Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Tributosaurus Becomes Fundraiers

It’s always fun catching a Tributosaurus show, but its tribute to The Who this Thursday night at Martyrs’ has an added significance. The club, located on Lincoln Avenue a few blocks south of Irving Park, has been hit with a financial crisis due to what the owners call an “unexpected collapse of an adjoining business and long-time tenant.” Proceeds from Thursday’s show will help Martyrs’ continue to book some of Chicago’s best local talent. Frisbie (founding member Steve Frisbie will be part of the Tributosaurus show), The Handcuffs, Phil Angotti, Ellis Clark, The Amazing Heeby Jeebies; Tomorrow The Moon, The Sunshine Boys, and Sons Of The Silent Age are some of the acts that have become regulars.

It’s also been the home of an annual George Harrison Birthday Bash, Halloween weekend tribute shows, and a regularly scheduled rockabilly showcase. WXRT has done live broadcasts with major recording artists like The Pretenders at Martyrs’, and as a Facebook post promoting the upcoming Tributosaurus gig points out, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle performed there. The list of international acts that have rocked the Martyrs’ stage also includes Graham Parker, Spoon, Pat DiNizio and Jim Bajak from The Smithereens, Beck, Bob Mould, Ian Hunter, Imelda May, and The Yardbirds. Martyrs says fans should stay tuned for online and silent auctions. As someone who’s enjoyed numerous shows at the club, I’m wishing them the best of luck.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Three Hour Tour - You Never Know

Three Hour Tour’s latest release finds the Champaign, IL band once again cruising through guitar-based power pop songs. Lead vocalist/lead guitarist/bassist Darren Cooper is joined by rhythm guitarist/backup vocalist Kent Whitesell, and drummer Brad Elvis, along with guest appearances from drummers Terry Wathen and John L. Richardson. Adam Schmitt, who mastered the album, plays keyboards on one of the tracks.

Cooper wrote (or co-wrote with Ken Glosser) all the material on You Never Know, and he definitely favors mid-tempo arrangements. There isn’t a wide range of approaches, but Cooper is consistently on the mark with fetching melodies and well-crafted lyrics on songs like “Birds Of Clay” and “Theodore’s Last Call.” On a number of tracks, he seems to be drawing inspiration from power pop master Matthew Sweet.

“Fallen Angel” is a romantic and imaginative tale about a heavenly creature who veers too close to earth, and is forced to live among mortal men entranced by her beauty. On the fun and engaging title track, Cooper channels his best David Bowie baritone to describe the career of a rock and roll superstar, and leads the band through an impressive instrumental coda. The energetic “Standing Still” is another highlight.

Cooper also likes to throw the occasional curveball; such as “Ballad Of Buddy Rich.” It’s a funny look at what life on the road might be like with the legendary jazz drummer. “Pascal The Hypnotist” is a spirited instrumental that features Cooper, Whitesell, and Brad Elvis really cutting loose. As enjoyable as You Never Know is, a few more tracks with that high level of energy would have made it even better.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Slumgullion

Music Box Theatre, located at 3733 N. Southport, will be screening the 50th Anniversary edition of Yellow Submarine at 2:00 p.m. this Sunday. A recent article by Randy Lewis in the Los Angeles Times (also carried in the Chicago Tribune) notes that the animated film based on The Beatles song has undergone a 4K restoration with new mixes for all of the songs. The August issue of British magazine MOJO—with a dapper looking David Bowie on the cover—has a six-page feature on Yellow Submarine.

That same issue of MOJO has a four-star review of Graham Nash’s new Over The Years double CD of demos and alternative versions, as well as a review of The Rolling Stones at The London Stadium.

If you catch Yellow Submarine at the Music Box on Sunday, you can also take in the Southport Art Festival at Southport at Waveland Avenue. It runs tomorrow and Sunday and will offer art, photography, sculpture, jewelry and mixed media.

The Square Roots Festival is happening in Lincoln Square this weekend. Matthew Sweet and The Dream Syndicate are the main acts tonight; The Jayhawks, The Handsome Family, Bombino, and Gato Pero headline tomorrow; and Pokey Lafarge and Tossers are Sunday’s headliners. The off-kilter but charming singer-songwriter Dawn Landes will perform tomorrow, and other acts include Les Rodailleurs, and the Alma Afrobeat Ensemble.

Tickets went on sale today for Jonathan Richman at Thalia Hall on October 27; Local H at Lincoln Hall on November 18; Marcia Ball at SPACE on August 23; The Sadies at Hideout on August 6; and Todd Snider at SPACE on November 7.

WLS-AM radio host Steve Dahl is holding a Garage Sale tomorrow at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines that will benefit Beds Plus, a charity organization dedicated to helping homeless people.
He’ll be selling vintage vinyl, CDs, artwork, sports memorabilia, old studio equipment, and assorted personal belongings. EXPO ’76 will be performing an eclectic selection of cover songs from noon to 2:00 p.m., and there will be food trucks on hand. The garage sale runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the casino’s north lot. Admission is free but you have to be 21 or older to attend.

The 8th Annual 5K Run To End Homelessness kicks off at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow at Montrose Harbor, and the fastest 50 overall runners will win two 3-day passes to Riot Fest.

Alt rock band whitewolfsonicprincess will be at Moe’s Tavern tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. Boundary Waters and Waterplanet are also on the bill. Next Saturday, whitewolfsonicprincess will perform at The Store with The Darkroom Men and Flapunco.

Robert Cray has a gig coming up at the North Shore Center For The Performing Arts in Skokie on July 21, and Chris Isaak rock that same venue on August 12.

Congratulations to Loyola University Chicago on coming in at Number 5 on College magazine’s Top 10 most eco-friendly colleges in America. According to a Sun-Times article by Alice Bazerghi, the top spot went to Colby College. It’s located in Maine, and held its first Green Graduation ceremony this year.

Urgh! A Music War, the 1981 documentary that features performances from The Go-Go’s, X, Echo And The Bunnymen, UB40, Devo, 999, Gary Numan, Devo, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, and several other punk and new wave bands, will be screened at the Music Box this Monday July 16. Admission is $10.

Power pop fans who show up at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn next Saturday, July 21 will witness a transformation as Cliff Johnson and The Raine open the evening, and Johnson and the original members of Off Broadway close it. The Raine (John D. Kolonel, Dave Sebastian, Bill Bickel, and Bill Kowalski) have done a great job of backing Johnson as he performs Off Broadway tunes, but it’s also a safe bet that longtime fans will love to see the original Off Broadway back on stage again.

Foo Fighters have sold out their Concrete and Gold Tour date with The Struts and Melkbelly at Wrigley Field on July 29, and added a show with The Breeders and Touched By A Ghoul at the Cubs park on July 30.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

It Came From Steve Dahl’s Garage

Like a lot of us who’ve accumulated rock and roll memorabilia, WLS-AM radio host Steve Dahl is looking to get rid of some stuff. What sets Dahl apart is that his immense popularity stretches back beyond the earliest days of juggernaut hard rock station The Loop, and he’s had access to all sorts of promo material. He’s interviewed famous rock musicians and performed parodies with his own group. Plus, as noted in a recent Chicago Tribune article by Jennifer Johnson, money from the sales at his Garage Sale this Saturday at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines will benefit Beds Plus, a charity organization dedicated to helping homeless people.

Dahl explained to Johnson that he’ll be selling vintage vinyl, CDs, artwork, sports memorabilia, old studio equipment, and “some personal items.” Back in 1983, I heard from friends that Dahl did a phone interview with The Hollies in advance of their reunion tour (Graham Nash was even involved) performance at ChicagoFest. The possibility that he might be selling items from that tour brings back memories of when I was a kid and WLS—a Top 40 station in those days—was giving away Christmas cards from rock stars. They had one from The Hollies but I wasn’t the lucky caller who snagged it. Even with no Hollies items involved, it should be fascinating to discover what Dahl has to offer.

Another incentive is that musician Dag Juhlin, who’s a regular on Dahl’s current afternoon show, will be performing from noon to 2:00 p.m. with his extremely entertaining covers band EXPO ’76. Juhlin’s extensive resume also includes Poi Dog Pondering, The Slugs, and the recently formed Sunshine Boys. The garage sale runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Rivers Casino’s north lot at 3000 S. River Road. Admission is free but you have to be older than 21 to attend.

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Friday, July 6, 2018

Slumgullion

There’s a power pop explosion coming up at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn on July 21 when Cliff Johnson and The Raine open the evening, and Johnson and the original members of Off Broadway close it. The Raine (John D. Kolonel, Dave Sebastian, Bill Bickel, and Bill Kowalski) have done a great job over the past few years of backing Johnson as he performs Off Broadway tunes, but it’s also a safe bet that longtime fans will love to see the original Off Broadway back on stage again. I’m hoping to have more on this as the gig gets closer.

WESTfest kicked off today at 5:00 p.m. and will continue tomorrow from noon to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 10:00 p.m. Presented by the popular and critically acclaimed Empty Bottle venue, the festival will offer over 30 live acts and DJs at Chicago Avenue and Damen.

The Millennium Art Festival at Lake and Michigan Avenue also started today, and will be back tomorrow and Sunday.

Congratulations to Pilsen on being chosen by Forbes as one of the world’s “coolest neighborhoods.” As reported by Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas in this past Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune, the Forbes travel writers praised the Chicago neighborhood for its, “hip galleries and walls decorated with colorful murals.” Rock fans have grown more familiar with Pilsen in recent years due to the emergence of Thalia Hall as a popular venue for indie rock shows.

The July issue of UK magazine MOJO, with the cover story The 50 Greatest Songs Of Pink Floyd cover story, also has a short interview with Chicago-based Liz Phair about her favorite records and musicians. Phair’s Girly-Sound To Guyville: The 25th Anniversary Box Set was recently released. MOJO also has a longer piece on former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston about his favorite releases. Oh, and the number one song on MOJO’s Pink Floyd list? “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Part I – V).”

Last Saturday night’s birthday bash for local musicians Ellis Clark, Ary Paloma Jeebie, and Chloe F. Orwell at Montrose Saloon underscored the venue’s emergence as a viable new showcase for Chicago area bands. A number of musicians were on hand to join in the fun and watch performances by The Frantastic Sound System, The Handcuffs, and Ellis Clark’s Big Parade. Upcoming shows at Montrose Saloon include Futuristic Drago playing the music of T Rex tomorrow night, The Amazing Heebie Jeebies (fronted by Ary Paloma Jeebie) and The Dyes on July 14, and The Bon Mots and Mike Coy and Friends on July 28.

Songs from the beginning. I was excited when I read about Graham Nash’s Over The Years two-CD compilation on social media and The Second Disc website, and now that I’ve had a chance to listen to the album, it totally fulfills my expectations. Over The Years offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at some of his best-known songs via previously unreleased demos and alternate versions. I’m planning to post a full review in the near future. Nash will be spending the last week in July performing in England.

The Square Roots Festival being held in Lincoln Square next weekend will offer an eclectic and guaranteed entertaining selection of acts throughout its run. Matthew Sweet and The Dream Syndicate are the headliners for Friday night; The Jayhawks, The Handsome Family, Bombino, and Gato Pero headline Saturday; and Pokey Lafarge and Tossers headline on Sunday. The off-kilter but always charming singer-songwriter Dawn Landes will perform on Saturday, and other acts include Les Rodailleurs, and the Alma Afrobeat Ensemble.

Urgh! A Music War, the 1981 documentary that features performances from The Go-Go’s, X, Echo And The Bunnymen, UB40, Devo, 999, Gary Numan, Devo, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, and several other punk and new wave bands, will be screened at the Music Box on July 16. Admission is $10.

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Incoming

Graphic from The Sons Of The Silent Age Facebook page.

Glam and swagger. Chicago area fans of classic British rock can get a double dose at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue this weekend. The Sons Of The Silent Age will be covering the music of David Bowie on Friday, and Great Moments In Vinyl will perform The Rolling Stones’ Hot Rocks 1964-1971 greatest hits album in its entirety on Saturday. Made up of well-known Chicago area musicians, The Sons Of The Silent Age have notched high-profile gigs at Daley Plaza, when the David Bowie Is exhibition opened at the Museum Of Contemporary Art, and at Taste Of Chicago as Billy Idol’s opening act. They’ve got plenty of firepower to bring Bowie’s eclectic catalog to life. Great Moments In Vinyl is a collective of area musicians who’ve built a strong reputation by performing classic albums in their entirety on the club scene.

Tomorrow night’s English Beat concert at Metro is sure to bring back fond memories for long-time ska fans in the Chicago area. Particularly with Chicago’s own Heavy Manners as the opening act. Both bands started out around the same time; in the midst of a ska revival in England that quickly spread to the States. According to Wikipedia, Heavy Manners opened for The English Beat (as well as The Clash) back in those days. People in attendance tomorrow night can expect English Beat classics like “Save It For Later,” “Ranking Full Stop” and “I Confess,” as well Heavy Manners gems like “Taking The Queen To Tea” and “Hometown Ska.” DJ Chuck Wren is also on the bill.

It’s not the biggest or best known among Chicago’s summertime art fairs, but the Millennium Art Festival at Lake and Michigan Avenue always has an impressive selection of painting, photography and sculptures, and it’s right in the heart of downtown. The festival runs from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday; 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Sick Rose - Someplace Better

The Sick Rose is based in Torino, Italy, but guitarist-backup vocalist Georgio Cappellaro spent the better part of the 1990s in Chicago and performed with a band here called The Drapes. Before returning to Italy, he must have packed his suitcases with loads of Midwestern power pop know-how. While it’s unclear whether the band’s name comes from William Blake’s 1794 poem, The Sick Rose’s recently released seventh album Someplace Better could serve as a blueprint for how to best use the power pop genre.

Produced by Ken Stringfellow of The Posies, the material concentrates on romantic relationships and features Luca Re’s powerful singing and the band’s spirited backing vocals set to catchy arrangements. “How To Be Your Friend” and “Childhood Dreams” are guitar-driven tracks that evoke the earliest power pop bands like The Records and The Raspberries. On “Blame It On Me,” The Sick Rose crafts an achingly beautiful melody without sacrificing a bit of energy.

“Nobody” is pure 1960s-fueled entertainment; mixing garage rock with a hint of soul in a high-speed swirl of guitars and keyboards. It’s easy to imagine it being performed on a show like Shindig or Hullaballoo, with a bevy of dancers around the band. “Fortune And Fame” and “Frustrated” likewise explore garage rock territory with fun results, while the title track is peppy instrumental that sounds like it could be a TV theme song.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Slumgullion

Montrose Saloon on Chicago’s north side will be the perfect place tomorrow night to enjoy high energy rock and wish some local musicians a happy birthday. Initially, the bash was planned for singer-guitarist Ellis Clark, but it’s been extended to include Ary Paloma Jeebie and Chloe F. Orwell. Clark currently leads the group Big Parade, and his storied past includes being part of Epicycle—one of Chicago’s first punk bands—founding Social Act, and being a member of The Handcuffs. Ary Paloma Jeebie is the front person for The Amazing Heebie Jeebies garage rock/rockabilly band; and Chloe F. Orwell is the lead vocalist-guitarist for indie rockers The Handcuffs. Facebook posts have hinted at a Ary-Chloe duet, and it’s likely guest musicians will be involved. The Frantastic Sound System will kick off the evening at 9:00 p.m. The Montrose Saloon is located at 2933 W. Montrose Avenue, admission is a mere $5.

Singer-guitarist Phil Angotti also recently had a birthday, but he and Casey McDonough will be performing a show at Reclaimed Bar tomorrow night.

Chicago’s long-running ska band Heavy Manners and DJ Chuck Wren will be the opening acts when The English Beat plays at Metro next Friday, July 6.

I was happy to see an email from Amazon today stating my copy of Graham Nash’s two-CD set of demos Over The Years has shipped and will land on my porch this coming Tuesday. It features demos of classic Nash solo and and CSNY material like “Immigration Man,” “Teach Your Children,” “Wind On The Water,” “I Used To Be A King,” and “Chicago/We Can Change The World.” The oldest demo is a version of “Marrakesh Express” The Hollies rejected when Nash pitched it to them in 1968.

YippieFest, the love child of the once-annual Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins Theatre Festival at Mary-Arrchie Theatre, will be back for a second round on the weekend of August 17 – 19 at Prop Thtr. Last year’s bash was organized by Famous In The Future comedy group founder Frank Carr, who picked up a few tips about how to run this sort of event while performing at every single Abbie Fest. He’s back at the helm this year. Any theatre groups, performance artists, or musicians interested in being part of Yippie Fest 2018 can contact the official website.

New albums came out today from Florence + The Machine (High As Hope) and Ray Davies (Our Country: Americana II).

Actress Karen Gillan has been having a splendid career since leaving Doctor Who, landing roles in Guardians Of The Galaxy, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, and Avengers: Infinity Wars, as well as directing the indie film Tupperware Party. She’s also among the women featured in the new Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies): Amazing Women On What The F Word Means To Them book curated by Scarlet Curtis. It’s now available on Amazon UK.

The Bangles had original bassist Annette Zilinskas on board when they performed last Sunday at the Arroyo Seco festival in Pasadena. Other acts on the bill included Neil Young, Jack White, and The Pretenders. Next up for The Bangles is the Pershing Square Downtown Stage summer concert on July 14 in Los Angeles. I’d love to see them do an outdoor gig in the Chicago area.

The Go-Go’s are also keeping busy on the west coast. They’re performing tonight at Humphreys Concerts By The Bay in San Diego and on Monday, July 2 at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Head Over Heels, a play based on their music, is running on Broadway.

Fruits de Mer, the UK indie vinyl label, shared a post on Facebook promoting the very last gig by The Pretty Things. Although the band was never well known in the States, they been active in their native England for 55 years. The Final Bow takes place on December 13 in London at the O2 Arena, with special guests David Gilmour, Van Morrison, and Bill Nighy.

Let’s raise a toast to local artist Eddie Carr, who recently passed away. As noted in a Sun-Times article by Maureen O’Donnell, Carr was the genius behind the elaborate Christmas displays at Butch McGuire’s on Division Street for 30 years. He also enjoyed creating portraits of his favorite rock musicians, including Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley.

Monty Python’s Spamalot continues its run at Mercury Theater in Chicago through August 5.

Amplified: Chicago Blues, an exhibition honoring Chicago’s blues heritage, is up and running at the Chicago History Museum through August 10, 2019. The exhibition will focus on Howlin Wolf, Little Brother Montgomery, Little Walter, Magic Sam, Big Joe Williams, Willie Dixon, Koko Taylor, and Muddy Waters. at on Clark Street. The Chicago History Museum is located at 1601 N. Clark Street. Admission is $19 for adults.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Power Pop As Promised—With A Bonus


Photo of Jon Auer and from Ken Stringfellow from Ken Stringfellow’s Facebook page.

This past Saturday night’s pairing of The Posies and Material Reissue at Park West in Chicago was every bit was rewarding as expected. Both bands excel at high-energy power pop, while maintaining an ability to explore various nuances. The Posies emerged from Seattle’s grunge scene in 1987 but with a more elaborate pop approach built on Hollies style harmonies. The original lineup of Material Issue sprang from Chicago’s vibrant rock scene during our city’s moment in the spotlight back in the early 1990s. The Park West gig also featured a short but potent set by Canadian singer-guitarist Terra Lightfoot.

The Posies are in the midst of their 30th Anniversary Tour, so it was no surprise to see them reaching back to gems like “Suddenly Mary” and “Golden Blunders” from their breakout album Dear 23. Singer-guitarist Jon Auer and singer-guitarist Ken Stringfellow were more energized and focused than at their enjoyable but meandering City Winery gig as a duo earlier this year. The jokes didn’t start until Stringfellow noted bassist Dave Fox’s checkerboard cap and suit, and claimed The Posies had signed a promotion deal with Purina. Stringfellow tossed in a few other quips but mostly he and Auer bounded back and forth on stage, cutting loose on their guitars and vocals while Fox and drummer Mike Musburger supplied massive support.

The Posies kept the crowd revved up with catchy songs like “Dream All Day,” “Flavor Of The Month,” and “Ontario.” Stringfellow dedicated “You’re The Beautiful One” to the late Jim Ellison of Material Issue and Posies bassist Joe Skyward, who passed away in 2016. The hard-edged, high-speed “Grant Hart” from the Amazing Disgrace album honored Husker Du’s recently departed drummer/vocalist. Unfortunately, my usual dependence on public transportation kept me from catching all of The Posies’ set, but I suspect they kept rocking long after I left at the 1-hour mark.

Material Reissue, which features singer-guitarist Phil Angotti in Ellison’s role, along with original members bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko, blasted through highlights from the band’s handful of albums. As in other recent shows, they brought in guitarist Jay O’Rourke and keyboards player Lou Hallwas to help out. After opening with the exuberant “Crazy” from their debut International Pop Overthrow, Material Reissue moved on to irresistible numbers like “Going Through Your Purse,” “Kim The Waitress,” and “Renee Remains The Same.” “Valerie Loves Me,” “Diane,” and “What Girls Want”—hits from the band’s MTV days—sounded as strong as ever.

Singer-guitarist Terra Lightfoot, backed by a bassist and drummer, unleashed hard-edged songs with elements of indie rock, Americana, and funk. Her combination of strong, emotive vocals and furious strumming was particularly impressive on “Stars Over Dakota” from her latest album New Mistakes, while another song featured some extended jamming. “No Hurry,” from her Every Time My Mind Runs Wild album, had a hint of country and western.

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Who, The Pretenders, and How To Become A Novelist

Photo of Dag Juhlin from Facebook.

Depending on when you read this, you could still catch Dag Juhlin and Phil Angotti performing as a duo for the first time tonight at the Montrose Saloon. They’re both both veterans of the Chicago music scene—Angotti with The Idea and as a solo act; Juhlin with The Slugs, Poi Dog Pondering, EXPO ’76, and Sunshine Boys. They’ll be will be covering The Who, and it’s a safe bet they’ll offer deep tracks and vintage gems rather than only hits like “Won’t Get Fooled Again” or “Pinball Wizard.” Also on the bill are The Real Pretenders, who be performing songs by The Pretenders.

For the past three years, The Writing Workshop of Chicago has staged a Writing Day Workshop a few weeks after the Printers Row Lit Fest. So if shopping for books and seeing famous authors in person lit a fire under your own creative urges, you can act on that this Saturday. The Writing Day Workshop will be held at the Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 S. Michigan Avenue from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. See the website for admission price and the full schedule

You can spend more for a opportunity to pitch your project to a literary agent, or get a critique of your first 10 pages from an editor or writing teacher. I went last year, and found it rewarding enough to merit making it an annual trek. For the 2018 event, I’ll be pitching my YA/Paranormal/Romance/Rock & Roll novel to two different agents. Wish me luck.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Double Dose Of Power Pop Expertise

Photo from The Posies Facebook page.

It’s hard to imagine a better place for Chicago area power pop fans to be this Saturday night than at Park West for a double bill of The Posies and Material Reissue. The Posies, in the midst of their 30th Anniversary Tour, will be drawing from a wealth of albums, including Dear 23, Frosting On The Beater, and Blood/Candy. The set list is sure to include irresistible gems like “I May Hate You Sometimes,” “Suddenly Mary,” “Dream All Day,” and “So Caroline.” Singer-guitarist Jon Auer and singer-guitarist Ken Stringfellow have been the band’s nucleus for all these years, and their harmonies remain impeccable.

Material Reissue includes Material Issue founding members bassist-vocalist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko, along with singer-guitarist Phil Angotti, who was a good friend of the late Jim Ellison. The new formation came together for an International Pop Overthrow - Chicago gig a few years back that packed the house at The Abbey Pub. They still perform occasionally on the local club scene, and opened for Matthew Sweet at Park West a few years ago. Original tunes like “Valerie Loves Me,” “Diane,” and “Renee Remains The Same,” along with their cover of The Green Pajamas’ “Kim The Waitress” still pack a melodic whallop. Singer-guitarist Terra Lightfoot is also on the bill, and will be playing songs from her recently released album New Mistakes. The music starts at 8:00.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Power Pop Shoppe In Wrigleyville

Photo from The Power Pop Shoppe’s post on Facebook

WNUR air personality Kirk Fox has been hosting live showcases based on his Power Pop Shoppe radio program at area venues for a while now, and he has another gem coming up tomorrow (Friday, June 15) night. This one’s a 1970s Night of cover versions with a definite power pop flavor at The Sandlot Wrigley. It features one of Chicago’s masters of tributes, Phil Angotti, along with the Lovepunch band, with special guest Mark Watson.

Angotti has quickly become a Power Pop Shoppe showcase veteran, having played his own material in the past. He’s also done tributes to Simon And Garfunkel, The Bee Gees, The Zombies, and Squeeze at various venues. Tomorrow night, Angotti will be performing songs by Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Badfinger, and Cheap Trick. Lovepunch plans on serving up music originally done by Blondie and The Knack. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. The Sandlot Wrigley is located at 3477 N. Clark St.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Incoming

Here they come, walking down Lawrence Avenue. The Monkees Present The Mike Nesmith And Micky Dolenz Show comes to the Copernicus Center in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood this Thursday night. Hits songs will begin flowing at 7:30 p.m.

Monty Python’s Spamalot will open at Mercury Theater in Chicago on this Thursday, June 14 and run throughAugust 5.

CHIRP Radio 107.1 FM is helping present Urgh! A Music War at the Music Box this Saturday, July 16 at 7:00 p.m. The 1981 documentary features performances from The Go-Go’s, X, Echo And The Bunnymen, UB40, Devo, 999, Gary Numan, Devo, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, and several other punk and new wave bands. Admission is $10.

Arthur Buck (Peter Buck and Joseph Arthur); Buddy Guy; Johnny Marr; and The English Beat have new albums coming out this Friday, June 15th.

Cracker is what the world needs now and they’ll be bringing their catchy Americana rock to The Old Town School Of Folk Music this Sunday night.

Gomez will stage a 20 Year Celebration Of Bring It On in a WXRT show at The Vic this Friday, June 15, and Saturday, June 16. The radio station has been giving away tickets to callers this week.

A Day In The Country returns to The Hideout, one of Chicago’s more eclectic and critically acclaimed venues, on Sunday, June 24 from 2:00 to 11:00 p.m. Scheduled acts include headliner The Cactus Blossoms, along with Three Blue Teardrops, Golden Horse Ranch Band, The Saluda Moonlighters, The Lawrence Peters Outfit, and Al Scorch’s Country Soul Ensemble. There will be a barbecue by Honky Tonk BBQ and homemade pie by Bang! Bang! The Hideout is located at 1354 W. Wabansia on the north side.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

The Spindles – Past And Present

Past And Present lives up to its name with an entertaining mix of new original material and a few well-chosen cover versions of vintage songs. The Spindles specialize in power pop and have been a participant at International Pop Overthrow – Chicago for a number of years. Vocalist-guitarist Jeff Janulis is also a founding member (with Michael Steven Cohen) of another IPO – Chicago standout The Abbeys.

Janulis wrote all of the new stuff here, and while he knows how to craft the standard love and heartache songs, he’s also able to put more sensitive subject matter to catchy arrangements. “I Want My Baby Back” shows us a guy at the funeral of a wife or girlfriend, wondering what he could have done to prevent her suicide. “Almost The Same” is from a parent’s point of view and concerns a son or daughter who’s run off in search of fame and trouble.

On the happier side, “Whenever We’re Together” is a spritely celebration of long-lasting romance, and “If I Fall In Love” is pure, mid-1960s style fun. The Spindles also throw in a faithful take on The Hollies’ classic hit “Look Through Any Window,” complete with ringing guitars and impressive harmonies. “Young Heart,” a song penned by Brad Steakley and originally intended to be on an album by The Elvis Brothers, offers some fun and helpful tips about staying cool while getting older. Steakley plays drums on the track, and his former Elvis Brothers mates Graham Walker and Rob Newhouse pop up separately throughout Past And Present. The Spindles pay homage to The Elvis Brothers with a rollicking version of the fast and funny “Santa Fe.”

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Friday, June 1, 2018

Slumgullion

Chicago-based singer-songwriter Jared Rabin has a gig at 10:00 p.m. tonight at SPACE in Evanston to mark the release of his new Wondering About The Weather seven-song EP.

Tickets are now available for the baseball-themed rock and roll charity event Hot Stove Cool Music at Metro next Friday night, June 8. WXRT air personality Lin Brehmer and Mad Men cast member Joel Murray will host, with performances by Chicago Cubs President Of Operations Theo Epstein, Len Kasper and the Chicago Hot Stove All-Stars; legendary baseball writer Peter Gammons and the Boston Hot Stove All-Stars; and Chicago-based buzz band The Orwells. Proceeds will support Cubs charities and Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later.

Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, La Luz, and Deerhoof will be among the acts playing at Do Division street fest in West Town this weekend.

The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) will be held tomorrow and Sunday at The Center on Halsted (3656 N. Halsted). Admission is free.

The Alan Parsons Project is bringing its Eye In The Sky 35th Anniversary Tour to the Copernicus Center (a short walk from the Jefferson Park Blue Line stop) this coming Tuesday, June 5.

Lookingglass Theatre Company’s staging of Jules Verne’s 20,000 League’s Under The Seas continues its run through August 19. Adapted by David Kersnar and Althos Low, the production promises encounters with “the monsters of the sea—and those inside us all.”

The Amazing Hebby Jeebies will be performing their rockabilly/garage music at 3:00 p.m. next Saturday as part of Ribfest Chicago. Ra Ra Riot, The Weeks, and Waco Brothers are also among the scheduled acts. Suggested donation is $10, which will benefit school, youth sports, and social services. Ribfest is located at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue, Irving Park, and Damen.

And that’s just part of the fun going on next weekend when Chicago will transform into an outdoor festival wonderland. The Chicago Blues Festival, Old Town Art Fair, Wells Street Art Fair, 57th Street Art Fair, Midsommarfest, Spring Awakening Music Festival, and Printers Row Lit Fest are all taking place.

The UK independent label Mega Dodo has a limited-edition blue vinyl LP of live Traffic music titled First Exit coming out this month. The album features Steve Winwood, Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi, and Chris Wood performing “Smiling Phases,” Paper Sun,” “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” and four other songs for a 1967 radio broadcast in Stockholm. Mega Dodo will also release Shipless Ocean, the latest effort from current psyche duo Us and Them as a limited-edition 180 gram aquamarine vinyl LP.

The Vinyl Merchant’s next Record Pop-Up takes place on June 10 On The Patio At Peckish Pig in Evanston. Attendees will be able to buy, sell, or trade seven-inch and LP records. There is no cover for the all ages show, and DJs will provide music. Peckish Pig is located at 623 Howard Street.

Cheap Trick will share a double bill with Poison next Saturday, June 9 at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park.

Urgh! A Music War, the 1981 documentary that features performances from The Go-Go’s, X, Echo And The Bunnymen, UB40, Devo, 999, Gary Numan, Devo, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, and several other punk and new wave bands, will be screened at the Music Box on July 16. Admission is $10.

According to the June issue of the Illinois Entertainer (available free in record stores and music venues around Chicago), Mazzy Star; Neko Case; Pete Yorn and Scarlet Johansson; and Roger Dalty released new albums today. And we can expect new albums later this month from Lily Allen on the 8th, Arthur Buck (Peter Buck and Joseph Arthur); Buddy Guy; Johnny Marr; and The English Beat on the 15th, and Florence + The Machine and Ray Davies on the 29th.

Congratulations to Julia Louis-Dreyfus on being chosen as the recipient of the Kennedy Center’s 2018 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Dreyfus, whose impressive TV resume includes Saturday Night Live, Seinfeld, The New Adventures Of Old Christine, and Veep, first started her comedic career in Chicago. She and husband Brad Hall were members of the Practical Theatre Company.

And congratulations to blues vocalist-guitarist Buddy Guy. He’ll receive a lifetime achievemnt award from the American Music Association on September 12 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN.

Monty Python’s Spamalot will open at Mercury Theater in Chicago on June 14 and run throughAugust 5.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Riot Fest & The Regrettes

Photo from the Johnny Marr Facebook page.

The first wave of acts scheduled to perform at this year’s Riot Fest on the weekend of September 14 through 16 in Douglas Park has been announced, and it includes Johnny Marr, Elvis Costello And The Imposters, Beck, Blondie, Liz Phair, Twin Peaks, Cypress Hill, Cat Power, Gary Numan, The Exploited, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Marr will likely be performing songs from his brand new album Call The Comet, which is due out on June 15. His previous two solo albums The Messenger and Playland placed first and second on my 2013 and 2014 Favorite Releases of Year lists, respectively.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow for an August 4 show with The Vaccines and The Regrettes at Schubas. It should be interesting to see if The Regrettes have come up with any new songs since their critically acclaimed Feel Your Feelings Fool came out last year. In other Regrettes news, the Los Angeles band has recorded a revved up and irresistible version of “Helpless” from the musical Hamilton. It’s part of Hamilton composer Lin-Manual Miranda’s #Hamildrop series. A video of their performance can be found on YouTube and various other sites, including Playbill.

Tickets also go on sale tomorrow for Chvrches and Sasha Sloan on August 1 at Metro; Alejandro Escovedo and Joe Ely at Old Town School Of Folk Music on August 24; Florence + The Machine and Perfume Genius at United Center on October 19; Franz Ferdinand at Park West on August 1; Houndmouth and Lewis Capaldi at Metro on August 3; Ziggy Marley at Thalia Hall on August 28; and Parquet Courts and Dream Wife at Thalia Hall on August 2.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Various Artists - Altered Sweet - A Tribute To Matthew Sweet

The recently released Altered Sweet double CD tribute showcases Matthew Sweet’s skills at creating amazing hooks and heartfelt lyrics about the pitfalls of relationships. The 27 acts chosen by Futureman Records to participate exude an obvious familiarity and affection for Sweet’s power pop gems and meet the challenge of putting their own stamp on them. There are a few missteps here and there, but nothing serious enough to disrupt the party.

CokeRoque offers gorgeous harmonies on their baroque pop version of “Get Older,” but the clip-clop percussion that comes later in the arrangement sounds too cute. Paranoid Lovesick nails the catchy pop of “What Matters,” so we don’t really need the extended call-and-response coda.”Hide” by Donny Brown, “Not When I Need It” by Greg Pope, and “You Don’t Love Me” by Keith Klingensmith are all well-crafted, but these slower tunes have a tough time competing with the more energetic tracks scattered throughout the collection.

The always reliable Lannie Flowers delivers tight harmonies and high-powered guitar work on the optimistic “I’ve Been Waiting,” while Lisa Mychols gives “Looking At The Sun” a dreamy psychedelic vibe. Gretchen’s Wheel mixes acoustic and electric guitars for a catchy take on “Walk Out” that evokes Aimee Mann. The ringing guitars and harmonies on Robyn Gibson’s “I Should Never Had Let You Know” and Trolley’s “Quiet Her” bring to mind The Byrds, as does
Arvidson and Butterfly’s impressive performance of the aptly titled “Byrdgirl.”

It would take too much space to go into detail on each of the songs on Altered Sweet. A quick mention of the many highlights would Michael Carpenter’s “Girlfriend,” Phil Ajjarapu’s “I Thought I Knew You,” Nick Piunti’s “Behind The Smile,” and Andy Reed’s “Where You Get Love.” All in all, they bring some much deserved attention to one of our better modern day composers.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Incoming

The Chicago Cultural Center in downtown Chicago will be screening music-related films at 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday night through October 3. Reel Music will feature flicks from countries around the world. The first installment, screening tomorrow night, is B-Movie: Lust and Sound In West Berlin, a look at the punk scene in West Berlin during the 1980s from directors Jorg A. Hoppe, Klaus Maeck, and Heiko Lange. The 92-minute documentary offers vintage clips of Joy Division, New Order, and Nick Cave. The Chicago Cultural Center warns that it has explicit content.

“Here Comes The Night” on Thursday. Androgynous Mustache, one of Chicago’s highly entertaining and inventive tribute bands, will turn its attention to Them this Thursday night, May 31 at Montrose Saloon. As any good Brit Invasion fan can tell you, Van Morrison led Them through “Gloria” before The Shadows Of Knight scored big with it in the USA.

Empower, a new opera that explores the experiences of growing up on the south side of Chicago, will be performed Thursday, May 31 at the Lyric Opera Of Chicago. The work features a script adapted by Ike Holter and music by Damien Sneed and is a collaboration with the Chicago Urban League. Tickets are $10–$20.

Chicago-based singer-songwriter Jared Rabin has a gig coming up this Friday, June 8 at SPACE in Evanston to mark the release of his new Wondering About The Weather seven-song EP. Rabin drew critical acclaim for his debut effort Something Left To Say in 2016, and melodic Americana tunes like “Back To You,” “If I Told You,” and “Road To No Regrets” on Weather are sure to continue that trend. The SPACE show starts at 10:00 p.m.

The garage rock band Vamos has a free show coming up this Friday, June 1 at the Cole’s club at 2338 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Slumgullion

Photo from the EXPO ’76 Facebook page.

EXPO ’76 returns to Mac’s On Slade in Palatine tonight. The band is not only fascinating for its unpredictable and wide-ranging choice of cover versions, but also for the resumes of its members. In addition to their previous achievements, these guys continue to sprout new projects. Vocalist-guitarist Dag Juhlin is also part of the socially aware and consistently melodic Sunshine Boys, and keyboardist-vocalist Kenn Goodman is also a member of the new soul/rock outfit The Imperial Sound. The EXPO ’76 show kicks off at Mac’s tonight at 8:45 p.m.

Also in Palatine tonight, the Creative Tribal Collab will be holding another open mic night at Christie’s Dairy Delights n’ Coffee from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Elsewhere tonight, Great Moments In Vinyl will be performing Pink Floyd’s entire Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here albums at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. GMiV has a roster of several local musicians, so you never know which ones will be on hand for a particular show. Tonight’s event starts at 9:00 p.m.

If you’ve heard those stories about the eerie way the Dark Side Of The Moon album synchs with The Wizard Of Oz movie and want to see for yourself, drop by the Logan Theatre at 2646 N. Milwaukee in Chicago tonight at 11:00 p.m. for its special presentation Dark Side Of The Rainbow.

Tickets went on sale today for Charlatans UK at Bottom Lounge on September 25; Ralph Covert at SPACE on August 12; Guided By Voices at SPACE on August 26; and Sting, Shaggy at Aragon Ballroom on October 2.

Lookingglass Theatre Company’s staging of Jules Verne’s 20,000 League’s Under The Seas kicked off this past Wednesday and will run through August 19. Adapted by David Kersnar and Althos Low, the production promises encounters with “the monsters of the sea—and those inside us all.”

This is the last weekend 33 To Nothing, a play about a band that’s coming undone due to emotional struggles among its members, will run at A Red Orchid Theatre.

How To Talk To Girls At Parties, a new movie that brings outer space aliens to London’s punk scene in 1977, opened today. It’s based on a story by Neil Gaiman and stars Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman.

The Chicago Cultural Center in downtown Chicago will be screening music-related films at 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday night from May 30 through October 3. Reel Music will feature flicks from countries around the world. The first installment is B-Movie: Lust and Sound In West Berlin, a look at the punk scene in West Berlin during the 1980s from directors Jorg A. Hoppe, Klaus Maeck, and Heiko Lange. The 92-minute documentary offers vintage clips of Joy Division, New Order, and Nick Cave, and has explicit content.

Singer-songwriter Michael McDermott’s summer tour in support of his new album Out From Under will include an appearance at the Roscoe Village Burger fest in Chicago on July 14. Illustrator/writer Terri Murphy, a longtime member of the writers group I belong to, has created a video for McDermott’s poignant and hopeful ballad “The Silent Will Soon Be Singing.”

Birdland, writer Simon Stephens’ musical about the chaotic life a rock and roll superstar, continues its critically acclaimed staging at Steep Theatre through June 9.

Empower, a new opera that explores the experiences of growing up on the south side of Chicago, will be performed next Thursday, May 31 at the Lyric Opera Of Chicago. The work features a script adapted by Ike Holter and music by Damien Sneed and is a collaboration with the Chicago Urban League. Tickets are $10–$20.

Amplified: Chicago Blues, an exhibition honoring Chicago’s blues heritage, is now open at the Chicago History Museum and will run through August 10, 2019. The exhibition will focus on Howlin Wolf, Little Brother Montgomery, Little Walter, Magic Sam, Big Joe Williams, Willie Dixon, Koko Taylor, and Muddy Waters. at on Clark Street. The Chicago History Museum is located at 1601 N. Clark Street. Admission is $19 for adults.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Incoming

Cheap Trick has a new single called “The Summer Looks Good On You” available to stream or download from various sites. (I went the iTunes route.) It’s a classic catchy and powerful Cheap Trick arrangement with a message that’s both flirtatious and supportive. Check out their Facebook page for the link.

Todd Rundgren’s band Utopia is now touring for the first time in 32 years, and they’ll be at the Chicago Theatre tomorrow night. It’s a great venue to hear some adventurous progressive rock.

U2 is bringing its eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour to the United Center this Wednesday night. The band’s 2017 effort Songs Of Experience album drew favorable reviews in the media, including here on Broken Hearted Toy. The tour title suggests U2 will be concentrating on more recent material (Songs Of Innocence was released in 2014) but hopefully they’ll perform older favorites like “I Will Follow,” “Pride In The Name Of Love,” and “Vertigo.”

The Imperial Sound, a seven-piece soulful rock band that comprises veterans of The Service, New Duncan Imperials, The Goldstars, EXPO’ 76, The Krinkles, Devil In A Woodpile, Mucca Pazza, and Jay Davis Trio, is performing at the GMan Tavern on Clark Street this Thursday night. There are six vocalists in this band. Their debut album The New AM is due out soon, and fans can get a preview on the official website. The Handcuffs (also working on a new album) will be the opening act for the show this Thursday. The music starts at 9:00 p.m.

The above mentioned EXPO ’76 will be returning to my sleepy hometown of Palatine this Friday night for another evening of fun and unpredictable cover versions. The music starts at 8:45.

Also in Palatine this Friday, the Creative Tribal Collab will be holding another open mic night at Christie’s Dairy Delights n’ Coffee from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Maria Jordan will host and Cosmo Bob will be on sound.

Great Moments In Vinyl will be performing Pink Floyd’s entire Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here albums this Friday night at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. GMiV has a roster of several local musicians, so you never know which ones will be on hand for a particular show. Friday night’s event starts at 9:00 p.m.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Slumgullion

Tickets go on sale tomorrow for Neil Young’s show at the Auditorium Theatre on June 30 and July 1.

Tickets are already on sale for two shows by The Bodeans at City Winery Chicago on November 24; The Church at Lincoln Hall on October 17; The English Beat at Metro on July 6; The Flat Five at FitzGerald’s on September 1; Poi Dog Pondering at Thalia Hall on October 5 and 6; Poster Children at Lincoln Hall on June 29; and Waco Brothers at FitzGerald’s on August 25.

Jessica Risker, a Chicago-based indie/folk performer who’s been getting some positive press lately, has a 2:00 p.m. in-store performance at the Reckless Records on Milwaukee Avenue tomorrow, May 19. She’ll be performing songs from her new album I See You Among The Stars.

The Ripleys have a 9:30 p.m. show tomorrow night at FADO just north of downtown at Clark and Grand. FADO is known for its Irish food and decor, but The Ripleys will be more likely to perform tunes by Tom Petty and The Beatles than jigs and reels. And maybe a U2 cover.

The real U2 returns to the Chicago area with its eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour next Wednesday, May 23 at the United Center.

Great Moments In Vinyl will perform the entire Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here albums at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue next Friday, May 25.

Empower, a new opera that explores the experiences of growing up on the south side of Chicago, will be performed on May 31 at the Lyric Opera Of Chicago. The work features a script adapted by Ike Holter and music by Damien Sneed and is a collaboration with the Chicago Urban League. Tickets are $10–$20.

Graham Nash, Cliff Richard, Todd Rundgren and Lee Ann Womack are among the guest vocalists covering Motown classics on legendary songwriter/producer Lamont Dozier’s new Reimagination album. Nash performs a Supremes medley that includes “Stop In The Name Of Love.” He previously covered that song with The Hollies on their What Goes Around reunion album in 1983.

Streetwise, the nonprofit publication that helps homeless people get back on their feet, is hosting The Cool Party on June 23 at The Chop Shop/1st Ward. There will be live bands and an art show.

The Vinyl Merchant is having a Record Pop-Up event at Patio at Peckish Pig in Evanston on Sunday, May 27. The Pop-Up store will also be at that location on June 10 and June 24.

Soundtrack Serenade members Charlie Short, Holly Senchak Dausch, Mark Winkler, Chris Anderson, and Neal Alger will reunite for an evening of songs from the High Fidelity flick at Quenchers Saloon on June 6. Tim Grimes will serve as MC. The gig is a farewell to the beloved Quenchers bar, which is closing soon.

How To Talk To Girls At Parties, a new movie that introduces outer space aliens to London’s punk scene in 1977, opens next Friday, May 25. It’s based on a story by Neil Gaiman and stars Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman.

Neil Gaiman fans might also want to check out Lifeline Theatre’s adaptation of his novel Neverwhere when it opens on June 7. It’s been adapted by Robert Kauzlaric and is being directed by Ilesa Duncan.

While making my weekly trip to downtown Chicago today, I was pleasantly surprised to spot my nephew on the cover of Modern Luxury’s Men’s Book Chicago summer edition. The Magazine For The Modern Gentleman (that may sound like sleazy but it’s not) has a cover story titled Chefs On The Rise and proclaims, “Joe Flamm Leads The Next Genaration.” Joe is currently Executive Chef at Spiaggia, and won the most recent season of Top Chef on Bravo. Ken Biffar at Sienna Tavern; Ryan Pfeiffer at Blackbird; Kyleen Aronson at Acadia; Andres Padilla at Rick Bayless’ Restaurant Group; and Sarah Rinkavage at Marisol are also featured in Ariel Cheung and Jaclyn Jermyn’s article, and all the chefs were artfully rendered by photographer Anthony Tahlier.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Slumgullion

The Second Disc website recently reported on Graham Nash’s upcoming two-CD set of demos Over The Years due out in June. The oldest demo is a version of “Marakesh Express” The Hollies rejected when Nash pitched it to them in 1968. There are also demos of classic Nash solo and CSNY material like “Immigration Man,” “Teach Your Children,” “Wind On The Water,” “I Used To Be A King,” and “Chicago/We Can Change The World.” Second Disc writer Randy Fairman also mentioned a double vinyl LP version of Over The Years coming out in August.

Another round of Ravinia tickets became available today, including Earth Wind And Fire on August 17; Beach Boys and The Righteous Brothers on August 24; Lyle Lovett and His Large Band on August 28; John Hiatt and The Goners and Sonny Landreth on August 30; Culture Club and The B-52’s on August 31 and September 1; Jethro Tull on September 3; Gipsy Kings on September 14; and Tony Bennett on September 8.

Tickets also went on sale today for Cracker at The Old Town School Of Folk Music on June 17; Roky Erickson at Lincoln Hall on November 9; Eleanor Friedberger at Empty Bottle on October 5; and Howard Jones at City Winery Chicago on July 9.

The alt rock band whitewolfsonicprincess will open for the band Echoes tomorrow night as part of the second optimistically named All Of My Strangers Are Going To Be Friends event at The Store on Halsted. Echo will be celebrating the release of its second CD, Confluence.

Haim’s Sister Sister Sister Tour stops by the Aragon Ballroom tomorrow night. The trio’s new album Something To Tell You is available now.

SPACE in Evanston will host An Evening Of George Harrison Music this Sunday night with performances by Steve Dawson, Phil Angotti, Tommi Zender, Tom Ryan, Dick Schmidt, Diane Christiansen, Natalie Galey, and Jim Barclay. The show starts at 7:00 p.m.

Birdland, writer Simon Stephens’ musical about the chaotic life a rock and roll superstar, continues its critically acclaimed staging at Steep Theatre through June 9.

Ex Norwegian, the Miami-based band whose last three power pop albums have garnered praise here on BHT, has a new one titled No Sleep coming out on June 22. I’ll be reviewing it in the near future. Fans can get a vinyl copy of No Sleep via Ex Norwegian’s page on the QRATES site.

Norwood Park All Stars are veterans of Chicago’s original punk scene and they’ve retained their ability to create authentic punk over the years. Their latest effort N.P.A.S. DOS is out now with 13 new hard-hitting songs. The promo copy came in a cool denim promo package that looks like the back pocket from a pair of faded jeans. I’m looking to review this one in the near future. The Norcore label has also released compilations of vintage Norwood Park punk.

33 To Nothing, a play about a band that’s coming undone due to emotional struggles among its members, runs through May 27 at A Red Orchid Theatre. Aaron Holland plays the band’s lead vocalist.

There’s going to be a documentary about Creem, the cutting-edge rock magazine that was published for 20 years and later made a brief comeback. Check out the Boy Howdy! The Story Of Creem Magazine Facebook page for updates.

There will be a Special Wednesday Night Screening of the original Planet Of The Apes at the Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge next Wednesday, May 16. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the film. Tickets for the Pickwick screening are $10/$8 Advance, and there will be prelude music provided by Jay Warren.

The Buddy Holly Story continues its month-long run tonight at the American Blues Theater. Lili-Anne Brown directs the Alan Janes play; with music directed by Michael Mahler.

Daniel Ash, of Love And Rockets and Bauhaus fame, has a fun new single called “Alien Love” available for digital download on his official website.

Gomez will stage a 20 Year Celebration Of Bring It On in a WXRT show at The Vic on Friday, June 15, and Saturday June 16.

Sons Of The Silent Age, the Chicago-based David Bowie tribute band with an impressive lineup music scene vets, plans to make up for a gig they had to cancel at Martyrs’ a while back by returning to the venue on July 6.

Chicago music scene veteran Ellis Clark will be celebrating his birthday with a bash on June 30 at Montrose Saloon. In addition to his band Big Parade, The Handcuffs and Fantastic Sound System are also on the bill. Clark has also been a member of The Social Act and one of Chicago’s first punk bands, Epicycle. The music starts at 9:00 p.m.

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Monday, May 7, 2018

Sunshine Boys - Blue Music

Sunshine Boys haven’t been around very long but each band member has years of experience on the music scene. Lead vocalist-guitarist Dag Juhlin was a founding member of the Chicago-based punk/pop band The Slugs, and his resume also includes Poi Dog Pondering and the eclectic covers band EXPO ’76. Bassist-backup vocalist Jacqueline Schimmel was a member of Big Hello, the Brad Elvis-Chloe F. Orwell band that preceded their current one The Handcuffs. Drummer Freda Love Smith was part of the Boston-based trio The Blake Babies with Juliana Hatfield and John Strohm, as well as the bands Antenna and Mysteries of Life.

That level of expertise no doubt helped accelerate the path from first gig to debut album, and it’s also likely The Sunshine Boys were eager to get their message out to the public. While most of Blue Music deals with personal and romantic entanglements, there are also urgent calls to action regarding America’s current political and social climate. Whatever the approach, well-crafted lyrics are set to indelible arrangements that combine alt rock with classic guitar-driven 1960s pop.

“Questions” is a heartfelt tale of a budding relationship built on the old-fashioned means of a man and woman exchanging letters, and the doubts they have about each other. The achingly beautiful “Caroline Yes” is another gem about a romance being tested, while “Billy Boy” deals with the challenges and expectations a young man encounters upon graduating high school. Schimmel’s backing vocals give a dreamy quality to “Tripping Through Time,” a catchy look at various events in people’s lives.

“There Goes Another One” doesn’t mention any specific issues, but lines like “Why don’t you speak up?/Why can’t you make a choice?” aim to rouse people from their complacency. “Schoolyard Bully” takes its name from an often-used description of Donald Trump, and bristles with observations like, “He lowers the bar/Sets free the monsters we already are.” “Only A Million Miles” is Blue Music’s most inspiring mix of protest and powerful instrumentation, simultaneously sounding defeated and optimistic. We’ve accomplished so much in terms of social justice, the song proclaims, but far do we still have to go? Only a million miles.

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Slumgullion

High Fidelity, the coolest film ever made about an indie record store (Empire Records is the only other one I can think of), is being shown tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Chicago Theatre on State Street. There will be a live conversation with the film’s star John Cusack after the screening.

Alice Peacock and Phil Madeira will perform at a WXRT show at SPACE tomorrow night.

Suzanne Vega’s shows for tomorrow night and Sunday night at City Winery Chicago have sold out. Vega will be performing her Solitude Standing and 99.9 F albums in their entirety.

Eleanor Friedberger has a show tomorrow night at Lincoln Hall. In addition to being half of the critically acclaimed indie rock duo Fiery Furnaces, she’s launched a successful solo career.

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

There’s a new album out today from Belly, which reminds me I haven’t played the 10-inch EP they released for Record Store Day. Or any of the other vinyl treasures I bought during this year’s event. Later this month, we’ll see new releases from Arctic Monkeys, Beach House, Ry Cooder, and The Sea And The Cake on the 11th; Matthew Sweet, Ray LaMontagne, and Courtney Barnett on the 18th; and Chvrchs on 25th. The May issue of the Illinois Entertainer has a more extensive list of albums coming out this month.

A picnic basket full of Ravinia shows went on sale today, including Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys (June 1); John Fogerty and ZZ Top (June 12);  Jackson Browne (June 15); Roger Daltry (June 23 and 25); Janis Ian (June 24); and Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang (July 8).

Other shows that went on sale today include The Hot Stove Music event hosted by Theo Epstein at Metro on June 8; The FitzGerald’s annual American Music Festival from June 29 to July 3; Peter Himmelman at SPACE on June 27; Fleetwood Mac at the United Center on October 6; and Death Cab For Cutie at the Auditorium on October 7. For an extensive listing of upcoming concerts in the Chicago area, check out the final page of this week’s Reader.

The Breeders, whose new album All Nerve has been getting rave reviews, will be at The Vic Theatre this Tuesday night.

Haim will be at The Aragon Ballroom next Friday, May 11.

Birdland, writer Simon Stephens’ musical about the chaotic life of a rock and roll superstar, continues its run at Steep Theatre through May 12.

Graham Parker with James Maddock, performs at City Winery Chicago next Thursday, May 10.

The Buddy Holly Story has kicked off a month-long run tonight at the American Blues Theater. Lili-Anne Brown directs the Alan Janes play; with music directed by Michael Mahler.

Lookingglass Theatre Company will be staging Jules Verne’s 20,000 League’s Under The Seas from May 23 through August 19. Adapted by David Kersnar and Althos Low, the production promises ecounters with “the monsters of the sea—and those inside us all.” I’d like to sit in on the auditions for the giant squid.

Amplified: Chicago Blues, an exhibition honoring Chicago’s blues heritage, opened this month at the Chicago History Museum and will run through August 10, 2019. The exhibition will focus on Howlin Wolf, Little Brother Montgomery, Little Walter, Magic Sam, Big Joe Williams, Willie Dixon, Koko Taylor, and Muddy Waters. The Chicago History Museum is located at 1601 N. Clark Street. Admission is $19 for adults.

33 To Nothing runs through May 27 at A Red Orchid Theatre. Aaron Holland plays the lead vocalist of band that’s coming undone due to emotional struggles among its members.

There will be a Special Wednesday Night Screening of the original Planet Of The Apes at The Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge on May 16. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the film. Tickets for the Pickwick screening are $10/$8 Advance, and there will be prelude music provided by Jay Warren.

There will be an opening reception on May 12 for the Tony Fitzpatrick: The Secret Birds 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.

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Frisbie 20th Anniversary Celebration

Chicago-based power pop band Frisbie’s 20th Anniversary bash this past Saturday at the Martyrs’ club on Lincoln Avenue definitely lived up to fans’ expectations. Known for its critically acclaimed albums—Subversive Sound Of Love and New Debut—and as an opening act for Cheap Trick, Matthew Sweet, and Big Star, Frisbie has gone through lulls but never actually broke up. So Saturday night’s show was not so much a reunion as the latest sporadically scheduled gig.

In addition to inviting Sunshine Boys and The Plutonians onboard for a triple bill, Frisbie founding members singer-guitarist Steve Frisbie and singer-guitarist Liam Davis, along with long-time drummer Gerald Dowd lined up a few surprise guests for its own set. Before Frisbie launched into its first number, a horn section led by Max Crawford provided a festive overture (arranged by Crawford) featuring snippets of the band’s material. Guest singer Nora O’Connor took over on lead vocals for one song and harmonized perfectly with Steve Frisbie and Liam Davis.

Even those unfamiliar with the band would have to be impressed with how Frisbie and Davis kept their powerful vocals perfectly in synch throughout several power pop songs. Crawford’s horn section pitched in at various times, enabling the band to capture the feel of songs from New Debut. “Shine,” “Disaster,” and “S.F.B.” were particular highlights during the set. Frisbie introduced an impressive new song titled “Long Shot” and added a few covers, including a rollicking take on Brian Eno’s “Needle In The Camel’s Eye.”

Opening act Sunshine Boys performed most of the tracks from its recently recently debut Blue Music. Lead-vocalist Dag Juhlin. bassist-backup vocalist Jacqueline Schimmel, and drummer Freda Love Smith have impressive resumes as musicians and they’ve gelled perfectly in this new trio. “Questions” and “Billy Boy” were heartfelt tales, while “Schoolyard Bully” and “Only A Million Miles” set politically charged lyrics to irrestible, high-energy arrangements. The brand new songs “The Serpent In Spring” and “Sideline Guys” showed Sunshine Boys are already getting strong new material ready for their next release. I wasn’t able to stay for The Plutonics, due to my usual need to catch a bus and the last train back out to Palatine.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

U2 - Songs Of Experience

Critics have been debating whether U2 deserves its lofty status ever since Rolling Stone writer Debra Rae Cohen claimed while reviewing Boy in 1981 that it didn’t mark the band as a “new Next Big Thing.” They were, in her estimation, “only the next best thing to something really new.” Decades of landmark albums and massive sales later, U2 suffered a backlash after distributing a free download of Songs Of Innocence.

For the most part, Songs of Experience arrived without controversy in 2017, garnering favorable press even from the journalists who slammed its predecessor. For those of us who not only graciously accepted Innocence but enjoyed it, Experience serves as further evidence that U2 remains a vital force in rock and roll. It’s an ambitious 17-track effort, that like Innocence, finds lead vocalist Bono trying to make sense of a violent world.

At times, the lyrics serve as a pep talk for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the menacing forces they see around them. “Don’t you ever doubt the light that we can really be,” Bono advises amidst the otherwise dire references in the pulsating techno rocker “The Blackout.” That same healing light metaphor also appears on “Lights Of Home,” and on “13 (There Is A Light).” The catchy, bass-driven “Summer Of Love” offers lines like, “We’ve one more chance before the light goes.”

The call to action on the hard-edged “American Soul” directly addresses the U.S. with lines like,“Let it be unity/Let it be community/For refugees like you and me.” “Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way” seems to anticipate the youth movement that sprang up only recently. “So young to be the words of your own song,” Bono observes, “I know the rage in you is strong/Write a world where we can belong.”

“Get Out Of Your Own Way” and “You’re The Best Thing About Me,” the songs that have garnered the most airplay from Experience, relate more to personal relationships. They succeed with the classic U2 elements—Bono’s soaring vocals and The Edge’s shimmering guitar playing. The remixed versions of “Lights Of Home,” with its dramatic string arrangement, and the hip hop infused “You’re The Best Thing About Me (U2 VS KYGO)” make Songs Of Experience even more of an adventure.

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Slumgullion

Photo from the Frisbie Facebook page.

He’s not a million miles away, he’s right here in Chicago. Peter Case, a founding member of The Nerves and The Plimsouls, is performing tonight in Szold Hall at The Old Town School Of Folk Music.

International Pop Overthrow - Chicago wraps up its 2018 run at the Heartland Café Bar with showcases tonight, tomorrow afternoon, and tomorrow evening. Please see yesterday's post for more information.

Tickets went on sale today for My Bloody Valentine at The Riviera Theatre on July 27, and Garbage at that same venue on October 17. Other shows now on sale include Toots And The Maytals at Thalia Hall on August 8 and Simple Minds at Chicago Theatre on October 15. And Neil deGrasse Tyson returns to The Chicago Theatre on October 15.

The Buddy Holly Story kicks off a month-long run tonight at the American Blues Theater. Lili-Anne Brown directs the Alan Janes play; with music directed by Michael Mahler.

Chicago-based power pop band Frisbie will celebrate its 20th anniversary in style tomorrow night at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. The band has opened for Matthew Sweet, Big Star, Cheap Trick, and other big names on the power pop scene. Their first album The Subversive Sounds Of Love is still considered a classic of the genre. The Sunshine Boys haven’t celebrated their first anniversary yet, but their years of experience in other bands no doubt helped them create Blue Music, which is sure to be one of the best albums of 2018. They’re also on the bill at Martyrs’ tonight, as well as The Plutonians.

There will be a Van Go Concert! tomorrow night at Phyllis’ Musical Inn on Division Street. 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 and Trita, and are also on the bill tomorrow night.

Independent Bookstore Day, a national celebration of the cool and courageous retailers who still stock books, takes place tomorrow. Some stores will offer special events and snacks for patrons. The official website can tell where these magical places can be found in your area.

The Ides Of March will be at City Winery Chicago next Thursday; Suzanne Vega has shows coming up there next Saturday and Sunday, and Graham Parker with James Maddock, performs on May 10. Later at City Winery, The Cathy Richardson Band will be headline at a benefit for the Olivia Newton John Cancer Center. That event is on May 23.

The Breeders will be performing with special guests Melkbelly on May 8 at The Vic, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre will be at that same venue on May 11.

Issue number 6 of The Seen – Chicago’s International Journal of Contemporary and Modern Art is now available for free in newspaper boxes in the downtown Chicago area. Stephanie Cristello is Editor-In-Chief.

The more the merrier. 33 To Nothing, at least the fourth play based on rock and roll to be staged in Chicago during the past few months, runs through May 27 at A Red Orchid Theatre. Aaron Holland plays the lead vocalist of band that’s coming undone due to emotional struggles among its members. The Grant James Varjas play unfolds in real time in director Tyrone Phillips’ production.

Get your paws off my popcorn! There will be a Special Wednesday Night Screening of the original Planet Of The Apes at The Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge on May 16. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the film. Tickets for the Pickwick screening are $10/$8 Advance, and there will be prelude music provided by Jay Warren. Who is an ape. Just kidding about that last part.

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 weather outside is frightful, but one sure sign warmer temperatures are on the way is the annual festival guide in the RedEye free weekly newspaper. Each year, I rip out these pages and save them through the end of September. As usual, the latest version includes street fests, art fests, film fests, charity events, and concerts taking place around the Chicago area over the spring and summer. RedEye is available in boxes around downtown and northside neighborhoods.

Birdland, writer Simon Stephens’ musical about the chaotic life a rock and roll superstar, continues its run at Steep Theatre through May 12. Joel Reitsma has been getting a lot of praise from local critics for his work as the lead character. Jonathan Berry is the play’s director.

There will be an opening reception on May 12 for the Tony Fitzpatrick: The Secret Birds 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.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

This Weekend At IPO

Photo from Jay Goeppner’s Facebook page.

International Pop Overthrow Chicago wraps up its 2018 run at the Heartland Café Bar with showcases this Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening. You’ll find links to all of the acts on the official IPO website, although there are still a few TBAs. Once again, I’m more familiar with some of these acts than others, and if I had to pick a favorite, it would be The Jay Goeppner Band at 11:45 tomorrow night. Like his pal and sometime bandmate Phil Angotti, Goeppner lives and breathes the 1960s and chooses the best bands to cover. I’m assuming he’ll do some originals too.

Some other recommendations would be Michael Steven Cohen, who formed three very good bands—The Abbeys, Pop Dollys, The Everly Hillbillies—and is an engaging solo performer. He kicks things off at 2:00 pm. on Saturday. The always fun Mike Vanderbilt And The Suburban Garage Sound go on at 5:00 p.m. The Queue has gone through some personnel changes over the years, but founder Sean Michael Mulligan can always be counted on for a good show. The band goes on at 8:45 on Saturday. The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club just keeps releasing one good album after another, and they were impressive at a Power Pop Shoppe Showcase I caught a while back.

Several IPO regulars will be on hand; including Waiflike, The Joy Poppers, The Cells, Freetoed, and Too Much Saturn. You’ll also find Jason Batchko, The Mixture, Blameless Lake, Gal Gun, and Young Distractions. At this point, the very last act of the fest is a mystery.

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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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