Here’s a thought that will make music fans of a certain age cringe. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Live’s “Throwing Copper.”
From the time of the album’s release in April, 1994, and for more than a year after its release, the Pennsylvania-based quartet and their hit-churning set were inescapable from the airwaves and the charts. “Copper” churned out four hits – “Selling the Drama,” “I Alone,” “Lightning Crashes” and “All Over You,” and deep cuts such as “The Dam at Otter Creek” and “White, Discussion” added to the count and kept the album on the mainstream radar for longer than a hot album’s usual shelf-life.
For some listeners, Live and “Copper” was perceived as nothing more than an alt-rock rip-off. The quiet-loud-quiet sonics of “Alone” and “Crashes,” they argued, was mastered nearly three years ago for the masses by Nirvana and “Nevermind,” and anyone following suit were pretenders. Poseurs, if you will.
The flipside to this, though, lay in the songs penned on “Copper” by Live front man Ed Kowalczyk; strip away the sonics in debate and you have, save for a misfire or two, 14 mighty great pop songs that, near two decades later, still hold up quite well. Throw in a great, mainstream-geared production effort by former Talking Head Jerry Harrison and stellar musical execution by Kowalczyk and his bandmates, and it’s understood why “Copper” sold nearly 10 million copies in its time.
As with every smash release, from “Rumours” that preceded it to “Cracked Rear View” that followed, subsequent Live sets paled in sales, and in 2009, Kowalczyk announced the band was going on hiatus, with a solo set, “Alive,” hitting the shelves a year later. In 2011, his bandmates – Chad Taylor, Chad Gracey and Pat Dahleimer – announced they will forge ahead without Kowalczyk.
Kowalczyk’s solo tour, which brings him to Chicago’s City Winery, has been dubbed the “I Alone” tour. He also released an EP, “The Garden,” in November. No new music has come out as of yet from the Kowalczyk-less Live.
Ed Kowalczyk, 8 p.m. Feb. 15, City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago. $30-$40 (21 and older show). FYI: (312) 733-9463, CITYWINERY.COM
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For more information, contact the venues or ticket sales agencies listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows are all-ages.
Patti Smith, May 6, Vic Theatre (18 and older, JAMUSA.COM)
She and Him, June 29, Aragon Ballroom (ARAGON.COM)
Jim James, April 30, Vic Theatre (18 and older, JAMUSA.COM)
O.M.D., July 9, Metro (18 and older, METROCHICAGO.COM)
The Specials, March 11, Vic Theatre (JAMUSA.COM)
Paramore, May 9, Chicago Theatre (THECHICAGOTHEATRE.COM)
Fleetwood Mac, June 14, Allstate Arena (ALLSTATEARENA.COM)
Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires, May 9,Metro (METROCHICAGO.COM)
Maria and the Diamonds, May 20 Vic Theatre (JAMUSA.COM)
New Kids on The Block, 98 Degrees, Boyz II Men, July 18 and 19, Allstate Arena (ALLSTATEARENA.COM)
Colin Hay, Sept. 7, Park West (18 and older, JAMUSA.COM)