Friday, March 25, 2016


Aimee Mann is coming to the Old Town School Of Folk Music on May 9.

Phil Angotti and Tommi Zender will be performing the Simon And Garfunkel albums Sounds Of Silence and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme at SPACE in Evanston tomorrow night.

Patti Smith will be dropping by Szold Hall at the Old Town School of Folk Music tomorrow at 4:00 PM for a live interview with WBEZ air personality Tony Sarabia. Chances are, the discussion will touch on her recent book M Train, as well as her career as a groundbreaking rock and roll artist.

Other shows coming up at the Old Town School Of Folk Music include Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen on April 8, Marshall Crenshaw and The Bottle Rockets on April 9, and Aimee Mann on May 9.

Big Paraid, a high energy trio that was very impressive at a Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival sponsored concert at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine a few years back, will headline a six-act concert tomorrow night at Metro. Revolt Coda, Blood Red Boots, Sex Therapy, Wired Minds, and Dimwaves are the other acts on the bill.

Congratulations to the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival on surpassing its IndieGoGo goal to raise $4,000 to fund this year’s late July run in the northwest suburbs. And there’s still a few more hours to add to the final total with a donation.

The Last Big Mistake, the first show from The Factory Theater in over a year, opened tonight at the ensemble’s new home at 1623 W. Howard Street. Written by Ernest Deak and directed by Manny Tamayo, the play is set on a summer night in 1975. It runs each weekend through April 30.

Beat Swap Meet No. 12 takes place from noon to 6:00 PM this Sunday at The Empty Bottle on Chicago’s north side. As in the past, it’s an opportunity to dealers and collectors of vinyl to do business and hang out together. Admission is free with a donation of a canned good for the local homeless community.

Cheap Trick will headline The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame’s Annual Benefit Concert May 6 in Cleveland, just under a month after being inducted. Tickets range from $17.50 to $55.00, and VIP packages are available. The RRHF official site now has some 2016 Inductees related items for sale, including three different t-shirts, a mug, a magnet and a poster.

Sometimes, all I need is sea air I can breathe. Terry Sylvester, who replaced Graham Nash in The Hollies and was with them for “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother,” “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress,” and “The Air That I Breathe,” will be making waves as a performer on the 24th Annual Where The Action Is Cruise, being staged by Concerts At Sea. Other acts scheduled for the cruise include Jay And The Americans, Paul Revere’s Raiders; The Buckinghams, The Cowsills, and Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels.

Fire Hot Opera has a release party coming up next Friday at Beat Kitchen for its full-length debut Test Market Fresh. The Chicago-based six-piece band’s approach is a mix of good time 1950s rock and Motown, augmented by some furious piano playing.

Linda and Laura Good have been working on new songs for the next Twigs album.

The Sound + Vision David Bowie tribute takes place March 30 at The Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles. Dennis Davison and Jonathan Lea from The Jigsaw Seen, along with The Muffs and former Bowie collaborator Cherry Vanilla are among the participants.

Kym Brunner and Katie Sparks, two published authors from the writers group I belong to, will be on FOX23’s The Spiel tomorrow at 11:00 AM discussing “Social Media for Scaredy Cats.” Brunner’s third YA book Flip The Bird is available for pre-order on Amazon, and Sparks’ Reality Natalie Middle Grade novel is available now on Amazon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

In Concert:

Wolf Alice will be one of the thousands of bands performing at this year's Lollapalooza.

Lollapalooza announced its 2016 lineup this morning, just one day after all the four-day passes immediately sold out. Single-day tickets went on sale this morning, and it’s likely those were snapped up pretty quickly as well. The festival has added an additional day this year; running from Thursday, July 28 to Sunday, July 31. Lolla founding father Perry Farrell will be bringing a Jane’s Addiction reunion with him to this year’s event, and other scheduled acts include Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Leon Bridges, Wolf Alice, Haim, Silverspun Pickups, and Houndmouth.

Dennis Davison and Jonathan Lea from The Jigsaw Seen will be part of the Sound + Vision David Bowie tribute taking place March 30 at The Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles. Kristian Hoffman will direct a house band of well-known musicians, and The Muffs and former Bowie collaborator (she was recently in Chicago as part of The Sons Of The Silent Age Age tribute at Metro) Cherry Vanilla will also be on hand. Other participants include comic actors French Stewart and Dave Foley.

Phil Angotti and Tommi Zender will be performing the Simon And Garfunkel albums Sounds Of Silence and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme at SPACE in Evanston this Saturday night. As mentioned here previously here on Broken Hearted Toy, these guys have loads of experience covering bands from the 1960s (and other decades) and always put on an entertaining show.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Listen To The Music

Mr. Dw. Dunphy
The Co-Op Communique - Volume One compilation from Introverse Media features recording artists who might otherwise have trouble grabbing some time in the spotlight. Produced in association with Down The Line magazine, it’s a genre-hopping collection of 18 tracks. Co-Op founder Dw. Dunphy, whose gritty rock song “Cut You Loose” is included on the album, hopes to establish a more direct route between musicians and the general public.

“It’s hard to get heard out there,” he explained in a handwritten note on the press release, and most people who follow the current music scene would probably agree. Future Co-Op Communique releases will arrive on a quarterly basis, and if the first one is any indication, this series will be a viable way to discover new music. Highlights on Volume One include “13” and “Mirror” from the spacey alt-rock outfit Dead Artist Syndrome; the catchy “Don’t Stare At The Sun” from The b-attitudes, the jangling pop of “Glad” from The Click Beetles, and the shuffling 1970s style rock of Eddie Parrino’s “Free My Mind.”

All of the songs are taken from albums or EPs recorded by the artists. The Co-Op Communique - Volume One is available on CDBaby and Bandcamp, although the Bandcamp link didn’t seem to be working when I tried it.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Saturday Slumgullion

The Posies’ upcoming album Solid States is now available for pre-order on the UK website Lojinx. There are some interesting bundles being offered; including t-shirt, LP, CD and download; t-shirt, LP, and download; t-shirt, CD, and download; CD and download; and just the download. The last Posies album was the very impressive Blood/Candy, released in 2010. The band will embark on a European tour on March 29.

It’s a family affair. My nephew, the world famous chef Joe Flamm, will be competing against chef Matt Troost in Ramen Battle 22 - The Ramenant at Yusho tomorrow (Sunday) from 4 to 9:00 PM. My nephew works at Spiagggia and Troost works at The Charlatan. This event is being held to benefit Pilot Light Chefs, an organization dedicated to teaching kids about healthy food choices. Admission is $35; vegetarian options and a snack menu will be available. Reservations are recommended.

Chicago area band Buzz Orchard will be back with its original lineup, including lead vocalist Davey Sippel (who also was a member of Van Go) for the first time in years when it performs at the Gallery Cabaret on June 4.

According to writer Robert Channick’s article in today’s Chicago Tribune, Chicago is about to tap into the growing trend of cat cafes. The Tree House Humane Society recently got a City Council green light to open a venue on the north side that will serve beverages while a limited number of cats are roaming around. The concept has already been working out well at a cafe called Cat Town in Oakland, CA. And yes, my wife and I will be going to the Tree House version when it opens here.

A Facebook post from You Weren’t There: A History of Chicago Punk 1977-1984 notes that the documentary Savage Beliefs - The Movie will be shown at Martyrs’ on April 14 as part of this year’s CIMMfest. The band Savage Beliefs, Naked Raygun, “and everyone you know from the ’84 Chicago Punk Scene” will be featured. CIMMfest runs April 13 through 17 at various venues in the Chicago area.

Friday, March 18, 2016


C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) opened yesterday and runs through Sunday in the South Building at McCormick Place on Lake Shore Drive. Actor John Cusack, best known for his roles in Love And Mercy and High Fidelity, is among the guests, along with Melissa Benoist from Supergirl; Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell from Battlestar Galactica; John Ratzenberger from Toy Story and Cheers; and D.B. Sweeney from the White Sox movie Eight Men Out.

The Caudog Records Rock Show takes place tonight at the LiveWire Lounge on Milwaukee Avenue. The event’s Facebook page promises, “You’ll hear some Bowie tunes, originals, and see a spectacular rock show!!” The triple bill features The Red Plastic Buddha, Amazing Heebie Jeebies, and Ellis Clark and The Big Parade.

Record Store Day comes April 16 this year and you’ll find the full list of limited-edition releases on the official website. Some of the acts involved are Tom Petty; The Animals, David Bowie, Johnny Cash; Buddy Guy and Junior Wells; Cheap Trick; Dave Davies; Bob Dylan; The Electric Prunes; John Coltrane; Lush; The Monkees; The Move; and Graham Nash.

The very first Teenage Literary Festival will be held April 15 and 16 at Harold Washington Library and Columbia College. The event is free of charge.

Aimee Mann has a show in Chicago on May 9 show at the Old Town School Of Folk Music. Also coming up at the venue are Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen on April 8, and Marshall Crenshaw and The Bottle Rockets on April 9.

Tickets went on sale today for; the Graham Parker Duo (Parker and Brinsley Schwarz) at FitzGerald’s on April 20; and Alice Peacock at City Winery on June 11.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Neverly Brothers - Magical History Tour Volumes 1 and 2

The Neverly Brothers have been bringing their unique showcase of 1950s and 1960s hits to Chicago area (and sometimes out-of-state) venues for some time now. Guitarist Kevin Giragosian, drummer Kegham Giragosian, and upright bass fiddle player Craig Gigstad deliver a good-time selection of songs, and since all three of them can sing lead, there’s an entertaining variety of vocal styles and harmonies. The band’s solid reputation on the local club and festival scene enables them to rival Beatles tribute acts like American English and BritBeat.

The Neverly Brothers have simultaneously released their Magical History Tour Volume 1 and Volume 2 CDs, which are available individually or as a set. Echoing the format of the live show, these discs feature The Neverly Brothers performing songs by rock and roll pioneers like Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, and Buddy Holly, along British Invasion stars like Manfred Mann, The Kinks and Peter and Gordon. Other songs were originally done by American rhythm and blues artists, and later reinvented by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Hollies. The CDs have a party atmosphere even if they don’t quite capture the fun of The Neverly Brothers performing live.

I’d like to see The Neverly Brothers embark on a side project—covering acts from the early 1980s rockabilly revival, like The Stray Cats, The Polecats, The Hillbillies, and The Elvis Brothers.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Record Store Day Wish List

Record Store Day arrives on April 16. The official website is counting down the days, hours, and minutes, and has already posted the full list of this year's bounty. As usual, the selection of limited-edition releases spans across every known genre of music. Here’s just a sampling of gems from the power pop, alternative, and 1960s sections:

The Animals - Animal Tracks 10-inch four-song EP
David Bowie - “TVC15” seven-inch picture disc
Cheap Trick - Found New Parts 10-inch EP including the exclusive track “Arabesque”
Dave Davies Hits seven-inch, four-song EP
The Electric Prunes - “I’ve Got A Way Of My Own” (Hollies cover)/“World Of Darkness”
Lush - Origami five-album box set; each on colored vinyl
The Monkees - “Saturday’s Child”/“You Just Might Be The One” seven-inch picture disc
The Move - Something Else seven-inch facsimile of rare 1968 recording at The Marquee Club
Graham Nash - This Path Tonight LP with bonus “Our House” and “Teach Your Children” single
Various Artists - Nuggets Hallucinations - Psychedelic Pop Nuggets double-album on purple vinyl
Warren Zevon/The Flamin’ Lips “Werewolves Of London” (Part of RSD’s Side By Side Series.)

The Second Disc website is a great resource for anything related to vinyl, and has been offering RSD-related previews and teasers for a few weeks now. Look for it to continue with its in-depth coverage. The print edition of Illinois Entertainer usually has an RSD feature in its April edition, and be sure to check Facebook for announcements about in-store appearances by local bands. And I’m hoping to post more updates as Record Store Day gets closer.

Friday, March 11, 2016


Photo from the Ringo Starr Facebook page.

Even genius sometimes needs an introduction. When it comes to The Beatles, Brian Epstein and George Martin paved the way for the most most important rock band in history to connect with previously clueless record industry executives. And they changed the world forever. Epstein passed away in 1967. Martin left us a few days ago. As a producer, he worked with an amazing range of high-profile recording artists, but like Epstein, he’ll be remembered for his work with The Beatles. Thanks to both of these gentlemen for the gift of a lifetime.

The Experience Hendrix Tour comes to town tomorrow night for a show at the Chicago Theatre. The performers honoring the legendary guitarist include Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Ana Popovich, and Zakk Wylde. Tickets range from $38 to $98.

The Heroes And Villains Fan Fest takes place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont tomorrow and Sunday. At least eight cast members of the TV show Arrow will be on hand, including Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, and Katrina Law. Other fantasy-related shows, like The Flash, Gotham, and Once Upon A Time, will also be represented.

The final four performances of the rock music-infused version of Twelfth Night, created in the UK by Filter Theatre in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company, will held at the Chicago Shakespeare on Navy Pier theater this weekend.

WTTW Channel 11 TV in Chicago will air David Bowie: Five Years tomorrow night at 9:30 PM.

This week’s Sunday night concert on WXRT is a 2000 performance by U2. People living outside of Chicago can stream the concert on the station's website.

Not Dead Yet. As it turns out, last Sunday’s performance of American Buffalo was not the final offering from Mary-Arrchie. The storefront theatre decided to call it quits after learning its home of 30 years was scheduled to be demolished, but in a recent email with the subject line, “Hold Off The Wrecking Ball,” Mary-Arrchie announced that American Buffalo has been extended through April 17. There will be some casting changes, but the bottom line is that you still have more a few more chances to catch a show by this iconic Chicago theatre company.

C2E2 (Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo) runs from next Thursday, March 18 through 20 in the South Building at McCormick Place on Lake Shore Drive. Actor John Cusack, best known for his roles in Love And Mercy and High Fidelity, is among the guests, along with Melissa Benoist from Supergirl; Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell from Battlestar Galactica; John Ratzenberger from Toy Story and Cheers; and D.B. Sweeney from the White Sox movie Eight Men Out.

New Order has a gig at The Chicago Theatre next Wednesday, March 16.

The Caudog Records Rock Show! takes place next Friday, March 18 at the LiveWire Lounge on Milwaukee Avenue. The event’s Facebook page promises, “You’ll hear some Bowie tunes, originals, and see a spectacular rock show!!” The triple bill features The Red Plastic Buddha, Amazing Heebie Jeebies, and Ellis Clark and The Big Parade.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Chills - Silver Bullets

Photo from The Chills Facebook page.

2015 saw the welcome return of The Chills, a New Zealand band that formed in the early 1980s but probably first came to the world’s attention with their 1990 masterpiece Submarine Bells. Vocalist-guitarist-keyboards player Martin Phillipps has been the driving force behind The Chills through all those years. On Silver Bullets, he combines his signature gorgeous arrangements with caustic lyrics about economic inequality and environmental disasters.

After opening with the light and nurturing “Warm Waveform,” Phillipps rails against oppression on the guitar-driven title track, warning, “If forced to fight your evil empire, we have the means to harm.” On “America Says Hello,” he singles out the United States for its aggression (“For on behalf of the war-god Mars, here are fifty white, fightin’-fit stars”) but suggests the country will redeem itself. The somber but exquisite “Underwater Wasteland” describes mysterious creatures at the ocean’s bed, and how humans are destroying them with toxic waste.

Tribal percussion and ominous keyboards set the tone for “Pyramid/When The Poor Can Reach The Moon,” an epic composition that laments the the futile efforts of the working class to appease the power-hungy leaders at the top. Little wonder then that on the deceptively catchy “Aurora Corona,” Phillipps implores the ancient goddess Gaia not to blow us away, and promises, “We can do better, today.” Silver Bullets ends on a redemptive note with “Molten Gold,” as Phillipps celebrates the power of love.

Friday, March 4, 2016

More Slumgullion

I wanted make sure my post about the Sons Of The Silent Age David Bowie Tribute at Metro tonight was finished on time, so I split Slumgullion into two pots. Here’s the second helping.

Tickets went on sale today for the June 19 Flight Of The Conchords Sing Flight Of The Conchords show at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The announcement itself is enough to ignite memories of favorite catch phrases and scenes from the New Zealand duo’s limited run HBO comedy series. As Murray, the hilariously inept agent might say, everyone will want to be present.

Cheap Trick’s new Bang, Zoom, Crazy … Hello album is now available for pre-order on Pledge Music in various special packages ranging from $15 for the CD and an access pass to $2,000 for a Robin Zander signed Corsair guitar and access pass. Rolling Stone online has a preview of the single “When I Wake Up Tomorrow,” which it describes as being “moody and Bowie-esque.”

Tangled up in blue with the wine and cheese crowd. Bob Dylan will be among the big names coming to Ravinia this summer. The long-running outdoor concert series (held in Highland Park) will pair Dylan with Mavis Staples, and has also booked Diana Ross; Paul Simon; Bryan Ferry; Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy; Duran Duran; Frankie Valli and The Four Season; Bonnie Raitt; and Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark. Tickets for the general public go on sale April 26; the full schedule is available on the Ravinia website.

The Who will be in town at the United Center next Thursday, March 10, celebrating their 50th Anniversary.

Best wishes to Norm Winer, who has left his post as WXRT’s Program Director after an amazing run of 37 years. Hard to see how any fan of the progressive rock station would feel this is good news. Winer received a Fifth Star Award from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs on September 16, 2015 during a celebration/concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

Every time I pass a Wow Bao fast food restaurant, I immediately hear the blistering guitar and evocative vocals of The Kills’ “Wow Now” in my head. The duo of Alison Mosshart (also a member of Jack White’s The Dead Weather) and Jamie Hince will be performing with L.A. Witch on May 23 at the Riviera Theatre. Tickets went on sale today. The Kills have a new album titled Ash And Ice coming out in the beginning of June, with “Doing It To Death” as the first single.

The English Beat returns to the Chicago area with May 10 gig at SPACE in Evanston.

Tickets are now sale for Chicago’s annual Pitchfork Music Festival, which runs on the weekend of July 15 through 17 in Union Park. This year’s lineup stretches across numerous genres, and includes Brian Wilson; Savages; Beck; FKA (twigs); Sun Ra Arkestra; and Super Furry Animals. A one-day pass costs $65, and a three-day pass costs $165.


Photo from the Sons Of The Silent Age Facebook page.

Chicago Tribune rock critic Greg Kot’s extensive piece on tonight’s Sons Of The Silent Age David Bowie tribute show at Metro was informative and engaging; and the first I’ve heard that Sinead O’Connor will be involved. Former Bowie backup singer Ava Cherry will will also be on hand as Sons Of The Silent Age celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Bowie’s Station To Station by performing the entire album. Tickets are $21, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Cancer Research at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

The Neverly Brothers will be bringing their very fun musical history show to Durty Nellie’s in Palatine tomorrow night, March 5. The 1950s/‘60s cover band’s double CD A Magical History Tour Volume 1 and Volume 2 is available for sale at its gigs.

Tony Award nominee Mary Bridget Davies will be in the lead role when A Night With Janis Joplin comes to The Chicago Theatre this Sunday, March 6. The show is being described as “a musical journey celebrating Janis Joplin and her biggest musical influences.”

This is the last weekend to catch the Mary-Arrchie in action. After its current run of David Mamet's American Buffalo ends on Sunday, the critically acclaimed storefront theatre will cease to exist.

This is also the last weekend to check out The Hypocrites theater group’s staging of local actor Hans Fleischman’s inventive and critically acclaimed take on The Glass Menagerie at The Den Theatre.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Tie-Dyed Curtain Call

I’m having a hard time facing the reality that after seeing American Buffalo at Mary-Arrchie this weekend, I’ll never set foot inside that storefront theatre again. It’s closing after 30 years of offering cutting-edge productions, including the work of David Mamet, Sam Shepard, Harold Pinter, Tennessee Williams, Lanford Wilson, Bertolt Brecht, and Tracy Letts. When the building Mary-Arrchie had called home since its birth was recently marked to be demolished, Artistic Director Richard Cotovsky opted to pull the plug rather than search for another location.

Mary-Arrchie’s departure has drawn a fair amount of attention in the local media, and the choice of Mamet’s American Buffalo as a swan song (directed by troupe member Carlo Lorenzo Garcia) has resulted in mostly favorable reviews. 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman arranged to have the city place a street sign just outside the Mary-Arrchie Theatre in Cotovsky’s honor. Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins, the hippie-inspired three-day festival he’s staged every August since 1989, is a prime example of Cotovsky’s passion for uniting Chicago's theatre community.

When Famous In The Future performed at that inaugural Abbie Fest, it was only the third show our comedy group had done, and it was my first time being in front of a live audience. Later we heard through the grapevine that Cotovsky, who hosted the festival while channeling Abbie Hoffman, hadn’t been particularly (remotely?) impressed with our efforts. But I think he appreciated that my fellow founding member Frank Carr and I came to all the planning meetings, and hung around to watch the other acts perform. Cotovsky welcomed us back—year after year—and we continued to improve as writers and performers. I’ll always be grateful for that opportunity.

Plus, who could forget those great and gritty shows Mary-Arrchie stage over the years? Superior Donuts, Screwtape, Tracers, Mojo, Hot L Baltimore, Our Bad Magnet, The Birthday Party, Buried Child, Killers, Cowboy Mouth, 4-H Club, Bartleby The Scrivener, and Detective Story. Longtime troupe member Hans Fleischmann created an inventive and highly successful reinvention of The Glass Menagerie, and Cotovsky wrote his own play, Prescribed, But Not Refillable. Congratulations to Rich, Carlo, and Hans, and all the Mary-Arrchie troupe members on an incredible run. These guys will no doubt remain active in other theatres around town, but Chicago will never be the same without the Mary-Arrchie.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Paul Carrack - Soul Shadows

Paul Carrack’s gift for infusing rock songs with soulful vocals dates back to at least 1974, when he led the UK band Ace to the top of the charts with “How Long.” He was also the voice on the early Squeeze hit “Tempted,” fronted Mike And The Mechanics, and has toured with Eric Clapton. On his latest effort Soul Shadows, Carrack proves he’s still at the top of his game as he explores a variety of approaches.

Carrack wrote all but one of these songs, and plays a variety of instruments to back his singing. Orchestral arrangements swell up from time to time, but add too much sweetener to a few of the tracks. “Let Me Love Again,” “That's How I Feel,” and “Share Your Love With Me” are melodic but sound like they could have come from Paul McCartney’s Kisses On The Bottom standards album or one of Rod Stewart’s Great American Songbook efforts.

“Bet Your Life,” a somber tale of the toll gambling takes on a marriage (co-written with Squeeze founder Chris Difford) is much more intriguing. The authentic funk of “Late At Night” provides another highlight, while the defiant “Say What You Mean” builds an irresistible groove reminiscent of vintage Little Feat. “Sweet Soul Legacy,” a tribute to rhythm and blues legends, benefits from an energetic horn arrangement by Pee Wee Ellis. Much of Soul Shadows takes a celebratory attitude toward life, and that comes through especially on the festive blues rock of “Too Good To Be True.”
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