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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Pop Making Sense
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin
2009-09-23

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P!nk turns white hot when she gets fired up. Don't remind her that her Funhouse Tour shares the same theme as Britney Spears' Circus Tour. Including trapeze stunts, P!nk's Funhouse Tour comes to Chicagoland on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at The Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim, Rosemont. It would be a spectacle to have one-time collaborator Lisa Marie Presley under the big top with P!nk, but the buzzworthy Ting Tings will be opening for the "So What" singer.

Outside his recent incident upstaging of Taylor Swift, Kanye West has made me smack my forehead previously. First, outspoken animal activist P!nk went on a tirade against West in the publication The Sun. Per the piece, both attended Stella McCartney's fashion show in Paris and West kept insisting how the fashion line needed more fur. Clearly, West failed to realize that the designer and her father are vegetarians. Then, West posted that he didn't understand the association of rainbows with the LGBT community. Sounds like somebody should spend more time on Wikipedia and less time twittering.

Maybe having his foot in his mouth causes the hip hop star to be able to carry only two notes, ergo the need for AutoTuned vocals. West recently appeared on Beyonce's "Diva" and on "Gifted" with NASA alongside Santigold and Lykke Li.

A tour with Lady Gaga is in the works. Instead of having one open for the other, the pair will share stage time together with a scheduled date on Saturday, Jan. 16, at The United Center, 1901 W. Madison. Per her interview with Out, the pop-culture phenomenon broke it down for West: "I'm gay. My music is gay. My show is gay. And I love that it's gay. And I love my gay fans and they're all coming to our show. And it's going to remain gay."

Just weeks prior to his famous "Bush doesn't care about Black people" revelation at A Concert for Hurricane Relief in 2005, West made a call out to all who would listen that anti-gay lyrics in music must cease while promoting his opus, Late Registration.

Although West has brought light to topics, I say fly in Barbra Streisand to tell him to "shut the fuck up" whenever he runs his mouth. Surely, West would throw a fit if somebody rained on his parade.

We all know Moby can deliver a solid dance hit and even can cross over with a soulful mid-tempo number. Many of his albums conclude with beautifully composed orchestral-electronic masterpieces. On his latest release, Wait for Me, the New York DJ and producer extraordinaire favors the chill side of things. Moby helped define ambient music with his 1993 outing, appropriately titled Ambient.

While radio airplay and remixes may be unlikely, Wait for Me has outstanding, celestial songs like "Pale Horses" and "Walk with Me," which features the underappreciated soul artist Leela James. "JLTF" and the title track also have me levitating to a higher plane. Need more Moby? Check out the great Patti LaBelle singing on a new version of "One of These Mornings" on the Miami Vice soundtrack. Moby will be returning to the Windy City with a concert at The Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield, on Wed., Sept. 30.

They are seasoned musicians. They are brassy. They are bidding farewell. Saffire: The Uppity Blues Women will be taking to the stage for the last time in Chicago at The Old Town of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, on Sunday, Sept. 27. Earlier this year, the live favorites released Havin' the Last Word. Here, blues and folk are happily married as heard on the clever numbers "Bald Headed Blues," "Bald Eagle" and "I'm Growing Older." The documentary Hot Flash! gives insight to the trio's 25-year history through interviews and live concert footage. The Stairwell Sisters will be sharing the bill with Saffire.

Laura Meyer's latest, Miles from Nowhere, serves as a travelogue. This, Meyer's third album, reflects her findings while touring the country and observations of nature's beauty. "Between the Earth & the Sky" is a lush, tender ode, while "Flying V" serves up some delicious gritty guitars. The New York City-based folk singer has appeared on the Food Network's $12 Challenge. Meyer has two dates lined up in Chicago. First, she will be at Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln, on Saturday, Sept. 26. Then she will be joining Samantha Cathcart and Sherri Anne at Uncommon Ground, 1401 W. Devon, on Monday, Sept. 28. Her Web site, www.laurameyer.net, has recipes, free downloads and even prizes.

Not ready to give up summer? Rhythms del Mundo: Classics provides sunshine with carefree covers set to a breezy Latin sound. It seems only natural that surfer turned singer-songwriter Jack Johnson remakes John Lennon's mantra "Imagine." Cat Power's voice is perfectly suited for this rendition of "Satisfaction." "Under the Boardwalk" redone by The Rolling Stones is the most fitting on the set. Aquila Rose and Dana Valdes's take on "Big Yellow Taxi" is nothing short of charming. Proceeds from Rhythm del Mundo benefit Artists Project Earth, which uses music to better areas affected by climate change and natural disasters. Rhythm del Mundo is out now—mojitos not included.


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