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Back to Ground Zero: Local H, November 8 at RIBCO PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Friday, 01 November 2013 05:43

Local H's Scott Lucas. Photo by Wade Hawk.

It would have been the perfect time for Scott Lucas to close the door on Local H.

In February, he was mugged in Russia, an attack that left him with damage to his vocal chords – and they still aren’t fully healed. In August, Local H announced that drummer Brian St. Clair was amicably leaving the guitar/drum duo after 14 years.

On the plus side, the band was coming off Hallelujah! I’m a Bum, which one author dubbed the “best rock album of 2012,” and which called a “watershed album ... . Not only is it the most intricately arranged and carefully structured of the band’s 20-plus-year history, but it is also their first to delve so deeply into the polluted waters of partisan politics. ... Musically, Hallelujah! is on par with the best entries in the H catalogue. Lucas has a knack for crafting heavy rock with strong, distinctive hooks.” As epitaphs go, a band could do much worse.

But when I asked guitarist/vocalist Lucas last week about shelving his Chicago-area band given the events of 2013, he said he never seriously considered it. “This would be the second time in my life where I would sort of think that,” he said. But “at this point it’s kind of hard to separate myself from the band. When I’m dead, you won’t have to wonder what I thought and what was going through my mind. All you have to do is put on these records, and you’d know. ... This has never been a job for me. I honestly don’t know what else I would do. It is part of me, and it always has been.”

Hail to the Thieves: String Quintet Sybarite5 Tackles Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, and More; November 10 at Augustana College PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 31 October 2013 05:54


It likely seems a minor thing, but most of the tracks on Sybarite5’s 2012 album Everything in Its Right Place clock in within a few seconds of the corresponding Radiohead versions.

The string quintet – which will have three public performances as part of its Quad City Arts Visiting Artist residency from November 4 though 10 – is by no means the first classically trained ensemble to tackle the songs of Thom Yorke and company. But it’s certainly the most faithful, and the song lengths are actually telling.

The eight arrangements by Paul Sanho Kim (on the 10-track album) are striking in matching each song nearly moment-for-moment and part-by-part. This includes lush, thick, slow pieces such as “Everything in Its Right Place” and “Pyramid Song” but also explosive rockers such as “Paranoid Android” and “2+2=5.” Crucially, neither the arrangements nor the performances castrate the songs, retaining their dynamic range and energy without drums, electric guitars, or amplification.

The Zydeco Smile: Terrance Simien Performs and Educates as Blues in the Schools' Artist-in-Residence PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 06:00

Terrance SimienWould you like to see a photo of perhaps the happiest child in the world?

If so, I’ll direct you to the Web site of Grammy-winning zydeco musician Terrance Simien, the latest artist-in-residence for the Mississippi Valley Blues Society’s Blues in the Schools program. Land on the home page at, click on the “Creole for Kidz” tab, and check out the picture of the little boy – he looks about three or four – photographed at one of Simien’s concerts. You’ll have no trouble knowing which kid I’m referring to: He’s wearing a red Spider-Man T-shirt, holding a gold-bead necklace, and boasting what might be the most infectiously joyful smile you’ve ever seen.

“That’s the zydeco smile, man!” says Simien, with a laugh, when I reference the child’s photo during our recent phone interview. “You get that, man! You get that when you hear the music. You just start smiling, and people start dancing ... . That’s what that music does to you!”

Photos from the Eagles Concert, October 21 at the i wireless Center PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Matt Erickson   
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 09:16

Photos from the Eagles concert at the i wireless Center on October 21, 2013. For more work by Matt Erickson, visit

Photo by Matt Erickson,

Photos from the Communion Tour Concert, October 17 at Codfish Hollow Barn PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Matt Erickson   
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 10:11

Photos from the Communion Tour concert at Maquoketa’s Codfish Hollow Barn on October 17, 2013, featuring The4onthefloor, Willy Mason, Dustin Smith & the Sunday Silos, and Hugh Bob & the Hustle. For more work by Matt Erickson, visit

The 4onthefloor:

Photo by Matt Erickson,

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