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All-Star Lineup To Fete Big Star—The Band, Not The Taco Joint—At Park West

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 25, 2013 9:00PM


Few bands were as affected by their influences, and later served as an inspiration for future bands, quite like Big Star. When Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel formed the group in Memphis in the early 70s they wore their love for The Beatles and The Byrds, combined with some world-weary lyrics not heard even in that serious musical era. Although the original incarnation of the band would disintegrate shortly after their debut album was released, Big Star (and especially Chilton) became a touchstone for groups such as R.E.M., the dB’s, Teenage Fanclub and The Replacements, setting the stage for a classic era of college radio.

Big Star’s third album, Sister Lovers, is something of an anomaly in the group’s discography, as it’s more of an Alex Chilton solo record than a group effort. Produced by legendary Memphis producer Jim Dickinson, a rotating group of studio musicians helped Chilton and Jody Stephens record the album, which was awash in string and orchestral arrangements.

The album had never been performed in full live with full orchestration until December 2010, when an all-star band including Stephens, R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills, Let’s Active’s Mitch Easter and Chris Stamey of the dB’s performed Sister Lovers in full. Composer Carl Marsh, who helped score the original orchestra charts for the record, was able to recreate them using the original multitrack tapes from Adrent Records.

The performances have been repeated only a couple times since as Big Star’s Third and two more shows are scheduled for 2013, including a June 28 show at Park West at 8 p.m. (The show was moved from The Vic Theatre.) Joining Stephens, Mills and company are Ken Vandermark, Sally Timms (The Mekons), Ed Roeser (Urge Overkill), Tim Rutili (Califone), Gary Louris (The Jayhawks) and Josh Caterer (Smoking Popes).

As of post time, tickets are still available online by clicking here.