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Rachel Eckroth, Rufus Wainwright; Jonathan Jackson, Echo and the Bunnymen
by Vern Hester
2018-11-26

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As November drew to a close we witnessed a torrent of old-school queer favorites coming to town for a pile up of sentiment and nostalgia far removed from the homey vibe of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

First through town was out troubadour/composer Rufus Wainwright on his All These Poses Tour, which hit The Vic Theater on Nov.r 20. The show focused on his self-titled debut ( Rufus Wainwright, DreamWorks Records, 1998 ) and sophomore album ( Poses, DreamWorks Records, 2001 ), and gave him the chance to entertain a sold out house for two and a half hours.

Wainwright told stories about his family ( folk singers Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III ), his admiration for Leonard Cohen, writing an opera, and visiting sites around Chicago the previous afternoon. ( He enjoyed The Art Institute of Chicago, where he got turned on by a painting and indulged in Swedish meatballs at Ann Sather. ) Apart from singing many favorites and one new song ( "The Sword of Damocle,s" which he dedicated to President Trump ), Wainwright also displayed a queer flair with his wardrobe, which included coats made from unidentifiable materials. ( One floor-length coat looked like it was entirely made of crow feathers while another looked like it was made of a variety of bits of Christmas gift wrap. ) Opener Rachel Eckroth started the evening off with songs from her new album, When It Falls ( available through band camp ), which highlighted her subtle though melodious and intense vocals.

On Nov. 24, '80s Brit New Wave rockers Echo and the Bunnymen filled The Vic Theater in support of their new The Stars, the Ocean, and the Moon ( on BMG Records ) while tossing in a mix of hits and favorites from their 35-plus-year career.

Passionate solo artist Jonathon Jackson had the misfortune of being the opener since, regardless of his compelling and hypnotic performance, the audience loudly ignored him and talked through his set. Offering a hearty helping from his new EP, Enation-A Shock to the System ( available via band camp ), he managed to leave a positive impression despite his having to fight the audience to be heard.

Heads up!!! During December, look for shows by William Elliott Whitmore ( Thalia Hall, Dec. 13 ), Esperanza Spaulding ( The Vic, Dec. 5 ), queer joke-punkers Bev Rage and The Drinks ( with gay faves Bleach Party at The Sleeping Village, Dec. 18, ), and celebrated guitarist Richard Thompson for a two-night stand ( Thalia Hall, Dec. 7-8 ).


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