Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Ike Reilly Assassination Blows Me Away With High-Powered Show: Concert Review

Concert Review

The Ike Reilly Assassination
with Pie-Eyed Pete
Fitzgerald's, Berwyn, IL
November 27, 2010

I often bemoan, mostly to myself, sometimes to my friend Dave, that I don't seem to be hearing a whole lot of new rock music that really excites me.

But the truth is that although I have a vast and somewhat diverse music collection, if I were to look at almost anyone else's collection, I would undoubtedly find a whole lot of music by artists I've never heard, or even heard of.

So while I would still love to hear of some great new bands coming along, and even getting popular, there's probably enough great rock music that's already been made to which I remain oblivious to satisfy my exploratory urges for many years to come. I just somehow need to find it.

Last night, I saw a tremendously satisfying concert by a band called The Ike Reilly Assassination at Fitzgerald's Nightclub in Berwyn. Reilly, who hails from Libertyville, and his gang played exactly one song that I recognized, and that was only because Dave--without whom I still probably would never have heard of the IRA and without whose brother Curt, Dave would still be in the dark--had lent me a couple of Ike Reilly CDs in the preceding weeks.

But even though I often have a hard time appreciating live music without being somewhat familiar with the recorded version, the hard-charging literate rock of the IRA transcended my ignorance to sound great even for the first time.

And while Reilly fits somewhat within the stylistic cross-section of artists that I know & like, from the famous--Dylan & Springsteen--to personal favorites--Willie Nile, Alejandro Escovedo--he and his band were unique enough for me to not write them off as derivative. They just played good music in a vein I like while being fresh enough to constitute something engagingly new.

And while like hundreds of other acts--some that I know, most that I don't--one can say that The Ike Reilly Assassination deserves to be more popular, the truth is that they fit so perfectly into a venue like Fitzgerald's (with perhaps a couple hundred people in the room) that it would be hard to imagine them translating to the Auditorium, let alone the United Center.

While I have seen many concerts in football stadiums, basketball arenas and outdoor amphitheaters, and have no aversion to doing so, this year I have also caught a number of shows in smaller venues. Along with the aforementioned Escovedo, these have included acts like Graham Parker, Bob Mould, Ray Davies, Teenage Fanclub, Jason & The Scorchers and John Prine. While I prefer venues where I can readily sit through all, or at least part, of a show, I tend to imagine that a higher percentage of future concerts will be by smaller acts in smaller rooms. And so it's nice to add to the Ike Reilly Assassination to the roster of artists that warrant my support, especially when last night's show cost just $20.

Although the sound of this clip I found from a recent IRA show doesn't really do Ike Reilly justice, perhaps it might whet your appetite to learn more. And if you know of artists that I should know but likely don't please feel free to let me know. Because I'll always be enamored by discovering what I haven't yet, and with songs like "Girls in the Back Room" and "Whatever Happened to the Girl in Me?" still ringing in my memory along with the lyric, "somewhere between dreams and fear is life" (from "Devil's Valentine"), it sure feels good to say "I Like Ike."

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