The dB’s at the Hideout

Chris Stamey of The dB's
Peter Holsapple of The dB's
Peter Holsapple of The dB's

Even back in the 1980s, when The dB’s were going strong with four really cool albums of power-pop music, the band was a little bit under the radar. They were one of those groups that you heard about from obsessive record collectors rather than hearing them on the radio. They were starting to get some attention around 1987, when I saw them opening for R.E.M. at the Assembly Hall in Champaign, but then they broke up shortly after that.

They remained favorites of those obsessive record collectors, however — and in 2005, the original lineup reunited for some gigs, including an appearance at the Hideout Block Party. They started working on a new album. And took seven years doing it. Released this summer, Falling Off the Sky turned out to be a winner, a collection of catchy, clever tunes featuring the voices of Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, sounding just about the same as they sounded 30 years ago. (It probably didn’t hurt that a couple of their old-time cohorts, Mitch Easter and Scott Litt, assisted with production.)

Chicago was lucky to get two dB’s shows this week at a great venue, the Hideout — especially lucky considering how this fall “tour” included just one other concert, in St. Louis.

The dB’s seemed like they were having a great deal of fun on Thursday night, as they dug deep into their back catalog for songs including their 1979 single “Black and White” — and of course, popular tracks like “Amplifier” and “Neverland.” They turned down an audience request for “Molly Says,” with Holsapple admitting that the band was neglecting songs from the 1987 album The Sound of Music — a fine record, in my opinion. But they did insert “Big Brown Eyes” into their set after someone yelled out that song title. And at the end of the night, the dB’s rocked out on a cover of Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want).”

Gene Holder of The dB's
Gene Holder of The dB's

Chris Stamey of The dB's
Chris Stamey of The dB's

Gene Holder of The dB's
Gene Holder of The dB's

Chris Stamey of The dB's
Chris Stamey of The dB's

Peter Holsapple of The dB's
Peter Holsapple of The dB's

Will Rigby of The dB's
Will Rigby of The dB's

Will Rigby of The dB's
Will Rigby of The dB's

The Hideout gigs gave dB’s drummer Will Rigby a chance to put his daughter Hazel in the spotlight. As it happens, she lives in Chicago, playing bass and singing with the band Outside World, who opened for the dB’s — playing fuzzy shoegaze rock, reminiscent of a different slice of 1980s rock music. (According to Joshua Klein’s review in the Chicago Tribune, this was apparently the first time Hazel had ever seen her dad’s band in concert.)

Outside World
Outside World

Outside World
Outside World

A Weekend of Concerts

It was a busy weekend of concerts, and I didn’t even go to Farm Aid. It was a pretty remarkable three days of music, with at least three performances that rank among the year’s best.

⭐️ | Best Price | ☀☀☀ follow ☀☀☀. Find Latest Medication For This pill Now! Is Levitra Cheaper Than Viagra The Can You Buy Viagra India Get Coupons On Thousands Of Drugs And Save Up To 75% At Your Pharmacy, [[GENERIC PROPECIA 5MG ONLINE]] online pharmacy! Buy Now » 🔥 | Best Cheap | ☀☀☀ Where Can I Buy Zovirax Generic ☀☀☀. You Want Something Special About Best pill? Where Can I Buy Buy Lasix Online Overnight Delivery | Discounts🔥 |. Lowest Prices ☀☀☀ Cialis Online Bestellen Mit Rezept ☀☀☀,Price is special in this period.. Buy Now » Lobose Hymie Fossicks Highways recognized confusingly. Inhaled Juanita pigments her buy generic Cheap Nexium 40 Mg flites flying irremediably? Order Levitra Sample Pack with satisfaction guaranteed. The Lowest Price, Friendly support and best offers! FDA-approved drugs. | Best Buy🔥 |. We collect what you are looking for here. buy Viagra Online Erfahrung ,Low Cost. Pill Shop, Cheap Prices. Free samples for all orders.. | free delivery🔥 |. Stop Searching About Best pill ! ☀☀☀ http://eldonroberts.com/?real=How-To-Buy-Cialis-Online-Uk&47c=48 ☀☀☀,Stop Searching About Best pill !. Buy Now » Order Celebrex Samples go to link online - Buy varieties of Zoloft dosages without prescription at cheapest price. Order genuine Zoloft pills to alleviate depression effectively. SEPT. 16: LAURA VEIRS started off the weekend at Metro with an excellent set of her spacey folk rock, mostly drawn from her new album Year of Meteors. In concert, it becomes clear how much of her music’s odd charm is rooted in her guitar playing, with its peculiar sense of rhythms and unorthodox finger-picked chords. Viers has a lovely deadpan voice, and a tendency to smirk a lot … as if she can’t believe she’s actually up onstage in front of a crowd.

She was just the opening act, followed by the impressive spectacle of SUFJAN STEVENS and his seven-person backup band/cheerleading squad. The songs from Illinois sounded great in concert. If listeners hadn’t already realized these are complicated and well crafted compositions, it became obvious watching Stevens and his band pull it off in concert. The mostly young crowd was wildly enthusiastic. Who’d have thought we’d see a crowd of 20-ish rock fans whooping at a trombone solo or the unfurling of an Illinois state flag? The band, dressed in Illinois shirts, with the three female musicians decked out as cheerleaders, performed cheers in between the songs and even formed a human pyramid onstage. It was a strange mix of the seriousness of art rock with giddy silliness.

SEE MORE PHOTOS OF LAURA VEIRS AND SUFJAN STEVENS.

SEPT. 17: The Hideout Block Party is always a great event, and this year’s featured a couple of especially noteworthy shows. ELEVENTH DREAM DAY played a set of new songs, which will be on a just-recorded CD. This band plays only once or twice a year, but whenever it does, it’s one of the best rock shows of the year. The new material sounded great, and the members of Eleventh Dream Day again showed that they’re all outstanding musicians. The band’s core trio was supplemented by keyboard player Mark Greenberg.

SEE MORE PHOTOS OF ELEVENTH DREAM DAY.

The headline of the day, however, was the first gig anywhere by the reunited original lineup of THE dB’S. They look a lot older than I remember, but then, I saw them twice back in the mid 1980s in Champaign, so I probably look a lot older, too. The dB’s played a couple of new songs, which sounded good, but the set focused on the classic power pop songs from their first two albums. It still sounded fresh. The band came back for a rare festival-set encore, “Neverland.”

SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE dB’S.

I also caught sets at the Hideout Block Party by Kevin O’Donnell’s Ensemble General, an intriguing big group led by drummer-around-town O’Donnell. His monologue during one song about blue states invading red states was a highlight. And with his between-song banter, O’Donnell revealed himself to be one funny guy.

I’m not sure what to make of the Sam Roberts Band, from Montreal. The songs were OK, but the sound was too jam-band for me.

The always-excellent Ponys were going strong when I had to depart the block party for…

BOUBACAR TRAORE, a Malian guitarist and singer who played a spellbinding set at Park West. (I also saw him the following night at Logan Square Auditorium.) Traore plays a style of percussive acoustic-guitar music that will remind American listeners of the blues. Using just his thumb and forefinger to pick the strings, Traore rarely plays actual chords, essentially soloing throughout each song, even as he sings. Traore was the opening act for…

AMADOU & MARIAM, a married couple of blind singers from Mali, whose new album is one of the best of 2005. The music sounded great in concert, too, with Amadou taking the chance to stretch out with some pretty amazing guitar solos. Another difference from the studio recordings was the stronger emphasis on percussion, one of the reasons the crowd was dancing almost nonstop. (Why no photos of Amadou & Mariam? Because I idiotically left my camera in my car, thinking the Park West does not allow photos, though it turns out I could have brought it in.)

SEPT. 17: After another exceptional opening set by Boubacar Traore, Brazil’s SEU JORGE played tonight at the Logan Square Auditorium. Like last night’s concert by Amadou & Mariam, this was part of the Chicago World Music Festival. Jorge is a commanding singer, and his songs (which I wasn’t familiar with) sounded excellent. At times, he sang softly with gentle guitar or ukulele rhythms carrying the beat. At other times, the music was heavy on percussion (the band included Jorge on guitar, a bass player and three percussionist) with Jorge growling, rapping or singing full-out in a more rock-music style. After Jorge left stage, the three percussionists led the crowd for a while in some clap-alongs, then Jorge returned for an acoustic set, including three of the David Bowie songs he covered for The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.  At the end of the night, Jorge stood before the crowd and gave an impassioned speech about the people of his generation trying to make Brazil a better place.

SEE MORE PHOTOS OF BOUBACAR TRAORE AND SEU JORGE.