Steely Dan, Miles High Big Band, Embassy Brats | Durham Performing Arts Center | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week

Clubs & Concerts

Steely Dan, Miles High Big Band, Embassy Brats

When: Thu., Aug. 4, 8 p.m. 2011

You don't need to put Steely Dan on a beat grid to acknowledge their precision. Arguably one of the tightest acts of the last 40 years, they took a beating for their polish and slickness when classic rock became equated with dinosaur droppings. But lately they've been embraced by a younger generation unencumbered by the baggage of album-oriented rock and able to appreciate their mix of durable hooks, supple harmonies and jazzy sophistication. While the complexity would impress a trained musician, it's delivered with a deftness that doesn't call attention to itself (like, say, Weather Report). This style of intricacy couched in simple pop allure goes back to founders Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's early fascination for Brill Building composers.

After some disastrous early tours, they became strictly a studio band, until reuniting in 1993 following a 12-year hiatus. Sadly, they've gone in the other direction; since 1980's Gaucho, they've released but two albums, 2000's Two Against Nature and 2003's Everything Must Go. Nonetheless, the astounding strength and depth of their first seven albums, including a deep repertoire of hit singles, is more than enough to sustain a two-hour show. With the Miles High Big Band and the Embassy Brats. The $65 show begins at 8 p.m.; it's sold out, so if you're without a ticket, arrive early with cash to spare. —Chris Parker



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