Chicago’s venerated Hideout played host to three bands on the dependable Undertow label. First up was Magnolia Summer, out of St. Louis, who have a nice disc from earlier this year, “From Driveways Lost View.” The band gets some of its atmospherics from the violin; and there were also a couple of songs with those tinkling quasi-notes you get from playing the tight part of the guitar strings below the bottom bridge. It all sounded a bit more muscular in concert than it does on record; well worth checking out for fans of Americana.
Playing second, Dolly Varden previewed some of the songs from its forthcoming album, “The Panic Bell.” Finally! A new Dolly Varden album. It’s been, what, four years since the last one? (Not that the members of the band haven’t been busy with solo records, side projects, art exhibits, T-shirts, etc.) Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen are one of those great on-stage couples, teasing each other with a deprecating sense of humor. The new songs sound like strong additions to the Dolly Varden repertoire. At one point, Dawson said, “Here’s a new song. It’s sad as fuck.” Audience member: “It’d better be.” Christiansen: “That’s why you came, right?”
Glossary, a roots-rock band from Murfreesboro, Tenn., played last. Glossary’s one of those groups that keeps its songs within a limited sonic range. At first, a lot of the songs sound similar, but that’s just because Glossary doesn’t vary its formula all that much. Once you get to know the tunes, they do grow on you. They’re even better in person, cranking up the guitar for some rousing moments. This was Glossary’s first time at the Hideout, and as the band played, these Tennesseeans got to witness a distinctively Chicago phenomenon — the “tamale guy” came through, calling out for tamale-hungry patrons.
Hideout owner Tim Tuten was in rare form. His introduction at the beginning of the night turned into an extended imitation of the Who at their recent Chicago concert. At a couple of points, Tuten noted, “I don’t even know why I’m talking about this.” Neither do we, Tim, but please keep talking.
Click on the images below to see more photos of the Undertow bands.