Friday, January 11, 2019

Slumgullion

Minds will be blown in downtown Chicago tonight as the psychedelic quartet Secret Colours rock the 25th floor of the Virgin Hotel at 203 N. Wabash. Two other psych-minded local acts—the trio Faintlife and singer-guitarist Jude Shuma will also be on the bill, along with DJ Cadien James. This is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for when I heard a while back that the Virgin Hotel would be booking live music.

The Beauty Bar at 1444 W. Chicago Avenue is the place tonight for Electric Feel: An Indie Rock Dance Party being sponsored by JBTV Music Television. You can expect to hear records by MGMT, Franz Ferdinand, LCD Soundsystem, Phoenix, Matt and Kim, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and several acts starting at 9:00 p.m. There’s no cover up to 10:00 p.m.

The always impressive and entertaining David Bowie tribute act Sons Of The Silent Age will be joined by special guest, acclaimed actor Michael Shannon when it performs Bowie’s Scary Monsters (and Supercreeps) tomorrow night at Metro. A portion of the proceeds will benefit cancer patients at NorthShore University HealthSystems’s Integrative Medicine Program.

The Reader is asking for donations to help keep the long-running Chicago free weekly running. The amount can be as little as $1, but anyone who chips in $48 (to match the number of years The Reader has been around) will become a Founding Member with perks to be named later. All donors, regardless of the amount, will have their names listed in an upcoming issue. I’ve picked up a copy of The Reader every week for most of those 48 years and would be sad to see it go. So, I’ve just made a $48 donation.

This Sunday, January 13, is when rockabilly/garage rock band The Amazing Heeby Jeebies kick off a year-long residency at Montrose Saloon. They’ll be performing every second Sunday, and according to the band’s Facebook page, there will be special guests and lots of surprises.

The eccentric and beloved British musician Robyn Hitchcock is coming to the Prairie Center For The Arts in Schaumburg on January 19. Hitchcock has an extensive catalog of songs to choose from, dating back to his days with Soft Boys in the mid-1970s. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

The Zombies have a special concert coming up on January 20 at The Alban Arena in St. Albans to honor the late Jim Rodford, who played bass guitar for them, Argent, and The Kinks. Founding members Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent will celebrate the band’s induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame with an acoustic show at Canary Wharf in London. In other Zombies news, Blunstone, Argent, Chris White and Hugh Grundy will drop by the Waterstones store in St. Albans to sign copies of the book The Odessey: The Zombies in Words And Images. Congratulations to Graham Nash on being named as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s UK Americana Awards. The ceremony takes place at Hackney Empire in London on January 31. Tickets are available if you live in England or fancy flying over there.

The success of former Doctor Who cast members continues as David Tennant, Billie Piper, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, Karen Gillan, Jenna Coleman, and John Barrowman continue to land roles in movies and on TV. Gillan, who wrote, directed, and starred in the new indie film The Party’s Just Beginning, has been added to the cast of the upcoming movie Gunpowder Milkshake, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It’s said to feature an all-woman cast in a tale about assassins. By the way, Tennant is quite unnerving as John Knox in Mary, Queen Of Scots.

Great Moments In Vinyl, a group of local musicians who frequently stage tribute concerts to specific album around the Chicago area, will present The Beatles With Strings at City Winery Chicago on January 20.

Tributosaurus continues its Signature Series at the Copernicus Center on Chicago’s northwest side on January 20 with One Hit Wonders of The 80s.

The Pegasus Theatre’s 32nd Young Playwrights Festival continues its run at Chicago Dramatists at 773 N. Aberdeen on weekends through January 27.

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Have Some Fun Tonight

Great Moments In Vinyl, a collective of Chicago area musicians that pays tribute to iconic albums, are performing Joni Mitchell’s Court And Spark tonight at Martyrs. Chicago radio personality Lindsey Cochran will host, and singer-songwriter Kara Cavanaugh will be the featured vocalist. Packy Lundholm, John Bowes, Debbie Kaczynski, and Aaron Weistrop will also be performing. The show starts at 8:00 p.m., Martyrs’ is located at 3855 N. Lincoln Avenue.

Four speakers from the restaurant/entertainment scene will be discussing rock albums at 7:00 p.m. tonight as Shannon Nico Shreibak, the Director of Publicity at the Metro venue, hosts Liner Notes - A Musical Storytelling at the GMan Tavern. Restaurant manager Christine Cikowski will talk about Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago; WXRT overnight DJ Emma Mac will offer her take on The Beatles’ Abbey Road; musician Nick Abel will discuss I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning by Bright Eyes; and restaurant executive/performer Andreas Tsironis will have some thoughts on Meteora by Linkin Park. Admission is free, and the event will also be available as a Liner Notes podcast. GMan Tavern is located at 3740 N. Clark Street.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Paul McCartney - Egypt Station

Egypt Station, Paul McCartney’s first album since New came out in 2013, once again finds the iconic musician eager to embark on more adventures. It has 16 tracks, and would have been stronger without a few of them. Still, even if some of the slower tunes are nondescript, there’s a lot to admire about the work Sir Paul keeps sending our way.

The piano arrangements and vocal phrasing on “Hand In Hand” and “Do It Now” call to mind the vintage material of Kisses On The Bottom, but these two newer efforts fall short of being standards. “I Don’t Know” and “Happy With You” also find McCartney in a pensive mood, but their arrangements are more inventive and engaging. On the other end of the spectrum, he sounds like he’s having a blast amidst the offbeat sound effects and middle eastern rhythms of “Caesar Rock.”

“Come On To Me” figured prominently in that viral Carpool Karaoke clip McCartney did with James Corden, and it also has a lineage to his Beatles songs and some of his better solo hits. The anti-bullying rallying cry of “Who Cares” grooves to a funky beat that should connect with the kids who most need to hear its empowering message. “Back In The Brazil” sets a romantic tale to some infectious jazz; coming across as South American take on “Oh Bla Di Oh Bla Da.” McCartney throws some political punches on “Despite Repeated Warnings” and the clever format and heartfelt lyrics of “People Want Peace” would make John Lennon proud.

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Incoming

Tributosaurus continues its Signature Series at the Copernicus Center on Chicago’s northwest side on January 20 with One Hit Wonders of The 80s. The commercial for this event on WXRT features the song “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell, which is a good indication that this will be a fun show. Tributosaurus is one of Chicago’s best known tribute acts, and has been known to recruit several musicians in its quest to recreate the music of the act(s) their honoring.

What We Do In The Dark, the hilarious film that brought vampires and werewolves into the realm of mundane reality television, is coming to TV as a half-hour show on FX. Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi are adapting their film, but according to a roundup TV shows in the Chicago Tribune, they are not performing in the small screen version.

The original lineup of Chicago power pop band Off Broadway will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of its still vital debut album On at Reggie’s Rock Club on February 23. Singer-guitarist Phil Angotti, another veteran of Chicago’s power pop elite and founding member of The Idea, will perform with his current band. The Evictions are also on the bill. Reggie’s Rock Club is located on State Street just south of downtown.

Congratulations to Alexis Gaw, Anonda Tyler, and Luna MacWilliams on having their plays chosen as winners of Pegasus Theatre’s 32nd Young Playwrights Festival. As noted by Web Behrens in the Chicago Tribune, Pegasus will give each winning entry a professional production that will be staged at Chicago Dramatists at 773 N. Aberdeen. The plays will run on weekends through January 27.

Big Brother’s Vinyl, a local guitar-driven band that covers classic rock hits as well some unexpected deep cuts and rarities, will perform at Mac’s On Slade in Palatine on Sunday, January 20. The show starts at 5:00 p.m.

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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Eric Haydock Tribute

The Hollies back in the 1960s, with Eric Haydock crouching in front.

I’m sad to hear that bassist Eric Haydock, an original member of The Hollies, has passed away. Earlier today, the band posted the news on its official Facebook page and website. Haydock's rhythm section mate back in the 1960s and still current Hollies drummer Bobby Elliott composed a heartfelt tribute that praised Haydock’s expertise as a musician.

“In the early 1960s Eric was one of the finest bass players on the planet,” Elliott stated. “Although Eric left the Hollies in 1966, I occasionally listen enthralled by our BBC and Abbey Road recording sessions and dear Eric masterfully playing his six string bass.”

Haydock was playing that bass when the band first caught my attention with the effervescent hits “I Can’t Let Go” and “Bus Stop,” as well as on the Hear Here album I received as a Christmas present back in 1966. I’ve been an avid Hollies fan ever since. Haydock was sometimes described in fan magazines as the quiet or enigmatic member. He was replaced by Bernie Calvert in 1966.

I saw The Hollies perform live on three occasions, but not the lineup with Haydock. It would have been an essential part of their history to experience. When The Hollies were inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2010, Haydock was invited to attend the ceremony, and joined Graham Nash, Allan Clarke, Terry Sylvester, and Bernie Calvert onstage to receive their awards. (Bobby Elliott and Tony Hicks were performing with the current version of The Hollies in London.) So, a toast to Eric Haydock and the role he played in making The Hollies an international success.

Here’s a clip of Haydock playing bass with The Hollies on one of their earliest hits “I’m Alive.”

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Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Kooks - Let’s Go Sunshine

Let’s Go Sunshine is the first release from The Kooks since they tried a radically different approach with Listen in 2014. The English band had swapped the working class aesthetic and catchy arrangements of its first three albums for a more funk oriented sound that was hit and miss at best. Their latest effort once again takes The Kooks a long way from their humble roots, but this time out, the transformation is much more successful.

Lead singer-rhythm guitarist Luke Pritchard’s vocals soar above the U2 style atmospheric instrumentation and inspirational message of the opening numbers, “All The Time” and “Believe.” Let’s Go Sunshine isn’t as impressive on the final two tracks but there’s plenty of good stuff along the way. Acoustic and electric guitars playfully mix with percussion on the quirky love song “Honey Bee,” and acoustic guitar is also expertly woven in the massive sound of “Fractured And Dazed.”

“Pamela” is a rush of guitar-driven rock with intriguing lyrics like, “You touched the ground and I fell in love with you” and “Oh what an enigmatic woman.” The breezy pop of “Initials For Gainsbourg” has striking imagery like, “Did you see that shooting star and it’s still only daylight?” as well references to Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin and Bonnie and Clyde. The catchy “Four Leaf Clover” harks back to the earliest days of The Kooks, proving these guys can experiment and still not lose their identity.

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Slumgullion

The eccentric and beloved British musician Robyn Hitchcock is coming to the Prairie Center For The Arts in Schaumburg on January 19. Hitchcock has an extensive catalog of songs to choose from, dating back to his days with Soft Boys in the mid-1970s. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

The very impressive David Bowie tribute act Sons Of The Silent Age will be joined by special guest, acclaimed actor Michael Shannon when it performs Bowie’s Scary Monsters (and Supercreeps) next Saturday, January 12 at Metro. A portion of the proceeds will benefit cancer patients at NorthShore University HealthSystems’s Integrative Medicine Program.

The city of Chicago has designated 2019 as a year to celebrate the history, talent, and diversity its theatre community. An official press release promises a “first-of-its-kind in the U.S.” series of events created through the joint effort of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Department Of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), and League Of Chicago Theatres. Festivities are planned at locations like Millennium Park, the Cultural Center, and neighborhood parks, as well as via pop-ups at trade shows.  

The Zombies have a special concert coming up to honor the late Jim Rodford, who played bass guitar for them, Argent, and The Kinks. The event will be held on January 20 at The Alban Arena in St. Albans in the U.K.

Chicago alt rock band whitewolfsonicprincess has a record release party coming up at Jarvis Square Pottery on February 9 at 7:30 p.m. for its third album The Alternate Boot. The store is located at 1443 W. Jarvis on Chicago’s north side.

Next Sunday, January 13, is when rockabilly/garage rock band The Amazing Heeby Jeebies kicks off a year-long residency at Montrose Saloon. They’ll be performing every second Sunday, and according to the band’s Facebook page, there will be special guests and lots of surprises.

The longtime power pop oriented show Secret Weapon on Woody Radio has posted its Top Albums of 2018 list. Blue Music, the debut from Sunshine Boys, came in at number one, followed by Justine and The Unclean, Van Go, Yipes! and Palmyra Delran and The Doppel Gang. Other acts among the 30 honorees include Lannie Flowers, Kurt Baker Combo, The Pandoras, Willie Nile, and The Grip Weeds.

I was sad to see that Pegi Young, singer-songwriter and former wife of Neil Young, has passed away. She co-founded the Bridge School, a private school for children with physical disabilities. She and Neil organized annual charity concerts to help fund the school.

Great Moments In Vinyl, a group of local musicians who frequently stage tribute concerts to specific album around the Chicago area, will present The Beatles With Strings at City Winery Chicago on January 20.

The Imperial Sound has a gig coming up at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights on January 26.

Matt Smith, of Doctor Who and The Crown fame, will be one of the guests when this year’s C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) runs March 22–24 at the South Building at McCormick Place.

Legendary vocalist Roger Daltry is offering some drinking-related collectibles to benefit the Teen Cancer America campaign on the Eminent Life website. A bottle of Charles Orban Cuvee champagne designed to look like the cover of The Who’s Tommy album is available.

My wife Pam and I thoroughly enjoyed our bus tour of Ireland last fall but would have preferred having more time to spend in Dublin. Even better, I would have loved to have been on the street corner where Bono and The Edge were busking recently. According to Rolling Stone and the WXRT website, the U2 boys were part of annual charity event to help homeless people in the city. Glen Hansard, Damien Rice, and Imelda May were also involved.

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