PLASTIC CRIMEWAVE VISION CELESTIAL GUITARKESTRA, PRIMORDIAL UNDERMIND | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

PLASTIC CRIMEWAVE VISION CELESTIAL GUITARKESTRA, PRIMORDIAL UNDERMIND 

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Given how much Steve Krakow, aka Plastic Crimewave, contributes to the Chicago music scene, it's nice to see the scene give back--in this case, by finally making his quixotic dream of leading a psychedelic guitar army come true. (Krakow says he tried nearly ten years ago at Roby's, but the show was canceled.) Last month, in an e-mail calling for participants in the PLASTIC CRIMEWAVE VISION CELESTIAL GUITARKESTRA, he explained that he intends the performance to be a "sonic exorcism on the evil that rules this land in the key of the almighty E." He also strongly encouraged "devotional attitudes, flowing robes, sunblindness, fever dreams, chaos magick," and the use of modestly sized amplifiers--as the guitarkestra (or Krakowkestra, as I prefer to call it) has gathered momentum, he's had to start asking people to bring extension cords and power strips too. I'm sure he's only half joking when he says he hopes the group doesn't knock out the power for the whole block--at last count he had more than 50 guitarists signed up to contribute to the mighty drone, including Bobby Conn, Ben Vida, Rob Lowe, and members of Coughs, the Dials, Dark Fog, and White/Light.

These days PRIMORDIAL UNDERMIND main man Eric Arn (late of Crystalized Movements, the 80s New England psych band that also spawned Magic Hour) lives in Vienna, Austria, but he's still got a second home of sorts in Austin, his favored haunt for most of the past eight years. That's where his band recorded its latest album, last fall's Loss of Affect (Strange Attractors Audio House), which covers all your basic flavors of mind alteration: trippy and spacey, heavy and crunchy, jarring and dissonant. (The current tour features the American players from those sessions.) Primordial Undermind's lush psychedelia seems to hail from an alien opium den, where avant-garde films screen on the stamped-tin ceiling, rusted-out robots learn folk dances, and the proprietor--who likes to tell the story of how he stowed away on Sun Ra's spaceship as a kid--is constantly changing the wallpaper by snapping his fingers.

The Krakowkestra headlines, Primordial Undermind plays second, and Screaming Yellow Zonkers open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8.

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