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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusement, Friday


Brilliant Corners Of Amusement at Eckhart Park in Chicago on September 16th,2011.

The Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements, which aims to redefine vaudeville for a 21st century audience of kids and adults alike, got off to a slow start today. Perhaps it was the drop in temps, or the unwillingness of the punk rock retirement set to drag their and their kids' butts out after work, but the scene sparse at best. And it's a shame, too, as this is a really neat thing. Two legit circus tents divide the entertainment: The Criss Cross Music tent (which smelled exactly like a Mold-o-Rama dinosaur fresh outta the machine) on the east end of the Eckhart Park grounds and The Magic City Circus Tent on the west end. Between the big tops lives an extremely paired-down version of the Renegade Craft Fair, featuring heavy-hitter booths such as the Bird Machine collective, Soup and Bread, and Dan Grzeca (who designed my favorite Low poster of all time), as well as neatly arranged, designy tables and chairs for sitting and sipping Goose Island libations (There was a sign for Wishbone, too, but no actual food), and token carnival games and rides such as a giant rocking pharoah boat. It wasn't until about 8pm that the games and rides saw some action from the kid set, and by then all of the craft booths and tables patrons had packed up and gone home or moved inside a tent, leaving the front half of the fest completely dark. All that to say, the timing was just a bit out of whack tonight.
Inside the music tent about 30 dudes stood and tapped toes for CAVE, the night's opener, who sounded great as a newly-formed four piece and played a set as electrifying as any set would be to a paltry audience consisting of middle-aged white guys and me. Colombian purveyors of disco and danchall, Bomba Estereo, perked up the scene with a dancy-worthy set perfect for the darkened tent setting, adding pops of pink spot lights and a rap scatting chanteuse—imagine a tiny, Spanish-speaking hybrid of Bj√∂rk and Sister Nancy in a brightly-colored pancho—to a hyped up audience that had swelled to about 75 by the end of the set. There were the ubiquitous white guys, but also a strong Latin flavor—superfans who were stoked to see these guys play in the states.Mali-based singer-songwriter Sidi Toure mellowed things out a bit. And though a portion of Estereo's audiecne remained captivated, another portion channeled their old Lounge Ax days by standing and talking at the top of their lungs with a craft beer or Pelligrino (no shit—see punk rock retirement reference above). The three-piece took in stride, however, and even pulled out some sweet '80s hair band-style moves by soloing on their insanely cool Malian instruments (that I am ill-equipped to identify) [Toure made his first guitar byhand—Ed], while dropping low to the floor in a thrusty sway. Talk about worlds colliding. Bill Callahan, as expected given the neighborhood and target demo, was the most well-received act, playing a solid mix of old and new material to an audience of about 100 Smog fans. Considering the sold out status of the last few Smog/Callahan shows that have come throught, it was quite refreshing to catch him in such a cool setting, a circus tent with under-the-sea style lights swirling on the ceiling for Pete's sake, with great sound and room to breath to boot.SEE MORE FOTOS AT:http://timeoutchicago.com/music-nightlife/music/14948445/brilliant-corners-of-popular-amusement-friday-photo-gallery-live-revi

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