Linksomania: Wire on Fallon, Iggy on “Idol,” and more

April 9, 2011

Regular readers may know the lofty place that legendary English art-punks Wire hold in this blogger’s personal canon, so it was with a heavy heart indeed that I missed the group’s return to Metro on Saturday night (I was teaching at the Writers Institute in Madison). I consoled myself with two kick-ass clips from the group’s appearance last week on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”—the title track from the band’s 12th album “Red Barked Tress,” a searing epic of minimalist aggression, and a pared-down but very effective rendition of the classic “Map Ref. 41°N 93°W” from 1979’s “154”—both thoughtfully posted on the Web here courtesy of Stereogum.

In other news and notes, Iggy Pop’s appearance last week on “American Idol” represents… something, to be sure, but beyond noting how J-Lo seemed to have a real thang for him, while Steven Tyler barely masked his rival rock frontman animosity/jealously, I’m at a loss to say exactly what it meant, so I’ll just quote the man from the song he performed, “Real Wild Child”: “The world’s gone crazy/Everything seems hazy.”

 

Evidence of the beginnings of a backlash to the backlash against Screeching Weasel for the punch felt ’round the punk-rock world can be found at the new Web site Save Ben Weasel.com and this surprising defense by resolute feminist Jessica Hopper who, if we’re playing "pair the rock writer with a corresponding '60 Minutes' personality probably would be... oh, never mind.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune continues to remain sunny and upbeat about the state of music in Millennium Park, and it is indeed swell that Michael Orlove and his crew have put together a roster of offerings every bit as strong as in years past for this summer. But that doesn’t mean that the dismantling of the Department of Cultural Affairs wasn’t a story, and that significant questions don’t remain about the future of programs such as “Downtown Sound” and “Music Without Borders” and exactly what the reorganized Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events will do under the new mayoral administration.

Local native Kathy Griffin has a very funny slam of the most successful R&B star Chicago ever has produced at about the 7:20 second mark of this clip.

And finally, aping the “hype early and often” methodology of mega-fests Lollapalooza, Dave Matthews’ Caravan, and Pitchfork, the Wicker Park Fest (July 23-24, with performers including Wild Flag, Wavves, and Blitzen Trapper), Do Division Street, and the North Coast Music Festival (Sept. 2-4 in Union Park) all began dropping tidbits about their shindigs last week, and/or opening their Web sites for business. (Oh, boy, it’s gonna be a long summer.) The best news of all, though, is the return of Blackout Fest, May 26-28.