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Concert Sun May 09 2010

Photos/Review: Josephine Foster with Spires That in the Sunset Rise and Arlt @ The Hideout 5/8/10

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It was an exceptional trio of bands that played the Hideout last night, each with their own respective talents that brought together a cohesive evening with almost haunted melodies, lush feminine vocals, and music that was impressive in its originality.

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Headliner folk singer Josephine Foster sang everything from old re-worked hymns to original compositions to songs lyrically based on the poems of Emily Dickinson. Foster's vocals show a curiously vast range swooping upwards into a lovely falsetto for most of the evening in a fashion that was quite striking and eerie at the same time. Her singing style is enjoyable but nonetheless makes one's hair stand on edge in it's unpredictability.

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Foster's banter and stage presence was also subtly jarring as she spoke about her friend that passed away, her grandmother's fame at the World's Fair as one of the first premature babies to survive, and her 7 years living in Chicago. You could hear a pin drop for many of her songs as thankfully the audience realized she is a talent to be reckoned with. In a way, Foster almost seems as if she has been transported from a different time, as if she were a sage-like grandmother in the body of a much younger woman. Foster began on piano and switched to guitar and harmonica. At some points, she was joined by Jason Ajemian playing upright bass and a second guitarist named Brian Goodman. Foster has recently put out her sixth solo album fairly recently, 2009's Graphic as a Star, which is as highly recommended as her live show as both are insightful and unforgettable.

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Spires That in the Sunset Rise played a shorter set than usual as a two piece to give more time to Foster. The band is one of the most creative forces that Chicago has to offer and always showcases an exceptional range of stringed instruments sampled and looped to create an avant-garde symphony. There's always a rich emotional presence between the instrumentation and vocals that give the band a presence one can't ignore. Melancholy never sounded so perfect.

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Arlt from France opened up the night with their engaging male/female harmonies. The music would have seemed somewhat sparse with the only instrumentation being one guitar (played by Sing Sing) if their vocals didn't work so well together. The songs were sung in French and EloƏse Decazes in particular has a loveliness to hers which made the songs quite magical, proving that sometimes a large ensemble with complex instrumentation can only get in the way to finding and hearing the heart of the matter.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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