Monday, September 08, 2008

Hard to Beat

A heartwarming musician story that is hard to beat: Binky Tunny had gotten her car broken into on Friday night, and they took a collectable guitar (which she was about to put on the market), as well most of the gear she needed to play a show Saturday night at Points East. It's a show I'm really sorry I missed for a variety of reasons: 1) Binky Tunny and her band is always a good bet, 2) Crumpler was on the bill and 3) Crumpler's bass player is now also Binky's bass player and that's something I really wanted to see.

The heartwarming part: apparently the thief didn't clear through everything before trying to unload the hot gear; according to Binky's website, the folks at Gearheadz (41st and National) found her business card amongst the stuff, gave her a call, and whaddya know, she's got her gear back! I can't help but cheer: only one other time in my memory have I heard of a musician's stolen gear actually turning up. The other time involved Julie Brandenburg (then Niedjiecko), a first floor flat in Riverwest, and a very distinctive-looking bass that while looking good (and easy to trace) was actually modified by the previous owner to an almost unusuable state. So the only thing the thief really robbed from her was peace of mind. And that's how it is with robbery: they don't just get your stuff. Do these crackheads not know that every used gear joint in town is going to check a few things? Most of the time, if you've had your gear stolen, you just accept it's in Chicago by the time the cops fill out the incident report and hope you had it listed on your insurance policy's scheduled items. (Gee, my bourgeois-ness is showing, eh?)

Still, I was pretty cooked. After a Harley Davidson weekend, I had some girlfriends over for a girly barbecue and we drank lots of wine and ate lots of delicious food. I didn't mean to consume as much as I did, but by the time Saturday rolled around, I was in no condition to do anything.

And then Sunday hit me in the face. It's FALL. I saw a few trees start to color, and the temperature has dropped. Lots coming up this weekend. F/i has a big show at the Miramar Theatre with the Aimless Blades and Or. Or is a band that veteran drummer Vic Demichei plays in: it features this violinist named Klavs Mednis who supposedly has quite this following. According to their myspace page, they've existed since 1978 in one form or another, but this is the first I've heard of them. Still, from the samples I've heard, they're prog, on the psychedelic side, almost a jam band. This is going to meld well with the Aimless Blades, whose psychedelia comes in from the garage/Velvet Underground/Americana side. And then there's F/i, space rockin, krautrockin' F/i. It will be some kind of hard to beat intense night.

Especially when, if you really want to make it a night of amazing music, the place to start off the evening will be at Turner Hall, where the Plastic People will be playing. I first heard about them during a period when they called themselves Pulnoc -- about 10 20 (time flies when you're in your 40s, eh? Just edited this timespan...) years ago when Czechoslovakia was just emerging from behind the Iron curtain, and then president Vaclav Havel was promoting not only democracy, but the culture of his country. I'd picked up Pulnoc's "City of Hysteria" when it came out and was happy to hear a band that was so clearly influenced by the Velvet Underground but had their own thing going. Trust me, it will be worth it to pay two covers on Friday night.

And don't do what I did and overdo it, because Saturday begins the annual Global Union Festival, and if it's anything like last year's or even the year before, it's going to be worth getting up early after a night of psychedelia, loading up at the South Shore Farmer's Market, plunking a blanket down and enjoying the show. The band that piques my interest the most starts things off: Lamajamal, a world music outfit that formed in Chicago which incorporated many world music forms as well as a touch of the surf guitar -- and regular sixthstation readers know how difficult it is to pry me away from a top notch surf guitar. It makes sense -- most surf guitar greats have more than a touch of arabian as well as native american influences to thank for their wonderful, dangerous sound.

As usual, Global Union competes on Saturday with the Bay View Bash a few blocks away. The Bash is a good block party, but it was sort of a last-minute deal this year. It almost didn't happen at all, but a few months ago the Bay View Neighborhood Association (run by some of those do-nothing community organizers I've heard tell of) decided to do it anyway. In festival organizing parlance, that's "last minute." There's a few bands I'd like to catch, but I'll probably venture over there after Global Union is done, because the appeal of this year's Bash is more as a neighborhood block party chock full of friends, rather than a huge band extravaganza (although 1956 hits a KK stage at around 3ish.) Still, two days of good world music for free, a sort of "Chill on the Hill -- the Last Gasp" will be hard to beat.

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