Neil Michael Hagerty | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Neil Michael Hagerty 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Neil Michael Hagerty is a stylistic drifter: as a member of Royal Trux and more recently as a solo artist, he's floated from weird psychedelia to primitive preblues ditties to Rolling Stones raunch and back again. His sprawling third album, Neil Michael Hagerty & the Howling Hex (Drag City), plays up his peripatetic tendencies: it's 21 songs recorded in four different clubs and studios with a shifting roster of players. "Watching the Sands" takes a heartfelt stab at southern-fried soul, "Firebase Ripcord" offers swaggering rock 'n' roll with meaty baritone sax supplied by sometime Chicagoan Matt Bauder, and "Clermont Heights," a fart of faux-collagist chaos, simulates the disorienting muck of Twin Infinitives-era Trux. A lesser artist might have turned such a project into a scattered collection of genre exercises, but Hagerty's shopworn voice and wah-wah wizardry leave their imprint on each and every tune. A couple of live tracks emphasize his druggy guitar solos, which abandon clear narrative lines to stagger in confusion, but otherwise the album supplies a road map for the strange little universe he's created over the last decade and a half. On this tour Hagerty will be backed by bassist Josh Abrams and drummer Dan Sylvester--a jazzy Chicago-based rhythm section that ought to make the jams a little more elastic. Subarachnoid Space and Paik open. Saturday, May 31, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

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


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Peter Margasak

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Frankenstein Theater Wit
October 24
Performing Arts
Spirits to Enforce Berry Memorial United Methodist Church
November 08

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories