I mostly missed the Blacks when they were a going concern, recording music with Bloodshot Records, playing a sort of alt-country-rock. I saw them once. I believe they opened for the Waco Brothers at FitzGerald’s that time. I remember being struck by how odd it was to hear a woman (Gina Black) singing a cover of the Tom Waits song “Goin’ Out West,” with the chorus “I got hair on my chest, I look good without a shirt on.” And of course, the tall Gina with her big upright bass, painted with twin images of naked ladies and vines, make a big impression on me.
Since then, Danny Black’s gone on to start the band Healthy White Baby, guitarist Nora O’Connor has proven herself to be quite the alt-country siren in her own right, and the Blacks have started playing occasional “reunion” gigs. This was the first time I’d seen them since that long-ago FitzGerald’s show, and it was a nice refresher course. There’s something muscular and a little Gothic about the Black’s brand of roots rock. Gina Black’s thumping bass notes are one of the reasons it’s distinctive. The old Blacks tunes still sounded fresh last night.
Click here or on the picture above to see my photos of the Blacks.
The opening act was the Thin Man (aka Kennedy Greenrod, a Brit transplanted in Chicago). I have to admit I wasn’t all that impressed when I heard an album by the Thin Man a couple of years ago. I think that foghorn bass voice of his wore my out. But I enjoyed seeing him play live, and the songs seemed to be pretty good, so I should probably check out his recordings again.
Click here or on the picture above to see my photos of the Thin Man.