Sparks | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc, Fall Arts | Chicago Reader
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When: Wed., Nov. 6, 8 p.m. and Thu., Nov. 7, 8 p.m. 2013
Price: $30
Twenty-two albums in, brothers Ron and Russell Mael remain pop visionaries, loyal to a synth-­streaked glam theater that has evolved with the times during their 40-plus years as Sparks but has yet to waver from its youthful whimsy. The duo’s most recent studio release, 2009’s The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman, is a pop musical that imagines the Swedish director visiting Hollywood in the 50s—and a more fantastic, lavish-sounding vehicle for the duo I can’t imagine. The Maels have never lacked for ambition, which is perhaps why their artsy, flamboyant oddness took a while to make a dent in the States—even the over-the-top MTV of the 80s seemed ill-equipped to embrace a band with an eccentric shoulda-been radio single about Mickey Mouse. Their breakout moment happened primarily in Europe, when the perfect Kimono My House (1974) caught fire—it would eventually be recognized as a timeless work of pop art, as keen on showmanship as it is on carnivalesque, cartoonish hooks. Almost 30 years later, the Maels are still tinkering with their approach. These two shows are part of the “Two Hands One Mouth” tour, which takes its name from the title of their first-ever live album, released in April. Ron and Russell will perform sans backing band—just the two of them on keyboards and vocals, respectively, acting out their yin and yang, Russell the glitzy front man and Ron the severe, straitlaced puppet master. —Kevin Warwick 11/6 is 18+, 11/7 is 21+.

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