Friday, September 13, 2019

Slumgullion

Who’s on first album in 13 years. As seen on social media and reported on The Second Disc website, The Who have a new album titled WHO coming on November 22. A regular CD with 11 tracks will be released, along with an extended version with three extra cuts. The Second Disc also mentions a vinyl edition that will spread those WHO tracks across a pair of 45 rpm records and a 10-inch EP. That version will only be available on the band’s webstore.

Welcome to all the musicians and music fans who’ve come to Chicago for Riot Fest and the World Music Festival.

Riot Fest opened today with a lineup that included Caroline Rose, who looks like she’s ironing hot dogs on her promo photo and performs catchy guitar and synth indie rock songs. The better-known Violent Femmes, The Flaming Lips, and Descendants also played. Saturday and Sunday will bring ska pioneers The Selector; Patti Smith; reunited riot grrrls Bikini Kill; The Raconteurs, glam rockers The Struts, Nick Lowe With Los Straitjackets; Guided By Voices; Bob Mould; and B-52’s.

This week’s edition of the Chicago free paper The Reader includes the full schedule of the World Music Festival, which kicked off today and runs (except for Mondays and Tuesdays) through September 29 at various venues across the Chicago area. You can pick up a copy in boxes around downtown and at records stores and other venues.

Morrissey and Interpol are performing at Ravinia tomorrow night.

Ronnie Wood has sold out his November 21 gig at 02 Shepherds Bush Empire in London. That bodes well for Wood’s upcoming new album Mad Lad - Live Tribute To Chuck Berry. It comes out November 15.

Over 150 artists will be showcasing their work at the Lakeview East Festival at Belmont and Broadway tomorrow and Sunday. Music acts include The Bama Lamas; Radio Free Honduras; and Naomi Ashley.

Avant grade indie rockers whitewolfsonicprincess have a show tomorrow night at Moe’s Tavern on Milwaukee Avenue. Leah Shoshanah is also on the bill.

Tickets went on sale today for the In Person Bob Dylan And His Band concert coming October 30 to Credit Union 1 Arena at the University Of Illinois at Chicago. Richard Thompson has solo gigs coming up at SPACE December 29 through 31; the Last Waltz Tour with Warren Hyanes Jamey Johnson and others comes to the Chicago Theatre on November 21; Albert Lee will be at SPACE on January 4; Shemekia Copeland and Kevin Burt are coming City Winery Chicago on December 26 and 27; and Fort Frances will be at Schubas on December 5.

There’s going to be an all ages Bluegrass Brunch starting at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at the Hey Nonny resturant/venue in Arlington Heights. Recording artists Cox’s Army will be mixing traditional tunes with their own originals featuring guitar, banjo, mandolin, and bass; along with harmony vocals.

The Monty Python Explodes Exhibition opened today at the Mezzanine Gallery at BFI Southbank in the U.K. It runs through October 13 featuring, “costumes, sketchbooks, and never-before-seen material from the BFI National Archive and the Monty Python Archive.” Here’s hoping this exhibit travels and makes a stop in Chicago as Monty Python’s Flying Circus celebrates its 50th year.

The Bangles, Squeeze, Little Steven and The Disciples Of Soul, Silverspun Pickups, The Cult, Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, and Toots and The Maytals are among the acts who’ll be performing at the KAABOO entertainment and arts experience (the organizers prefer that term to festival) at the Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego this weekend.

The Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge will open the seventh season of its Classic Film Series on Wednesday, September 18 with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Actor Keir Dullea, who portrayed the astronaut David Bowman in the film will be there in person for the screening, along with film historian Raymond Benson. Admission for the 7:30 p.m. event (a 1:00 p.m. screening will not have special guests) is $12.

Supergrass, the English trio an editor at the Illinois Entertainer once called, “a Terry Flamm band if I’ve ever heard one” back when I wrote for that monthly publication, has reunited. They’re planning on releasing a 25th anniversary edition of their superb debut I Should Coco.

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Friday, September 6, 2019

Slumgullion

So . . . Welcome to September. A particularly hectic holiday and work schedule kept me from posting anything earlier this week.

Depending on what time you read this, there might still be time to check out Big Guitar Night at Montrose Saloon tonight. It’s the latest triple bill live performance presented by Kirk Fox, the host of WNUR’s Power Pop Shoppe radio program. This time, the bands are The Peeves, The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, and Extra Arms. The music starts at 8:00 p.m.

The Stereogum website is reporting that R.E.M. will be releasing a deluxe reissue box set of Monster to mark the 25 Anniversary of the critically acclaimed and highly successful album.

Tickets went on sale today for Andrew Bird at Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago on December 9 through 12; Cherie Currie from The Runaways and Brie Darling from Fanny at City Winery Chicago on November 25; Empty Pockets at SPACE on December 6; Anne Heaton at SPACE on December 22; the John Prine tribute band Illegal Smiles at SPACE on December 26; and Over The Rhine at the Old Town School Of Folk Music on December 7. The above listings were taken from the Early Warnings page of this week’s Reader. You can pick up a copy at various locations around downtown Chicago and the north side.

Artist/art critic Robin Dluzen will celebrate her birthday tomorrow with a one-day exhibition titled Something Olden and Golden at ORBIT. In her Artist Statement, Dluzen notes that for several years she’s been inspired by the labor history of women in her family. Several pieces are based on drawings her mother did when Robin was growing up. Something Olden and Golden will be open from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. ORBIT is located at 1350 W. Erie.

You were great. Who are you? K.T. Tunstall was a surprise addition (at least to my knowledge) to last Saturday’s Squeeze concert at the Chicago Theatre. Taking the stage unannounced and without introducing herself, Tunstall nevertheless easily won over the crowd with her friendly demeanor, distinctive vocals, and energetic guitar strumming. She did mention coming from Scotland at the outset, which was a major clue, but I must confess I wasn’t absolutely positive until Tunstall launched into her major hit “Big Black Horse And The Cherry Tree.” Much of the crowd was on its feet by the time she finished her short set, which also included the rousing “Suddenly I See.”

Squeeze was magnificent, delivering what Tunstall had said they would: a master class in songwriting. That applied to new material from its 2018 album The Knowledge as well as the early classics like “Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)” and “Up The Junction.” Founding members Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford stood front and center playing their guitars, and frequently joining together on vocals. Tilbrook provided most of the guitar firepower as Squeeze unleashed high-powered versions of  “In Quintessence,” “Third Rail,” and “Hourglass.” The more soulful “Tempted” and “Black Coffee In Bed” were also among the highlights. 

The idea of Chrissie Hynde sneaking up on you is a bit scary, but in this case, she’s doing it with a new album. As noted in the September issue of the Illinois Entertainer, Hynde’s second solo effort, Valve Bone Woe, came out today. We also got Lost Girls from Bat For Lashes; Rubberband from Mile Davis; and Free from Iggy Pop. September 13 brings Beneath The Eyrie from The Pixies; September 20 brings All The Feels from Fitz And The Tantrums and Why Me? Why Not. from Liam Gallagher; and Hey, I’m Just Like You from Tegan and Sara drops on September 27.

Chely Wright and Alice Peacock will share a double bill Wednesday, September 11 at City Winery Chicago.

A week from tonight, Great Moments In Vinyl, a Chicago band with a rotating lineup of musicians, with join forces with the Mosaic Soul vocal ensemble to perform the Paul Simon album Graceland at the Beverly Arts Center on the city’s south side.

Fly me to KAABOO and let me play among the stars. The Bangles, Squeeze, Little Steven and The Disciples Of Soul, Silverspun Pickups, The Cult, Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, and Toots and The Maytals are among the acts scheduled to perform at the KAABOO entertainment and arts experience (the organizers prefer that term to festival) at the Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego next weekend.

Mercury Theater’s production of Spamalot continues its run through November 3. The production is being directed by L. Walter Stearns; Eugene Dizon is the Musical Director. Performances will be at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday each week, with an additional show at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, and a 3:00 p.m. show on Sunday.

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Friday, August 30, 2019

Slumgullion

Taste Of Polonia returns to Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood today and will run through Monday. Over 35 music acts will perform on four stages; including Tributosaurus tonight as Led Zeppelin; The Neverly Brothers; School Of Rock; and the Beatles tribute band Kaleidoscope Eyes. See the official website for the full schedule.

Tickets went on sale today for the 15th Annual Alex Chilton Birthday Bash at Empty Bottle on December 28; Moody Blues member John Lodge at City Winery Chicago on November 12; Julia Nunes and Elizabeth and The Catapult at Subterranean on November 23; and Screaming Females and Dusk at Schubas on October 23.

EXPO ’76 will be cracking wise and reaching into its bottomless bag of cover versions tonight at the classy Arlington Heights venue Hey Nonny.

Welcome to everyone’s who’s come to Chicago for our acclaimed Jazz Festival. The event began yesterday with shows at Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center; and runs today through Sunday at Millennium Park. Performers include The Art Ensemble Of Chicago; the Metropolitan Jazz Octet with Dee Alexander; Eddie Palmieri Sextet; and Ben Sidran. Chicago Tribune music critic Howard Reich offered a critical guide in yesterday’s issue, and the Chicago Sun-Times has the full schedule. This week’s edition of The Reader has a special section on the Jazz Festival.

The Reader was one of the many publications I picked up on my weekly after-work trip downtown yesterday. Chicago Innerview has released its annual guide to Riot Fest (coming to Douglas Park September 13 – 15), and you can pick up a free copy at the Reckless Records on Madison Street. Just down the street, I dropped by Graham Cracker Comics to buy the September Previews - The Comic Shop's Catalogue. The September issue of New City has the magazine’s Art 50 list of Chicago’s most influential members of the art community, and it’s being bundled with the EXPO Chicago (coming to Navy Pier September 19 – 22) program. The entire latest issue of Streetwise is a Fall Festival Guide that actually runs through the rest of the year. You can buy one from one of the many vendors around downtown and help the homeless while getting some helpful entertainment information.

Squeeze, led by founding members Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, performs at the elegant Chicago Theater tomorrow night in what has to be considered a perfect match of venue and band. In addition to older classics like “Tempted,” “Hourglass,” and “Black Coffee In Bed,” hopefully Squeeze will perform songs from its masterful 2018 effort The Knowledge.

Marvel Comics will mark its 80 birthday tomorrow, and several local comic book stores will participate in the celebration. Customers at the participating stores will have the opportunity to see the new Marvel Comics #1000 and copies of the Marvel Universe Magazine will be available for free. 

Country rock band Heartsfield has a gig tomorrow night at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn.

There’s an Irish Days festival in Long Grove tomorrow through Monday that will offer live music, dance troupes, and competitions for dogs and men in kilts. Long Grove, which was once a major destination for antiques and crafts lovers, is currently in a rebuilding mode. The emphasis is mainly on restaurants, but since some of these new venues are doing well, maybe new shops will follow. As for this weekend’s event, people who’ve been to Irish Fest on Chicago’s northwest side should enjoy this event in Long Grove. Academy Of Irish Music, carrying on the legacy of instructor Noel Rice, performs at 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, and is highly recommended. The McNulty School Of Dance and the Irish Trinity Dancers will performing; as are Shannon Rovers, the rowdy but surprisingly talented Larkin/Moran Brothers, and Dooley Brothers and Jimmy Moore.

Mercury Theater’s production of Spamalot opens tonight and will run through November 3. The production is being directed by L. Walter Stearns; Eugene Dizon is the Musical Director. Performances will be at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday each week, with an additional show at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, and a 3:00 p.m. show on Sunday.

In last Friday’s Slumgullion, I mentioned Professor Moptop’s Wednesday, October 2 50 Years of Abbey Road lecture at the Palatine Library but left readers hanging as to his other Abbey Road library appearances. Here they are: September 18 at the Bridgeview Public Library, September 23 at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, and October 10 at the Evergreen Park Library. Professor Moptop is a regular contributor to Terri Hemmert’s Breakfast With The Beatles show each Sunday on WXRT, and will be releasing his Textbook Beatles Volume 2 Beatlemania 1963 – 1964 in the near future. If it’s anything like Textbook Beatles Volume 1, it will be packed with all kinds of recording information and interesting and sometimes little-known stories about the band.

Karen Gillan and I have something in common in addition to having both conversed with Matt Smith. The Doctor Who, Guardians Of The Galaxy, and Jumanji actress still fancies making her own films, and recently posted on Instagram that she’s finishing up a short horror flick. My wife Pam and I created several two-minute episodes of a comedy series titled Manchester Gallery that was shown on Jeff Kelley’s Sunday Morning Coffee With Jeff internet show. Kelley and graphic design artist Dave Metzger also create zombie films for Elgin’s annual Nightmare on Chicago Street Halloween festival, and I’ve acted in a number of those. I recently took a meeting with them to appear in two new films. This year’s Nightmare On Chicago Street festival takes place on Saturday, October 19.

Billie Piper is another former Doctor Who cast member going the indie film route. Rare Beasts, which Piper directed, wrote, and acted in, will be screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October. It’s a drama/comedy about relationships that also stars David Thewlis, Kerry Fox, and Bill Leo. It would be nice to see the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago hold a Karen Gillan/Billie Piper indie film festival.

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Champagne Of Pop Music

When Squeeze performs at the elegant Chicago Theater this Saturday night, it will be perfect match of venue and band. Founded by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook back in the mid-1970s, Squeeze has continually exuded sophistication while combining clever wordplay and irresistible melodies. Almost from the start, Difford and Tilbrook’s songwriting skills drew comparisons to John Lennon and Paul McCartney, particularly on gems like “Tempted,” “Pulling Mussels (From The Shell),” “Is That Love?” and “Goodbye Girl.” Other highlights over the years included “Black Coffee In Bed,” “Messed Around,” and “Hourglass.”

When Squeeze released The Knowledge in 2018, it was one of the best albums of the year. Here’s a sample of my Broken Hearted Toy review: “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 on the viagra-themed “Please Be Upstanding” and “Albatross,” a short and funny portrait of a vinyl junkie.”

The Knowledge is definitely worth picking up if there are any for sale on the merch table at the Chicago Theater concert. Watch for special demo CDs as well. I bought one when Squeeze performed on Northerly Island a few years ago. The band’s lineup has changed over the years—Jools Holland and Paul Carrack are long gone—but Difford and Tilbrook remain comfortably at the helm with the current members.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Incoming

Veteran Chicago music scene trio The Locals  have an album release party for its latest effort Minutes, Seconds, Degrees coming up at The Burlington on Saturday, September 7. A limited-edition vinyl version will be available at the show, and a video for the catchy and aggressive “Eyes Wide Open” can now be viewed on the band’s website. Baby Magic, Doomerang, and Deep Fake will also perform that night. The Burlington is located at 3425 W. Fullerton in the Lincoln Park area.

Lead vocalist-guitarist Yvonne Doll is also an accomplished solo artist, and she’s well matched in The Locals with bassist Joe Bates and drummer Aaron Coleman. When I reviewed the band’s Salt EP for the Illinois Entertainer somewhere around 2009, I compared the hard-hitting, melodic song “Sound It Out” to Melissa Etheridge, but with more of a Midwestern power pop feel. The lineup has changed over the years but the approach sounds as focused as ever.

EXPO ’76 will be reaching into its bottomless bag of cover versions this Friday night at Hey Nonny, the classy Arlington Heights venue that’s previously shown impeccable taste by booking The Imperial Sound and The Flat Five. The Bad Examples will be there on September 12. Hey Nonny is looking more and more like an essential rock entertainment venue for the northwest suburbs.

The Phil Angotti Band, The Hushdrops, and The Plastic Macs will share a triple bill tomorrow night at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. Angotti is fresh from some impressive tribute shows on the Apple Jam Stage at the Fest For Beatles Fans – Chicago. The Hushdrops are led by vocalist-guitarist John San Juan, who also did Chicago proud on the Apple Jam Stage. The music starts at 8:00 p.m.

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Return Of The Killer Rabbit And Other Nonsense

Just as the official celebration for the 50th anniversary of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV show is heating up, we’ve got some Python-related fun starting this week in Chicago. Spamalot opens this Friday, August 30 at the Mercury Theater and runs through November 3. The production is being directed by L. Walter Stearns; Eugene Dizon is the Musical Director. Performances will be at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday each week, with an additional show at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, and a 3:00 p.m. show on Sunday.

My wife Pam and I loved Spamalot when it first came to Chicago around 2004, with its all-star cast of Tim Curry, Hank Azaria, and David Hyde Pierce. Eric Idle had created a musical “lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python And The Holy Grail” by setting clever lyrics to music composed by himself and John Du Prez. We caught a second production downtown a few years later with a different cast and enjoyed the very silly Knights of the Round Table all over again.

As to whether a local company can do this hilarious musical justice, Theatre Nebula proved it’s possible with their production at Cutting Hall in Palatine in 2014. We’re looking forward to seeing how Mercury Theater goes about chopping off limbs, searching for shrubbery, and saying “Ni!”while wearing extra tall knight costumes. The Mercury Theater is located at 3745 N. Southport.

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Slumgullion

Fantastic guests and where to find them. Dan Fogler, John Travolta, Jeff Goldblum, Melissa Joan Hart, Chris Sarandon, Kelly Hu, George Wendt, and Henry Winkler are among the celebrities who’ll be on hand for the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con going on at the Donald E. Stephenson Convention Center in Rosemont this weekend. The annual event brings together self-professed nerds, sci-fi devotees, graphic novels readers, art lovers, TV fans, and anyone who embraces the more adventurous paths of modern culture. Prices for a four-day pass and single day tickets vary, so check out the website for schedule and ticket information.

Hitsville: The Making Of Motown premieres tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. on Showtime. The world-changing soul music label is now in its 60th year.

Here’s a request for all those going to see The Smithereens and Material Reissue at Skokie’s Backlot Bash tonight: At some point, raise a toast to Pat DiNizio and Jim Ellison, and all the amazing power pop songs they gave us. DiNizio was a founding member of The Smithereens, and the band wisely decided to carry on his legacy after his passing. Well-known power pop singer-guitarist Marshall Crenshall will be fronting the band tonight. Likewise, Material Issue’s surviving members Ted Ansani and Mike Zelenko realized Ellison’s songs deserve to be performed live, and brought in Chicago music scene veteran Phil Angotti as the lead vocalist-guitarist for Material Reissue  So here’s to Pat and Jim: The music lives on.

Skokie’s Backlot Bash runs through Sunday on Oakton between Lincoln and Laramie Avenues. The Imperial Sound, Tributosaurus, and War are among the acts scheduled to appear. The fest also includes a carnival and a vintage car show.

Ravinia will become a field of gold tonight when Sting performs his solo hits and mostly likely, some well-chosen selections by The Police.

Hairpin Arts Center at 2810 N. Milwaukee Avenue is the place for the Labyrinth Arts Performance Collective’s Catzilla 7 tonight and tomorrow night. The event aims to make the world a better place for cats and will feature music, performance art, artwork and photography. Admission is $20.

Cheers To Beers 19 will be held tomorrow starting at 6:00 p.m. at 3159 N. Elston. In addition to presenting the work of 19 artists, the event will feature live performances by Soultree and Remey Le Flow, along with DJ Bobby. Admission is $5.

Tickets went on sale today for Lenny Kravitz at Ravinia on September 7; Bush Tetras at Old Town School Of Folk Music on September 19; glam rock pioneers Sweet with special guests House Of Lords at The Arcada on September 5; Violent Femmes at Concord Music Hall on September 13; and A Tribute to Buddy Holly and The Crickets with Zachary Stevenson and more at FitzGerlad’s on September 9.

Jazzin’ At The Shedd wraps up its 2019 summertime run at the Shedd Aquarium next Wednesday, from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.. Expect jazz, drinks, fireworks, and “the chance to look nature in the eye.”

The 25th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival wraps up next Thursday, August 29 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Squeeze, one of England’s finest bands, will be at the Chicago Theatre next Saturday night.

According to the WXRT website, Neil Young will soon release the first album he’s recorded with Crazy Horse in seven years.

In a year when we’re celebrating 50 years of Monty Python’s Flying Circus silliness, Eric Idle will release an autographed, limited edition of his memoir Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, via the very classy Genesis Publications. And keep in mind Monty Python’s quest to stage the world’s largest gathering of people dressed like its Gumby character takes place on October 5. The program’s animator/director Terry Gilliam will serves as master of ceremonies.

Long-time country-rock band Heartsfield will be at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn next Saturday, August 31

The Tanita Tikaram anthology To Drink A Rainbow is now available for preorder from the Needle Mythology indie label.

The Dave Brubeck Tribute Project at performs SPACE in Evanston next Wednesday, August 28.

Two of Chicago’s better acts, The Phil Angotti Band and The Hushdrops, will share a double bill at Martyrs’ next Thursday, August 29.

EXPO ’76 will be delighting spectators with its unpredictable but always enticing blend of cover versions next Friday night at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights.

Professor Moptop, whose ongoing reports on Beatles recordings are one of the many highlights on Terri Hemmert’s Breakfast With The Beatles show each Sunday morning, is coming to my humble village. He’ll be presenting The Beatles’ Abbey Road 50th Anniversary at the Palatine Library on Wednesday, October 2. He also has upcoming lectures at

Also coming up at Palatine Library is London tour guide John Gowing’s All Things British discussion on October 22.

God only knows, it is what we would choose to do. Pink Floyd fans should mark October 2 and 6 on their calendars because those are the days when the new documentary US + Them will be screened in movie theatres. It was filmed in Amsterdam during Roger Waters’ 2018 Us + Them Tour, and created by Waters and director Sean Evans. Pink Floyd’s politically charged masterpiece “Us And Them” was written by Waters and keyboards player Rick Wright for Floyd’s iconic The Dark Side Of The Moon album in 1973.

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Double Dose Of Classic Power Pop In Skokie

Skokie's Backlot Bash kicks off tomorrow night with a dream double bill of Material Reissue and The Smithereens with Marshall Crenshaw. Material Reissue must feel pretty comfortable sharing stages with power pop royalty; they’ve been paired with Matthew Sweet and The Posies in previous concert events. The Smithereens and Material Reissue have given use numerous classics of the genre—“Blood And Roses,” “Behind The Wall Of Sleep,” and “A Girl Like You” from the former and “Valerie Loves Me,” “Renee Remains The Same,” and “Diane” from the latter.

Other impressive acts at Skokie's Backlot Bash include Chicago-based The Imperial Sound, whose debut album The New AM is filled with authentic rhythm and blues, soul, and jazz; Tributosaurus, who will no doubt excel at becoming The Rolling Stones; and War, the iconic soul band that gave us “Cisco Kid,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” and “Low Rider.” There will also be a carnival and classic car show. Skokie’s Backlot Bash runs through Sunday on Oakton between Lincoln and Laramie Avenues.

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Friday, August 16, 2019

Slumgullion

The third annual YippieFest, a weekend celebration of theatre, comedy, short film, music, puppets, and other forms of offbeat entertainment, opened tonight and runs through Sunday at Prop Thtr on Chicago’s north side. The people behind the event—Frank Carr and Desiree Burcum from Famous In The Future, Carla Hayden and James Moeller from Black Forest Theatre—are veterans of the Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins festival that Mary-Arrchie Theatre hosted for 30 years.

Performers at this year’s YippieFest include !Ex Maquina!, Black Forest; Citizens’ Relief; Famous In The Future; whitewolfsonicprincess; David Drazin; Trained Monkey Productions; Rush Pearson; Michael Steven Cohen; The Rut; and The Telepaths. The previous two YippieFests have carried on the tie-dyed, rebellious spirit Mary-Arrchie brought to its annual event, so this year is likely to do the same. Prop Thtr is located at 3502 N. Elston. Ticket prices range from $15 to $20.

Chicago-based power pop band The Lilacs released their the first album in 25 years today. The Lilacs Endure was produced by Richard Lloyd and is on the indie label Pravda Records. The songs include “Monica,” “I Saw Her First,” “Shadow Of Doubt,” and “Blue Spark.

Saturday Evening Flashback. Tomorrow night’s Tutu And The Pirates gig at Montrose Saloon will no doubt bring visions of slam dancing and twisted humor to those of us who still remember their frantic songs like “Dead In Our Beds” and “Wham Bam Son Of Sam” from the late 1970s. Back then, I interviewed the band for the now long-forgotten free paper Metro Calendar. “We felt that the punk label was too limiting,” lead vocalist Rich Speck told me. “That’s how we came up with the term Sub Urban Insult Rock.” No doubt they’ll insulting and rocking tomorrow night, and the crowd will be having a great time.

Sleater-Kinney’s latest album The Center Won’t Hold came out today.

The 11th Annual I Am Fest, an event that combines live music, performance art, and artwork, kicks off at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow at the House Of Blues  in downtown Chicago. Curious Grace and Black Rabbit and three School Of Rock locations are among the bands; visual performers include CODA (Chicago Onyx Dance Alliance) and ImagiNation Dance Crew UICC; and artists include Morgan Rose Murphy and Benjamin May. Admission for this all ages show is $25.

Edison Park Fest ’19 takes place this weekend. Live performances include the Tom Petty tribute band Petty Kings at 5:45 on Saturday; and Kevin Lee And The Kings at 5:45 on Sunday. The Ripleys, a band that covers U2, The Beatles, Cheap Trick, and others, will be performing a free Edison Park Fest after show at Curragh at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday.

The Backlot Bash in Skokie kicks off next Friday, August 23 with a power pop fan’s dream double bill of Material Reissue and The Smithereens with Marshall Crenshaw. Other impressive acts at the Skokie Bash include The Imperial Sound, Tributosaurus becomes The Rolling Stones; and the iconic soul band War.

The Alarm (“The Stand”, “Marching On”) will share a bill with Modern English (“I’ll Stop The World And Melt With You”) tonight and tomorrow night at House Of Blues in downtown Chicago.

The Louder Than Words – Rock Politics Power exhibit, which originated at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, continues its run at the Museum of Broadcast Communications here in Chicago through the end of August.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

I’ve Just Seen A Fest

Photo from Jeremy Clydes Facebook page.

The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago returned to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in suburban Rosemont last weekend for its annual celebration of the most famous band in rock history. I’ve found it increasingly difficult in recent years to pack everything I want to experience at The Fest in a single day. So for 2019, I opted for a double dose. Avid Beatles followers could easily spend the entire weekend there and never get bored.

The Apple Jam Stage at The Fest For Beatles Fans has resulted in some tough choices for me. Even with all the other performances and events going on, how can I pass up the opportunity to catch some of Chicago’s best musicians strutting their Beatlesque expertise? This year, the Apple Jam Stage offered Phil Angotti and Friends doing an amazing job of covering John Lennon on Saturday and Paul McCartney on Sunday. Ellis Clark and Ary Jeebie also enlisted some local all stars to help as they honored George Harrison. Their set offered a taste of the George Harrison Birthday Bash Clark and Jeebie throw each February at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. I didn’t catch Jay Goeppner’s set on Friday, but I’ve seen him enough to know it was highly entertaining.

Another Fest highlight was WXRT air personality Terri Hemmert interviewing former Wings members Denny Laine, Steve Holley, and Laurence Juber in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom. The format resembled the musicians forums held by Martin Lewis and Mark Hudson in the past, where the participants augment their discussion with some instructive jamming. I was glad to have a chance later to congratulate Hemmert on her long tenure at WXRT. She’s semi-retired now; keeping her weekly Breakfast With The Beatles show and filling in occasionally for the other DJs.

Also in the Grand Ballroom, Jeremy Clyde, one half of Chad and Jeremy (and more recently Peter and Jeremy), brought his Bottom Drawer Band to play songs from his Bottom Drawer CD series. Clyde was in fine voice, and these rarely heard songs were consistently engaging. Drummer Alan White talked with Hemmert about his days with Yes, as well as his work on John Lennon and George Harrison solo projects. The Weeklings played a catchy mix of originals and obscure Beatles compositions on Sunday.

I spent a few hours on Saturday sorting through all the music-related memorabilia in The Fest’s expansive marketplace, and found more treasures, including a “Paperback Writer” picture sleeve import seven-inch single, on Sunday. The Marketplace is also the place to meet noted Beatles authors like Bruce Spizer, Jude S. Kessler, Professor Moptop, and Kit O’Toole. Lesser known authors were selling their books as well.

The Beatles tribute band Liverpool was on hand all three nights. After an impressive set of Beatles tunes on Saturday, they they invited Alan White, Jeremy Clyde, Denny Laine, Steve Holley, and Laurence Juber to join them. As always, it was one of the highlights of The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago and served as a Grand Finale.

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Friday, August 9, 2019

Slumgullion

Welcome to everyone who’s in town for The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago running this weekend at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont. If you’re staying at the Hyatt or one of the other nearby hotels and are wondering if you could make a quick visit to Chicago, the CTA Blue Line stop is a short walk away. It can get you downtown in about 40 minutes. For a preview of this year’s Fest For Beatles Fans event, check out August 5 post.

A recent post on The Second Disc website has all the details about the various versions of Abbey Road Apple will be releasing in honor of the 50th anniversary of the The Beatles’ finale. In addition to a CD/Blu Ray/hard cover book boxed set, a three LP vinyl set, a two CD set, and a single CD release; Apple is also putting out an EP version of George Harrison’s “Something.”

The Jay O’Rourke Band is having a CD Release Party Party for Cover Tracks tonight at SPACE in Evanston. The album features renditions of classic rock and blues songs. It’s a safe bet the band will also be selling copies of its earlier 2019 release Sumpthin Good. The Dick Dale influenced instrumental act Spies Who Surf will be the opening act.

How Do You Love?, the long-awaited second album from the Los Angeles punk band The Regrettes, was released today. After downloading it and giving the 15 tracks a quick listen (my CD is on its way from Amazon), I can already tell it’s another successful blend of vintage punk and 1960s girl band sound, with clever lyrics that bite and amuse.

The first batch of special guests for The Chicago TARDIS convention being held November 29 – December 1 in Lombard has been announced. It includes Paul McGann, who played The Doctor in an American TV movie version of the U.K. sci-fi series, and had a pivotal cameo the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary short clips. Tosin Cole, Greg Austin, Vivian Oparah, and Sophie Hopkins will also be there, along with other Doctor Who related guests to be announced later.

No Holiday, The Muffs’ first album in five years, will be coming out on October 18 via Omnivore Recordings. The 18 new tracks will be available on CD or on two vinyl LPs, with the fourth side being laser-etched. Band member Kim Shattuck is also part of the newly formed trio The Coolies (with Palmyra Delran and Melanie Vammen), who just released their debut EP, Uh Oh, It’s. . . The Coolies.

Stray Cats bassist Lee Rocker has a solo album titled The Low Road coming out this Friday. Earlier this year, The Stray Cats released 40, their first album in 40 years.

Back when I did my August, Rock She Must post on July 30, I knew I would miss some worthy events, and here’s a prime example. This year’s Backlot Bash in Skokie kicks off on Friday, August 23 with the highly potent double bill of Material Reissue and The Smithereens with Marshall Crenshaw. In previous shows, Material Reissue has opened for Matthew Sweet and The Posies, and here they are with another great power pop act. Other must-see acts at the Backlot Bash include The Imperial Sound, Tributosaurus becomes The Rolling Stones; and the iconic soul band War.

Ex Norwegian, the Miami-based trio whose albums have consistently met with extensive praise here on Broken Hearted Toy, have a 15-track vinyl LP titled Something Unreal: The Best Of Ex Norwegian coming out on September 20.

The Alarm (“The Stand”, “Marching On”) will share a bill with Modern English (“I’ll Stop The World And Melt With You”) on August 16 and 17 at House Of Blues in downtown Chicago.

The Louder Than Words – Rock Politics Power exhibit, which originated at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, continues its run at the Museum of Broadcast Communications here in Chicago through the end of August.

Jazzin’ At The Shedd continues its summertime run tomorrow night at the Shedd Aquarium. The night-time event is being held every Wednesday from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. through August 28. The Shedd promises jazz, drinks, fireworks, and “the chance to look nature in the eye.”

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Incoming

Indie rock veterans The Figgs have a gig coming up this Sunday night at Montrose Saloon on  Chicago’s north side. Adept at crafting catchy, guitar-driven songs like “On The Side,” “Your Smile Is A Deadly Thing,” and “Wealthy Women,” the Saratoga, NY trio got its start back in 1987. The Figgs have recorded 13 albums and are about to wrap up their latest.

The Sonic Assault EP vocalist-guitarist Johnny Weathers and former Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook released last year will soon be available as a limited edition, numbered vinyl-only picture disc. “Man From The Orleans,” the hard-hitting opening track on that EP, was one of the very best songs of 2018.

Give the drummer some pages. Goldmine magazine recently posted on Instagram about a new book by Mike Edison titled Sympathy For Drummer: Why Charlie Watts Matters. It’s due out in October. Edison is the former editor/publisher of High Times magazine, and was a drummer with Sonic Youth, Sound Garden, and The Ramones, so he certainly seems qualified to cover The Rolling Stones.

Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr will release a new single titled “The Bright Parade” this Thursday. Marr’s albums The Messenger, Playland, and Call The Comet all drew high praise here on Broken Hearted Toy, and he’s also collaborated with Modest Mouse, The Pretenders, and The Cribs.

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Monday, August 5, 2019

For The Benefit Of Beatles Fans

The annual Fest For Beatles Fans Chicago takes place at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in suburban Rosemont this weekend, August 9–11. The event presents musicians, authors, artists, photographers, and music biz people who have some connection to the most famous band in rock history. Many are accessible to fans in the general sense of watching them being interviewed in the Grand Ballroom, and in face-to-face conversations at the autograph tables. It’s not unusual to spot these famous people walking through the crowd or chatting with fans.

There will be special appearances in the Grand Ballroom by Denny Laine, Steve Holley, and Laurence Juber of Wings; Jeremy Clyde (of Chad and Jeremy, and more recently Peter and Jeremy) with his Bottom Drawer Band; Alan White from Yes (and John Lennon and George Harrison projects); and Len Mansfield, former manager of Apple Records. The exceptional Beatles tribute band Liverpool will perform all three nights; and The Weeklings, an offshoot of Liverpool that plays originals and obscure Beatles compositions, will perform on Sunday.

Terri Hemmert, the Radio Hall Of Fame inductee and Breakfast With The Beatles host at radio station WXRT, will notch another year in her decades-long role of The Fest’s MC in Chicago. Hemmert recently left her mid-morning shift at XRT but her semi-retirement involves occasionally filling in for the station’s other air personalities as well continuing with Breakfast With The Beatles. The Apple Jam Stage will offer live performances of Beatles material by Jay Goeppner; Phil Angotti and Friends; and Ellis Clark and Ary Paloma Jeebie; Scott Erickson; and others.

The Fest For Beatles Fans has a few marketplace areas with loads of music-related memorabilia. The marketplace is also the place to meet noted Beatles authors like Bruce Spizer, Vivek Tiwary, Jude S. Kessler, Professor Moptop, and Kit O’Toole. Attendees can join in the fun by competing in Beatles sound-alike concerts and an art competition, and you’re welcome to jam with the musicians and singers who hang out for hours around the stairs in the lower level.

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Friday, August 2, 2019

Slumgullion

New album out next Friday.

Welcome to all those in town for Lollapalooza, as well as everyone who’s here for Ringo Starr and His Allstar Band at Ravinia. Enjoy your stay and be sure to check out lots of other fun things Chicago has to offer.

Sunshine Boys, whose 2018 Blue Music debut was an absolute masterpiece, will return to The Wine Goddess venue in Evanston tomorrow night to perform songs from a brand new album.

Tickets went on sale today for Peter Case at FitzGerald’s on October 26; Michael Franti and Spearhead at Concord Music Hall on October 24; The Phil Angotti Band and The Hushdrops at Martyrs’ on August 29; Justin Hayward and Mike Dawes at the Athenaeum Theatre on August 9; Los Lobos at City Winery Chicago on December 8 through 12; Thurston Moore Group at the Empty Bottle on December 12; and Tom Morello at The Vic on October 22.

When I’m out on the streets trick or treating. Tickets are also now on sale for Halloweensteen, a Bruce Springsteen tribute show by The Duke Street Kings featuring Michael McDermott, at Park West on October 26.

Cherrie Currie of The Runaways and Brie Darling of Fanny join together on a new album titled The Motivator that was released today. Next Friday will bring How Do You Love?, the long-awaited second album the Los Angeles punk band The Regrettes, and on August 16, Sleater-Kinney will release their latest effort The Center Won’t Hold. The above information comes from the August issue of the Illinois Entertainer.

Santana and The Doobie Brothers will be performing at Hollywood Casino this Sunday.

They made up their minds and they started recording. Fastball (of “The Way” fame) has a new album titled The Help Machine featuring guest musicians Bruce Hughes from Cracker and Charlie Sexton coming out in October.

I was sad to see the Instagram post from Dave Davies stating Ian Gibbons, keyboards player for The Kinks, has passed away. Rock In Paradise, Ian.

Christopher Eccleston, the actor who was great putting Doctor Who back on the telly again in 2005, has a book titled I Love The Bones Of You coming out on September 19.

All the way to Seattle. According to the online sites for Rolling Stone and Best Classic Bands, the Mott The Hoople 1974 Tour will return for 11 new U.S. dates in the fall. The lucky cities include Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Nashville; Dallas; Los Angeles; and Seattle.

Sweet C’s Bakery in Palatine has expanded its space at 10 N. Bothwell to include a café area. The bakery is known for its cookies, cakes, and cupcakes, which it also sells at the Palatine Farmers Market.

The Chicago Film Society continues its Oh My, It’s Pre Code Cinema series on August 7 at Northeastern University with a screening of Merrily We Go To Hell. Director Dorothy Arzner’s 1938 film stars Sylvia Sydney and Frederic March in a tale of booze, journalism, and marital infidelity. Northeastern University is located at 3701 W. Bryn Mawr in Chicago.

Across the pond, The 17th Dream Of Dr Sardonicus Festival 2019 is being held at the Cellar Bar in Cardigan, U.K. Several psychedelic and prog rock acts who’ll be familiar to frequent customers of the vinyl-only indie label Fruits de Mer are scheduled to perform. The lineup includes The Bevis Frond; Nick Nicely; The Chemistry Set; SENDELICA; and Alan Pire Experience.

The 22nd Annual Jeff Buckley Tribute event will take place at Uncommon Ground’s Edgewater location at 1401 W. Devon Avenue in Chicago on November 17 and 18. Musicians interested in participating can contact bookings@uncommonground.com to get submission information.

The Morning Line will be performing at Hotel Utah on August 16 as part of the International Pop Overthrow - San Francisco festival. To celebrate this hometown gig, the band is offering its new album North for a free download on Bandcamp. When I reviewed the Smoke EP by The Morning Line in 2017, I praised its emotionally charged indie rock songs set to exquisite melodies. North continues in that vein, especially on tracks like “Anhedonia,” “No Love Lost,” and “Nostradamus.”

The Louder Than Words – Rock Politics Power exhibit, which originated at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, continues its run at the Museum of Broadcast Communications here in Chicago through the end of August.

Well-known character actor and voiceover specialist Sam Elliott celebrates his 75th birthday on August 9. According to the Sunday newspaper supplement Parade, Elliott has provided the voice of Smokey The Bear for 10 years. In a bit of lesser-known trivia, he was the inspiration for successful studio musician in my latest (yet to be published) rock and roll YA novel.

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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Louder Than Words: Another Hit For The Museum Of Broadcast Communications

The politically minded Joe Strummer.

One week ago today, part of my birthday activities was a visit to the Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics exhibit at the Museum Of Broadcast Communications. Originally developed by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, it’s a fascinating collection of archival footage, rock videos, documents, clothing, and musical instruments that illustrates how often political themes—liberal and conservative—have surfaced in rock and roll. The Clash, Green Day, U2, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and Dead Kennedys are some of the artists featured.

Among the 175 artifacts are handwritten lyrics to songs by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, James Brown, and others. Being just inches away from the battered Fender Telecaster Joe Strummer played at countless gigs was worth the price of admission alone. According to a recent article by Steve Johnson in the Chicago Tribune, the Louder Than Words exhibit will be followed by a very promising new one in October titled Stay Tuned: Rock On TV.

The Museum also scored a major hit with its Saturday Night Live: The Experience exhibit about a year ago. In his article, Johnson noted that long-time journalist Susy Schultz was recently named as the Museum Of Broadcast Communication’s executive director. Congratulations, Susy. Keep those fun and provocative pop culture exhibits coming. Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics runs through the end of August. The Museum Of Broadcast Communications is located in downtown Chicago at 360 N. State Street.

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Incoming

Lollapalooza runs tomorrow through Sunday, bringing Sharon Van Etten; Ariana Grande; Tame Impala, Janelle Monae; Gary Clark Jr.; The Strokes; Kacey Musgraves; Death Cab For Cutie; Fitz And The Tantrums, about 170 other acts, and thousands of fans to Grant Park. This week’s edition of The Reader (out tomorrow) will be devoted to the annual festival, and I suspect Innerview magazine has published a special issue although I’ve haven’t seen it yet. Expect to find plenty of coverage in Chicago’s daily papers as well. WXRT radio personality and superb interviewer Marty Lennartz will be broadcasting live from Lollapalooza throughout its run, offering updates and chatting with some of the performers.

According to a recent email from Rock Art Show, the Zia Gallery in Winnetka is having a free Ringo Starr Fine Art Show to coincide with the Beatle drummer’s pair of shows with his All-Star Band at Ravinia this Saturday and Sunday. The gallery will be selling signed, limited edition art work by Starr on August 3 and 4, with all proceeds going to the Lotus Foundation. The Zia Gallery is located at 44 Green Bay Road in Winnetka.

The opening night for the 25th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival this Saturday will feature A Black Harvest Feast—the world premieres of five short films commissioned by the Gene Siskel Film Center. The Festival runs at the Gene Siskel Film Center through August 29.

Feel lucky, punks? The Second Disc website recently reported that Rhino Records will release a 40th anniversary boxed set of The Ramones’ Alive album in September. It will be available in four-CD and 2-LP versions. This follows an earlier post (every music fan should actively follow The Second Disc) about Dead Man’s Pop, an upcoming four-CD boxed set of previously unreleased material from The Replacements that’s also due out in September.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

August, Rock She Must

August is not only the last of the three months that unofficially make up summer, it’s traditionally one of the busiest times for rock and roll and pop culture in Chicago. Some of these events fall on the same day, so tough decisions will need to be made. Here’s a quick look at upcoming events. I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of great stuff but I’ve got all month to cover them.

Oh Yeah, the month gets off to a great start with Bryan Ferry from Roxy Music performing at the Chicago Theatre on August 1. In addition to being able to choose from Roxy hits like “Oh Yeah,” “Out Of The Blue,” and “Avalon,” the ultra-smooth-crooning Ferry can also tap into material from his successful solo albums.

For those who prefer English rock with a more blues-oriented feel, John Mayall will be performing at City Winery Chicago that same night. Mayall was one of the first U.K. musicians in the 1960s to draw inspiration from American rhythm and blues, and several members of his bands went on to successful solo careers.

Lollapalooza is a guaranteed way to get your August up and running. The multi-genre fest opens Thursday and runs through Sunday. There may still be one-day passes available for sale, depending on the day you’re thinking of going. Sharon Van Etten; Ariana Grande; Tame Impala, Janelle Monae; Gary Clark Jr.; The Strokes; Kacey Musgraves; Death Cab For Cutie; and Fitz And The Tantrums are among the scheduled performers.

Ringo Starr and His All-Star Band will be at Ravinia August 3 and 4. My wife Pam and I saw Ringo and His All-Star Band at Chicago Theatre last year and he and his well-chosen musicians were amazing. Ringo will share the bill on both nights with The Beach Boys, Other upcoming shows at Ravinia include the band Chicago on August 10 and 11; Sarah McLachlan on August 12; and Sting on August 23 and 24.

Santana has a gig at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park on August 4. This year is the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, so this would be a perfect opportunity to see one of that festival’s legendary acts. The Doobie Brothers are sharing the bill with Santana.

Head Over Heels, the new musical based on songs by The Go-Go’s continues its run at Theater Wit on Belmont Avenue through the end of August. It was successful on Broadway, and is being staged here by Kokandy Productions.

Jay O’Rourke, who has performed with The Insiders and Material Reissue, has some new solo albums. He and his band have a CD Release Party Party for Cover Tracks at SPACE on August 9.

Queen, featuring vocalist Adam Lambert belting out those power ballads and energetic hits, backed by original members Brian May and Roger Taylor, will be at the United Center on August 9.

Vocalist-guitarist Justin Hayward from recent Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductees The Moody Blues, will perform at the Athenaeum Theatre on Southport on August 9.

The Smashing Pumpkins, one of the acts that put Chicago on the rock and roll map back in the early 1990s, is set to play the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park on August 15. Noel Gallagher, of Oasis fame, will also be on the bill with his current band High Flying Birds.

YippieFest returns for its third year on the weekend of August 16 – 18 at Prop Thtr on Chicago’s north side. Organized by the Famous In The Future comedy group, the celebration aims to carry on the spirit of the Abbie Fest that was staged for almost 30 years by the Mary-Arrchie Theatre. FIF performed at every one of those Abbie Fests, and brings the same eclectic mix of comedy, theatre, performance art, and live music to their version. The live music acts at YippieFest are being coordinated by James Moeller from local alt rock band whitewolfsonicprincess. Full disclosure: I was a member of Famous In The Future for its first 20 years.

Fest For Beatles Fans – Chicago returns to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont for its 33rd year on the weekend of August 11 – 13. This year’s music guests include former members of Wings Steve Holley, Laurence Juber, and Denny Laine; as well as Jeremy Clyde from Chad and Jeremy (and in recent years, Peter and Jeremy); Alan White from Yes; and former manager of Apple Records Ken Mansfield. The Weeklings and Liverpool will be performing; and long-time WXRT radio personality and legend Terri Hemmert returns as the official MC.

Wizard World Comic Con returns to the Donald E. Stevens Center in Rosemont August 22 – 25. There will be countless vendors selling comic books, t shirts, action figures, and other fantasy/sci-fi related artifacts. Many attendees dress up as super heroes and other cosplay favorites; but the biggest draw for most people is a chance to meet celebrities. This year’s guests include Morena Baccarat and Ben McKenzie from Gotham; Jason Momoa from Aquaman; George Wendt—“Norm!”; and Katrina Law from Arrow.

EXPO ’76, a copy band whose members come from some of Chicago’s best alt rock bands, will be at the new Hey Nonny venue in Arlington Heights on August 30. Expect loads of fun and some amazing mashups.

The month begins with a sophisticated British rock act performing at the Chicago Theatre and wraps up in similar fashion. The consistently melodic, immensely clever Squeeze performs on August 31. Founding members Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook have earned comparisons to Paul McCartney and John Lennon for their songwriting ability with songs like “Hourglass,” “Is That Love?” and “Tempted.” Squeeze’s 2017 album The Knowledge was a touching, inventive, and consistently engaging look at the passing of time.

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Slumgullion

Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes on Facebook yesterday. Longtime friends, new acquaintances, co-workers, former co-workers, entertainment people, fellow writers, fellow performers, relatives—a terrific group of individuals.

I’m sure David Bash took a moment to raise a toast in honor of my birthday at some point yesterday before getting back to the serious business of planning International Pop Overthrow - Los Angeles. The power pop festival opens with a Big Stir Records six-band showcase tonight at the Fais Do Do venue. Los Angeles is the birthplace of IPO, and this year’s celebration runs through next Sunday, August 4 at Fais Do Do, Molly Malone’s, Silverlake Lounge, and Skinny’s Lounge. Performers include Lannie Flowers Band; The Armoires; Sparkle*jets UK; The Tearaways; Maple Mars; Bill Lloyd; The Jeremy Band; and The Cherry Bluestorms.

This year’s IPO - Los Angeles is being dedicated to the memory of John Ferriter, who recently passed away. Ferriter managed several bands, including The Tearaways and The Beach Boys.

The Jeff Lynne’s ELO with Special Guest Dhani Harrison concert takes place tomorrow night at the United Center. Lynne is a founding member of Electric Light Orchestra (along with Roy Wood, Richard Tandy, and Bev Bevan) and was a member of The Traveling Wilburys. Dhani is the son of George Harrison, who in addition to being a Beatle and great solo artist, was one of Lynne’s fellow Traveling Willburys.

Outdoor festivals in the Chicago area tend to feature the same cover bands, and while there’s no doubt these acts have large and well-earned followings, discerning indie rock fans long for more variety. That’s exactly what Wicker Park Fest offers this weekend. Set on Milwaukee Avenue between Ashland and North, the Fest’s eclectic lineup includes Superchunk, Screaming Females, Deals Gone Bad, Nikki Lynette; Mother Nature, Beats y Bateria, and School Of Rock on three stages.

Tickets went on sale today for Robbie Fulks at City Winery Chicago on October 18; Kelly Hogan, Scott Ligon, and Nora O’Connor at Hideout on September 20; Gordon Lightfoot at Copernicus Center on September 27; Rasputina and Charming Disaster at Subterranean on October 26; and Tegan and Sara Northwestern University on October 15.

Presale tickets are now available for The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 16th Annual Christmas Rocks show at the Chicago Theater on November 16.

Chicago-based Joy Division tribute band The Unknown Pleasures will mark the 40th anniversary of the release of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album with a show at Martyrs’s on Lincoln Avenue tomorrow night. The Handcuffs, who are wrapping up their latest album in the studio, will also perform that night, along with Quiet!. Showtime is 8:00 p.m.

Sunshine Boys, whose 2018 Blue Music debut was an absolute masterpiece,will return to The Wine Goddess venue in Evanston next Saturday, August 3. According to a post on Facebook, the trio will be performing all the songs from a brand new release at this gig.

The New Duncan Imperials have a gig tomorrow night at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn. The trio can be heard in all its off-kilter glory on the recently released Hunny Bunny five-song EP. Thrift Store Halo, whose Consolation Prize Fighter EP is currently rocking the independent music charts, will be the opening act.

English gentlemen on the way. Bryan Ferry comes to town for a gig at Chicago Theatre this Thursday, August 1. John Mayall performs at City Winery Chicago on that same night, and
Moody Blues vocalist-guitarist Justin Hayward will perform at the Athenaeum Theatre on Southport on August 9.

David Crosby: Remember My Name, the new A.J. Eaton-directed, Cameron Crowe-produced and narrated documentary about the Byrds/CSNY/solo musician, opened in selected theaters today. It drew high praise from Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Richard Roeper and Chicago Tribune movie critic Katie Walsh. For a number of reasons both of them mentioned, it seems well worth seeing.

Earlier this week, Chicago Tribune theater critic Kerry Reid gave three and a half stars to Head Over Heels, the new musical based on songs by The Go-Go’s. It ran on Broadway, and is now being staged by Kokandy Productions at Theater Wit on Belmont Avenue.

Brand new Chicago-based goth/garage rock trio Aweful has a record release party coming up at The Empty Bottle next Thursday, August 1 for its debut EP. Band members Traci Trouble, Lucy Dekay, and Izzy Price are veterans of the local alt rock scene, and their first single “Me Me Me” serves as an engaging calling card. Touched By Ghoul. Boybrain, and DJ Andy Ryan will also be featured at The Empty Bottle that night.

Santana and The Doobie Brothers will be performing at Hollywood Casino next Sunday. August 4.

The Louder Than Words – Rock Politics Power exhibit, which originated at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, continues its run at the Museum of Broadcast Communications here in Chicago through the end of August.

New City magazine just put out its annual Music 45 - Who Keeps Chicago In Tune issue. Each time New City chooses the most influential individuals in local music, a little voice inside me says, “I’ll save you the suspense, you’re not included.” And of course, I’m not. This year’s top honor went to David Chavez and Carlos Cuauhtemoc Tortelero of the Department Of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). Other honorees included Kate Gumbleton, Executive Director Of the Hyde Park Jazz Festival; Bettina Richards, owner of theThrill Jockey indie label; Ron Onesti of The Arcada Theater in St. Charles; and James VanOsdol, host of Demo 312 on 101WKQX.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Coleman Gota - And The Losers Choir Sings

Multi-instrumentalist and former member of the band Insanity Wave Colman Gota released his latest effort And The Losers Choir Sings a few months back. Recorded in America, it finds the Madrid native taking the same off-kilter approach to lyrics he did on his 2016 Tape and the 2017 Fear The Summer albums. Gota’s knack for mixing catchy arrangements with acerbic observations on life and relationships evokes Elvis Costello and Graham Parker.

“Do You Really Want To Know?” deals with the awkward situation of running into someone you haven’t seen for years, and wondering if they really care how your life is going. On the guitar-driven “Victim Of Society,” Gota confesses, “Mostly, I feel like a beer that’s gone flat,” and he wonders if his boyhood scam of getting whatever he wanted by crying could still work on the more elaborate “No After No.” “Time To Waste” sets the common frustration of not achieving major goals to one of the album’s harder rock arrangements.

On the tale of lost romance “Lonely Tonight,” Gota combines power pop with a 1960s arrangement complete with female back-up vocals. The anti-social “Stop Me” has a similar breezy feel, even as Gota frets that trying to find love will only make him look foolish. He sounds happiest recalling the joys of rehearsing in “Practice Room,” an activity that would ultimately bring his charming music our way.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Incoming

A great opportunity to remember “I Remember Nothing.” Chicago-based Joy Division tribute band The Unknown Pleasures will mark the 40th anniversary of the release of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures with a show at Martyrs’s on Lincoln Avenue this Saturday night. The performance will cover the entire album, along with other songs from the U.K. band’s repertoire. The Handcuffs, who are wrapping up their latest album in the studio, will also perform that night, along with Quiet!. Showtime is 8:00 p.m.

Sunshine Boys, whose 2018 Blue Music debut was an absolute masterpiece, will return to The Wine Goddess venue in Evanston on Saturday, August 3. According to a post on Facebook, the trio will be performing all the songs from a brand new release at this gig. Here’s betting they strike gold again with this new effort.

It may seem a bit early for making yuletide plans, but presale tickets start tomorrow for The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 16th Annual Christmas Rocks show at the Chicago Theater on November 16. Setzer fans already got an early present when the reunited Stray Cats released their 40 album back in May.

The New Duncan Imperials have a gig coming up this Saturday night at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn. The trio recently released its Hunny Bunny five-song EP, featuring the clever and irresistibly catchy country rock tune “I Paint The Line.” Thrift Store Halo, whose Consolation Prize Fighter EP is currently rocking the independent music charts, will be the opening act.

Jazzin’ At The Shedd continues its summertime run tomorrow night at the Shedd Aquarium. The night-time event is being held every Wednesday from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. through August 28. The Shedd promises jazz, drinks, fireworks, and “the chance to look nature in the eye.”

The Chicago Film Society continues its Oh My, It’s Pre Code Cinema series on August 7 at Northeastern University with a screening of Merrily We Go To Hell. Director Dorothy Arzner’s 1938 film stars Sylvia Sydney and Fredric March in a tale of booze, journalism, and adultery. Northeastern University is located at 3701 W. Bryn Mawr in Chicago.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Welcome to everyone who’s in town for the Pitchfork Music Festival taking place in Union Park this weekend. Mavis Staples, Haim, Low, The Isley Brothers, Belle and Sebastian, Stereolab, and Neneh Cherry are among the acts scheduled. The Chicago Reader once again has a colorful Pitchfork cover created by illustrator Jason Wyatt Frederick (I’m among the people who collect them), and you might still be able to pick up a copy of the Chicago Innerview Know Before The Show issue devoted to Pitchfork. You’ll also find coverage in this week’s issue of Redeye and the daily papers.

The Coolies, a new garage rock trio made up of Kim Shattuck, Melanie Varmmen, and Palmyra Delran, released their six-song Uh Oh! It’s . . . The Coolies debut in digital format today and a 10-inch clear emerald vinyl version is available on the band’s Bandcamp page.

Tickets went on sale today for English Beat at Thalia Hall on September 15; Crombies, King Hammond, Skapones, Rude Boy George, and DJ Chuck Wren at Reggie’s Music Joint on August 23; Lotus Kings Tribute to Santana at City Winery Chicago on September 1; Smells Like Nirvana at City Winery Chicago on September 15; Social Distortion, Flogging Molly, Devil Makes Three, and Le Butcherettes at Huntington Pavilion on September 7; Whitewolfsonicprincess and Ex Maquina at SPACE on September 4; and Rachel Yamagata at SPACE on September 5. For a full list of upcoming concerts in the Chicago area, check the Early Warnings page of this week’s Chicago Reader.

Abbey Road Studios had a recent post on Instagram showing the surviving members of The Quarrymen recording music as part of an upcoming documentary titled Pre Fab. The film will cover the origins of the skiffle band, which at one time included John Lennon among its members.

Neo, the Clark Street venue that played a major role in bringing new wave to Chicago back in 1979, is celebrating that heritage by having a reunion tomorrow night at Metro. DJs Suzanne Shelton, Glenn Russell, Carrie Monster, Scary Lady Sarah, and Jeff Moyer will provide the music. Admission is $21; a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit Darkest Before Dawn, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support for industry workers.

A new season of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee starts tonight on Netflix.

Rod Hamdallah, The Dyes, and Amazing Heeby Jeebies will share a triple bill at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn on July 30.

Musicians from the city’s Greek, Mexican, Argentinian, and Bulgarian communities will take part in the world premiere of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s Chicago Immigrant Stories II on July 22 at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Emmy Award-winning trumpeter-composer Orbert Davis will lead the performance, which will feature Athanasios Zervas, Sones de Mexico, Leandro Lopez Varady, Zara Zaharieva, and Petros Dragoumis. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m.

David Crosby: Remember My Name, director A.J. Eaton’s new documentary about the Byrds/CSNY/solo musician, opens in selected theaters this week. Initial reports indicate Crosby handles interviewer Cameron Crowe’s tough questions thoughtfully and honestly throughout film.

It's hard to tell if Chicago-based Mercury Theater knew Monty Python would be celebrating its 50 Birthday in 2019 and planned accordingly; or if the upcoming production of Spamalot is just a coincidence. At any rate, it’s a perfect fit for the occasion. The “Lovingly ripped off from the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail” show will run at Mercury Theater (3745 N. Southport) from August 28 to November 3.

You won’t find a single Gumby in Spamalot, but if you fancy dressing up like the iconic Monty Python character, there’s an official Monty Python Dress Like A Gumby event taking place on October 5. If you follow Monty Python on Instagram, you might have seen the illustrated instructions on how to assemble the costume.

Outdoor festivals in the Chicago area tend to feature the same cover bands, and while there’s no doubt these acts have large and well-earned followings, discerning indie rock fans long for more variety. That’s exactly what Wicker Park Fest will offer on the weekend of July 26 – 28. Set on Milwaukee Avenue between Ashland and North, the Fest’s eclectic lineup includes Superchunk, Screaming Females, Deals Gone Bad, Nikki Lynette; Mother Nature, Beats y Bateria, and School Of Rock on three stages.

The Bob Dylan: Electric exhibit has been extended at the American Writers Museum in downtown Chicago.

The Black Harvest Film Festival continues its 2019 run at the Gene Siskel Film Center through July 22.

The Louder Than Words – Rock Politics Power exhibit, which originated at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, continues its run at the Museum of Broadcast Communications here in Chicago through the end of August.

Kokandy Productions’s production of Head Over Heels, the Broadway musical based on songs by The Go-Go’s, continues through August 25 at Theatre Wit on Belmont Avenue.

Pulling ducks out of the water, got the highest score. The Chicago Ducky Derby charity event to benefit Special Olympics Illinois will take place at 401 N. Michigan Avenue on August 19. Chicago Cubs players Kyle Hendricks and Willson Contreras are this year’s Ambassadors. Anyone interested in a adopting a rubber ducky to help the cause can find the details at the Chicago Ducky Derby website. 

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Slumgullion

The Pretenders With Friends, a concert Chrissie Hynde and her band performed at the Decades Rock Arena in Atlantic City, NJ with special guests Iggy Pop, Shirley Manson, Kings Of Leon, and Incubus, is out today as a Blu Ray + DVD + CD set.

There are a number of festivals taking place this weekend, including Taste Of Chicago, Irish Fest, and Roscoe Village Burger Fest. See my Wednesday post for more details on each of these.

Former Hollies lead vocalist Allan Clarke released the single “Journey Of Regret” today. The song reflects Clarke’s long-held admiration for Bruce Springsteen and is the first taste of a new album titled Resurgence coming out on September 20. It will be Clarke’s eighth solo effort, but the first in almost 30 years.

Tickets went on sale today for the Marcia Ball Band at SPACE on November 8; BoDeans at City Winery Chicago on November 30 and December 1; Ralph Covert’s Acoustic Army at FitzGerald’s on July 20; Robbie Fulks at The Hideout on August 9; Delbert McClinton and Gerald Dowd at Old Town School Of Folk Music on September 21; Lucy Wainwright Roche at SPACE on September 11; and Sarah Shook and The Disarmers, with Senora May at Sleeping Village on October 11. For a full list of upcoming concerts in the Chicago area, check the Early Warnings page of this week’s Chicago Reader.

The next season of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee starts July 19 on Netflix.

The Long Grove Arts and Music Council will stage the first of the four free concerts it has lined for this summer when Corky Siegel and Will Tilson perform this Sunday afternoon on Towner Green. 

Pete Townshend was among the famous musicians on social media mourning the passing of Alan Rogan, a highly respected guitar roadie. Rogan had worked with The Who, The Rolling Stones, Graham Nash, and Joe Walsh. Rock In Paradise, Mr. Rogan.

Neo, the iconic new wave club that reigned on Clark Street for so many years, is having a reunion at Metro on Saturday, July 20.

Congratulations to Johnny Marr on selling out all the dates on his current UK tour.

Musicians from the city’s Greek, Mexican, Argentinian, and Bulgarian communities will take part in the world premiere of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s Chicago Immigrant Stories II on July 22 at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Emmy Award-winning trumpeter-composer Orbert Davis will lead the performance, which will feature Athanasios Zervas, Sones de Mexico, Leandro Lopez Varady, Zara Zaharieva, and Petros Dragoumis. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m.

With a lineup of former Friggs, Muffs, and Pandoras members Kim Shattuck, Melanie Varmmen, and Palmyra Delran, it’s a safe bet the new trio The Coolies will be a blast. Their debut effort, the six-song EP Uh Oh! It’s . . . The Coolies will be available in digital format next Friday and the 10-inch clear emerald vinyl version is available for preorder on the band’s Bandcamp page.

Can I have one? While making my weekly trip to the Reckless Records downtown location, I noticed the store’s record bins are decorated with colorful Official Lollapalooza After Show mini-posters, including ones for Sharon Van Etton and Jade Bird at Schubas and Lincoln Hall.

Green City Market’s annual Chef BBQ will take place at the south end of Lincoln Park (approximately 1817 N. Clark) on July 18 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Over 100 Chicago area restaurants and breweries will be involved, including Antique Taco, Bad Hunter, Commons Club at Virgin Hotels Chicago, Eataly, Floriole, Goose Island Brewhouse, Maddon’s Post; Revolution Brewing, Spiaggia, The Gage, and Upstairs at The Gwen. There’s a wide range of ticket prices, which can be found at the Green City Market website.

The Bob Dylan: Electric exhibit has been extended at the American Writers Museum in downtown Chicago.

The Black Harvest Film Festival continues its 2019 run at the Gene Siskel Film Center through July 22.

The Louder Than Words – Rock Politics Power exhibit, which originated at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, continues its run at the Museum of Broadcast Communications here in Chicago through the end of August.

Kokandy Productions’s production of Head Over Heels, the Broadway musical based on songs by The Go-Go’s, continues through August 25 at Theatre Wit on Belmont Avenue.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Festivals Straight Ahead

Taste Of Chicago opened today and you might even be rocking out to Courtney Barnett or Sunflower Bean as I’m posting this. The Taste runs through Sunday, with national acts scheduled for each evening. Those shows will get some stiff competition because we’re heading into one of Chicago’s busiest weekends for entertainment. If you’re a tourist who’s scheduled a vacation based around Taste Of Chicago, you might want to consider these other options as well.

The annual Irish Fest takes place at the Irish American Heritage Center on Chicago’s north side. It’s three days of traditional and more rock-oriented live Irish music, dance, a bit of theater, food vendors, and even a traditional tea if you prefer that to Harp and Guinness. Acts scheduled to perform include Tupelo (be ready for some audience participation), the wild and funny Larkin and Moran Brothers, Rory Makem, and The Bagpipes and Drums of the Emerald Society Chicago Police Department.

If you’re cool with a trip to Arlington Heights, Soundtracks Of A Generation will present A 50th Anniversary Tribute To The Woodstock Era on Friday night at the Metropolis Performing Arts Center. The show will cover songs by Santana, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Jefferson Airplane.

The Roscoe Village Burger Fest takes place Saturday and Sunday at Belmont and Damen. Local bands performing include The Handcuffs, School Of Rock, JC Brooks, The Empty Pockets, Michael McDermott, and Cat Fight.

Son Volt, Camper Van Beethoven, and Cracker are the headline acts at this year’s Square Roots Festival being held in Lincoln Square this Saturday and Sunday. Local indie label Bloodshot Records will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary on Saturday with a Tribute To Andre Williams featuring The Mekons, Vandoliers, and Murder By Death. Other acts scheduled include Southern Culture On The Skids, Tommi Zender, Steve Dawson’s Funeral Bonsai Wedding and as the finale, a tribute to Stevie Nicks and Stevie Wonder. Be sure to visit the Laurie’s Planet Of Sound record store while you’re in the area.

You can wrap up this busy weekend by catching Steve Forbert at City Winery Chicago on Sunday night.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Incoming

Critically acclaimed Aussie singer-guitarist and free spirit Courtney Barnett kicks off this year’s Taste Of Chicago concert series tomorrow night on the Petrillo Music Shell. Barnett will likely be showcasing her latest release Tell Me How You Really Feel, which features offbeat but catchy, guitar-based tracks like “City Looks Pretty,” “Nameless, Faceless,” and “Crippling Self-Doubt And A General Lack Of Confidence.” It’s available in various formats via her own label Milk! Records. Sunflower Bean, an indie rock band that’s garnering attention with its Twentytwo In Blue album, will be her opening act. Taste of Chicago wraps up Sunday night an impressive double bill of rhythm and blues stars India.Arie and Meshell Ndegoecello.

The Long Grove Arts and Music Council has four events scheduled for the suburb’s 14th season of free Sunday afternoon outdoor concerts on Towner Green. Corky Siegel and Will Tilson will perform on July 14; followed by Creole Stomp on August 4; Sons Of The Never Wrong on August 11; and The Don Sternberg Quartet on August 18. All shows start at 4:00 p.m.

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Friday, July 5, 2019

The Unswept - Minor Blemishes

Leave it to those clever transplanted Brits of The Unswept to title their third full-length effort Minor Blemishes; as though these dozen tracks are somewhat inconvenient or embarrassing. Rather, the album brims with offbeat charm, chiming guitars, and infectious melodies. Founding members Charlie and Ryan O’Brien have lived in Chicago for a few years now but their power pop songs are still influenced by the 1960s British Invasion.

Much of Minor Blemishes concerns pining for or losing relationships, although the opening track “Sunshining” celebrates the simple pleasures (“paperbacks and cups of tea”) of sharing your life with the right person. Bassist-vocalist Liz O’Brien—I’m not how or if all the members are actually related—joins Charlie on the rollicking breakup song “I’m Still Here,” and provides spirited back-up singing throughout the album. Liz, Charlie, and Ryan combine their vocals on the Bob Dylan flavored “You Ain’t On My Mind,” and they nail the off-beat satire of The Bevis Frond’s “He’d Be A Diamond.”

“The Boy Who Wakes You Up” is simultaneously innocent and creepy, while “She Just Knows It’s Over” depicts a wife leaving her husband and kids because she’s bored with that lifestyle. “Brown Line” is another breakup song, as a couple decides to call it quits while commuting on the CTA. On a different note, the very Beatles-like “Fake It” deals with how difficult it can be just trying to survive the average workday.

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Thursday, July 4, 2019

4th Of July Barbecue

There will be no Slumgullion this week because I have to work tomorrow, and Pam and I are going to a neighborhood party in the evening. So here’s a Thursday night, 4th Of July Barbecue in its place. I hope everyone has a safe and fun celebration right through the weekend.

The 38th Annual American Music Festival continues through this Saturday at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn. Tomorrow and Saturday’s schedule includes Brave Combo; Tab Benoit; EXPO ’76; Girls Of The Golden West; Alejandro Escovedo; Marcia Ball; Terrance Simien and The Zydeco Experience; Amazing Heebie Jeebies; and The Iguanas.

Chicago Innerview continues its tradition of covering the city’s major rock events with the publication of its Know Before The Show issue devoted to Pitchfork Pitchfork Music Festival. I picked up a copy at the Reckless Records location downtown, but I’m sure copies are available in other local stores and venues. Pitchfork takes place July 19 – 21, with Mavis Staples, Haim, Low, The Isley Brothers, Belle and Sebastian, Stereolab, and Neneh Cherry among the acts scheduled.

The Petty Kings will be performing Tom Petty songs this Sunday, July 7 at the Mount Prospect Lions Club Festival and on July 12 at the 210 Live venue in Highwood.

The Handcuffs will be performing at 5:45 p.m. next Saturday on the Main Stage at the Roscoe Village Burger Fest. Sunday’s lineup includes The Empty Pockets at 3:30 p.m. and Michael McDermott at 6:00 p.m.

Steve Forbert will be performing at City Winery Chicago next Sunday, July 14. Sonny Landreth will be at that same venue on July 28.

Irish Fest returns to the Irish American Heritage Center on Chicago’s northwest side next weekend with a packed schedule of music, dance, comedy, merchandise, food vendors and a bit of theater. Baal Tinne: A Tribute To Noel Rice is sure to be a highlight—Rice was a founding member of this band and a respected teacher of Irish music. He passed away earlier this year. Other highlights include Tupelo (be ready for some audience participation), the wild and funny Larkin and Moran Brothers, Rory Makem, and The Bagpipes and Drums of the Emerald Society Chicago Police Department.

Son Volt, Camper Van Beethoven, and Cracker are the headline acts at the Square Roots Festival taking place next weekend in Lincoln Square. Chicago-based indie/roots rock label Bloodshot Records will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary as part of Square Roots on Saturday, July 13. Murder By Death, The Mekons, and The Vandoliers will take part in a tribute to the late Andre Williams. The Bloodshot All-Stars Band and other special guests will also be on hand.

The Kokandy Productions presentation of The Go-Go’s inspired musical Head Over Heels continues its run at Theatre Wit on Belmont Avenuet hrough August 25.

Former Hollies lead vocalist Allan Clarke is due to release the single “Journey Of Regret” next Friday, July 12. It’s from Clarke’s latest album, Resurgence, which is coming out on September 20.

Actress Ellie Kemper’s book My Squirrel Days came out in paperback this past Tuesday. Among other things, it covers her time on the TV shows The Office and The Unsinkable Kimmie Schmidt.

The Louder Than Words – Rock Politics Power exhibit continues its run at the Museum of Broadcast Communications through the end of August.

Wish me luck, part 2. Last Saturday, I attended the Writing Workshop Of Chicago event on Michigan Avenue and was able to pitch my YA/Paranormal/Romance/Rock and Roll novel to three literary agents. Each has given me the green light to submit the book for consideration.

In last Friday’s Slumgullion column, whilst mentioning Monty Python is celebrating its 50th birthday, I joked that if people drank enough of the official Monty Python’s Flying Circus IPA, they could end up talking like the TV show’s Gumby character. Now The Guardian is reporting the remaining five members of Monty Python are organizing a Guinness World Record-setting Gumby gathering on October 5. That’s the date my wife and Pam celebrate our wedding anniversary. There must be a way to combine these two momentous occasions.

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