Lilacs/Paul K. & the Weathermen | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Lilacs/Paul K. & the Weathermen 

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Chief Lilac Kenny Kurson says Paul K.'s a genius, and he's bringing the little-known but respected Kentucky songwriter and bandleader to town to prove it. K.'s supposedly released as many as 20 cassettes of his work over the past six years, and a 90-minute precis I've been listening to demonstrates two things: a rushing, early U2-ish alternative rock and an almost whimsical (by contrast) acoustically flavored folk. On the noisy stuff, with a full band, his voice sounds so exaggerated and portentous you sometimes feel like you're listening to the Call. But the quiet stuff has a sort of latter-day Basement Tapes feel; K.'s fluty voice sounds like Richard Manuel's, and he favors the same kind of grand crazy ballads Dyland did. The Lilacs are a manic and pretty funny industrial-strength power pop outfit. Both their humor and their music can be a bit inchoate live, but Kurson used to play bass for Green, where he learned a thing or two about writing neat pop songs; his latest is the grand and wistful "Baby Tells Me." Saturday, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln. 525-6620.

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

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