Amp Fiddler | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Amp Fiddler 

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After two decades of serious session work with the likes of George Clinton, Prince, Carl Craig, Maxwell, Lucy Pearl, and Jamiroquai, Joseph "Amp" Fiddler of Detroit has finally stepped out on his own; unsurprisingly, his first album, Waltz of a Ghetto Fly (PIAS America/Genuine), is steeped in the deep funk and soul that dominates his discography. Fiddler produced or coproduced the entire set--former Slum Village trackmaster Jay Dee pitches in on a few of the more hip-hop-inflected tunes--and aside from a peppering of live percussion and low-end bass, it's predominantly an electronic affair. Between the tightly coiled beats and Fiddler's constricted vocal range, the album gives off a nicely narcotic vibe that suggests a fusion of Sly's There's a Riot Goin' On and D'Angelo's paradigm-shifting Voodoo. It's not particularly original, too many songs get bogged down in ambling midtempo grooves, and lyrics like "If you can't get me off your mind / Just stop thinking about me babe" won't be confused with poetry. But Fiddler sings with soul, selling the simple sentiments with everything he's got, and the low-key funk will have you nodding along before you know it. In his Chicago debut he performs with a full band. Soul Phonetics open; Peven Everett plays second. With DJ Chavez. $15. Friday, August 13, 10 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo; 312-362-9707.

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