Friday, August 16, 2019

Slumgullion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

I’ve Just Seen A Fest

Photo from Jeremy Clydes Facebook page.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, August 9, 2019

Slumgullion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Incoming

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

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

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

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

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Monday, August 5, 2019

For The Benefit Of Beatles Fans

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

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

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

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

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Friday, August 2, 2019

Slumgullion

New album out next Friday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, August 1, 2019

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

The politically minded Joe Strummer.

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

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

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

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Incoming

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

August, Rock She Must

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Slumgullion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Coleman Gota - And The Losers Choir Sings

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

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

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

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Incoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, July 19, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Slumgullion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Festivals Straight Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Incoming

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

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

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Friday, July 5, 2019

The Unswept - Minor Blemishes

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

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

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

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Thursday, July 4, 2019

4th Of July Barbecue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Incoming

Things will get pretty eclectic at the Arlington Heights Frontier Days this Friday night, with performances by the Alanis Morissette tribute band Jagged Little Pill; soul music legends War celebrating their 50th Anniversary; and the My Metal Heart hard rock cover act. In nearby Mount Prospect, the Tom Petty tribute band Petty Kings and Jay Goeppner and Backdated will be rocking on Sunday.

The Alarm will share a bill with Modern English on August 16 and 17 at House Of Blues in downtown Chicago.

According to this month’s issue of the Illinois Entertainer (with Perry Farrell on the cover), we can expect new albums this month from Imperial Teen (Now We Are Timeless) and New Order (∑(No,12k,Lg,17Mif): Live at Manchester International Festival) on July 12. Radiohead leader Thom Yorke’s ANIMA comes out July 19; and Violent Femmes will drop Hotel Last Resort on July 26.

That issue of I.E. is also where you’ll find a full-page ad for the Jay O’Rourke Band’s August 9 CD Release Party Party for Cover Tracks at SPACE. The album features renditions of classic rock and blues songs. It’s a safe bet the band will also be selling copies of its earlier 2019 release Sumpthin Good. The Dick Dale influenced instrumental act Spies Who Surf will be the opening act.

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Friday, June 28, 2019

Slumgullion

Wish me luck. I’ll be pitching my two my rock and roll novels (and possibly a Middle Grade fantasy) to literary agents at the Writing Workshop Of Chicago tomorrow at the Congress Plaza Hotel on south Michigan Avenue. I’ve gone to this event the past two years and found it a very rewarding experience. Aspiring writers tend to think of literary agents as cold and unsympathetic, but engaging with them in a friendly, informative face-to-face meeting certainly changes that outlook.

Pete Townshend has written a novel. It’s called The Age Of Anxiety and is coming out on November 19.

Mike Skill and ’67 RiOT with Brad Elvis; The Differents; and Acoustipunks will share a triple this coming Tuesday at Montrose Saloon on Chicago’s north side. Skill and Brad Elvis are well known as members of The Romantics, and Brad Elvis is also a founding member of the Chicago-based indie rock band The Handcuffs. Show time is 8:00 p.m.

Tickets went on sale today for Black Flag at Reggies’ Rock Club on August 25; the Dave Brubeck Tribute Project at SPACE on August 28; Shemekia Copeland at SPACE on October 11; Elvis Costello and The Imposters at Chicago Theatre on November 22; Marshall Crenshaw at SPACE on December 12; Morrissey and Interpol at Ravinia on September 14; and New Pornographers and Lady Lamb at The Vic on October 2. These listings, and several others, can be found on the Early Warnings page of this week’s Reader.

Megan McDonough has a gig coming up next Saturday, July 6; at SPACE in Evanston.

Monty Python is celebrating its 50th Birthday this year and it’s going to be a (British accent) silly party. Fully restored episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus will be coming out on November 19, a BBC Takeover is in the works, and the group will be reissuing its books and records. Monty Python’s Flying Circus IPA will be available via Black Sheep Brewery in September and October. Drink enough and you can talk like a Monty Python Gumby character.

Former Hollies lead vocalist Allan Clarke is due to release the single “Journey Of Regret” on July 12. It’s the first taste of Clarke’s new album Resurgence, which is coming out on September 20. It will be Clarke’s eighth solo effort, but the first in almost 30 years.

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

The Kokandy Productions presentation of Head Over Heels opens on Monday, July 1 and runs through August 25 at Theatre Wit on Belmont Avenue. The gay-centric and anachronistic musical is based on songs by The Go-Go’s.

Former Doctor Who star David Tennant and current Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker are among the English stage and film performers taking part in the BBC Children In Need: Got It Covered CD project.  Each of them will record a cover version of a hit song. Helena Bonham Carter and Jim Broadbent will also be contributing. There will also be a 60-minute programme showing the rehearsals and recordings.

Matt Smith of Doctor Who and The Crown fame and Keira Knightley of thousands of movies fame will be co-starring in a political thriller titled Official Secrets.

Chicago-based indie/roots rock label Bloodshot Records will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary at the Square Roots Festival in the Lincoln Square area on July 13. Murder By Death, The Mekons, and The Vandoliers will take part in a tribute to the late Andre Williams. The Bloodshot All-Stars Band and other special guests will also be on hand.

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Thursday, June 27, 2019

A Tribute To Terri

Photo from Terri Hemmert's Facebook page.

WXRT DJ Terri Hemmert has announced she’ll be semi-retiring; leaving her weekday mid-morning shift but continuing to host Breakfast With The Beatles each Sunday. Hemmert, a Radio Hall Of Fame inductee, has been part of the progressive rock station almost since its start in the early 1970s. With her conversational, no-hype approach to broadcasting, she was a welcoming presence when many of us decided to tiptoe away from Top 40 radio to the more adventurous landscape of the FM dial.

For the many fans she’s gained over the years, mornings just won’t be the same. But Hemmert won’t completely disappear. Like Frank E. Lee, another XRT veteran who officially retired a few years back, she’ll fill in for the station’s other on-air personalities when needed. And she’ll still be sharing all that fab gear music on Breakfast With The Beatles

On a related note, Hemmert will once again serve as the MC for The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago when it takes place at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare on the weekend of August 9 – 11. Her extensive knowledge of music and quick wit serve her well while interviewing celebrity guests. Hemmert has said that watching The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show gave her the idea to become a radio personality. It seemed like a great way to meet her favorite musicians. Considering that working at WXRT enabled her to interview Paul McCartney, that plan has worked out pretty well.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Incoming

There’s an ‘80s On The Fox event coming up at the Thomas J. Weisner RiverEdge Park in Aurora this Saturday featuring The Romantics and three other well-known acts. My wife Pam and I saw a Roger Whittaker concert in Aurora when we first started dating, so you can definitely drive there from Chicago. In addition to The Romantics, the ‘80s On The Fox lineup includes Rick Springfield, Patty Smyth and Scandal, and Starship. Eddie Money was scheduled to perform but had to cancel because he’s recovering from recent heart surgery. Hope he’s well soon.

Other shows coming up at RiverEdge Park include Roger Whittaker (just kidding), The Mavericks with special guests Los Lobos on July 26, and Poi Dog Pondering on August 24.

The Posies will be coming to Aurora for a Party In The Park concert hosted by Chicago Premium Outlets (1650 Premium Outlets Road) on July 19. The event promises live music, food trucks and family fun and runs from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. According to a post from band member Ken Stringfellow on Facebook, The Posies will be playing some brand new songs.

The Lapidos Family is mailing out cards promoting its Fest For Beatles Fans – Chicago event coming up August 9 – 11 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont. This year’s headliners are Denny Laine, Laurence Juber, and Steve Holley from Wings; Alan White from Yes; Jeremy Clyde from Chad and Jeremy; Liverpool, and The Weeklings. Local musicians Phil Angotti, Jay Goeppner, and School Of Rock are scheduled for sets on the Apple Jam Stage, and the card promises more Apple Jam acts will be announced.

Tomorrow (June 27) is the last day you can see Echo In The Canyon, director Andrew Slater’s critically acclaimed 2019 documentary about the fertile music scene that developed in California’s Laurel Canyon during the 1960s, at the Music Box Theatre on Southport. The film features interviews with Graham Nash, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Jackson Browne and Tom Petty. Show times for Echo In The Canyon tomorrow at the Music Box are 2:00, 4:30, 7:10, and 9:15.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Decibels - Scene, Not Herd

Scene, Not Herd came out in 2017 but was only available in vinyl and digital formats until the Kool Kat Musik label recently released this CD version. It marks the welcome return of The Decibels, a power pop band that thrived in Sacramento, CA from 1993 to 2001. The band’s reunion resulted in 12 guitar-driven tracks that represent the more energetic side of the genre.

“It’s Not Me” demonstrates how well The Decibels set tales of troubled relationships to catchy arrangements. Having guitarist Joe Pach, bassist Brent Seavers, and drummer Brian Machado join lead singer-guitarist Dean Seavers in some spirited call-and-response vocals definitely helps. “Hey Emily” is a tale of a lonely woman living alone, and “I Need To Tell Her” depicts a guy who’s hopelessly inept at romance.

Unlike some power pop bands, The Decibels aren’t heavily influenced by 1960s pop, although there are traces of that era throughout Scene, Not Heard. “She Thinks Of Everything” incorporates chiming guitars reminiscent of The Byrds, and the slower “Misery” aims for an early ‘60s Top 40 sound. The harder-edger “All Of Your Lies” and “This Bad Dream” bristle with punk energy.

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Monday, June 24, 2019

Fun With English People

Photo of Jeff Beck from his Facebook page.

Happy Birthday to Jeff Beck and Colin Blunstone. Each has been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and each started out as a member of a British Invasion band. Beck’s stint as a guitarist with The Yardbirds was short compared to how long Blunstone has been singing for The Zombies, but Beck achieved worldwide fame after setting out on his own. Blunstone isn’t as well known in America for his solo stuff (although he did a solo tour here a few years back) but he’s had major hits in the U.K. I had the honor of doing a telephone interview with Blunstone for the Illinois Entertainer during that U.S. solo tour, and he was amazingly friendly and engaging. He’s still touring and recording with The Zombies, and like Beck, remains at the top of his game.

Judging from reports in the media, The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour got off to a high energy start here in Chicago last Friday night. They’ll be back at Soldier Field tomorrow night and it’s a safe bet no one will go home disappointed. 

Paul McCartney’s official website has announced the first U.K. showing of the Linda McCartney Retrospective, will begin at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland on July 5 and run through January 2020. Photos for the exhibit was curated by Paul, Stella, and Mary McCartney.

Elvis Costello and The Imposters will bring their Just Trust Tour to the Chicago Theatre on November 22. Tickets are now on sale. Earlier dates of interest for Anglophiles at the Chicago Theatre are Bryan Ferry on August 1 and Squeeze on August 31.

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Friday, June 21, 2019

Slumgullion

A hearty welcome to The Rolling Stones, who are in town for a concert tonight at Soldier Field and another one there on Tuesday. In between those shows, they’ll be rehearsing on my gazebo.

Today is Pam Appreciation Day, my annual celebration of my wonderful wife Pam and all the things she does to make our life together so happy and fun. She set up this blog for me just about 10 years ago and Broken Hearted Toy could not have existed without her help. Feel free to use this occasion to celebrate your own significant other and take some time to appreciate what you have together.

There’s an amazing triple bill coming up at Montrose Saloon tomorrow night, featuring The Webstirs, The Dave Sebastian Band, and Magnaphonic. I’ve seen The Webstirs live and have thoroughly enjoyed their clever and irresistibly catchy albums. Mike Galassini and Marianne Galassini have created masterful power pop as Magnaphonic and The Valley Downs, so it’s great to see them back on the local club scene. Dave Sebastian was a founding member of the Chicago power pop band The Raine, which reunited and backed Cliff Johnson from Off Broadway in recent years. The show starts at 9:00 p.m.

This coming Monday night at Montrose Saloon, former Green On Red lead vocalist turned author/solo recording artist Dan Stuart pays an unexpected visit to Chicago. He completed an ambitious novel/album trilogy centered on the character Marlowe Billings in 2018, and is known for his extensive travels. His gig at Montrose Saloon should be intriguing, to say the least.

Tickets went on sale today for Catfish and The Bottlemen at Aragon Ballroom on October 5; Heartsfield at FitzGerald’s on August 31; Rhett Miller at City Winery Chicago on September 16; and the Phil Ochs Song Night at The Old Town School Of Folk Music on September 15. Sleater-Kinney have added a second show at The Riviera Theatre. They’ll now be there on October 18 and 19.

Some websites, such as Steve Hoffman Music Forums and Elevated Observations, are reporting that former Hollies lead vocalist Allan Clarke has recorded a new album titled Resurgence. It’s due out via BMG Worldwide on September 20, with the first single, “Journey Of Regret,” arriving July 12. It would be Clarke’s eighth solo effort, but the first in almost 30 years. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing this.

The 12th Annual A Day In The Country music festival takes place at The Hideout this Sunday from 2:00 to 11:00 p.m. 10 acts are scheduled to perform on the Backroom Stage and the Front Porch Stage, including Gethen Jenkins, Summer Dean, Bonnie Montgomery, Marian Runk, Cox’s Army, and Girls Of The Golden West. The Hideout is located at 1354 W. Wabansia on Chicago’s north side.

Echo In The Canyon, director Andrew Slater’s 2019 documentary about the fertile music scene that developed in California’s Laurel Canyon during the 1960s, opened tonight at the Music Box Theatre. The film features interviews with Graham Nash, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Jackson Browne and Tom Petty. Additional show times for Echo In The Canyon at the Music Box are 2:00, 4:30, 7:10, and 9:15 each day from tomorrow through next Thursday.

Tickets are now on sale for Buddy Guy’s September 6 show at The Arcada in St. Charles. Guy was the secret special guest for the Hot Stove Cool Music event at Metro a few weeks back and he had the crowd rocking with his amazing vocals and guitar playing. Another noteworthy gig coming up at The Arcada is Chris Isaak on August 9. Isaak’s Roy Orbison style vocals and twangy guitar playing are particularly impressive on his vintage material like “Pretty Girls Don’t Cry,” “Dancin’,” and “Back On Your Side.”

Northwest suburbanites have good reason to look forward to the rebirth of the Des Plaines Theatre now that Ron Onesti, who books shows for The Arcada, has been put in charge of the entertainment.

Happy Birthday to Joey Molland of Badfinger. I’ve seen him at Fest For Beatles Fans – Chicago a few times, and he’s been energetic and engaging both off and on stage

Chicago power trio Toy Robots will perform Cream: A Tribute To Eric, Jack and Ginger on July 5 at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. A week later, at that same venue, Soundtracks Of A Generation will present A 50th Anniversary Tribute To The Woodstock Era.

The Regrettes are finally giving us a full-length follow-up to their impressive debut Feel Your Feeling Fool. The new effort is titled How Do You Love? and comes out August 9. The Los Angeles-based quartet has a gig coming up at Metro in Chicago on October 11, and in the meantime, has released the album’s first single "I Dare You."

Chicago-based indie/roots rock label Bloodshot Records will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary at the Square Roots Festival in the Lincoln Square area on July 13. Murder By Death, The Mekons, and The Vandoliers will take part in a tribute to the late Andre Williams. The Bloodshot All-Stars Band and other special guests will also be on hand.

Kokandy Productions will present Head Over Heels, the gay-centric and anachronistic Broadway musical based on songs by The Go-Go’s, from July 1 through August 25 at Theatre Wit on Belmont Avenue. By the way, “Head Over Heels” is one of the best songs The Go-Go’s ever recorded.

Reason number 17, 502 why I’d like to visit England again: The Clissold Arms pub in London has an entire room devoted to photos and memorabilia of The Kinks.

Scott Freiman, a composer and producer, as well as an expert on The Beatles, will present Deconstructing The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour on Sunday, July 7 at 11:30 a.m. and Wednesday, July 10 at 7:00 p.m. at The Music Box on Chicago’s north side.

Actress Ellie Kemper’s book My Squirrel Days comes out in paperback on July 2. Among other things, it covers her time on the TV shows The Office and The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt.

The Weeklings’ new single/video “I Want You Again” is now available. People who have attended Fest For Beatles Fans no doubt have fond memories of this band’s ability to mix covers of songs The Beatles wrote but never recorded, with catchy, Brit Invasion originals.

Guaranteed to break the ice at royal parties. Congratulations to Monty Python member Michael Palin on receiving knighthood from Prince William for his services to travel, culture, and geography.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Start Me Up - This Friday

It’s so great to see Mick Jagger fully recovered from his recent heart surgery and ready to kick off the No Filter Tour with The Rolling Stones. It all starts here in Chicago this Friday night at Soldier Field on the city’s lakefront. A recent photo on social media looks like guitarist Ronnie Wood is already in town and having fun. WXRT will be featuring The Stones all day on Friday and if you still have a copy of last Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, check out rock critic Greg Kot’s pictorial history of the band on the back page of the Arts and Entertainment section.

And sincere best wishes and good vibes to people everywhere who are facing or recovering from heart surgeries or other major operations.

Echo In The Canyon, director Andrew Slater’s 2019 documentary about the fertile music scene that developed in California’s Laurel Canyon during the 1960s, opens this Friday night at the Music Box Theatre on Southport. The film features interviews with Graham Nash, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Jackson Browne and Tom Petty. Narrator Jakob Dylan will be on hand for opening night.

Tellin’ Tales Theatre will present Divercity – Planting the seeds of acceptance this weekend at Prop Thtr on Elston Avenue. The show offers solo performances by artists, writers, and actors with disabilities. Linda Bannon, Elizabeth Doll, Brian Heyburn. Barbara Hyler, Tom Jones, Tekki Lomnicki, Susan McKean, and Garnet Williams are the scheduled performers.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A Pair Of British Birthday Boys

Today is Paul McCartney’s birthday, and social media is overflowing with best wishes and some really cool photos of him. My wife Pam and I had such a great time seeing him perform a high-energy, three-hour concert on my birthday a few years ago, I want to express my admiration and gratitude. You never forget seeing a show like that. A toast to you, Sir Paul, and keep up the good work.

Another British musician who’s celebrating a birthday today is Mordecai Smyth. His music isn’t as well known as McCartney’s, so by way of introduction, I’d say he fancies setting clever and occasionally creepy lyrics to catchy 1960s style arrangements. He once teased me on Facebook about listing so much local entertainment on my blog. I responded by naming him an unofficial citizen of my home town of Palatine, IL. I’m sure he cherishes that honor to this day.

Cheers, gentlemen!

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Incoming

Photo from the Sleater-Kinney Facebook page.

Tickets are now on sale for Sleater-Kinney at the Riviera Theatre on October 18. The critically acclaimed and sharp-edged trio’s new album The Center Won’t Hold will be available in various formats on August 16.

Other upcoming shows include the Vinyl Village Record Fair at Sleeping Village on June 30; Scott Ligon’s All-Star Freakout! Presents the Music of Rami Gabriel at FitzGerald’s on July 12; Temples at Metro on October 31; Corky Siegel and Tracy Nelson at SPACE on October 12; John Hiatt at City Winery Chicago on October 30 through November 1; Ike Reilly at FitzGerald’s on August 30; and Chely Wright and Alice Peacock at City Winery Chicago on September 11.

Deep Chicago ‘60s, the second effort by Chicago Friends and Guests, a collection of local musicians, is now available on on iTunes and Apple Music. Phil Angotti, Packy Lundholm , Mark Rogers, Gary Baker, and Britt Savage takes turns in the spotlight on a selection of Chicago band recordings originally released in the 1960s. Back in 2017, Chicago Friends and Guests recorded 9 X12, which found them expertly covering The Who, The Beatles, Them (or Shadows Of Knight), The Hollies, The Animals, The Byrds, and The Searchers.

Sounds great. The Imperial Sound and Diplomats of Solid Sound, besides both being Chicago bands with the word ‘Sound’ in their names, have also both released impressive debuts recently. They’ll share the same bill at SPACE in Evanston on June 26. On July 19, The Imperial Sound have a gig at the Hey Nonny venue in Arlington Heights.

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Gee, But It’s Great To Be Back Home

My wife Pam and I spent most of this past week in Cape May, New Jersey. Pam is fond of Victorian style houses and Cape May is to Victorian architecture what Liverpool is to Beatlemania. We booked a room at the gorgeous Mainstay Inn Bed and Breakfast. Each day, we’d walk for blocks checking out colorful homes, and took a tour of one of the largest and most famous ones. Of course, Pam knows tons more about such things, but I had a fun time as well. Victorian houses are cool.

The Washington Mall on Cape May is like its own neighborhood of specialty shops. My favorite was Marlene’s, one of those pop culture stores you find here and there but with a much wider selection. The standard Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Pink Floyd and Three Stooges merchandise was on hand, but Marlene’s also had a Janis Joplin lunchbox, a vintage concert t-shirt of The Who (which I bought) and memorabilia for Red Hot Chili Peppers, ZZ Top, Rush, and other bands. There’s no website, so all these treasures are only available to customers who walk in the door.

To paraphrase Elvis Costello, everything is Exit Zero. Another cool place in Cape May is the recently opened Exit Zero Filling Station, which in addition to being an actual gas station, is a restaurant, bar, and shop with its own branded t-shirts and glassware. The restaurant has an appealing black and white retro decor, and on the night Pam and I dropped by, 1980s new wave songs were playing on the sound system. Owner Jack Wright, a native Scotsman, also runs the Exit Zero publishing company, which puts out magazines and books overflowing with fun and local flavor.

My June 7 Slumgullion post was called on account of two baseball/rock and roll events held in close proximity to Wrigley Field. First up was the Hot Stove Cool Music VIP Jam Session at The Brickhouse venue on Thursday, June 6. The night kicked off with several local musicians joining together under the Chicago All-Stars banner to perform an hour-long tribute to The Kinks that included “Lola,” “Where Have All The Good Times Gone?,” “She’s Got Everything,” and “You Really Got Me.” The main Hot Stove Cool Music event took place on Friday night, June 7, at Metro, and featured the Chicago All-Stars; Boston All-Stars; Chicago-based rapper Taylor Bennett; BOTO (Band Of Their Own), a group of veteran women musicians; The Chicago Children’s Choir; and special guest, blues legend Buddy Guy. WXRT morning personality Lin Brehmer once again excelled as the event’s host. Everyone came through with solid performances, and a massive amount of money was raised for the Foundation To Be Named Later.

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