Eleventh Dream Day

You bet Eleventh Dream Day get recommended every time they play–after all, it isn’t very often that they do, and what’s more, they’re seemingly incapable of putting on an uninspired show. Their 19-year story is the story of the Chicago underground rock scene in microcosm: they’ve survived major-label abandonment, fluctuations in fashion, marital trauma, and a couple of “side projects” (Freakwater and Tortoise) that outstripped the parent band commercially, all the while continuing to produce excellent records (most recently last year’s Stalled Parade). Guitarist and vocalist Rick Rizzo, drummer and vocalist Janet Bean, and bassist Doug McCombs remain intimately involved in the Chicago music world, lending themselves to dozens of diverse projects–and the sight of Rizzo and Bean’s young son bouncing up and down at their shows only confirms that rock ‘n’ roll is not some youthful passion to be outgrown but rather a way of life. If you missed the first part of the saga, now you can catch up: recently the Collector’s Choice reissue label produced new editions of the band’s turn-of-the-decade albums Beet and Lived to Tell. Those who were there say the records don’t capture the ragged glory of the shows from that era, but they hold up well nonetheless. As he has for the past year, former Coctail Mark Greenberg rounds out the live lineup, switching between guitar, bass, and drums as needed. Friday, August 31, and Saturday, September 1, 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace; 773-478-4408. Rizzo and Bean also perform, along with Bobby Conn, Manishevitz, the Nicole Mitchell Trio, and Terminal 4, to benefit the Inspiration Cafe (a restaurant and networking hub for the homeless) on Thursday, September 6, at 9 PM at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

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