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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Pop Making Sense
Online Special
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin
2007-10-31

This article shared 3972 times since Wed Oct 31, 2007
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Out singer-songwriter Darren Hayes is returning to Chicago with two in-store appearances before heading to Miami's White Party over Thanksgiving weekend. In conjunction with his third solo album, This Delicate Thing We've Made, Hayes will perform and sign his CD at Borders, 150 N. State, on Fri., Nov. 16, 12:30 p.m., and then conduct a DJ set, Q&A session and signing that evening at Borderline Records, 3333 N. Broadway, at 7 p.m. The former Savage Garden singer may be best known for the mega-hit ballads Truly Deeply Madly and I Knew I Loved You, but the Australian pop star also scored hits on the dance charts with Insatiable, Pop!ular and Step Into The Light.

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Sarah Bettens, photo by-Lieve-Blancquaert

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No need to say 'Annie, Get Your Gun.' Based on her Oct. 19 performance at The Cadillac Theatre Palace, Annie Lennox is armed with 'songs of mass destruction.' Combining hits from her years in The Eurythmics with her own solo material as well as songs with humanitarian messages, Lennox commanded a sold-out crowd, justifiably receiving a standing ovation after each number. Lennox's five-person band and two back-up singers shined as her career was recounted. However, she beamed on her own in the spotlight playing the piano on Here Comes The Rain Again and 1,000 Beautiful Things. ྌs favorites When Tomorrow Comes, Thorn In My Side and There Must Be An Angel ( Playing With My Heart ) —the Eurythmics' sole U.K. chart-topper—sounded fresh, especially since Lennox has not done these live since 1999's Peace Tour. Both Smithereens and Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves celebrate Lennox's pro-equality stance, a theme prevalent on her fourth solo outing. A moving video was played during the encore's Sing, as Lennox continues to raise awareness about the African AIDS crisis. She spared being too preachy by simply saying, 'Enjoy the music, but most importantly, get involved.' Her new album, Songs of Mass Destruction, debuted in the Top 10.

As Lennox's opening act, Carina Round impressed the crowd. With no proper band to back her up, Round's stance with just her guitar was reminiscent of Sinead O'Connor circa 1990. Her wild voice and vocal arrangements recalled the more experimental female artists like Bjork, Kate Bush and PJ Harvey, but it was the vocal looping that drew comparisons to hipster Imogen Heap. The British songbird also left the audience in fits of laughter as she aped Bob Dylan; maybe that was her unofficial audition for Todd Haynes's film I'm Not There. Round's third disc, Slow Motion Addict, is out now via Interscope.

Before embarking on an European tour, Sarah Bettens will be making a special stop at Martyr's, 3855 N. Lincoln, on Nov. 15. Formerly with the band K's Choice ( along with her brother ) , Bettens's new solo album, Shine, was made available recently in her native Belgium via the DeMorgen paper. This marketing campaign is similar to the frenzy brought on by Prince in England earlier this year. As heard on the LGBT music compilation Revolutions: Music With A Twist, Bettens' signature Come Over Here is instantly recognizable with its heavy bass line, which perfectly suits her tempting call. Sharing the bill with Bettens at Martyr's is the Windy City's queer-rock royalty Dylan Rice and his band.

Nov. 4 may fall on a Sunday but it will not be a day of rest, as industrial-goth-rock outfit OTEP performs at the House of Blues with Hellyeah and Bloodsimple. Recorded in New Orleans throughout 2006, OTEP's latest, The Ascension, still hits hard. Yet a sexier, more feminine element is added courtesy of frontwoman Otep Shamaya. As Abigail, Tori Amos and Sinead O'Connor have done, OTEP tackles Nirvana, here remaking Breed. OTEP keeps fans heavily involved, as this Los Angeles based band's set list will be drawn up in part by a cell phone-voting process. Additionally, fans will be able to personalize the video for the brewing song Ghostflowers.

Venturing from Chapel Hill, N.C., in a biodiesel bus, art-house rockers The Never will support Lollapalooza veterans the Annuals with a date at Subterranean, 2011 W. North, on Nov. 6. Last year, The Never has released its sophomore bow Antarctica: A Storybook Record on Trekky Records. This epic release stands out, since it is accompanied by a fully-illustrated 50-page picture book by guitarist Noah Smith. The story focuses on a boy named Paul who tries to find the rightful owner of a large gray artifact that he stumbles across near his home in the countryside. Surely, storytime will allow imaginations to run rampantly with titles like Cavity, The Witch and Bomber Pilot.

On Fri., Nov. 9, Matt White is scheduled to take to the stage at the House of Blues Back Porch. This buzzworthy artist uniquely makes his own sound in the tradition of Americana rock and pop. Try to imagine Billy Joel mixed with Bruce Springsteen, the Scissor Sisters and Sir Elton John. After debuting with the acclaimed Best Days this year, it is no wonder White has been honored as one of Rolling Stone Magazine's 10 Artists To Watch.


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