Time is definitely on Ian McCulloch’s side. Even at 50 years of age, the front man of 80’s post-punk sensation Echo & The Bunnymen didn’t look a bit out of place on stage with a microphone in hand. In front of a respectable turnout at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, McCulloch addressed the crowd wearing his trademark shades, announcing it was good to be back in Canada. “I like it colder” he stated. “Can you make it colder?”
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Three time Grammy Award singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams dazzled Chicago fans over the course of three nights at the Park West in Lincoln Park. Each concert celebrated Williams’ 30-year musical career, highlighting a specific period of work each night. The first night covered 1979 to 1989, the second 1992 to 2001, and the third installment relayed 2003 to the present.
The Vancouver two-piece, Japandroids, did not put on much of a show in Philadelphia. The whole experience felt like being stuck in some sad version of Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff” video. But these guys were singing about French-kissing French girls and getting drunk in the basement, rather than breaking a human face. I’ll gladly take the former over the latter, but that’s not much of a compliment. It was also pretty upsetting to see these guys almost break down on a tour that does not seem to be going their way. I was one of the eight lonely guys in the so-called mosh pit trying my best to love it. In fact the show itself was an exercise in save-the-show CPR for one man in attendance. It only took one swell young George-Michael look-alike Starbucks barista dude up front to save the night. He single-handedly kept the band going with his ebullience. Whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty good man…
A few weeks ago Brooklyn based indie rockers The Subjects played an intimate yet compelling set at the Empty Bottle in Chicago. By intimate I mean there was not a huge crowd at the show, but attendees were appreciative nonetheless. Perhaps the spurts of freezing drizzle that night prompted people to take a rain check that night.
Back in June, I saw the Dirty Projectors play to a crowd of a few hundred kids at the Rufustival in Baltimore. It was the week before the release of Bitte Orca and I remarked at the time that it seemed, “a foregone conclusion that after years spent as an opening act, the band will soon graduate to headliner status,” What a difference a few months makes. Last week, I elbowed my way to the front of Washington D.C.‘s renowned Black Cat, to watch the Projectors play to a sold out crowd of 700. From the first song on, it was clear that it wasn’t just the band’s draw that had changed—rather, the Dirty Projectors had grown along with their audience.