Notes sputter out from west-side bluesman Boston Blackie’s guitar like bullets from a tommy gun–in bursts, not always on target, but devastating even when they miss. His style might be described as a stripped-down version of Magic Sam: piercing single-note leads punctuated by occasional raucous chords and driven by roughshod enthusiasm. Over the top he wails, moans, and shouts the blues in a voice that’s rough as a Lake Street alley and plaintive as a Mississippi field hand’s holler. Blackie’s combination of blues exhilaration and turbulent emotionality sometimes teeters on the edge of dissonance. But the uncompromising honesty of his presentation is unforgettable, and when everything’s right his blues can tear into your gut with searing ferocity. Tonight and Saturday, Lilly’s, 2513 N. Lincoln; 525-2422.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bruce Powell.