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Haynes’ underwear

| October 16, 2011

Warren Haynes by Stewart O'Shields

Warren Haynes will play Vic Theatre in Chicago 10/17/2011

It’s something for everyone as real October weather unfolds. This Monday and Tuesday feature Warren Haynes, Masters Of The Hemisphere, Firewind, and Wale.

If he’s to be believed that soul music has been the foundation of Warren Haynes‘ career, then Man In Motion brings him back to square one. Known as Gov’t Mule‘s frontman and a valuable companion for both The Dead and Allman Brothers, the ideal home for this collection is not ATO, Elektra, or Polydor, but Stax. And short of Penn/Oldham or Hayes/Porter compositions or backing by the MG’s, his Stax debut has everything a soul-man could want. (Maybe it’s a little long — the average track length is nearly seven minutes.) Instead of the bluster that Haynes has shown with both his guitar and voice in the past, on Motion he makes a concerted attempt to subdue his blues-rock training and actually sing. (Monday@The Vic.)

It’s difficult not to feel overwhelmed by indie-pop nostalgia with Masters Of The Hemisphere‘s Maybe These Are The Breaks, because not only were the band one of the core members of Athens-based Kindercore Records, but are now part of its rebirth. Originally designed to highlight Athens talent, it grew to have an international roster that grew to reflect the brisk pop of its home-based bands like Hemisphere. Breaks successfully blends New Order, Orange Juice, Magnetic Fields, and some of the myriad Scandinavian bands that Illinois-perched labels like Parasol (particularly Starlet) and Minty Fresh focused on as well. “One More Time” melds Postcard Records touches with a cosmopolitan Stereolab beat, while the lush “Down For The Pound” slowly pours pastel swirls with a warm, analog reverb. (Monday@The Burlington.)

Though it’s come to be his main project, Firewind‘s output is almost exclusively judged by metal fans against guitarist Gus G‘s other output. Known among mainstream metal fans as Ozzy Osbourne‘s replacement for Zakk Wylde and among power-metal aficionados as the savant behind Dream Evil and Mystic Prophecy. The most notable thing about Days Of Defiance, released last fall on Century Media, however, is not the Greek god’s prowess, but the spotlight on his riffs and vocalist Apollo Papathanasio — whose pipes have been cast in the classic, Bruce Dickinson mold. In that sense, Defiance will throw guitarheads looking for a sample of this wunderkind; Gus G’s insistence upon cultivating Firewind as a band project has led him to dial up the taut riffage and dampen the fuses on his box of fretboard pyro. (Tuesday@Mojoes with Arsis, White Wizzard, and Nightrage.)

It’s taken nearly 50 years, but D.C.-based go-go R&B is finally getting some international face-time via Wale. While Wale isn’t exclusively a go-go artist (his parents are Nigerian immigrants, and among those who have been shaping his sound are Brit producer Mark Ronson and recently Rick Ross), his hits “Dig Dug” and “Breakdown” helped attract Ronson’s attention. After inking a huge deal with Interscope, his major-label debut didn’t meet commercial expectations, and he’s since been dropping mixtapes in anticipation of his Ross-backed Maybach/Warner Bros. opener, Ambition. The title of his first Maybach tape, The Eleven One Eleven Theory, is a direct reference to Ambition‘s release date, November 1st, and opens with the percussion-heavy, go-go-disco tracks “Fuck You” and “Drums N Shit.” But looking away from the uncluttered beats that Ross favors, the tempos and arrangements lean toward Ronson’s pop flair without lifting Wale out of the streets. “Ocean Drive” features the dancehall flow of reggae spitter Magazeen, while “Passive Aggres-Her” shows what Wale can do with his hands down someone’s pants. Though he flips from style to style like he did on Attention Deficit and his mixtapes, Theory wisely sticks to his roots, which might be what Ambition will need to launch him — and, finally, go-go — into the stratosphere. (Tuesday@House Of Blues with Pusha T and Black Cobain.)

— Steve Forstneger

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