POSTPONED: Off! and Zulu play Terminal West on Wednesday, November 2

Off! Photo by Jeff Forney.

THIS SHOW HAS BEEN POSTPONED: Keep your eyes peeled for a rescheduled date to be announced soon.

Off! and Zulu play Terminal West on Wednesday, November 2. $22 (advance). $25 (day of show). 7 p.m.

With a new lineup in place and functioning like a well-oiled machine, OFF! is back on the road supporting the group’s first album in eight years, Free LSD (Fat Possum Records).

With Free LSD, Circle Jerks’ frontman Keith Morris, guitar player Dimitri Coats, bass player and Atlanta expat Autry Fulbright II (…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead), and drummer Justin Brown (Herbie Hancock, Thundercat) have crafted a vibrant and essential art-punk rumination on the end times.

Earlier this year, I spoke with Keith Morris while he was passing through town with the Circle Jerks. This is what he had to say about the new album:

“We listened to a lot of Throbbing Gristle, Hunting Lodge, Can, Einstürzende Neubauten, Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters, Miles Davis. We spent time with a character named Enid Snarb who was in Bastard Noise and Man Is the Bastard. He turned us on to some of George Harrison’s work after he visited India.

Our engineer mixer guy worked with Kyuss and he mixed over half of Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We’re Floating In Space. We went to a lot of different places, rather than the Bad Brains, Blue Öyster Cult, and Stiff Little Fingers.

Autry Fulbright is playing bass, and he co-manages Thundercat. Our drummer Justin Brown plays drums with Thundercat, so now we’ve got a jazz drummer playing rock, and you’ll hear it. There are times when he’s all over the place, and we really have to pay attention to what he’s doing to play what we’re playing. 

If your mind is free enough, and you’re able to see all of the different colors that we’re using, you’ll get it. There’ll be a lot of people that don’t, but we have no control over that.”

Read the full interview with Keith Morris.

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Jeff Parker and Steve Gunn at Terminal West. Wed., Dec. 8.

Jeff Parker (left) and Steve Gunn at Terminal West. Photo by Chad Radford

Jeff Parker walked onto the stage at Terminal West on Wed., Dec. 8, to polite applause followed by silence — the kind of explosive silence that’s felt just seconds before an orchestra strikes up and fills a symphony hall with its opening salvo.

Parker drew out the silence, and communed with the quiet tension before tangling his fingers around the neck of his guitar and slowly unwinding them along the fretboard. The guitarist and co-founder of Chicago’s post-rock luminaries Tortoise, stands atop a body of solo recordings and collaborations that traverse everything from mutant funk and hip-hop beats to skronking free jazz, minimalism, and drones. 

At first, the sounds he created seemed ill-shaped. But loops were being created, and within moments notes percolated and collided into one another as Parker’s singular musical style revealed itself in tones and textures that were instantly familiar, yet guided by wholly new, next-level composition.

Jeff Parker. Photo by Chad Radford

Much (if not all) of the material he played throughout the night comes from his latest solo guitar album, Forfolks (International Anthem Recording Co.). But this was a solid three days before the album was released. As such, Parker offered a preview into one of the most pleasantly challenging chapters of his career. Smoke machines  hissed quietly somewhere in the darkness. The slow rumble of a train rolling along the tracks behind Terminal West almost felt scripted, as Parker created long, sustained tones that rung out for so long they started rattle, revealing the intricacies inside the sounds of his amplified steel strings. When rhythm and melody are taken away — acoustic feedback is a beautiful thing.

In the midst of his deep dive into the avant-garde, Parker subtly weaved in the melody of “Jetty” from Tortoise’s 1996 masterpiece, TNT. This reimagined take on the song appears on Forfolks under the name “La Jetée.” 

Steve Gunn. Photo By Chad Radford

Steve Gunn joined Parker for a short collaboration before closing out the night with a solo set. Gunn offered a cover of British folk singer and guitarist Michael Chapman’s “Among The Trees” before delving into a stripped down rendition of “Way Out Weather,” the title cut from Gunn’s 2014 album, which set the tone for his performance. Gunn leaned into “Fulton,” “Good Wind,” “Morning River,” and “On the Way” from his 2021 release, Other You (Matador).

On record, these songs are the backbone of Gunn’s most ambitious work to date. On stage, they flowed with the cool quietude of the seemingly effortless Zen-like vibe that has come to define his strongest songwriting. It was also a grounding agent that balanced out an evening of acoustic, psychedelic, and forward-thinking music.

This review was first printed by Record Plug Magazine.

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