Chris Brokaw, Elliot Dicks & Doug McCombs | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Chris Brokaw, Elliot Dicks & Doug McCombs 

Chris Brokaw has long been a team player, and usually prefers to make his contributions away from the spotlight; most notably, he maintained Codeine's slow-burning trudge from behind the drum kit, and as a guitarist he added a fierce rhythmic muscle to Come. He's also lent his talents to nearly two dozen other projects, from sporadically active groups like Pullman and the New Year to freelance gigs with Cobra Verde and Steve Wynn. But he's spent more time working solo in recent years, recording a film score, releasing an album of original acoustic tunes, and finally, with last year's Incredible Love (12XU), making a rock album of his own. Folks like drummer Kevin Coultas (ex-Rodan) and bassist Jeff Goddard (ex-Karate) assist on some tracks, but Brokaw ably handles the lion's share of the instruments. His contemplative songs focus on fear of commitment, and though his lyrics can be a little stiff--"I had to devise a system wherein I'd compartmentalize my life" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue--he makes the most of his constricted, breathy voice, tracing measured, memorable melodies over lattices of acoustic strumming and electric chugging. This show is the debut of a brand-new trio featuring Pullman bandmate Doug McCombs, who (like Brokaw) will play guitar and sing, and Nerves drummer Elliot Dicks. Dots and Shields and Che Arthur open. Tue 1/24, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8.

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