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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


40 Years Forward:

A Celebration of Empowerment & Hope

Deb Talan of "The Weepies" will begin our night of celebration with a story of survival, empowerment, and hope told through words and song. Join us in remembering our past and envisioning the future at the Coralville Mariott.


Friday, September 20 at 7:30 p.m.

For 18 years...

Little Village has been telling the truth and changing our little corner of the world.

If you can, help us head into the next 18 years even stronger with a one-time or monthly contribution of $18, or any amount you choose.


A collaboration between The Englert Theatre and FilmScene


Help us build the greatest small city for the arts in America—right here in Iowa City. Learn more »

Donate Today

Strengthen • Grow • Evolve is a collaborative campaign led by two Iowa City-based arts nonprofits, The Englert Theatre and FilmScene that seeks a major reinvestment to strengthen the arts through modern and historic venues, innovative programming, and new models of collaboration.

Little Village's

From Aug. 1-Sept. 30, cast your vote for your favorite places, people, eats and entertainment around the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City area.

Don't forget to explain your picks! The best answers will be published in LV's Best of the CRANDIC issue, out Dec. 3, 2019.