Wednesday, October 18, 2006

OK, back to business ...

The past few weeks have been pretty busy, with more than just kid's stuff, for once. The paper mysteriously turned the tap back on and the assignments have been flowing ever since. The past few days I've caught Madeleine Peyroux, Lily Allen and Evanescence on stage, three acts who could not possibly be any more different from one-another.

At the Evanescence show last night (a small venue deal in advance of a 2007 arena jaunt), I saw a guy with eye-liner and a light application of foundation. My first thought was, hey, a guy wearing make-up! And then I thought, duh, of course he his. For those unfamiliar with Evanescence, the neo-Christian group espouses a likewise neo-Goth fashion sense, with black clothes - and black everything, for that matter - the immutable look. Like the woe-is-me lyrics, however, it's all surface, and I was shocked by how boring it was live.

Lily Allen looked more or less how I felt at Evanescence, like she wanted to be anywhere else but Chicago. Who could really blame her? Her album (already out and a hit at home in the UK) doesn't come out here for three months, so why put a lot of oomph into a set when you know you'll be back in earnest later?

Peyroux has a similar F.U. sense about her, but she takes it out in the promotional machine and not her fans. In print she reads like a big crank, but she clearly loves performing. With a nice selection of covers - Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman, Elliott Smith - she's like Norah Jones for the foreground rather than the background. Funny, though, how many people responded with whoops to her rendition of Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love." Yes, the word "love" throws folks off, but the songs a different sort of break-up number, inspired not by waning passions but by the prison ovens of the Holocaust.

That Leonard Cohen. Always good for a chuckle.


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