The rest of the days I had left in Chicago before heading to Europe were spent dealing with the backlog of work and correspondence that had piled up while I was on tour earlier in the fall. Even so, there was still some great music to hear and I tried to catch what I could. On Wednesday the 15th The Electrics played at the Hideout. The following night Peter Brötzmann played a series of solos back to back with readings by the English poet, Tom Raworth, at Elastic. This was one of the best performances I’ve experienced in the last year. I was completely unaware of Tom’s work, and his readings of his own texts were completely stunning. Each solo statement by these two artists built an amazing momentum, and in conjuntion they created an incredible experience based in words and sound. I left Elastic inspired for days. The last gig I heard before leaving town was by The Engines playing as a quartet (Jeb Bishop, Tim Daisy, Nate McBride, Dave Rempis), at The Hungry Brain on Sunday the 19th. It was the first chance I had to hear them play and their music was fantastic. Even though each member contributes to the band’s book of tunes there is complete cohesion to the group’s sound and aesthetic. I feel that this was something that the cooperative Bridge 61 failed to accomplish in the end. When it works, as it does with The Engines, the end result is truly greater than the sum of its parts. I heard they finished mixing their first album as a quartet and are going to be shopping it around to labels- it’s going to be a hell of a record when it’s released.
-Ken Vandermark, Wels, 12/9/06.
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