Saturday, April 20, 2019

IPO - Chicago 2019 - The Finale

I got you, babe. Photo from The Sonnets Facebook page.

I wasn’t able to post a Slumgullion last night because I was out making merry at the International Pop Overthrow - Chicago showcase at LiveWire. It was great to see a full house at the Milwaukee Avenue venue and be able to stay a bit later since I didn’t have to be up at quarter to five the next morning for work. I still wasn’t able to stay late enough to catch the sets by Thrift Store Halo and BingBong. Waiflike, The Unswept, Collectors, and The Spindles all performed well and I enjoyed having a chance to talk with the musicians before and after their sets. IPO Chicago wraps up with two separate showcases today, with at least 11 acts—depending on a TBA—scheduled to perform.

Larry O’Dean, Jimmy De Lauriea, Mike Ebersohl, AKA The Injured Parties, kick off the afternoon showcase at 2:00 p.m. with their clever and catchy power pop tunes. Singer-songwriter Celia Rose works in a folk rock vein, and aims to add a bit of Haitian flavor to her songs. Freetoed has performed at a number of IPO - Chicago shows in the past, with an alt rock sound that’s influenced by Wilco, Pearl Jam, and Bon Iver. The IPO website has a TBA in the middle of this afternoon’s showcase, followed by singer-songwriter Tom Schraeder, who describes his genre as GUSH because he likes the freedom explore any type of music that interests him. Kenosha, WI trio Rainy Day Crush wraps up the first showcase with music thats “too catchy to be indie, too honest to be pop.”

Later today, the very last IPO - Chicago showcase of 2019 opens with an intriguing mix of glam, mod, power pop, garage, surf, and blues from The Sonnets. Guitarist-vocalist Vee Sonnets and bassist-vocalist Ellie Maybe are the nucleus of this trio, along with a core of drummers they can choose from as needed. The acoustic folk duo Douglas and Tucker is up next, followed by Andrew Fraker and Sons, an alt rock band not really made up of a Dad and his kids. These guys draw influences from The Rolling Stones, Counting Crows, and U2. The Band Calderisi is led by singer guitarist Anthony Calderisi, who enjoys mixing hard-hitting guitar playing with harmony vocals. The trio The Mixture likely takes its name from its mission to blend equal parts of psychedelic rock and soul, and Young Distractions, the final act for this year’s IPO Chicago will be the garage-punk-power pop trio.

Check out the official International Pop Overthrow website for links to all of the above listed bands.


Thursday, April 18, 2019

IPO - Friday On My Mind

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

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

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


Monday, April 15, 2019


Photo from Mike Vanderbilt’s Facebook page.

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

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

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


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday Papers

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, April 12, 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, April 11, 2019

RSD AND IPO - In The Know

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, April 5, 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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