Scott McCaughey–onetime Young Fresh Fellow, solo artist, and friendly icon of an almost forgotten, pregrunge Seattle–is taking advantage of a night off from the R.E.M. tour, for which he’s serving as second guitarist, to drop in at Lounge Ax. With the Fellows on hiatus, McCaughey pursues his off-kilter but dependably pop-based muse into all sorts of this-side-of-absurdist ventures; the latest is a loose organizaton called the Minus 5, which, on a new album, Old Liquidator, consists of him with new neighbor Peter Buck and various members of the Posies, NRBQ, and the Walkabouts. The record’s sometimes excessive whimsy will alienate some, as will the meandering feel of the arrangements. But if you accept those as the price of admission, you can enjoy McCaughey’s skillful pop expositions, solidly in the tradition of stalwarts like the Kinks or the Troggs. Onstage he worships the rock ‘n’ roll verities of spontaneity, lack of affectation, and humor. The resulting shambles is an important part of his aesthetic: if it’s worth doing, it’s worth fucking up. He opens for hillbilly wildman Hasil Adkins. Thursday, June 1, 9 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Marty Perez.