In a perfect world, when Chicago “post-rock” showed up on the international music map in the mid-90s Weasel Walter’s Flying Luttenbachers and other denizens of the city’s neo-no wave underground would have taken their rightful place as the swaggering, leering, id-driven hot foil to the cool formal playfulness of Gastr del Sol or Tortoise. As the intertwined discographies of the players attest, these genre-busting subgenres are really two sides of the same coin. But perhaps Weasel’s personality (or persona) is too abrasive; perhaps his constant reminders to the public that he plays jazz for many of the same reasons other people race motorcycles or jump out of airplanes make his motives suspect; perhaps his mostly unironic embrace of metal’s cartoon poses is jarring to certain fans’ intellectual and class aspirations. Whatever the reason, this project (in which Weasel is the only constant) has soldiered on since 1991, surviving the departure and subsequent death of Chicago free-jazz legend Hal Russell and then the departure of Russell’s replacement, Ken Vandermark, without ever quite getting its due. This show is a release party for the Luttenbachers’ seventh LP, …The Truth Is a Fucking Lie… (UgExplode/Skin Graft), which uses both the lineup that recorded 1998’s harrowing Gods of Chaos (with Chuck Falzone on guitar and William Pisarri on bass) and the current lineup (Michael Colligan on reeds and Kurt Johnson on bass), plus ex-Luttenbacher Dylan Posa on electronics, Bobby Conn mainstay Julie Pomerleau on violin, and Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello. Weasel’s constant personnel shuffling is beginning to seem like a militant insistence on forever keeping the band at the peak of its powers, and the new record–which proudly integrates nods to heavy prog, black metal, and even the random scrap of free-floating funk–just might be the richest and most satisfying installment yet. A tape I heard of a gig from the Luttenbachers’ recent European tour, featuring just the trio, was blistering, but I’m betting this homecoming show will feature an expanded lineup–especially since Posa will be there anyway to play with Cheer-Accident, in that industrial-prankster-prog amalgamation’s first high-profile gig since longtime member Phil Bonnet died in February. Friday, 10 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 773-525-6620.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Dave Stafford.