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Preview Sun Oct 13 2013
Bill Callahan has proven over the course of two-plus decades that he's no stranger to bucking expectation. So it makes sense that Callahan will once again be performing in a "unique performance environment," this time at the Alhambra Palace, 1240 W. Randolph, a large restaurant with vaulted ceilings and beautiful interiors with little to no history of hosting indie rock legends and their attendant crowds. In other words, another perfect wrench to throw into the rock-world works and a welcomed disruption to the often tired and conventional thinking of where a performer of Callahan's stature might be expected to appear on tour.
Partnering once again with Land and Sea Dept., the same group responsible for bringing Callahan to the Garfield Conservatory last spring and Kim Gordon's Body/Head to the MCA last month, Callahan returns to Chicago to play material from the newly released Dream River. Callahan's newest set of songs explore themes of sex, love, and acceptance, with his trademark wit and devastating use of understatement keenly intact. Using roughly the same cast of musicians as 2011's excellent Apocalypse, Callahan's newest once again makes use of sparse percussion, the occasional flute and violin, and Matt Kinsey's striking, tumbleweed guitar. What's most remarkable, however, is that Callahan actually sounds happy, which comes as less of a surprise when considering the 47-year-old is newly engaged to filmmaker Hanly Banks, who shot his 2012 tour documentary Apocalypse: A Bill Callahan Tour Film. As he says on Dream River's "Ride My Arrow", he sounds "alive, and enjoying the ride." Callahan's ex-con has finally made good, it would appear.
Like his last tour, Callahan will once again be performing in three-piece format for what promises to be a profoundly intimate take on his newer material. Expect a looser and even more open-plains take on tracks from his last few records, with Callahan's careful baritone leading the charge.
Tickets are $25, and the show starts at 7pm.