Over the past couple of years Eleventh Dream Day has gradually built up a raging head of steam, a blistering one-two guitar attack that sounds like somebody throttling down an empty highway at 3 AM. Frontman/songwriter Rick Rizzo likes to write about people driven over the edge by their irrational urges, but he also constructs his songs around long vamps that the band can stretch and bend and squeeze to bursting. That’s important because Eleventh Dream Day is a jamming band–they reach their full potential only when guitarists Rizzo and Baird Figi get a chance to really open up and start wailing (sometimes Rizzo and Figi play fast, but it’s exciting fast, not bullshit fast). Though they don’t mess much with blues licks, they’re nonetheless blues-inspired in the best sense of the word–the spiritual sense. Eleventh Dream Day’s music is about feeling your pain but carrying on with a certain grim determination. Thursday, Stepps Entertainment & Dance Club, 6459 N. Sheridan; 764-3322. Next Friday, January 23, Batteries Not Included, 2201 N. Clybourn; 348-9529.

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