Tommy Stinson | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Tommy Stinson 

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At 14, an age when most of us were fumbling through adolescence, Tommy Stinson was already boozing across the country with what would become the most beloved and influential band of the Amerindie era. Unfortunately Stinson's post-Replacements career, leading combos like Bash & Pop and Perfect, never really went anywhere. So it seemed a stroke of divine, if perverse, intervention when in the late 90s Axl Rose offered him a job playing bass in a reconstituted Guns N' Roses. But all that's produced so far is one aborted tour and a new album, Chinese Democracy, that after seven years is still "belated." Then last winter Stinson's buddy Frank Black tossed him the keys to his mobile studio and the 36-year-old former wunderkind finally cut his first solo album, Village Gorilla Head (Sanctuary). It may lack the besotted charm and casually riffed ease of Bash & Pop's Friday Night Is Killing Me or the bubbly spirit of Perfect's Seven Days a Week (which remains officially unreleased), but VGH is an easy album to warm to, packed with moments of canny pop perfection, a handful of showy rockers, and some genuinely aching ballads. In neatly updating Johnny Thunders's nasal-voiced gutter-troubadour persona circa So Alone, Stinson finally seems to have refound his comfort zone. He opens this show with a solo acoustic set; Seattle's Alien Crime Syndicate (see Spot Check) plays second and then serves as his backing band. $12. Tuesday, September 7, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212.

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

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