Eleventh Dream Day | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Eleventh Dream Day 

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Eleventh Dream Day

While Eleventh Dream Day's 17-year history certainly qualifies the band as rock veterans, the term would seem to imply that they've settled into a groove, sticking to what they do best. But although EDD's seventh album, Stalled Parade (Thrill Jockey), doesn't experiment as heavily with color and texture as 1997's Eighth, it's hardly the work of a group that's set in its ways. Guitarist Rick Rizzo continues to find new ways to express emotions with six strings; this time his warm, elegiac drones mirror the resigned sadness of his lyrics. When he and drummer Janet Bean (who are separated) sing "If you save yourself, then you might save me" on the title track, the desperation is crushing, and the corrosive waves of feedback that envelop their sorrowful voices add yet more dark weight. Bean employs the delicate Emmylou Harris-inspired tone she's honed in Freakwater on "Valrico74," a harrowing ballad that entangles her acoustic guitar strumming with Rizzo's inventive ambient electric noise over a slow, distended stomp. Stalled Parade is more what you'd call a guitar record than either Eighth or its predecessor, Ursa Major--Rizzo's unique blend of Neil Young's soulfulness and Tom Verlaine's cerebralism sounds more passionate and urgent than it has since the band's Atlantic days without sounding like a throwback. EDD has remained a trio since second guitarist Wink O'Bannon departed in the early 90s, but for this show the lineup will be augmented by multi-instrumentalist Mark Greenberg, whose versatility will allow both Bean and bassist Doug McCombs (who opens "In the Style of..." with a searing Rizzo-esque guitar solo) to switch-hit. Saturday, December 2, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Kim Ambriz.

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