Music » Critics' Picks

The Wallflowers

Wednesday, July 6; Mississippi Nights (914 North First Street)


Three years ago, the Wallflowers began Red Letter Days, their worst-selling album since 1996's Bringing Down the Horse, with cute electro-blips that fooled exactly no one. This spring's Rebel, Sweetheart, in contrast, began with bagpiping guitars before getting down with its kitchen-sink-on-E-Street sound. It's clear that Dylan's kid, Jakob, is gauging that thin wild mercury thermostat just like his dad. By fusing blood-dark lyrics with the most expressive rock thirtysomething suburbanites can stand, he seems perversely weary of hits, even if he'll never shake his jones for arena choruses. On "The Passenger" -- the catchiest AOR tone-poem since, yep, his own "One Headlight" -- Dylan's just a passenger facing backward on a soon-to-be repossessed Lodestar jet shooting into blackness. But on its companion song, "I Am a Building," down below, "the valley looks like someone's body and all the people look like little scars." Lest this sound like anti-fun, don't miss the celeste and tambourine and B3 stacked to the stars. And just in case you think you're too cool to rock to the mainstream, you're not -- and you will.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $22; call 314-421-3853 for more information.