Monday, August 18, 2014

Another Try: It’s All Part Of My Rock And Roll Fantasy


Will this be the year someone covers The Hollies for Halloween? 
Photo from The Hollies Facebook page.

Today’s post is a rerun from the beginning of October 2013 when I offered suggestions regarding the tradition of local musicians honoring their favorite big-name artists via tribute performances around Halloween. It’s always more fun when five or six local acts gather together for an evening of short sets, with each one delving into a different band. After posting my recommendations, I learned that most bands start planning their Halloween tribute shows at least a few months in advance.

So this year, I’m putting my suggestions out there much earlier, in the naive hope that they might actually come to fruition. Think of it as a musical version of fantasy football. For the most part, my suggestions for Honorees (H) are ones that are overdue to be covered. I’ve picked an Appropriate Local Act (ALA) for each, and in some cases, suggested a few Appropriate Local Acts.

(H) The dB’s. The legendary and highly influential power pop band has great songs like “Amplifier” and “Love Is For Lovers.”

(ALA): Androgynous Mustache. They were suitably loud and unruly as The Replacements, and they’re veterans of tribute shows.

Or: (ALA) The Webstirs. Their original CDs are filled with catchy pop tunes, and they’re no strangers to tribute shows.

(H) The Hollies. The British Invasion group had Top 40 singles over two decades, from “Look Through Any Window” to “The Air That I Breathe,” along with a wealth of masterful deep album cuts.

(ALA) : Phil Angotti. He draws inspiration from the 1960s for his original songs, and he’s already
done tributes to The Bee Gees, The Zombies, The Byrds, The Monkees, and Paul McCartney.

Or: (ALA) The Abbeys. The gorgeous harmonies of The Everly Brothers were an inspiration for Hollies founding members Graham Nash and Allan Clarke, and they’re also the template Mike Cohen and Jeff Janulis use for the catchy power pop they perform as The Abbeys.

(H) The Bangles. Power pop fans know The Bangles are more than just the video vixens of “In Your Room.” Beside the obvious hits, there are numerous deep cuts like “Hero Takes A Fall,” “Some Dreams Come True,” and “Tear Off Your Own Head.”

(ALA) The Webstirs with guest vocalist Holly Senchak. This combination made ABBA fun, even for those of us who aren’t particularly ABBA fans. Senchak has also been effective channeling Courtney Love and Liz Phair. 

Or: (ALA) The Valley Downs. Lead vocalist Marianne Shimkus sounds a lot like Vicki Peterson at times, and her husband, bassist-backup vocalist Mike Galassini writes catchy pop songs for The Valley Downs and his other band, 92 Degrees.

Or: (ALA) The Handcuffs. The catchy indie rock sound they’ve perfected over three CDs has been used on TV shows, and recently, drummer Brad Elvis performed with The Bangles on a few songs at City Winery - Chicago. Lead vocalist-guitarist Chloe F. Orwell has the range to cover the Bangles hits, and The Handcuffs have female backup singers to help her out.

(H) The Three O’Clock. They were founding members of the Los Angeles Paisley Underground scene, along with the Bangles, back in the early 1980s.

(ALA) Ellis Clark. He helped found Epicycle, one of Chicago’s first punk/power pop bands, and was also a member of Social Act and The Handcuffs. Clark has played Syd Barrett and Paul McCartney shows, and has joined Angotti to cover The Who.

Or (ALA) 92 Degrees. This classic power pop trio was part of the Black Vinyl stable of artists recruited by Shoes back in the early 1990s. 

(H) Hoodoo Gurus. The imaginative garage rock songs by this Australian outfit, especially “Dig It Up” and “Leilani, are custom-made for Halloween celebrations.  

(ALA) Penthouse Sweets. They’ve always mixed humor with cutting edge rock and their take on The Sex Pistols was a riot. 

Or (ALA) Van Go. Lead vocalist-songwriter Davey Sippel’s lyrics give this hard-edged power pop band a satirical edge on tunes like “Three Minutes Are Up” and “Invisible Girlfriends.”

(H) Graham Nash. He published his autobiography Wild Tales, is making personal appearances, and still tours with David Crosby and Stephen Stills.

(ALA) Dolly Varden. This alt rock/Country and Western band is critically acclaimed for the intricate harmonies crafted by Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen. They covered Fleetwood Mac and would be well-suited to perform Nash’s solo efforts.

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