Snakefinger | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Snakefinger 

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Snakefinger is a wonderful musician who tends to get overshadowed by the Residents, the mysterious and disturbing band for whom he has often played hired gun. A shame, because while the decidedly outre Residents are mostly about "concept," Snakefinger himself is completely about music--and is a good deal less creepy too. Feel free to dig the prop accordion in this picture, but Snake's actually a guitarist, who somehow manages to sound both fluid and jagged at the same time, and never hits the note you expect next. If you felt his loopy, individual fretwork was the best part of the Residents' live show at the Vic last year (I sure did), be warned: he's got a band of his own, a corps of musician's musicians known as the Vestal Virgins, and they're hot stuff. On their latest Ralph Records LP, Night of Desirable Objects, the Virgins (including ex-Captain Beefheart sideman Eric Drew Feldman) tirelessly accompany the indefatigable Snake (who sings, too--sort of) across vast expanses of stylistic tundra (Bulgarian bagpipe music, old-time gospel, covers of Miles Davis and Nino Rota) and finally settle into lush, eerie explosions of grown-up beat-box funk. Live, this could all prove overwhelming--not to mention extremely danceable. Saturday, West End, 1170 W. Armitage; 525-0808.

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

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