David Bazan’s resurrected group Pedro the Lion makes its first big return to Chicago | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

David Bazan’s resurrected group Pedro the Lion makes its first big return to Chicago 

click to enlarge David Bazan of Pedro the Lion

David Bazan of Pedro the Lion

Ryan Russell

Since singer-songwriter David Bazan dissolved his most popular band, Pedro the Lion, in 2005 he’s continued to make the kind of intimate, self-questioning indie rock that Pedro was known for, just operating under his own name. Pedro material has stuck around in Bazan’s performances too, albeit mostly in small doses—he’s been known to incorporate a track or two into the frequent solo acoustic living-room tours he’s made since 2009. (These intimate shows take place in galleries and even in the homes of strangers who open their doors to small groups of fellow fans.) Subsequently, in 2012, Bazan assembled a band to play Pedro’s intimate quasi-rock-opera Control in celebration of its tenth anniversary as Jade Tree reissued the band’s albums on vinyl (Epitaph, which purchased Jade Tree’s catalog, started rereleasing those albums on vinyl in May, and the latest pressing of Control is due out this month). Through the years, Bazan has remained a transparent and pragmatic lyricist, and he carries himself in a similar fashion outside of his music as well. Last year he told Stereogum that, yes, he could make more money under Pedro the Lion than under his own name, but this time he got the band together simply because he wanted to play in a rock band again, something he realized after seeing one of the final Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers performances and one of U2’s Joshua Tree 30th-anniversary gigs. So Pedro is back, with plans to do more than just revisit the past. Future releases are due out on Polyvinyl, which is fitting, as both the downstate Illinois indie label and Bazan’s band excel at the kind of touching emo that both reaches the genre’s heights and circumvents its lows.   v

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