Pelican | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Pelican 

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This local four-piece belongs to the small but growing class of metal bands approved for use by sensitive indie rockers, due in part to the absence of vocals--without the usual snarling and spitting to make them sound angry, even Pelican's most brutal riffs feel impersonal in their staggering power, like weather systems. There's only one sane reaction to a bunch of burly guys with ax handles pounding on your door and hollering, but if you're in the right frame of mind you can enjoy it when a thunderstorm throws its shoulder against your window. Pelican's songs have always been heavy with anvil-topped clouds of drop-tuned guitar, but on the band's new album, The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw (Hydra Head), there are more lulls in the downpour: translucent sheets of echoing feedback, clean single-string figures that glitter like raindrops falling through a shaft of sunlight, even misty interludes of tranquil acoustic picking. Many of the songs still top the ten-minute mark, but the band is confident enough now to tease you, to hold back the flood for a spell, because they know you want it and you'll wait for it--that moment when the distortion pedals come on, the steady rumble of the double kick drum drops in, and the room is suddenly brimming to the rafters with guitar goodness. The Red Sparowes (whose lineup includes Isis guitarist Bryant Clifford Meyer), Breather Resist, the Russian Circles, and DJ Mother Hubbard open. Sat 8/20, 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $13. All ages.

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