John Cale Still A Contender

Performing at the Double Door. Photo by Matt Carmichael.

"Sister Ray" it isn't, but that's fine. Not every album, nor every

concert, can be a bring-down-the-house, avant-garde rocker. Heck, Lou Reed got

away with Magic and Loss, and passed through his Mistrial


But has John Cale gone soft? Nope. The artist has changed direction

again and taken a new path. Cale was one quarter of the original Velvet

Underground. He and Lou Reed were the creative forces behind The Velvet

Underground and Nico and White Light/White Heat. Moe Tucker kept the

beat going, Sterling Morrison kept the band going. Cale split after the second

album (or Reed fired him depending on who you ask...)

Cale's current tour,

which passed through Chicago a week ago (stopping at the Double Door on Oct. 7)

on its way westward, finds a slightly calmer Cale. He's dropped any sign of the

Velvet Underground in his sets. He's dropped the viola and the grand piano.

He's picked up a rock band and the electric guitar. And he's playing nine songs

from his new album, Walking on Locusts, plus an eclectic mix of his

older material including cuts from "Sabotage" and "Artificial


It's an experiment in what can happen when you take a solid

rock band: John Abbey (bass), Phil Cimino (drums), Bill Donohue (keyboards),

and Lance Doss (guitars), and add an exceptional musician and arranger.

Especially one who has recently toured with a string quartet, and written an


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