Thursday, September 19, 2019

Thursday Slumgullion

Neil Young and Phil Baker will be signing copies of their new book To Feel The Music at City Lit Books this Sunday afternoon from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. The store recommends that anyone interested in getting a signed copy order it in advance, and there will be a one-book-per-customer limit. City Lit Books is located at 2523 N. Kedzie Blvd in Chicago.

The Sleeping Village venue on Belmont will be rocking tonight with power pop and other energetic music being spun by DJ Dixie Cup, AKA graphic designer Hailey Grimes. Admission is free for this 21 and over event and the music starts at 9:00 p.m.

Former Hollies lead vocalist Allan Clarke’s first solo effort in years will become available for online purchase tomorrow. One of the tracks on Resurgence, “Long Cool Woman’s Back In Town,” is an update on one of the band’s biggest—and most rocking—hit singles.

The Shelters also have a new album coming out tomorrow. It’s titled Jupiter Sidecar. The Los Angeles band has a gig coming up at The Echo in its home town on October 2.

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, and it was released today.

Minstrel Palooza returns to Durty Nellie’s in Palatine this Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The annual event celebrates the Minstrels music instruments store in Niles and the loyal customers who happen to be members of local bands. Van Go will likely be showcasing hard-edged but catchy songs like “Live Through This” and “Grim Life” from its most recent effort Everyone Loves You When You’re Gone. Other acts scheduled to perform are guitar slingers Larry Mitchell, Dave Ulrich and Johnny Gragg; Todd Money’s Train Wreck; Ghost Of Aragon; Cracked Actor Band; John Koziol; and Sync 92. The show is free and will wrap up with a Woodstock tribute.

Best wishes to Luke Pritchard from The Kooks for a full recovery from a perforated disc in his back. A video on the band’s Facebook and Instagram pages announced that its U.S.A. and Mexico tours have been canceled while Pritchard undergoes “intense physiotherapy.”

Tickets go on sale tomorrow for 999 (the U.K. band that gave us “Homicide”), The Clap, and Bad Sons at Reggies’ Music Joint on November 11; Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening at Rialto Square Theatre on November 18; Cage The Elephant and Angels And Airwaves at Aragon Ballroom on December 11; Colin Hay from Men At Work and Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band at Thalia Hall on March 28; Keanne at Cadillac Palace Theatre on March 20; Betty LeVette at The Old Town School Of Folk Music on December 6; the Chris Ligon CD Release and Variety Show with Flat Five, Sharon Rutledge and more at FitzGerald’s on November 8; O’Jays and Peabo Bryson at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino on October 5; Real Estate at Lincoln Hall on October 22; Sloan at Bottom Lounge on November 20; and Wilco at Chicago Theatre for four days in December.

The above listings were taken from the Early Warnings page in this week’s edition of The Reader. Also according to The Reader, Gordon Lightfoot’s September 27 concert at Copernicus Center has been cancelled. A new date will set in 2020, and current tickets will be valid for that one.

Chicago-based playwright Loy A. Webb’s latest play His Shadow continues its world premiere run through October 12 at the 16th Street Theater in Berwyn. It’s the story of a college football player trying to follow the legacy of his older brother while overcoming setbacks. In addition to her plays, Webb writes for TV show NOS4A2.

Monty Python is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year in a number of silly ways. The Monty Python Explodes Exhibition runs at the Mezzanine Gallery at BFI Southbank in the U.K. through October 13 featuring, “costumes, sketchbooks, and never-before-seen material from the BFI National Archive and the Monty Python Archive.” And the official Monty Python website is selling How To Dress Like Gumby Kits as part of the admission price for those interested in participating in the largest Gumby gathering at The Roundhouse in London on October 5 at in England.

There will be an Indigenous Peoples Concert on October 16 at The Old Town School Of Folk Music. Admission is free but seating must be reserved in advance.

After finishing their set or at the KAABOO entertainment and arts experience in San Diego last weekend, The Bangles joined Sheryl Crow and her band for a rousing rendition of “Soak Up The Sun.”

Mercury Theater’s production of Spamalot continues its run through November 3. The production is being directed by L. Walter Stearns; Eugene Dizon is the Musical Director. Performances will be at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday each week, with an additional show at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, and a 3:00 p.m. show on Sunday.


Friday, September 13, 2019


Who’s on first album in 13 years. As seen on social media and reported on The Second Disc website, The Who have a new album titled WHO coming on November 22. A regular CD with 11 tracks will be released, along with an extended version with three extra cuts. The Second Disc also mentions a vinyl edition that will spread those WHO tracks across a pair of 45 rpm records and a 10-inch EP. That version will only be available on the band’s webstore.

Welcome to all the musicians and music fans who’ve come to Chicago for Riot Fest and the World Music Festival.

Riot Fest opened today with a lineup that included Caroline Rose, who looks like she’s ironing hot dogs on her promo photo and performs catchy guitar and synth indie rock songs. The better-known Violent Femmes, The Flaming Lips, and Descendants also played. Saturday and Sunday will bring ska pioneers The Selector; Patti Smith; reunited riot grrrls Bikini Kill; The Raconteurs, glam rockers The Struts, Nick Lowe With Los Straitjackets; Guided By Voices; Bob Mould; and B-52’s.

This week’s edition of the Chicago free paper The Reader includes the full schedule of the World Music Festival, which kicked off today and runs (except for Mondays and Tuesdays) through September 29 at various venues across the Chicago area. You can pick up a copy in boxes around downtown and at records stores and other venues.

Morrissey and Interpol are performing at Ravinia tomorrow night.

Ronnie Wood has sold out his November 21 gig at 02 Shepherds Bush Empire in London. That bodes well for Wood’s upcoming new album Mad Lad - Live Tribute To Chuck Berry. It comes out November 15.

Over 150 artists will be showcasing their work at the Lakeview East Festival at Belmont and Broadway tomorrow and Sunday. Music acts include The Bama Lamas; Radio Free Honduras; and Naomi Ashley.

Avant grade indie rockers whitewolfsonicprincess have a show tomorrow night at Moe’s Tavern on Milwaukee Avenue. Leah Shoshanah is also on the bill.

Tickets went on sale today for the In Person Bob Dylan And His Band concert coming October 30 to Credit Union 1 Arena at the University Of Illinois at Chicago. Richard Thompson has solo gigs coming up at SPACE December 29 through 31; the Last Waltz Tour with Warren Hyanes Jamey Johnson and others comes to the Chicago Theatre on November 21; Albert Lee will be at SPACE on January 4; Shemekia Copeland and Kevin Burt are coming City Winery Chicago on December 26 and 27; and Fort Frances will be at Schubas on December 5.

There’s going to be an all ages Bluegrass Brunch starting at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at the Hey Nonny resturant/venue in Arlington Heights. Recording artists Cox’s Army will be mixing traditional tunes with their own originals featuring guitar, banjo, mandolin, and bass; along with harmony vocals.

The Monty Python Explodes Exhibition opened today at the Mezzanine Gallery at BFI Southbank in the U.K. It runs through October 13 featuring, “costumes, sketchbooks, and never-before-seen material from the BFI National Archive and the Monty Python Archive.” Here’s hoping this exhibit travels and makes a stop in Chicago as Monty Python’s Flying Circus celebrates its 50th year.

The Bangles, Squeeze, Little Steven and The Disciples Of Soul, Silverspun Pickups, The Cult, Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, and Toots and The Maytals are among the acts who’ll be performing at the KAABOO entertainment and arts experience (the organizers prefer that term to festival) at the Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego this weekend.

The Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge will open the seventh season of its Classic Film Series on Wednesday, September 18 with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Actor Keir Dullea, who portrayed the astronaut David Bowman in the film will be there in person for the screening, along with film historian Raymond Benson. Admission for the 7:30 p.m. event (a 1:00 p.m. screening will not have special guests) is $12.

Supergrass, the English trio an editor at the Illinois Entertainer once called, “a Terry Flamm band if I’ve ever heard one” back when I wrote for that monthly publication, has reunited. They’re planning on releasing a 25th anniversary edition of their superb debut I Should Coco.


Friday, September 6, 2019


So . . . Welcome to September. A particularly hectic holiday and work schedule kept me from posting anything earlier this week.

Depending on what time you read this, there might still be time to check out Big Guitar Night at Montrose Saloon tonight. It’s the latest triple bill live performance presented by Kirk Fox, the host of WNUR’s Power Pop Shoppe radio program. This time, the bands are The Peeves, The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, and Extra Arms. The music starts at 8:00 p.m.

The Stereogum website is reporting that R.E.M. will be releasing a deluxe reissue box set of Monster to mark the 25 Anniversary of the critically acclaimed and highly successful album.

Tickets went on sale today for Andrew Bird at Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago on December 9 through 12; Cherie Currie from The Runaways and Brie Darling from Fanny at City Winery Chicago on November 25; Empty Pockets at SPACE on December 6; Anne Heaton at SPACE on December 22; the John Prine tribute band Illegal Smiles at SPACE on December 26; and Over The Rhine at the Old Town School Of Folk Music on December 7. The above listings were taken from the Early Warnings page of this week’s Reader. You can pick up a copy at various locations around downtown Chicago and the north side.

Artist/art critic Robin Dluzen will celebrate her birthday tomorrow with a one-day exhibition titled Something Olden and Golden at ORBIT. In her Artist Statement, Dluzen notes that for several years she’s been inspired by the labor history of women in her family. Several pieces are based on drawings her mother did when Robin was growing up. Something Olden and Golden will be open from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. ORBIT is located at 1350 W. Erie.

You were great. Who are you? K.T. Tunstall was a surprise addition (at least to my knowledge) to last Saturday’s Squeeze concert at the Chicago Theatre. Taking the stage unannounced and without introducing herself, Tunstall nevertheless easily won over the crowd with her friendly demeanor, distinctive vocals, and energetic guitar strumming. She did mention coming from Scotland at the outset, which was a major clue, but I must confess I wasn’t absolutely positive until Tunstall launched into her major hit “Big Black Horse And The Cherry Tree.” Much of the crowd was on its feet by the time she finished her short set, which also included the rousing “Suddenly I See.”

Squeeze was magnificent, delivering what Tunstall had said they would: a master class in songwriting. That applied to new material from its 2018 album The Knowledge as well as the early classics like “Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)” and “Up The Junction.” Founding members Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford stood front and center playing their guitars, and frequently joining together on vocals. Tilbrook provided most of the guitar firepower as Squeeze unleashed high-powered versions of  “In Quintessence,” “Third Rail,” and “Hourglass.” The more soulful “Tempted” and “Black Coffee In Bed” were also among the highlights. 

The idea of Chrissie Hynde sneaking up on you is a bit scary, but in this case, she’s doing it with a new album. As noted in the September issue of the Illinois Entertainer, Hynde’s second solo effort, Valve Bone Woe, came out today. We also got Lost Girls from Bat For Lashes; Rubberband from Mile Davis; and Free from Iggy Pop. September 13 brings Beneath The Eyrie from The Pixies; September 20 brings All The Feels from Fitz And The Tantrums and Why Me? Why Not. from Liam Gallagher; and Hey, I’m Just Like You from Tegan and Sara drops on September 27.

Chely Wright and Alice Peacock will share a double bill Wednesday, September 11 at City Winery Chicago.

A week from tonight, Great Moments In Vinyl, a Chicago band with a rotating lineup of musicians, with join forces with the Mosaic Soul vocal ensemble to perform the Paul Simon album Graceland at the Beverly Arts Center on the city’s south side.

Fly me to KAABOO and let me play among the stars. The Bangles, Squeeze, Little Steven and The Disciples Of Soul, Silverspun Pickups, The Cult, Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes, and Toots and The Maytals are among the acts scheduled to perform at the KAABOO entertainment and arts experience (the organizers prefer that term to festival) at the Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego next weekend.

Mercury Theater’s production of Spamalot continues its run through November 3. The production is being directed by L. Walter Stearns; Eugene Dizon is the Musical Director. Performances will be at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday each week, with an additional show at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, and a 3:00 p.m. show on Sunday.


Friday, August 30, 2019


Taste Of Polonia returns to Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood today and will run through Monday. Over 35 music acts will perform on four stages; including Tributosaurus tonight as Led Zeppelin; The Neverly Brothers; School Of Rock; and the Beatles tribute band Kaleidoscope Eyes. See the official website for the full schedule.

Tickets went on sale today for the 15th Annual Alex Chilton Birthday Bash at Empty Bottle on December 28; Moody Blues member John Lodge at City Winery Chicago on November 12; Julia Nunes and Elizabeth and The Catapult at Subterranean on November 23; and Screaming Females and Dusk at Schubas on October 23.

EXPO ’76 will be cracking wise and reaching into its bottomless bag of cover versions tonight at the classy Arlington Heights venue Hey Nonny.

Welcome to everyone’s who’s come to Chicago for our acclaimed Jazz Festival. The event began yesterday with shows at Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center; and runs today through Sunday at Millennium Park. Performers include The Art Ensemble Of Chicago; the Metropolitan Jazz Octet with Dee Alexander; Eddie Palmieri Sextet; and Ben Sidran. Chicago Tribune music critic Howard Reich offered a critical guide in yesterday’s issue, and the Chicago Sun-Times has the full schedule. This week’s edition of The Reader has a special section on the Jazz Festival.

The Reader was one of the many publications I picked up on my weekly after-work trip downtown yesterday. Chicago Innerview has released its annual guide to Riot Fest (coming to Douglas Park September 13 – 15), and you can pick up a free copy at the Reckless Records on Madison Street. Just down the street, I dropped by Graham Cracker Comics to buy the September Previews - The Comic Shop's Catalogue. The September issue of New City has the magazine’s Art 50 list of Chicago’s most influential members of the art community, and it’s being bundled with the EXPO Chicago (coming to Navy Pier September 19 – 22) program. The entire latest issue of Streetwise is a Fall Festival Guide that actually runs through the rest of the year. You can buy one from one of the many vendors around downtown and help the homeless while getting some helpful entertainment information.

Squeeze, led by founding members Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, performs at the elegant Chicago Theater tomorrow night in what has to be considered a perfect match of venue and band. In addition to older classics like “Tempted,” “Hourglass,” and “Black Coffee In Bed,” hopefully Squeeze will perform songs from its masterful 2018 effort The Knowledge.

Marvel Comics will mark its 80 birthday tomorrow, and several local comic book stores will participate in the celebration. Customers at the participating stores will have the opportunity to see the new Marvel Comics #1000 and copies of the Marvel Universe Magazine will be available for free. 

Country rock band Heartsfield has a gig tomorrow night at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn.

There’s an Irish Days festival in Long Grove tomorrow through Monday that will offer live music, dance troupes, and competitions for dogs and men in kilts. Long Grove, which was once a major destination for antiques and crafts lovers, is currently in a rebuilding mode. The emphasis is mainly on restaurants, but since some of these new venues are doing well, maybe new shops will follow. As for this weekend’s event, people who’ve been to Irish Fest on Chicago’s northwest side should enjoy this event in Long Grove. Academy Of Irish Music, carrying on the legacy of instructor Noel Rice, performs at 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, and is highly recommended. The McNulty School Of Dance and the Irish Trinity Dancers will performing; as are Shannon Rovers, the rowdy but surprisingly talented Larkin/Moran Brothers, and Dooley Brothers and Jimmy Moore.

Mercury Theater’s production of Spamalot opens tonight and will run through November 3. The production is being directed by L. Walter Stearns; Eugene Dizon is the Musical Director. Performances will be at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday each week, with an additional show at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, and a 3:00 p.m. show on Sunday.

In last Friday’s Slumgullion, I mentioned Professor Moptop’s Wednesday, October 2 50 Years of Abbey Road lecture at the Palatine Library but left readers hanging as to his other Abbey Road library appearances. Here they are: September 18 at the Bridgeview Public Library, September 23 at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, and October 10 at the Evergreen Park Library. Professor Moptop is a regular contributor to Terri Hemmert’s Breakfast With The Beatles show each Sunday on WXRT, and will be releasing his Textbook Beatles Volume 2 Beatlemania 1963 – 1964 in the near future. If it’s anything like Textbook Beatles Volume 1, it will be packed with all kinds of recording information and interesting and sometimes little-known stories about the band.

Karen Gillan and I have something in common in addition to having both conversed with Matt Smith. The Doctor Who, Guardians Of The Galaxy, and Jumanji actress still fancies making her own films, and recently posted on Instagram that she’s finishing up a short horror flick. My wife Pam and I created several two-minute episodes of a comedy series titled Manchester Gallery that was shown on Jeff Kelley’s Sunday Morning Coffee With Jeff internet show. Kelley and graphic design artist Dave Metzger also create zombie films for Elgin’s annual Nightmare on Chicago Street Halloween festival, and I’ve acted in a number of those. I recently took a meeting with them to appear in two new films. This year’s Nightmare On Chicago Street festival takes place on Saturday, October 19.

Billie Piper is another former Doctor Who cast member going the indie film route. Rare Beasts, which Piper directed, wrote, and acted in, will be screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October. It’s a drama/comedy about relationships that also stars David Thewlis, Kerry Fox, and Bill Leo. It would be nice to see the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago hold a Karen Gillan/Billie Piper indie film festival.


Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Champagne Of Pop Music

When Squeeze performs at the elegant Chicago Theater this Saturday night, it will be perfect match of venue and band. Founded by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook back in the mid-1970s, Squeeze has continually exuded sophistication while combining clever wordplay and irresistible melodies. Almost from the start, Difford and Tilbrook’s songwriting skills drew comparisons to John Lennon and Paul McCartney, particularly on gems like “Tempted,” “Pulling Mussels (From The Shell),” “Is That Love?” and “Goodbye Girl.” Other highlights over the years included “Black Coffee In Bed,” “Messed Around,” and “Hourglass.”

When Squeeze released The Knowledge in 2018, it was one of the best albums of the year. Here’s a sample of my Broken Hearted Toy review: “Like wisdom, The Knowledge seems to have come with age, as Tilbrook and Difford reflect on the later stages of life; for themselves and the people they encounter. Their observations can be poignant, as on the energetic “Innocence In Paradise” and the acoustic “Departure Lounge,” or laced with wry humor, like on the viagra-themed “Please Be Upstanding” and “Albatross,” a short and funny portrait of a vinyl junkie.”

The Knowledge is definitely worth picking up if there are any for sale on the merch table at the Chicago Theater concert. Watch for special demo CDs as well. I bought one when Squeeze performed on Northerly Island a few years ago. The band’s lineup has changed over the years—Jools Holland and Paul Carrack are long gone—but Difford and Tilbrook remain comfortably at the helm with the current members.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Veteran Chicago music scene trio The Locals  have an album release party for its latest effort Minutes, Seconds, Degrees coming up at The Burlington on Saturday, September 7. A limited-edition vinyl version will be available at the show, and a video for the catchy and aggressive “Eyes Wide Open” can now be viewed on the band’s website. Baby Magic, Doomerang, and Deep Fake will also perform that night. The Burlington is located at 3425 W. Fullerton in the Lincoln Park area.

Lead vocalist-guitarist Yvonne Doll is also an accomplished solo artist, and she’s well matched in The Locals with bassist Joe Bates and drummer Aaron Coleman. When I reviewed the band’s Salt EP for the Illinois Entertainer somewhere around 2009, I compared the hard-hitting, melodic song “Sound It Out” to Melissa Etheridge, but with more of a Midwestern power pop feel. The lineup has changed over the years but the approach sounds as focused as ever.

EXPO ’76 will be reaching into its bottomless bag of cover versions this Friday night at Hey Nonny, the classy Arlington Heights venue that’s previously shown impeccable taste by booking The Imperial Sound and The Flat Five. The Bad Examples will be there on September 12. Hey Nonny is looking more and more like an essential rock entertainment venue for the northwest suburbs.

The Phil Angotti Band, The Hushdrops, and The Plastic Macs will share a triple bill tomorrow night at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. Angotti is fresh from some impressive tribute shows on the Apple Jam Stage at the Fest For Beatles Fans – Chicago. The Hushdrops are led by vocalist-guitarist John San Juan, who also did Chicago proud on the Apple Jam Stage. The music starts at 8:00 p.m.


Return Of The Killer Rabbit And Other Nonsense

Just as the official celebration for the 50th anniversary of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV show is heating up, we’ve got some Python-related fun starting this week in Chicago. Spamalot opens this Friday, August 30 at the Mercury Theater and runs through November 3. The production is being directed by L. Walter Stearns; Eugene Dizon is the Musical Director. Performances will be at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday each week, with an additional show at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, and a 3:00 p.m. show on Sunday.

My wife Pam and I loved Spamalot when it first came to Chicago around 2004, with its all-star cast of Tim Curry, Hank Azaria, and David Hyde Pierce. Eric Idle had created a musical “lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python And The Holy Grail” by setting clever lyrics to music composed by himself and John Du Prez. We caught a second production downtown a few years later with a different cast and enjoyed the very silly Knights of the Round Table all over again.

As to whether a local company can do this hilarious musical justice, Theatre Nebula proved it’s possible with their production at Cutting Hall in Palatine in 2014. We’re looking forward to seeing how Mercury Theater goes about chopping off limbs, searching for shrubbery, and saying “Ni!”while wearing extra tall knight costumes. The Mercury Theater is located at 3745 N. Southport.

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