Friday, March 29, 2019

Slumgullion

Congratulations to Roxy Music; Def Leppard; The Zombies; Janet Jackson; The Cure; Radiohead; and Stevie Nicks on being this year’s inductees to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. The ceremony is being held tonight in Brooklyn. One highlight will surely be when The Zombies are presented by Bangles vocalist-guitarist and lifelong British Invasion fan Susanna Hoffs. HBO will have an official broadcast on April 27.

Roxy Music’s eternally suave lead vocalist Bryan Ferry will bring his 2019 tour to our area for a show at the Chicago Theatre on August 1.

Tickets went on sale today for Andrew Bird with Madison Cunningham at the Chicago Theatre on July 16; and the Fleetwood Mac tribute act Tusk at City Winery Chicago on April 7.

Congratulations to my nephew Joe Flamm on his new modestly titled website Joe Flamm is just a chef from Chicago. The site covers how he won Top Chef Season 15 on the Bravo Channel; his current gig as the Executive Chef at Spiaggia; previous restaurants he’s worked at; his world travels; family; and friends.

Jenny Lewis will be showcasing songs from her new On The Line album at the Riviera Theatre tomorrow night. Peter Himmelman will be performing at The Old Town School Of Folk Music tomorrow night. His “Susan I Owe You An Apology” is one of the most poignant songs ever recorded about appreciating what you have in life. Other gigs coming up next week at that venue include Adrian Belew with special guest Saul Zonana on Thursday; and Marshall Crenshaw and The Bottle Rockets on Saturday.

A recently restored print of the 1968 BBC special The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus will be shown in select theaters next Monday through Wednesday. Chicago area theaters screening the event include the CMX Old Orchard Cinebistro in Skokie; Marcus Gurney Mills Cinema in Gurnee; and the Regal City North 14 in Chicago.

Mott The Hoople, with Ian Hunter, Morgan Fisher, and Ariel Bender onboard, will bring their ’74 Concert Tour to the Chicago Theatre next Wednesday, April 3. According to Joshua Miller’s full-page article in today’s Chicago Sun-Times, it’s the band’s first show here in 45 years, and one of the only eight cities it will play on its current American tour. The Chicago Tribune’s Gerg Kot also posted an interesting article about Mott The Hoople today.

Also on April 3, Robyn Hitchcock will be rocking tunes like “So You Think You’re In Love,” “Balloon Man,” and “Adventure Rocket Ship” at his sold out show at SPACE in Evanston. Later next week, Lily Hiatt, daughter of John, will be at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn on Friday.

Chris Jones reports in today’s Chicago Tribune that Four Chords and a Gun, a play about The Ramones working in the recording studio with Phil Spector, is coming to the Broadway Playhouse in Chicago on May 18.

Lifeline Theatre’s current staging of Frances Limoncelli’s adaptation of author Jon Scleszka and artist Lane Smith’s book The Time Warp Trio is running through April 20. Shows are at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. In between shows, kids can enjoy a production of Lifeline Theatre’s Stories Come Alive! series.

The next Rock ’N Roll Ala Mode karaoke event at Christie’s Dairy Delights in Palatine takes place next Wednesday night. There is a suggested donation of $10.

I had a fun time last Saturday at the C2E2 convention in McCormick Place and was able to hand a Broken Hearted Toy button to David Tennant of Doctor Who, Jenny Jones, and Broadchurch fame as we talked during an autograph session. He was extremely friendly and outgoing with all the fans. I mentioned how much I enjoyed his podcast with current Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker.

Fee Waybill will lead The Tubes into The Arcada in St. Charles next Friday night for a performance of the band’s The Completion Backward Principle album. Chicago-based power pop masters Off Broadway are the opening act that night.

I was sad to hear that The English Beat’s “Ranking Roger” Charlery has passed away. He and fellow vocalist Dave Wakeling provided powerful vocals to go with the band’s irresistible ska rhythms. I still remember the excitement of listening to The English Beat’s first album.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Incoming

The Social Act, one of the first local bands I interviewed as a cub reporter for the Illinois Entertainer, will be performing at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue on Friday, April 26. Soul Honey Records and Liz Toussaint will also be on the bill that night. Show time is 8:00 p.m. The Social Act founding member Ellis Clark was part of one of Chicago’s first punk bands, Epicycle, as well as the indie rock group The Handcuffs. He’s also a solo recording artist.

Great Moments In Vinyl, a rotating collective of local musicians who pay tribute to iconic albums, will be covering Paul Simon’s Graceland tomorrow night, March 28 at Martyrs’.

Lifeline Theatre’s current staging of Frances Limoncelli’s adaptation of author Jon Scleszka and artist Lane Smith’s book The Time Warp Trio is running through April 20. Shows are at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. In between shows, kids can enjoy a production of Lifeline Theatre’s Stories Come Alive! Series.

Acclaimed photographer Ethan Russell has a 244 page book titled Photographs: A Monograph available on KickStarter that’s already exceeded its $98,144 goal. His accomplishments include being the only photographer to have his work used on album covers by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. He’s also snapped iconic shots of The Who, Linda Ronstadt, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison. The Kickstarter perks range from a signed Thank You card and envelope including a grouped photograph of John Lennon, The Who, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for a $20 pledge, to the deluxe book (signed) and Clamshell; 30 x 40 platinum print of Keith Richards and other items for pledging $8,500.

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Friday, March 22, 2019

Slumgullion

Photo from the C2E2 Facebook page.

C2E2 has returned to the Chicago area for a weekend run at McCormick Place on the lakefront. This year’s celebrity guests include Paul Rudd, Ming-Na Wen, David Tennant, Dave Mustaine, Alicia Silverman, Colin Donnell, John Barrowman, Summer Glau, and Svengoolie, as well as several popular artists and writers. It’s like a huge Halloween party where fans dress up as their favorite heroes and villains, and you can buy action figures, posters, t-shirts, comic books graphic novels and all sorts of imaginative collector’s items.

Tickets went on sale today for Squeeze at Chicago Theatre on August 31; Roseanne Cash and Ry Cooder at Chicago Theatre on June 18; Flat Five at Hideout on June 2; Ben Harper and Innocent Criminals at Huntington Bank Pavilion on August 17; L7 at Metro on May 31; and NRBQ at Hideout on June 21 and 22.

Avant-garde alt rock band whitewolfsonicprincess will share a bill with post-punk/groovy jazz band Ex Maquina! at the Chimera Loft LLC in Evanston tomorrow night. Showtime is 7:00 p.m.

Penn and Teller will be bringing their astounding tricks and acerbic humor to The Chicago Theatre on November 8.

The Imperial Sound will be performing some new material tomorrow night at Montrose Saloon, along with those classy soul, jazz, and rock tunes from its stellar debut effort The New AM. And on a somehow related note, veteran rockers The New Duncan Imperials have a new EP titled Hunny Bunny coming out on April 6.

Stray Cats 40, the first album from The Stray Cats in 26 years, comes out May 24, and they’ll be starting an American tour that will not take them to Chicago, in August.

The Center Of Nowhere, a new documentary about the fertile but undiscovered music scene in Springfield, Missouri, will be screened on Thursday, April 4 at the Music Box Theatre on Chicago’s north side. The film, which was written and directed by veteran journalist Dave Hoekstra and co-produced with Jamie Ceaser, focuses on roots rock. The Skeletons, Brenda Lee, Dave Alvin, Robbie Fulks, Syd Straw, Merle haggard, and Jonathan Richman are among the acts featured.

Fastball, of “The Way” fame, recently played its first UK gig in 20 years, in London. The colorful gig poster depicts the wandering couple walking away from their broken-down car. I'd like a copy.

Durty Nellie’s has made a quick comeback after a fire severely damaged the Palatine music venue a few months ago. It wasn’t open in time for its annual St. Patrick’s Day bash, but upcoming events are already being scheduled, including Local H on June 14.

The Corky Siegel Chamber Blues with Lynne Jovdah takes place next Sunday, March 31 at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights.

The Chicago Philharmonic, led by composer and conductor Tom Nazziola, will provide a live soundtrack for a trio of vintage silent films at 4:00 p.m. this Sunday at the North Shore Center in Skokie. The Silent Sherlock event will present Buston Keaton’s Sherlock, Jr. as the main feature, along with Fadeaway with Koko the Clown and Sure-locked Holmes with Felix the Cat. Tickets range from $25 to $75.

Jenny Lewis will be performing songs from her latest album On The Line next Saturday night, March 30 at the Riviera Theatre on Chicago’s north side.

Great Moments In Vinyl, a rotating collective of local musicians who pay tribute to iconic albums, will be covering Paul Simon’s Graceland next Thursday, March 28 at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue.

Singer-guitarist Christopher David is an author as well as a member of the Chicago band Magatha Trysty and a prolific solo artist. His new, “hard R-rated” novel The Hook Slips is now available on Amazon.

Theatre Nebula’s production of the Duncan Sheik/Steven Sater musical Spring Awakening continues its run at Cutting Hall in Palatine through this weekend. Kevin Wiczer directs a cast of 13, with choreography by Kristine Burdi.

More exclusive vinyl releases have been added to this year’s Record Store Day list, including efforts by Peter Gabriel, Generation X, John Hiatt and his daughter Lily Hiatt, L7, and Queen. If you haven’t checked the official website in a while, it’s worth another look.

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Incoming

Sharon Van Etten will be at Lollapalooza. Photo from her Facebook page.

Tickets went on sale for Lollapalooza 2019 this past Tuesday and the official line-up was announced yesterday. Doing things in that order might sound backwards, but not in Lolla land. The annual summer festival always draws enough of the hottest names in popular music to make buying tickets blindly in advance worth the risk. This year, the acts include The Strokes, Sharon Van Etten, Tame Impala, Jade Bird, Janelle Monae, Kacey Musgraves, Fitz and The Tantrums, and Gary Clark Jr. The festival returns to Chicago an August 1 – 4 run in Grant Park.

Longtime Chicago area musicians Mike Cohen and Phil Angotti will be joining forces tomorrow night (3-22) at Wishbone North at 3300 N. Lincoln Avenue. Cohen promised on Facebook that “We’ll be singing some Everly-centric material,” which makes sense since he’s a member of the Everly Hillbillies tribute band. Angotti stated they’ll also be covering Buddy Holly and The Beatles. The show starts at 7:00 p.m.

The Zombies will be among the special guests at this year’s Fest For Beatles Fans - New York. It would be great if the newly inducted Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame band is also at Fest For Beatles Fans – Chicago, but I’m not counting on it. The Big Apple version sometimes gets cool things that the Midwest doesn’t, like a recreation of the Cavern Club a few years back.

The Imperial Sound will bring its classy blend of soul, jazz, and rock to Montrose Saloon this Saturday night. The band’s debut effort The New AM ranked as one of the best releases of 2018.

Here comes the son. Dhani Harrison, the only child of George and Olivia Harrison and a successful musician in his own right, has been named as the opening act of Jeff Lynne’s ELO Tour. Lynne was a member of The Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty. His ELO tour comes to Chicago at the United Center on July 27.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Doctor Doctor—Almost

Somewhere in the Brokenhearted Toy archives there’s another Doctor Who-related post named Doctor Doctor. It explores how David Tennant, then the current actor playing the lead role in the long-running British sci-fi series, was being called the best Doctor since the legendary Tom Baker. When Tennant later announced he was leaving the show, it was hard to see how anyone could follow him.

Luckily, his successor Matt Smith would bring his own distinctive style, and become a social media sensation, along with The Ponds, played by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darville. Smith’s take on The Doctor was as different from Tennant’s as Tennant’s was from Baker’s, and yet it was easy to believe that all three were the same character. Smith and Tennant generated great chemistry when they joined forces on the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who Special Day Of The Doctor.

Both actors have gone on to successful roles in films and television. Tennant has appeared in the Jessica Jones series and starred in British and American versions of the mystery drama Broadchurch. More recently, he portrayed religious fanatic John Knox in the Mary Queen Of Scots movie. He now has a podcast where he’s chatted with the current Doctor Jodie Whittaker and his former companion on the show, Catherine Tate, as well as celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg. Matt Smith has portrayed Prince Philip in The Crown, and also played avant garde photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the indie film Mapplethorpe.

If all had gone as scheduled, fans attending C2E2 at McCormick Place in Chicago this weekend would have been in for a treat because Smith and Tennant were among the celebrity guests. Unfortunately, I just discovered tonight that Smith has cancelled, so their joint photo op session and panel discussion will have to wait for another time and place.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Nash Pays Homage To ‘The Other Kids’ While Doing Fine Without Them

Photo of Shane Fontayne (left) and Graham Nash from Nash’s Facebook page.

Before Graham Nash was even half way through his performance this past Sunday night at the Athenaeum Theatre, some guy yelled a request for “Chicago.”

“Do you think I’d come to this city and not play that song?” Nash asked. “Patience, my dear.”

While it was obvious he would save “Chicago” for almost last, the rest of the concert was not as predictable. Nash was once again joined by Shane Fontayne, a versatile guitarist-vocalist who’s also toured with Sting and Bruce Springsteen, but unlike his other recent shows in our area, there was a third party on stage. Keyboards player-vocalist Todd Caldwell is also a familiar companion for Nash, having toured with Crosby, Stills and Nash in the past.

Caldwell and Fontayne enabled Nash to recreate the three part harmonies he perfected with his supergroup mates, whom he described at one point during the show as, “the other kids.” “Marrakesh Express,” “Pre-road Downs,” “Wasted On The Way,” and the rarely performed “Carried Away” were delivered with impeccable singing. They also pulled off a spirited version of Stills’ “Love The One You’re With” as well as his breathtaking “Find The Cost Of Freedom.” That was followed immediately by Neil Young’s “Ohio,” which was driven by Fontayne’s ferocious strumming and climaxed with Nash leading the crowd in a chant of, “Four dead in Ohio.”

Fontayne also added extra power to “Wind On The Water,” “Cathedral,” and “I Used To Be A King.” The quieter moments came on “Golden Days” from Nash’s 2016 solo effort This Path Tonight, “Simple Man,” and “Sleep Song.” Nash mentioned the recent Joni 75 all-star birthday concert (and upcoming film) for Joni Mitchell while introducing his exquisite love song to her, “Our House.” There was only one Hollies song this time out, a well-crafted take on “Bus Stop.” I’d still love to see Nash come to terms with the Hollies portion of his career, perhaps devoting an entire concert or album to reworked versions of his best material with them.

As for “Chicago,” it served as a rousing first encore, bringing the crowd to its feet to sing along on, “We can change the world.” After a gorgeous rendition of Buddy Holly’s “Everyday,” Nash had everyone joining in again on “Teach Your Children,” which he dedicated to the high school activists campaigning to end gun violence.

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Monday, March 18, 2019

Incoming

All three original members of The Stray Cats will kick off a 40th Anniversary Tour on June 21 and will continue through August 31. Brian Setzer, Slim Jim Phantom, and Lee Rocker don’t land on American soil until an August 3 date in Atlantic City NJ, and they’ll follow that with stops in New York City; Vienna, VA; Huber Heights, OH; Grand Rapids, MI; Welch, MN; Salt Lake City, UT, and San Diego and Los Angeles in CA. Hard to imagine why Chicago isn’t included. At least we’ll be able to buy the new album The Stray Cats have recorded—their first in 26 years. Stray Cats 40 comes out May 24.

Phil Angotti, one of Chicago’s best tribute acts, will be joining fellow musician (and presumably fellow Beatles fan) John Bowes for some ‘70s McCartney tunes tomorrow night (March 19) at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. The rock show starts at eight, so don’t be late. In previous shows, Angotti has honored The Beatles, Elvis Costello, The Zombies, The Kinks, and other acts.

Lollapalooza 2019 tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. and there’s a good chance they’ll sell out almost immediately again without any of the performing acts being named. We do know there will be over 170 acts performing on eight different stages. This year’s event runs August 1 through August 4.

Tickets go on sale this Friday morning for The Squeeze Songbook 2019 show at the Chicago Theatre on August 31. Other cities on the U.S. tour include New York, Dallas, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. It looks like it’s being billed as The Difford And Tilbrook Songbook for the European dates later in the fall. By either name, it’s bound to be a great time.

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Slumgullion

First, a hearty welcome to Graham Nash, who’s in town for a concert this Sunday night at The Athenaeum Theatre on Chicago’s north side. It’s a benefit for the Old Town School Of Folk Music’s music education programs. He’ll be performing songs from his entire career, with help from guitarist-vocalist Shane Fontayne and keyboards player-vocalist Todd Caldwell.

St. Patricks’s Day is this Sunday but the entire weekend will be filled with celebrations around town. The Irish American Heritage center on Chicago’s northwest side will be rocking Saturday with live music, dance, food and drinks, children’s activities, an art gallery and more from 1:00 p.m. to midnight.

Singer-songwriter William Steffey has a release party tonight for his latest solo effort Reality Jockey at the Esquina venue at 4602 N. Western in Chicago. The album is available on CD, vinyl, and digital.

How soon will Morrissey be performing at the Ravinia Festival? Pretty close to now. He’s one of the recently announced artists scheduled for the summer-long series of outdoor concerts in Highland Park, IL. Ringo Starr and his AllStar Band will share a double bill with The Beach Boys, and other shows include Sting; Ramsey Lewis; Sarah McLachlan; John Prine; Buddy Guy with Blues Traveler and Shemekia Copeland; Tony Bennett; and Lyle Lovett and his Large Band.

Speaking of Morrissey, he also has a run on Broadway coming up at the beginning of May, and a new album called California Son that features him covering songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Season EIGHT of Asian Pop-Up Cinema is underway, and will feature contemporary Asian films with English subtitles at AMC River East 21 and a few other locations through April 24.

The 22nd Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival runs through April 4 at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The Jewish Film Festival runs through this Sunday March 17, with screenings at various venues, including Arclight Cinema, Cinemark, and Music Box Theatre.

Girl with the guitar says all right for British Invasion band. The Zombies have announced on social media Susanna Hoffs will present them when they’re inducted into the The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on March 29. Hoffs is a perfect choice considering the major influence bands like The Zombies, The Beatles, and The Hollies have had on The Bangles. By the way, my opening sentence to this bit is a reference to Michael Quercio’s “Girl With The Guitar” with The Three O’Clock. It’s said to be a tribute to Hoffs.

The Juliana Hatfield Three has a spring tour coming up in support of her new album Weird that kicks off with four dates in the U.K. before moving on to America. The stateside gigs include a double bill with Liz Phair at the Out Of Space 2019 event presented by SPACE and Temperance Beer Company in Evanston, IL on June 22. The Juliana Hatfield Three will also be in Evanston on June 20 for a solo show at Out Of Space 2019.

According to a Brad Elvis Facebook post, The Handcuffs have just a few more recording sessions to go before they’ll be ready to mix their next album. Looking forward to it.

Theatre Nebula’s production of the Duncan Sheik/Steven Sater musical Spring Awakening hcontinues its run at Cutting Hall in Palatine through March 24.

The Chicago Philharmonic, led by composer and conductor Tom Nazziola, will provide a live soundtrack for a trio of vintage silent films at 4:00 p.m. on March 24 at the North Shore Center in Skokie. The Silent Sherlock event will present Buston Keaton’s Sherlock, Jr. as the main feature, along with Fadeaway with Koko the Clown and Sure-locked Holmes with Felix the Cat.

Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy has gig coming up next Friday at The Vic on Chicago’s north side.

Cinema/Chicago will present the CINEYOUTH FESTIVAL featuring young filmmakers from around the world from April 26 through 28 at Music Box Theatre on Southport

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

He Comes To Chicago As He Pleases

Graham Nash has been a regular visitor to the Chicago area over the past few years. He’s performed at The Arcada in St. Charles, City Winery Chicago, and The Old Town School of Folk Music, as well as a gig in Skokie that was the only one of his recent tours I missed. His show coming up this Sunday at the Athenaeum Theatre on Chicago’s north side is a benefit for the Old Town School Of Folk Music’s music education programs. According to an article in the Asbury Park Press by Alex Biese (and linked to Nash’s official Facebook page), his current touring band consists of guitarist-vocalist Shane Fontayne and keyboards player-vocalist Todd Caldwell.

Nash has already formed a musical bond with Fontayne, a veteran of tours with Sting and Bruce Springsteen. He and Fontayne crafted gorgeous harmonies together on the concerts mentioned above, and they also write songs together. Caldwell’s resume includes working with Crosby, Stills and Nash. It seems likely the addition of a third player will improve the already impressive team of Nash and Fontayne. This Sunday’s show will be a couple hours long, with an intermission dividing two separate sets. Nash has been including a few Hollies songs in his shows during the past few years, and it would be great to hear him delve even deeper into the earliest days of his stellar career.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Incoming

Singer-songwriter William Steffey’s 12th solo album Reality Jockey is now available on CD, vinyl, and digital. He has a release party coming up this Friday at the Esquina venue at 4602 N. Western in Chicago. Admission is free and there will be food, drinks, and a raffle. In my review of a previous Steffey effort, Love And Armageddon, I praised the well-crafted pop of “This Show Must Go On” and noted that “Had To Pay” brings to mind Chris Stamey and Crowded House.

New York alt rock veteran Karen Haglof has just released her third solo effort, a 14 track album titled Tobiano. Mitch Easter of Let’s Active fame and Peter Holsapple from The dB’s are among the guest musicians, and Easter mixed the album. Bassist-backing vocalist Steve Almaas played throughout Tobiano and served as producer; CP Roth played drums and piano. As on her 2016 effort Perseverance and Grace, Haglof takes an off-kilter but inviting approach to melodic roots rock songs. I’m hoping to do a more extensive review in the future.

Chicago-based indie Preserve Records is presenting a label showcase at Montrose Saloon next Monday night starting at 8:00 p.m. Friends Of The Bog, the folk-oriented band that played a huge role in creating Preserve Records a little over a year ago, will be performing. Nire Nah, Hal Baum, Pontac, Vender and The Cobras, and To Do List are also scheduled to play at this free event.

As reported by Chris Jones in a recent edition of the Chicago Tribune, a Cubs musical titled Miracle - A Musical 108 Years In The Making is coming soon to the Royal George Theatre at 1641 N. Halsted Avenue. According to lead producer William Marovitz, Miracle celebrates the relief and exuberance long-time fans felt when the Cubs won the World Series in 2016. Judging from the drunken Cubs fans I’ve seen stumbling onto the Metra Northwest line at the Irving Park stop on summer nights, A Musical 108 Beers In The Making might be a more apt subtitle. Seriously, this does sound like a fun show, especially since the Cubs have agreed to allow Marovitz to use official footage from the team’s championship year.

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Friday, March 8, 2019

Slumgullion

The schedule for International Pop Overthrow - Chicago is now online at the official IPO website. A number of favorites will be returning, including Enuff Z’nuff, Jeremy, Magnaphonic, King Mixer, The Webstirs, Three Hour Tour, Michael Steven Cohen, Van Go, Thrift Store Halo, The Collectors, The Unswept, Mike Vanderbilt, Rose Cora Perry And The Truth Untold, The Queue, The Spindles, The Red Wigglers, Dave Rave, Catherine Tecktiel from Magatha Trysty, The Jay Goeppner Band, Rob Schultz Band, The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, The Injured Parties, The Artist Formally Known As Vince, and Scott Niekelski from Go Time. IPO - Chicago takes place at the LiveWire venue on Milwaukee Avenue this year and runs from April 12 through April 20.

Tickets went on sale today for Dave Mason at City Winery Chicago on August 13 and 14; and Smashing Pumpkins and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park on August 15.

Singer-guitarist Ani DiFranco will be discussing her new book No Walls and the Recurring Dream with rock critic/author Jessica Hopper at Everybody’s Coffee in Chicago’s Uptown Neighborhood on May 10. The tour will also include stops in New York; Boston; Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles.

SXSW kicked of today and will offer live music, conferences, and film screenings at various venues around Austin, Texas through March 17.

I was sad to see on social media that Sara Romweber from Let’s Active has passed away from cancer. The trio emerged in the early 1980s with spirited coed vocals and irresistible power pop songs that included the FM radio hit “Every Word Means No.” Singer-guitarist Mitch Easter is now the only remaining member; bassist-vocalist Faye Hunter left us in 2013. I still have all of their albums.

He comes to Chicago as he pleases. Graham Nash is getting to be a regular visitor here, with a number of concerts in town over the past few years. I’ve seen him at The Arcada in St. Charles, City Winery Chicago, and the Old Town School Of Folk Music. His concert next Sunday, March 17 at The Athenaeum Theatre is a benefit for the Old Town School Of Folk Music’s music education programs.

Local bands Sonia Dada; The Way Moves; Nicholas Tremulis and The Prodical 9; and Dick Holiday and The Bamboo Gang join host WXRT air personality Lin Brehmer for Kocour Fest – A Celebration of the Life of Steve Kocour this Monday, March 11 at Metro. Kocour was a highly regarded and popular sound/lighting expert and teacher who worked with several bans in the Chicago area.

I had never heard of Peter Capaldi before his terrific portrayal of The Doctor on Doctor Who, and now that I’m following him on social media, I’d like to be in a comedy group with him.

The One Earth Film Festival continues to screen environmentally friendly films throughout the Chicago area through March 10. See the official website for times and locations. The 22nd Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival opened today at the Gene Siskel Film Center and runs through April 4. The Jewish Film Festival runs through March 17, with screenings at various venues, including Arclight Cinema, Cinemark, and Music Box Theatre.

Looks like I’m not the only one who writes rock and roll fiction. Pete Townshend, whose rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia were packed with drama, humor, and vivid characters, has a novel titled Age Of Anxiety coming out in November. Reportedly, it’s about his generation and the music industry in general.

As reported by Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune and Stefano Esposito in the Chicago Sun-Times, Steppenwolf Theatre is getting a $54 million upgrade. The additions include a 400-seat theater-in-the-round and an education center. The highly acclaimed Steppenwolf was the starting point for John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, and Laurie Metcalf.

Theatre Nebula’s production of the Duncan Sheik/Steven Sater musical Spring Awakening has begun its run at Cutting Hall in Palatine and will continue through March 24. Kevin Wiczer directs a cast of 13, with choreography by Kristine Burdi.

Also in Palatine, Christie’s Dairy Delights in downtown Palatine will present its next Rock ‘N Roll Ala Mode open mic event on March 13.

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Official Release: Various Artists - 3X4

The concept behind 3X4 was to reignite the psychedelic atmosphere and catchy songs of the early 1980s Paisley Underground by bringing together some of the era’s best-known participants. The album was released last November as part of the Black Friday Record Store Day limited vinyl editions, but was recently given an official release. The curveball here is that the four major players from that Los Angeles scene recorded new versions of each other’s vintage songs.

The Bangles are the best known of the acts involved, but don’t expect anything resembling “Eternal Flame.” This is the band as their true fans know them; mixing 1960s pop and garage rock with lush harmonies and strong melodies. The Three O’Clock, The Dream Syndicate, and Rain Parade follow the same blueprint, and like The Bangles, they sound like they’re having a blast on 3X4. After all, this is music they’ve known and loved for decades.

The Dream Syndicate’s Steve Wynn states in the extensive liner notes that he wanted his band’s new version of The Salvation Army (a precursor of The Three O’Clock) song “She Turns To Flowers” to capture the original’s “beautiful chaos,” and the result is a mind-bending gem. The Bangles’ exotic take on Rain Parade’s “Talking In My Sleep” features tabla playing from guest musician Meena Makhijani, and The Three O’Clock capture the lilting arrangement of The Dream Syndicate’s psychedelic “What She’s Done To Your Mind.”

Rain Parade slows the tempo a bit on The Bangles’ romantic “The Real World,” giving it a delicate beauty as well as ringing guitars. But the best example of how well 3X4 works comes on The Dream Syndicate’s guitar-fueled take on The Bangles’ first hit “Hero Takes A Fall,” which features Linda Pitmon and Bangle Vicki Peterson supporting Steve Wynn on backing vocals. Here’s hoping we’ll hear more collaborations from these for bands and even a tour.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Incoming

Photo from John Fogerty's Facebook page.

Put him in, Coach, he’s ready to play. John Fogerty’s 50 Year Trip tour will bring the Creedence Clearwater Revival founding member to The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana this Friday night. He’ll be performing classic CCR swamp rock songs like “Bad Moon Rising,” “Born On The Bayou,” and “Green River,” as well as his solo hits like “Centerfield” and “Rock And Roll Girls.” Tickets range from $64.50 to $94.50.

Fogerty will take his 50 Year Trip to The Wynn in Las Vegas from April 10 through 20. A post on his Facebook page states, “Can’t wait to share stories and celebrate my songs and career with you. We are even going to play the entire Woodstock set.” CCR fans that live in the Chicago area and can’t make it to Nevada, might consider checking out the Green River Revival tribute band at the Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Heights on April 13.

Leeds/Chicago legendary punk band Mekons are having a listening party for Deserted, their first album in nine years, tomorrow night at Delilah’s on Lincoln Avenue. There will also be DJ sets by Bloodshot Scott and Mekons member Jon Langford. The party starts at 9:00 p.m. and there is no cover charge. Deserted officially drops on March 29.

Former Doctor Who and Penny Dreadful cast member Billie Piper will be among the guests at this year’s Lexington Comic and Toy Con in Lexinton, KY coming March 21 – 24. Along with Christopher Eccleston (as The Doctor) Piper ensured the Doctor Who reboot was a smashing success.

The 8th Annual One Earth Film Festival continues to screen environmentally friendly films throughout the Chicago area through March 10. See the official website for times and locations.

The Chicago Philharmonic, led by composer and conductor Tom Nazziola, will provide a live soundtrack for a trio of vintage silent films at 4:00 p.m. on March 24 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. The Silent Sherlock event will present Buston Keaton’s Sherlock, Jr. as the main feature, along with Fadeaway with Koko the Clown and Sure-locked Holmes with Felix the Cat.

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Friday, March 1, 2019

Slumgullion

Everyone loves you when you rock. Van Go, the Chicago band with an impressive track record of putting hard-edged power pop songs with barbed lyrics on its albums, has a gig tomorrow night at The Gallery Cabaret in the Bucktown neighborhood. Everyone Loves You When You’re Gone, the latest release from Van Go, has turned up on a lot of blogs as one of the top albums of 2018. Eclectic rockers Red Wigglers are also on the bill.

March has arrived, bringing more hours of daylight, warmer temperatures, and lots of entertainment. Here are some of the events going on this month: Graham Nash at The Athenaeum Theatre on March 17; Jeff Tweedy at The Vic on March 22; C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) at McCormick Place on the weekend of March 22–24; Old 97’s at Thalia Hall on March 28; and Jenny Lewis at the Riviera Theatre on March 30.

New albums due out this month include Still On My Mind by Dido next Friday; Lux Prima by Karen O and Danger Mouse and a self-titled effort from Brian Jonestown Massacre on April 15; My Finest Work by Andrew Bird and On The Line by Jenny Lewis on March 22; and Happy Now by Gang Of Four, You’re The Man by Marvin Gaye, and Deserted by The Mekons on March 29.

The above information comes from this month’s Illinois Entertainer, which also includes writer Tom Lanham’s interview with Suzi Quatro about No Control, the new album she has coming out later this month.

The Chicago Irish Film Festival, marking its 20th anniversary of “Celebraring Films From The Land Of Storytelling,” opened today and will run through Sunday. Films will be screened at Theater on the Lake, The Logan Theatre, and Gallery Theatre.

Singer-songwriter Dimitri Martin’s Wandering Mind Tour brings him to The Vic Theatre in Chicago tomorrow night. He’s sold out the 7:30 p.m. show but tickets are still available for the 10:00 p.m. show.

Mapplethorpe, Ondi Timoner’s 2018 “fictionalized biopic” of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe starring Matt Smith of Doctor Who and The Crown, had its first Chicago showing at the Gene Siskel Film Center tonight. It runs through March 7. Smith will be at this year’s C2E2 at McCormick Place later this month, along with fellow Doctor Who stars David Tennant and John Barrowman.

Tickets went on sale today for two shows by Robbie Fulks at the Evanston History Center on May 19; Smoking Popes ar Bottom Lounge on May 10 and 11; and Al Stewart at City Winery Chicago on June 3.

The 22nd Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival starts next Friday at the Gene Siskel Film Center and runs through April 4.

Local bands Sonia Dada; The Way Moves; Nicholas Tremulis and The Prodical 9; and Dick Holiday and The Bamboo Gang join host WXRT air personality Lin Brehmer for Kocour Fest – A Celebration of the Life of Steve Kocour on March 11 at Metro. Kocour was a highly regarded and popular sound/lighting expert and teacher who worked with several bans in the Chicago area.

Christie’s Dairy Delights in Palatine will have its first Creative Tribal Collab of from 7:00 p.m to 9:00 p.m March next Friday. Musicians, poets, and comedians are encouraged to arrive early if they want to participate in the open mic event.

If you missed Off Broadway at Reggies Rock Club last Saturday, you’ll have another chance to see them when they open for The Tubes at The Arcada in St. Charles on April 4.

I took my weekly after-work trip to downtown Chicago today to check on the Reckless Records on Madison. The staff is always hip and friendly, and the 45 RPM records bin has an ever-changing selection of picture sleeves. I picked up a copy of the David Bowie/Pat Metheny Group song “This Is Not America” from the movie The Falcon And The Snowman.

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