Friday, October 21, 2016


Chrissie Hynde has gone back to releasing albums as The Pretenders again. Alone became available today in LP, CD, and digital formats. The 12-track effort is a mix of hard-edged and more intimate material, with Hynde’s vocals as evocative as ever. I’ll be looking to review this one in the near future.

Nightmare On Chicago Street, which organizers bill as “The Ultimate Halloween Experience,” returns to Elgin tomorrow night. The annual festival offers authentically staged crime scenes, roaming zombies, live entertainment, food and beverage vendors, and a costume contest hosted by TV personality Svengoolie. Two original comedy/horror films, created by David Metzger and Jeff Kelley, The Devil Cat and It Came From The Lab, will be screened at the Elgin Chamber of Commerce. See yesterday’s post for more information. Nightmare On Chicago Street runs from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. Admission is $15

The Smithereens will perform The Betty Babjak Memorial Concert, an all-ages show to honor guitarist-vocalist Jim Babjak’s late wife, next Saturday, October 29 at The Hungarian-American Citizens Club in Woodbridge, NJ. Original bassist Mike Mesaros will be performing with the band for the first time in 11 years, and Jim Babjak will reunite with his side project Buzzed Meg. Proceeds will benefit the Babjak Family and The Betty Babjak Memorial Fund to establish a scholarship for Rutgers students who have lost a parent to pancreatic cancer.

A list of nineteen 2017 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame nominees were announced earlier this week. Classic rock, funk, techno, vintage soul, folk, grunge, prog, rap, garage, new wave, disco, alternative, and British Invasion are all represented. My first choice is The Zombies, followed by The Cars. You could make a case that most of possible inductees were successful and had a noticeable influence on their chosen genres. The other acts are Bad Brains, Chaka Khan, Chic, Depeche Mode, Electric Light Orchestra, J. Geils Band, Jane's Addiction, Janet Jackson, Joan Baez, Joe Tex, Journey, Kraftwerk, MC5, Pearl Jam, Steppenwolf, Tupac Shakur, and Yes. Fans can vote for their top five choices on the official Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame site.

Thinking outside the box. There was an opening reception from 6:00 to 10 p.m. tonight for Project Onward’s Annual Cardboard Show. The exhibition, which is co-presented by The Birdhouse Museum of Bridgeport, features artwork created on cardboard by Project Onward artists and other artists from around the city. Project Onward is a nonprofit art studio and gallery for professional artists with mental or developmental disabilities. Half of the proceeds from each sale will benefit Project Onward. The gallery is located at 1200 W. 35 Street in Chicago.

Graham Nash has a successful new solo album out, and he’ll picking up some accolades for his photography. According to the online ABC Radio News, Nash will receive the Double Exposure Award at this year’s Lucie Awards in New York this Sunday, and next Friday, he’ll be inducted into the International Photography Hall Of Fame at a ceremony in St. Louis.

Flat Out Good. Members of the veteran Chicago-based band Flat Five will be discussing their debut It’s A World Of Love And Hope with host Richard Milne on this Sunday night’s edition of Local Anesthetic on WXRT. On last week’s show, Milne described the album as one of the best he’s heard all year. Rock critic Peter Margasak echoes that sentiment in a profile he did on Flat Five in this week’s edition of The Reader. The group’s breezy sound evoke Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66 at times, but from what I’ve read, there are other intriguing elements at work here as well.

Moods For Moderns on State Street. Elvis Costello will be in town next next Saturday, October 29 for a concert at the Chicago Theatre.

Theatre Nebula's production of The Rocky Horror Show continues this weekend at Cutting Hall in Palatine and wraps next Saturday, October 29. Elsewhere on the Rocky Horror scene, Reggie’s in the south Loop will offer a production of the show, with singer JC Brooks as Frank-N-Furter.

A new production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show starring Laverne Cox as Frank-N-Furter aired on the Fox channel last night drew mixed reviews in Chicago’s Tribune, Sun-Times, and Redeye newspapers. Critics praised Cox as an effervescent performer but felt she wasn’t right for the provocative role immortalized by Tim Curry.

That vagabond seasonal bash Halloweekend returns to The High-Hat Club on Irving Park next Friday and Saturday. A total of 11 acts are scheduled to offer tributes to famous rock and roll artists. Some of the fest’s best-known participants aren’t on board this year, but there are some long-time favorites like Ellis Clark, The Webstirs, and Androgynous Mustache involved. Local bands will be honoring The Psychedelic Furs, Mamas And Papas, Billy Squier, The Motels, and The Eagles on Friday; and Iggy Pop, Three Dog Night, Fleetwood Mac, The Lemonheads, Bow Wow Wow, and Gang Of Four on Saturday.

For those who live in England or might be traveling there in mid-December, a Psychedelic Christmas Experience! event awaits you at the Unit23 Live club. Invisible Opera Company Of Tibet and Honey Pot featuring ethereal vocalist Crystal Jacqueline will be performing, and radio personality Marrs Bonfire will serve as host. I reviewed a single by Crystal Jacqueline And The Honey Pot on the Fruits de Mer label back on February 18, 2014 and found it properly mindbending.

In other U.K. news, The Severed Limb announced on Facebook they’ll be releasing a single titled “Bela Lugosi” in the near future. The skiffle band’s song “The Severed Limb” is one of my Halloween favorites.

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