Who Are These Guys That Go Bang! Bang! During Chicago Rush Hour?

Heads up: There are a few more weeks left to catch the free 30-minute performances every Tuesday at St. James Cathedral on Huron. Not to be missed is Third Coast Percussion, a Chicago-based quartet with serious chops and style that rocks chamber music you can bounce to.

Photo by: Saverio Truglia Third Coast Percussion members (left to right): Owen Clayton Condon, Robert Dillon, David Skidmore and Peter Martin (not pictured: new member Sean Conners). They're currently the ensemble-in-residence at the University of Norte Dame.

The New Yorker called them “vibrant” and “superb.” Yep. Other praises include “sonically spectacular,” “brilliant” and “undeniably groovy.”  And when you watch Third Coast Percussion put down Lukas Ligeti’s Pattern Transformation (two marimbas, two guys on each) and slip inside the cascade of rhythms member Robert Dillon describes as a “crunchy dissonance” — you'll be back. Take a look as these percussionists unfold Twilight, a gorgeous chorale by Tobias Brostrom.

Formed in 2005 this is the ensemble’s seventh consecutive year playing at the historic St. James Cathedral. It’s a perfect venue to introduce music lovers and those with an experimental bent to TCP's sounds. Don't get nervous, but be prepared; these guys roll with idiosyncratic John Cage. Their latest CD, Unknown Symmetry: A Biography of Our Band, features work by Arvo Pärt and the group's David Skidmore, who spoke with us about the upcoming show. 

“One of our main goals with Third Coast Percussion is to continue bringing this amazing music that we believe in so much to new audiences,” he said. “We believe our music speaks to young and old, hipster and high-roller, blue jeans and tailored suits, and everything else in between.” 

Third Coast Percussion to Perform at Chicago's Rush Hour Concerts

Photo by: Saverio Truglia Third Coast Percussion to perform at Chicago's Rush Hour Concerts, Aug. 20. 

They’ve collaborated with the architects at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture (what did that sound like?), astronomers at the Adler Planetarium, played the Museum of Modern Art in New York, give master classes and, of course, make the Chicago concert rounds. You can even create your own arrangement of their work with the group’s iPhone and iPad apps. Sweet! Third Coast Percussion takes the St. James Cathedral stage on Aug. 20.

Rush Hour Concerts has been around since 2000, always featuring an inspired lineup. Coming up July 30 is Lyric Shorts: Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, with singers from the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center Ensemble. On Aug. 6 is Schubert's The Shepherd on the Rock. We suggest you YouTube it first, just for a preview of how good you have to be to pull this off. 

Located at St. James Cathedral, 65 E. Huron. Performances every Tuesday. Meet the artists at the pre-concert reception at 5:15 p.m.; the 30-minute program begins at 5:45 p.m. Take a look at the final days schedule on the website. Can’t make it in person? Listen to the live broadcast on 98.7 WFMT. Ends Aug. 27.

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