Eugene Chadbourne, Crackety Sax, Evan Miller 11/16/08 @ The Mill

Eugene Chadbourne is a prolific guitarist/banjo/songwriter who has produced a supremely odd, but brilliant, body of work over the last 30 years. He started out as a performer working with John Zorn, a more famous but just as brilliant an experimentalist. When Chadbourne struck out on his own, he genre-hopped with reckless abandon, from Country to rock to free improvisation.

Playing at the Mill last Sunday Night he started out playing banjo, then switched to Electric Guitar, before capping his set with a short improvisation on the Electric Rake, an ‘instrument’ of his own invention. What impressed me the most about this performance is the offhanded virtuosity he demonstrated — on the stringed instruments at least, the electric rake being an instrument that defies virtuosity. But this was not the Steve Vai sort of virtuosity. Chadbourne used his lightning finger picking to scrape out chromatic sheets of notes, and they contrasted with more purely gestural noteless bursts of sound.

Chadbourne is an artist who has found his own unique freedom as a performer. He didn’t waste much time on talk during his performance, but at the same time he came off as genial and puckish, his face flickering between a variety of expressions, from the blankness of a musician concentrating inwardly on his performance, to manic grins, and bemused sidelong glances, quite literally looking askance, as if to comment on the absurdity of the lyric he’s singing, even as he sings it.

Click Here to Listen (right click or ctrl-click to download)

The other performances that night, by Crackety Sax and Evan Miller, are all available here

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.