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Transmission
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Concert Tue Aug 24 2010

Clare and the Reasons @ Pritzker Pavilion, 8/23

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With a voice that is filled with longing but not without comfort, Clare Manchon took the stage with her husband Olivier Manchon and others to play a fruitful 75 minutes of music. The songs have elements of great delicacy as well as humor. Between just the two of them there were ample instruments, Clare switching off between guitar and washboard and Olivier playing violin, guitar, mini xylophone, and a small drum at times. Yet, they made the most out of the beautiful space by bringing in brass musicians from Chicago to play trombone and french horn. In addition, another musician accompanied the small brass section to treat the audience to keyboard, bass, and clarinet playing.

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There's a lightness to a great deal of Clare's songs that is crossed with a persevering note of sincerity with topics ranging from grandparents in the 40s, bees, and NYC's Alphabet City in the middle of the night. Olivier provided backing vocals to his wife's lead at times as well as a sense of humor, asking if there were other Frenchmen in the audience, imitating WBEZ announcers and talking about This American Life's Ira Glass. Though Clare spoke relatively less between songs, she had a subtle wit about touring in Japan and ending her songs as well as suffering from jet lag. To put it in a nutshell, Clare and her husband are clever but not too clever that you lose track of the lovely melodies and harmonies they are so apt at creating.

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Clare and the Reasons also adeptly walk that curious line between indie pop and folk with hinting elements of twee thrown in randomly for good measure. Though they are definitely a part of this post modern world, one can't help but feel a little transported back at times with a little whistle and washboard playing. It's also a bit dreamy and filled with happy chemistry as Clare and her husband Olivier seem to have a great connection through the music.

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One of the hallmarks of playing Pritzker Pavilion for bands besides the larger audience and lovely outdoors in a city in which our summer weather might unfortunately be fading fast sooner than later is the great sound. Clare made note of this several times and seemed humbled by the architecture around her. It's a great advantage to Chicagoans that our city not only took the initiative to build Pritzker but also brought us so many great free shows this summer. Whether it's a symphony, a rock band, or a finer thing in life, such as Clare and the Reasons, the sound is always well amplified and balanced. Let's hope next summer brings many more shows just like this one.

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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.

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