Thursday, May 28, 2015

Slumgullion


The Manchester band Temples, of “Shelter Song” fame, are the headline act at Do-Division Fest  this Sunday night. Several indie rock acts will be on hand as the festival runs from Friday, May 29th to Sunday, May 31st.

Outdoor art show season has arrived, and there’s a good one taking place this weekend at Michigan Avenue and Lake Street. The Millennium Art Festival isn’t the biggest of Chicago’s annual art events, but it always has an intriguing and eclectic selection of work. Admission is free.

Alan Parsons has a gig at The Arcada in St. Charles Friday, May 29th. On the following  night, Peter Noone’s Herman’s Hermits will be performing at the same venue. Both shows are very close to being sold out.

The Blisters, The Evening Attraction, and The Forest Fires will help The Throne Room at 2831 N. Broadway celebrate its 1 Year Anniversary Friday, May 29th. Show time is 9:00 PM.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will likely be playing songs from their new Chasing Yesterday CD at their concert Saturday, May 29th, at the Riviera Theatre in Uptown. They have a show the next night at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee. 

Playwrights Beth Graham and Daniela Vlaskalic will be at Signal Ensemble Theatre this Saturday night for a “talkback and meet and greet” following the staging of their Jeff Recommended work The Drowning Girls.

Christie’s Dairy Delights in Palatine will celebrate its 1 Year Anniversary with a DJ and special deals this Saturday, May 30th, from 6 to 10 PM. 

Also in Palatine, Music On Stage will be presenting Damn Yankees at Cutting Hall from May 30th through June 14th.

Saturday, May 30th will be the last day for the Vintage Music Poster Show at Curly Tale Fine Art Gallery  at 16 W. Erie. The exhibit includes a framed ticket from a Cream concert, a Janis Joplin poster for her appearance at the Auditorium Theatre, and a Beatles poster from Japan. Admission is free.

The 2nd Annual Chicago Nightlife Awards, co-hosted by MTV’s Jesse Camp and Jeremy Scheuch from Do312, will take place this coming Tuesday, June 2nd at Concord Music Hall. Categories include Band of the Year, Best Live Music Venue, Best Festival, Best DJ, Blogger Of The Year, Photographer of the Year, and Nightclub of the Year.

Whitewolfsonicprincess, an alt rock band led by Carla Hayden and James Moeller from the Black Forest theatre group; The Rut, an alt rock band offshoot of the Famous In The Future sketch comedy group, and Citizen’s Relief, an off-kilter theatre duo will be part of a variety show that also includes the alt rock band Gunnelpumpers, comedian Elizabeth Gomez, and The Revelettes Go-Go Dancers this Sunday afternoon, May 31st at Red Line Tap. Black Forest, Famous In The Future (whom I used to perform with) and Citizen’s Relief are veterans of the annual Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins Festival.

Mary-Arrchie Theatre has announced that this year’s Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins Festival will run the weekend of August 14 – 16. Artistic Director Rich Cotovsky will once again channel Hoffman’s spirit throughout the event, and somewhere around 60 acts, performing drama, comedy, performance art, and music, will be involved. It’s going to be a weekend of tough choices because that’s also when Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago and the Chicago Air And Water Show take place.  

Continuing the Mary-Arrchie theme, Carlo Lorenzo Garcia, a longtime director and actor with the company, has been writing and performing in a new Internet comedy series called Under Covers that’s a spoof of hardboiled detective shows. Cotovsky was a recent guest star.

Let them read CAKE. The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo will be held June 6th and 7th at The Center On Halsted. It’s being billed as a “Celebration and Marketplace Of Independent Comics. Special guests include Eleanor Davis, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Keiler Roberts, Zak Sally, Dash Shaw, Jillian Tamaki, and Lale Westvind. Admission is free.

Graham Parker And The Rumour have a 4:00 PM gig at City Winery Chicago on Sunday, June 7th, and an evening show on Monday, June 8th.

Death and Memphis, a guitar driven punk/rock and roll quartet that includes guitarist Steve Gerlach of Bad Examples, Tomorrow The Moon, and Sons of the Silent Age, has an EP release party coming up next Friday, June 5th at Liar’s Club in Chicago.

Another Kind Of Love: A Punk Rock Play, InFusion’s staging of Crystal Skillman’s study of a doomed female rock star, continues it run at Chopin Theatre through June 14th. Admission is $28.

It’s been a while since I’ve visited a piano bar, so I can’t really say what sort of music patrons should expect in such a venue. But I liked the variety Stan Karcz was offering at the Seasons 52 restaurant in Schaumburg this past Monday night. There were songs by Squeeze and Green Day along with the standards by Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. His playlist includes Gotye, Ray Charles, Patsy Cline, Blondie, Sam Cooke, and 4 Non Blondes. Karcz will be back at Seasons 52 in Schaumburg Monday, June 1st and Friday, June 5th. You can find his full schedule, as well as info about his original music, on his website.

That CD The Neverly Brothers have been promising is now available. The trio has developed a loyal following across the Chicago area with a show that traces the history of rock from its earliest days through the mid-1960s. A Magical History Tour, which captures that experience, will be available separately as Volume 1 and Volume 2 or as a set. As of now, the CDs are only being sold at The Neverly Brothers’ concerts.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Motobunny - Motobunny


Motobunny is a new group comprised of members from two veteran and highly regarded garage rock acts that often toured together but had never joined forces before this self-titled debut. Vocalist Christa Collins and bassist-vocalist Rik Collins come from The Woolly Bandits while vocalist-keyboards player Nicole Laurenne, guitarist Michael Johnny Walker, and drummer Jay Lien are members of The Love Me Nots. Together they’ve forged a dozen high-energy songs that tap into garage and glam rock, with Christa Collins and Nicole Laurenne consistently working in tandem on vocals.

“Let’s Go Out,” with its ultra catchy mix of keyboards and guitar, could serve as a response to “This Beat Goes On/”Switching To Glide” by The Kings as Nicole Laurenne and Christa Collins extol the joys of a night on the town and toss in just a snippet of rap singing. The title track is a rapid-fire tale of a woman careening about on a motorcycle, while “Apocalypse Twist” makes the end of the world seem fun with an arrangement that sounds like The B-52’s, only more muscular. The vocal interplay on “Red Rover” is particularly impressive, and sassy on the Halloween fun of “My Boyfriend Is A Ghost” and “Spider And Fly.”

Rik Collins, who performed with The Seeds, provides some snakey bass playing on “Drown” and propels the hard-hitting opening track “The Other Side.” Walker provides plenty of guitar firepower throughout, and complements Lien’s drumming for a funky approach on the anthem “Shake Me.” It’s a safe bet that anyone encountering these musicians for the first time will want to explore what else they’ve recorded.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Night Dials - “I’ve Done More Things”/“I’ll Sleep When I Die”


This very first release from Night Dials is a double A Side single that showcases the London based quintet’s obsession with recreating the bare-bones recording techniques favored by English bands in the early 1960s. From there, they add a more modern edge, particularly with energetic guitar playing. The songs are credited to a gentleman named Ilan Hartogh, but other than that, you won’t find much information about the members of The Night Dials on their own site or their record label’s

The stronger track, “I’ve Done More Things,” concerns a guy boasting superiority over his girlfriend’s new beau, even as he comes to realize his own relationship with her is doomed. The catchy arrangement, with its infectious drumbeat and emotive vocals, makes this song sound like it could gave sprung from an early LP by The Kinks. The melodic “I’ll Sleep When I Die” starts out ornate and simple with echoing vocals before morphing into a guitar-driven garage rock tune that would have been perfect to dance to in a 1960s swinging discotheque.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

The Unswept - The Unswept Today!


Photo from The Unswept Facebook page.

For the past few years, The Unswept’s official bio described how cousins Charlie and Ryan O’Brien first performed with a band in Sheffield, England before moving to the Chicago neighborhood of Logan Square in 2013. Since making their debut as a duo at International Pop Overthrow - Chicago that year, they’ve added Liz, who supposedly is another O’Brien cousin from the old neighborhood across the pond, on bass along with a drummer. A quick scan of the band’s website will have you wondering just how much of this back story actually happened, but it’s all done with an appealing sense of humor. Charlie and Ryan’s wit and charm has been evident throughout live performances, a 2014 self-titled debut, and the recently released The Unswept Today!

As the band’s chief songwriters, Charlie and Ryan continue to mix self-effacing lyrics with three-part harmonies and catchy arrangements that hark back to the earliest days of the British Invasion. On “Super Sad,” the talky vocals are at odds with the ringing guitars and irresistible melody, but the song still works as a satire of people intent on wallowing in self pity. “Please, Please Look My Way” is from the point of view of a guy crushing on a woman who works at the local department store, and on the acoustic-based “Mellow Doubt,” a lad fears he’ll never be good enough for the woman he loves. Even the peppy “(You Can) Do The Math,” which overflows with clever compliments for the beloved, tries to downplay the success of a romantic relationship. “Get Away” offers another intriguing juxtaposition, as the band uses some mind-bending psychedelia as the backdrop for a guy kicking his girlfriend out of their apartment.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Slumgullion


Photo from Veruca Salt's Facebook page.

Slumgullion comes out early again this week due to another action-packed Friday that will leave me no time to sit down at the computer and compose a typically massive and eclectic blog post. So here’s one now.

WXRT has been playing “The Gospel Of St. Me” by the recently reunited Veruca Salt. The guitar-driven song, with its gritty Rolling Stones feel, is from the upcoming album Ghost Notes. A summer tour is also in the works.

Burnside And Hooker, the six-piece band led by vocalist Rachel Bonacquisti, has a Release Party for its new All The Way To The Devil album at The Double Door on Friday, May 22nd. 

After another successful stay in Liverpool, David Bash now brings International Pop Overthrow to Stockholm this weekend at the Pet Sounds Bar. The Lannie Flowers Band, Dave Rave, and The Jeremy Band are (of course) on the schedule, along with hometown acts like Rooni, Top Sound, The Plastic Pals, and The Vanjas.

The Rolling Clones will be belting out Mick and Keith tunes Friday, May 22nd, at 27 Live in Evanston. Avant garde/indie rock band Whitewolfsonicprincess is the opening act.

Whitewolfsonicprincess will be part of a lineup that include Gunnelpumpers, The Rut, Citizen’s Relief, comedian Elizabeth Gomez, and The Revelettes Go-Go Dancers next Sunday afternoon, May 31st at Red Line Tap next.

Theatre Nebula’s staging of Godspell at Cutting Hall in my home town of Palatine wraps up this Sunday night, May 24th. 

The Church will share a double bill with The Psychedelic Furs on 20 of the dates for its summer tour in America. That includes New York, Philadelphia, Louisville, Kansas City (MO), Portland, Las Vegas, and San Diego. The Church has a solo show at The Old Town School Of Folk Music in Chicago on August 29th.

Sunken Ships, The Penthouse Sweets, and Milk At Midnight will comprise a triple bill of bands with unusual names at The Hideouot on Saturday, May 23rd.

Rain - A Tribute To The Beatles wraps up its week-long run at the Bank Of America Theatre this Sunday.

AIM: Angotti Illarde McDonough Rock And Roll Oldies Show, featuring Phil Angotti, Anthony Illarde, and Casey McDonough, takes place at Simon’s on Chicago’s north side this Sunday night at 9:00 PM. I’ve seen Angotti pay tribute to a number of 1960s acts, so I’m sure these “2 sets of top-of-the-head, skin-of-the-teeth oldies” will be a blast. There is no cover charge.

This coming Tuesday, Angotti continues his Tuesday night May residency at The Hideout with a show called For Pete’s Sake - The Songs Of Pete Ham and Pete Townshend

The Second Disc website recently reported that the Sundazed label is about to release the first three Lovin’ Spoonful album in mono on CD and 180-gram vinyl.

Singer-guitarist Kevin Lee, a Chicago music scene veteran who has released a number of albums over the years, recently posted on Facebook that he has written enough new material for a pair of albums. Each release will have its own vibe. He’ll start recording soon.

There’s only one week left for fans of 1960s and ‘70s rock to check out the Vintage Music Poster Show at Curly Tale Fine Art Gallery at 16 W. Erie. The exhibit, which includes a framed ticket from a Cream concert, a Janis Joplin poster for her appearance at the Auditorium Theatre, and a Beatles poster from Japan, closes May 30th. Admission is free. 

In other rock and roll related exhibit news, the Paul Natkin: Superstars exhibit runs through June 14th at the Ed Paschke Art Center on Chicago’s northwest side. Admission is free.

The Manchester band Temples, who racked up a lot of airplay with the psychedelic gem “Shelter Song” from their 2014 release Sun Structures, are the headline act for the Do-Division Fest  next Sunday. I can’t say that I’m familiar with all the acts at this event, but they’re definitely not the same ones booked for every other outdoor bash in the Chicago area. Which is a great reason to support Do-Division Fest.

The Romeros: They’re not just for the final night of International Pop Overthrow - Chicago anymore. IPO - Chicago veterans The Romeros, led by Mike Vanderbilt, will perform next Thursday, May 28th at Orland Days in Orland Park. I’d like to see this kind of unorthodox booking for Palatine’s outdoor concert series, but I know it will never happen.

Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds will likely be playing songs from their new Chasing Yesterday CD at their concert next Saturday, May 29th, at the Riviera Theatre in Uptown. They have a show the next night at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee.

Alan Parsons has a gig at The Arcada in St. Charles next Friday, May 29th. On the following  night, Peter Noone’s Herman’s Hermits will be performing at The Arcada.

The Blisters, The Evening Attraction, and The Forest Fires will help The Throne Room celebrate its 1 Year Anniversary next Friday, May 29th. Show time is 9:00 PM.

Christie’s Dairy Delights in Palatine will celebrate its 1 Year Anniversary with a DJ and special deals next Saturday, May 30th, from 6 to 10 PM.

There will be a Help Rebuild Nepal Benefit Concert with Lynne Jordan, Wayne Baker Brooks, The Empty Pockets, and Rick King’s Royal Hustle at City Winery on June 16th. Tickets are $25.

Hey, I’m On A T-Shirt! Lucy Van Pelt from Peanuts once theorized that an individual cannot be considered famous unless he’s been on a bubblegum card. On Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a man was thrilled when his small village of Wainscotting was mentioned on television. Well, I feel honored that Chicago’s psychedelic band The Luck Of Eden Hall has included Broken Hearted Toy in a list of supporters on the back of its 2015 UK Tour t-shirt. I’m there along with Fruits de Mer Records; Goldmine Magazine; WXRT Local Anesthetic, and Vintage Vinyl Records, and other blogs and stores. The $25 t-shirts are available in color or black and white on The Luck Of Eden Hall’s Bandcamp page.   

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There’s Good Rockin’ On This Night


A hearty Broken Hearted Toy welcome to Jeff Beck, whose current tour brings him to the Chicago Theatre tonight. My longtime friend and Jeff Beck’s most ardent fan Maryel will be there, along with quite a few other people with excellent taste in guitar players. Beck moves on to the Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee tomorrow, and he’ll be at the State Theater Minneapolis on Saturday.

Those who don’t have the opportunity to see Beck in person can pick up his brand new CD LIVE +, which is now available from Best Buy online and Amazon. Recorded during his 2014 tour, it includes performances of classics like “Going Down,” “Morning Dew,” “Superstition,” and “A Day In The Life,” along with a few brand new songs. You can also get a sampling of Beck’s firepower by watching the video of “Hammerhead” on his official website.

Elsewhere in Chicago tonight:

Ellis Clark And The Big Parade with special guest vocalist Ary Jeebie will headline a five-band showcase at House Of Blues in downtown Chicago. Hannah Frank Group, Skipping Rocks, The Mainstays, and Coyote Union are the other bands performing at this ages 17+ show. The first band goes on at 7:30 PM; Ellis Clark And The Big Parade perform at 10 PM.

Secret Colours, Soft Speaker, The Van Goghs, and Bad Bad Meow will be performing at Martyrs in a show benefiting Supplies For Dreams, a nonprofit organization that helps Chicago Public Schools.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Feral Conservatives - The Feeling Noise Becomes


The Virginia-based Feral Conservatives have been recording their distinctive music in bits and pieces over the past three years, while also building a loyal following with live performances. Their most recent release, the cassette EP The Feeling Noise Becomes, showcases how accomplished Rashie Rosenfarb has become at incorporating her folk style vocals and mandolin playing into the cutting-edge arrangements she forges with drummer Matt Francis and bassist Dan Avant. The four tracks are also available for download on the group’s Bandcamp page.  

On Misfire,” aggressive rock instrumentation creeps in around Rosenfarb’s beautiful singing and picks up steam as the song progresses. That pristine vs. power tension is even more impressive on “Class Reunion,” which features some classic guitar feedback, intricately layered vocals and a strong melody. Feral Conservatives opt for a more straight-forward folk approach on “Lies” backed a steady drum beat, while the catchy “Last Legs” has an appealing hint of R.E.M.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Slumgullion


Slumgullion arrives a day early this week because there are some important Friday events to discuss, and I’ve got a full day of freelance proofreading tomorrow.

Jeff Tweedy’s Annual Benefit For Education takes place Friday, May 15th at The Vic on Chicago’s north side. General Admission tickets for this 18 and older show are $75; $150 for the VIP treatment.

International Pop Overthrow - Liverpool runs through this weekend and all the way to Tuesday, May 19th at The Cavern Club. North Americans Dave Rave, Lannie Flowers, and The Jeremy Band will hit the stage, as will a multitude of English and European acts. Aerial, Spygenius, The Backlash, and Las Annettes are also scheduled to appear. Check out IPO online and you’ll be sure to discover a bunch of fun new bands.

EXPO ‘76 and The Total Pro Horns will make a triumphant return to Mac’s On Slade in my humble village of Palatine on Friday, May 15th. As always, patrons can expect the unexpected in terms of what songs from over five decades of rock this group will choose to cover. The musicians have expansive experience in other bands like The Slugs, Poi Dog Pondering, The Service, etc, and one or two of them even know how to run a local independent record label. Sounds like a recipe for fun. Note: Previous EXPO ‘76 shows at Mac’s On Slade have packed the house, so it’s best to get there early.

So The Hollies (Official) Facebook page has revealed the identity of that new release they teased fans about on Tuesday. It’s titled Changin’ Times - The Complete Hollies - January 1969 – March 1973. The five-disc set from Parlophone will include every album track and non-album single released within that time span. It’s due out in July, and the Facebook page promises more details as the release date gets closer. Hopefully, there will be some rarities involved.

The first annual Evanston Literary Festival continues through this coming Monday at various venues around town. At Bookends and Beginnings on Friday, May 15th at 6:00 PM, Julia Sweeney from Saturday Night Live will read from her latest book If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother, and Christine Sneed will read from her novel Paris, He Said. Both writers will also discuss the writing process and influences on their work. At 7:00 PM The League of Graphic Novel Readers book club will discuss Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns at Comix Revolution. There are five events on Saturday; six on Sunday; and one on Monday evening.

One if by rock, two if by roll. Paul Revere’s Raiders have a performance this Sunday night at The Arcada in St. Charles. Upcoming shows at The Arcada include Alan Parsons on May 29th; Peter Noone’s Herman’s Hermits on May 30th; Graham Nash on July 28th (already have my tickets!); Belinda Carlisle on September 9th; and The Jayhawks on September 19th.

My ever changing moods. This Tuesday, May 19th, for his second show of a May residency at Hideout Inn on Wabansia Avenue in Chicago, singer-guitarist Phil Angotti will concentrate on Happy/Sad Songs. He recently posted a request on Facebook asking for people’s favorite sad songs, so maybe he already knew enough happy ones. Angotti will be joined by Casey McDonough and Tommi Zender.

I have no idea how the Los Angeles/Phoenix band Motobunny got my address to send a copy of their self-titled debut CD, but I’m glad they did. Comprised of members of The Love Me Nots and The Woolly Bandits, the quartet’s songs recall The Cramps and The Runaways, with added bits of glam and techno rock. I’ll be giving this a full review in the near future. They have an album release show Friday, May 15th in Phoenix.

Ellis Clark And The Big Parade with special guest vocalist Ary Jeebie will headline a five-band showcase next Thursday, May 21st at House Of Blues in downtown Chicago. Hannah Frank Group, Skipping Rocks, The Mainstays, and Coyote Union are the other bands performing at this ages 17+ show. The first band goes on at 7:30 PM; Ellis Clark And The Big Parade perform at 10 PM. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

Guitar deity Jeff Beck will be performing at the Chicago Theatre on May 21st .

Secret Colours, Soft Speaker, The Van Goghs, and Bad Bad Meow will be performing Thursday, May 21st at Martyrs in a show benefitting Supplies For Dreams, a nonprofit organization that helps Chicago Public Schools.

Burnside And Hooker, led by vocalist Rachel Bonacquisti, has a Release Party for its new All The Way To The Devil album at The Double Door on May 22nd. The six-piece band mixes jazz, rock, and blues, along with a theatrical flair.

The Rolling Clones will be belting out Mick and Keith tunes next Friday at 27 Live in Evanston. Avant garde/indie rock band Whitewolfsonicprincess are the opening act. Whitewolfsonicprincess will also be part of a Sunday afternoon lineup at Red Line Tap on May 31st that will include Gunnelpumpers, The Rut, Citizen’s Relief, comedian Elizabeth Gomez, and The Revelettes Go-Go Dancers.

Time flies when you’re on the throne. The Throne Roomat 2831 N. Broadway, will celebrate its 1 Year Anniversary with a trio of bands on May 29th. The Blisters, featuring Spencer Tweedy, whose profile has been raised quite a bit since he’s been recording and performing with his father Jeff, are the headline act. Self-described boppop rock n rollers The Evening Attraction and indie rock quartet The Forest Fires are the other scheduled acts. Show time is 9:00 PM. Tickets are $12 at the door and $9 in advance.

WXRT recently announced that Spooner, Houndmouth, and the son/daughter duo Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear will be the acts for its annual XRT Concert at Taste of Chicago on July 11th.

Death and Memphis, a guitar-driven punk/rock and roll quartet that includes guitarist Steve Gerlach of The Bad Examples, Tomorrow The Moon, and Sons of the Silent Age, has an EP release party coming up on June 5th at Liar’s Club in Chicago. 

Matthew Sweet and In Tall Buildings will be performing as part of Millennium Park’s Downtown Sound series of outdoor concerts on July 12th. Other acts scheduled include Poi Dog Pondering and Caroline Smith on June 29th; and King Sunny Ade and Matthew Tembo on July 6th. 

Congratulations to Marty Lennartz on completing his first week as the new afternoon DJ on WXRT. Lennartz has the major challenge of following Frank E. Lee, who retired after over 30 years with the progressive rock station. Luckily, Lennartz is no stranger to WXRT listeners, having manned various time slots over the years as well as hosting of the weekly alternative rock showcase The Big Beat. He’s also interviewed big name acts and covered major festivals like Lollapalooza for the station.

The Second Disc website is reporting that the ABKCO label is reissuing a limited edition “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones as a remastered 12-inch single with a replica sleeve to mark the iconic song’s 50th Anniversary. In addition to “Satisfaction,” the record will have “The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man,” which was the original B-Side in America, and “The Spider and the Fly,” which was the original B-Side in England. It’s already available on Amazon for $14.98.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Facebook Fun For Hollies Fans


Look Through Any Frosted Window. Photo from Hollies Official Facebook page

After over six months of inactivity, The Hollies (Official) Facebook page featured a teasing post about a new collection that’s coming soon from the band. A photo of what looks like 1970s era Hollies is deliberately blurred, as the message promises, “More to come on Thursday!” A cynic would be tempted to assume it’s yet another greatest hits package, although The Hollies’ recent Radio Fun offered previously unreleased live material. There’s also a possibility that this mysterious release could be a DVD. At any rate, it will be fun for Hollies fans to let their imaginations run wild for a few days. 

For more Hollies fun on Facebook, I recommend the Allan Clarke Appreciation Society which is run by Imogen Bebb. You won’t have to wait six months for new posts on this site, which features tons of rare photos of Clarke and his other mates in the band. Another good resource is the Hollies Appreciation Facebook Area page run by Carole Patricia Smart. Regular contributors like Godfrey Davies, Martin Dodd, Anthony Strelley, Knut Skyberg, and Konrad Duke Hestar keep this page jumping with vintage videos, photos, and comments. Both of these sites are exuberant in their support of their favorite British Invasion band. 

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Monday, May 11, 2015

International Pop Overthrow’s Crown Jewel


International Pop Overthrow, the globe-trotting celebration of power pop and indie rock, kicks off an extended run in Liverpool tomorrow at The Cavern Club. A few years back, IPO CEO/Founder David Bash told me in an interview for the Illinois Entertainer that the allure of playing at the world-famous Cavern Club (although it’s not the original one) allows him to pick the cream of the crop for his Liverpool showcases. The festival runs through May19th with well over 100 acts scheduled to appear. There will be a Cavern Club Tribute to Lennon and McCartney on Friday afternoon.

Once again, there are a few Yanks who make the trip across the sea, including Lannie Flowers, Jeremy, and Dave Rave, who were all at IPO-Chicago (though they’re not Chicagoans) this past April. Bands also arrive from other countries in Europe. The schedule, which can be found on the International Pop Overthrow website, has links to all the acts. That makes it a great resource for discovering new music even for those who can’t make it to The Cavern Club. Sometimes I put on a beret and pretend I’m David Bash while I research the bands. Fancy playing along? 

Pacific Soul Ltd. mixes The Beach Boys with 1970s soul music. SheBeat is an acoustic pop singer-songwriter. Alice (from Alice And The Lovers) formed an “original girllllstar band” on Valentine’s Day in 2013 that plays guitar-driven rock not unlike Dum Dum Girls. She’ll be doing a solo gig at IPO. The Rejetnicks, from Munich, describe their sound as Garagedancebeat and claim The Kinks and The Sonics as influences. Thee Wylde Fuzz Show mixes garage and psychedelic rock. The Backlash comes from Milan, and describes its sound as Britpop/shoesgaze music. Autos Detroit is a powerpop band from Madrid whose latest release has songs called “Jeff Lynne” and “Big Star.” That’s just a small sample of the bands that will be playing at The Cavern Club this week.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Slumgullion


There will be three great opportunities for fans of The Who in Chicago next week. Simon Townshend will be doing a solo show at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue on May 12th, with Dag Juhlin, who performs with The Slugs, Poi Dog Pondering, and EXPO ‘76, as his opening act. A day later, Simon will be performing with his brother Pete and The Who at the Allstate Arena.

On May 14th, the Townshend brothers will join Eddie Vedder, Zak Starkey, Joan Jett, and Joe Walsh for Celebrating The Who, a benefit to help Teen Cancer America at the Rosemont Theater. Roger Daltry has staged concerts for the organization in the past, and he’s listed on the Rosemont Theater website as being the host for this one.

Chicago Zine Fest  takes place today, May 8th, and tomorrow, May 9th, at the Plumbers’ Union Hall on Washington Blvd. Today is being devoted to a panel discussion and readings, while tomorrow’s main draw will be a Zine Exhibition showcasing zines, self-published books, and comics.

Fans of The Bangles and The Go-Go’s in Los Angeles will get a double treat on June 18th when Susanna Hoffs and her special guest Belinda Carlisle perform at the Largo At The Coronet. 

The Webstirs have a record release show for their latest effort Now You’ve Really Done It, at Beat Kitchen tomorrow night. I received an advance copy, and it offers more of the offbeat lyrics, irresistible melodies, and fun harmonies that fans have come to expect from these guys. For tomorrow night’s show, The Webstirs will be special guests of Textbook, a guitar-driven band who latest album All Messed Up finds them pursuing a more alt-country sound on some of the tunes.

Dennis Diken, the drummer for The Smithereens, will be joining musicians Tom Clark, Sal Maida, Craig Chester, Andy Riedel, and Charles Roth for A Spoonful Of Lovin - A Night Celebrating The Good Time Music Of The Lovin Spoonful on May 17th at The Treehouse at 2A in New York City.

Chicago-based indie rockers Fort Frances have a gig tonight at Lincoln Hall. In my July 1st, 2013 review (it originally ran in the Ilinois Entertainer) of the band’s Harbour album, I said it would fit in well with artists like Fleet Foxes, and that singer-guitarist David McMillin’s vocals bring a beguiling atmosphere to songs like “Truths I Used To Know” and “City By The Sea.”

Tributosaurus became Sting at Martyrs’ this past Wednesday, and they’ll make that transformation again tonight at Wire in Berwyn. 

Fresh from a successful gig at the recent International Pop Overthrow - Chicago festival, the coed power pop band The Right Tidys will be performing at Phyllis’ tomorrow night. Deadly Bungalows and Volt Amp are also on the bill.

A full-color printed Ravinia schedule has been showing up in people’s mailboxes around Illinois and once unfolded, it’s large enough to paper a wall. Some of the highlights of this year’s outdoor concert series in Highland Park include Sheryl Crow on June 25th; Pink Martini, Aimee Mann, and The Von Trapps on July 1st; Brian Wilson with Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin, and Rodriguez of Searching For Sugar Man fame on July 6th; a Chicago Symphony Orchestra tribute to Danny Elfman’s film music on July 21st; Blondie and Melissa Etheridge on July 2nd; Steely Dan on July 24th and 25th; Santana on August 29th and 30th; and Jackson Browne on September 5th.

We also now know the lineup for the outdoor Sounds Of Summer concerts in Palatine at the Fred P. Hall Amphitheater. The Palatine Concert Band once again has three dates (June 10th, July 8th, and July 29th); American English returns on June 12th; and Band Called Catch performs on June 19th. The full schedule wasn’t online yet as I wrote this but it should show up soon on the Sounds Of Summer website. 

Also in Palatine, Theatre Nebula’s staging of Godspell at Cutting Hall begins tonight and runs through May 24th. Theatre Nebula did a great job on Spamalot! last year.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow for the July 14th Matthew Sweet and August 1st Marshall Crenshaw shows at SPACE in Evanston.  

Billie Piper and Arthur Darville from Doctor Who are among the guests coming to the Wizard World Comic Con - Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Center on August 20th  through the 23rd.

Singer-guitarist Terry Sylvester, who replaced Graham Nash in The Hollies, will make his second visit to the Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago on the weekend of August 14th through 16th. Other guests include Mark Hudson and George Harrison’s sister Louise.

Frank E. Lee did his final afternoon shift today on WXRT before retiring. It was fun and interesting to hear him reflect on his early days at the station. The musicians he’s interviewed over the years included Jimmy Page, R.E.M., and Robert Smith of The Cure. Earlier today, morning man Lin Brehmer offered a funny and heartfelt tribute to Lee. There’s a short video on WXRT’s website  featuring various members of the staff offering their thoughts on the now retired radio star.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Fare Lee Well


Frank E. Lee’s 1–5 PM shift tomorrow will be his last for WXRT as he enters into retirement. Having listened to Lee for decades, I want to thank him for making weekday afternoons entertaining, and wish him the very best. Like so many WXRT air personalities, his easy-going delivery made it feel like he was a friend. Lee recently posted a video tour of the station’s new headquarters in the Prudential 2 building on the 93XRT Facebook page that serves as a bookend to a video tour he once gave of WXRT’s previous location at 4949 W. Belmont. It should be interesting to see what other treats Lee and his fellow air personalities cook up for his swan song tomorrow.

Back in 2006, when WXRT was selling Volume 9 of its ONXRT - Live From The Archives CD through Borders Books and Music, I went to the Schaumburg location to buy a copy. I had worked at that Borders for two years and knew that Frank E. Lee would be signing copies there. He and marketing person Kristin Kay were genuinely friendly, and I told him that Borders would do a good job selling the CD since its music staff was so knowledgeable and helpful. I had been part of that staff, and all modesty aside, my ability to help customers find CDs was legendary.

I enjoyed talking to Lee again at one of WXRT’s Listener Poll Galas, and as a former southwest sider, I have fond memories of his New Wave nights at Eric The Red’s on 111th Street. But it may be best to think of Lee’s retirement in terms of those now-shuttered Borders locations. It’s rare to find a record store these days where an employee will not only take the time to help you with what you’re looking for but also suggest other music you might like. In an era of listening to downloaded tunes on various devices, it’s important to keep in mind the dee jays who have introduced us to so many rock and roll artists over the years. Frank E. Lee is one of the best, and he always works with a smile.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago And A Hollies Type Of Summer


Great graphic from The Fest For Beatles Fans website. But none of these guys is Terry Sylvester.

Tickets for Graham Nash’s solo show at The Arcada in St. Charles on July 28th went on sale today. My incredible wife Pam snagged two tickets, so we’ll be going to celebrate my birthday, which occurs three days earlier.

And now on to this year’s Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago, which also involves a former member of The Hollies. Now if only the current lineup of The Hollies, which includes original members guitarist-vocalist Tony Hicks and drummer Bobby Elliott, would pay the Chicago area a visit, this could really be a summer for Hollies fans to remember. 

Last Sunday, on her Breakfast With The Beatles show on WXRT, Terri Hemmert announced the guests for this year’s Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago. The information can also be found on the Fest’s official website. Hemmert will once again serve as Master Of Ceremonies as Fest For Beatles Fans takes place at the Hyatt Regency O’Hara in suburban Rosemont on the weekend of August 14 – 16th. This year, it’s not on the same weekend as Wizard World Comic Con - Chicago, which is held at the neighboring Donald E. Stephens Center. That makes it easier for those of us who like to attend both events, but the crossover of Beatlemaniacs and sci-fi nerds has been fun and fascinating in the past.

Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago will once again present musicians, authors, artists, photographers, and music biz people who have some connection to The Beatles. Most are accessible to fans in both the general sense of watching them being interviewed in a large meeting room, and on a face-to-face basis at the autograph tables. Bob Eubanks, who produced Beatles concerts before hosting The Dating Game, and Jack Oliver, former president of Apple Records, are among this year’s guests. A huge marketplace with loads of music-related memorabilia is also a major draw. 

Singer-guitarist Terry Sylvester, who replaced Graham Nash in The Hollies, will make his second visit to the Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago. He’s actually not in the Hollies photograph Fest For Beatles Fans is using on its website. Earlier this year, Sylvester was part of the British Invasion Tour that also featured Fest For Beatles Fans veterans Peter Asher, Denny Laine, Billy J. Kramer, and Chad and Jeremy. Sax player-vocalist Mark Riviera, who has toured with Ringo Starr and made an impressive Fest debut last year, is back again. Louise Harrison, George’s older sister, will also be on hand.

Some of the returning favorites include trivia master Wally Podrazik; producer-musician Mark Hudson, who has worked with Ringo Starr and other famous musicians; Beatles artist Eric Cash; Rob Shanahan, who served as Ringo Starr’s photographer; and authors Bruce Spizer, Jude Southerland Kessler and Dee Elias. Liverpool, one of the best Beatles tribute bands around, will continue its tradition of performing at Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago, and Peter Max designed a colorful and imaginative poster that will be available for sale.

The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago website promises that additional guests will be announced soon. Tickets are $46.00 for Friday; $65.00 for Saturday or Sunday; and $169.00 for the entire weekend. I’m planning on doing a more extensive preview closer to the event.

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