Alex Chilton

By William Brents

Last time he was in town Alex Chilton performed for a crowd consisting of no more than 20 people at the Macauley Theatre. The lack of support on that fateful night didn't discourage Chilton, as he reportedly put on an amazing show.

This time around, however, the crowd support was much better due in part to a decrease in ticket prices and a change in venues from the spacious Macauley to the more intimate Tewligans tavern.

The January 27 festivities began with the Blueberries, a Lexington band who thoroughly entertained me with their tight pop-rock sound that featured solid songwriting and pleasant harmonies. Another Lexington-based artist, Paul K., followed with a full hour of his most curious original tales and obscure covers. I've seen Paul K. perform a number of acoustic sets lately and even though Chilton was the main man on this night, Paul K. continues to flourish as a genuine artist, and in my case a therapeutic one as well.

It was almost 1:00 a.m. when Chilton, bassist Ron Easley and the drummer, whose name I forgot (I really should start taking notes.), began rummaging through some of Chilton's past solo material, such as "No Sex," "Take It Off" and "Bangkok." He also tossed in a couple of songs from his days with Big Star, the legendary power-pop group that he fronted during the early '70s.

If you were to ask a long-time Alex Chilton fan to describe him in one word, that word, in most cases, would be "unpredictable." And in my opinion that is a great compliment to bestow on any musician. The musical ground covered on this night proved that that is indeed the case. From a cool jazz guitar intro to a song he felt like singing in Italian, he successfully created a guessing atmosphere.

The sound man was kept busy by Chilton as he asked for more monitor adjustments throughout the show. It was a task the sound man conquered; he did a fine job in catering to Chilton's request for that perfect cusp of feedback that Chilton desired.