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Story and photos by Brad WalsethThe Section Quartet (TSQ) successfully kicked off their national tour Friday night at the Kinetic Playground in Chicago with two sets of their uniquely high energy presentation of modern rock songs mutated into electrified string quartet arrangements. Celebrating their major label debut Fuzzbox (Decca) - violinists Eric Gorfain and Daphe Chen, violist Leah Katz and cellist Richard Dodd - entertained the audience with delirious versions of The Strokes' "Juicebox," Queens of the Stone Age's "No One Knows," Muse's "Time is Running Out," The Postal Service's "Such Great Heights," Tool's "Undertow," Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun," Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker" and more. These talented musicians have considerable experience backing many other artists on recordings including Foo Fighters, Devendra Banhart, Maroon Five, James Blunt, Christina Aguilera, Grant Lee Phillips, Rilo Kiley along with numerous movie soundtracks, but now the TSQ are striking out on their own with abandon.
The second set showcased the self-proclaimed "loudest string quartet on the planet" performing Radiohead's opus OK Computer in its entirety. Wringing waves of pathos from the songs, TSQ exploited the symphonic nature of this work in an emotional manner that had the audience singing along to "No Surprises" and "Karma Police" ("I lost myself"). The technical demands of this work stretched the abilities of the players and even led to Dodd having to replace a broken string on his cello. The unlikely combination of classical string instruments with hard driving rock music succeeded brilliantly due to the abilities of the players, the intelligent arrangements and intriguing song choices, as audiences attending concerts on this tour will no doubt soon find out for themselves.
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