Monday, June 24, 2019

Fun With English People

Photo of Jeff Beck from his Facebook page.

Happy Birthday to Jeff Beck and Colin Blunstone. Each has been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and each started out as a member of a British Invasion band. Beck’s stint as a guitarist with The Yardbirds was short compared to how long Blunstone has been singing for The Zombies, but Beck achieved worldwide fame after setting out on his own. Blunstone isn’t as well known in America for his solo stuff (although he did a solo tour here a few years back) but he’s had major hits in the U.K. I had the honor of doing a telephone interview with Blunstone for the Illinois Entertainer during that U.S. solo tour, and he was amazingly friendly and engaging. He’s still touring and recording with The Zombies, and like Beck, remains at the top of his game.

Judging from reports in the media, The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour got off to a high energy start here in Chicago last Friday night. They’ll be back at Soldier Field tomorrow night and it’s a safe bet no one will go home disappointed. 

Paul McCartney’s official website has announced the first U.K. showing of the Linda McCartney Retrospective, will begin at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland on July 5 and run through January 2020. Photos for the exhibit was curated by Paul, Stella, and Mary McCartney.

Elvis Costello and The Imposters will bring their Just Trust Tour to the Chicago Theatre on November 22. Tickets are now on sale. Earlier dates of interest for Anglophiles at the Chicago Theatre are Bryan Ferry on August 1 and Squeeze on August 31.

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Friday, June 21, 2019

Slumgullion

A hearty welcome to The Rolling Stones, who are in town for a concert tonight at Soldier Field and another one there on Tuesday. In between those shows, they’ll be rehearsing on my gazebo.

Today is Pam Appreciation Day, my annual celebration of my wonderful wife Pam and all the things she does to make our life together so happy and fun. She set up this blog for me just about 10 years ago and Broken Hearted Toy could not have existed without her help. Feel free to use this occasion to celebrate your own significant other and take some time to appreciate what you have together.

There’s an amazing triple bill coming up at Montrose Saloon tomorrow night, featuring The Webstirs, The Dave Sebastian Band, and Magnaphonic. I’ve seen The Webstirs live and have thoroughly enjoyed their clever and irresistibly catchy albums. Mike Galassini and Marianne Galassini have created masterful power pop as Magnaphonic and The Valley Downs, so it’s great to see them back on the local club scene. Dave Sebastian was a founding member of the Chicago power pop band The Raine, which reunited and backed Cliff Johnson from Off Broadway in recent years. The show starts at 9:00 p.m.

This coming Monday night at Montrose Saloon, former Green On Red lead vocalist turned author/solo recording artist Dan Stuart pays an unexpected visit to Chicago. He completed an ambitious novel/album trilogy centered on the character Marlowe Billings in 2018, and is known for his extensive travels. His gig at Montrose Saloon should be intriguing, to say the least.

Tickets went on sale today for Catfish and The Bottlemen at Aragon Ballroom on October 5; Heartsfield at FitzGerald’s on August 31; Rhett Miller at City Winery Chicago on September 16; and the Phil Ochs Song Night at The Old Town School Of Folk Music on September 15. Sleater-Kinney have added a second show at The Riviera Theatre. They’ll now be there on October 18 and 19.

Some websites, such as Steve Hoffman Music Forums and Elevated Observations, are reporting that former Hollies lead vocalist Allan Clarke has recorded a new album titled Resurgence. It’s due out via BMG Worldwide on September 20, with the first single, “Journey Of Regret,” arriving July 12. It would be Clarke’s eighth solo effort, but the first in almost 30 years. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing this.

The 12th Annual A Day In The Country music festival takes place at The Hideout this Sunday from 2:00 to 11:00 p.m. 10 acts are scheduled to perform on the Backroom Stage and the Front Porch Stage, including Gethen Jenkins, Summer Dean, Bonnie Montgomery, Marian Runk, Cox’s Army, and Girls Of The Golden West. The Hideout is located at 1354 W. Wabansia on Chicago’s north side.

Echo In The Canyon, director Andrew Slater’s 2019 documentary about the fertile music scene that developed in California’s Laurel Canyon during the 1960s, opened tonight at the Music Box Theatre. The film features interviews with Graham Nash, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Jackson Browne and Tom Petty. Additional show times for Echo In The Canyon at the Music Box are 2:00, 4:30, 7:10, and 9:15 each day from tomorrow through next Thursday.

Tickets are now on sale for Buddy Guy’s September 6 show at The Arcada in St. Charles. Guy was the secret special guest for the Hot Stove Cool Music event at Metro a few weeks back and he had the crowd rocking with his amazing vocals and guitar playing. Another noteworthy gig coming up at The Arcada is Chris Isaak on August 9. Isaak’s Roy Orbison style vocals and twangy guitar playing are particularly impressive on his vintage material like “Pretty Girls Don’t Cry,” “Dancin’,” and “Back On Your Side.”

Northwest suburbanites have good reason to look forward to the rebirth of the Des Plaines Theatre now that Ron Onesti, who books shows for The Arcada, has been put in charge of the entertainment.

Happy Birthday to Joey Molland of Badfinger. I’ve seen him at Fest For Beatles Fans – Chicago a few times, and he’s been energetic and engaging both off and on stage

Chicago power trio Toy Robots will perform Cream: A Tribute To Eric, Jack and Ginger on July 5 at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. A week later, at that same venue, Soundtracks Of A Generation will present A 50th Anniversary Tribute To The Woodstock Era.

The Regrettes are finally giving us a full-length follow-up to their impressive debut Feel Your Feeling Fool. The new effort is titled How Do You Love? and comes out August 9. The Los Angeles-based quartet has a gig coming up at Metro in Chicago on October 11, and in the meantime, has released the album’s first single "I Dare You."

Chicago-based indie/roots rock label Bloodshot Records will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary at the Square Roots Festival in the Lincoln Square area on 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.

Kokandy Productions will present Head Over Heels, the gay-centric and anachronistic Broadway musical based on songs by The Go-Go’s, from July 1 through August 25 at Theatre Wit on Belmont Avenue. By the way, “Head Over Heels” is one of the best songs The Go-Go’s ever recorded.

Reason number 17, 502 why I’d like to visit England again: The Clissold Arms pub in London has an entire room devoted to photos and memorabilia of The Kinks.

Scott Freiman, a composer and producer, as well as an expert on The Beatles, will present Deconstructing The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour on Sunday, July 7 at 11:30 a.m. and Wednesday, July 10 at 7:00 p.m. at The Music Box on Chicago’s north side.

Actress Ellie Kemper’s book My Squirrel Days comes out in paperback on July 2. Among other things, it covers her time on the TV shows The Office and The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt.

The Weeklings’ new single/video “I Want You Again” is now available. People who have attended Fest For Beatles Fans no doubt have fond memories of this band’s ability to mix covers of songs The Beatles wrote but never recorded, with catchy, Brit Invasion originals.

Guaranteed to break the ice at royal parties. Congratulations to Monty Python member Michael Palin on receiving knighthood from Prince William for his services to travel, culture, and geography.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Start Me Up - This Friday

It’s so great to see Mick Jagger fully recovered from his recent heart surgery and ready to kick off the No Filter Tour with The Rolling Stones. It all starts here in Chicago this Friday night at Soldier Field on the city’s lakefront. A recent photo on social media looks like guitarist Ronnie Wood is already in town and having fun. WXRT will be featuring The Stones all day on Friday and if you still have a copy of last Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, check out rock critic Greg Kot’s pictorial history of the band on the back page of the Arts and Entertainment section.

And sincere best wishes and good vibes to people everywhere who are facing or recovering from heart surgeries or other major operations.

Echo In The Canyon, director Andrew Slater’s 2019 documentary about the fertile music scene that developed in California’s Laurel Canyon during the 1960s, opens this Friday night at the Music Box Theatre on Southport. The film features interviews with Graham Nash, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Jackson Browne and Tom Petty. Narrator Jakob Dylan will be on hand for opening night.

Tellin’ Tales Theatre will present Divercity – Planting the seeds of acceptance this weekend at Prop Thtr on Elston Avenue. The show offers solo performances by artists, writers, and actors with disabilities. Linda Bannon, Elizabeth Doll, Brian Heyburn. Barbara Hyler, Tom Jones, Tekki Lomnicki, Susan McKean, and Garnet Williams are the scheduled performers.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A Pair Of British Birthday Boys

Today is Paul McCartney’s birthday, and social media is overflowing with best wishes and some really cool photos of him. My wife Pam and I had such a great time seeing him perform a high-energy, three-hour concert on my birthday a few years ago, I want to express my admiration and gratitude. You never forget seeing a show like that. A toast to you, Sir Paul, and keep up the good work.

Another British musician who’s celebrating a birthday today is Mordecai Smyth. His music isn’t as well known as McCartney’s, so by way of introduction, I’d say he fancies setting clever and occasionally creepy lyrics to catchy 1960s style arrangements. He once teased me on Facebook about listing so much local entertainment on my blog. I responded by naming him an unofficial citizen of my home town of Palatine, IL. I’m sure he cherishes that honor to this day.

Cheers, gentlemen!

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Incoming

Photo from the Sleater-Kinney Facebook page.

Tickets are now on sale for Sleater-Kinney at the Riviera Theatre on October 18. The critically acclaimed and sharp-edged trio’s new album The Center Won’t Hold will be available in various formats on August 16.

Other upcoming shows include the Vinyl Village Record Fair at Sleeping Village on June 30; Scott Ligon’s All-Star Freakout! Presents the Music of Rami Gabriel at FitzGerald’s on July 12; Temples at Metro on October 31; Corky Siegel and Tracy Nelson at SPACE on October 12; John Hiatt at City Winery Chicago on October 30 through November 1; Ike Reilly at FitzGerald’s on August 30; and Chely Wright and Alice Peacock at City Winery Chicago on September 11.

Deep Chicago ‘60s, the second effort by Chicago Friends and Guests, a collection of local musicians, is now available on on iTunes and Apple Music. Phil Angotti, Packy Lundholm , Mark Rogers, Gary Baker, and Britt Savage takes turns in the spotlight on a selection of Chicago band recordings originally released in the 1960s. Back in 2017, Chicago Friends and Guests recorded 9 X12, which found them expertly covering The Who, The Beatles, Them (or Shadows Of Knight), The Hollies, The Animals, The Byrds, and The Searchers.

Sounds great. The Imperial Sound and Diplomats of Solid Sound, besides both being Chicago bands with the word ‘Sound’ in their names, have also both released impressive debuts recently. They’ll share the same bill at SPACE in Evanston on June 26. On July 19, The Imperial Sound have a gig at the Hey Nonny venue in Arlington Heights.

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Gee, But It’s Great To Be Back Home

My wife Pam and I spent most of this past week in Cape May, New Jersey. Pam is fond of Victorian style houses and Cape May is to Victorian architecture what Liverpool is to Beatlemania. We booked a room at the gorgeous Mainstay Inn Bed and Breakfast. Each day, we’d walk for blocks checking out colorful homes, and took a tour of one of the largest and most famous ones. Of course, Pam knows tons more about such things, but I had a fun time as well. Victorian houses are cool.

The Washington Mall on Cape May is like its own neighborhood of specialty shops. My favorite was Marlene’s, one of those pop culture stores you find here and there but with a much wider selection. The standard Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Pink Floyd and Three Stooges merchandise was on hand, but Marlene’s also had a Janis Joplin lunchbox, a vintage concert t-shirt of The Who (which I bought) and memorabilia for Red Hot Chili Peppers, ZZ Top, Rush, and other bands. There’s no website, so all these treasures are only available to customers who walk in the door.

To paraphrase Elvis Costello, everything is Exit Zero. Another cool place in Cape May is the recently opened Exit Zero Filling Station, which in addition to being an actual gas station, is a restaurant, bar, and shop with its own branded t-shirts and glassware. The restaurant has an appealing black and white retro decor, and on the night Pam and I dropped by, 1980s new wave songs were playing on the sound system. Owner Jack Wright, a native Scotsman, also runs the Exit Zero publishing company, which puts out magazines and books overflowing with fun and local flavor.

My June 7 Slumgullion post was called on account of two baseball/rock and roll events held in close proximity to Wrigley Field. First up was the Hot Stove Cool Music VIP Jam Session at The Brickhouse venue on Thursday, June 6. The night kicked off with several local musicians joining together under the Chicago All-Stars banner to perform an hour-long tribute to The Kinks that included “Lola,” “Where Have All The Good Times Gone?,” “She’s Got Everything,” and “You Really Got Me.” The main Hot Stove Cool Music event took place on Friday night, June 7, at Metro, and featured the Chicago All-Stars; Boston All-Stars; Chicago-based rapper Taylor Bennett; BOTO (Band Of Their Own), a group of veteran women musicians; The Chicago Children’s Choir; and special guest, blues legend Buddy Guy. WXRT morning personality Lin Brehmer once again excelled as the event’s host. Everyone came through with solid performances, and a massive amount of money was raised for the Foundation To Be Named Later.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Hot Stove Cool Music Returns

The Chicago half of the charity event Hot Stove Cool Music will be held this Friday night, June 7 at Metro. (The Boston version took place earlier this year.) Presented by Google, True Value, KPMG, and Chicago Trading Company, the annual baseball/rock and roll mashup helps Chicago Cubs President of Operations Theo Epstein, along with his brother Paul and award-winning sportswriter Peter Gammons raise funds for the Foundation To Be Named Later. The Foundation is dedicated to “improving lives through education, leadership and the healthy development of youth and families.”

Theo Epstein and Chicago Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper will be rocking with the Chicago All-Stars, while Peter Gammons, Bernie Williams, Jake Peavy and Will Dailey front the Boston All-Stars. Chicago-based hip hop artist (and younger brother of Chance The Rapper) Taylor Bennett was recently announced as one of the performers. WXRT morning personality/long-time Cubs fan Lin Brehmer and former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster return as emcees, and attendees will also hear from the Chicago Children’s Choir. Another definite highlight will be a performance by Band Of Their Own, an all-star group with a rotating roster of women musicians.

This year’s BOTO includes members of The Bangles, Belly, Letters To Cleo, The Flat Five, and Blake Babies. Bangles vocalist-drummer Debbi Peterson co-wrote one of the band’ best songs, “Some Dreams Come True” (with W. Inglehart), and Blake Babies vocalist-drummer Freda Love Smith currently performs with one of Chicago’s best current bands, Sunshine Boys. WXRT continues to tease fans on social media about a special, as yet-to-be-named guest. Metro is located just down the street from Wrigley Field, the doors open at 7:30 p.m.

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