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David Royko Psy.D


Hot Rize, Listen Up!, Grisman/Watson moments, 1998 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

TEMPO

ARTS WATCH

Monday, December 28, 1998


1998 ROCK MOMENTS

On Monday and Tuesday, our rock, pop and folk critics will bring

you a few of their favorite concertgoing snapshots of the past year, as

part of our Arts Watch Memorable Moments of 1998 series. On Wednesday,

in the last part of the series, our theater critics will offer their

views on 1998's good, bad and/or compelling plays. Look for the entire

Memorable Moments collection on-line at metromix.com/reviews.

------------

DAVE DUCKMAN [David Royko]

        With the stripped-down presentation of acoustic music concerts, one

is not likely to see plastic pods go haywire and need acetylene

intervention a la "Spinal Tap," but you can tell plenty about a

performer by his or her reaction to something as simple as an

uncooperative microphone stand. During the satiric "Red Knuckles"

portion of Hot Rize's appearance in May at the Old Town School of Folk

Music, the dark and mysterious Slade (alter ego of Charles Sawtelle)

was taking a bass solo when his mike stand collapsed. Without missing a

beat (literally), Nick Forster--as Wendell Mercantile--blurted out in

mock panic, "Slade's music is evil!" And when Rebecca Singer of the

uniquely compelling Jewish music a cappella quartet, Listen Up, finally

allowed gravity to win another memorable mike stand match at the

Chicago Cultural Center, she shifted seemlessly into the voice of Star

Trek's "Bones" McCoy, intoning with tragic resignation, "It's dead,

Jim."

        Under the category of incongruous juxtaposition, it is hard to beat

the audience at the David Grisman/Doc Watson concert at the College of

DuPage in January. Few artists are as representative of traditional

Appalachian music as Watson, while Grisman's music ranges all over the

map. That he was a close buddy of the late Grateful Dead leader Jerry

Garcia guarantees that no matter the context, a Grisman concert will

bring out a healthy dollop of deadheads. To watch a young woman "dance"

in the Dead manner of twirls and swoops to Watson as he played and sung

"Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor" was to marvel at the dancer's "I think

I can!" spirit. But what the heck, Garcia would not have minded seeing

square dancing at a Dead show.


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