DRMWPN and Chicago Psych Fest at the Hideout

The Chicago group DRMWPN (pronounced “Dream Weapon”) hasn’t played for several years, which made its performance last night (Jan. 31) at the Hideout noteworthy. I wrote about DRMWPN in a 2007 article for Signal to Noise magazine about Chicago’s drone music scene. The band, if that’s what it is, does just one thing: perform a single piece of music that rises and descends like a wave. DRMWPN played the final set of the final night of Chicago Psych Fest VI, with a who’s who of great Chicago musicians assembled on the stage to find that perfect chord, and it was beautiful.

The evening started with the dreamy, reverberating keyboards and vocals of Matchess. Then came three sets heavy on the jamming, by the bands Underground Symposium, Dark Fog and Unmanned Ships. Most of these musical acts performed with trippy projections of shifting colorful shapes. But when DRMWPN played, all of the light came from the spinning appliance known as the Dream Machine. The Hideout hummed as a snowstorm began outside.

L99A4232

L99A3950 L99A3935 L99A3909 L99A3851 L99A3825 L99A4312

Matchess
Matchess
Underground Symposium
Underground Symposium
Dark Fog
Dark Fog
Dark Fog
Dark Fog
Unmanned Ship
Unmanned Ship

Concert round-up

I’ve posted photos from several concerts lately without any comment here. Back on June 24, Robert Gomez, a singer-songwriter from Denton, Texas, performed a nice show of melancholy folk rock with a bit of a psychedelic edge at Schubas. It was sparsely attended, but I enjoyed the intimate feeling of the show. Chicago’s Rock Falls played an opening set of charming songs, including some ukulele strumming. Photos of Robert Gomez and Rock Falls.

I wrote earlier about how great the Feelies were on June 29 at Millennium Park. They were just one of three bands that I saw at the park’s Pritzker Pavilion. In addition to all of the great evening concerts, the park is also hosting free performances at noon every day this summer, including some rock shows in a series called “Edible Audible.” It’s not always easy for me to get downtown at noon, but I was there on June 29 for a show by Black Moth Super Rainbow. Normally, I’m not too thrilled with bands that run all of their vocals through the tired electronic effect known as the Vocoder. Black Moth does this, but somehow, I like this brand of Vocoder music better than most other electronic music. I think it’s because it feels trippy and psychedelic, with some catchy melodies. Photos of Black Moth Super Rainbow.

Back at the Pritzker that evening, Chicago’s Icy Demons were the opening act for the Feelies. I rather like this band and the CD that it put out last year,  Can You Buy Celebrex Online Mobicam Digital Dxr Reviews | Best Price🔥 |. Your health is important. Best Price Diovan Hct ,BestBuyPharmacy. Check More » Find Can You Buy Cialis In Hong Konga every scheduled class or event happening at any Bob’s Gym location. Use the fields below to search by date, keyword or location. | Up to 20% Off🔥 |. Buy Cheap Pills with Discount. ☀☀☀ Cialis Coupons Online ☀☀☀,Free pills with every order!. Buy Now » Next Day Order Viagra Overnight Shipping Without SafeOnlineCanadianPharmacy. Buy Generic V1agra, Cial1s, Lev1tra and many other generic drugs at | Discounts🔥 |. Your health is important. Priligy Dapoxetine Buy Online ,We have special offers for you.. Check More » get link. Buy cheap generic drugs online. Generic and Brand Viagra-Cialis-Levitra online without Prescription. Free online | Best Deals🔥 |. Stop Searching About Best pill ! ☀☀☀ How To Buy Cialis In Canada ☀☀☀,coupons 50% off. Buy Now » Miami Ice. Icy Demons mix some elements from 1970 prog rock with dance rhythms. I got the feeling that the band wore out its welcome at this show, since Feelies fans were so eager for the main act, but it was still pretty enjoyable. Photos of Icy Demons.

The Chicago ensemble DRMWPN (pronounced “dream weapon”) released one of my favorite records so far this year, Bright Blue Galilee, but good luck finding it. It’s a very limited edition on vinyl of a concert recording from 2007. DRMWPN basically plays a droning chord for about 40 minutes at every show, creating a meditative atmosphere. The group came together July 1 for another beautiful performance at the Chopin Theatre. Ostensible leader Jim Dorling had some trouble getting the group’s Dream Machine to work. That’s the light with the spinning cover that sets the perfect mood at DRMWPN concerts. After a few minutes of playing with the device, he finally got it spinning, and the music began drifting into place. Photos of DRMWPN, Ultimate Vag and 500MG.

Oumou Sangaré, a singer from Mali, put on a rousing show July 2 at the Pritzker Pavilion. She came across as a vibrant personality, and her large band kept the music going at a lively pace all night. It did not take long for a large group of fans to rush to the front part of the pavilion, and after that, it was a non-stop dance party. Photos of Oumou Sangaré.

Last year, Christian Kiefer, J. Matthew Gerken, Jefferson Pitcher and assorted guest singers put out a three-CD set called Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies. It does in fact include one song for each president, and after Barack Obama won last year’s election, these musicians released a follow-up song with Will Johnson of Centro-matic on lead vocals, “44. Barack Obama (Someone to Wake).” I played that song a lot last fall after the election. (You can download it for free here.) The trio of singer-songwriters who put this whole project together played July 3 at the Hideout and July 4 at Taste of Chicago. I caught the Hideout show, which featured one of the local musicians who performs on the CD — Steve Dawson of Dolly Varden signing about Lyndon B. Johnson — and several musicians doing interpretations of the songs. The Singleman Affair did great psychedelic-folk-rock versions of the songs about John Quincy Adams and Jimmy Carter. The Bitter Tears, dressed like decadent hillbillies, sang about Zachary Taylor. The Gunshy, Sin Ropas, Jeff Harms, Tim Rutili and Tim Kinsella also performed, and of course, Jon Langford was there — singing about Ronald Reagan. Hideout co-owner Tim Tuten (back in town from Washington) emceed the whole shindig, and his rambling and improvised intro to the Reagan was a humorous highlight. The concert featured about half of the songs from the 3-CD collection, ending with the soothing sing-along chorus of the Obama song: “Everything will be all right.” Photos of 44 Songs for 44 Presidents.

Bonnie “Prince” Billy at the Portage Theater

The new record by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, The Letting Go, is probably one of his best. (And I say this as someone who owns several BPB or Palace Music CDs, without having the complete discography.) This concert by Billy (aka Will Oldham) was quite good, though it didn’t sound much like his recent recordings. The icy recorded-in-Iceland textures and high female harmony vocals were gone, but the music still sounded like no one else’s.

Oldham has developed a peculiar pattern of motion — I hesitate to call it “dancing” — kicking one his legs behind him as he plays guitar, doing a sort of little skip. It’s a good fit for his voice, sometimes a mumble, sometimes a cracked howl. The band sounded loose, very loose, as if the musicians were figuring out the songs as they played them — no, that makes it sound too primitive. Let’s say it was more like an informal basement rehearsal, with a band going over songs that it knows but without being too worried about getting every note right. Azita was playing keyboards and operating a laptop, and she had the unusual role of leading a charades-like game with the set list. Oldham would turn to her before most of the songs and ask her what was next, then she would hold up her fingers to indicate how many words were in the song title and offer other clues.

I came in as the opening act, Dreamweapon, was wrapping up its set. I showed up in time to see a sitar, harmonium, and um… various other unidentified instruments all making droning sounds. A wave of undulating noise. Pretty good if you’re into that kind of thing…

A word about the Portage Theater. The last time I was in this building was the early 1990s, when I lived nearby. I came here once to see a movie, “Thelma and Louise.” Then this place was shut down for years. It reopened recently and has hosted silent movies and a horror movie convention. I believe this was the first rock concert at the Portage. It’s a huge place with a high ceiling, the room shaped a little like an airport hangar. It isn’t as ornate as some of the city’s more glittering old theaters, such as the Chicago Theatre and the Ampitheatre, but it does have some nice ornamental details on the walls and ceiling. The stage is pretty high off the floor, so the sight lines are good. There’s a wide space in front of the stage where people could have stood if they’d wanted (one or two guys did), and I ventured up there a few times for photos. The theater was pretty full for Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. I’d venture a guess that most of the people in this crowd haven’t spent much time out in that part of the city, the Six Corners neighborhood on the Northwest Side, where not much happens as far as indie-rock shows. The Portage is a good addition to Chicago’s concert venues.

SEE PHOTOS OF BONNIE ‘PRINCE’ BILLY.