Friday, October 2, 2015


I've mentioned a few times here that Squeeze fans must be pretty happy these days, with the new Cradle To The Grave album due out soon and a tour that brings them to Chicago directly after Thanksgiving. Fans of The Zombies are probably also counting their lucky stars. The British Invasion band releases its Still Got That Hunger album of new material next Friday, and will be performing at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, Indiana a week later.

Admission is free for the fifth annual Record Dig featuring new and vintage CDs and vinyl taking place tomorrow afternoon at Schubas Tavern on Chicago's north side. The vendors include Reckless Records, Dusty Grooves, Beverly Records, HoZac Records, Rob Gillis, and Matt Sohn. Food and beverages will also be available. 

Pat DiNizio's 60th Birthday Bash at the Italian American Hall in Scotch Plains, NJ won't be a lonely place without Suzanne Vega. That's because the singer-songwriter, who recorded a duet with DiNizio on the song "In A Lonely Place" for The Smithereens' Especially For You album, has just been announced as one of the performers. Other musicians taking part in the October 10 event include The Smithereens, Marshall Crenshaw, Garland Jeffreys, Southside Johnny, The Grip Weeds, and members of The Hooters. DiNizio will also perform with his Beatles tribute band The Scotchplainsmen. The event is also a fundraiser to help pay medical expenses for DiNizio's upcoming surgery on his arm and hand.

Bluegrass musician/media personality Ken Mottet will be playing the Dick Clark role tomorrow night at Beatniks on Conkey in Hammond, Indiana when Rosie and The Rivets Present: Vintage Rock N Roll Theater Show. The event starts at 8:00 PM at and is being described as an American Bandstand type of variety show.

Mooner has a release party for its new Masterpiece album next Friday night at The Hideout. I've posted favorable reviews of this Chicago band's efforts in the past and judging from a quick scan of the songs on its website, this one sounds like a winner too. It was interesting to hear Lee Ketch from Mooner sharing his thoughts on songwriting and the Chicago music scene with Richard Milne last Sunday night on the WXRT's Local Anesthetic program. Mama, Indonesian Junk, and Bobby Conn and Monica Boubou are also on the bill at The Hideout.

The night will belong to Patti Smith on October 11 when she visits the Lund Auditorium at Dominican University in River Forest to discuss her upcoming book M Train. The event, sponsored by The Book Table store in Oak Park, is sold out.

The Hollies have updated their official website (possibly in response to my A Hollies Summer In Chicago campaign but most likely not) to make it more modern and easier to navigate. It's definitely an improvement, but there's still some work to do. There's a listing for 2015 Red Badges on the Merchandise page, with no info on what those might be. Hopefully, that will fill in soon. Here are few suggestions that would make The Hollies website even better: t-shirts that actually have eye-catching graphics; action figures for every Hollies member throughout the band's 50-year career; an invitation to all past and current members to set aside their feuds and come together for a massive Hollies reunion; and several US dates on the tour page.

The Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival is sponsoring a showing of Blazing Saddles next Wednesday night at the Star Cinema Grill in Arlington Heights. In other BWiFF news, there's a teaser on its Facebook page saying to mark November 14 on your calendars for a major upcoming event.

It's Johnny's birthday, it's Johnny's birthday. WXRT air personality Terri Hemmert will be celebrating John Lennon's 75th birthday from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM this Sunday morning on her Breakfast With The Beatles program. Beatles fans outside the Chicago area can stream WXRT on the station's website.

And next Friday, Phil Angotti and Tommi Zender will present the John Lennon 75th Birthday Retrospective Show at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Casey McDonough, Joe Camarillo, and Alton Smith will be joining them for the show, which will also include special guests Steven Charles Levitt and Christie Miller. Angotti did a similar show at The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago in August and his selection of Beatles and Lennon solo music was inspiring.

Alt rock band whitewolfsonicprincess will offer a mix of brand new and rarely performed songs when it opens for South Africa's HA!Man (Francis le Roux) with Joke Debaere next Thursday, October 8 at Uncommon Ground's Devon location.

There are still a few weeks left to check out the work of Pattie Boyd, Henry Diltz, and Carinthia West at the Visions Of A Magic Time - Iconic Photos of the 60s and 70s exhibit. It runs through October 30 at the Hilton / Asmus Foto gallery on Wells Street in Chicago.

The Hypocrites will be staging their scaled-down and critically acclaimed version of Green Day's Broadway smash American Idiot through October 25 at The Den Theatre on Milwaukee Avenue. Tickets range from $28 to $36.

There's good news for those of us who have missed Z Berg since The Like inexplicably disintegrated in 2010. The Popdose website site recently reported that Berg is now part of a new band with Alex Greenwald, Jason Boesel, and Michael called Phases. Berg has swapped the 1960s vibe of The Like for a more 1980s techno-oriented approach, but the music is still catchy. Their first single is the optimistic "I'm In Love With My Life."

Mary-Arrchie Theatre kicks has entered its 30th and final season with a production of the Peter Morris two-performer play Guardians. It’s a hard-edged look at war-time atrocities.  

In addition to the previously mentioned Zombies concert, other shows coming up at Star Plaza Theatre include Buddy Guy on November 14; Salute to the 60s, with Herman's Hermits, The Buckinghams, and The Grassroots on January 30, and the Beatles tribute band The Fab Four on February 12.

On March 13, 2014, I praised the Last Call album by the Chicago-based trio JIP for making good on its mission to forge a hard-hitting collection of songs that evoke alternative rock bands from the 1990s. Now a review by Melanie Lewis in the October issue of the Illinois Entertainer reveals that JIP has a new deluxe edition of Last Call featuring the original track list plus each song covered by a different artist. It comes with a seven-inch "Our City By The Lake" single on yellow vinyl and is available for $15 on the Pledge Music site. 10% of all money raised will go to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

More heavenly pop hits on the way. October 23 is the U.S. release date for Silver Bullets, the first new album from New Zealand band The Chills in at least 10 years.

North By North has a gig on October 15 at the CMJ Music Marathon Show in Brooklyn. The Chicago techno trio's "Pistoletta"/"Dark Star" single is available for download on its Bandcamp page.

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