Dave Alvin anchored one of the most interesting American bands of the 80s, the Blasters, a roots-rock postpunk ensemble out of LA that somehow fit right in with the ugly, star-crossed visions of their pals John Doe and Exene in X. The Blasters’s secret was guitarist and songwriter Alvin: his brother’s voice defined the band’s windswept sound, but it was Dave’s closely observed and efficiently limned portraits (“Border Radio,” most notably) that were its foundation. Alvin left the Blasters and joined X for a time, but now he’s back out on his own, another aging, raging talent trodding the boards; Blue Blvd. is his latest, just-about-first-rate album. Opening are the Skeletons, a quintet of similarly aging Missourians who restlessly reexamine their lives and the music they love (most of it circa 1963-1966). They’re known for doing an average of two Sonny Bono songs per set. Also on the bill is something special: Michael Hurley, a twisted legend whose dark, almost antique renderings of tales from a long-gone folk hippie demimonde make similar efforts by, say, Tom Waits seem comparatively upbeat, and whose sick humor makes it all worth listening to carefully. (The Cubby Bear show tonight is apparently the reclusive Hurley’s first-ever appearance in Chicago; he’s also doing his own show Sunday night–two sets starting at 8 at the Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 281-4444.) Tonight, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 327-1662 or 477-7469.

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