Tommy Stinson was a quiet storm as he vacillated between righteous anger, subtle inebriation, and sheer showmanship this past Wednesday night at Bop Shop Records. After an opening set from Chicago’s Dash Down, Stinson plugged in his seafoam green guitar and preceded to wail with mucho swagger. Sure it was too loud, but none of the roughly 50 attendees gave a shit.
Neither did Stinson, who — realizing by the third song that the crowd wasn’t going to leave their comfortable chairs without some coaxing — unplugged his guitar and played the rest of the show in the middle of the crowd that encircled him. Sans amp, sans microphone, sans set list — a stunt I’d seen Alejandro Escovedo do years ago. It was like standing around a campfire indoors.
Stinson took no requests, stating that it was “No Request Thursday,” even though it was Wednesday. He stuck mostly to solo material and though the fans ate it up, there was some room for some Replacements material that never came. And if it did, it went over my head in its obscurity. There were plenty of sing-along opportunities on tunes like “Nothing” and “Chicago Around the Corner,” which featured a whisper-soft, fingerpicked guitar pattern beneath. One helluva show.
Frank De Blase is CITY’s music writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.