Intonation fest adds rare Erickson show

April 19, 2006


In addition to already impressive rosters featuring some of the most exciting underground buzz bands on the current music scene, this summer's Intonation and Pitchfork Music festivals both recently scored impressive coups by booking several older, legendary rock acts that will be making ultra-rare appearances at Chicago's Union Park.

Intonation has announced the additions of Roky Erickson, the former leader of the 13th Floor Elevators, and Blue Cheer, the reunited proto-grunge/psychedelic-blues band, to its festival, which takes place in the West Side park on June 24-25.

And Pitchfork has added Os Mutantes, leaders of Brazil's Tropicalia movement in the early '70s, to its music celebration, scheduled for the same site in Union Park on July 29-30.

Os Mutantes famously combined the influences of Latin American music and psychedelic rock. The group has been the subject of renewed interest in recent years, thanks to the championing of fans such as David Byrne, and it will perform in Chicago for the first time on July 30.

Blue Cheer has not played in the Windy City in 25 years. It will perform at Intonation on June 25.

Most exciting of all, though, is the re-emergence of Erickson, who will take the stage on June 24.

The '60s rocker has long been considered one of the most tragic casualties in rock history, having dropped out of the music scene more than two decades ago because of mental problems that left him living as a sheltered recluse in his native Austin, Texas.

As related in a Sun-Times profile in the spring of 2005, Erickson has been nursed back to health patiently by his younger brother Sumner, formerly an orchestral musician who has devoted himself to helping Roky recover his place as one of the greatest singers and songwriters in the psychedelic rock genre.

Recently, Erickson has played several reportedly astounding shows in Austin, including one timed to the recent South by Southwest Music Festival. The Intonation Festival will be his first performance outside Texas and his largest anywhere since a brief flurry of activity during the punk movement of the late '70s.

Other headliners at Intonation include England's Bloc Party; Lady Sovereign and the Streets; Japanese noise-rockers the Boredoms; Hollywood film scorer and Kanye West collaborator Jon Brion; Guided by Voices veteran Robert Pollard; stoner-rock gods High on Fire and rappers Lupe Fiasco and Rhymefest. Tickets are $20 for one day, $35 for a two-day pass through

Additional highlights at Pitchfork include indie-rock darlings Silver Jews, Art Brut, Spoon, Yo La Tengo, Devendra Barnhart and Mission of Burma. Tickets are $20 for one day, $30 for both through