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Wreckless Eric 

With the Same Things and the Difficult. Wednesday, March 22, at the Lime Spider.

Back in the '70s, Wreckless Eric (born Eric Goulden) was part of Stiff Records' stable of new-wave eccentrics, along with the likes of Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, and Ian Dury. While achieving some success in the U.K. and Europe, he barely qualified as a cult figure on this side of the Atlantic. And that's a damn shame. Eric created a string of wonderfully ragged, quirkily catchy tunes like "Whole Wide World," "Semaphore Signals," and "Reconnez Cherie" that rivaled his labelmates' hits. Wearying of music-business stresses, he has recorded only the occasional album since 1980.

This gig marks the final one on a rare American tour. He did an opening set last month at the Beachland; however, this show is all Eric (although expect singer-songwriter Amy Rigby to sit in on a few songs). He might be a little less "wreckless" these days -- having kicked the bottle 20 years ago -- but he's still a funny and rascally performer. He's also thrilled to be playing Akron. "It's always been a name with legendary status," he says, fondly recalling Chrissie Hynde, Devo, and Stiff's Akron Compilation, with its "ridiculous" scratch-and-sniff album cover.

Speaking of Previews

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