Friday, August 16, 2019


The third annual YippieFest, a weekend celebration of theatre, comedy, short film, music, puppets, and other forms of offbeat entertainment, opened tonight and runs through Sunday at Prop Thtr on Chicago’s north side. The people behind the event—Frank Carr and Desiree Burcum from Famous In The Future, Carla Hayden and James Moeller from Black Forest Theatre—are veterans of the Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins festival that Mary-Arrchie Theatre hosted for 30 years.

Performers at this year’s YippieFest include !Ex Maquina!, Black Forest; Citizens’ Relief; Famous In The Future; whitewolfsonicprincess; David Drazin; Trained Monkey Productions; Rush Pearson; Michael Steven Cohen; The Rut; and The Telepaths. The previous two YippieFests have carried on the tie-dyed, rebellious spirit Mary-Arrchie brought to its annual event, so this year is likely to do the same. Prop Thtr is located at 3502 N. Elston. Ticket prices range from $15 to $20.

Chicago-based power pop band The Lilacs released their the first album in 25 years today. The Lilacs Endure was produced by Richard Lloyd and is on the indie label Pravda Records. The songs include “Monica,” “I Saw Her First,” “Shadow Of Doubt,” and “Blue Spark.

Saturday Evening Flashback. Tomorrow night’s Tutu And The Pirates gig at Montrose Saloon will no doubt bring visions of slam dancing and twisted humor to those of us who still remember their frantic songs like “Dead In Our Beds” and “Wham Bam Son Of Sam” from the late 1970s. Back then, I interviewed the band for the now long-forgotten free paper Metro Calendar. “We felt that the punk label was too limiting,” lead vocalist Rich Speck told me. “That’s how we came up with the term Sub Urban Insult Rock.” No doubt they’ll insulting and rocking tomorrow night, and the crowd will be having a great time.

Sleater-Kinney’s latest album The Center Won’t Hold came out today.

The 11th Annual I Am Fest, an event that combines live music, performance art, and artwork, kicks off at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow at the House Of Blues  in downtown Chicago. Curious Grace and Black Rabbit and three School Of Rock locations are among the bands; visual performers include CODA (Chicago Onyx Dance Alliance) and ImagiNation Dance Crew UICC; and artists include Morgan Rose Murphy and Benjamin May. Admission for this all ages show is $25.

Edison Park Fest ’19 takes place this weekend. Live performances include the Tom Petty tribute band Petty Kings at 5:45 on Saturday; and Kevin Lee And The Kings at 5:45 on Sunday. The Ripleys, a band that covers U2, The Beatles, Cheap Trick, and others, will be performing a free Edison Park Fest after show at Curragh at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday.

The Backlot Bash in Skokie kicks off next Friday, August 23 with a power pop fan’s dream double bill of Material Reissue and The Smithereens with Marshall Crenshaw. Other impressive acts at the Skokie Bash include The Imperial Sound, Tributosaurus becomes The Rolling Stones; and the iconic soul band War.

The Alarm (“The Stand”, “Marching On”) will share a bill with Modern English (“I’ll Stop The World And Melt With You”) tonight and tomorrow night at House Of Blues in downtown Chicago.

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.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

I’ve Just Seen A Fest

Photo from Jeremy Clydes Facebook page.

The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago returned to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in suburban Rosemont last weekend for its annual celebration of the most famous band in rock history. I’ve found it increasingly difficult in recent years to pack everything I want to experience at The Fest in a single day. So for 2019, I opted for a double dose. Avid Beatles followers could easily spend the entire weekend there and never get bored.

The Apple Jam Stage at The Fest For Beatles Fans has resulted in some tough choices for me. Even with all the other performances and events going on, how can I pass up the opportunity to catch some of Chicago’s best musicians strutting their Beatlesque expertise? This year, the Apple Jam Stage offered Phil Angotti and Friends doing an amazing job of covering John Lennon on Saturday and Paul McCartney on Sunday. Ellis Clark and Ary Jeebie also enlisted some local all stars to help as they honored George Harrison. Their set offered a taste of the George Harrison Birthday Bash Clark and Jeebie throw each February at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. I didn’t catch Jay Goeppner’s set on Friday, but I’ve seen him enough to know it was highly entertaining.

Another Fest highlight was WXRT air personality Terri Hemmert interviewing former Wings members Denny Laine, Steve Holley, and Laurence Juber in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom. The format resembled the musicians forums held by Martin Lewis and Mark Hudson in the past, where the participants augment their discussion with some instructive jamming. I was glad to have a chance later to congratulate Hemmert on her long tenure at WXRT. She’s semi-retired now; keeping her weekly Breakfast With The Beatles show and filling in occasionally for the other DJs.

Also in the Grand Ballroom, Jeremy Clyde, one half of Chad and Jeremy (and more recently Peter and Jeremy), brought his Bottom Drawer Band to play songs from his Bottom Drawer CD series. Clyde was in fine voice, and these rarely heard songs were consistently engaging. Drummer Alan White talked with Hemmert about his days with Yes, as well as his work on John Lennon and George Harrison solo projects. The Weeklings played a catchy mix of originals and obscure Beatles compositions on Sunday.

I spent a few hours on Saturday sorting through all the music-related memorabilia in The Fest’s expansive marketplace, and found more treasures, including a “Paperback Writer” picture sleeve import seven-inch single, on Sunday. The Marketplace is also the place to meet noted Beatles authors like Bruce Spizer, Jude S. Kessler, Professor Moptop, and Kit O’Toole. Lesser known authors were selling their books as well.

The Beatles tribute band Liverpool was on hand all three nights. After an impressive set of Beatles tunes on Saturday, they they invited Alan White, Jeremy Clyde, Denny Laine, Steve Holley, and Laurence Juber to join them. As always, it was one of the highlights of The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago and served as a Grand Finale.


Friday, August 9, 2019


Welcome to everyone who’s in town for The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago running this weekend at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont. If you’re staying at the Hyatt or one of the other nearby hotels and are wondering if you could make a quick visit to Chicago, the CTA Blue Line stop is a short walk away. It can get you downtown in about 40 minutes. For a preview of this year’s Fest For Beatles Fans event, check out August 5 post.

A recent post on The Second Disc website has all the details about the various versions of Abbey Road Apple will be releasing in honor of the 50th anniversary of the The Beatles’ finale. In addition to a CD/Blu Ray/hard cover book boxed set, a three LP vinyl set, a two CD set, and a single CD release; Apple is also putting out an EP version of George Harrison’s “Something.”

The Jay O’Rourke Band is having a CD Release Party Party for Cover Tracks tonight at SPACE in Evanston. 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.

How Do You Love?, the long-awaited second album from the Los Angeles punk band The Regrettes, was released today. After downloading it and giving the 15 tracks a quick listen (my CD is on its way from Amazon), I can already tell it’s another successful blend of vintage punk and 1960s girl band sound, with clever lyrics that bite and amuse.

The first batch of special guests for The Chicago TARDIS convention being held November 29 – December 1 in Lombard has been announced. It includes Paul McGann, who played The Doctor in an American TV movie version of the U.K. sci-fi series, and had a pivotal cameo the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary short clips. Tosin Cole, Greg Austin, Vivian Oparah, and Sophie Hopkins will also be there, along with other Doctor Who related guests to be announced later.

No Holiday, The Muffs’ first album in five years, will be coming out on October 18 via Omnivore Recordings. The 18 new tracks will be available on CD or on two vinyl LPs, with the fourth side being laser-etched. Band member Kim Shattuck is also part of the newly formed trio The Coolies (with Palmyra Delran and Melanie Vammen), who just released their debut EP, Uh Oh, It’s. . . The Coolies.

Stray Cats bassist Lee Rocker has a solo album titled The Low Road coming out this Friday. Earlier this year, The Stray Cats released 40, their first album in 40 years.

Back when I did my August, Rock She Must post on July 30, I knew I would miss some worthy events, and here’s a prime example. This year’s Backlot Bash in Skokie kicks off on Friday, August 23 with the highly potent double bill of Material Reissue and The Smithereens with Marshall Crenshaw. In previous shows, Material Reissue has opened for Matthew Sweet and The Posies, and here they are with another great power pop act. Other must-see acts at the Backlot Bash include The Imperial Sound, Tributosaurus becomes The Rolling Stones; and the iconic soul band War.

Ex Norwegian, the Miami-based trio whose albums have consistently met with extensive praise here on Broken Hearted Toy, have a 15-track vinyl LP titled Something Unreal: The Best Of Ex Norwegian coming out on September 20.

The Alarm (“The Stand”, “Marching On”) will share a bill with Modern English (“I’ll Stop The World And Melt With You”) on August 16 and 17 at House Of Blues in downtown Chicago.

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.

Jazzin’ At The Shedd continues its summertime run tomorrow night at the Shedd Aquarium. The night-time event is being held every Wednesday from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. through August 28. The Shedd promises jazz, drinks, fireworks, and “the chance to look nature in the eye.”


Tuesday, August 6, 2019


Indie rock veterans The Figgs have a gig coming up this Sunday night at Montrose Saloon on  Chicago’s north side. Adept at crafting catchy, guitar-driven songs like “On The Side,” “Your Smile Is A Deadly Thing,” and “Wealthy Women,” the Saratoga, NY trio got its start back in 1987. The Figgs have recorded 13 albums and are about to wrap up their latest.

The Sonic Assault EP vocalist-guitarist Johnny Weathers and former Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook released last year will soon be available as a limited edition, numbered vinyl-only picture disc. “Man From The Orleans,” the hard-hitting opening track on that EP, was one of the very best songs of 2018.

Give the drummer some pages. Goldmine magazine recently posted on Instagram about a new book by Mike Edison titled Sympathy For Drummer: Why Charlie Watts Matters. It’s due out in October. Edison is the former editor/publisher of High Times magazine, and was a drummer with Sonic Youth, Sound Garden, and The Ramones, so he certainly seems qualified to cover The Rolling Stones.

Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr will release a new single titled “The Bright Parade” this Thursday. Marr’s albums The Messenger, Playland, and Call The Comet all drew high praise here on Broken Hearted Toy, and he’s also collaborated with Modest Mouse, The Pretenders, and The Cribs.


Monday, August 5, 2019

For The Benefit Of Beatles Fans

The annual Fest For Beatles Fans Chicago takes place at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in suburban Rosemont this weekend, August 9–11. The event presents musicians, authors, artists, photographers, and music biz people who have some connection to the most famous band in rock history. Many are accessible to fans in the general sense of watching them being interviewed in the Grand Ballroom, and in face-to-face conversations at the autograph tables. It’s not unusual to spot these famous people walking through the crowd or chatting with fans.

There will be special appearances in the Grand Ballroom by Denny Laine, Steve Holley, and Laurence Juber of Wings; Jeremy Clyde (of Chad and Jeremy, and more recently Peter and Jeremy) with his Bottom Drawer Band; Alan White from Yes (and John Lennon and George Harrison projects); and Len Mansfield, former manager of Apple Records. The exceptional Beatles tribute band Liverpool will perform all three nights; and The Weeklings, an offshoot of Liverpool that plays originals and obscure Beatles compositions, will perform on Sunday.

Terri Hemmert, the Radio Hall Of Fame inductee and Breakfast With The Beatles host at radio station WXRT, will notch another year in her decades-long role of The Fest’s MC in Chicago. Hemmert recently left her mid-morning shift at XRT but her semi-retirement involves occasionally filling in for the station’s other air personalities as well continuing with Breakfast With The Beatles. The Apple Jam Stage will offer live performances of Beatles material by Jay Goeppner; Phil Angotti and Friends; and Ellis Clark and Ary Paloma Jeebie; Scott Erickson; and others.

The Fest For Beatles Fans has a few marketplace areas with loads of music-related memorabilia. The marketplace is also the place to meet noted Beatles authors like Bruce Spizer, Vivek Tiwary, Jude S. Kessler, Professor Moptop, and Kit O’Toole. Attendees can join in the fun by competing in Beatles sound-alike concerts and an art competition, and you’re welcome to jam with the musicians and singers who hang out for hours around the stairs in the lower level.


Friday, August 2, 2019


New album out next Friday.

Welcome to all those in town for Lollapalooza, as well as everyone who’s here for Ringo Starr and His Allstar Band at Ravinia. Enjoy your stay and be sure to check out lots of other fun things Chicago has to offer.

Sunshine Boys, whose 2018 Blue Music debut was an absolute masterpiece, will return to The Wine Goddess venue in Evanston tomorrow night to perform songs from a brand new album.

Tickets went on sale today for Peter Case at FitzGerald’s on October 26; Michael Franti and Spearhead at Concord Music Hall on October 24; The Phil Angotti Band and The Hushdrops at Martyrs’ on August 29; Justin Hayward and Mike Dawes at the Athenaeum Theatre on August 9; Los Lobos at City Winery Chicago on December 8 through 12; Thurston Moore Group at the Empty Bottle on December 12; and Tom Morello at The Vic on October 22.

When I’m out on the streets trick or treating. Tickets are also now on sale for Halloweensteen, a Bruce Springsteen tribute show by The Duke Street Kings featuring Michael McDermott, at Park West on October 26.

Cherrie Currie of The Runaways and Brie Darling of Fanny join together on a new album titled The Motivator that was released today. Next Friday will bring How Do You Love?, the long-awaited second album the Los Angeles punk band The Regrettes, and on August 16, Sleater-Kinney will release their latest effort The Center Won’t Hold. The above information comes from the August issue of the Illinois Entertainer.

Santana and The Doobie Brothers will be performing at Hollywood Casino this Sunday.

They made up their minds and they started recording. Fastball (of “The Way” fame) has a new album titled The Help Machine featuring guest musicians Bruce Hughes from Cracker and Charlie Sexton coming out in October.

I was sad to see the Instagram post from Dave Davies stating Ian Gibbons, keyboards player for The Kinks, has passed away. Rock In Paradise, Ian.

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 coming out on September 19.

All the way to Seattle. According to the online sites for Rolling Stone and Best Classic Bands, the Mott The Hoople 1974 Tour will return for 11 new U.S. dates in the fall. The lucky cities include Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Nashville; Dallas; Los Angeles; and Seattle.

Sweet C’s Bakery in Palatine has expanded its space at 10 N. Bothwell to include a café area. The bakery is known for its cookies, cakes, and cupcakes, which it also sells at the Palatine Farmers Market.

The Chicago Film Society continues its Oh My, It’s Pre Code Cinema series on August 7 at Northeastern University with a screening of Merrily We Go To Hell. Director Dorothy Arzner’s 1938 film stars Sylvia Sydney and Frederic March in a tale of booze, journalism, and marital infidelity. Northeastern University is located at 3701 W. Bryn Mawr in Chicago.

Across the pond, The 17th Dream Of Dr Sardonicus Festival 2019 is being held at the Cellar Bar in Cardigan, U.K. Several psychedelic and prog rock acts who’ll be familiar to frequent customers of the vinyl-only indie label Fruits de Mer are scheduled to perform. The lineup includes The Bevis Frond; Nick Nicely; The Chemistry Set; SENDELICA; and Alan Pire Experience.

The 22nd Annual Jeff Buckley Tribute event will take place at Uncommon Ground’s Edgewater location at 1401 W. Devon Avenue in Chicago on November 17 and 18. Musicians interested in participating can contact to get submission information.

The Morning Line will be performing at Hotel Utah on August 16 as part of the International Pop Overthrow - San Francisco festival. To celebrate this hometown gig, the band is offering its new album North for a free download on Bandcamp. When I reviewed the Smoke EP by The Morning Line in 2017, I praised its emotionally charged indie rock songs set to exquisite melodies. North continues in that vein, especially on tracks like “Anhedonia,” “No Love Lost,” and “Nostradamus.”

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.

Well-known character actor and voiceover specialist Sam Elliott celebrates his 75th birthday on August 9. According to the Sunday newspaper supplement Parade, Elliott has provided the voice of Smokey The Bear for 10 years. In a bit of lesser-known trivia, he was the inspiration for successful studio musician in my latest (yet to be published) rock and roll YA novel.


Thursday, August 1, 2019

Louder Than Words: Another Hit For The Museum Of Broadcast Communications

The politically minded Joe Strummer.

One week ago today, part of my birthday activities was a visit to the Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics exhibit at the Museum Of Broadcast Communications. Originally developed by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, it’s a fascinating collection of archival footage, rock videos, documents, clothing, and musical instruments that illustrates how often political themes—liberal and conservative—have surfaced in rock and roll. The Clash, Green Day, U2, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and Dead Kennedys are some of the artists featured.

Among the 175 artifacts are handwritten lyrics to songs by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, James Brown, and others. Being just inches away from the battered Fender Telecaster Joe Strummer played at countless gigs was worth the price of admission alone. According to a recent article by Steve Johnson in the Chicago Tribune, the Louder Than Words exhibit will be followed by a very promising new one in October titled Stay Tuned: Rock On TV.

The Museum also scored a major hit with its Saturday Night Live: The Experience exhibit about a year ago. In his article, Johnson noted that long-time journalist Susy Schultz was recently named as the Museum Of Broadcast Communication’s executive director. Congratulations, Susy. Keep those fun and provocative pop culture exhibits coming. Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics runs through the end of August. The Museum Of Broadcast Communications is located in downtown Chicago at 360 N. State Street.

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