Wednesday, April 25, 2018

IPO Thursday Night Preview

There are three days and four showcases left for this year’s International Pop Overthrow - Chicago run at the Heartland Café Bar on the north side. It’s easy to get a preview all of the acts who’ll be performing because IPO Founder/CFO David Bash provides links to most of them on the official website. I’m more familiar with some of these acts than others, but here’s a quick rundown.

Thursday night’s showcase opens with singer-guitarist Josefina. Her evocative vocals are well suited for Americana and alt-country, plus she delves into funk and rock, all backed by a four-piece band. Power pop band The Spindles are veterans of this festival, and vocalist-guitarist Jeff Janulis is also a founding member (with Michael Steven Cohen) of IPO favorites The Abbeys. As demonstrated on their upcoming album, The Spindles are experts at spinning 1960s pop into appealing power pop music. In addition to catchy originals like the “Young Heart,” they impress with covers of The Hollies and The Elvis Brothers. Look for a review of that album here soon.

Thrift Store Halo recently returned from hiatus with a new album filled with radio-friendly alt rock songs. It’s a different approach from the power pop of their earliest efforts, but fans of catchy tunes with harmony vocals will be onboard. The new “Every Time With You”/”Concrete” CD single is also available to download on their website. If you go, ask Thrift Store Halo if you can have one of their very cool new buttons. Seven-piece band The Red Wigglers describe their unique sound as “indie rock with horns.” Led by vocalist Megan Tormey, these IPO veterans have a loyal following on the local music scene. Drew Neely And The Heroes feature singer-guitarist Neeley performing original rock and roll, backed by three other musicians.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Planet Of RSD Fun And More IPO To Come

International Pop Overthrow - Chicago continues its 2018 run of multi-band showcases through this Saturday night at the Heartland Café Bar on the north side. A hectic schedule has kept me from providing as much support as I’d like to, but it’s still easy to get a preview of all of the acts who’ll be performing. The links IPO Founder/CFO David Bash provides on the official website often include a Bandcamp page.

Tonight’s five-act showcase gives us Larry O. Dean, a singer-songwriter with biting humor; power pop singer-guitarist Mark Watson and his band; rock and roll quartet Blind Trust; seven-piece rock and funk ensemble The King Of Mars; and indie rock quintet soft candy. Tomorrow, IPO has Phil Yates and The Affiliates; Tony Calderisi Band; Packy Lundholm Band; Claire and The Bears, and The Pickpockets.

Congratulations to Laurie’s Planet Of Sound Records on Lincoln Avenue for another festive Record Store Day bash this past Saturday. It has become a must-attend part of this annual celebration of vinyl. I arrived in time to catch the last half of Tommi Zender and Natalie Galey performing Joni Mitchell songs. “Help Me” from Mitchell’s Court And Spark album was a particular highlight.

Phil Angotti worked as a solo act, covering all the wry and catchy songs from the The Kinks’ Something Else album, as well as a bonus song the band originally released as a B-side of a single. The Census Takers remained appropriately anonymous behind masks as they paid homage to The Residents. The Handcuffs closed out the afternoon’s entertainment with a rousing mix of material from their three albums, brand new songs, and covers of Mott The Hoople, Dave Mason, Sweet and The Who.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Slumgullion

Photo from The Baseball Project’s Facebook page. 

This is my second post today. See the earlier one for information on Record Store Day, International Pop Overthrow, and All Things BBC!.

Depending on what time you read this, there might still be time to catch the Flirting With Disaster Neil Young Tribute at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn tonight. The always adventurous cover band EXPO ’76 will be performing in the Side Bar at FitzGerald’s.

International Pop Overthrow - Chicago kicked off tonight and will run through next Saturday, April 28 at the Heartland Cafe Bar, with multiple band showcases each night.

Tomorrow will your last chance to check out A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Punchline, an exhibit on comics, at the Chicago Literary Alliance.

Tickets went on sale today for Baseball Project at SPACE in Evanston on August 4. Hopefully, by that time the Cubs and the White Sox will be sitting comfortably atop their respective divisions. Previous shows by the national pastime inspired all-star band have included Mike Mills and Peter Buck from R.E.M.; Scott McCaughey from Young Fresh Fellows and Minus 5; Steve Wynn from The Dream Syndicate; and drummer Linda Pitmon.

Tickets also went on sale for New Pornographers at Thalia Hall on June 21.

Marshall Crenshaw and The Bottle Rockets will be performing two shows at The Old Town School Of Folk Music tomorrow night; one at 5:00 p.m. and one ar 8:00 p.m. Next Friday, April 27, Peter Case of The Plimsouls and The Nerves, will playing Szold Hall at The Old Town School Of Folk Music.

There will be an opening reception on May 12 for the Tony Fitzpatrick: The Secret Birds exhibit at the DePaul Art Museum. On May 23, Fitzpatrick will have a conversation with Chicago Tribune writer Rick Kogan from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the museum.

The Chicago Toy Show returns to the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles this Sunday for the first of its two events there in 2018. In addition to collectibles, action figures, Matchbox cars, and Star Wars treasures, the show also offers a fair amount rock and roll memorabilia.

The Buddy Holly Story kicks off a month-long run next Friday, April 27 at the American Blues Theater. Lili-Anne Brown will direct the Alan Janes play; with music directed by Michael Mahler.

Chicago-based power pop band Frisbie will be celebrating its 20th anniversary with a gig at Martyrs next Saturday. The Sunshine Boys, who haven’t celebrated their first anniversary yet but have years of experience in various other bands, are also on the bill that night.

There will be a Van Go Concert! Event next Saturday at Phyllis’ Musical Inn on Irving Park Road. The Chicago-based band, which has a flair for energetic, catchy songs that frequently pack a satirical punch, will be showcasing its upcoming album. Deadly Bungalows, Trita, and Kosi and the Thomas Matecki Trio are also on the bill that night.

A Charlie’s Angels graphic novel series will make its debut in June. I wonder if the artists will break from the 1970s TV drama by actually drawing Charlie.

My nephew Joe Flamm, who won this past season’s Top Chef honors on the Bravo Channel, will be throwing out the first pitch at the Chicago White Sox game this Sunday.

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Record Store Day, IPO, BBC And Other Fun

Photo from The Handcuffs Facebook page.

It’s only fitting that one of the events I plan to attend tomorrow, April 21 is sponsored in part by the people who put together the annual Chicago TARDIS convention. There’s so much going tomorrow in Chicago, you’d need a TARDIS to get around to all of it. For those not familiar with Doctor Who terminology, a TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) is the police box-shaped device The Doctor uses to travel around the universe to any point in time he chooses. Let’s step inside it now for a preview of all April 21 has to offer.

Since it’s Record Store Day, let’s start with the vinyl fanatics who’ll get up extra early to stand in line outside the record store of their choice. There’s often a sense of camaraderie as people compare their wish lists and even share Dunkin Donuts or other snacks.

And then there are the RSD in-store performances. Vintage Vinyl, at 925 Davis Street in Evanston will have alt rock/avant-garde band whitewolfsonicprincess performing at 11:00 a.m. Val’s halla Records in Oak Park has Farewell Captain at 11:00 a.m.; Two Guitars And A Tuba at noon; Matt Lenny and Elm City Council at 1:00; Ginger at 2:00; The Frantastic Sound System at 3:00; and the Gino and Friends Jam at 4:00.

Chicago rock station WXRT will celebrate Record Store Day by playing full album sides on vinyl, starting at noon. Long-time fans will no doubt be reminded of the early 1970s, when the only thing the station played were vinyl records. They’ll also probably recall when those records skipped or got stuck.

Bloodshot Records will have a Record Store Day Pop-Up Shop at its headquarters at 3039 W. Irving Park Road from noon to 5:00 p.m. On its Facebook page, the Chicago-based indie label promises “unique items, test pressings, signed stuff, out-of-print stuff, new releases and just regular stuff.” Laurie’s Records on Lincoln Avenue will have Sonny Mountain at noon; Tommi Zender with Natalie Galey performing Joni Mitchell at 1:00; Phil Angotti, following his set at International Pop Overthrow the night before, will perform The Kinks at 2:00; The Census Takers will be performing The Residents at 3:00; and The Handcuffs will perform their catchy indie rock at 4:00. This is always a fun bash and the owners and employees at Laurie’s are great hosts. (The Handcuffs and Phil Angotti will be playing at Quenchers Saloon later tomorrow night, along with The Embryos, who are having a record release party.) 

Reckless Records will have in-store performances by Intentionally Left Banke, a Left Banke cover band (2:00) and synth player Bill Vermette (3:30) at its Broadway location; and Mukqs (2:30) and RYLR (4:00) at its Milwaukee Avenue location.

The 8th Annual Numero Group Pop-Up Store will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Comfort Station at 2579 N. Milwaukee. These guys have their own take on RSD, and offer, “new and used LPs, CDs, dingers, tapes, tees, tests, and other weirdness from our warehouse.”

International Pop Overthrow, which returns to The Heartland Cafe Bar in Chicago tonight, will offer afternoon and evening showcases tomorrow. (Separate admission for each.) The earlier event starts at 2:00 p.m. and offers short sets by The Francos; Love Lies Bleeding; The Jades; The Long Lost, and an act to be announced later. The music resumes at 8:00 p.m. with a showcase of Phil Ajjarapu; Rainy Day Crush; The Devonns; The Lilacs; Rosa Cora Perry and the Truth Untold; and The Stick Arounds. Avid fans of power will no doubt notice The Lilacs in that schedule. The quartet formed in 1990, reunited in 2016 with the Rise Above The Filth album, and performed a powerful concert at Metro. If you like what you see on Saturday, IPO founder/CFO/host David Bash will be bringing his showcases of power pop and indie rock to The Heartland Cafe Bar through next Saturday night.

If playing vinyl feels like something from your past, imagine what you could accomplish as an actual time traveler. Chicago TARDIS, in conjunction with Happy Fish Parties, has an afternoon of non-Record Store Day fun planned with its All Things BBC! event. It’s being held at the Red Lion Tap on Lincoln Avenue, and celebrates English television shows like Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Merlin. Incidentally, when Chicago TARDIS holds its annual convention at The Westin Lombard Yorktown Center November 23 through 25, actress Pearl Mackie from Doctor Who will be one of the featured guests. She did some amazing acting in her final episodes with Peter Capaldi’s version of The Doctor.

For more Record Store Day ideas, check out this week’s issue of the RedEye free paper. It has a full page titled Where to be a music nerd on RSD. It lists the DJs and music acts that will be doing in-store performances at 606 Records; Bric-a-Brac Records; Bucket O’Blood Records; Joyride Records; Laurie’s Planet Of Sound; Shuga Records; and other locations.

With all of the vinyl activity going on this Saturday, Lumpen Radio’s decision to schedule its Spring Record Swap at Co-Prosperity Sphere at 3219 S. Morgan on Sunday was either foolhardy or a stroke of genius. At any rate, if you haven’t busted your budget and you’re not too tired, Lumpen will have records on hand for your post-RSD perusing.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

International Pop Overthrow Returns To Chicago

Photo from Phil Angotti’s Facebook page.

It’s always a pleasure to welcome David Bash back to Chicago. Although he’s a West Coast native, he knows our local music scene by heart. That’s because he’s been bringing his International Pop Overthrow festival here for several years. In fact, Chicago was one of the first cities Bash put on his itinerary, following its debut in Los Angeles. IPO now visits New York, Detroit, Toronto, London, Liverpool, and other cities. Each has its own collection of performers—mostly local, along with a few out-of-town acts who travel the circuit.

Kalamazoo, Michigan native Jeremy Morris, one of the artists that follows Bash from location to location, opens IPO-Chicago’s 2018 nine-day run at The Heartland Cafe Bar tomorrow night. He’s an innovative guitarist who’s been known to blow the four walls down with his original psychedelic rock. Chicago-based singer-guitarist Phil Angotti is another IPO standout, and he was at the very first International Pop Overthrow in Los Angeles with his band at that time, The Idea. In addition to performing tribute shows to 1960s acts, he’s a first-rate songwriter whose latest album Such Stories is filled with acoustic gems.

Rob Schultz has a knack for putting political and social satire to catchy melodies. It’s likely this IPO veteran will have something to say about the current political climate. His most recent album came out last July. Ginger Records recording artists Weekend Vinyl formed in 2005 and have a number of IPO gigs under their belt. They recently released their latest album of power pop, Beguile Me.

The local quintet Bad Bad Meow has had success with the singles “Freak Flag” and “Hear You,” and recently released the full-length effort Fake News! Tomorrow night’s final act Kurt Michaels Continuum has shared gigs with Denny Laine from Wings and The Moody Blues. Their latest effort is titled Soaring Back To Earth. Check out the official International Pop Overthrow website for the full schedule and links to most of the bands.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Book, An Album, And A Touching Tribute

Chris Stamey, who’s been a driving force on the alternative rock scene for decades with The dB’s as well as a solo artist, just released an autobiography. A Spy In The House Of Loud - New York Songs and Stories is now available via the University Of Texas Press, and according to publisher’s website covers the origins of punk in the late 1970s. I would guess it also includes his remembrances of Alex Chilton, since the two musicians worked together on various projects. At any rate, it’s bound to a fascinating addition to your rock and roll library, and received a rave review on the Popdose website.

Universal Love, an album that was released in digital form last week, will be available on vinyl for this year’s Record Store Day. The concept behind Universal Love is to flip the pronouns in popular songs in order to send a message of inclusion and diversity. Bob Dylan, Kesha, St. Vincent, Benjamin Gibbard fron Death Cab For Cutie; Valerie June; and Kele Okereke from Bloc Party are the artists involved. 

Reporter Maureen O’Donnell offered an informative and touching tribute to music marketer Mike Egan in a recent edition of the Chicago Tribune. For decades, Egan was a familiar face at local record stores, and helped visiting bands (such as U2 before they were huge) navigate the city. He was an avid supporter of new wave, house music, and Japanese anime.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Record Store Day Advice

Record Store Day, the annual celebration of vinyl in all its 7, 10, and 12 inch glory, returns this Saturday, April 21. The number of recording artists participating has grown over the years, and many record stores now entice customers with live entertainment, and in some cases, food and beverages. Collectors hoping to snag some of those limited edition or colored vinyl releases will need to get up  early and stand in line outside the record store of their choice. There’s a complete rundown of all the one-time treasures being offered this year on the official Record Store Day website. Just about every genre is represented, including hip hop, country, blues, jazz, and numerous variations of rock and roll.

Once you’ve studied the website and compiled your wishlist, here are a few pointers.

There are a lot of Chicago area stores to choose from. Pick up a copy of this month’s Illinois Entertainer for an extensive list. Keep an out for pop-up stores like Numero Uno in the Logan Square neighborhood.

Bring a written list of the records you want, showing the title, artist, and vinyl format. (7-inch single; 12-inch single; 10-inch EP; LP; double-LP, box set, etc.) The stores I’ve been to keep all the records behind the counter, and they like to keep the line moving. They will not look at a list on your smart phone, and definitely don’t want to hear you trying to remember what you want.

Be prepared for sticker shock. I’ve haven’t been able to find anyplace online that lists prices, so you won’t know how much these records cost until the clerk places them in front of you. Some will be relatively cheap, while others can get expensive.

Here’s a sampling of RSD in-store events.

Laurie’s Planet of Sound - 4639 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago:
1:00 p.m. Tommi Zender and Natalie Galey covering Joni Mitchell; 2:00 p.m. Phil Angotti covering The Kinks; 3:00 p.m. The Census Takers covering The Residents; 4:00 p.m. The Handcuffs

Val’s halla Records - 239 Harrison St., Oak Park:
11:00 a.m. Farewell Captain; noon Two Guitars And A Tuba; 1:00 p.m. Matt Lenny and Elm City Council; 2:00 p.m. Ginger; 3:00 p.m. The Frantastic Sound System; 4:00 p.m. Gino and Friends Jam

Vintage Vinyl - 925 Davis Street, Evanston:
11:a.m. whitewolfsonicprincess (alt rock band)

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Slumgullion

The annual CHIRP Record Fair and Other Delights, always one of the best things about April in Chicago, takes place tomorrow at the Local 130 Plumbers Union Hall at 1340 W. Washington. An amazing selection of records, CDs, DVDs, posters, books, and other rock and roll related merchandise will on sale from vendors; and the entertainment includes live music and DJs. Admission from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. is $8, and early admission from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. costs $25. The first 500 attendees will get a free tote bag that includes the download code for the CHIRP Record Fair Local Label Sampler.

Tickets went on sale today for the premiere of the Andrew Bird film Blue Heart at Thalia Hall on May 9. Other shows now on sale include Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues at City Winery Chicago on August 26; Dave Alvin of The Blasters and Americana artist Jimmie Dale Gilmore at The Old Town School Of Folk Music on September 8; Rufus Wainwright at The Vic on November 20; and the Willy Porter Band at City Winery Chicago on September 28.

Big Suit, the Chicago Talking Heads tribute act, performs at Park West tomorrow night.

Phil Angotti, with special guest Cliff Johnson, will be performing his monthly Beatle Brunch this Sunday from noon to 4:00 p.m. at the Reclaimed Bar and Restaurant. Both of these guys are veterans of the Chicago power pop scene, so they practically have 1960s hits flowing through their veins. In addition to his solo work and tribute shows around town, Angotti was a member of the band The Idea. Johnson currently performs with The Raine and is best known as the lead vocalist for Off Broadway. Reclaimed Bar and Restaurant is located at 3655 N. Western Avenue.

Later that same day, you can catch Tommi Zender, with special guest Steve Dawson, at Wishbone North from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Zender is a veteran of the Chicago scene and a frequent participant in tribute shows; Dawnson is a solo artist as well as a member of the critically acclaimed alt rock/Americana band Dolly Varden.

International Pop Overthrow - Chicago, starts Friday, April 20 and runs through Saturday, April 28 at the Red Line Tap, with multiple band showcases each night.

I was happy to see Jeff Elbel’s article in today’s Chicago Sun-Times about The Smithereens performing on April 19 at The Genesee Theatre in Waukegan. Robin Wilson from The Gin Blossoms will be serving as lead vocalist. It was no doubt a difficult decision to continue on after Pat DiNizio passed away last December, but I would agree with what a lot of fans are saying, which is The Smithereens’ power pop music should continue to be performed live. The Smithereens will be opening for Dave Davies of The Kinks at The Genesee.

Elbel also mentioned the new Covers album being released by The Smithereens, which features several cover versions recorded by DiNizio and the band over the years.

Head Over Heels, the new musical based on songs by The Go-Go’s, began previews earlier this week at the Curran in San Francisco. Tickets for Broadway previews, which starts in New York on June 23, are now on sale. Here’s hoping Head Over Heels comes to Chicago at some point.

Factory Theater’s production of Carrie J. Sullivan’s grunge rock play The Next Big Thing runs on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. through April 21.

The 34th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival runs through April 19 at AMC River East 21 at 322 E. Illinois.

The Asian American Showcase runs through April 18 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Punchline, an exhibit on comics, runs through April 21 at the Chicago Literary Alliance.

Colin Blunstone of The Zombies will embark on a U.K. tour before rejoining the band later this year for another tour. According to a post on the Essentially Pop website, Blunstone is also busy recording his next solo album.

The Posies’ 30th Anniversary Tour now includes dates in the U.K. (It arrives at Park West in Chicago, with Material Reissue as the opening act, on June 23.)

Chicago-based psychedelic band Secret Colours has created a fun and eye-catching video for its song “Dream Dream.”

Four very good songs by The Valley Downs, one of Chicago’s best but not altogether busy bands, can now be heard on Spotify.

Art Encounter, a nonprofit art education organization, is hosting an event to honor gallerist William Lieberman on Sunday, May 6 at the Evanston Women’s Club.

The Chicago Toy Show returns to the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles on April 22 for the first of its two events there in 2018. In addition to collectibles, action figures, Matchbox cars, and Star Wars treasures, the show also offers a fair amount rock and roll memorabilia. There are vendors offering vintage publcations, records, CDs, and even music-related toys. I’ve purchased a car imprinted with the Beatles Revolver allbum cover, and a semi trailer showing Cheap Trick. Admission The Toy Show is &10, hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Real Pretenders, a Pretenders tribute takes place at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn on April 19.

Flirting With Time: A Tribute To Neil Young takes place at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn on April 20.
The reunited L7 at performs at Metro on April 20.

Define American Film Festival (DAFF), organized by writer/filmmaker Joes Antonio Vargas, takes place on April 20 through 22 at Venue Six10 on Michigan Avenue.

There will be a screening of the film Concert For George – Celebrating the Life and Music of George Harrison on May 16 at the Music Box. The 2002 concert brought together Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Ravi Shankar, Tom Petty, Monty Python, and other to honor Harrison.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Wolf Alice - Visions Of Life

Back when I reviewed Wolf Alice’s full-length debut My Love Is Cool in 2016, I imagined how interesting it would be to see lead vocalist-guitarist Ellie Rowsell bring the various genres and personas from that that album to a live performance. The English band’s followup Vision Of Life is no less adventurous despite a persistent obsession with death. Rowsell can evoke an angel, a street fighter, or an alluring hipster, depending on the song. And once again, the well-crafted arrangements flip from pristine to overpowering in a matter of moments.

The intro to “Heavenward” could turn any church choir green with envy, and Wolf Alice drifts into a symphony before eventually bringing on the heavy metal thunder. Meanwhile, the lyrics focus on celebrating someone close who has died and looking forward to seeing that person again in the afterlife. “St. Purple And Green” has a similar approach and seems to specifically mourn a grandmother. The straight-up techno rock of “Space And Time” exudes a fear of losing control, and on the gorgeous folk ballad “After The Zero Hour,” a woman refuses to die, and embarks on an adventure instead.

Visions of Life offers other outlooks as well. Rowsell sounds like she’s ready to rip somebody’s head off in the careening “Yuk Foo,” while the light and poetic “Sad Boy” is about a guy who “thinks too much.” The impossibly catchy “Formidable Cool” depicts a villain who uses his position of power to seduce women and leave them feeling used. On “Sky Musings,” a jet flight triggers a series of emotions from the fear of crashing to regrets over not having taken a chance on a relationship. Wolf Alice is less direct but still enticing on the playful “Beautifully Unconventional” and the sci-fi adventure “Planet Hunter.”

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Slumgullion

Now it’s time to say good knight. Tickets for the September 22 concert at Chicago Theatre featuring the recently knighted Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band went on sale today. This time around, he’ll be joined by Steve Lukather; Colin Hay; Gregg Rolie; Graham Gouldman; Warren Ham; and Gregg Bissonette. There’s no doubt Ringo means it when he says “peace and love.” If only enough people would take that message to heart.

Other shows that went on sale today are Jayhawks at Thalia Hall on July 13; New Pornographers at Temperance Beer Company on June 22; Mavis Staples at Canal Shore Golf Club on July 27; and Dar Williams at City Winery Chicago on September 16.

The tribute act Fleetwood Mac Mania has sold out its show tomorrow night the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. Tapestry: The Carole King Concert Experience comes to the Metropolis on April 24.

Happy Birthday to Allan Clarke, who served as lead vocalist of The Hollies for decades and was one of the major reasons for their distinctive and effervescent sound.

C2E2 - The Chicago Comic and Entertainment EXPO landed at the South Building of McCormick Place today and will stay through Sunday. The annual pop culture event offers high-tech promotions and exhibits, celebrity guests, and loads of people in sci-fi, superhero, ultra villain, monster, and sexy costumes. Rows of vendors offers comics, t-shirts, games, action figures, and all sorts of imaginative memorabilia. Local artists and writers get their shot at selling stuff too.

The Bad Examples will be performing at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn tomorrow night.

Repertory Ballet is presenting Modern Motions today and tomorrow at The Atheanaeum Theatre on Chicago’s north side.

The English Beat, one of the best ska revival bands that sprang up in the UK in early 1980s, will be ranking full stop at City Winery Chicago tonight and tomorrow.

There are still some tickets left for The Best Of Tellin’ Tales Solo - A New Kind Of Spring Benefit, which will be held this Sunday at The Edge Theatre at 5451 N. Broadway.

SummerFest has announced its full schedule. Here are some of the best reasons for traveling up to Milwaukee to see a concert: Cheap Trick; Matthew Sweet; The Posies; Spoon; Gin Blossoms; and Nick Lowe featuring Los Straitjackets.

The Chicago Toy Show returns to the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles on April 22 for the first of its two events there in 2018. In addition to collectibles, action figures, Matchbox cars, and Star Wars treasures, the show also offers a fair amount rock and roll memorabilia. There are vendors offering vintage publications, records, CDs, and even music-related toys. I’ve purchased a car imprinted with the Beatles Revolver album cover, and a semi trailer showing Cheap Trick. Admission The Toy Show is $10, hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

September 22 is the day your life will surely change for The The fans in the Chicago area. The band—Matt Johnson, really— will be at The Riviera Theatre on that night. In addition to “This Is The Day Your Life Will Surely Change” and other techno pop gems, The The also gave us the masterpiece “Uncertain Smile” on a 12-inch single.

The 34th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival kicked off yesterday and will run through April 19 at AMC River East 21 at 322 E. Illinois. Over 100 films from Spain, Latin America, Portugal, Canada, and America will be screened.

Factory Theater’s production of Carrie J. Sullivan’s grunge rock play The Next Big Thing runs on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. through April 21.

Aimee Mann and This Is The Kit will be performing at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on July 30. Indie rockers The Sea And The Cake and Moonrise Nation will perform at the outdoor venue on August 16.

Congratulations to Chicago Tribune jazz critic Howard Reich on 40 years of writing reviews for the paper. Reich listed his top 40 favorite shows in an article this past Wednesday. Among the iconic acts he’s seen, enjoyed, and shared with his readers are Dizzy Gillespie; Cassandra Wilson; Kurt Elling; Dave Brubeck; Miles Davis; and Tony Bennett.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Incoming

Cheap Trick; Matthew Sweet; Buddy Guy; The Posies; James Taylor; Pixies; Foster The People; Janelle Monae; Jethro Tull; Spoon; Social Distortion; Mayer Hawthorne; Gin Blossoms; Michael Franti and Spearhead; and Nick Lowe featuring Los Straitjackets are among the acts that will be performing at SummerFest in Milwaukee this year. The annual festival runs from June 27 to July 1, and the July 3 to July 8.

C2E2 - The Chicago Comic and Entertainment EXPO returns to the South Building of McCormick Place this weekend, celebrating every imaginative form of pop culture. It’s always a fascinating event to take in high tech promotions and exhibits, celebrity guests, and loads of people in sci-fi, superhero, ultra villain, monster, and sexy costumes. Rows of vendors offers comics, t-shirts, games, action figures, and all sorts of imaginative memorabilia. Local artists and writers get their shot at selling stuff too. This year’s guests include musician/spoken word artist Henry Rollins; Caity Lotz and Dominic Purcell from DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, Charlie Cox from Daredevil; Daphne Zuniga from Melrose Place; Gina Torres from Firefly; Khary Payton from The Walking Dead; former White Sox star Ron Kittle; and Svengoolie.

The Bad Examples perform at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn this Saturday night. Lead vocalist-guitarist Ralph Covert (of Ralph’s World fame) often calls to mind Squeeze with his vocal style on The Bad Examples’ catchy pop tunes.

Chicago Repertory Ballet is presenting Modern Motions at The Atheanaeum Theatre on tomorrow, April 6 and Saturday.

The English Beat, one of the best ska revival bands that sprang up in the UK in early 1980s, will have people up and dancing at City Winery Chicago tomorrow, April 6 and Saturday.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Early Bird Gets The RPM

This year’s Record Store Day takes place on April 21 and the massive list of limited-edition, one-day only vinyl releases can be found on the official website. Just about every genre is represented, including hip hop, country, blues, jazz, and numerous variations of rock and roll. There are seven-inch singles, ten-inch EPs, single albums, double albums, even quadruple albums. This month’s issue of the Illinois Entertainer also has the list, as well as an index of local retailers who are taking part.

The charm—or curse—depending on your point of view, is the old school method RSD employs. In order to have the best shot at purchasing these records, shoppers have to get up early on that Saturday morning, make their way to their chosen record store, and wait in an extended line outside until the store opens. Of course, some of these releases will eventually wind up on eBay, but if you really want a particular title, you’re taking a risk by going that route. Plus, the old school way is more fun, especially if you celebrate your acquisitions afterward over a bowl of hot rum punch (or at Starbucks) and check out some of the in-store live performances.

Here’s a sampling of the artists who have releases coming out on Record Store Day.

B-52’s; The Kinks; Belly; Chuck Berry; The Regrettes; Cypress Hill; Steve Earle And The Dukes; David Bowie; The Flaming Lips; Jeff Buckley; Circle Jerks; Sun Ra; Living Colour; Johnny Cash; The Cure; Grateful Dead; Jimi Hendrix; Eric Clapton; MC5; Duran Duran; Albert Hammond Jr.; Led Zeppelin; Lou Reed; U2; Tom Waits; The Stooges; Prince; The Smithereens; Tangerine Dream; Question Mark and The Mysterians; Wilco; Dickey Betts; The Police; Marvin Gaye; Small Faces; The Who; Ella Fitzgerald; Air; Dr. Dre; John Coltrane; The Residents; Arthur Lee and Love; Jeff Beck; The Rolling Stones; Neil Young; Jethro Tull; Pink Floyd; and The Ramones.

By the way, Record Store Day is also held in other countries, and they each have their own list of releases. That’s where eBay comes into play. Unless you’re planning a trip to London.

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Did Rumors of Pious Behavior Keep Scenesters From Buying Lolla Passes?

For the first time in anyone’s memory, four-day passes for Lollapalooza did not immediately sell out this year. There are various social and economic theories as to why this happened, but the most likely one involves the fear of God. Lolla veterans have never worried about incurring eternal damnation, but apparently they thought The Almighty might be there this time around. At least in spirit.

Shortly before this year’s passes went on sale, a rumor erupted on Twitter that Educational Media Foundation, the Christian broadcast company that converted long-time Chicago hard rock station The Loop into a K-Love format, had also bought out Lollapalooza. Several #Holy-palooza tweets sparked visions of performers singing “Kumbaya” and sensibly attired millennials roasting s’mores over a campfire. In other words, activities more in line with Jerry Falwell than Perry Farrell.

The release of this year’s schedule was enough to reassure fans who attend Lollapalooza to see their favorite acts that the rumors were unfounded. But it wasn’t much help for scenesters who don’t know any bands and are only interested in partying. They were still sitting on the sidelines while actual music fans snapped up the remaining passes. There’s a chance the party types might catch on before the single-day passes sell out, but a lot of Lollapalooza regulars are praying then don’t.

The above article is not true and is only intended for satirical purposes.

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

April, Rock She Will

Mark your calendars. As in so many years in the past, April will be an adventurous month in the Chicago area. Its eclectic schedule involves annual events and live performances; music, film, theatre, fantasy, and collectibles. Here’s a quick look at what to expect.

Saturday Night Live: The Experience exhibit runs through December 31 at the Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications on State Street.

The Next Big Thing, Carrie J. Sullivan’s grunge rock play, continues its run at the Factory Theater on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. through April 21.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Punchline, an exhibit on comics, runs through April 21 at the Chicago Literary Alliance.

The 34th Latino Film Festival runs from April 5 through 19 at AMC River East 21.

Modern Motions will be presented by Chicago Repertory Ballet at The Atheanaeum Theatre on April 6 and 7.

The English Beat performs at City Winery Chicago on April 6 and 7.

C2E2 The Chicago Comic and Entertainment EXPO returns to the South Building of McCormick Place on the weekend of April 6 through 8.

The Asian American Showcase runs from April 6 through April 18 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

The Bad Examples perform at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn on April 7.

The Decemberists come to the Chicago Theatre on April 10.

The 16th Annual CHIRP Record Fair and Other Delights will be held on April 14 at the Local 130 Plumbers Union Hall at 1340 W. Washington in Chicago.

Big Suit, the Chicago Talking Heads tribute act, performs at Park West on April 14.

The Sopro Tax Time Relief All-Star Blues Revue will be held on Sunday, April 15 at the Pheasant Run Inn in St. Charles.

The Real Pretenders, a Pretenders tribute takes place at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn on April 19.

The reunited L7 at performs at Metro on April 20.

Flirting With Time: A Tribute To Neil Young takes place at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn on April 20.

Record Store Day, offering limited-edition vinyl releases in every known genre of music, returns on April 21. Watch for in-store performances throughout the area.

Marshall Crenshaw comes to The Old Town School Of Folk Music with The Bottle Rockets for two shows at on April 21.

Define American Film Festival (DAFF), organized by writer/filmmaker Joes Antonio Vargas, takes place on April 20 through 22 at Venue Six10 on Michigan Avenue.

International Pop Overthrow - Chicago, starts Friday, April 20 and runs through Saturday, April 28 at the Red Line Tap, with multiple band showcases each night.

The Chicago Palestine Film Festival runs from April 21 through May 3 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Peter Case, founding member of The Nerves and The Plimsouls, will be at The Old Town School Of Folk Music on April 27.

Jeff Tweedy will be at The Vic on April 27.

Frisbie celebrates its 20th anniversary on April 28 at Martyrs, with special guest The Sunshine Boys.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Slumgullion

Being mellow is much better than hating your sister.

I was glad to be able to snag a ticket today for the The Posies and Material Reissue show at Park West on Saturday, June 23. The Second Disc website has a post today about expanded reissues of the classic Posies albums Dear 23, Frosting On The Beater, and Amazing Disgrace. Each two disc set comes with loads of bonus tracks. Dear 23 includes an alternate version of the cover of “King Midas In Reverse” The Posies recorded for The Hollies tribute album Sing Hollies In Reverse in 1995.

Tickets also went on sale tomorrow for Ry Cooder at Thalia Hall on 6-24; Handsome Family at SPACE on 7-13; Robyn Hitchcock and The Nashville Fabs at Thalia Hall on October 10; John Mayall at City Winery Chicago on June 12; Cathy Richardson Band at City Winery Chicago on May 24; Social Distortion at House Of Blues on June 22; and Matthew Sweet at SPACE on July 12.

The Bad Examples will be performing at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn next Saturday, April 7.

Factory Theater’s production of Carrie J. Sullivan’s grunge rock play The Next Big Thing runs on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. through April 21.

I thought this was an April Fools’ Day joke when I saw it listed in the April issue of the Illinois Entertainer, but Juliana Hatfield has indeed recorded an album of Olivia Newton John covers that’s due out April 13. Hard to imagine what the world’s number one Hatfield fan—Frank Carr from the Famous In The Future comedy group—thinks of this, but maybe she ran it past him.

The April IE also has a piece on the Molecule 8 limited edition 1:6 scale (12 inches) trio of John Lennon figurines approved by Yoko Ono. The extremely lifelike statue sculpted by K.A.KIM captures Lennon from his “Imagine” period. IE doesn’t mention a price, but the email I received regarding the Lennon figure has a Pre-order link that shows the price at $299.99. I’d love to see Molecule 8 raffle one off and donate the money to a charitable organization.

In other Beatles news: Congratulations to writer Vivek J. Tiwary (and Sonar Entertainment) on working out a deal with the Bravo channel to have his graphic novel The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story developed into a mini series. According to The Holywood Reporter, The Fifth Beatle project will have rights to use songs composed by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, and is working toward securing rights to George Harrison’s Beatles compositions. Tiwary was a featured guest at last year’s Fest For Beatles Fans – Chicago, and gave a fascinating talk about how he researched the book, selected artists, and then began exploring film possibilities once the graphic novel was completed.

The Best Of Tellin’ Tales Solo - A New Kind Of Spring Benefit will be held on Sunday, April 8 at The Edge Theatre at 5451 N. Broadway.

My nephew and Top Chef champion Joe Flamm will be preparing a five-course spring menu with wine pairings created by Rachael Lowe at Spiaggia on April 16. The price is $200. He’s the executive chef at the Michigan Avenue Italian restaurant. Also, congratulations to Spiaggia Chef and boss Tony Mantuano on coming in at number 19 on New City magazine’s Chicago’s Food And Drink 50 feature in its April issue.

Chicago Tribune writer Tracy Swartz had a funny piece in this past Wednesday’s issue noting how my nephew Joe was starstruck when actress Emmy Rossum mentioned him in a video about the Top Chef finale, even though Rossum wanted Adrienne Cheatham to win. Rossum portrays Fiona Gallagher on the TV show Shameless; Rich Cotovsky, who had a role on the show, ran the annual Abbie Fest as part of his Artistic Director duties at Mary-Arrchie Theatre; and I performed at Abbie Fest several times as a member of the Famous In The Future comedy group. So there’s some sort of six degrees of separation thing between me and Emmy Rossum going on here.

Speaking of six degrees, tickets are now on sale for The Bacon Brothers gig at City Winery Chicago on July12. That’s an entire room of people who will become part of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon game.

The Chicago European Union Film Festival continues its run this weekend at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The 34th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival will run from April 5 to 19. Over 100 films from Spain, Latin America, Portugal, Canada, and America will be screened at AMC River East 21 at 322 E. Illinois.

I’m not sure is this will be a regular feature, but here’s This Week’s Vinyl Purchase At Reckless Records. I dropped by the downtown location yesterday and picked up a limited edition blue vinyl seven-inch single of “Lenny” by Supergrass. It’s an English import on the Parlophone label.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Birthday That Deserves To Be Observed

Just a reminder: The Steepwater Band and The Handcuffs are performing tomorrow night at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue.

Best wishes to Boris Boden on his birthday. I first met the Chicago area power pop fan/supporter/promoter when we were regulars at the Harlow’s rock club just across the city’s southwest border and he designed their monthly ad in the Illinois Entertainer. We often compared notes on new bands and he introduced me to the work of 20/20, Paul Collins Beat, and Ian Lloyd. We pretty much discovered The Smithereens at the same time, via a review of Beauty And Sadness in Rolling Stone.

These days, Boris shares his limitless collection of power pop tunes through the Secret Weapon podcast on Woody Radio. If there’s a power pop group Boris doesn’t know about, it’s probably because they only formed 10 minutes ago. After losing touch for so many years, I came across Boris more recently at the very first Material Reissue gig at International Pop Overthrow - Chicago, and at the Shoes, Pezband, Dwight Twilley showcase at The Arcada in St. Charles. Happy Birthday, Boris, and keep sending all the power pop our way.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow for Ry Cooder at Thalia Hall on 6-24; Handsome Family at SPACE on 7-13; Robyn Hitchcock and The Nashville Fabs at Thalia Hall on October 10; John Mayall at City Winery Chicago on June 12; The Posies and Material Reissue at Park West on June 23; Cathy Richardson Band at City Winery Chicago on May 24; Social Distortion at House Of Blues on June 22; and Matthew Sweet at SPACE on July 12. You can find a full list of shows going on sale tomorrow on the second to last page of this week’s Reader.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Perms - Miracle

Released late last year, Miracle is the latest in a series of EPs and albums The Perms have released since 1997. The Canadian trio is most notable for the high-powered but consistently precise harmonies of bassist-vocalist Shane Smith and guitarist-vocalist Chad Smith. Drummer John Huver plays a major role in providing the hard-hitting rock behind their impressive singing.

The Perms work predominantly with mid-tempo arrangements this time out but still succeed in keeping their sound adventurous. Their message seems less satiric than on past efforts, particularly on uplifting songs like “Now November” and “Turnaround.” The latter suggests appreciating life, and notes, “What was lost is found.”

“Wanted You To Know” seems to be about a father comforting and supporting his young daughter, and it sports some of Miracle’s most ambitious harmonies. There’s an enticing mix of glam and classic rock on “Be Alright” and “Busy Izzy,” and everything here is produced with radio-ready efficiency. The album ends with the appealing and mostly acoustic “Gone.”

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Incoming

Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10:00 a.m. for the dream power pop pairing of The Posies and Material Reissue at Park West on Saturday, June 23. The Posies are in the midst of a 30th Anniversary Tour and will be performing with their Frosting On The Beater era lineup. This is the second time Material Reissue has snagged the opening slot for a stellar power pop act at Park West. They were with Matthew Sweet back in September 2016.

Ken Stringfellow of The Posies will join Italian garage rock/power pop band The Sick Rose for a “an Italia mini promotional tour” in mid April, according to band member Giorgio Cappellaro. Stringfellow produced the band’s new and very catchy Someplace Better album, which is now available on vinyl, CD, and Bandcamp.

Steepwater will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this Friday night at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. Formed in 1998, the Chicago-based band will release Shake Your Faith—its sixth album—in the next few days on Diamond Day Records. Founding members vocalist-guitarist Jeff Massey, drummer Joe Winters, and bassist Tod Bowers are now joined by guitarist Eric Saylors. Steepwater draws inspiration from vintage British blues rock, and has toured with Umphrey’s McGee, Gov’t Mule, 38 Special, and Cheap Trick.

It’s also an important event for opening act The Handcuffs. The coed quintet, led by singer-guitarist Chloe F. Orwell and drummer Brad Elvis, have been hard at work on a new album (their fourth), and plan to unveil some new songs during their Martyrs’ set. Previous releases have sprung songs onto popular TV shows, so it will be interesting to see if that happens with any of the new stuff. The Handcuffs will return to Laurie’s Planet Of Sound for a 4:00 p.m. in-store performance on Record Store Day, although I don’t know if they’ll be playing new songs at that gig.

Tommi Zender and Phil Angotti are also Laurie’s Planet Of Sound Record Store Day regulars and they’ll be performing in separate shows this year. There’s a rumor Angotti will be covering The Kinks. I hate to sound like a broken record (pun intended), but I’m still waiting for a Hollies tribute at one of these LPOS RSD events.

The Vintage Vinyl store in Evanston will have a live performance by avant garde/alt rockers whitewolfsonicprincess at 11:00 a.m. Guitarist-vocalist James Moeller, who founded the band with vocalist Carla Hayden, suggested in a Facebook post that they might play a few covers. “Probably not a Doobie Bros song, but maybe Townes Van Zandt, The Doors, Big Mama Thornton, The National, or Drive By Truckers.”

The Val’s Halla store in Oak Park usually offers hours of Record Store Day performances but I haven’t seen a schedule for this year yet. Psychedelia masters The Luck Of Eden Hall traditionally do the RSD thing. Check your favorite artists’ social media pages to see if they have any RSD gig scheduled.

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Slumgullion

The Sunshines Boys have a great debut album for sale.

Material Reissue has a show tonight at Shank Hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The music starts at 8:00 p.m. with opening act Cabin Essence.

Congratulations to Toronto-based indie rock/synth band Alvvays on selling out its show tonight at Metro. Alvvays has two superb albums to draw material from. Next Friday, Wolf Alice, led by the amazingly versatile vocalist-guitarist Ellie Rowsell, will be at Metro. Wolf Alice’s Visions Of A Life was one of 2017’s best albums.

The Sunshine Boys have a two-part record release show celebrating their debut Blue Music coming up tomorrow. They’ll be at Rediscover Records in Elgin at noon, before heading off for a 3:00 p.m. performance at Val’s Halla in Oak Park. Blue Music is now available on iTunes and Spotify. The band’s song “Billy Boy” rang out over the WLS AM 890 airwaves earlier today.

Ch-ch-changes. As noted on the Sons Of The Silent Age Facebook page, an injury to one of its band members has caused them to cancel tomorrow night's gig at Martyrs’. Space Face, another Chicago-based Bowie tribute act, will be filling in for them.

Also tomorrow night, the engaging indie rock group In Tall Buildings will be performing at Schubas.

Lollapalooza announced its 2018 schedule this past Wednesday, a day after four-days passes went on sale. Surprisingly, those passes didn’t immediately sell out, which gave some potential ticket buyers a rare opportunity to check out the lineup before taking the plunge. Scheduled acts include The Regrettes; St. Vincent; Jack White; Catfish And The Bottlemen; Franz Ferdinand; Portugal The Man; The Weeknd; Bruno Mars; The National; Arctic Monkeys; Vampire Weekend; The Vaccines; Greta Van Fleet; Khalid; Chvrches; and Manchester Orchestra.

Tickets went on sale today for Liz Phair at The Empty Bottle on June 9; legendary surf guitarist Dick Dale at Reggie’s Rock Club on August 10; Stereophonics at The Vic on September 11, and Al Stewart at City Winery Chicago on June 4 and 5.

FitzGerald’s in Berwyn has some interesting shows coming up next month, starting with The Bad Examples on April 7. On April 19, there’s a Pretenders tribute by The Real Pretenders, and the following night offers Flirting With Time: Tribute To Neil Young.

Factory Theater’s latest new production The Next Big Thing uses 1990s grunge rock for Carrie J. Sullivan’s tale of a small town musician who hopes to conquer the Chicago music scene. Allison Grischow stars in the lead role, and Robyn Coffin directs. The Next Big Thing runs on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. through April 21.

The Best Of Tellin’ Tales Solo - A New Kind Of Spring Benefit will be held on Sunday, April 8 at The Edge Theatre at 5451 N. Broadway.

Marshall Crenshaw is coming to Chicago with The Bottle Rockets for two shows at The Old Town School Of Folk Music, both on April 21. David Hidalgo and Marc Ribot will be at Old Town School Of Folk Music on March 30.

Rock this town’s Independence Day celebration. The Stray Cats will be the co-headlining act with Melissa Etheridge at this year’s RibFest in Naperville on the 4th of July. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame will be backed by the Loving Mary band on July 6.

The Chicago European Union Film Festival continues through April 5 at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The 34th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival runs from April 5 to 19. Over 100 films from Spain, Latin America, Portugal, Canada, and America will be screened at AMC River East 21 at 322 E. Illinois.

Just a reminder that former Saturday Night Live writer Alan Zweibel’s play Bunny Bunny: Gilda Radner, A Sort Of Love Story is running at the Mercury Theater in Chicago through April 1.

The Saturday Night Live: The Experience exhibit runs through December 31 at the Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications on State Street.

On this Sunday, Millright’s restaurant in Simsbury, CT will have Season 15 Top Chef finalists Adrienne Cheatham and Chris Scott preparing a five course meal and cocktails. The event will benefit the Sarcoma Foundation Of America, in honor their fellow Season 15 contestant Fatima Ali, who is battling cancer.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Two Good Choices For Tomorrow Night

Chicago area power pop fans can catch one of the best acts of that genre tomorrow night if they don’t mind traveling a bit. Material Reissue, which features original Material Issue members Ted Ansani and Mike Zelenko, along with singer guitarist Phil Angotti and guitarist Jay O’Rourke, have a show at Shank Hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It’s a treat to watch these guys can carry on the catchy and emotionally potent music penned by the late Jim Ellison. Material Issue took MTV by storm back in 1991 with its black and white video for “Valerie Loves Me,” and went on to release power pop gems like “Diane,” “Renee Remains The Same” and “That’s What Girls Want.” Tomorrow night’s show starts at 8:00 p.m. Cabin Essence, a band that’s pretty much Nick Maas on record but includes additional musicians when performing live, will be the opening act.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Alvvays will be performing a sold-out show at Metro tomorrow night. The Toronto-based band switches easily from atmospheric dreamscapes to energetic alt rock, with lead vocalist-guitarist Molly Rankin leading the way. Hearing songs like “Plimsoul Punk” and “Lollipop (Ode To Jim)” from its 2017 album Antisocialites should be a blast, and Alvvays can also draw from its stellar 2015 self-titled debut. The doors open at 7:30 p.m.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Richard X. Heyman - Incognito

Richard X. Heyman’s 12th album finds the singer-guitarist and founding member of The Doughboys once again crafting strong melodies for his power pop and indie rock songs. Released in 2017, Incognito also has elements of country and western, urban contemporary, and mainstream rock. Songs like “Her Garden Path” and “Chalk It Up” work particularly well because there’s a harder edge to the arrangements.

According to his website, Heyman wanted this effort to reflect the anxious mood of 2016 America without going into specifics. That approach is especially noticeable on the title track, which kicks off with ringing guitars before delving into some troubling observations. The rhythm and blues influenced “So What” advises “Go out and make it happen” when faced with life’s struggles, and Heyman sets a similar message to the lighter, ‘80s rock of “Lift.”

“All You Can Do” and “In Our Best Interest,” both of which are slow songs with backup vocalists, are the only times when Heyman sounds a bit too generic. “Gleam,” on the other hand, features clever and romantic lyrics set to an irresistible toe-tapping arrangement. He’s also obviously having a ball playing rollicking old-time blues on his tale of an untrustworthy girlfriend “Terry Two Timer.”

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Slumgullion

Peter Asher and Jeremy Clyde will be at Old Town School Of Folk Music tomorrow.

The WNUR radio program Power Pop Shoppe has done well with its first few live shows, but the one tonight at The Elbo Room is bound to be extra special. Local acts Phil Angotti, The Cells, The Thin Cherries, King Mixer, The Joy Poppers, Mark Watson Band, The Sh***y Amps, Love Punch, and others will take part in a tribute show to honor power pop icons Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens and Tommy Keene. All proceeds from the event will go to the Felines and Canines Dog Rescue Shelter in Edgewater.

Chicago psych group Umbra and the Volcan Siege are marking the vinyl, cassette and digital release of their latest album, Someone Will Love You But It’s Just Not Me, with a free show tonight at the Virgin Hotel in downtown Chicago.

The week of English gentlemen. Some key members of the original British Invasion will be performing in the Chicago area. Tomorrow night’s Peter and Jeremy gig at The Old Town School Of Folk Music will surely confuse anyone who got Peter And Gordon with Chad and Jeremy mixed up in the 1960s. This show gives us one from each duo; Peter Asher and Jermey Clyde. Graham Nash, who founded The Hollies with childhood friend Allan Clarke before moving on to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and a successful solo career, has a show tomorrow night at The North Shore Center For The Performing Arts. The invasion continues this Monday and Tuesday when The Zombies rock City Winery Chicago.

The Ravinia Festival, one of the Chicago area’s favorite places to see music outdoors, has announced its 2018 lineup. The dates run from June 1 through September 16 and cover just about every genre. Some of the acts scheduled are Roger Daltry with members of the Ravinia Festival performing Tommy; Lyle Lovett and His Large Band; Los Lobos; Diana Ross; John Fogerty and ZZ Top; Anita Baker; Sugarland; Jackson Browne; A Flock Of Seagulls; Janis Ian; Juilliard String Quartet; John Hiatt and The Goners; Culture Club, The B-52’s and Thompson Twins; Yes; Bonnie Koloc and Howard Levy; Johnny Rivers and Jimmy Webb; Earth, Wind and Fire; James Galway; Ian Anderson; Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue; Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang; Cake and Ben Folds; The Beach Boys; and Alison Krause. Tickets can be purchased for the pavilion or the lawn.

If there are any parents in Chicago wondering why their teenagers are so well behaved this weekend it could be because four-day tickets to Lollapalooza go on sale on Tuesday. The festival runs August 2 through 5. Per tradition, the schedule has yet to be announced.

Material Reissue, which features original Material Issue members Ted Ansani and Mike Zelenko, along with singer guitarist Phil Angotti and guitarist Jay O’Rourke, has a gig coming up next Friday, March 23 at Shank Hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Alt rock band Alvvays, whose 2017 Antisocialites album was favorably reviewed here on BHT, will be will be at Metro next Friday, March 23.

The Sons Of The Silent Age will be paying tribute to David Bowie in their usual funky, atmospheric, and all-around impressive way at Martyrs’ next Saturday, March 24. The band comprises several veterans of the Chicago rock scene, including vocalist Chris Connelly of Ministry and Revolting Cocks fame.

The engaging indie rock group In Tall Buildings will be performing at Schubas next Saturday.

The Sunshine Boys have a two-part record release show celebrating their amazing debut Blue Music coming up next Saturday. They’ll be at Rediscover Records in Elgin at noon, before heading off for a 3:00 p.m. performance at Val’s Halla in Oak Park.

Factory Theater plunges into the late 1990s grunge rock scene with its current production The Next Big Thing. Carrie J. Sullivan’s play features original music in a tale of a small town musician named Beth who hopes to conquer the Chicago music scene. Allison Grischow stars in the title role, and Robyn Coffin directs. The Next Big Thing runs on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. through April 21.

The Jewish Film Festival is about to wrap up its run three weekend run. Films are being screened at ArcLight Chicago, ArcLight Glenview, Century 12 Evanston/CineArts 6 and Century 16 Deer Park. The Chicago European Union Film Festival continues through April 5 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Millright’s restaurant in Simsbury, CT will have Season 15 Top Chef finalists Adrienne Cheatham and Chris Scott preparing a five course meal and cocktails on Sunday, March 25. The event will benefit the Sarcoma Foundation Of America, in honor of their fellow Season 15 contestant Fatima Ali, who is battling cancer.

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Friday, March 9, 2018

Slumgullion

Congratulations to my nephew Joe Flamm on winning this season’s Top Chef competition on the Bravo channel. Earlier today, I did a post here about the Top Chef viewing event the Spiaggia restaurant in Chicago hosted last night.

In related news, the Millright’s restaurant in Simsbury, CT will have Top Chef contestants Adrienne Cheatham and Chris Scott preparing a five course meal and cocktails on March 25 to benefit the Sarcoma Foundation Of America in honor fellow Season 15 contestant Fatima Ali, who is battling cancer.

Factory Theater will be plunging into grunge rock circa 1997 when its production of The Next Big Thing opens in previews tonight. Carrie J. Sullivan’s play features original music in a tale of a small town musician named Beth who hopes to conquer the Chicago music scene. Allison Grischow stars in the title role, and Robyn Coffin directs. The Next Big Thing will run on Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. through April 21.

Prop Thtr’s new late-night production The Uploose Odditorium opens tonight at 10:30 p.m. The hour-long sketch comedy show features Jessica Kearney, Dash Kidman, Kyra Leigh, Dylan McGorty, Matt Nikkila, Zoë Pike, and Chloe Speschockrom, with Jamie Shriner as a musical guest. Admission is $10; Prop Thtr is located at 3502-04 N. Elston.

Elizabeth Acevedo, a poetry slam champion who is now an author, will be discussing her first novel Poet X at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in the Hyde Park neighborhood tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.

Graham Nash returns to the Chicago area next Saturday, March 17 with a show at the The North Shore Center For The Performing Arts in Skokie. The British Invasion continues a few days later when The Zombies perform at City Winery Chicago on March 19 and 20.

The official International Pop Overthrow website has now posted the schedule for its 2018 nine-day/12 showcase run in Chicago. The fest starts on Friday, April 20 and runs through Saturday, April 28. Several IPO favorites will be performing, including Tommi Zender, Phil Angotti, Rob Schultz Band, King Mixer, The Jeremy Band, The Lilacs, The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, Larry O. Dean, The Spindles, Thrift Store Halo, The Red Wigglers, The Cells, The Jay Goeppner Band, Michael Steven Cohen, Certain Stars, The Unswept, Dave Rave, Freetoed, Mike Vanderbilt And The Suburban Garage Sound, The Queue, and Too Much Saturn. IPO Founder/CFO David Bash has created profiles of most of the acts involved, along with links to their websites or Facebook pages. So even those who can’t make it to the shows can use this site to discover some amazing new power pop and indie rock acts.

Rock on and thanks for all the fish. The U.K. vinyl-only, indie label Fruits de Mer is celebrating its 10th Anniversary with Goldfish—a three LP/one seven inch single set on color vinyl in a triple gatefold sleeve. The tracks stretch across FdM’s decade of offering psychedelic and prog rock artists, and includes The Pretty Things, The Chemistry Set, Jack Ellister, Vibravoid, Soft Hearted Scientists, Tir na nOg, and Stay.

In addition to Goldfish, Fruits de Mer’s ten-year history will be featured in Goldmine magazine writer Dave Thompson’s new book The Incomplete Angler. The mind-bending cover art was created by artist/musician Gregory Curvey, whose band The Luck Of Eden Hall has appeared on a number frequent FdM various tribute compilations.

The Jewish Film Festival continues its run this weekend and next weekend. A total of 31 films will be screened at ArcLight Chicago, ArcLight Glenview, Century 12 Evanston/CineArts 6 and Century 16 Deer Park. The Chicago European Union Film Festival continues through April 5 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

WNUR’s Power Pop Showcase’s multi-act tribute to Tommy Keene and Pat DiNizio takes place next Friday, on March 16 at The Elbo Room on CHicago’s north side.

Nancy Wilson from Heart will be taking part in a Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp in Chicago with blues legend Buddy Guy June 28 through July 1.

Longtime Chicago Tribune rock critic Greg Kot, whose 2014 Mavis Staples bio I’ll Take You There was chosen as part of the city’s One Book, One Chicago campaign, has a new work available in print or ebook format. Turn It Up is a collection of his Tribune reviews, as well as columns about Bono, Beck, Patti Smith, Knaye West, Wilco and other big name music acts.

The One Where A Friends Star Helps Fight Sexual Harassment. David Schwimmer, who brought plenty of humor to his lovelorn character Ross Geller on Friends before moving on to various dramatic roles, is also well known in Chicago as the co-founder of Lookingglass Theater. As noted by writer Kim Janssen in the Chicago Tribune, Schwimmer has made five short films to identify and combat acts of sexual harassment in the workplace. The clips will be shown on screens on the backseats of Chicago cabs.

Actor Michael Shannon, who like Schwimmer, remains a vital part of the Chicago theatre scene even after achieving widespread critical and commercial acclaim, watched the recent Oscars Awards show at the Old Town Ale House, according to a Chicago Sun-Times story by reporter Mitch Dudek. Shannon had every right to be at the actual ceremony in Hollywood since he had a major role in The Shape Of Water, which was nominated in 13 categories. But he chose instead to be at the closing night of the play Traitor at A Red Orchid Theatre since he was the director.

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And The Crowd Goes Wild

Photo from the Spiaggia Facebook page.

For the second consecutive Thursday, Spiaggia on Michigan Avenue rolled out the red carpet for family and friends of its Executive Chef (and my nephew) Joe Flamm as he edged closer to winning the Season 15 Top Chef competition on the Bravo channel. The March 1 event, held in the restaurant’s upstairs party room with free food and drinks, ended on a happy note as we watched Joe and Adrienne Cheatham on a big screen TV being selected to move on to the finale. (The latest season wrapped up months ago but the contestants have been sworn to secrecy as to its outcome.) Joe has been traveling the country promoting Top Chef with some of the other contestants but he was in house again last night.

I can only assume this was a bigger crowd than what you’d usually find at Spiaggia, but the staff was consistently friendly and on top of things. A DJ playing an energetic blend of urban contemporary and vintage new wave added some cutting edge ambience to the restaurant’s elegance. The overall mood was happy and anxious as relatives and old friends saw each other for the first time in a while. It was tough maneuvering through all those people and even more of a challenge to find somewhere to sit for watching the show once it came on.

Shortly before airtime, my wife Pam asked if I could get her a Coke, and as I made my way to the bar, I came face to face with Mustache Joe Sasto. He had joined my nephew in a Joe Down Throw Down event the previous night at Spiaggia.

“Joe, good to see you,” I said, feeling like we were friends since I had been watching him on TV for weeks.

“Nice to see you too,” he responded.

Three other former Season 15 Top Chef contestants—Bruce Kalman, Brother Luck, and Tyler Anderson—were also present. Joe, Bruce, and Tyler called themselves The Bears on Top Chef, and Joe’s mother presented each of them with a toy stuffed bear at Spiaggia. Things quieted down when the broadcast, shown across a huge, north-facing window and on a few big-screen TVs, came on.

It quickly became obvious both contestants would be giving their best as they each cooked a four-course meal. Judges Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and Graham Elliott talked about Joe and Adrienne being neck and neck after each course was set before them. As the crowd at Spiaggia waited for the judges to announce their decision, I couldn’t help thinking both Joe and Adrienne had won, even though only one of them could be chosen.

When Padma informed the onscreen Joe he was Top Chef, the in-house Joe and his wife Hillary embraced as everyone around them cheered and applauded. Joe Sasto and Brother Luck also came over to hug Joe. Most of the crowd lingered long after the show ended. Pam and I had a chance to talk to Brother Luck and his wife, Joe Sasto and his girlfriend, and Bruce Kalman. They were all extremely friendly. (I didn’t see Tyler after the broadcast.)

In the end, I was most proud of my nephew Joe for meeting each challenge on Top Chef head on and always keeping his cool. That could also be said for most of this year’s contestants as they created an experience they’ll probably remember the rest of their lives.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Count Vaseline – Tales From The Megaplex

Dublin native/current Atlanta, GA resident Stefan Murphy recorded albums and EPs with his band The Mighty Stef for 10 years before reinventing himself as Count Vaseline in 2017. His debut effort Tales From The Megaplex evokes swamplands rather than lush Irish pastures, with his deep vocals and twangy guitar adding to the off-kilter fun. The eight tracks zip by in flash but each makes a lasting impression.

Count Vaseline’s rock-a-billy take on Ween’s “I’ll Be Your Johnny On The Spot” is just a bit over a minute and a half long, and he crafts an informative and humorous (though not necessarily fair) comparison of John Cale and Lou Reed on “Hail Hail John Cale” in even less time. He weaves a few oddball narratives throughout the exotic rhythms of “Heavy Is The Head That Wears The Crown.” The title track uses the same bare-bones punk meets 1960s rock method that worked so well for The Ramones.

On other tracks, Count Vaseline opts for a more quirky, B-52’s approach by adding keyboards. “Song For Tom” honors a man whose adventures across the galaxy couldn’t bring him love. “He was a very good man but he died alone.” Alluring backup vocals and a dreamy arrangement provide an ironic setting for “What’s Your Name, Where Are You From, What are You On,” a song that asks people to identify themselves and their chosen drug.

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Friday, March 2, 2018

Slumgullion

This year’s Record Store Day isn’t until April 21, but information is already starting to trickle out. The Second Disc website, a great source for RSD info, recently reported that three David Bowie releases will be available. They are Welcome To The Blackout, a three-record set of live performances from the artist’s 1978 Isolar World Tour; a 12-inch single with an extended “Let’s Dance” newly remixed by Nile Rogers; and a reissue of the 1978 promo album Bowie Now, on white vinyl. Led Zeppelin will offer a seven-inch single on RSD with previously unreleased versions of “Rock And Roll” and “Friends.”

The Breeders’ new album All Nerve came out today. Other releases due this month include Francis Trouble by Albert Hammond, Jr.; American Utopia by David Byrne; In Your Own Sweet Time by The Fratellis; I’ll Be Your Girl by The Decembrists; Space Gun by Guided By Voices; and Boarding House Reach by Jack White.

Tickets are now on sale for the Pitchfork Music Festival, with Tame Impala, Japandroids, and several other artists on July 20 –22; Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Aragon Ballroom on May 29; Gomez at The Vic on June 15 and 16; Joan Baez at the Chicago Theatre on October 5; and Alan Parsons Project on June 5 at Copernicus Center.

The Continental Drifters are back in action and have a gig coming up on May 26 at the Tipitina’s club in New Orleans. The band includes Peter Holsaple of The dB’s, Vicky Peterson of The Bangles, and Susan Cowsill of the Cowsills.

The Bangles are one of the many big name acts scheduled for the Arroyo Seco Weekend festival in Pasadena on June 23 and 24. Neil Young; Jack White; The Pretenders; Belle and Sebastian; The Specials; Dwight Twilley; Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters; Violent Femmes; and Los Lobos are some of the other artists scheduled to perform.

The world premiere of the Paul Edwards adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Picture Of Dorian Gray, opens tonight at City Lit, and will run through April 15. The Edwards version sets the drama in New York from 1970 through 1980.

Karen Gillan, who easily transitioned The Doctor’s fiery companion Amy Pond on Doctor Who to the formidable villain Nebula in Guardians Of The Galaxy, has written and directed The Party’s Just Beginning, her first feature film. She also stars in comedy/drama, along with Lee Pace and Matthew Beard. Gillan was on hand when the film had its world premiere at the 14th Glasgow Film Festival on February 24.

The 19th Chicago Irish Film Festival - Films from the Land of Storytelling opened yesterday, and will run through this Sunday at the Gallery Theatre and Logan Theatre. Both venues are located on Milwaukee Avenue. The event will include feature films, shorts, and documentaries.

Abbey Road, which recently added two new studios and a mix stage, was named 2018 Studio of The Year at the Music Producers Guild - MPG Awards yesterday. My wife Pam and I saw Abbey Road when we visited London in 2006, but we weren’t allowed inside.

The Jewish Film Festival opens tomorrow and will run on weekends through March 18. A total of 31 films will be screened at ArcLight Chicago, ArcLight Glenview, Century 12 Evanston/CineArts 6 and Century 16 Deer Park.

The Chicago European Union Film Festival kicks off next Friday, March 9 and will continue through April 5 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Hello, It’s Good New News For Todd Rundgren fans. He and fellow Utopia members Kasim Sulton, Willie Wilcox, and Ralph Shuckett are reuniting for a 2018 tour that will bring them to the Chicago Theatre on May 22. Other stops include Denver, Minneapolis, Toronto, Las Vegas, and Atlanta. Plus, The Second Disc website recently covered the new three-CD Todd Rundgren - All Sides Of THE ROXY, which features his residency at the L.A. club back in 1978.

Prop Thtr is promising audiences will encounter “unhinged, unpredictable, uninhibited entertainment” at its new late-night production The Uploose Odditorium coming up next Friday, March 9. The hour-long sketch comedy show starts at 10:30 p.m. and will feature Jessica Kearney, Dash Kidman, Kyra Leigh, Dylan McGorty, Matt Nikkila, Zoë Pike, and Chloe Speschockrom, with Jamie Shriner as a musical guest. Admission is $10; Prop Thtr is located at 3502-04 N. Elston.

Elizabeth Acevedo, a poetry slam champion who is now an author, will be discussing her first novel Poet X at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in the Hyde Park neighborhood on March 10 at 5:00 p.m.

Top Chef contestant (and my nephew) Joe Flamm was the honored guest at a viewing event for his family and friends last night at the Spiaggia restaurant on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. This season had come down to three contenders—Joe, Adrienne Cheatham, and Joe Sasto—and one of them would be eliminated before the finale next week. The mood in Spiaggia’s third-floor party room was anxious but festive, and I doubt my wife Pam and I were the only ones impressed with the bond that has developed among these competing chefs. The episode also had its fun and humorous moments, and it was a kick to see former Season 15 contestants Carrie Baird, Chris Scott, and Bruce Kalman come back to help out. In the end, Joe Flamm was the first chosen to move on to next week’s finale, followed by Adrienne Cheatham. Joe Sasto, AKA, Mustache Joe, was eliminated from the competition.

A tip of the chef hat to Mustache Joe. After seeming a bit controlling at first, he now comes across as big-hearted and funny. He’ll be in town next Wednesday for the sold-out Joe-Down Throw-Down Dinner with Joe Flamm at Spiaggia.

On March 25, the Millright’s restaurant in Simsbury, CT will host Adrieene Cheatham and Chris Scott for a five course meal and cocktails to benefit the Sarcoma Foundation Of America in honor former season 15 contestant Fatima Ali, who is battling cancer.

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Nonstop Harrison Highlights

Facebook photo taken by Frank Corpus

I can still remember watching a fascinating interview humorist/radio personality Martin Lewis conducted with Patti Boyd a number of years ago at The Fest For Beatles Fans – Chicago about her marriage to George Harrison. Boyd was particularly compelling while recalling how frustrated Harrison felt when Paul McCartney and John Lennon would reject one of his songs. That story came to mind while I was at the George Harrison Birthday Tribute Concert at Martyrs’ this past Saturday night. The local musicians who brought his material to life—from hits like “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun” to an obscure instrumental from the Wonderwall soundtrack—provided conclusive evidence that Harrison was a gifted composer and interpreter of other’s material.

The evening started with an exotic pre-show set by The Sandalwood Sitar Ensemble, and included a charity raffle to benefit Famous Fido Pet Rescue. Ellis Clark, whose extensive presence on the Chicago music scene includes his current band The Big Parade, as well as Epicycle, The Social Act, and The Handcuffs, once again served as MC, along with Amazing Heeby Jeebies lead vocalist Ary Paloma Jeebie. Just like their first George bash, staged in 2017, they performed together backed by members of their bands, and also introduced the other acts on the bill.

This year’s version may have been even better than last year’s, and I say that despite having not been able to stay late enough to catch Tomorrow The Moon and The Unswept, two acts I definitely wanted to see. Singer-guitarist Phil Angotti, introduced by Clark as, “The number one Beatles expert in the midwest,” offered faithful renditions of “Old Brown Shoe,” “Apple Scruffs,” and the solo deep track “Run Of The Mill.” He, Clark and Ary Paloma Jeebie, were the nucleus of a house band that supported several acts.

The easy-going atmosphere allowed for some one- or two-song sets, such as when singer Frankie B. spun “Happy Just To Dance With You” into a seductive bossa nova; and singer-acoustic guitarist Scott Williams dug into All Things Must Pass for Bob Dylan’s “If Not For You” and the Dylan/Harrison penned “I’d Have You Anyway.” The single-named singer Phoenix, daughter of Ary Paloma Jeebie, also went the deep album track route by joining Clark, Angotti, and others for a heartfelt “Long, Long, Long” from The White Album. Chicago psych rock veteran Constantine came onboard to lend his charismatic vocals to “If I Needed Someone.”

Throughout the night, the George Harrison Birthday Tribute Concert sprung one pleasant surprise after another. The Handcuffs, led by vocalist-guitarist Chloe F. Orwell and drummer Brad Elvis, enlisted a horn section and vocalist Rachel Drew to help blast through a five-song set that included “Got My Mind Set On You” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Backed by the house band, rhythm and blues vocalist Gerald McClendan sang a transcendent “My Sweet Lord” that also featured Ary Paloma Jeebie, Phoenix, and Frankie B. on backup vocals. And there was still more. EXPO ’76 keyboards player Kenn Goodman joined in on “Handle Me With Care” and “Dark Horse,” and saxophonist Mars Williams from The Psychedelic Furs augmented “Isn’t It A Pity” and “You.”

At one point, Ary Paloma Jeebie declared she felt George Harrison’s spirit in the room. If he was, he must have been happy to see how much everyone there loved his music.

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Slumgullion

The Monkees Present The Mike Nesmith And Micky Dolenz Show will be coming to the Copernicus Center in Chicago’s northwest side Jefferson Park neighborhood on June 14.

Lannie Flowers will release a series of free downloads in the coming months that will not be on his upcoming album Home. Flowers will likely be playing some new songs this evening when his band hits the stage at the Mohawk club in Austin, TX right around midnight. The gig is part of International Pop Overthrow - Austin, which is running this weekend. International Pop Overthrow - Chicago runs April 20 through 28, but the schedule is not up on the IPO site yet.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds concert at The Chicago Theatre tomorrow night will feature a 10-piece band, a horn section, and members of Oasis.

Tickets went on sale today for Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field on August 18 and 20; Radiohead at the United Center on July 7; Smashing Pumpkins at the United Center on August 13; Eleanor Friedberger at Lincoln Hall on May 5; singer-songwriter/bass player Meshell Ndegeocello at The Promontory on March 24; and Southern Culture On The Skids at Schubas on May 24.

A very cool George Harrison Birthday Tribute Concert takes place tomorrow night at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. Several Chicago area bands will be involved, and if last year’s bash, with many of the same musicians is any indication, the set lists will include some interesting deep tracks and rarities.

The Old 97s, who were such a blast when they came to Durty Nellie’s in Palatine a few months back, will be at Thalia Hall in Chicago on March 1.

Joan Esposito, a veteran TV news anchor in the Chicago area and occasional guest morning news anchor on WXRT radio, is now working at WCPT 820 radio in Chicago.

Here’s some consolation for Buffalo Springfield fans in the Chicago area who wish they could have gone to that recent all-star tribute to the band in Glendale, CA. Local singer-guitarist Phil Angotti, who knows a thing or two about tribute shows, and some of his friends will be performing songs like “Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing” as part of an evening of CSNY, The Byrds, and Buffalo Springfield music at Montrose Tap on February 28.  How The Hollies got left out of this equation escapes me, but it’s still guaranteed to be a fun event.

All five original members of The Go-Go’s will be performing three shows with The Los Angeles Philharmonic at The Hollywood Bowl on July 2, 3, and 4. There will be a “fireworks spectacular” on Independence Day. Head Over Heels, the new musical based on the band’s music will run from April 10 through May 6 in San Francisco before moving on to Broadway for previews starting June 23.

The 19th Chicago Irish Film Festival - Films from the Land of Storytelling will run from next Thursday, March 1 through Sunday March 4 at the Gallery Theatre and Logan Theatre. Both venues are located on Milwaukee Avenue. The event will include feature films, shorts, and documentaries.

The Jewish Film Festival will run on three weekends in March, starting on March 3, and ending on March 18. A total of 31 films will be screened at ArcLight Chicago, ArcLight Glenview, Century 12 Evanston/CineArts 6 and Century 16 Deer Park.

The Chicago European Union Film Festival will run from March 9 through April 5 at the Gene Siskel Film Center on State Street.

I mentioned a few weeks back that Reckless Records on Madison in downtown Chicago has a good selection of vintage and rare picture sleeve 45s. I dropped by today and picked up an Australian press picture sleeve “Yesterday” EP, which also includes “It’s Only Love,” “You Like Me Too Much,” and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy.” I also found rare picture sleeve 45 of The Friggs’ “Shake” and “Wild Love.”

The world premiere of the Paul Edwards adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Picture Of Dorian Gray opens at City Lit next Friday, March 2 (previews through March 10) and will run through April 15. The Edwards version sets the drama in New York from 1970 through 1980.

Elizabeth Acevedo, a poetry slam champion who is now an author, will be discussing her first novel Poet X at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in the Hyde Park neighborhood on March 10 at 5:00 p.m.

My nephew Joe Flamm is now among the last three contestants on this season’s Top Chef on the Bravo Channel. Joe “Mustache Joe” Sasto and Adrienne Cheatham are the other two remaining. At this point it’s tough to see any of the chefs leave because they’ve worked so hard and become like friends to viewers. So, a special word of congratulations to Carrie Baird, who was eliminated last night, and Chris Scott, who left last week. You guys made it to the Final Five, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. Regardless of who makes it to the Top Chef finale, there will be a Joe Down Throw Down involving my nephew and Mustache Joe at Spiaggia on March 7. The $150 admission includes a five-course meal.

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