Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Sorry, I'm too tired/lazy to do separate posts for recent concerts. Why? We've been redesigning The A.V. Club and it's been a little exhausting. And I didn't even do the heavy lifting on the project. I'm happy with it. But then that doesn't have anything to do with this post which is about seeing...

Paul Burch at Schuba's on Saturday: I wasn't that familiar with Paul Burch until my friend Noel insisted I hear/review his new album East To West. Thanks, Noel. Burch, who's played with Lambchop and put out several solo albums, is an exquisite songwriter who performs with an unabashed affection for honky-tonk twang. The show wasn't packed—I guess my "A-" only carries so much weight in this town—but it was well worth turning out for. Jon Langford opened the show with typical bon homie. Stevie met him and he seemed surprised that she liked The Mekons since apparently most of their fans are fiftyish, bearded men.

The next night we headed up to Ravinia, Chicago's venerable outdoor concert venue, to see Cheap Trick. A note about
Ravinia, or more specifically, the Ravinia Festival as it's called. Originally an amusement park built in 1904, the Highland Park location has served as the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1906 and has been primarily used as a concert venue since a private corporation rescued it from bankruptcy in 1911. THere's a democratic spirit behind it. You can get there by train and lawn tickets are cheap, allowing visitors to sit, picnic, and drink. That's usually our choice, but for Cheap Trick we had pavillion seats, and excellent seats at that since The Onion was sponsoring it. Nevermind democracy.

The show was, of course, excellent. There may be no more reliable live act than Cheap Trick. I've seen them at a glorified bar in Arena, Wisconsin, at the classy Vic Theater here in Chicago, and at a taping of Conan O'Brien and they never disappoint, god bless 'em. And if the music sucked, the guitars are entertaining. Sunday night Rick Nielsen played both a five-necker and a guitar shaped like a younger version of himself. Did I mention that I love Cheap Trick?

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