Sons of the Silent Age revive the music of David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Sons of the Silent Age revive the music of David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy 

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click to enlarge Sons of the Silent Age

Sons of the Silent Age

Paul Elledge

After David Bowie decamped from Los Angeles to the then-divided city of Berlin in the mid-70s, he recorded Low, “Heroes,” and Lodger. The three albums, known as the Berlin Trilogy, contain some of the most challenging music of his career, and he paid the price for it; to this day, none of them has gone gold. But their icy synthscapes, alienated lyrics, and robotic funk grooves seem prescient now, and the period yielded one of his most enduring songs, the anthemic “Heroes.” While producer-conceptualist Brian Eno deserves plenty of credit for the sound of those records, another figure also exerted a profound influence: Iggy Pop, who shared musical ideas and an apartment with Bowie in Berlin. Pop sang on Low, the two men worked together on Pop’s The Idiot, and Bowie played keyboards in Iggy’s band for a tour and a memorable appearance on The Dinah Shore Show. If anyone’s suited to do justice to this music, it’s Sons of the Silent Age, a nine-piece band that began convening to play Bowie’s songbook for a charity gig in 2013. The group play deep-catalog oddities with as much fidelity and fire as the biggest hits, and they’re likely to bring plenty of empathy to the Berlin Trilogy material; not only does singer Chris Connelly sound uncannily like Bowie, he’s made his own fair share of robot disco during his associations with Ministry and the Revolting Cocks. Sons of the Silent Age have tapped actor Michael Shannon to play the role of Iggy Pop, so expect some songs from The Idiot as well as songs from the Berlin Trilogy during the main set; the rest of Bowie’s songbook is wide open for the encores. And opening acts Craftwerc and TALsounds will channel the analog electronic sounds of the Krautrock acts that inspired Bowie and Eno back in the day. The beneficiary of this concert is the NorthShore University HealthSystem Medical Group’s Integrative Medicine Program.   v

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