NRBQ | FitzGerald's | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Sat., June 21, 9 p.m. 2014
Price: $20
For most of a career that stretches back to 1966, NRBQ has had a reputation as a great live band that makes inconsistent and frequently indulgent recordings. The group’s current incarnation—sole original member Terry Adams and a crew half his age, including Chicagoans Scott Ligon and Casey McDonough—doesn’t play the wildly eclectic music that characterized NRBQ for so many years (the old version of the band split in 2004 because Adams had to get treated for throat cancer), but on the other hand, its albums have been satisfying and consistent. NRBQ has found the perfect balance of concision and looseness—it wastes few notes but doesn’t sound fastidious—and its newest record, the new Brass Tacks (Clang!), bustles with hooky tunes, including Adams’s Merseybeat confection “Sit in My Lap,” McDonough’s spot-on Buck Owens send-up “Fightin’ Back,” and an apparently heartfelt treatment of the Rodgers & Hammerstein standard “Getting to Know You.” Most of the album’s songs drip with sweet sentimentality, but the band’s breezy, confident approach keeps them from sounding false or silly. Adams is nothing if not peripatetic, though, so you can’t read too much into any single NRBQ record—and some pieces push in radically different directions. “This Flat Tire” is a boilerplate blues, and “Places Far Away” feels like Adams tried to write a Sun Ra number for the band. —Peter Margasak
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