Liz Phair Unveils New Song, Leaves Critics Unimpressed At Chicago Guyville Show
Not exactly the post title you want to be reading as you’re whiling away the final hours before hitting Hiro Ballroom for a night of nostalgia, we know. But you’re gonna want to hear this new song, and maybe these reactions to last night’s Exile redux show, so at least you are braced for it. Tonight’s the first of two sets here in the city, promising a full retelling of the album you’re getting sick of reading about. It’s part of a swing that’s taken Phair to San Fran’s Fillmore and, last night, closer to the heart of Guyville at the Vic in sweet home, Chicago. Jim DeRogatis was there. His review, titled “Phair enough: ‘Exile’ 15-year show a clunker” makes it seem like he wishes he wasn’t. It’s worth a read in full, but here’s the denouement:
In fact, as Phair made her way through the disc with her still off-key voice, distinct lack of onstage charisma and forced stage banter about the Cubs and Barack Obama, backed by various combinations of the three faceless L.A. pros who’ve supported her on recent tours as the Gen X Sheryl Crow, it was hard not to think that while “Exile in Guyville” stands tall on record, it has gained nothing and maybe even shrunk in live performance.
Come to think of it, it would have been much more entertaining to hear La Liz play [the Stones’] “Exile” in its entirety. At least she might have felt some connection to that one.
Then, before my two-hour meter on Belmont could even expire, after a few more forced songs as an encore — including “Polyester Bride” and a truly awful new number with a (no kidding) lyric about “ding dong, the witch is dead” — it was over, just another car wreck/hit and run in a live career that has never offered anything else.
I believe the technical term for what just happened is OH SNAP. Jim wasn’t alone in dismissing the gig, but before we get there, start here with that Obama banter and that “ding dong”ing new song:
So that happened. Now it wasn’t just guys who get paid to write about music that were down on last night’s Guyville; P4K’s Amy Phillips, while admitting that asking for “an epiphany about how to live my life as a twentysomething woman navigating the Chicago indie rock scene, from someone who lived that life (albeit with way more drama) 15 years ago” was asking too much, still deemed the show “anti-climactic,” Liz offering “little pride or swagger” and “merely going through the motions.” Both Amy and Jim seem to agree the crowd was reverent and mostly into it, but that the set was lacking inspiration (shocking) and Phair’s “groan-worthy” banter revealed too little about Guyville (while her skirt/top/red-bra revealed too much). I guess that’s as good a note as any to leave you with last night’s performance of this song:
“Fuck And Run”