Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday Slumgulion

The Old 97s are performing at Durty Nellie’s with Lily Hiatt as their opening act in Palatine tonight. Despite its first-rate acoustics and a classy décor, this venue relies too much on local cover bands. So an adventurous move like this should be rewarded with a packed house.

Led by lead vocalist Rhett Miller, the band formed in Dallas, TX back in 1993 and has released 11 studio albums. The online rock publication Paste describes The Old 97s as “one of the few bands that have never really put out a bad record.” Their latest non-bad effort, Graveyard Whistling, came out earlier this year.

This Is This, a local band that took its name from The Deer Hunter and who recorded a couple of albums of catchy originals, will be doing its final show tomorrow night at the new Buffalo Creek Brewing venue in Long Grove.

Last night’s Slumgullion had to be postponed because I was at at Filament Theatre watching Tellin’ Tales Theatre’s original Halloween-style musical comedy Six Stories Up – In Haunted Chicago. It concerns middle school kids encountering some famous Chicago ghosts while on a field trip ad wraps up its run this weekend. Filament Theatre is located at 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

The 53rd The Chicago International Film Festival  s running through October 26 at AMC River East 21, just north and east of downtown run area.

The Dayna Clay Project will host the Unplugged: A Survivor’s Story In Scenes And Songs Book And Album Release - Benefit Show this Sunday, October 22 at City Winery Chicago. The event starts at 1:00 p.m. According to the Chicago Tribune, the book was inspired Kurt Cobain.

Destinos, the first Chicago International Latino Theater Festival continues this weekend, and runs through October 29 at various venues in town.

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Power Pop Shoppe Showcase Vol. 2 and The Old 97s This Weekend

WNUR 89.3 radio personality Kirk Fox will bring the second installment of The Power Pop Shoppe Showcase to the Elbo Room on Lincoln Avenue tomorrow (Friday) night. Fox plays a variety of artists on his Power Pop Shoppe program, and so far, the live shows have been adventurous as well. Last March, The PPSS gave us a triple bill of singer-guitarist Phil Angotti, the quirky band The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, and The Sunshine Boys—a new energetic, politically aware trio comprised of music scene veterans.

The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, whose latest album Don’t Buy This Record follows in the tradition of fellow Midwestern acts Wilco and The Webstirs, are coming back for The Power Pop Shoppe Showcase Vol. 2. Two of the other bands on the bill, The Addisons and The Peeves, lean more toward an aggressive punk band, while The Mark Watson Band draws on Cheap Trick and Fountains Of Wayne for influences. It will be interesting to see if Fox once again requests that each act perform a cover of a power pop classic. The Showcase kicks off at 8:00 p.m.

Alt rock fans in Palatine and neighboring northwest suburbs have to be thrilled to find The Old 97s are booked for Durty Nellie’s this Saturday night. The venue has first-rate acoustics and a classy décor, but generally makes its bread and butter on local cover bands. This is definitely a bold move that should be rewarded with a packed house.

Led by lead vocalist Rhett Miller—who’s also released a few solo efforts—the band formed in Dallas, TX back in 1993. Over the course of 11 studio albums (and a few live ones), they crafted critically acclaimed alt rock/country classics like “Timebomb,” “Buick City Complex,” “Barrier Reef,” and “What We Talk About.” The online rock publication Paste describes The Old 97s as “one of the few bands that have never really put out a bad record.” Their latest non-bad effort, Graveyard Whistling, came out earlier this year.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

An Amazing Night At Martyrs'

Photo from The Amazing Heeby Jeebies Facebook page.

The Martyrs’ venue on Lincoln Avenue has been on a roll lately, with upcoming shows like The Vulgar Boatmen, Walter Salas-Humura from The Silos, and The Sunshine Boys on Thursday, October 19; Expo ’76 with The Total Pro Horns, Robert Cornelius and Susan Voelz on October 20; and a Halloween show featuring The Cells as The Smithereens, Craftwerc, The Differents, and Phil Angotti and Friends as Squeeze on October 28.

A recent four-band showcase proved to be a major success for each of the acts involved. On a bill that already offered a variety of musical styles, Samson The Aviator jumped from one genre to another within a single set. Fronted by powerful vocalist Aubrey Thornton, the quartet embellished heavy  songs with serious jamming, but also did well with alt rock numbers.Thornton was particularly impressive on a rapid-fire punk song.

The Amazing Heeby Jeebies offered original rockabilly/garage rock tunes, and also covered songs by Little Richard, The Sonics and Roky Erickson. Ary Paloma Jeebie is a versatile lead vocalist, with a stage presence that taps into 1960s a-go-go with a hint of Salome. Guitarists Bob Hyatt and Tommy “Boss X” Klein provided loads of firepower on songs like “Bad Feeling” and “She’s Just A Woman.” The Amazing Heeby Jeebies have a new album coming out soon.

Lead vocalist Chloe F. Orwell jokingly complained about following the charismatic Amazing Heeby Jeebies, but The Handcuffs, which also includes drummer Brad Elvis, easily won over the crowd with energetic and catchy tunes like “Miss You On Tuesday.” Orwell engaged the crowd in some raucous call-and-response singing on “Everybody Waves Hello” and “Gotta’ Problem With Me?” The Handcuffs are currently working on a new album.

Unfortunately, I had to leave in order to catch a bus and train back to Palatine, so I only saw one song by sci-fi rock band Tomorrow The Moon. But it was a prime example of the imaginative and powerful rock they’ve created on their recordings, and I’m hoping to catch a full set at some point.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Slumgullion

The Logan Center Blues Fest takes place this weekend at the Reva and David Logan Center For The Arts At The University Of Chicago. The event includes workshops, film, live performances by Elvin Bishop, Eddy Clearwater, Lil’ Ed, Jimmy Johnson, Corky Siegel, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, and others. On Sunday, the Logan Center Blues Fest will co-present with CIMMFest the midwest premiere of the director John Anderson’s documentary Horn From The Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story. The film, which features David Sanborn, Bonnie Raitt, B. B. King, Bob Dylan, Maria Muldaur, Al Kooper, Corky Siegel, Elvin Bishop, Todd Rundgren, Anton Fig, and other musicians, has been raking in awards on the independent film circuit.

Tickets are now on sale for The Zombies shows on March 19 and 20 at City Winery Chicago. Hopefully, by that point, they will have been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival is running through October 26 at AMC River East 21, just north and east of downtown run area.

Destinos, the first Chicago International Latino Theater Festival continues this weekend with Aguijon Theater’s production of Death And The Maisen at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre, The Rojas Projects’ production of Growing Up Gonzalez at Victory Gardens Theater. Chicago International Latino Theater Festival runs through October 29 at various venues in town.

Middle school kids on a field trip encounter some of Chicago’s most famous ghosts in the new musical comedy Six Stories Up – In Haunted Chicago being staged by Tellin’ Tales Theatre.  According to director/performer Tekki Lomnicki, it’s “a hilarious and thoughtful original musical featuring kids and adults with and without disabilities.” And the spirits (including Lorraine Hansberry and John Belushi) have a lot to say about the current state of Chicago. It runs this weekend and next weekend, at Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee, Chicago.

The recently released 2-CD/2-LP For Sale - Live At Maxwell’s 1986  by The Replacements captures an 83-minute performance by the incendiary band back in its heyday. The set list includes “Hold My Life,” “Can’t Hardly Wait,” and “Kiss Me On The Bus,” along with cover versions of The Beatles’ “Nowhere Man” and The Sweet’s “Fox On The Run.” A full-page ad in Magnet magazine notes: The Replacements’ First Official Live Album (. . . recorded in front of more than 30 people).

That same issue of Magnet has an interesting feature on Elizabeth Ziman of Elizabeth And The Catapult, about their new Keepsake album. I still have fond memories of the group’s debut Taller Children and the lush indie ballad “Rainiest Day Of Summer” in particular.

The Vulgar Boatmen, a critically acclaimed Chicago band since the late 1980s, have a show coming up at Martyrs’ next Thursday, October 19. Walter Salas-Humura from The Silos is also on the bill, along with The Sunshine Boys, a new trio composed of Freda Love Smith from The Blake Babies, Dag Juhlin from The Slugs and Poi Dog Pondering, and Jacqueline Schimmel from Big Hello. The Sunshine Boys just posted on Facebook that their debut album will be out in early 2018.

Dag Juhlin returns to Martyrs’ the next night, October 20, for a show with his eccentric covers band Expo ’76, backed by The Total Pro Horns, and with special guests Robert Cornelius and Susan Voelz.

Rebecca Toon and Tommi Zender, will be performing Joni Mitchell’s entire Court And Spark album at Wishbone North next Thursday, October 19 as part of the restaurant’s Third Thursday series. Zender arranged the songs for acoustic guitar.

The Bill Graham Rock And Roll Revolution continues its run at the Illinois Holocaust Museum And Education Center at 9603 Woods Drive through Nov. 12.

The Collectors have a show coming up at the Cubby Bear in Wrigleyville next Friday, October 20. Erica Loftus of the band The Right Tidys, will be helping out on backup vocals. The Ars Nova and Superbig will also be on the bill that night.

The critically acclaimed alt rock Americana band Old 97s will be at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine on next Saturday, October 21.

This Is This, a local band that took its name from The Deer Hunter and who recorded a couple of albums of catchy originals, will be doing its final show on October 21 at Buffalo Creek Brewing in Long Grove.

The Dayna Clay Project will host the Unplugged: A Survivor’s Story In Scenes And Songs Book And Album Release - Benefit Show on Sunday, October 22 at City Winery Chicago. The event starts at 1:00 p.m. According to the Chicago Tribune, the book was inspired Kurt Cobain.

Cheap Trick plans to release a holiday album titled Christmas Christmas on October 20. The 12 songs will be a mix of original music and covers, including “Silent Night” with an arrangement by Robin Zander and Julian Raymond

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Buffalos Bay - Living Under The Reef

Formed in Belfast back in 2015, Buffalos Bay gained fame in Ireland after releasing the catchy and satiric single “In The Factory” at the start of this year. Their six-song EP Living Under The Reef just came out and it’s immediately evident why these guys claim The Kinks and The Bee Gees as major influences. Though the emphasis is on 1960s style pop, there’s also a hint of country and western twang from time to time.

“In The Factory,” with its “Muswell Hillbillies” twang and lines like, “always sipping tea, only thinks that he’s happy,” has already illustrated how much Buffalos Bay admires the way Ray Davies can wrap stinging social observations within irresistible melodies. “In Response,” “Make A Wish,” and “Portraits Of Polly” recall the delicate melodies of early The Bee Gees and showcase the harmonies of lead singer-bassist Stuart Miskelly, and rhythm guitarist-vocalist Andy Bell. “Weeping Onion,” which is actually a happy love song, even offers that off kilter approach to lyrics often taken by the Brothers Gibb.

“Early Morning Fry,” like “In The Factory,” uses a toe-tapping country and western arrangement. The title meal is apparently a sort of breakfast sandwich people eat on farms, and the joke here is that it can make you feel better no matter what goes wrong in your life. While everything on Under The Reef is well crafted and catchy, it would be nice to see Buffalos Bay expand its repertoire with a few more energetic songs next time out.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Stay - Always Here

First, a quick message before moving on to the review.

Cordial Sins, a Columbus-based, seven-piece alt rock band fronted by vocalist-synth-violin player Liz Fisher and vocalist-guitarist Corey Dickerson, have an in-store appearance coming up this Friday at the RPM Music Chicago record store. The musicians were in town for Riot Fest (attending, not performing) and during a visit to the RPM store, asked the owner if they could perform there during their next tour. I discovered the store myself last Saturday night before the Tomorrow The Moon, Handcuffs, Amazing Heeby Jeebies, and Samson The Aviator show at Martyrs, and was impressed with the selection. RPM Music Chicago is located at 1839 W. Irving Park Road; the Cordial Sins gig on Friday starts at 7:00 p.m.

Always Here is the first Fruits de Mer effort from Stay since the Barcelona-based group released Mersey Dream on the U.K. label some years back. Like that record, Always Here is an EP that’s only available on colored vinyl. This time out though, Stay adds two original tracks to go with its cover versions of 1960s gems. It arrives at a time when Stay has also released a full-length effort titled Mean Solar Times on Picture In My Ear Records.

Although brand new, the melodic title track “Always Here” exudes the peaceful vibes and psychedelic instrumentation of late 1960s rock. It offers a message of support, as well as the intriguing line, “I need another angel, but my heaven isn’t here.” The other original, “You Know It’s Right,” also proves Stay has learned a lot from listening to music from that era, as its jangling guitars and lush harmonies evoke The Byrds.

A faithful (pun intended) take on “Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You,” from the first Bee Gees album, proves these guys even know the more obscure stuff. They don’t duplicate the original’s monk chanting, but some organ playing adds a church element. Keyboards also figure prominently in a rollicking version of The Kinks’ “Where Have All The Good Times Gone?” as well as a cover of “Rock And Roll Woman” that does Buffalo Springfield proud.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Incoming!

The 53rd Chicago International Film Festival runs from this Thursday through October 26 at AMC River East 21, just north and east of the downtown area. In addition to screening movies from every imaginable genre and location, the event will offer tributes to Patrick Stewart of Star Trek: The Next Generation and X-Men fame, and iconic English actress Vanessa Redgrave. Regular screenings are $15; special presentations are $20; there are discounts for seniors or students; and multiple-show passes are available.

The Laureates have a rare live gig coming up this Thursday night at The Empty Bottle. The Chicago-based band has successfully drawn upon UK acts like The Who and The Kinks for inspiration on three full-length albums and a pair of EPs, and will have a new effort titled And Then Not Even Then available on Bandcamp earlier that day. A video for the song “Toys” (be forewarned, several were harmed during the filming) showcases lead singer Chad Preston’s distinctive vocals and The Laureates’ signature jangling guitar sound. Cross Country and Innkeepers are also on the bill this Thursday at The Empty Bottle.

Also on Thursday, Music On Stage begins its run of Little Shop Of Horrors at Cutting Hall in Palatine. Broadway actress and Tony Award nominee Felicia P. Fields will be providing the voice of Audrey II, and the play will be directed and choreographed by Frank Roberts, with musical direction by Bobby Dietz.

Middle school kids on a field trip encounter some of Chicago’s most famous ghosts in the new musical comedy Six Stories Up – In Haunted Chicago being staged by Tellin’ Tales Theatre. According to director/performer Tekki Lomnicki, it’s “a hilarious and thoughtful original musical featuring kids and adults with and without disabilities.” And the spirits (including Lorraine Hansberry and John Belushi) have a lot to say about the current state of Chicago. It runs this weekend and next weekend, at Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee, Chicago.

Read more...
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