Saturday, November 9, 2019


Tickets are now on sale for The Pretenders and Journey at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater on July 3; Jon Langford and Sally Timms at The Hideout on January 19; Silver Suns and Tommi Zender at Martyrs’ on November 14; and Social Act and Nicholas Barron at Martyrs’ on December 13.

The above gig information comes from this week’s edition of The Chicago Reader. For the full list, pick up a copy from local venues or a Reader box in the downtown area.

This week’s Chicago Reader is its Best Of Chicago issue. The honors are divided into several categories across entertainment, sports, politics, restaurants, businesses, stores, and events. Reckless Records was named best record store, with Laurie’s Planet Of Sound coming in second; Women and Children First was the best independent bookstore, with Book Cellar coming in second; WBEZ was best radio station, with WXRT coming in second; and Terri Hemmert was voted as best DJ, with Lin Brehmer coming in second.

The third edition of the Chicago Art Book Fair, a networking event for local artists, will be held next weekend, November 15 – 17 at the Chicago Athletic Association at 12 S. Michigan Avenue.

The Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts is holding its annual Fall Clearance sale today, with a massive selection of art and sculptures available at reduced prices. Palette and Chisel is located at 1012 N. Dearborn, just north of downtown.

The world premiere of The First Deep Breath by Lee Edward Colston II opens next Friday at the Victory Gardens Theatre on Lincoln Avenue. Steve H. Broadnax III directs the intense family drama, which runs through December 22.

Tickets have sold out for Velvet Underground founding member John Cale’s concert at the Art Institute of Chicago on January 26. The performance ties in with the museum’s current exhibition Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again.

The Grand Rapids Comic-Con takes place this weekend at The DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The event will include celebrity guests, artists, and authors.

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.

The Chicago TARDIS convention is being held November 29 – December 1 in Lombard have been announced. The special guests include 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 50th Anniversary short clips. Tosin Cole, Greg Austin, Vivian Oparah, and Sophie Hopkins will also be there.


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Stop In The Name Of Rock

Nine east coast bands that feature women musicians have joined together and will hit the road in early 2020 as The WhistleStop Tour. The press release describes the lineup of Justine And The Unclean, The Chelsea Curve, Cold Expectations, Field Day, Heather Rose In Clover, Kid Gulliver, The Knock Ups, Powerslut, and Tiger Bomb as “New England Power*Pop*Punk Queens.” The first date is at the Askew Prov in Providence, RI on January 11, and it will be followed by gigs in Somerville, MA, Salem, MA and Portland, ME.

The Somerville show will be a record release party for PowerSlut. So far, the tour appears to be locked in on the east coast, with other regional dates to be announced. Special guests will join in the fun at each location; Lockette and The Shang-Hi-Los have already signed on. It would be nice to see a Midwest version of this tour, and of course, WhistleStop is welcome to visit the Chicago area anytime.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019


We lost Ric Ocasek a while back but his presence will surely be felt tomorrow night at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. That’s when Tributosaurus, one of the city’s best known tribute bands, will become The Cars. It’s hard to imagine new wave catching on as well as it did back in the 1970s without the nocturnal ambience of Cars songs such as “Just What I Needed,” “Bye Bye Love,” and “Moving In Stereo.” The band was justifiably inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame last year.

Americana singer-guitarist Margo Price has been added to the musicians performing on The Last Waltz Tour, a tribute to The Band’s 1976 farewell concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. The Last Waltz Tour, with headliners Warren Haynes, Jamey Johnson, Lukas Nelson, John Medeski, and Don Was, comes to the Chicago Theatre on November 21.

A feature-length documentary about Ronnie Wood titled Somebody Up There Likes Me is set to open in theaters around Ireland and the U.K. on November 26. It will include vintage footage of his days with The Jeff Beck Group, The Faces, and The Rolling Stones. Hopefully, it will open in the States some time in the near future.


Friday, November 1, 2019


The Got It Covered - BBC Children In Need charity album, which features cover versions of popular songs performed by Helena Bonham Carter, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, Himesh Patel, David Tennant, Jodie Whittaker, and other noted British actors, is now available on Amazon and other sites.

Today is release day for From Out Of Nowhere by Jeff Lynne’s ELO. Two weeks from now, we’ll see Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police from Juliana Hatfield; and November 22 brings Hyperspace from Beck, Losst and Founnd by Harry Nilsson; Thanks For The Dance from Leonard Cohen, and Who by The Who.

A big welcome to Jerry Seinfeld, who’ll be performing stand-up comedy tonight at the Chicago Theatre. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Countless television viewers can recite catch phrases (and probably entire scenes) from Seinfeld’s eponymous sitcom. But he was already a legendary stand-up comedian for his clever and imaginative takes on everyday things like doing laundry or the way a dog reacts when its human returns from even the shortest time away. His current TV project Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee offers fascinating and funny insight on how comedians create and regard their work. By the way, I wore a puffy shirt the other day, but it wasn’t because I wanted to look like a pirate. It was part of my vampire costume for our company’s Halloween party.

Social Act will be showcasing “Time” and other songs from their new album, Innocence In Time tonight at Montrose Saloon tonight. Icebox and Steve Karras are also on the bill. The music starts at 9:00 p.m. Tomorrow night at Montrose Saloon, it’s Go Time, The Spindles and 45 Souls.

Tickets went on sale today for Peter Asher at City Winery Chicago on January 3; Chicago at the Rialto Square Theatre on April 7; Juliana Hatfield at SPACE on January 16; NRBQ at Chop Shop on November 27; and Sons Of The Silent Age and Ready Freddies at Metro on January 11.

Next Saturday, November 9, QUAD CON will arrive in Burlington, IA the fourth destination on its quest to bring toys, comic books, art, and games to cities in the Midwest. Admission is free. QUAD CON will hit Rockford, IL on November 17.

Chicago-based power pop band The Collectors are changing their name to The Walkdown and have officially added vocalist Erica Loftus to their lineup. Loftus has made guest appearances with the Mike Mazza led group (as well as with Van Go) in the past and also sings lead for The Right Tidys. All of the above-mentioned acts are well-known to regular attendees of International Pop Overthrow - Chicago.

We lost Ric Ocasek a while back but we’ll never forget his contributions to cutting-edge music. You can appreciate the nocturnal allure he crafted with his songs when Tributosaurus becomes The Cars next Wednesday, November 6 at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue.

Progressive rock fans should flock to The Raue Center For The Arts in Crystal Lake on Saturday, November 23. The six-member band Prognosis will be performing Six Of The Best, a tribute to Peter Gabriel; Genesis; Jethro Tull; Emerson, Lake, and Palmer; King Crimson; and Yes.

The Grand Rapids Comic-Con takes place November 8 – 10 at The DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The event will include celebrity guests, artists, and authors.

The Music On Stage theater group will present Annie The Musical from November 16 through December 1 at Cutting Hall in Palatine. In 2020, Music On Stage will be presenting The Sound Of Music and The Wizard Of Oz.

Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell TV show, is coming to the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, IL on January 17. Don’t look for me to make any jokes about my cats being from hell. They’re both perfect angels.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019


I haven’t made it to Stay Tuned: Rock On TV at the Museum Of Broadcast Communications yet, but I definitely will. The exhibition originated at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, so the memorabilia is impressive. I’ve been informed by a friend that Stay Tuned includes a drumhead that once belonged to Bobby Elliott of The Hollies. He gave it to Shindig after The Hollies performed on the TV show in 1965. I corresponded with Mr. Elliott via email back in 2010 for a piece I was doing for the Illinois Entertainer about The Hollies being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. He still performs with the band, and was extremely gracious.

The first date on Juliana Hatfield’s 2020 tour will be at SPACE in Evanston on January 16. Other cities she’ll be visiting include Nashville, Indianapolis, Austin, Los Angeles, and Portland.

Indie rock band The Rut (which includes avid Hatfield fan singer-guitarist Frank Carr) will be performing tomorrow night at Phyllis’ Musical Inn as part of the venue’s American Troubadour Night. The band has its roots in the Famous In The Future comedy group, which performed every year at the Mary-Arrchie Theatre’s annual Abbie Fest, and are now runs the annual YippieFest held in August.

The Social Act, the Ellis Clark-fronted band that got off to an impressive start back in the late 1980s with atmospheric rock songs like “World War Three” and “Reverend Joe,” has returned to the recording studio and local club scene. Their Not Too Late album is now available, and they’ll be at Montrose Saloon this Friday night. Icebox and Steve Karras are also on the bill. Show time is 9:00 p.m.

Go Time! and The Spindles, two Chicago area power pop bands that have earned praise here on Broken Hearted Toy for their albums and live performances, will share a triple bill with 45 Souls on the following night at Montrose Saloon.

And finally, as a reminder, there are still a few Halloween treats left in the bowl for some more scary fun.

Late Bar, at 3534 W. Belmont on Chicago’s north side, is having a Halloween Music Video Monster Mash Up featuring DJs Sonic Marchesa and Samorama this Thursday night. Late Bar promises lots of candy and a My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult ticket giveaway.

The Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge will offer a twin bill of the 1931 horror films Frankenstein and Dracula tomorrow night, as part of its Classic Film Series. Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi are the stars, respectively. Admission is $12.

The Music Box will be screening The Rocky Horror Picture Show at 10:00 p.m. tomorrow night and Halloween. Audience members are encouraged to participate.

There will be a Waking The Witch benefit for the Clinic Vest Project at The Empty Bottle tomorrow night, featuring DJ Claire Lyerla and DJ Ruby Des Jardins.

The Chicago Philharmonic will provide a live soundtrack when Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is screened at the Auditorium Theatre on Halloween and November 1.


Saturday, October 26, 2019

Saturday Slumgullion

Last-minute Halloween entertainment suggestion: The bewitching Rasputina, which bills itself as “The longest-running, unique, historically based women's cello rock-band that includes men” has a 7:00 p.m. performance tonight at Subterranean on North Avenue in Chicago. The Brooklyn-based duo Charming Disaster will be opening.

David Byrne’s new musical American Utopia opened at the Hudson Theatre in New York last Sunday, and according to Chicago Tribune theatre critic Chris Jones, it’s “sleek, crisp [and] strikingly optimistic.” The former Talking Heads lead vocalist is joined by singers and dancers for the production.

The November issue of New City is the 27th edition of the local free publication’s annual Best Of Chicago honors.

Be aware of the Ides Of March. The Idea of March have a gig tonight at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, with special guests Mark Farner from Grand Funk Railroad; American Idol finalist Bo Rice; and Cathy Richardson, who’s performed with Jefferson Starship, portrayed Janis Joplin, and leads her own band. Writer Jeff Ebel had a full-length article in yesterday’s Chicago Sun-Times about The Ides Of March marking their 55th anniversary with their new Play On album, and this month’s New City Best Of Chicago issue names them the Best Chicago-Area band That Has Been Around For Fifty-Five Years. On as side note, Ides Of March frontman Jim Peterik was the first rock musician I ever interviewed. That was back when I was a child rock critic for the University Of Illinois - Chicago newspaper The Illini.

As noted on a Rhino Records Instagram post, the iconic hard rock album Led Zeppelin II was released 50 years ago yesterday.

Local indie rock band whitewolfsonicprincess is hosting Invocations Of The Spirit - An Evening Of Fairy Tales, Shaman Magic, Drumming and Music tonight at Jarvis Pottery on Chicago’s far north side. Other performers include author Liam Heneghan, shamanic practitioner Joan Levergood, and guitarist Victor Sanders. Door open at 7:00 p.m.; the suggested donation is $10.

When Monster25, the 25th Anniversary edition of the R.E.M. album Monster comes out next Friday, one of the previously unreleased tracks will be a catchy instrumental titled “Uptempo Mo Distortion.” The song can be streamed on R.E.M.’s official website

The Imperial Sound has a gig coming up this Monday at Martyrs on Lincoln Avenue. The band’s members are veterans of Chicago’s music scene, and frequently invites guest vocalists to help out at its shows. Rob Newhouse from The Elvis Brothers and singer-guitarist Rachel Drew are also on the bill.

The 50th Anniversary edition of The Kinks’ groundbreaking rock opera Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empires came out yesterday in a seven-inch singles box set and a two CD set.

The Product Placement. By Andy Warhol. exhibition is now open at the Art Institute of Chicago, and will run through January 26.

Cracking good news! I’ve been following the Aardman Animations page on Instagram for a while now, and there was a recent post announcing that the studio’s brilliant and probably still most popular creation Wallace and Gromit now has an Official Instagram page all to its own. Aardman is currently celebrating Wallace and Gromit’s 30 anniversary.

Tommi Zender, a familiar face on Chicago’s northside club scene, will host The Autumn Beatles Social at the Old Town School of Folk Music on November 8. Participants will be able to perform Beatles songs in a friendly environment; advance sign-up is recommended. Zender recently released a new album of original material titled More Songs About Time.

Snap!, the greatest hits album released by The Jam in 1983, has been remastered for a new double vinyl release that will come with a bonus limited edition four-track seven-inch EP. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon.

The Rut will be performing next Wednesday, October 30 as part of the American Troubadour Night at Phyllis’ Musical Inn. Just as the previously mentioned indie rock band whitewolfsonicprincess came the Black Forest Theatre company, The Rut has its roots in the Famous In The Future comedy group. Both acts were regulars at Mary-Arrchie Theatre’s annual Abbie Fest, and both are now major forces behind the annual YippieFest held in August.

Peter Asher, formerly half of Peter and Gordon, as well as a highly successful record producer, is coming to City Winery Chicago on January 3. Autographed copies of his new book, The Beatles From A to Zed are available on The Fest For Beatles Fans website. If you anticipate having Beatles fans on your holiday gift list this year, The Fest For Beatles Fans official site has a lot of great ideas.

The Spindles, Go Time! and 45 Souls will make for a potent triple bill next Saturday night at Montrose Saloon.

Australian singer-guitarist Courtney Barnett has recorded a version of the Loose Tooth song “Keep On” for the Milk On Milk compilation album coming out on her own independent Milk! Label. All of the tracks will feature indie rock bands performing songs originally recorded by other indie rock bands.


Friday, October 25, 2019


This is pretty much a rehash of events I’ve previously mentioned, but now all in one convenient and terrifying guide.

Montrose Saloon is the place for this year’s Halloweekend, a fun tradition where local bands perform as famous rock stars and often dress up like them. Tonight’s lineup is Los Gallos Band as Los Lobos; Roxy Morons as Roxy Music; The Webstirs as The Doobie Brothers; Androgynous Mustache as Hall and Oates; and Fiction Romantics as The Buzzcocks. Tomorrow night, Phil Angotti promises to go wandering as Bob Dylan; and he’ll be followed by Planet Claire as Neil Diamond; Statutes Of Liberty as Velvet Underground; Rachel Drew as Siouxsie and The Banshees; and The Stone Montroses as the Stone Roses.

The Old Town School Of Folk Music is having a family-oriented Spooky Singalong tomorrow morning at Maurer Hall and Sunday morning at Armitage Hall. Both shows start at 10:00 a.m.

The Duke Street Kings featuring Michael McDermott will perform Bruce Springsteen songs at the Halloweensteen bash at Park West tomorrow night.

The 7th Annual Halloween ComicFest takes place tomorrow, with participating comic stores offering candy and free comics. Patrons are encouraged to wear costumes. Check with your favorite comic store to see if it plans on being part of the fun.

Durty Nellie’s in Palatine has an event titled The Ghosts Of Rock Icons Past featuring Modern Day Romeos tomorrow night. Attendees are encouraged to dress up as famous rock stars who are no longer among the living and compete in a costume contest with over $500 in prizes.

The Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge will offer a twin bill of the 1931 horror films Frankenstein and Dracula on October 30, as part of its Classic Film Series. Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi are the stars, respectively. Admission is $12.

City Lit Theater Company is currently staging a production based on the most frightening of all the Sherlock Holmes novels—The Hound Of The Baskervilles. It runs through November 10. City Lit Theater is located at 1020 W. Bryn Mawr in Chicago.

The Music Box will be screening The Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight tonight and tomorrow; and at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 30 and Halloween. Audience members are encouraged to participate.

There will be a Waking The Witch benefit for the Clinic Vest Project at The Empty Bottle on October 30, featuring DJ Claire Lyerla and DJ Ruby Des Jardins.

The Chicago Philharmonic will provide a live soundtrack when Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is screened at the Auditorium Theatre on Halloween and November 1.

Metro will present the Nocturna: All Hallow’s Eve Ball with DJ Scary Lady Sarah, and Sincy Vicious on November 1.

DJ Derrick Carter most likely get spooky at his Derrick Does Halloween gig at Smart Bar on October 31.

The town of Long Grove, once a popular destination for antiques, crafts, and gifts items, is showing signs of successfully reinventing itself after go through some tough times. Restaurants and coffee places are now leading the way. Long Grove has transformed itself into Halloween Town that will last through October 27.

For those who like getting their frights through professional drama, a Chris Jones review in the Chicago Tribune points to A Red Orchid Theatre’s current production of Grey House. Written by Chicago playwright Levi Holloway, Grey House shows what happens when a couple takes refuge in an isolated cabin inhabited by mysterious young girls and their equally unsettling mother. A Red Orchid Theatre is located at 1531 N. Wells Street; Grey House runs through December 1.

If scary and comedic short flicks are your thing, director-writer David Metzger’s This Zombie For Hire and director-writer Jeff Kelley’s Song Of The Dead can now be watched on YouTube. The films were screened last Saturday night as part of Elgin’s annual Nightmare On Chicago Street Halloween festival. Full disclosure: I acted in both of these films.

Finally, if you’re up for a flight to Liverpool in England, the Cavern Club is presenting Queen tribute band Classic Queen on Halloween night to commemorate the 49th anniversary of the actual, Freddie Mercury-led Queen’s first appearance at the venue.

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