TODAY

Tuesday, September 2

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Transmission
« Review: The National Fits Their Sound Into Untitled Blondes Groove Deep Into The Night at Smartbar 04/19 »

Review Tue Apr 22 2014

Heritage and Heart: Regina Carter and Mavis Staples at Symphony Center, 4/18

The beautifully adorned Symphony Center found a packed house on Friday evening for a double bill of two great artists, Southern-folk violinist Regina Carter, and soul legend, Mavis Staples. The intimate venue and superb acoustics made it clear that this was an evening of music that would be unforgettable and irreplaceable.

SCS_5822-20140418-_1.jpg

Photo by Steve Stearns

Regina Carter emerged first, flanked by an accompaniment of accordion, guitar, an upright bass, and drums. She donned a bright outfit, and walked onstage completely barefoot. Regina Carter's set was focused on heritage through and through, in a beautiful way. After her first song, which contained a slightly fuzzy but extremely authentic recording from an old Southern tune, Carter delved into the methods she utilized to track her family ancestry. From anecdotes regarding her grandfather's time as a coal miner in Alabama, to divulging stories of growing up with several siblings, to sharing snapshots of old Southern folk tunes preserved in their original recorded setting, Carter was able to not only present us with examples of her expertly perfected musical craft, however, she was also able to further impact us with the connection to her rich heritage.

My favorite tunes she played included "Shoo-Rye" a song that interpreted a children's game that she played way back when, but also converted into deeper meaning regarding taking chances and the effects of risk. "See See Rider" was another outstanding tune, which explored the darker side of blues music and near the end morphed into a blues-jazz hybrid as the sound grew more frenetic and eccentric with heavy jazz backing from the bass and drums. Many of the songs came from her most recent album, Southern Comfort.

"We're all from the South of somewhere," Carter stated, positively beaming onstage as she got to share her personal history with the crowd. Her encore brought us to hear a Baptist hymn, "I'm Going Home on the Morning Train," which was both exquisitely beautiful, yet also possessed a twinge of sadness. Carter was able to truly showcase her art form by presenting us with a well-rounded set of intricate, quick-paced numbers while also showcasing more emotional ballads. The personal connection to her heritage really formed the set as cohesive and unique, as she shared so much with us that truly enhanced the music that followed.

SCS_5907-20140418-_3.jpg

Photo by Steve Stearns

When Mavis Staples emerged, the mood onstage swiftly changed, but not in a bad way whatsoever. While Regina Carter's set retained an atmosphere of watchful reverence, Mavis Staples made it clear that she wanted her set to be full of positive vibes, an outspoken discussion between many songs, and a more lively atmosphere. The stage lighting immediately changed to become more zany and bold. Staples emerged positively glowing, ambling across the stage with a walking cane, assisted by a gentleman to her perch in the center of the stage. Staples, also joined by a full band, began with "For What It's Worth," originally performed by Buffalo Springfield. The song immediately transformed into a soul-filled landscape, immediately converting it from its original form.

Staples immediately told us all that she wanted this set to be filled with happiness, joy, inspiration, and positive vibrations. At 74 years old, she is truly rocking and full of just as much energy and positivity as she was during her days spent with legendary family outfit, The Staple Singers. It is clear that she extracts joy from all of her experiences, rather than searching for joy itself - she finds it everywhere and truly wants to share that with her audience. Indeed, her set brought about all of the qualities she was hoping for, and more.

SCS_5954-20140418-_5.jpg

Photo by Steve Stearns

"Can You Get To That," followed by "I Like The Things About Me," brought us the newer material from Staples, off album One True Vine, produced by another Chicago legend, Jeff Tweedy. Laden with wisdom, her songs transmit personal messages, including feeling comfortable in your own skin, and enjoying the unique gifts you possess. She continued the show with a smooth version of "Do It Again," originally by the Staple Singers. It was clear that Staples was having the absolute best time onstage, and truly loving every moment. The song, so many years later after its original production, sounded just as crystal clear and funky as the first version.

"You Are Not Alone" was next, off of her 2010 album titled with the same name. Arguably her most popular song, the ballad was beautiful in the Symphony Center's gilded setting. The emotions conveyed within the ballad presents another message of truth that easily resonated with the audience. The next songs included a rocking cover of "The Weight" by The Band, a song perfect for her musical palate.

SCS_6010-20140418-_7.jpg

Photo by Steve Stearns

As the set moved forward, Mavis Staples became more and more talkative with the audience. She was completely at ease and comfortable in front of a large crowd, so much so that it seemed as if she had known us for a long time and we were all simply reuniting. She told us of her double knee replacement surgery that had recently occurred, and that Satan had been the culprit behind the pain. She told Satan, "Get back, I'm going to the Symphony Center!" as she chuckled and the crowd indulged in her hilarity.

Ending the show prior to her encore with "I'll Take You There," she reveled in the fact that the Staple Singers had been making music together for 64 years, a daring feat. Ending with "We Shall Not Be Moved," the set reigned as inspiring and glorious, proving Staples as a true legend. It's exciting to see where she will take her music next, as it has only matured and grown over the past several decades. Carter and Staples were able to truly show us their unique craft on Friday evening, including an emphasis on heritage, and an emphasis on heart, when it comes to creating beautiful music.

 

Add a Comment




Please enter the letter p in the field below:



Live Comment Preview


Notes & Tags

Items marked with a * are required fields. Please respect each other. We reserve the right to delete any comments borne out of douchebaggery or that deal in asshattery.

Permitted tags and how to use them:

To link: <a href="http://blahblahblah.com">Link text</a>
To italicize: <em>Your text</em>
To bold: <strong>Your text</strong>

Classical Wed Aug 06 2014

Pulling Strings: For classical music in Chicago, you got a guy - August 2014

By Transmission

Before the main classical season kicks into gear in the next month or two, take advantage of these local artists and ensembles playing throughout the city.

Read this feature »

Blogroll

  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
BackStage
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
ChicagoMusic.org
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
CHIRP
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
Daytrotter
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Do312
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
Gridface
The Hood Internet
Innerview
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pitchfork
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Songs:Illinois
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock

  Venues:

Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
B.L.U.E.S
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Constellation
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
FitzGerald's
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Martyrs'
Mayne Stage
Metro
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Rosa's
Schubas
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Smartbar
Subterranean
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Township
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Atavistic
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Hozac
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records


Events

Mon Sep 1 2014
African Festival of the Arts

Tue Sep 2 2014
X plays Los Angeles @ City Winery

Wed Sep 3 2014
Creepoid, My Dad, & Shahman @ Township

Wed Sep 3 2014
X plays Wild Gift @ City Winery

Wed Sep 3 2014
Now What? A Conversation w/the Creators of Alaska & JoMama Jones

Thu Sep 4 2014
Owen Pallett & Foxes in Fiction @ Metro

Thu Sep 4 2014
X plays Under the Big Black Sun @ City Winery

Fri Sep 5 2014
X plays More Fun in the New World @ City Winery

Fri Sep 5 2014
Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest

Fri Sep 5 2014
The Hideout Block Party & Onion AV Fest

Sat Sep 6 2014
Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest

Featured Series














 

Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.


About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Anne Holub, anne@gapersblock.com
Transmission staff inbox: transmission@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15