Thursday, June 22, 2017

Power Pop Drawing Power?

Ric Menck, a musician whose impressive career stretches back to the Chicago-based band The Reverbs in 1984 to performing on Matthew Sweet’s new Tomorrow Forever album, recently posted an interesting question on Facebook. He asked if anyone would go to a power pop weekend festival with artists like Cheap Trick, The Smithereens, The Raspberries, Big Star Redux, Dwight Twilley, Shoes, Pezband, Rubinoos, Marshall Crenshaw, Matthew Sweet, Material Reissue, and others. There is no such event in the works, but hopefully Menck’s post might get some influential people thinking about staging one. We can only hope.

In the meantime, there is some good news on the power pop front. Like the double bill of Material Reissue and Cliff Johnson backed by The Raine coming up this Saturday at the Wire club in Berwyn. Material Reissue comprises original Material Issue members bassist-vocalist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko, along with singer-guitarist Phil Angotti. They’ve been doing a great job of performing the classic songs the late Jim Ellison created with the band back in the 1990s. As a veteran of Pezband and Off Broadway (and other groups), Cliff Johnson has composed and sang lead vocals on several power pop gems. Lately, he’s been hitting the club scene backed by veteran band The Raine, and the combination has been working really well.

Later this summer, Matthew Sweet (and I’m assuming with Ric Menck) has two shows coming up at City Winery Chicago on July 13 and July 14. Then there’s a Power Pop Night at The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on August 11 featuring Dwight Twilley, Pezband, and Shoes. I’ll be posting more about this as the concert gets closer. In other news, The Smithereens have reunited with their original bass player Mike Mesaros and have two shows coming up on July 2 and 3 at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ. According to the Slicing Up Eyeballs website,  Mesaros is also joining The Smithereens in the recording studio as they work on a new album.

Bassist-vocalist Derrick Anderson, who has performed with The Smithereens on occasion, recently recorded a video for “When I Was Your Man” with help from Vicki and Debbie Peterson from The Bangles and Kim Shattuck from The Muffs. The song was on Anderson’s stellar debut A World Of My Own, which included help from The Bangles, Shattuck, The Smithereens, Matthew Sweet, and other power pop stars. It would be great to see Anderson tour with all of those people onboard, or maybe as part of a major power pop weekend festival.

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