Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Every Time A Guitar Rings - - - Part One

Charlie(DeGaulle)’s Angels? French garage rockers The Plastiscines

Looking back on the past 12 months, I was tempted to wallow in self pity because I only went to a fraction of the concerts I would have liked to have seen. But then Clarence The Angel appeared, dressed in a baseball style cap with an WXRT logo, a Fountains Of Wayne t-shirt and faded jeans. With a playful smile, he set down his paperback copy of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, and whisked me back to some of my favorite live performances of 2009. After reliving those musical moments, my heavenly guide said in his gravelly voice, “You see, Terrence, you really did have a wonderful rock and roll year.” And so, in no particular order, here are some of those memories.

The Plastiscines at Bottom Lounge - These young Parisian women had already proven they could create authentic American style garage rock with LP1 and About Love. Their June 15th appearance at this west side club as part of Nylon Magazine’s Summer Music Tour proved they could bring it live as well.

The Smithereens at Lake View Fest - Performing literally right next to Wrigley Field, this veteran power pop band roared through original classics and did a great job covering selections from The Who’s Tommy.

The Handcuffs at Taste Of Lincoln Avenue - I celebrated part of my birthday last July at this bustling street fest, where lead vocalist-guitarist Chloe F. Orwell and drummer Brad Elvis led their co-ed band through catchy gems from their two impressive CDs, Electroluv and Model For A Revolution.

International Pop Overthrow at The Abbey Pub - This two-week celebration of ringing guitars and irresistible melodies visits clubs around the Windy City every April. The 2009 line-up offered the usual exciting mix of area bands, including The Lackloves, 92 Degrees, and The Valley Downs, as well as overseas visitors like the U.K. band, Anison.

The Posies at Randolph Street Fest - The Seattle-based band reunited to perform their entire power pop masterpiece Frosting On The Beater last June at this most trendy of street fests.

Jon Auer/Fountains Of Wayne Acoustic Show at Park West - A few weeks later, Posies vocalist-guitarist Auer opened for Fountains Of Wayne, armed only with his acoustic guitar. Fountains Of Wayne also switched to acoustic instruments while they performed “Hey, Julie” and several other melodic hits.


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