Friday, July 19, 2019

Welcome to everyone who’s in town for the Pitchfork Music Festival taking place in Union Park this weekend. Mavis Staples, Haim, Low, The Isley Brothers, Belle and Sebastian, Stereolab, and Neneh Cherry are among the acts scheduled. The Chicago Reader once again has a colorful Pitchfork cover created by illustrator Jason Wyatt Frederick (I’m among the people who collect them), and you might still be able to pick up a copy of the Chicago Innerview Know Before The Show issue devoted to Pitchfork. You’ll also find coverage in this week’s issue of Redeye and the daily papers.

The Coolies, a new garage rock trio made up of Kim Shattuck, Melanie Varmmen, and Palmyra Delran, released their six-song Uh Oh! It’s . . . The Coolies debut in digital format today and a 10-inch clear emerald vinyl version is available on the band’s Bandcamp page.

Tickets went on sale today for English Beat at Thalia Hall on September 15; Crombies, King Hammond, Skapones, Rude Boy George, and DJ Chuck Wren at Reggie’s Music Joint on August 23; Lotus Kings Tribute to Santana at City Winery Chicago on September 1; Smells Like Nirvana at City Winery Chicago on September 15; Social Distortion, Flogging Molly, Devil Makes Three, and Le Butcherettes at Huntington Pavilion on September 7; Whitewolfsonicprincess and Ex Maquina at SPACE on September 4; and Rachel Yamagata at SPACE on September 5. For a full list of upcoming concerts in the Chicago area, check the Early Warnings page of this week’s Chicago Reader.

Abbey Road Studios had a recent post on Instagram showing the surviving members of The Quarrymen recording music as part of an upcoming documentary titled Pre Fab. The film will cover the origins of the skiffle band, which at one time included John Lennon among its members.

Neo, the Clark Street venue that played a major role in bringing new wave to Chicago back in 1979, is celebrating that heritage by having a reunion tomorrow night at Metro. DJs Suzanne Shelton, Glenn Russell, Carrie Monster, Scary Lady Sarah, and Jeff Moyer will provide the music. Admission is $21; a portion of the proceeds will go to benefit Darkest Before Dawn, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support for industry workers.

A new season of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee starts tonight on Netflix.

Rod Hamdallah, The Dyes, and Amazing Heeby Jeebies will share a triple bill at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn on July 30.

Musicians from the city’s Greek, Mexican, Argentinian, and Bulgarian communities will take part in the world premiere of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s Chicago Immigrant Stories II on July 22 at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Emmy Award-winning trumpeter-composer Orbert Davis will lead the performance, which will feature Athanasios Zervas, Sones de Mexico, Leandro Lopez Varady, Zara Zaharieva, and Petros Dragoumis. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m.

David Crosby: Remember My Name, director A.J. Eaton’s new documentary about the Byrds/CSNY/solo musician, opens in selected theaters this week. Initial reports indicate Crosby handles interviewer Cameron Crowe’s tough questions thoughtfully and honestly throughout film.

It's hard to tell if Chicago-based Mercury Theater knew Monty Python would be celebrating its 50 Birthday in 2019 and planned accordingly; or if the upcoming production of Spamalot is just a coincidence. At any rate, it’s a perfect fit for the occasion. The “Lovingly ripped off from the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail” show will run at Mercury Theater (3745 N. Southport) from August 28 to November 3.

You won’t find a single Gumby in Spamalot, but if you fancy dressing up like the iconic Monty Python character, there’s an official Monty Python Dress Like A Gumby event taking place on October 5. If you follow Monty Python on Instagram, you might have seen the illustrated instructions on how to assemble the costume.

Outdoor festivals in the Chicago area tend to feature the same cover bands, and while there’s no doubt these acts have large and well-earned followings, discerning indie rock fans long for more variety. That’s exactly what Wicker Park Fest will offer on the weekend of July 26 – 28. Set on Milwaukee Avenue between Ashland and North, the Fest’s eclectic lineup includes Superchunk, Screaming Females, Deals Gone Bad, Nikki Lynette; Mother Nature, Beats y Bateria, and School Of Rock on three stages.

The Bob Dylan: Electric exhibit has been extended at the American Writers Museum in downtown Chicago.

The Black Harvest Film Festival continues its 2019 run at the Gene Siskel Film Center through July 22.

The Louder Than Words – Rock Politics Power exhibit, which originated at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, continues its run at the Museum of Broadcast Communications here in Chicago through the end of August.

Kokandy Productions’s production of Head Over Heels, the Broadway musical based on songs by The Go-Go’s, continues through August 25 at Theatre Wit on Belmont Avenue.

Pulling ducks out of the water, got the highest score. The Chicago Ducky Derby charity event to benefit Special Olympics Illinois will take place at 401 N. Michigan Avenue on August 19. Chicago Cubs players Kyle Hendricks and Willson Contreras are this year’s Ambassadors. Anyone interested in a adopting a rubber ducky to help the cause can find the details at the Chicago Ducky Derby website. 

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Slumgullion

The Pretenders With Friends, a concert Chrissie Hynde and her band performed at the Decades Rock Arena in Atlantic City, NJ with special guests Iggy Pop, Shirley Manson, Kings Of Leon, and Incubus, is out today as a Blu Ray + DVD + CD set.

There are a number of festivals taking place this weekend, including Taste Of Chicago, Irish Fest, and Roscoe Village Burger Fest. See my Wednesday post for more details on each of these.

Former Hollies lead vocalist Allan Clarke released the single “Journey Of Regret” today. The song reflects Clarke’s long-held admiration for Bruce Springsteen and is the first taste of a new album titled Resurgence coming out on September 20. It will be Clarke’s eighth solo effort, but the first in almost 30 years.

Tickets went on sale today for the Marcia Ball Band at SPACE on November 8; BoDeans at City Winery Chicago on November 30 and December 1; Ralph Covert’s Acoustic Army at FitzGerald’s on July 20; Robbie Fulks at The Hideout on August 9; Delbert McClinton and Gerald Dowd at Old Town School Of Folk Music on September 21; Lucy Wainwright Roche at SPACE on September 11; and Sarah Shook and The Disarmers, with Senora May at Sleeping Village on October 11. For a full list of upcoming concerts in the Chicago area, check the Early Warnings page of this week’s Chicago Reader.

The next season of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee starts July 19 on Netflix.

The Long Grove Arts and Music Council will stage the first of the four free concerts it has lined for this summer when Corky Siegel and Will Tilson perform this Sunday afternoon on Towner Green. 

Pete Townshend was among the famous musicians on social media mourning the passing of Alan Rogan, a highly respected guitar roadie. Rogan had worked with The Who, The Rolling Stones, Graham Nash, and Joe Walsh. Rock In Paradise, Mr. Rogan.

Neo, the iconic new wave club that reigned on Clark Street for so many years, is having a reunion at Metro on Saturday, July 20.

Congratulations to Johnny Marr on selling out all the dates on his current UK tour.

Musicians from the city’s Greek, Mexican, Argentinian, and Bulgarian communities will take part in the world premiere of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s Chicago Immigrant Stories II on July 22 at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Emmy Award-winning trumpeter-composer Orbert Davis will lead the performance, which will feature Athanasios Zervas, Sones de Mexico, Leandro Lopez Varady, Zara Zaharieva, and Petros Dragoumis. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m.

With a lineup of former Friggs, Muffs, and Pandoras members Kim Shattuck, Melanie Varmmen, and Palmyra Delran, it’s a safe bet the new trio The Coolies will be a blast. Their debut effort, the six-song EP Uh Oh! It’s . . . The Coolies will be available in digital format next Friday and the 10-inch clear emerald vinyl version is available for preorder on the band’s Bandcamp page.

Can I have one? While making my weekly trip to the Reckless Records downtown location, I noticed the store’s record bins are decorated with colorful Official Lollapalooza After Show mini-posters, including ones for Sharon Van Etton and Jade Bird at Schubas and Lincoln Hall.

Green City Market’s annual Chef BBQ will take place at the south end of Lincoln Park (approximately 1817 N. Clark) on July 18 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Over 100 Chicago area restaurants and breweries will be involved, including Antique Taco, Bad Hunter, Commons Club at Virgin Hotels Chicago, Eataly, Floriole, Goose Island Brewhouse, Maddon’s Post; Revolution Brewing, Spiaggia, The Gage, and Upstairs at The Gwen. There’s a wide range of ticket prices, which can be found at the Green City Market website.

The Bob Dylan: Electric exhibit has been extended at the American Writers Museum in downtown Chicago.

The Black Harvest Film Festival continues its 2019 run at the Gene Siskel Film Center through July 22.

The Louder Than Words – Rock Politics Power exhibit, which originated at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, continues its run at the Museum of Broadcast Communications here in Chicago through the end of August.

Kokandy Productions’s production of Head Over Heels, the Broadway musical based on songs by The Go-Go’s, continues through August 25 at Theatre Wit on Belmont Avenue.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Festivals Straight Ahead

Taste Of Chicago opened today and you might even be rocking out to Courtney Barnett or Sunflower Bean as I’m posting this. The Taste runs through Sunday, with national acts scheduled for each evening. Those shows will get some stiff competition because we’re heading into one of Chicago’s busiest weekends for entertainment. If you’re a tourist who’s scheduled a vacation based around Taste Of Chicago, you might want to consider these other options as well.

The annual Irish Fest takes place at the Irish American Heritage Center on Chicago’s north side. It’s three days of traditional and more rock-oriented live Irish music, dance, a bit of theater, food vendors, and even a traditional tea if you prefer that to Harp and Guinness. Acts scheduled to perform include Tupelo (be ready for some audience participation), the wild and funny Larkin and Moran Brothers, Rory Makem, and The Bagpipes and Drums of the Emerald Society Chicago Police Department.

If you’re cool with a trip to Arlington Heights, Soundtracks Of A Generation will present A 50th Anniversary Tribute To The Woodstock Era on Friday night at the Metropolis Performing Arts Center. The show will cover songs by Santana, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Jefferson Airplane.

The Roscoe Village Burger Fest takes place Saturday and Sunday at Belmont and Damen. Local bands performing include The Handcuffs, School Of Rock, JC Brooks, The Empty Pockets, Michael McDermott, and Cat Fight.

Son Volt, Camper Van Beethoven, and Cracker are the headline acts at this year’s Square Roots Festival being held in Lincoln Square this Saturday and Sunday. Local indie label Bloodshot Records will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary on Saturday with a Tribute To Andre Williams featuring The Mekons, Vandoliers, and Murder By Death. Other acts scheduled include Southern Culture On The Skids, Tommi Zender, Steve Dawson’s Funeral Bonsai Wedding and as the finale, a tribute to Stevie Nicks and Stevie Wonder. Be sure to visit the Laurie’s Planet Of Sound record store while you’re in the area.

You can wrap up this busy weekend by catching Steve Forbert at City Winery Chicago on Sunday night.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Incoming

Critically acclaimed Aussie singer-guitarist and free spirit Courtney Barnett kicks off this year’s Taste Of Chicago concert series tomorrow night on the Petrillo Music Shell. Barnett will likely be showcasing her latest release Tell Me How You Really Feel, which features offbeat but catchy, guitar-based tracks like “City Looks Pretty,” “Nameless, Faceless,” and “Crippling Self-Doubt And A General Lack Of Confidence.” It’s available in various formats via her own label Milk! Records. Sunflower Bean, an indie rock band that’s garnering attention with its Twentytwo In Blue album, will be her opening act. Taste of Chicago wraps up Sunday night an impressive double bill of rhythm and blues stars India.Arie and Meshell Ndegoecello.

The Long Grove Arts and Music Council has four events scheduled for the suburb’s 14th season of free Sunday afternoon outdoor concerts on Towner Green. Corky Siegel and Will Tilson will perform on July 14; followed by Creole Stomp on August 4; Sons Of The Never Wrong on August 11; and The Don Sternberg Quartet on August 18. All shows start at 4:00 p.m.

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Friday, July 5, 2019

The Unswept - Minor Blemishes

Leave it to those clever transplanted Brits of The Unswept to title their third full-length effort Minor Blemishes; as though these dozen tracks are somewhat inconvenient or embarrassing. Rather, the album brims with offbeat charm, chiming guitars, and infectious melodies. Founding members Charlie and Ryan O’Brien have lived in Chicago for a few years now but their power pop songs are still influenced by the 1960s British Invasion.

Much of Minor Blemishes concerns pining for or losing relationships, although the opening track “Sunshining” celebrates the simple pleasures (“paperbacks and cups of tea”) of sharing your life with the right person. Bassist-vocalist Liz O’Brien—I’m not how or if all the members are actually related—joins Charlie on the rollicking breakup song “I’m Still Here,” and provides spirited back-up singing throughout the album. Liz, Charlie, and Ryan combine their vocals on the Bob Dylan flavored “You Ain’t On My Mind,” and they nail the off-beat satire of The Bevis Frond’s “He’d Be A Diamond.”

“The Boy Who Wakes You Up” is simultaneously innocent and creepy, while “She Just Knows It’s Over” depicts a wife leaving her husband and kids because she’s bored with that lifestyle. “Brown Line” is another breakup song, as a couple decides to call it quits while commuting on the CTA. On a different note, the very Beatles-like “Fake It” deals with how difficult it can be just trying to survive the average workday.

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Thursday, July 4, 2019

4th Of July Barbecue

There will be no Slumgullion this week because I have to work tomorrow, and Pam and I are going to a neighborhood party in the evening. So here’s a Thursday night, 4th Of July Barbecue in its place. I hope everyone has a safe and fun celebration right through the weekend.

The 38th Annual American Music Festival continues through this Saturday at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn. Tomorrow and Saturday’s schedule includes Brave Combo; Tab Benoit; EXPO ’76; Girls Of The Golden West; Alejandro Escovedo; Marcia Ball; Terrance Simien and The Zydeco Experience; Amazing Heebie Jeebies; and The Iguanas.

Chicago Innerview continues its tradition of covering the city’s major rock events with the publication of its Know Before The Show issue devoted to Pitchfork Pitchfork Music Festival. I picked up a copy at the Reckless Records location downtown, but I’m sure copies are available in other local stores and venues. Pitchfork takes place July 19 – 21, with Mavis Staples, Haim, Low, The Isley Brothers, Belle and Sebastian, Stereolab, and Neneh Cherry among the acts scheduled.

The Petty Kings will be performing Tom Petty songs this Sunday, July 7 at the Mount Prospect Lions Club Festival and on July 12 at the 210 Live venue in Highwood.

The Handcuffs will be performing at 5:45 p.m. next Saturday on the Main Stage at the Roscoe Village Burger Fest. Sunday’s lineup includes The Empty Pockets at 3:30 p.m. and Michael McDermott at 6:00 p.m.

Steve Forbert will be performing at City Winery Chicago next Sunday, July 14. Sonny Landreth will be at that same venue on July 28.

Irish Fest returns to the Irish American Heritage Center on Chicago’s northwest side next weekend with a packed schedule of music, dance, comedy, merchandise, food vendors and a bit of theater. Baal Tinne: A Tribute To Noel Rice is sure to be a highlight—Rice was a founding member of this band and a respected teacher of Irish music. He passed away earlier this year. Other highlights include Tupelo (be ready for some audience participation), the wild and funny Larkin and Moran Brothers, Rory Makem, and The Bagpipes and Drums of the Emerald Society Chicago Police Department.

Son Volt, Camper Van Beethoven, and Cracker are the headline acts at the Square Roots Festival taking place next weekend in Lincoln Square. Chicago-based indie/roots rock label Bloodshot Records will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary as part of Square Roots on Saturday, July 13. Murder By Death, The Mekons, and The Vandoliers will take part in a tribute to the late Andre Williams. The Bloodshot All-Stars Band and other special guests will also be on hand.

The Kokandy Productions presentation of The Go-Go’s inspired musical Head Over Heels continues its run at Theatre Wit on Belmont Avenuet hrough August 25.

Former Hollies lead vocalist Allan Clarke is due to release the single “Journey Of Regret” next Friday, July 12. It’s from Clarke’s latest album, Resurgence, which is coming out on September 20.

Actress Ellie Kemper’s book My Squirrel Days came out in paperback this past Tuesday. Among other things, it covers her time on the TV shows The Office and The Unsinkable Kimmie Schmidt.

The Louder Than Words – Rock Politics Power exhibit continues its run at the Museum of Broadcast Communications through the end of August.

Wish me luck, part 2. Last Saturday, I attended the Writing Workshop Of Chicago event on Michigan Avenue and was able to pitch my YA/Paranormal/Romance/Rock and Roll novel to three literary agents. Each has given me the green light to submit the book for consideration.

In last Friday’s Slumgullion column, whilst mentioning Monty Python is celebrating its 50th birthday, I joked that if people drank enough of the official Monty Python’s Flying Circus IPA, they could end up talking like the TV show’s Gumby character. Now The Guardian is reporting the remaining five members of Monty Python are organizing a Guinness World Record-setting Gumby gathering on October 5. That’s the date my wife and Pam celebrate our wedding anniversary. There must be a way to combine these two momentous occasions.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Incoming

Things will get pretty eclectic at the Arlington Heights Frontier Days this Friday night, with performances by the Alanis Morissette tribute band Jagged Little Pill; soul music legends War celebrating their 50th Anniversary; and the My Metal Heart hard rock cover act. In nearby Mount Prospect, the Tom Petty tribute band Petty Kings and Jay Goeppner and Backdated will be rocking on Sunday.

The Alarm will share a bill with Modern English on August 16 and 17 at House Of Blues in downtown Chicago.

According to this month’s issue of the Illinois Entertainer (with Perry Farrell on the cover), we can expect new albums this month from Imperial Teen (Now We Are Timeless) and New Order (∑(No,12k,Lg,17Mif): Live at Manchester International Festival) on July 12. Radiohead leader Thom Yorke’s ANIMA comes out July 19; and Violent Femmes will drop Hotel Last Resort on July 26.

That issue of I.E. is also where you’ll find a full-page ad for the Jay O’Rourke Band’s August 9 CD Release Party Party for Cover Tracks at SPACE. The album features renditions of classic rock and blues songs. It’s a safe bet the band will also be selling copies of its earlier 2019 release Sumpthin Good. The Dick Dale influenced instrumental act Spies Who Surf will be the opening act.

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