HoZac Blackout: Dwight Twilley, Pezband, Games, Sueves | Empty Bottle | Fairs & Festivals | Chicago Reader
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HoZac Blackout: Dwight Twilley, Pezband, Games, Sueves 

When: Sun., May 19, 8 p.m. 2013
Price: $25, $70 four-day pass
American power-pop progenitor Dwight Twilley has never stopped writing and recording hooky songs, but his last flirtation with the mainstream was in 1984, when two songs from his album Jungle cracked the Billboard singles chart—the classic “Girls” peaked at number 16. I haven’t heard his most recent studio album, 2011’s Soundtrack (Varese Sarabande), but I know plenty of his earlier material, and though Twilley has fallen prey to some unfortunate production trends during his nearly four-decade recording career, especially in the 80s (superfluous synthesizers, boomy drums, suffocating reverb), his knack with a catchy melody has proved as consistent as his bad luck. In 1974 he and his musical partner, Phil Seymour, left their hometown of Tulsa for LA, where within a year (and with virtually no promotion) they scored a Top 40 hit with “I’m on Fire,” a masterpiece of Beatlesque pop girded by rockabilly swagger. The Dwight Twilley Band played it on American Bandstand along with its planned follow-up, “Shark (In the Dark),” but their label shelved the second single, afraid it would look like an attempt to cash in on the success of the film Jaws. Their brilliant debut album, Sincerely, took another year to come out, and by then the band’s momentum had stalled. A strong second album, Twilley Don’t Mind, came out in 1977 on Arista, and it tanked too, provoking Seymour to go solo (he died from lymphoma in 1993). Twilley has made a surfeit of indelible guitar pop in the decades since, but he’s never matched the perfection of those first two albums, with their flawless harmony singing, tasteful guitar, monster hooks, and just the right amount of grit and muscle from the band’s hard-rock drive. This rare local performance coincides with a new HoZac single that finally makes “Shark” available to the record-buying public—and it was worth the wait. It’s part of HoZac’s Blackout fest. —Peter Margasak Pezband, Games, and the Sueves open.



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