Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Hoots & Hellmouth, Fair Herald | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Hoots & Hellmouth, Fair Herald Critic's Choice Early Warnings (Music) Member Picks Recommended The List (Music) Soundboard

When: Mon., March 23, 9 p.m. 2009
Price: $10
Even before the latest high-profile example—Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah,” which became a minor hit last year, more than a decade after his death—I considered covering Leonard Cohen songs to be basically illegal, especially for male singer-songwriters in their mid-20s. It’s just such an obvious move, and because in most cases the cover is the best song in the set it usually seems like a cheap, self-defeating grab at credibility. When I saw 25-year-old Brooklyn singer-songwriter Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson in January, he did two of them, but he gets a pass. For one thing, his renditions were sparse and tastefully understated, delivered in a clear, unpolished croon that’s well suited to the material. For another, most of the people there were obviously just waiting out his set to see headliners Cursive, so I can hardly blame him for pandering a little to get their attention—it’s too bad they talked over most of the rest of his songs. His self-titled debut album, released last year by Say Hey, is tuneful and melancholy, and when he gets especially dark and deep he’s rescued from cheap melodrama by the kind of urbane world-weariness that did the same trick for Cohen. Hoots & Hellmouth and Fair Herald open. —Miles Raymer


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