If biker rallies, Monday brunch specials, and the Nationals (presumably) getting their asses handed to them by the Phillies aren’t enough to fill your Memorial Day, consider closing out the long weekend with a free show by the Chicago songwriter Daniel Knox, who will be playing tonight at the Looking Glass Lounge. The set closes out this week’s installment of You, Me, Them, Everybody Live!, the barroom talk show hosted by Arts Desk contributor Brandon Wetherbee.
Combined with his keyboard, Knox’s voice sounds as if he snatched it through time from a Roaring Twenties troubadour, though one that sings lyrics distorted enough for modern times. “Armageddonsong,” the closing track on his second album, Evryman For Himself, is a sing-song ballad with lines about billboards, cancer, and syphilis. In a recent review, Dusted magazine praised Knox’s ability to “[inhabit] pre-war musical styles, while at the same time, warping them into grotesque and surreal shapes.” (He recently played songs from Evryman For Himself during an appearance on Chicago Public Radio.) A few years ago, his knack for oddball, eerie music filtered through an old-timey aesthetic led to a gig playing an organ at the premiere of David Lynch’s suitably messed up Inland Empire. Knox also sang backup vocals on Jarvis Cocker’s 2009 album Further Complications.
Wetherbee, a Chicago expat, counts Knox as his favorite musician and has shot four videos for Knox, including this take of Knox performing “What Have They Done From You Now,” a song from his 2007 LP Disaster as the lights dim in a Chicago tavern at the end of the night:
You, Me, Them, Everybody Live! with guests Chris MacDonald of IndieFeed.com, comedian Michael Foody, and musicians Judson Claiborne and Daniel Knox, at 8:30 p.m. at the Looking Glass Lounge, 3634 Georgia Ave. NW. Free.