Saturday, January 20, 2018

Slumgullion

According to an article by Josh Noel in last week’s Chicago Tribune, 55.2 million tourists came to Chicago in 2017. That number not only set a record, it prematurely reached a goal Mayor Rahm Emanuel projected for the year 2020. The increase is surely tied into the Chicago-centric items I post on Broken Hearted Toy. Not really. But here’s a hearty welcome to out-of-town visitors and a call to action for the local arts and entertainment community to make a grand impression.

Tickets are now on sale for David Byrne’s American Utopia Tour visit to the Auditorium Theatre on June 2; The Decemberists at Chicago Theatre on April 10; Michael McDermott at City Winery Chicago on March 23 and 25; and MGMT at the Riviera Theatre on March 3.

The Tomorrow Never Knows festival is underway and continues through tomorrow night at Lincoln Hall, Schubas, SmartBar, Metro, and The Hideout on Chicago’s north side. Scheduled acts include Melkbelly; Mark Farina; Wham City; Destroyer; Janelle James; and Hinds.

I had never heard of the four-woman Spanish band Hinds until noted rock critic Greg Kot did a feature article on them in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune. They’ll be playing their catchy indie rock songs at 11:00 p.m. tomorrow at Lincoln Hall, and their new album I Don’t Run is due out in April.

Go Time! lead vocalist-guitarist Scott Niekelski and singer-guitarist Gerry O’Keefe have a gig tonight from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Church Street Brewing Co. in Itasca.

Lifeline Theatre’s 21st Annual Filet Of Solo continues this weekend at Lifeline Theatre and Heartland Studio Theatre on the city's far north side. Solo performances include Lily Be; Ada Cheng; Shelby Marie Edwards; Julie Gannet; Carly Jo Geer; R.C. Riley; and Jameson Wentworth. There will also be tales spun by Around The World: Immigrant Stories; GayCo; GeNarrations; the kates; The Lifeline Storytelling Project; Sappho’s Salon; Serving The Sentence; Stir Friday Night; The Stoop; Sweat Girls; Tellin’ Tales Theatre, featuring Tekkie Lomnicki; and You’re Being Ridiculous. Tickets are $10 for each performance; festival passes are available for $50.

There was a recent post by Joe Marchese on The Second Disc website about a new album called Listen People: The Graham Gouldman Songbook 1964 – 2005. The 24-track compilation includes well-known recordings like “Bus Stop” by The Hollies; “Evil Hearted You” by The Yardbirds; and “The Things We Do For Love” by 10cc, but from there, things get pretty adventurous. Herman’s Hermits perform “The London Look” from Yardley Cosmetics commercial, Gary Lewis And The Playboys cover “Look Through Any Window,” Rush does “Heart Full Of Soul,” The Outsiders play “Listen People,” and Morrissey offers his take on “East West.” You’ll also find Gouldman himself doing “No Milk Today.” Other artists on Listen People include Jeff Beck, The Mindbenders, Cher, and Kirsty MacColl.

The rock and roll community has suffered another heartbreaking loss with the recent death of bassist Jim Rodford. He most recently toured as a member of The Zombies and is credited with playing a major role in their early success. He was also a founding member of Argent with Zombies member Rod Argent.

The Count Basie Theatre in New Jersey was the setting for a recent all-star event titled Time And Time Again; A Celebration Of the Music Of Pat DiNizio. Several guest musicians joined remaining Smithereens members Dennis Diken, Jim Babjak and original bassist Mike Mesaros on some of the band’s best material. Musician/actor/radio host Steven Van Zandt, whose Underground Garage syndicated radio program helped sponsor the event, joined in on “Sorry,” and Robin Wilson from The Gin Blossoms led the way on “Behind The Wall Of Sleep,” “Blood And Roses,” and “Green Thoughts.”

Other guest/Smithereens collaborations included Freedy Johnston on “Cigarette.” Ted Leo on “Especially For You,” and Richard Barone from The Bongos on “Cut Flowers.” Noted producer Ed Stasium joined in the tribute, along with The Grip Weeds, Dave Davies from The Kinks, Lenny Kaye and Tony Shanahan, Marshall Crenshaw and frequent Smithereens bassist-backup vocalist Severo Jornacion. Patti Smyth and Scandal performed “Paint it Black.” White Castle donated $10,000 to the Pat DiNizio Musical Scholarship at the Basie Performing Arts Academy as well as a massive supply of cheeseburgers to be distributed during The Smithereens’ cult classic “White Castle Blues.”

Big Brother’s Vinyl performed an impressive set of classic rock covers last Saturday night at the Arlington Ale House in Arlington Heights. A lot of the songs featured extended, twin guitarist fueled arrangements, and the selection—from Dire Straits to The Allman Brothers—was as adventurous as it was well chosen. Lizzy Petitt and The Bandwagon kicked off the evening with a mix of current hits and rock standards that found the former Serendipity singer-keyboards player coming into her own as frontperson.

On this week’s episode of Top Chef on the Bravo Channel, my nephew Joe became the first member of our family to win a gold medal. Not an actual gold medal, but a facsimile as part of an Olympics-themed elimination round. My nephew, AKA ‘No Mustache Joe,’ joined forces with ‘Mustache Joe” Sasto and Bruce Kalman on the Blue Team, and each of them won their leg of the competition. Just a note of admiration for all of this season’s contestants. They’ve worked hard under extreme conditions and impossible deadlines, and made us all interested in their personal stories.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Slumgullion

Photo from the Jeff Tweedy Facebook page.

The state of Wisconsin has been plastering ads around the Chicago area trying to lure millennials up north. I can’t say the idea has any appeal for me. Here’s some entertainment news about Chicago and beyond.

Tickets went on sale today for The Breeders at The Vic on May 8; Jeff Tweedy at The Vic on April 27 and 28; and Suzanne Vega at City Winery Chicago on May 5 and May 6.

Lifeline Theatre’s 21st Annual Filet Of Solo kicks off tonight and will run on weekends at Lifeline Theatre and Heartland Studio Theatre through January 28. The festival will feature solo performances by Lily Be; Ada Cheng; Shelby Marie Edwards; Julie Gannet; Carly Jo Geer; R.C. Riley; and Jameson Wentworth. There will also be tales spun by Around The World: Immigrant Stories; GayCo; GeNarrations; the kates; The Lifeline Storytelling Project; Sappho’s Salon; Serving The Sentence; Stir Friday Night; The Stoop; Sweat Girls; Tellin’ Tales Theatre, featuring Tekkie Lomnicki; and You’re Being Ridiculous. Tickets are $10 for each performance; festival passes are available for $50. See the Lifeline website for the full schedule.

The January issue of New City includes a cover story on The 50 People Who Really Perform For Chicago on the local theatre scene.

Big Brother’s Vinyl will be playing songs from the 1960s and 1970 at the Arlington Ale House (third floor) in Arlington Heights tomorrow night. The opening act Lizzy Petitt and the Bandwagon will perform a mix of 1960s and contemporary rock. The music starts at 7:30 p.m.

Band Called Catch celebrates its 10th anniversary with a show tomorrow night at Martyrs’. Past members are scheduled to join in the fun. The show will be preceded by sets from Laura Glyda, Buffalo Rose, and Todd Kessler.

A recent Facebook post from International Pop Overthrow Founder/CFO David Bash presented his annual best releases list, a super size document that comprises over 300 titles scattered across 13 categories. All of which makes my 2017 Favorites list, which I’m hoping to post by month’s end, look like a chicken nugget by comparison. Actually, Bash’s Albums List, like his IPO website, is a great way to discover new artists. His top album of the year? Shag by the Los Angeles-based power pop band Sitcom Neighbor.

Longtime Chicago rock critic Peter Margasak listed his Favorite Albums of 2017 in this week’s issue of The Reader. His number one pick was Peasant by English singer-songwriter Richard Dawson.

The Celebrating David Bowie tribute concert arrives in America on February 10, following a series of European dates throughout January. It’s coming to The Vic Theatre in Chicago on Friday, February 23. Adrian Belew. Earl Slick, Mike Garson, Bernard Fowler, Angelo Moore , Gerry Leonard, Joe Sumner, Carmine Rojas will be performing, along with other guest musicians.

Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of The Posies will perform as a duo at City Winery Chicago on January 31. It part of the band’s 30th Anniversary Tour.

My nephew Joe Flamm continues his run on the Bravo channel’s Top Chef; having made it through the sixth episode last night.

The Moody Blues’ induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame later this year won’t feel the same now that flute player/vocalist Ray Thomas has passed away. He played a major role in the band’s melodic and imaginative progressive rock and will be missed.

The Chicago Inc. column in today’s Chicago Tribune mentioned that MTV is considering Chicago as the location of a Jersey Shore spinoff called Family Vacation featuring the original cast. Now there’s a group of people who would be better off choosing Wisconsin.

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Squeeze - The Knowledge

Released in October of 2017, The Knowledge proves Squeeze is still the champagne of pop music. The 12 songs feature Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford’s clever lyrics and irresistible melodies, as well as their impressive harmony vocals. Drummer Simon Hanson and keyboards player Stephen Large from the 2015 album Cradle To The Grave are back onboard, and there are enough guest musicians and vocalists to fill a continent.

Like wisdom, The Knowledge seems to have come with age, as Tilbrook and Difford reflect on the later stages of life; for themselves and the people they encounter. Their observations can be poignant, as on the energetic “Innocence In Paradise” and the acoustic “Departure Lounge,” or laced with wry humor, like “Please Be Upstanding,” which seems to be about a couple reigniting their sex life via a Viagra prescription. “Albatross” is a short and funny portrait of a vinyl junkie whose, “youthful past still floats around, both in his head and in his sounds.”

This latest effort explores current social issues as well. On “Rough Ride,” Squeeze takes lines like, “Either you’re rich or it’s tough” and “Austerity, austerity, is that all you have to give to me?” and drops them into an improbable but engaging mix of funk, opera, and Broadway musical. “A and E” turns a trip to the emergency room into a Motown-fueled call for more medical funding. Mostly, The Knowledge is another serving of classic Squeeze. “Patchouli” is an appealing look back at a teenage romance, and “Two Forks” is a rollicking celebration of people being able to overcome their differences.

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Slumgullion

We had a super moon earlier this week and as always when there’s something going on with moon, my mind immediately goes to Off Broadway’s “Full Moon Turn My Head Around.” It’s from the Chicago band’s 1979 debut On, which is still considered a landmark album among power pop fans. Lead vocalist and chief songwriter Cliff Johnson often moved beyond the standard boy wants girl lyrics of power pop in favor of something more unusual and fun. Johnson will be performing the entire On album with The Raine at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn tomorrow night. Over the past few years, the guys in The Raine have proved to be a perfect match for Johnson’s catchy and energetic material. The Jay Geoppner Band, which performs an eclectic variety of classic rock, is also on the bill. The music starts at 8:30.

The Vulgar Boatmen, an Indianapolis-based band that has built a loyal following around the songwriting duo of Robert Ray and Dale Lawrence, is performing at Schubas on Southport tomorrow night. Their impressive 1989 debut You And Your Sister returned in a 25th Anniversary remastered edition in 2016 and featured classic indie rock songs like “Change The World Around” and “Drink More Coffee.” The coed alt rock duo KaiserCartel will be opening with songs that emphasize harmonies and strong melodies.

Bev Bevan of The Move and Electric Light Orchestra fame, is currently playing drums and co-writing with the band Quill. The work reunites him with former ELO Part 2 mate Phil Bates. The Quill Riding Rainbows tour kicks off on March 2 in the UK.

International Pop Overthrow has entered into a partnership with indie label Omnivore Recordings, according to a Facebook post from IPO honcho David Bash. Omnivore will release the IPO Volume 21 CD ater this year. Volumes three through 20 were released on Bruce Brodeen’s Not Lame label. Brodeen announced in 2017 that he was leaving the business.

The 11th Annual Ian’s Party snagged a cover story in this week’s edition of The Reader and a mention in the Chicago Tribune. Two venues—Subterranean and Chop House—are hosting year’s event today, tomorrow and Sunday, with 69 bands scheduled to perform. The lineup includes beastii, Mother Nature, The Brokedown, and Montrose Man. Links to all the bands can be found on the Ian’s Party website. Ticket prices ranging from $10 to $30.

Congratulations to my nephew Joe Flamm for making it through another week on Bravo’s Top Chef program.

The Chicago-based David Bowie tribute band Sons Of The Silent Age has a show called The Berlin Years at Metro tomorrow night. With help from acclaimed actor Michael Shannon, they’ll perform Bowie’s Low, Heroes, and Lodger albums.

WXRT is holding its annual Listener Poll Gala on January 23 at City Winery Chicago. Tributosaurus will once again be providing live music, and the station’s DJs will announce listeners’ most-loved concerts, albums, local artists, etc. The event starts at 7:00 p.m. Those interested in attending can enter for a chance to win tickets on WXRT’s official website.

Band Called Catch celebrates its 10th anniversary with a show next Saturday, January 13 at Martyrs’. Past members are scheduled to join the party. The show will be preceded by sets from Laura Glyda, Buffalo Rose, and Todd Kessler.

Singer-guitarist John Petitt, formerly with the rock trio This Is This, is now performing with Big Brother’s Vinyl. The band plays songs from the 1960s and 1970s, and as Petitt explained, “Much of our repertoire is off road of Top 40 radio.” Big Brother’s Vinyl has a gig coming up next Saturday, January 13 at the Arlington Ale House (third floor) in Arlington Heights. The opening act that night Lizzy Petitt (John’s daughter, and a former member of Serendipity) and the Bandwagon plays a mix of 1960s and contemporary rock. The music starts at 7:30 p.m.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Incoming!

Sons Of The Silent Age poster by Molly Kate Lane

As tough as January can be in Chicago—and we’re working on a record cold snap right now—it’s a great time of year for blues fans. It’s traditionally when homegrown but international legend Buddy Guy spends a lot of time performing at his Legends blues club. As noted by writer Miriam Nunzio in the Chicago Sun-Times, tomorrow’s opening night of Guy’s 2018 residency will also serve as fundraiser for PCa Blue. The blues-infused charity organization is dedicated to finding a cure for prostate cancer. Tickets for the 21-and-older show are $55; the show at Buddy Guy’s Legends starts at 7:30 p.m.

Sons Of The Silent Age have built a strong following in the Chicago area and the David Bowie tribute act has a particularly ambitious show coming up this Saturday, January 6 at Metro. The Berlin Years will find these Chicago music scene veterans joined by critically acclaimed actor Michael Shannon as they perform Bowie’s Low, Heroes, and Lodger albums. A portion of the proceeds will benefit cancer patients at Northshore University Healthsystem’s Integrative Medicine Program. The music starts at 8:00 p.m.

There’s some retro-inspired fun coming up tomorrow night at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. Rosie And The Rivets, who play rockabilly, girl group, surf, and British Invasion songs, will share the bill with Amazing Heeby Jeebies, who mix originals with covers ranging from Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra to The Cramps. The blues/rockabilly outfit Tiny Miles Trio will also be performing. The shown starts at 8:00 p.m.

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