Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Who, The Pretenders, and How To Become A Novelist

Photo of Dag Juhlin from Facebook.

Depending on when you read this, you could still catch Dag Juhlin and Phil Angotti performing as a duo for the first time tonight at the Montrose Saloon. They’re both both veterans of the Chicago music scene—Angotti with The Idea and as a solo act; Juhlin with The Slugs, Poi Dog Pondering, EXPO ’76, and Sunshine Boys. They’ll be will be covering The Who, and it’s a safe bet they’ll offer deep tracks and vintage gems rather than only hits like “Won’t Get Fooled Again” or “Pinball Wizard.” Also on the bill are The Real Pretenders, who be performing songs by The Pretenders.

For the past three years, The Writing Workshop of Chicago has staged a Writing Day Workshop a few weeks after the Printers Row Lit Fest. So if shopping for books and seeing famous authors in person lit a fire under your own creative urges, you can act on that this Saturday. The Writing Day Workshop will be held at the Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 S. Michigan Avenue from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. See the website for admission price and the full schedule

You can spend more for a opportunity to pitch your project to a literary agent, or get a critique of your first 10 pages from an editor or writing teacher. I went last year, and found it rewarding enough to merit making it an annual trek. For the 2018 event, I’ll be pitching my YA/Paranormal/Romance/Rock & Roll novel to two different agents. Wish me luck.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Double Dose Of Power Pop Expertise

Photo from The Posies Facebook page.

It’s hard to imagine a better place for Chicago area power pop fans to be this Saturday night than at Park West for a double bill of The Posies and Material Reissue. The Posies, in the midst of their 30th Anniversary Tour, will be drawing from a wealth of albums, including Dear 23, Frosting On The Beater, and Blood/Candy. The set list is sure to include irresistible gems like “I May Hate You Sometimes,” “Suddenly Mary,” “Dream All Day,” and “So Caroline.” Singer-guitarist Jon Auer and singer-guitarist Ken Stringfellow have been the band’s nucleus for all these years, and their harmonies remain impeccable.

Material Reissue includes Material Issue founding members bassist-vocalist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko, along with singer-guitarist Phil Angotti, who was a good friend of the late Jim Ellison. The new formation came together for an International Pop Overthrow - Chicago gig a few years back that packed the house at The Abbey Pub. They still perform occasionally on the local club scene, and opened for Matthew Sweet at Park West a few years ago. Original tunes like “Valerie Loves Me,” “Diane,” and “Renee Remains The Same,” along with their cover of The Green Pajamas’ “Kim The Waitress” still pack a melodic whallop. Singer-guitarist Terra Lightfoot is also on the bill, and will be playing songs from her recently released album New Mistakes. The music starts at 8:00.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Power Pop Shoppe In Wrigleyville

Photo from The Power Pop Shoppe’s post on Facebook

WNUR air personality Kirk Fox has been hosting live showcases based on his Power Pop Shoppe radio program at area venues for a while now, and he has another gem coming up tomorrow (Friday, June 15) night. This one’s a 1970s Night of cover versions with a definite power pop flavor at The Sandlot Wrigley. It features one of Chicago’s masters of tributes, Phil Angotti, along with the Lovepunch band, with special guest Mark Watson.

Angotti has quickly become a Power Pop Shoppe showcase veteran, having played his own material in the past. He’s also done tributes to Simon And Garfunkel, The Bee Gees, The Zombies, and Squeeze at various venues. Tomorrow night, Angotti will be performing songs by Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Badfinger, and Cheap Trick. Lovepunch plans on serving up music originally done by Blondie and The Knack. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. The Sandlot Wrigley is located at 3477 N. Clark St.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Here they come, walking down Lawrence Avenue. The Monkees Present The Mike Nesmith And Micky Dolenz Show comes to the Copernicus Center in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood this Thursday night. Hits songs will begin flowing at 7:30 p.m.

Monty Python’s Spamalot will open at Mercury Theater in Chicago on this Thursday, June 14 and run throughAugust 5.

CHIRP Radio 107.1 FM is helping present Urgh! A Music War at the Music Box this Saturday, July 16 at 7:00 p.m. The 1981 documentary features performances from The Go-Go’s, X, Echo And The Bunnymen, UB40, Devo, 999, Gary Numan, Devo, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, and several other punk and new wave bands. Admission is $10.

Arthur Buck (Peter Buck and Joseph Arthur); Buddy Guy; Johnny Marr; and The English Beat have new albums coming out this Friday, June 15th.

Cracker is what the world needs now and they’ll be bringing their catchy Americana rock to The Old Town School Of Folk Music this Sunday night.

Gomez will stage a 20 Year Celebration Of Bring It On in a WXRT show at The Vic this Friday, June 15, and Saturday, June 16. The radio station has been giving away tickets to callers this week.

A Day In The Country returns to The Hideout, one of Chicago’s more eclectic and critically acclaimed venues, on Sunday, June 24 from 2:00 to 11:00 p.m. Scheduled acts include headliner The Cactus Blossoms, along with Three Blue Teardrops, Golden Horse Ranch Band, The Saluda Moonlighters, The Lawrence Peters Outfit, and Al Scorch’s Country Soul Ensemble. There will be a barbecue by Honky Tonk BBQ and homemade pie by Bang! Bang! The Hideout is located at 1354 W. Wabansia on the north side.


Monday, June 11, 2018

The Spindles – Past And Present

Past And Present lives up to its name with an entertaining mix of new original material and a few well-chosen cover versions of vintage songs. The Spindles specialize in power pop and have been a participant at International Pop Overthrow – Chicago for a number of years. Vocalist-guitarist Jeff Janulis is also a founding member (with Michael Steven Cohen) of another IPO – Chicago standout The Abbeys.

Janulis wrote all of the new stuff here, and while he knows how to craft the standard love and heartache songs, he’s also able to put more sensitive subject matter to catchy arrangements. “I Want My Baby Back” shows us a guy at the funeral of a wife or girlfriend, wondering what he could have done to prevent her suicide. “Almost The Same” is from a parent’s point of view and concerns a son or daughter who’s run off in search of fame and trouble.

On the happier side, “Whenever We’re Together” is a spritely celebration of long-lasting romance, and “If I Fall In Love” is pure, mid-1960s style fun. The Spindles also throw in a faithful take on The Hollies’ classic hit “Look Through Any Window,” complete with ringing guitars and impressive harmonies. “Young Heart,” a song penned by Brad Steakley and originally intended to be on an album by The Elvis Brothers, offers some fun and helpful tips about staying cool while getting older. Steakley plays drums on the track, and his former Elvis Brothers mates Graham Walker and Rob Newhouse pop up separately throughout Past And Present. The Spindles pay homage to The Elvis Brothers with a rollicking version of the fast and funny “Santa Fe.”


Friday, June 1, 2018


Chicago-based singer-songwriter Jared Rabin has a gig at 10:00 p.m. tonight at SPACE in Evanston to mark the release of his new Wondering About The Weather seven-song EP.

Tickets are now available for the baseball-themed rock and roll charity event Hot Stove Cool Music at Metro next Friday night, June 8. WXRT air personality Lin Brehmer and Mad Men cast member Joel Murray will host, with performances by Chicago Cubs President Of Operations Theo Epstein, Len Kasper and the Chicago Hot Stove All-Stars; legendary baseball writer Peter Gammons and the Boston Hot Stove All-Stars; and Chicago-based buzz band The Orwells. Proceeds will support Cubs charities and Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later.

Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, La Luz, and Deerhoof will be among the acts playing at Do Division street fest in West Town this weekend.

The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) will be held tomorrow and Sunday at The Center on Halsted (3656 N. Halsted). Admission is free.

The Alan Parsons Project is bringing its Eye In The Sky 35th Anniversary Tour to the Copernicus Center (a short walk from the Jefferson Park Blue Line stop) this coming Tuesday, June 5.

Lookingglass Theatre Company’s staging of Jules Verne’s 20,000 League’s Under The Seas continues its run through August 19. Adapted by David Kersnar and Althos Low, the production promises encounters with “the monsters of the sea—and those inside us all.”

The Amazing Hebby Jeebies will be performing their rockabilly/garage music at 3:00 p.m. next Saturday as part of Ribfest Chicago. Ra Ra Riot, The Weeks, and Waco Brothers are also among the scheduled acts. Suggested donation is $10, which will benefit school, youth sports, and social services. Ribfest is located at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue, Irving Park, and Damen.

And that’s just part of the fun going on next weekend when Chicago will transform into an outdoor festival wonderland. The Chicago Blues Festival, Old Town Art Fair, Wells Street Art Fair, 57th Street Art Fair, Midsommarfest, Spring Awakening Music Festival, and Printers Row Lit Fest are all taking place.

The UK independent label Mega Dodo has a limited-edition blue vinyl LP of live Traffic music titled First Exit coming out this month. The album features Steve Winwood, Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi, and Chris Wood performing “Smiling Phases,” Paper Sun,” “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” and four other songs for a 1967 radio broadcast in Stockholm. Mega Dodo will also release Shipless Ocean, the latest effort from current psyche duo Us and Them as a limited-edition 180 gram aquamarine vinyl LP.

The Vinyl Merchant’s next Record Pop-Up takes place on June 10 On The Patio At Peckish Pig in Evanston. Attendees will be able to buy, sell, or trade seven-inch and LP records. There is no cover for the all ages show, and DJs will provide music. Peckish Pig is located at 623 Howard Street.

Cheap Trick will share a double bill with Poison next Saturday, June 9 at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park.

Urgh! A Music War, the 1981 documentary that features performances from The Go-Go’s, X, Echo And The Bunnymen, UB40, Devo, 999, Gary Numan, Devo, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, and several other punk and new wave bands, will be screened at the Music Box on July 16. Admission is $10.

According to the June issue of the Illinois Entertainer (available free in record stores and music venues around Chicago), Mazzy Star; Neko Case; Pete Yorn and Scarlet Johansson; and Roger Dalty released new albums today. And we can expect new albums later this month from Lily Allen on the 8th, Arthur Buck (Peter Buck and Joseph Arthur); Buddy Guy; Johnny Marr; and The English Beat on the 15th, and Florence + The Machine and Ray Davies on the 29th.

Congratulations to Julia Louis-Dreyfus on being chosen as the recipient of the Kennedy Center’s 2018 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Dreyfus, whose impressive TV resume includes Saturday Night Live, Seinfeld, The New Adventures Of Old Christine, and Veep, first started her comedic career in Chicago. She and husband Brad Hall were members of the Practical Theatre Company.

And congratulations to blues vocalist-guitarist Buddy Guy. He’ll receive a lifetime achievemnt award from the American Music Association on September 12 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN.

Monty Python’s Spamalot will open at Mercury Theater in Chicago on June 14 and run throughAugust 5.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Riot Fest & The Regrettes

Photo from the Johnny Marr Facebook page.

The first wave of acts scheduled to perform at this year’s Riot Fest on the weekend of September 14 through 16 in Douglas Park has been announced, and it includes Johnny Marr, Elvis Costello And The Imposters, Beck, Blondie, Liz Phair, Twin Peaks, Cypress Hill, Cat Power, Gary Numan, The Exploited, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Marr will likely be performing songs from his brand new album Call The Comet, which is due out on June 15. His previous two solo albums The Messenger and Playland placed first and second on my 2013 and 2014 Favorite Releases of Year lists, respectively.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow for an August 4 show with The Vaccines and The Regrettes at Schubas. It should be interesting to see if The Regrettes have come up with any new songs since their critically acclaimed Feel Your Feelings Fool came out last year. In other Regrettes news, the Los Angeles band has recorded a revved up and irresistible version of “Helpless” from the musical Hamilton. It’s part of Hamilton composer Lin-Manual Miranda’s #Hamildrop series. A video of their performance can be found on YouTube and various other sites, including Playbill.

Tickets also go on sale tomorrow for Chvrches and Sasha Sloan on August 1 at Metro; Alejandro Escovedo and Joe Ely at Old Town School Of Folk Music on August 24; Florence + The Machine and Perfume Genius at United Center on October 19; Franz Ferdinand at Park West on August 1; Houndmouth and Lewis Capaldi at Metro on August 3; Ziggy Marley at Thalia Hall on August 28; and Parquet Courts and Dream Wife at Thalia Hall on August 2.

Related Posts with Thumbnails