Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club - Don’t Buy This Record

It’s always a kick to encounter a new release from The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, the Chicago-based quintet with the Monty Pythonesque name and knack for quirky power pop. Don’t Buy This Record is a ten-song effort that mostly follows in the tradition of fellow Midwestern acts like Wilco and The Webstirs, but also explores 1980s style synth rock. True to its title, the release is currently available for free download on the group’s Bandcamp page.

“Have You Met You” delivers sharp lyrics about lacking self awareness via glam rock vocals and a guitar-driven arrangement. “Pick Pocket,” with its punchy rhythms and keyboards simultaneously evokes The Cars and Supergrass while “The Woman Who Got Old” is a catchy and energetic look at how quickly life can pass us by. “The Sweetest Song,” with its rich instrumental tapestry and adventurous vocal interplay (guitarist Bill Giricz, bassist Dan Passarelli, and guitarist Paulette Bertrand are all listed as lead singers), would have fit in well on a Wilco album.

The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club delves more deeply into techno music than on previous efforts, and the results are impressive. The hard-edged “Up The Stairs” grooves to an ominous beat, and the band also conjures a 1980s style ambience on “Just Drive” and “What’s It To You.” The eclectic approach on Don’t Buy This Record also includes the lighter and eccentric “Rare Bird” and “Succumb To Your Blues.”


Monday, March 20, 2017


If the song “40,000 Headmen” brings back fond memories of the early and far more adventurous days of FM radio, then you might want to drop by Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue tomorrow night. A collection of musicians, using the name of that Steve Winwood/Jim Capladi song, will be performing the music of Traffic. There will be another tribute show at Martyrs’ on Thursday when the Great Moments In Vinyl crew will perform the Nevermind and MTV Unplugged In New York albums by Nirvana.

The official Record Store Day Facebook page had a post on March 14 stating, “One week from today, we’ll launch the Official RSD 2017 titles.” That adds up to March 21—tomorrow—and you can bet vinyl collectors will be eager to see the one-day-only limited editions that will be available. The actual Record Store Day this year takes place on Saturday, April 22.

It was so great to see all the tributes to Chuck Berry across social and traditional media during the past few days. Berry first rose to stardom over a half a century ago, but musicians and fans still regard him as a founding father of rock and roll. Some of the personal anecdotes I’ve seen on Facebook and in newspapers have been particularly touching. Hail, Hail, Rock And Roll!


Friday, March 17, 2017

Irish Stew

The latest Wild Honey benefit for The Autism Think Tank will be held next Saturday, March 25 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale California. The all-star lineup of musicians playing The Band’s Music From Big Pink album will include original member Garth Hudson, along with Jackson Browne, Peter Case, Victoria Williams, Syd Straw, David Baerwald, Continental Drifters, Plainsong, Cait O’Riordan and several others.

On this St. Patrick’s Day, let’s raise a toast to Irish rock and roll, including U2, The Undertones, Thin Lizzy, Van Morrison, The Boomtown Rats, The Pogues, The Cranberries, The Urges, My Bloody Valentine, Them, Little Green Cars, Ash, Something Happens, Sinead O’Connor, The Corrs, and Rory Gallagher.

Mahoney’s Pub & Grille on Ogden Avenue in Chicago is holding an Irish Fest tomorrow that will feature bagpipers, Irish dancers, and performances by Maggie Speaks, Three Men In Kilts, and the Larkin Brothers.

Barrington is billing its Seventh Annual Celtic Fest as “suburban Chicagoland’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Celebration” and will offer dancers, food and drink, live bands, bagpipers, and local merchants. It will be hosted by McGonigal’s Pub and runs through late tomorrow night.

Tickets went on sale today for Paul Simon at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island on June 14; two shows by the Bodeans at City Winery on May 26; Ian Hunter and The Rant Band at Park West on May 13; and Heartsfield at FitzGerald’s on May 13.

New albums arriving today included Spirit by from Depeche Mode—who’ll at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park on August 30, and Hot Thoughts by Spoon.

George Harrison’s The Vinyl Collection, a box set containing all 12 of his studio albums, is now available. It also includes a Live In Japan record and two picture-disc 12-inch singles.

After hearing an employee at the Graham Cracker Comic store in downtown Chicago talking about a local production of the High Fidelity Musical, I found a a review by theatre critic Kerry Reid on the Chicago Tribune’s website. Reid wasn’t overwhelmed by Refugee Theatre Project’s production but did note, “Christopher Pazdernik's endearing production brims with good-natured enthusiasm and dollops of sly wit, along with a fine onstage band headed by music director John Cockerill.” The play has been extended through March 25.

Hard-hitting power pop band Go Time! will be performing at Silvie’s Lounge in Chicago tomorrow night (March 18).

They’re still everywhere that I’m not. Translator, who had an FM radio hit with “Everywhere That I’m Not” in 1982, has dates with The Long Ryders coming up toward the end of April in California. Wish they would visit Chicago.

The Experience Hendrix all-star tribute to the legendary guitarist comes to the Chicago Theatre next Saturday, March 25. Performers include Billy Cox, Buddy Guy, Zakk Wylde, Johnny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Dweezil Zappa, and others.

The tribute show Fleetwood Mac Mania will be performed at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Park next Friday, March 24.

The Heroes And Villains Fan Fest comes to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center next weekend, March 25 and 26, with special guests from several popular TV shows. Two-day passes for general admission are $90, Saturday only is $55, and Sunday is $45. Various forms of VIP packages are also available.

The 20th Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival is currently taking place at the Gene Siskel Film Center, and by the time it’s finished on March 30, 62 films from 28 countries will have been screened.

The Jewish Film Festival continues through this weekend at various venues in the Chicago area.

The Last Waltz 40 Tour will pay a visit to The Chicago Theatre on April 19. Warren Haynes, Dr. John, and several other performers will be paying tribute to The Band’s star-studded farewell concert.

As mentioned here yesterday, tickets for Lollapalooza 2017 go on sale at 10:00 a.m. next Tuesday, March 21. The event takes place in Grant Park August 3 – 6; with a single day ticket running $120 and a four-day pass going for $335.

Ravinia announced its 2017 schedule, which includes Santana; Stephen Stills and Judy Collins; John Mellancamp; The Temptations and The Beach Boys; Blondie and Garbage; and The Moody Blues.

The LiveWire Lounge on Milwaukee Avenue continues its string of interesting bookings with a show on May 13 that will offer Splitsville, The Handcuffs, Collectors, and Hyperplane.

I’m not an avid fan of college basketball, but here are a few interesting things about Northwestern and the 2017 NCAA Tournament: It’s the first time in 78 years the university has qualified for participation. The team’s forward, Charlie Hall, is the son of actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus. According to Chicago Sun-Times reporter Gordon Wittenmyer, members of the Chicago Cubs, including Kris Bryant, are rooting for Northwestern. They won their first game of the tournament last night.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Festivals On The Horizon

Tickets for Lollapalooza 2017 go on sale at 10:00 a.m. next Tuesday, March 21, and it’s safe to say they’ll immediately sell out even though none of the acts have been announced yet. The event takes place in Grant Park August 3 – 6; with a single day ticket running $120 and a four-day pass going for $335. If past years are any indication, Lollapalooza will feature popular artists from alternative, rap, hip-hop, ambient, and classic rock.

While Lollapalooza’s organizers can rightfully be proud to their inclusive and diverse approach, they can’t touch Ravinia in terms of eclectic offerings. Then again, Lollapalooza only has four days, while Ravinia runs all summer. This year’s Ravinia schedule was recently announced and it includes Tony Bennett; Common; Fitz And The Tantrums; Santana; Stevie Nicks; Aretha Franklin; Stephen Stills and Judy Collins; John Mellencamp, Pat Metheny The Temptations and The Beach Boys; the John Butler Trio; Alanis Morissette; Darius Rucker; Diana Krall; Smokey Robinson; Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons; and Sheryl Crow. The Moody Blues will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of their majestic Days Of The Future Passed album: Blondie will team with Garbage; and there will be a David Bowie tribute. There's also a full schedule of classical music concerts being offered.

The Pitchfork Music Festival, which takes place at Union Park July 14 – 16, also recently announced its full lineup. Artists include PJ Harvey; LCD Soundsystem; The Feelies; Thurston Moore; A Tribe Called Quest; Angel Olsen; George Clinton; Priests; Solange; and Ride. Tickets are $75 for a single day; $175 for a three-day pass.


Friday, March 10, 2017


Just the man to unleash psychedelic music on Chicago. Photo from Tim Ferguson's Facebook page.

The Sons Of The Silent Age, a very good David Bowie tribute band that comprises veterans of Chicago’s music scene, will be at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue tomorrow night.

Tickets went on sale today for Depeche Mode at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park on August 30, Tommy Keene at The Hideout onApril 27, and Jeff Tweedy at The Vic on April 21 and 22.

Lead-vocalist-bassist Tim Ferguson and his Chicago-based band The Red Plastic Buddha will host an ambitious psychedelic music festival on September 8 and 9 at the Live Wire club. Partnering with Lee Klawans, he’s already booked several acts, including The Luck of Eden Hall, Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, Friends of Dennis Wilson, and Warhorses from Detroit. Heaven’s Gateway Drugs from Ft. Wayne, Magic Castles from Minneapolis, The Orange Drop from Philadelphia, and White Shape from Rockford are also on the schedule, along with locals Constantine, Aethereal, Junkee Girl, Diagonal, and Lucille Furs. And he’s not done yet. There’s no name for this festival yet, so Ferguson and Klawans are asking for suggestions via Facebook.

“This is going to be the best psychedelic music fest Chicago has seen since 1968,” Ferguson told me in a Facebook message, and he knows his way around the genre. The Red Plastic Buddha has been at the forefront of Chicago’s psychedelic scene for a number of years now, and their Song For Mara album came in at number four on my Favorite Releases of 2014 list. The Red Plastic Buddha will perform an afternoon show at Red Line Tap on April 29 as part of International Pop Overthrow.

The Music Box Theatre on Chicago’s north side has a special multimedia event titled Deconstructing The Beatles; The White Album coming up next Thursday, March 16. Produced and hosted by composer Scott Freiman, the 90-minute documentary explores the various recording methods used by The Beatles on their iconic album.

The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club has a new album called Don’t Buy This Record and they want people to take that title seriously. All songs are available for a free download on the Chicago power pop group’s Bandcamp page. I plan on reviewing it soon.

Mothboxer, the British band that’s earned a reputation for gorgeously crafted power pop, has returned from a two-year hiatus with new album titled The Secret Art Of Saying Nothing. I suspect I’ll have some good things to say when I review it in the near future.

There’s an International Woman’s Day art sale from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. taking place tomorrow, March 11 at Bourdage Pearls on Ravenswood in Chicago. Local artist Brenda Goodbread Walker will be showing some of her work and there will be an acoustic performance by Graham Elvis. at 3:00 p.m.

The 20th Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival is currently taking place at the Gene Siskel Film Center, and by the time it’s finished on March 30, 62 films from 28 countries will have been screened.

The Tom Stoppard play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead continues at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Park through March 18, and the tribute show Fleetwood Mac Mania comes to that venue on March 24.

Roxy Swain, the Chicago-based band that’s fronted by the engaging vocalist-rhythm guitarist Roxy Swain, has a gig at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn next Thursday, March 16. Three of the group’s albums have been favorably reviewed here on Broken Hearted Toy.

The latest Wild Honey benefit for The Autism Think Tank will be held March 25 at the Alex Theatre in Glendale California, and as usual, it boasts an all-star lineup of musicians playing the music of an iconic band. The Beatles and Big Star have been honored in the past, and this time, Wild Honey will cast a spotlight on The Band’s Music From Big Pink album. Garth Hudson, an original member of The Band, will be joined by Jackson Browne, Peter Case, Victoria Williams, Syd Straw, David Baerwald, Continental Drifters, Plainsong, Cait O’Riordan and several others. The event will be hosted by Chris Morris.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Regrettes - Feel Your Feelings Fool

The Regrettes have been creating a buzz on the Los Angeles club scene by mixing that city’s heralded punk approach with the 1960s girl group sound. There’s a running theme throughout their full-length debut Feel Your Feelings Fool of a rebellious young woman navigating the ups and downs of relationships. Lead vocalist-guitarist and main songwriter Lydia Night consistently brings grit and humor to her lyrics and The Regrettes set them to explosive but irresistible arrangements.

The fast-paced “I Don’t LikeYou” and “How It Should Be,” which evokes Leslie Gore, celebrate ditching boyfriends who haven’t measured up. “Hot” depicts a guy who turns on lots of girls but is still bad news because he’s conceited and a liar. Even when Night creates upbeat romantic songs like “Hey Now” and “’Til Tomorrow,” they exude an off-kilter and vulnerable charm.

Other songs take aim at the limitations society places on women. “A Living Human Girl” serves up a funny list of attributes that defy the traditional ideals of female beauty, and on “Seashore,” Night lashes out at condescending attitudes. “You’re talking to me like I’m hurt,” she sings. “At least I’m not six feet in the dirt. And I’ll still kick your ass even in my skirt.” The rollicking “Lacy Loo” and satiric “Picture Perfect” are two more examples of why Feel Your Feelings Fool is such a blast.

The Regrettes are coming to Chicago for a gig at Schubas on April 2.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Past And Present Perfect

Photo by Larry Gross, from Phil Angotti’s Facebook page.

The Lilacs, Material Reissue, and The Bad Examples—the three acts in last Saturday’s immensely enjoyable triple bill at Metro—have their roots in the Chicago club scene of the early 1990s. Each has also gone on hiatus at some point. When The Lilacs hit the Metro stage this past weekend, it was the first time the band had performed in 25 years. It remains to be seen if The Lilacs will stick around, the way Material Reissue and The Bad Examples have been back with us for a while now.

Lead vocalist-guitarist Ken Kurson noted that playing Metro and sharing the bill with Material Reissue had a special significance for The Lilacs. The venue’s owner Joe Shanahan was an early supporter of the band, and the late Jim Ellison, vocalist for the original Material Issue, produced The Lilacs’ debut album, The Lilacs Rise Above The Filth. Even those unfamiliar with that record could easily embrace catchy songs like “Jennifer” and “Red Dress.” The bone-crunching and fun “It Seems Like Years Since I’ve Had Sex” was another highlight in a tightly performed reunion show that was given an enthusiastic hometown welcome.

Still, I suspect that Material Reissue was the main draw that evening. A combination of original band members drummer Mike Zelenko and bassist-vocalist Ted Ansani with Chicago club scene veteran singer-guitarist Phil Angotti, Material Reissue continues to perform occasionally after making its debut at the 2011 International Pop Overthrow - Chicago. Ellison’s songs remain power pop masterpieces, particularly the MTV staples “Valerie Loves Me” and “Diane.” “Kim The Waitress,” a Green Pajamas cover from Material Issue’s Freak City Soundtrack album, was also expertly delivered, along with gems like “Crazy,” “What Girls Want” and “Renee Remains The Same.”

Led by founding member/lead vocalist-guitarist Ralph Covert, The Bad Examples opened the evening with a flawless set that reached back to the band’s 1991 full-length debut Bad Is Beautiful (recently rereleased on vinyl) and up to the impressive 2011 comeback Smash Record. “Pictures Of A Masquerade” and “Kill Amanda” evoked Squeeze with strong melodies and Covert’s wry lyrics, while “Raspberry Jam” was a touching and catchy tribute to a late friend and band member. The Bad Examples closed with the rollicking “Not Dead Yet,” a local hit from Bad Is Beautiful that embodies the rebellious spirit of the Chicago music community.

Related Posts with Thumbnails