Stars of the Lid | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Stars of the Lid 

When they started out in the mid-90s, Stars of the Lid used the most basic equipment--guitars, effects pedals, and a four-track cassette recorder--in their Austin living rooms to create gorgeously textured drones. Since then Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie have accumulated more gear, but they've also moved to separate cities; they recorded last year's epic double CD/triple LP, The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid (Kranky), by mailing DATs back and forth between Chicago and Brussels. They've added piano and samples of radio broadcasts, strings, and horns to the mix, and molded the sounds into more overtly melodic structures. But the enhanced clarity of the new work has a downside; while Tired is always pleasant, it lacks the dense, sustained beauty the duo obtained by bouncing dozens of sounds down to four tracks on earlier albums such as The Ballasted Orchestra and Gravitational Pull vs. the Desire for an Aquatic Life. Stars of the Lid apparently recognize that two guys stepping on a bunch of pedals isn't the sort of spectacle that engages a concert audience, so they've invited film mixer Luke Savisky to project loops of found 16-millimeter footage onto them as they play. I've never experienced anything more psychedelic than the vertiginous swirl of sound and sight at the Stars' show at the Empty Bottle in 1998. Radar Brothers (see Spot Check) and Pine Marten open. Tuesday, November 5, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Henchpeople Jarvis Square Theater
July 09
Galleries & Museums
May 28

Popular Stories

  • Book It

    New and recent book releases from Chicago authors and publishers
  • A silence louder than words

    How allegations of sexual abuse exposed cracks in the foundation of Young Chicago Authors, Free Write Arts & Literacy, and the city’s spoken word community
  • Comedy is back, baby!

    A glimpse at how stand-ups coped during the pandemic and made their triumphant return to telling jokes again.
  • Black fatherhood

    Black men are rarely afforded the luxury of being seen as nurturers and caregivers.