Thursday, April 18, 2019

IPO - Friday On My Mind

International Pop Overthrow – Chicago wraps up its 2019 visit this weekend at LiveWire on Milwaukee Avenue, with 18 bands scheduled over one showcase on Friday night and two on Saturday. It’s the first year IPO has been staged at LiveWire, and the venue has proved to be a good fit. I’ve enjoyed early sets by Magnaphonic, Van Go, and Michael Steven Cohen (knowing I have to be up at 5:00 a.m. for work keeps me from staying late), and there are still a number of good acts  to check out.

Tomorrow night’s event kicks off at 8:00 p.m with Waiflike, a Chicago garage rock band led by Richard Neal. Those delightful British imports The Unswept will be showcasing catchy songs from their brand new album Minor Blemishes, as well as previous releases. IPO veterans Collectors will be playing “expertly crafted Brit influenced indie rock” led by vocalist-guitarist Michael Mazza. The Spindles, another act with plenty of IPO experience, have several first-rate songs they could perform from their 2018 album Past and Present, including a ringing cover of The Hollies’ “Look Through Any Window.” Thrift Store Halo has been racking up airtime on indie radio with songs from their 2017 Pop-Rocket album, and they have the five-song EP Consolation Prize Fighter coming out soon. Friday night’s showcase ends with a set by Madison, WI quartet BingBong, who be playing “rock that’s poppin’” according to their Facebook page.

Check the International Pop Overthrow website for links to most of the above mentioned acts, as well as for both of Saturday showcases.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Incoming:

Photo from Mike Vanderbilt’s Facebook page.

First Fling, the latest installment of CHIRP Radio’s The First Time Stories and Songs series takes place this Wednesday night at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. Host Jenn Sodini will be joined by six participants from Chicago’s entertainment scene who are willing to reminisce about their first secret crush or romantic encounter. The storytellers this time out are writer-comedian and host of the Vocalo urban alternative radio program Jill Hopkins; actress-writer and founder of the Tellin’ Tales Theatre company Tekki Lomnicki; singer-songwriter Danielle Sines from the Impulsive Hearts band; Ellen Mayer, co-author of the Girl, I Guess: Progressive Voter Guide For Chicago; comedian Tyler Snodgrass; and CHIRP DJ Roberto Luzuriaga. The critically acclaimed power pop band Frisbie will perform a song to augment each participant’s tale. Admission is $10, the flinging starts at 8:00 p.m.

I’ve already posted the lineups for tonight and tomorrow night’s International Pop Overthrow showcases at the LiveWire venue on Milwaukee Avenue, and there are a lot good bands to enjoy. Wednesday night opens with Youngstown, Ohio singer-songwriter Johnny Stanec at 8:00 p.m., followed by singer Andrew Robert Palmer, who describes himself on Bandcamp as “a regular guy doing a very small thing.” The other acts Wednesday night are the power pop band Phil Yates and The Affiliates; “intergalactic experimental performance artist” Leisure McCorkle; and the veteran IPO power pop band Rollo Time.

Thursday night’s International Pop Overthrow opens with indie rocker Aaron Williams; and also features Go Time lead vocalist Scott Niekelski, whose band just released another solid album. Chicago power pop band Treeshakers (who list The Hollies and Pezband among their influences) will be on hand; as well as the always fun and energetic The Artist Formally Known As Vince band; and IPO veteran/musician/comedy writer Mike Vanderbilt and The Suburban Garage Sound. See the official International Pop Overthrow website for links to all of the above artists, as well as the full schedule through April 20. 

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday Papers

Today’s Chicago Tribune offers two takes on the new film Industrial Accident: The Story Of Wax Trax! Records. Jessi Roti’s account centers on the relationship store and indie label owners Dannie Flesher and Jim Nash forged with the city’s gay community via music, while Greg Kot covers the duo’s ability to recognize raw talent and break punk, industrial and new wave artists. The movie was screened last night in Chicago as part of Record Store Day and will be shown in Brooklyn, Toronto, Austin, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in the next two weeks. I still have fond memories of dropping by the Wax Trax! store on Lincoln Avenue on a weekly basis when I lived in the Clark and Fullerton area.

Today’s edition of the Chicago Sun-Times has a report by staff writer Miriam Di Nunzio on this year’s Chicago Blues Festival. The event runs June 7 – June 9 in Millennium Park and will include performances by Charlie Musselwhite with Billy Boy Arnold; Bobby Rush; Mojo Morganfield and Then Mannish Boyz; The Kinsey Report; Bettye LeVette; and Jesse “Guitar” Robinson.

Here’s hoping everyone who ventured out for Record Store Day came home with at least a few of the items on their wish lists. I bought everything I wanted at the Reckless Records location on Madison downtown, and as always, the staff was highly efficient and friendly. So, here’s what I brought home: So Fine - The Warner Bros. Rarities double album by Badfinger; Poppies - Assorted Finery From the First Psychedelic Age, a collection of various artists from the late 1960s; Where The Action Is! - Los Angeles Nuggets, also from the ’60s but featuring better-known acts like Buffalo Springfield, The Doors, The Association, The Electric Prunes, and The Monkees; the “Bohemian Rhapsody”/“I’m In Love With My Car” seven-inch single by Queen on colored vinyl: the 10-inch live recording of “She’s A Rainbow” by The Rolling Stones on colored vinyl; and the double seven-inch single of “Message In A Bottle” by The Police. I also picked up a non-RSD blue vinyl release of Blue Music by local heroes Sunshine Boys while I was watching their performance at Bric A Brac Records.

I bought a copy of the latest issue of Streetwise after checking out Laurie’s Planet Of Sound with some friends on Lincoln Avenue yesterday. It’s a special concert guide edition listing several upcoming shows in the Chicago area. Be sure to pick up a copy from your local Streetwise vendor.

Here’s a toast to all the people going to International Pop Oversnow at LiveWire tonight. Don’t let five inches of snow keep you from seeing some worthy bands. I gave a brief preview of the showcase in my Friday blog. Monday night’s International Pop Overthrow showcase starts with Van Go, a long-time Chicago band whose latest album Everyone Loves You When You’re Gone offers its trademark hard-edged power pop and acerbic lyrics. The world-traveling and always impressive Dave Rave will be joined by Toronto-based multi-genre vocalist Hailee Rose. She loves cats, so undoubtedly she’s cool. Eccentric Chicago rockers The Red Wigglers; the quirky Atlanta-based coed duo Pelicans and Their Allies; and the Greenbrier, TN punk duo I Am Spartacus are also scheduled to perform.

Michael Steven Cohen, a veteran of The Abbeys, Pop Dollys, and Everly Hillbillies, will get International Pop Overthrow going with a solo spot on Tuesday; followed by self-proclaimed, “power pop/rock’n’roll wonder boy” Troy Anderson and his band. Other acts on the bill are the politically-charged and always catchy Rob Schultz Band; The Webstirs, one of Chicago’s best and most adventurous power pop acts; and indie rock/power pop band Drew Neely and The Heroes. Check out the official IPO website for links to all of the above acts, and the full schedule through May 20 at LiveWire.

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Slumgullion

See these guys perform some of the best songs of 2018 at RSD tomorrow.
Photo from the Sunshine Boys Facebook page

Tomorrow is Record Store Day around the world. Best of luck to everyone who’s getting up early to hunt down those one-day-only vinyl releases. Be sure to hang out at your favorite store and celebrate.

Here’s another option to go with yesterday’s post about RSD in-store entertainment in the Chicago area. Bric-A-Brac Records on Diversey will have a 3:00 p.m. live performance by Sunshine Boys, whose Blue Music album was one of 2018’s best releases. Ethers; The Weekend Run Club; Roy Kinsey; Usurfruct; and Surly will also be performing; and the Lost Lake DJs—Sonoroma Chicago, Tim Kinsella, Jenny Pulse, and Jessie Oleson—will be spinning records.

Laurie’s Planet Of Sound has been been my favorite RSD celebrating spots for years, and even though I’m disappointed they’re not having live bands tomorrow, I have faith that the DJs picked by management will be rocking the place. Those DJs are: the single-named employee and WNUR air personality Lou; Melissa “DJ Tainted Love” from BLVD Records/Logan Arcade; rocker and ex-employee Alex White; store owner John Laurie; and employee and Late Bar resident Samorama.

WXRT will be playing albums sides on vinyl tomorrow in honor of Record Store Day. The spins kick off immediately after Saturday Morning Flashback. Longtime XRT listeners will no doubt remember the days when pretty much all the music on the progressive rock station flowed from turntables (and sometimes skipped or got stuck.)

International Pop Overthrow kicks off tonight at 8:00 p.m. at the LiveWire venue on Milwaukee Avenue. Catherine Tecktiel from Magatha Trysty; Magnaphonic; Too Much Saturn; King Mixer (AKA Eric Howell); Gal Gun; and Reaction are scheduled to perform.

The Saturday afternoon showcase features psychedelic guitar slinger Jeremy Morris; Blameless Lake; The Pickpockets; The Francos; Canadian alt rockers Rosa Cora Perry and The Truth Untold; and Kontrolled Kaos. Saturday night’s showcase offers The Jay Goeppner Band; The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club; Enuff Z’nuff; Steve Ramone and The Pensioners; Beyond; and Athanor.

The IPO showcase on Sunday starts at 8:00 p.m. with the acoustic pop/alt rock duo Almond and Olive. The other acts performing that night are indie rock singer-guitarist Christopher Elam; indie pop/rock quartet Arwin; power pop vocalist-guitarist Mark Watson; and the alt rock/grunge trio The Red Moons

Check the International Pop Overthrow website links to most of the above mentioned acts, as well as the entire schedule through Saturday, April 20.

The power pop band Go Time are IPO veterans but they won’t be at LiveWire tomorrow night. They have record release show for their latest effort Midway at Silvie’s on Irving Park Road. Midway finds these guys in top form with hard-hitting, guitar-powered arrangements and Scott Niekelski’s distinctive vocal delivery.

Boston-based alt rock band Guster will be playing “Satellite” and other hits at the Riviera Theatre tomorrow night as part of its Look Alive World Tour Of Most Of America And Parts Of Southern Canada itinerary. It’s a WXRT show.

Chicago area supergroup and amazing vocalists The Flat Five have sold out their show tonight at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights, their show tomorrow night at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn, and even an October 9 show in Wisconsin.

The Chicago Filmmakers Spring Screenings series continues on April 27 with CFA Out Of The Vault: How We Work, an assortment of short films from the 1970s and ‘80s selected by Abigail Child, Loretta Smith, and JoAnn Elam. The focus will be on women in the workforce. Loretta Smith is expected to attend. On May 4, Michael Glover Smith’s acclaimed film Rendezvous In Chicago will be screened.

Upcoming concerts in April include Dave Davies of The Kinks at SPACE in Evanston in a sold out show on April 20 and at City Winery Chicago on April 21; Graham Parker at City Winery Chicago on April 18; and Todd Rundgren at the Athenaeum Theatre on April 23.

Lifeline Theatre’s current staging of Frances Limoncelli’s adaptation of author Jon Scleszka and artist Lane Smith’s book The Time Warp Trio continues its run through April 20. Shows are at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

RSD AND IPO - In The Know

The 12th Annual Record Store Day takes place around the world this Saturday, and various stores in the Chicago area will be offering a party atmosphere along with stacks of exclusive vinyl. International Pop Overthrow returns to Chicago on Friday night for the first of 12 showcases scheduled through May 20. On Saturday, local music fans might have some tough decisions to make regarding RSD festivities and an afternoon IPO showcase.

International Pop Overthrow festivals are staged in cities in America, Canada, and Europe on an annual basis. For the most part, CFO/Founder David Bash books local acts in each city but out-of-town guests are not unusual. This year, the Chicago festival is being held at the LiveWire venue at Milwaukee Avenue. Catherine Tecktiel from Magatha Trysty kicks things off Friday at 8:00 p.m. Magnaphonic, led by vocalist Marianne Galassini and bassist-vocalist Mike Galassini, has been MIA on the local scene for a few years, so it will be great to see them back on stage playing their irresistible power pop. Too Much Saturn and King Mixer (AKA Eric Howell) are well-regarded IPO veterans, and the other local bands scheduled for Friday night are Gal Gun and Reaction.

The Saturday afternoon showcase is the one that competes with the Record Store Day events. It climaxes with psychedelic guitar slinger Jeremy Morris performing songs from his numerous albums. Prior to his 5:45 set, there will shows by Blameless Lake; The Pickpockets; The Francos; Canadian alt rockers Rosa Cora Perry and The Truth Untold; and Kontrolled Kaos.

Saturday night’s showcase closes with three top notch acts—The Jay Goeppner Band; The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club; and Enuff Z’nuff. Prior to them, there are three bands I’m not familiar with—Steve Ramone and The Pensioners; Beyond; and Athanor.

Check the official International Pop Overthrow website for links to most of the above mentioned acts, as well as the entire schedule through Saturday. April 20.

Val’s Halla in Oak Park once again has a full schedule of live bands for Record Store Day. The acts are vocalist Frankie B.; The Country Doctors; Steve Z; John Connors; Casey McDonough from NRBQ and The Flat Five; Laughing Boys; rhythm and blues singer Gerald McClendon; and the Ellis Clark and Ary Paloma fronted Big Hair Trouble.

Alt rock band whitewolfsonicprincess will be performing outside Vintage Vinyl in Evanston at 10:45, 15 minutes before the store opens. Later, wwsp will be at Squeezbox Books and Records (also in Evanston) at 3:00 p.m.

John San Juan and Tommi Zender, two veterans of tribute shows on the Chicago club scene, will be covering iconic British folksinger Donovan at Squeezebox at 1:30 p.m.

Reckless Records has entertainment scheduled for its new Belmont location—Arthur at 2:00 p.m. and DJ Clent at 3:00 p.m., as well as at its Wicker Park location—Fire-Toolz at 2:00 p.m. and Negative Scanner at 3:00 p.m. Note: The Reckless Records location formerly on Broadway has moved to Belmont.

The April issue of the Illinois Entertainer
and this week’s edition of The Reader have features on Record Store Day. Copies of these free publications can be found in record stores and venues in the downtown and north side areas.

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Friday, April 5, 2019

Slumgullion

The 3rd Annual Alchemy Audio Gear Swap is being held at Fort Knox Studios tomorrow and Sunday. In addition to several vendors offering musical instruments, there will be live music and food trucks. Fort Knox Studios is located at 4256 N. Knox in Chicago.

Power pop singer-songwriter Marshall Crenshaw and roots rock/pop band The Bottle Rockets have a show together at 5:00 p.m. and another at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow at The Old Town School of Folk Music.

Best wishes for a quick recovery to Mick Jagger, who recently underwent successful surgery to replace a heart valve. The Rolling Stones have postponed their upcoming tour until Jagger is well enough to prowl the stadium stages of the world again. Their upcoming compilation Honk (out April 19) features “36 fan favorites and rarities” and there’s a bonus version that offers 10 live songs.

Happy Birthday to Allan Clarke, who served as the lead vocalist for The Hollies from 1962 until his retirement in 2000. (There were a few times in the 1970s when he went AWOL to pursue a solo career.) His distinctive voice can be heard on several Top 40 Hits, including “Look Through Any Window,” “I Can’t Let Go,” “Long Cool Woman,” “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” and “The Air The I Breathe.”

I knew I would miss some major players on my annual April, Rock She Will post. I should have mentioned Dave Davies of The Kinks at SPACE in Evanston in a sold out show on April 20 and at City Winery Chicago on April 21. Graham Parker will be at City Winery Chicago on April 18; and Todd Rundgren will be at the Athenaeum Theatre on April 23.

I’m not sure how the subject came up, but Little Steven Van Zandt recently tweeted his admiration for the original British Invasion band Herman’s Hermits and lead vocalist Peter Noone in particular. You can judge for yourself when Noone brings the latest version of the Hermits to The Arcada in St. Charles on June 9.

Other interesting shows coming up at The Arcada include the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young tribute band Marrakesh Express on June 7; Micky Dolenz from The Monkees on September 22; and Adrian Belew on October 2.

The BBC News Instagram site recently reported that numerous citizens filled the streets in Budapest, Hungary to take part in a Silly Walk Day. The event was inspired by a vintage skit from the Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV show. It’s a safe bet none of them were as funny as Python member John Cleese was in the original bit.

Boston-based alt rock band Guster will be playing “Satellite” and other hits at the Riviera Theatre on Saturday, April 13 as part of its Look Alive World Tour Of Most Of America And Parts Of Southern Canada itinerary. It’s a WXRT show.

International Pop Overthrow - Chicago starts next Friday, April 12 and runs through Saturday, April 20 at LiveWire Lounge on Milwaukee Avenue. This year’s schedule of multiple band showcases is packed with local acts and visitors from around the country. See the website for the full schedule and links to most of the participating artists.

As noted in the Illinois Entertainer, new albums due out this month include King’s Mouth by The Flaming Lips on April 12; Social Cues by Cage The Elephant and Jade Bird by Jade Bird on April 19; and Warp and Woof by Guided By Voices, Stay Around by J.J. Cale, and In The End by The Cranberries on April 26. This month’s issue also the publication’s annual lowdown on all the Record Store Day releases.

Fans of rock stars and legendary baseball players can combine those interests in a single trip to Cooperstown, NY. The Fennimore Art Museum’s Herb Ritt: The Rock Portraits exhibit runs through Labor Day, and Cooperstown is also the home of The Baseball Hall Of Fame.

Lifeline Theatre’s current staging of Frances Limoncelli’s adaptation of author Jon Scleszka and artist Lane Smith’s book The Time Warp Trio continues its run through April 20. Shows are at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Reckless Records store at 3126 N. Broadway is moving after having been at that location for 30 years. Its new home will be at 929 W. Belmont near the Red Line stop. Reckless Records also has stores at 1379 N. Milwaukee Avenue and downtown at 26 E. Madison. All three are recommended for you Record Store Day shopping on April 13.

I’ll bet the whale is a basso profundo. The Chicago Opera Theater is staging Moby Dick at the Harris Theater on Thursday, April 25 and Sunday, April 28. Based on Herman Melville’s novel, it features music by Jake Heggie and libretto by Gene Scheer. Moby Dick will be conducted by Lydia Yankovskaya and directed by Kristine McIntire.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Incoming

The new documentary The Center Of Nowhere,  about the rich but undiscovered music scene in Springfield, Missouri, will be screened tomorrow night 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.

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

The latest edition of JBTV’s Electric Feel Indie Rock Dance Party comes to Beauty Bar Chicago this Friday, August 5. JBTV on-air personality Greg Corner will serves as host. Beauty Bar Chicago is located at 1444 W. Chicago.

Lily Hiatt, daughter of John, and an engaging performer in her own right, will be at FitzGerald’s this coming Friday, April 5. I had the honor of meeting Lily Hiatt at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine when she was the opening act for Old 97’s.

Boston-based alt rock band Guster will be playing “Satellite” and other hits at the Riviera Theatre this Saturday, April 13 as part of its Look Alive World Tour Of Most Of America And Parts Of Southern Canada itinerary. It’s a WXRT show.

A recent blurb in the Chicago Tribune noted that We Will Rock You, a new musical hoping to cash in on the success of the film Bohemian Rhapsody, will kick off a tour on September 3 Winnipeg, Manitoba. From there, it moves on to New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

WISHYOUAWISH - The Hollies’ Compositions By Others, 1965-1968

Unlike the previous various artists releases Sing Hollies In Reverse on Eggbert Records and Re-Evolution: - FdM Sings The Hollies on the Fruits de Mer label, WISHYOUAWISH is not a Hollies tribute album. At least not in the sense of current acts contributing brand new cover versions. (Sing and Re-Evolution are both great, mind you.) For WISHYOUAWISH, the indie label Teensville Records collected already recorded efforts from the mid-1960s. You won’t find hits like “Look Through Any Window,” “I Can’t Let Go,” or “Bus Stop” because the focus here is on material composed by The Hollies writing team of Graham Nash, Allan Clarke, and Tony Hicks.

That still leaves a lot of brilliant songs. The international collection of artists on WISHYOUAWISH range from well known to obscure; with the stars coming through as expected and several unknowns offering pleasant surprises. This might seem like blasphemy coming from an avid Hollies fan, but I’ve always felt The Searchers’ take on “Have You Ever Loved Somebody?” has more zip than the original LP version. The Everly Brothers’ 1966 album Two Yanks In England featured them covering Hollies originals with the band’s members supporting them in the studio. Their renditions of “Like Every Time Before” and “Signs That Will Never Change” on WISHYOUAWISH shine with those patented Everly Brothers’ harmonies.

A few of the covers haven’t held up well over the decades and might have been too schmaltzy even in their day. Nicky James’s “Would You Believe” pales in comparison to the orchestrated version on the Hollies’ Butterfly album as well as the more rock-oriented version Allan Clarke recorded on a solo effort. The Wildlife sugarcoats the hard-edged blue collar tale of survival “Hard Hard Year,” and The Sidekicks can’t do much with the silly “Fifi The Flea.”

On the plus side, Chicago’s own The Buckinghams rock out on “I’ve Been Wrong,” The Electric Prunes take “I’ve Got A Way Of My Own” into the garage, and Dana Gillespie turns in a sultry rendition of “Pay You Back With Interest.” Keith of “98.6” fame also had a modest hit with the exotic “Tell Me To My Face” and The Strangers recreate the catchy and flirtatious “Step Inside.” Other highlights include Mary McCarthy’s “You Know He Did,” The Berries’ “Baby, That’s All,” and “Put Yourself In My Place” from Episode Six.

“Go Away,” a song The Hollies wrote but never recorded sounds like 1950s do-wop in the hands of The Mirage, and there’s even more fun when the Brazilian duo Deny e Dino perform a rollicking version of “Stop Stop Stop,” translated to “Pare Pare Pare” in their native tongue. “Coming From The Ground” is another composition The Hollies let someone else record, but in this case, Graham Nash and Allan Clarke (and possibly other Hollies) joined in on the recording session. This psychedelic gem was released by the Swedish band The Lee Kings, and would have fit in perfectly on Butterfly.

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Monday, April 1, 2019

April, Rock She Will

April is always an adventurous month in the Chicago area, and that holds true for 2019 even with C2E2 and the CHIRP Record Fair moving to March and May respectively. Here’s a quick look at what to expect. I’m sure I’ve missed some worthy events, but I’ll keep watching social media and the local press and posting April updates.

Any month that kicks off with Mott The Hoople’s first Chicago concert in 45 years has to be considered outstanding. Ian Hunter, Morgan Fisher, and Ariel Bender—the heart of the U.K. band’s 1974 lineup—will be at the Chicago Theatre this Wednesday, April 3.

A recently restored print of the 1968 BBC special The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus will be shown in select theaters today through Wednesday. The Beatles and The Who are among the other top notch English bands featured in the show. See the website for a theatre near you.

If you think you’re in love with eccentric British rocker Robyn Hitchcock, this has been an exciting few months for you. He’s back for another gig in the Chicago area, this time on April 3 at SPACE in Evanston.

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

Lily Hiatt, daughter of John, and an engaging performer in her own right, will be at FitzGerald’s this coming Friday, April 5.

Power pop master/singer-songwriter Marshall Crenshaw and roots rock/pop band The Bottle Rockets have two shows in one day at The Old Town School of Folk Music this coming Saturday, April 6.

Record Store Day returns April 13, offering limited-edition vinyl releases in every known genre of music. Major acts coming out with must-have treasures include The Rolling Stones; Queen; James Cotton; Badfinger; David Bowie; Herbie Hancock; Cheap Trick; Fleetwood Mac; Aretha Franklin; Eric Clapton; Al Green; L7; Emmylou Harris; Jethro Tull; and Elton John. Watch for in-store performances at Reckless Records, Laurie’s Planet Of Sound; Val’s Halla, and other record stores throughout the area.

International Pop Overthrow - Chicago starts Friday, April 12 and runs through Saturday, April 20 at its brand new location, the LiveWire Lounge on Milwaukee Avenue. This year’s schedule of multiple band showcases is packed with favorites like Three Hour Tour; Van Go; The Jeremy Band; The Spindles; Enuff Z-nuff; The Injured Parties; The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club; Dave Rave; Scott Niekelski from Go Time; Mike Vanderbilt; The Webstirs; Michael Steven Cohen; The Unswept; The Artist Formally Known As Vince; Collectors; Thrift Store Halo; Catherine Tecktiel; Magnaphonic; King Mixer; Rose Cora Perry and The Truth Untold; and The Rob Schultz Band.

Chicago area supergroup and amazing vocalists Flat Five will be at FitzGerald’s on April 13.

Singer-songwriter and New Pornographers member Neko Case is playing at The Vic Theatre on April 26 and 27.

The Social Act will be performing at Martyrs’ on Friday, April 26. Soul Honey Records and Liz Toussaint will also be on the bill that night.

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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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Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Peek In Santa’s Bag - Record Store Day List Launch

The countdown feature on the official Record Store Day website shows there are 43 days until RSD 2019 takes place. But as of today, the list of one-day only vinyl treasures that will be available on April 13 is available to view or download. As usual, the selection sweeps across multiple genres, from Disney Songs The Satchmo Way by Louis Armstrong to Live At The Palladium by The Ramones. You’ll find new songs, reissues, and oddball collaborations on various size records in the jazz, blues, classic rock, folk, punk, and soul categories.

Over in the U.K., they give the Record Store Day List Launch a proper celebration, with several stores offering live band performances, DJs and refreshments throughout today. Their list varies from the American one, and in some ways, seems more interesting. I haven’t seen any mention of List Launch bashes stateside, but there’s sure to be plenty on the actual Record Store Day. Be on the lookout for any announcements from your local store and your favorite bands. In the meantime, you can view the upcoming releases on the RSD site and figure out which ones you’ll be waiting in line for come April 13.

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Monday, February 25, 2019

Incoming

In the famous words of Johnny Carson, “I did not know that!” Part I. George Harrison and Chicago Cubs Hall Of Fame third baseman Ron Santo were both born on this day. Somewhere right now, they’re playing catch while singing Beatles songs. (The ones George wrote.)

Congratulations to Ellis Clark, Ary Paloma Jeebie, and the Martyrs’ rock venue on successfully staging their third annual George Harrison Birthday Tribute. A number of acts performed George songs, ranging from “Don’t Bother Me,” the very first one for he wrote for The Beatles to a track from his last album Brainwashed. I had to catch a bus and a train back to Palatine so I couldn’t stay for the entire celebration, but I did enjoy three hours of George music.

EXPO ’76, one of the most unpredictable and fun cover bands you’ll ever see, will close out this challenging month of February this Thursday night with a show at the SideBar at the FitzGerald’s in Berwyn.

The Lorrie Kountz Band will be performing at Mac’s On Slade in Palatine this Wednesday night. Kountz first arrived on the Chicago club scene in the late 1970s as the lead guitarist for the hard rock band Bitch and went on to perform with Surrendur Dorothi and Rash. The four-piece Beatles tribute band Liverpool Acoustic will be performing on the following night at Mac’s.

The Chicago Feminist Film Festival runs this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, at Film Row Cinema on the 8thfloor at 1104 S. Wabash Avenue.

New Zealand band The Chills will be performing heavenly pop hits at The Empty Bottle this Friday night.

In the famous words of Johnny Carson, “I did not know that!” Part II. I just found out via a phone conversation with my younger brother that his son/my nephew Joe Flamm created the menu for this year’s official Grammy Awards after-party. US Magazine’s online site described the event’s theme as, “a French-inspired modern masquerade ball [featuring] an exciting menu by Joe Flamm, Executive Chef of Chicago’s Michelin-starred Spiaggia and Café Spiaggia, of four Renaissance-inspired food stations including appetizers, entrees and desserts.”

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Friday, February 22, 2019

Slumgullion

George Harrison’s birthday is Monday, February 25 but there will celebrations in the late Beatle’s honor over this weekend. WXRT DJ Terri Hemmert’s Breakfast With The Beatles program this Sunday morning will have a George theme, so look for her and correspondent Professor Moptop to serve up his best songs as well as some rarities and fun trivia.

My Sweet George, the George Harrison Birthday Tribute Concert hosted by local musician Ellis Clark each year, returns to Martyrs’ tomorrow night. Clark, a founding member of Epicycle and Social Act, always brings together some of the city’s best acts, and serves as Master Of Ceremonies. Ary Paloma Jeebie from the garage/rockabilly band Amazing Heeby Jeebies will once again be his co-host.

Scheduled performers include Ken Mottet; Clar Monaco/Sandalwood Sitar; Constantine; Greg Jackson Combs; Phoenix; Frankie B; The Unswept; Gerald McClendan; Robin and Jenny Bieneman; The Handcuffs; Gunner Cleemann; Tom Linsk; Southside Exiles; The Fluffers; The Beyond; and Scott Williams. There’s a genuine atmosphere of peace and harmony at this fest that George himself would (does?) love. Martyrs’ is located at 3855 N. Lincoln Avenue.

Local music fans will have to make a tough choice tomorrow night because there’s also a show featuring the original lineup of legendary power pop band Off Broadway at Reggie’s Rock Club. Cliff Johnson and his mates will celebrating the 40th Anniversary of their debut album On. Singer-guitarist Phil Angotti, another veteran of Chicago’s power pop elite and founding member of The Idea, and The Evictions are also on the bill. Reggie’s Rock Club is located on State Street just south of downtown.

Out on the West Coast, The Wild Honey Orchestra, comprised of all-star musicians, will recreate The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society album at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. The Three O’Clock; Dennis Diken from The Smithereens; Peter Holsaple and Chris Stamey from The dB’s; Jason Falkner; Scott MCaughey from from Minus 5; Clem Burke from Blondie; Elliot Easton from The Cars; Mike Mills from R.E.M. and Jody Stephens from Big Star are among the numerous participants. The event is being organized by the Wild Honey Foundation, and once again, proceeds will go towards the Autism Think Tank. Past Wild Honey events have honored The Beatles, Buffalo Springfield, Big Star, and The Hollies.

Kevin Lee and The Kings, a veteran power pop band that fills its catchy songs with a lot of guitar firepower, has a gig tomorrow night at the Chicago Loop bar in Streamwood.

Tickets went on sale today for Johnny Marr at The Vic on on May 13; Bruce Cockburn at The Old Town School Of Folk Music on September 27 and 28; Al Green at the Chicago Theatre on May 7; and John Mayall at City Winery Chicago on August 1

A lot of us Paisley Underground fans bought the 3X4 vinyl album featuring The Bangles, The Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, and The Three O’Clock on Black Friday Record Store Day last year, but now it’s officially available on CD and for streaming. I highly recommend it.

The Chicago Film Society will co-present with CHIRP Radio The Ramones musical comedy flick Rock ‘N’ Roll High School  this Monday evening at The Music Box Theatre on Southport. Showtime is 7:00 p.m.

The Chills will be performing at The Empty Bottle next Wednesday, February 27 as part of rare U.S. tour. The New Zealand band found worldwide success with “Heavenly Pop Hit” back in the 1980s, but with Martin Phillipps still at the helm, continues to record engaging albums like the recently released Snow Bound and their politically charged 2016 effort Silver Bullets.

The Chicago Feminist Film Festival runs next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, at Film Row Cinema on the 8th floor at 1104 S. Wabash Avenue.

The Chicago Irish Film Festival will mark its 20th anniversary of “Celebraring Films From The Land Of Storytelling” when it runs Friday through Sunday next week. Films will be screened at Theater on the Lake, The Logan Theatre, and Gallery Theatre.

Reason number 4,387 why I’d love to visit England again: There a venue called Southsea’s Pie and Vinyl Café that’s sponsoring a Record Store Day Official List Launch on February 28 and March 1. There will be DJs, a live performance by the band Barbudo, and free cider. They have a great slogan as well: Record stores are for life, not just a day so come and visit us every week and prove the physical experience is alive and kicking!

Matt Smith fans will get a chance to see the Doctor Who and The Crown star as they never have before when director Ondi Timoner’s 2018 film Mapplethorpe opens its first Chicago run at the Gene Siskel Film Center from next Friday, March 1. The Gene Siskel Film Center describes Mapplethorpe as a “fictionalized biopic” that “benefits from the full authorization of the artist’s estate.” It runs through March 7.

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

International Pop Overthrow hasn’t announced the schedule for this year’s Chicago edition, but a few local bands are promoting their IPO gigs already. Thrift Store Halo and The Collectors will be performing on April 19. Note: this year’s IPO Chicago is being held at the Live Wire venue on Milwaukee Avenue.

Chicago radio station WXRT’s Friday Feature this week was prog rock, and morning DJ Lin Brehmer kicked things off by playing “In The Beginning” and “Lovely To See You” from The Moody Blues album On The Threshold Of A Dream. I haven’t heard those songs in ages (I used to own the album) but they still rock.

The English indie/vinyl-only label Fruits de Mer specializes in prog and psychedelic rock, and has just announced its release of three new double LPs. Moose Goose creates guitar-driven instrumentals on its FdM debut Source Code; 16th Dream Of Dr. Sardonicus Live offers live performances of various prog rocks acts; and Astralasia finds Marc Swordfish remixing tracks from bands he’s worked with throughout his career.

Chris O’Dowd, who was funny in Juliet, Naked, Pirate Radio, and pretty much everything he’s been in, will star in a new sitcom titled State Of The Union on Sundance TV this spring.

The Weeklings, a band that has released two albums of obscure Beatles songs and similar-sounding originals, recently came up with a great idea. They joined forces with Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits to record a new version of The Easybeats’ garage rock classic “Friday On My Mind.” It’s available on Amazon, Spotify, and iTunes.

Chicago-based, hard-edged power pop band Go Time! just released a 19-track new album titled Midway. Lead vocalist Scott Niekelski has also been working as a solo act in Chicago area venues. He’ll be performing an acoustic show with Patrick Potts from The Drysdales at District Kitchen and Tap in Oak Park tomorrow from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Remembering Peter Tork

I was sad to hear the news that Peter Tork from The Monkees has died. In a post here last week, I wished him a Happy Birthday and shared a link to a friend’s story about how nice he was to her during a photo op at Wizard World Comic Con in Chicago. When I saw The Monkees perform at the Chicago Theatre in 2012, Tork frequently addressed the audience in a genuinely fun, friendly manner. It was a natural progression from the The Monkees sitcom persona that made him so popular in the 1960s. Rock In Paradise, Mr. Tork.

Here’s a review of that concert that I wrote for the Illinois Entertainer.

One of the first of many nostalgic images that flashed across a big screen at the Chicago Theatre during the sold-out performance by The Monkees last Friday night showed the band decked out in top hats and tails. It drew a huge round of applause and foreshadowed an evening of good-time, almost old-fashioned entertainment. Original members Michael Nesmith, Mickey Dolenz, and Peter Tork, backed by a seven-piece band, journeyed deep into an eclectic catalog of mid-1960’s material. Anyone who came with only a knowledge of the group’s biggest hits was likely left feeling stunned. But in a good way.

Still dismissed in some circles as actors who pretended to be musicians on a sit-com, The Monkees started writing their own material while the TV series was on the air but didn’t hit their creative stride until LPs like Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. The current 12-date tour, which reportedly was already being planned before the death of Davy Jones, gives the surviving members an opportunity to showcase just how inventive and talented The Monkees can be. It helps that all three have vibrant voices, and they pretty much play the same quirky roles that made their TV show an instant success in 1966. Dolenz and Tork exude a childlike energy while the more reserved Nesmith prefers a droll approach.

Audience members at the Chicago Theatre could be forgiven for casting a wary eye on Nesmith, who has always seemed to be the most reluctant Monkee to participate in reunions. He has occasionally performed with his mates over the years, but this is his first actual tour with them in quite some time. Fortunately, he seemed in good spirits, even during some technical difficulty with his guitar. There was a good chemistry among the three stars, starting with the opening number, “Last Train To Clarksville.” The band immediately switched to the more obscure LP tracks, “Papa Gene’s Blues,” a country-flavored song that featured Nesmith on lead vocals; and “Your Auntie Grizelda,” which found Tork delivering the silly lyrics while strutting around like a Broadway performer.

From then on, it was an almost equal mix of hits like “She,” “I’m A Believer,” and “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” with lesser known fare like “Sweet Young Thing” and “You Just May Be The One.” Dolenz was particularly impressive on the Gospel-flavored workout, “Goin’ Down” and very British sounding rave-up, “Randy Scouse Git.” On several occasions, the live performance was augmented by eye-popping footage on the big screen, particularly during psychedelic selections like “Porpoise Song” and “Can You Dig It” from the band’s 1968 avant garde movie, Head.

The Nesmith-penned “Daily Nightly” from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. (believed to be the first rock song to feature a Moog synthesizer) showed these guys haven’t lost their touch for clowning around. Dolenz introduced it as a song, “That has never been performed before . . . and rightfully so” while adding that the lyrics were completely incomprehensible. Nesmith explained Moog synthesizers were too expensive and cumbersome to take on tour, and then vocally tried to recreate the instrument’s unique sounds. Dolenz, who was singing lead, was barely able to keep from laughing.

There were well-crafted video interludes honoring Davy Jones at various times, but the most touching tribute came toward the end of the concert, when the audience was invited to provide the vocals for “Daydream Believer” and overwhelmingly obliged. It proved to be the defining moment on an evening when The Monkees had been able to reconnect with some of their most loyal fans.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Back-To-Back Brit Bands In Chicago

Procol Harum arrives in Chicago at a time when relentless snowfall has given us a bit more than a “Whiter Shade Of Pale.” Their concert tomorrow at City Winery will no doubt include that magnificent Top 40 hit, along with “Shine On Brightly,” “Homburg” and “A Salty Dog.”
Vocalist Gary Brooker, whose soulful delivery of those cryptic “Whiter Shade Of Pale” lyrics first brought the band international attention in 1967, is still onboard, although other members have come and gone over the years. Procol Harum released it most recent album, Novum, in 2017.

The British Invasion continues on Thursday night when The Kooks perform at The Riviera Theatre. The group’s latest album Let’s Go Sunshine finds them sounding more like the working class lads who first gave us engaging tunes like “She Moves In Her Own Way.” Their previous effort, Listen, dabbled in hip hop and techno with mixed results. Sunshine will give them plenty of good material to showcase, including “Pamela,” “All The Time,” and “Believe.”

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