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This Little Underground

Bao Le-Huu checks out Sharon Van Etten, Black Moth Super Ranbow, the David Liebe Hart Band and more

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Chicago's David Liebe Hart Band was fascinating and an interesting choice of opener for a neo-psychedelic show (Oct. 29, The Social). Then again, the world of an outsider artist is itself an alternate reality. Hart is a cult hero (who has most famously worked with Tim and Eric) and a true eccentric. His manner and subject matter carry that unpredictability, humor and sweetness that Wesley Willis fans would appreciate. Even backed by a punk rock band, Hart largely maintains a notably earnest, gospel-inspired vocal style, only he's singing about really weird shit. He's also known for his puppetry, so it delighted die-hard fans when a puppet finally came out for the two closing songs.

Headliner Black Moth Super Rainbow showed that they're truly back on track - a new one, sure, but it's their next level. Under Tobacco's watch, they're just a better, more athletic band now, with real crunch, craft and focus. Their early, captivating grain was cool. But if that drift was still riding this many albums in, they'd just be a novelty act. Instead, their tripping android pop is refreshed and reinvented.

And if you're wondering if they still have the ability to transport, just refer to the total stranger who politely but earnestly asked me, and I quote, "Would you be offended if I asked you what planet you're from?" Yes, this actually happened. So, instinctively, bluntly, I reply, "This one." As a shade of what looks like fleeting disappointment passes across his face, he then smiles and says, "Maybe it's just this show." Yes, indeed, my new friend. Yes, indeed.

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