Merge 25 Show: Stephin Merritt, Mark Eitzel | Duke Campus: Baldwin Auditorium | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week

Clubs & Concerts

Merge 25 Show: Stephin Merritt, Mark Eitzel

When: Wed., July 30 2014

The droll wit and colorful pop of Magnetic Fields mastermind Stephin Merritt candy-coat a caustic sensibility. He headlines this Baldwin Auditorium detour and finale for Duke Performances' Music in the Gardens summer series, where he's perfectly paired with another curmudgeonly Merge Records charmer, Mark Eitzel. Lapsing for a decade after its alt-rock heyday, Eitzel's American Music Club returned in the '00s with a pair of gloomy, ferocious albums. Eitzel played the roles of bar-stool prophet and populist carnival barker, though he dropped his scenery-chewing guard on the 2012 solo album Don't Be a Stranger. Without forsaking his folkloric characterizations or sometimes-scathing lyrics, he revealed the inner beauty of his voice and wounded heart (he'd recently had a heart attack). He's like Merritt turned inside-out—gruffer on the surface, softer at the core. —Brian Howe

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