Chicago rockers Dead Rider and UK spoken-word artist Paul Williams join up for a weirdly electrifying journey | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Chicago rockers Dead Rider and UK spoken-word artist Paul Williams join up for a weirdly electrifying journey 

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click to enlarge Dead Rider Trio

Dead Rider Trio

Bread Casey

For nearly a decade, Chicago’s Dead Rider have devoted their genius to the underground rock scene; they’ve made five albums and each release has been a remarkable occasion. Their new one, Dead Rider Trio Featuring Mr. Paul Williams (Drag City, out October 19), is a collaboration with London-based spoken-word artist and experimental musician Williams that was recorded in a sort of exquisite-corpse format, and what strikes me most of all about it is how mesmerizingly hilarious it is. Williams is a master monologist, and his surreal ramblings over Dead Rider’s disorienting, incongruous backing create a dazzling uneasy listening experience. From the Beefheartesque chaos of “Candles on Crabs” to the Fluxus-worthy theatrics of “An Inching Thief,” the effect is sort of like being trapped around a bonfire and tripping balls while Robyn Hitchcock and Viv Stanshall try to upstage each other. Meanwhile criminally underrated guitarist Todd Rittmann plays what sounds like a collage of flooding waters, third-rail electricity, Hendrix outtakes, and dinosaur mating calls. Though Williams won’t be at this show, it’s still something to put on your calendar: Dead Rider remain one of today’s finest outposts of Weird America.   v

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