dawes and Deer Tick.)

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Featured, Stage Buzz, Weekly

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