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Review Wed May 21 2014

Review: Elbow & John Grant @ House of Blues, 5/19

It's been six years since Elbow played Chicago. At the time, they were riding the wave of The Seldom Seen Kid, which took that year's Mercury Prize. Since then, the band have put out two albums and evolved their arty Britpop sound behind the strengths of Guy Garvey's heartfelt lyrics and vocals, and the band's growth as songwriters and performers. But on Monday, all that concerned the sold out House of Blues crowd was hearing the pristine pop that Elbow churns out in spades.

Early in the set, they went often to their recent The Take Off and Landing of Everything album. But once they got to older songs, things naturally began to click with the crowd, from "The Bones of You"'s sweeping chorus to the raw emotion in "Scattered Black and Whites" to the titanic "Grounds for Divorce" singalong. Between those, Garvey was talkative and charismatic, telling short stories that often punctuated points about the next song. To close, they went for "Lippy Kids" and their anthemic "One Day Like This", which a girl in the balcony had been yelling about the last 15 minutes. Even though the latter can be a little repetitive, Elbow's played it so often that they know how to keep it fresh with Garvey encouraging the crowd to sing boisterously.

John Grant may have been relatively unknown, but that may not last long. His imposing presence ingratiated himself to the crowd almost immediately. And it seems like he is taking frontman cues from Guy Garvey on this jaunt across America. His short set (barely a half-hour) featured a nice set of songs, mostly from last year's way underrated Pale Green Ghosts, that feature his best attributes as a writer. The lyrics paint pictures and, even when they're a little goofy, they tug at heartstrings with universal themes. There's a little Richard Buckner in his delivery, too. Unfortunately, the synths that stand out so much in his music came off a little flat on Monday, but it was all that kept his set from being top-notch.

 

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Classical Tue Dec 02 2014

Pulling Strings: For Classical Music in Chicago, You Got a Guy - December 2014

By Elliot Mandel

If you see only one psychologically bizarre, and fantastically creepy opera this month, make it Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle at Thalia Hall.

Read this feature »

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Events

Mon Dec 22 2014
Third Annual Woman Power Holiday Show @ Schubas

Mon Dec 22 2014
Jamaican Queens @ Hideout

Mon Dec 22 2014
Do-It-Yourself Messiah @ Harris Theater

Tue Dec 23 2014
Smith Westerns @ Lincoln Hall

Thu Dec 25 2014
Mr. Blotto's All Dead Show @ Cubby Bear

Fri Dec 26 2014
Redgrave @ Empty Bottle

Fri Dec 26 2014
Macabre Holiday of Horror @ Reggies

Fri Dec 26 2014
Al Scorch's Feast of Friendship @ Hideout

Sat Dec 27 2014
Mustard Plug's Holiday Show @ Subterranean

Sun Dec 28 2014
10th Annual Alex Chilton Birthday Bash @ Empty Bottle

Sun Dec 28 2014
Genevieve Schatz @ Space

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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...
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