Monday, May 05, 2008

Paint the Town Orange

May 3rd, 2008 - South Union Arts - Chicago, IL - CT Ballentine, Emperior X, Real Live Tigers, Paul Baribeau, and Porches

Making the trek alone, I ventured into the city to a venue that I had heard of but never been to. Arriving a half hour early I found friend and musician James Eric standing in an empty parking lot of an old fenced in church. As we enter I remember there had been an art show here the night before, and I hoped the work would still be on display. The show had featured work from many Chicago artists that I had been looking at to feature on the site like Ferrari Sheppard, M?rk Flores, Dense, Stetch185, and even a familiar face like Joey Potts. The pieces were diverse and amazing, and from the frequent appearance of sold stickers, it was also successful.

The show started an hour late, but the crowd of fifty or so devoted folk fans did not seems to mind (even if the church did not have heat on a 40 degree May night in Chicago). First up was one half of Chicago's Cup N' String (The "Cup" half I imagine) a man many of you will recognize from his wildly creative writings published in THE2NDHAND, CT Ballentine. With painted guitar and strapped-on harmonica, CT pleased the crowd with tales of truck stops and love, dirt roads and revolutions. Dylanesque seemed to be thrown about and I couldn't disagree.

Listen to: I'll Be Fine (mp3)

Running down the center isle of the church demanding the audience to clap, the madman C. R. Matheny (a.k.a. Emperor X) of Brooklyn launches his set with energy. Armed with a $30 guitar and an amp circa 1970, Emperor X spun stories of another universe while singing into an echoing mic at times and without mic in the center of the crowd at times. I was completely blown away by not only his passion and ability to control the crowd, but the depth and quality of his songs.

Listen to: Spieltier (mp3)

Real Live Tigers took the stage, shy and unassuming, only four days back from a very sucessful tour oversea and a little under the weather. He begin his set on an electric guitar performing a special request, a local classic, "Bruises" (the same song the James Eric closed his set with just one month ago). Then switching to acoustic, his somber voice echoed through the catherdal in a near hymn-like fashion. Performing several songs from last years, This is Sometimes a Riverbed, but also mixing in a few new tracks Tony'serformance was memerizing and meditative. One of the new tracks that made me smile was a peppy (yes, peppy) song called "Leave A Map".

"F*** what you've heard their still self-absorb/nothing happened when those towers fell/and all those days we spent in city streets/with night sticks at our backs/weren't enough to change their minds/when they had a plan/but don't let this world break your heart." Biting, witty, perfectly stated!

Listen to: Leave a Map (mp3)

Paul Baribeau came across as casual, almost unprepared, but the moment he opened his mouth to sing you knew why he was there. Paul sang songs that would run straight at your deepest memory of youth and greatest fear of adulthood at the same time. His song rushed forward with a sense of hope. A tangible that is sitting on slope a hilltop waiting to be touched, but you never quite reach it. Singing several song from last year's Grand Ledge (Plan-it X Records), but also playing a few older songs upon requests. He go the crowd moving and transitioned nicely into the next act Porches.

Listen to: Ten Things (mp3)

The final act of the night was Ben Horowitz (a.k.a. Porches) accompanied by CT Ballentine on banjo. Ben began by inviting the crowd to sit warmly around the stage, he then sat down and began to sing about women going to purchase pills at the drug store and progressed through an eclectic set that included an aborted Dead Kennedy's song. The perfect end to a great night of art and independent folk tunes.

Listen to: Goin' Federal (mp3)

Most of the bands mentioned in this review are consistently on tour so please check their myspace pages. They maybe headed your way tomorrow.

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