Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Spring is here! Get inside and rock!

| May 19, 2011

Next weekend, Memorial Day, typically kicks off outdoor season in Chicago (Belmont-Sheffield Fest) along with all the barbecues. The next weekend is Mayfest. Now’s the time to get your indoor ya-yas out.

Who knows what can be said about an eight-piece dance-pop outfit without a full-time bass player, but that’s what you get when you enter Rubblebucket‘s world. It’s not as if, however, Omega La La (Sin Duda) is Metallica’s …And Justice For All: there is very much a bass presence, and perhaps the decision to go with session guys was the smart one (or maybe one of the two featured guests is now in the band). The point is, for an outfit that wants you on the floor and projects a communal enthusiasm, it’s a little odd. Forget what you know of weary old disco punk; Rubblebucket pummel you with sunshiny, Go Team material perfect for the weekend at hand. (Saturday@Martyrs’ with The Opposition Party.)

Katie Stelmanis’ name might ring unfamiliar, but that’s because she doesn’t sit still. You might know it from her brief solo project on Vice Records, maybe from her cameo on Fucked Up’s last LP, or even as a third of Galaxy. Her newest trio, Austra, draws either on her upbringing as a Latvian (presuming that’s where her classical jones began) or prodigal learning at the same institution that taught Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy. Feel It Break (Domino), without ever going full opera, lends sophisticated, classical touches to downtempo, icy synth compositions with Stelmanis’ voice hovering in the clouds above. She seems to use her projects to fully explore a controlled set of ideas, and with Austra she rarely deviates the pattern from opener “Darken Her Horse” to closer “The Beast.” It’s not a boring exposé, just be more ready to use your ear muscles more than the ones in your ass. (Saturday@Beauty Bar with Gemini Club DJs.)

A lesser songwriter would take “Call Me Rose,” the tale of Richard Nixon reincarnated as a woman, and build a snarky comedy bomb around it. Bruce Cockburn, who recently earned his own postage stamp in Canada, threw it on Small Source Of Comfort (True North) to let it battle among the downtrodden snippets of dead love and deadend lives. Despite such a lightning-rod cut, Source gets its flavor from its five instrumentals, one of which draws directly from Cockburn’s time in Taliban hotbed Kandahar, Afghanistan. Before you get to thinking he’d use an intimate performance like this to butter up his fans, he’s just as likely to play the new album front to back, with a series of spoken interludes for good measure. (Sunday@Old Town School Of Folk Music with Jenny Scheinman.)

— Steve Forstneger

Tags: , , ,

Category: Featured, Stage Buzz, Weekly

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.