Friday, April 28, 2017


A hearty welcome to Aimee Mann, who is back in town for a show tomorrow night at Park West. She’ll no doubt be performing songs from Mental Illness, an acoustic album and her first solo effort in five years. Music critic Greg Kot has an extensive interview with Mann in today’s edition of the Chicago Tribune.

Yes, we’re going to a party, party. Paul McCartney will be celebrating my birthday on July 25 with a concert in the Chicago area. Not on my gazebo like I had hoped, but at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.

Other concert tickets that went on sale this week include The Church at City Winery Chicago on July 3 and 4; the Alejandro Escovedo Band at SPACE on June 11, Rasputina at Subterranean on August 10; and Riot Fest on September 15 through 17.

International Pop Overthrow wraps up its 2017 visit to Chicago tomorrow with an afternoon showcase and then one later in the evening. Michael Steven Cohen from The Abbeys has a solo show at 2:00 p.m., followed by Freetoed, The Pickpockets, The Vinyl Skyway, The Red Plastic Buddha, and The Jeremy Band. The Queue kicks off at the evening showcase at 8:00 p.m., followed by Too Much Saturn, Steve Ramone and The Pensioners, Private Instigators, and The Romeros. Note: there’s a TBA in the middle of the schedule, so there’s no telling who’ll show up there. Closing out IPO - Chicago has become a tradition for The Romeros, who bring a busload of faith, er, fans to the gig.

The 33rd Chicago Latino Film Festival continues its run through next Thursday, May 4.

Penthouse Sweets will be playing songs from their new album House Of The Penthouse Sweets when they perform tomorrow night at the LiveWire Club on Milwaukee Avenue with The Safes and Means Of Production.

There must be something about the combination of Graham Nash and The Old Town School Of Folk Music that Chicagoans find appealing. Nash quickly sold out shows there for July 29 and 30, and now has added a third gig at the venue.

Alt rock band whitewolfsonicprincess hosts the latest in its series of Rock And Roll Circus events at The Red Line Tap this Sunday from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Vocalist Carla Hayden and guitarist-vocalist James Moeller performed at Mary-Arrchie Theatre’s Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins festival for several years with their Black Forest Theatre group. They’re aiming for that same freewheeling Abbie Fest vibe this Sunday. KC Chronis, The Remember Knots, and The Rolling Clones are also on the bill.

Frank Carr, a founding member of the Famous In The Future comedy group (along with David Drazin, Lake Sirmon, and myself—full disclosure) is also hoping to keep the Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins spirit alive. He’s the driving force behind YippieFest, which is penciled in for the weekend of August 18–20 at Prop Thtr. Carr was the only individual other than Mary-Arrchie Artistic Director Rich Cotovsky to have performed at every Abbie Fest.

The Webstirs Rock IPO Tonight

Photo from The Webstirs’ Facebook page.

One of the benefits of going to International Pop Overthrow in any of the cities it visits is discovering new acts. There are also bands that over the years have become favorites. Unfortunately, this post is much later than it was intended to be, but if you live on the north side, you still have time to catch one of IPO - Chicago’s best acts at 11:00 p.m. tonight at The Red Line Tap.

The Webstirs' impeccable power pop instincts result in songs with clever lyrics about oddball characters and unusual situations. Their 2015 album Now You’ve Really Done It carried on that tradition with catchy and wry songs like “Saving The World” and “Farther When You Fall.” It came in at number four on the 2015 Broken Hearted Toy Favorite Releases list.

Rob Schulz, a singer-guitarist with a knack for positioning liberal sentiments within power pop arrangements, performs in the 9:30 p.m. slot, and his band will be followed by Weekend Vinyl, a power pop outfit that offers catchy songs filled with appealing arrangements and ringing guitars. Dad’s Magazine, the final act tonight, is sort of a local indie all-star group, with members who come from The Sun Sawed In 1/2, The Webstirs, and Swinger.

International Pop Overthrow has a afternoon showcase and an evening showcase at The Red Line Tap tomorrow, the final day of its 2017 visit to Chicago. See the official website for the full schedule and links to the acts involved.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Festivals On The Way

As noted by Jesi Roti in the Chicago Tribune earlier this week, two headline acts have been named for this year’s Taste Of Chicago. Ben Harper, whose trademark ability to blend elements of various genres into fetching indie rock songs like “Diamonds On The Inside” has brought him critical acclaim, and the quickly rising Chicago indie rock band Twin Peaks will be performing. The entire lineup will be announced on Tuesday, May 2. This week’s edition of Red Eye has the Chicago free paper’s annual massive listing of upcoming outdoor concerts, festivals, and art fairs. I always circle the events I want to go to, and then save the the schedule as an essential guide for the upcoming months.

One new festival that wasn’t included on the Red Eye list is the Kaleidoscope Eye Festival at the LiveWire lounge on September 8 and 9. For a hint of of what it will be like, drop by the Red Line Tap this Saturday. The Red Plastic Buddha is performing at 5:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon as part of International Pop Overthrow

The band has been on the front lines of Chicago’s psychedelic rock scene for years, and lead vocalist-bassist Tim Ferguson is one of the organizers of Kaleidoscope Eye, along with Gregory Curvey (that's his art at the top of this post) from the band The Luck Of Eden Hall, and photographer-journalist Lee Klawans. The Red Plastic Buddha’s last album, Songs For Mara, was an adventurous effort that came in at number four on the Broken Hearted Toy Favorite Releases of 2014.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

IPO’s Thursday Schedule

After tonight, there will still be three more days and four multi-act showcases to catch at The Red Line Tap as International Pop Overthrow continues its 2017 Chicago run. Thursday night’s lineup offers some familiar faces and sounds for local music fans. The Aaron Williams Band released its first album in 2008, and continues to play a mix of indie rock and pop. They’ll kick things off tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Boolean Knife specializes in postmodern rock and records for the Aquariphone record label.

The Spindles are a power pop act that includes guitarist-vocalist Jeff Janulis from The Abbeys. Their shows offer a mix of original tunes and cover versions that stretch back over the years. Expect harmonies from Janulis and bassist-vocalist Jerald Cross. The Spindles record for the Rubber Road label. The Red Wigglers seven-piece coed band has plenty of experience playing the Chicago area, and augments its indie rock sound with trombone, trumpet, and sax.

The Treeshakers will wrap things up with an 11:00 p.m. set. This quartet draws inspiration from fellow Chicago power pop bands Pezband, Cheap Trick, Shoes, and Material Issue, as well as British Invasion acts like The Beatles, The Hollies, The Yardbirds, and The Kinks. International Pop Overthrow continues Friday night with a six-band showcase, and there will be an afternoon and evening showcase on Saturday. See the official website for the full schedule and links to most of the acts performing.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Record Store Day Reflections

Adam Dausch Facebook photo of Phil Angotti delivering a batch of Kinks songs.

As someone who doesn’t drive, I’ve come to regard the Reckless Records on Madison as my go-to place for Record Store Day shopping. After an hour-long train ride (in the midst of sign-wielding protesters on their way to the science march, costumed superheroes off to the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, and Cubs fans) I arrived at the downtown Reckless Records 90 minutes before it was due to open.

Eventually, I came away with everything on my 10th Annual Record Store Day wish list except The Shelters’ “Really Wanted You” seven-inch single. My acquisitions: Epic Archives Vol. One double LP by Cheap Trick; “Want You Back” and “A Rose For Emily” singles by The Zombies; “All Day And All Of The Night” EP by The Kinks; “Strawberry Fields” single by The Beatles; the Tegan and Sara/The Regrettes “Back In Your Head” single; “Rocket Science” single by The Chills; and the Demos cassette by Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello.

Reckless Records once again ran a smooth operation, including a guy sent outside to prep the people in line and hand out free stuff. He’s been there on previous RSD occasions and is friendly and helpful. Unlike the Reckless locations on Broadway and Milwaukee Avenue, the downtown store isn’t big enough for in-store performances, but I’ve had good luck there getting the releases I want.

If Fezziwig from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol were to throw a Record Store Day party, it would look a lot what the owners of Laurie’s Planet Of Sound on Lincoln Avenue stage each year. Without the old school dancing, of course, but there’s live music, refreshments, and plenty of merriment. This year’s eclectic lineup of in-store performances began with Ted Wulfers, whose “The Cubs Won It All In 2016” single managed an Eddie Vedder style indie rock grit and garnered airplay in the Chicago area right after the World Series. Phil Angotti’s heartfelt solo rendition of the entire The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society would make any reasonable music fan want to buy the album, and he got some help from Sweet Figurines lead vocalist Kevin McComb on “Picture Book.”

Angotti’s set of wry Brit rock observations was followed by the homespun appeal of Sanctified Grumblers, who played a mix of standard and originals on washboard, tuba, steel guitar, and other Americana instruments. The Romeros, who’ll continue their long-standing tradition of closing out International Pop Overthrow - Chicago on Saturday, April 29, dropped by Laurie’s on Record Store Day to deliver some amped-up renditions of George Michael and Wham songs. I had to leave before Sweet Figurines went on, but I caught their rousing David Bowie tribute at Laurie’s Record Store Day event last year, and I’m assuming this year’s followed suit. Dust Bunnies wrapped up the party at 5:00 p.m.

In addition to the live music, it’s always fun to see the local musicians who drop by the Laurie’s Planet Of Sound RSD bash. This year, Eric Chial from Bon Mots and Penthouse Sweets was there, as were Holly Senchak Dausch and Adam Dausch from Metropolly, and Chloe F. Orwell from The Handcuffs. Romeros frontman Mike Vanderbilt was hanging out hours before his band’s show started, and I’m sure other musicians came and went as the festivities continued.

International Pop Overthrow Continues In Chicago

International Pop Overthrow rolls into the work week after kicking off its 2017 visit to Chicago with what appears to have been a successful weekend. Tonight’s five-band showcase at the Red Line Tap brings the fun and catchy England-to-America transplants The Unswept back for a performance at 10:15 p.m. If the band is selling any of its CDs, be sure to pick one up. Sam Vicari opens the show at 8:00 p.m., followed by Leisure McCorkle. Packy Lundholm performs at 9:30 p.m., and Reaction, a band that formed in the 1980s and recently reunited, is tonight’s headliner.

Tomorrow brings Cabin Essence, Mark Watson, Christopher Joseph Elam, and Blind Trust to the stage. Young Distractions, a trio that claims The Replacements, Husker Du, and The Ramones as influences, are tomorrow’s closer. On Wednesday, IPO vet and globe-trotting rock star Dave Rave performs, along with The Romeros frontman Mike Vanderbilt with his The Suburban Garage Sound. Collectors, another trustworthy IPO outfit, plays at 9:30 p.m., and the Tony Calderisi Band opens at 8:00 p.m. See the official International Pop Overthrow website for the full Chicago schedule through next Saturday night, along with links to most of the performers involved.

Friday, April 21, 2017


To paraphrase The Electric Prunes: Get me to the fest on time. (Yes, they had other great songs besides “I Had To Much To Dream Last Night.) Within the next few weeks, Chicago will experience C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo); the CIMMfest (Chicago International Movies and Music Festival) Spring Fling ThingInternational Pop Overthrow and Record Store Day, with its accompanying live shows. Plus The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism is out on Navy Pier through the end of July.

Riot Fest’s First Wave Lineup Announcement came out a few days ago. Nine Inch Nails, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Jawbreaker are the headline acts for September 15, 16, and 17 respectively, and other scheduled acts include The Cribs; The Buzzcocks; The Orwells; Paramore; Ministry; The Regrettes; Bad Brains; Dinosaur Jr.; Peaches; M.I.A.; The Mighty Mighty Bosstones; and Wu Tang Clan.

The Second Disc website has been working overtime with Record Store Day posts, but also recently reported on the upcoming release of two vintage EPs by The Paul Collins Beat. Long Long Gone and To Beat Or Not To Beat are coming out on Lollipop Records on April 28.

Graham Nash’s July 30 show at The Old Town School of Folk Music sold out immediately when it went on sale a few weeks back, so earlier this week, he added a concert there on July 29. That one has now sold out as well.

Ann Wilson from Heart has a solo tour coming underway, and her sister/bandmate Nancy has some things on her plate as well. Nancy has teamed up with vocalist Liv Warfield form Prince’s New Power Generations to form Roadcase Royale. The band’s first single, the women-empowering “Get Loud,” is now available on several digital outlets and the video can be seen on YouTube.

The 33rd Chicago Latino Film Festival opened yesterday and runs through May 4.

Kevin Lee And The Kings will be performing at the Breaking The Silence - A Benefit For Autism Awareness this Sunday, August 23, at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine. The event runs from noon to 8:00 p.m., and special VIP Floor Tables (as opposed to in the balcony) are still available for $200.

The 11th Annual Screen Test Student Fest takes place tonight and tomorrow at the Prairie Center For The Arts in Schaumburg. Presented by 3 Monkeys and Aardvark Studios and Tribeca Flashpoint College, the event will include 31 short films by students in grades five through eight, as well as by high school students around the world.

The Zombies, who are in the midst of a 50th Anniversary Odessey and Oracle Tour, have created a new animated video for the song “Care Of Cell 44,” which comes from that initially overlooked but now legendary album.

The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, Phil Angotti, and Sunshine Boys will be featured in a WNUR Power Pop Shoppe showcase being staged at The Elbo Room on Lincoln Avenue on May 19.

Penthouse Sweets will be playing songs from their new album In The House Of The Penthouse Sweets when they perform at the LiveWire Club on Milwaukee Avenue with The Safes and Means Of Production next Saturday, April 29.

Sopro Music’s 30th Annual Easter Parade Blues Revue takes place tomorrow night at Sullivan’s Night Club and Restaurant in Midlothian. Performers include The Chicago Horns, Debbie Seitz, Joey Drada, Doug Lee, and Billy King. There music starts at 9:00 p.m.

The Griffin Theatre’s production In To America, featuring stories of immigrants to America throughout the country’s history, wraps up its run at The Den Theatre this Sunday.

RSD - Come For The Vinyl, Stay For The Jams

As the 10th Annual Record Store Day unfolds tomorrow, some stores will be augmenting the vinyl-hunting experience with live performances by local bands. In the Chicago area, Laurie’s Planet Of Sound on Lincoln Avenue; Val’s Halla in Oak Park; Vintage Vinyl in Evanston; and the Reckless Records on Broadway and Milwaukee Avenue have entertainment scheduled. It’s worthing to see if your favorite record store has anything planned.

But first, a few Record Store Day Tips:

Check the official RSD website for the full list of limited-edition releases and create a handwritten or printed list. Based on my experience in Chicago, record store employees don’t want you to hand them your smartphone—they want an actual list. They also don’t have time for any customer dithering at the counter.

Get there early. These records are limited editions, and they’re likely to sell out quickly.

Dress appropriately for the weather. You might be waiting outside in line for an extended time.

And now, here are some of the live RSD shows going on tomorrow.

Reckless Records - 1379 N. Milwaukee Avenue

2:00 p.m. Magas

3:00 p.m. OHMME

4:30 p.m. Smoking Popes

Reckless Records - 3125 N. Broadway

2:00 p.m. CARPENTERSville

3:00 p.m. Tal Sounds

4:00 p.m. Poison Arrows

Laurie’s Planet Of Sound - 4639 N. Lincoln Avenue

12:00 p.m. Ted Wulfers (performing songs from his album The Cubs Won It All in 2016

12:40 p.m. Phil Angotti and Friends perform The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society

2:00 p.m. Sanctified Grumblers

3:00 p.m. The Romeros perform the music of George Michael

4:00 p.m. Sweet Figurines perform the music of David Bowie

5:00 p.m. Dust Bunnies

Vintage Vinyl - 925 Davis Street, Evanston

12:00 p.m. Acoustic set by The Luck Of Eden Hall

Val’s Halla - 239 Harrison Street Oak Park

11:00 a.m. Mike Nutt & Charlie Bredrup from Fletcher Rockwell

12:00 p.m. Bill Kavanagh & Friends

1:00 p.m. Dead Freddies perform songs by David Bowie

2:00 p.m. Ellis Clark & Ary Jeebie

3:00 p.m. The InBetween Days

4:00 p.m. Phil Angotti

5:00 p.m. Rachel Drew

Thursday, April 20, 2017

IPO - Chicago's Opening Weekend

International Pop Overthrow returns to Chicago tomorrow night to kick off nine consecutive days of power pop and indie rock showcases at the Red Line Tap. CFO/Founder David Bash has expanded his approach over the years to embrace several shades of those two genres, but his passion for presenting music with strong melodies remains the same. Friday night’s lineup features Jason Batchko; Gerald Dowd; The Diff; The Joy Poppers; Paul Coady and The Edsel Brothers; and Ravi/Lola.

The afternoon showcase on Saturday offers Black Jack; Mike Pecucci; Larry O. Dean; Coke Belda; and Rich Miller from Waiflike. The heart of Saturday night’s showcase is particularly impressive, with sets by Steve Dawson from Dolly Varden; Phil Angotti; and Ellis Clark and The Big Parade featuring Ary Jeebie. Along The Drive opens the evening at 8:00 p.m., followed by Aethereal. Rollo Time finishes up with a set at 11:45.

Sunday afternoon’s highlight is the Milwaukee-based power pop group Trolley, and the coed band The Artist Formally Known As Vince is always a lot of fun. Judah Michael; The Last Afternoons; and Co-Stanza are also part of the this showcase. Sunday night’s showcase closes with the The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, whose recently released Don’t Buy This Record is power pop delight. Douglas and Tucker kick things off Sunday night at 8:00 p.m.; followed by Lovejoy; Certain Stars; and Drew Neeley and The Heroes.

The entire IPO - Chicago 2017 schedule can be found on the official International Pop Overthrow website, with links to almost all the acts involved. Even if you can’t get to the Red Line Tap, check out those band links for Chicago, as well as the other cities on the IPO tour. It’s a great way to discover new local and international talent.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mothboxer - The Secret Art Of Saying Nothing

Mothboxer is one of those English pop bands like Squeeze or XTC with enough class to merit placing HMS—Her Majesty’s Songs—before its name. The Secret Art Of Saying Nothing is Mothboxer’s first release since Sand And The Rain was so well received back in 2014, and even the title exudes a wry sense of humor. It sports a heavier sound than in the past but not a bit of the style this band has exuded since its 2010 debut has been lost in the transformation.

“Don’t Forget To Breathe” is one of the tracks that packs a punch, with clever lyrics delivered via harmony vocals. “Rest My Mind” has energetic guitar playing woven throughout and “Get It Right,” a song about taking the time to enjoy life, moves to a steady beat. On the lighter side, the acoustic and philosophical “Within And Without” is more successful than the dramatic and less engaging “Look At The Sun.”

While the band’s mission to delve further into power pop is certainly evident, there are also enticing elements of prog rock involved here. “Right Time To Say Goodnight” evokes open spaces and the epic “Half Light,” with its instrumental passages, feels like vintage Pink Floyd. A lilting arrangement and ethereal harmonies turn “I Don’t Mind” into a thing of beauty; bringing yet another facet to this well-crafted collection.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mission Control - Exhibitionism, IPO Chicago, C2E2, CIMMfest, and RSD

Last Monday, I was strapped into a rocket ship ready to travel through space via the Mission To Mars ride at the EPCOT Center in Disney World. Now I’m back from vacation and getting a similar rush of adrenalin about the next two weeks in Chicago. Maybe with less simulated g-force. With so many entertainment events taking place in such a short time, a person would need a rocket to experience all of them.

The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism show opened this past Saturday on Navy Pier and runs through July 30. International Pop Overthrow Chicago kicks off at Red Line Tap on Thursday and runs through April 29. The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) runs Friday through Sunday at McCormick Place, and a new variation of the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest) will be at various venues around the north side this weekend. Record Store Day, with its one-day only vinyl releases and accompanying in-store performances takes place on Saturday.

Judging from the advance press in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, Exhibitionism is every bit as cool as one might expect from a massive display of Rolling Stones memorabilia. It features guitars, posters, film, fashion, personal notes, an art gallery and a recreation of the kitchen in the first London apartment shared by the band members. Exhibitionism has previously been staged by the Aussie-based iEC Exhibitions! in London and New York.

International Pop Overthrow returns for nine days of multi-band showcases (two each on Saturday, April 22; Sunday April 23; and Saturday April 29) and Founder/CFO David Bash has once again lined up some stellar power pop and indie rock acts. Steve Dawson; Phil Angotti; Ellis Clark And The Big Parade featuring Ary Jeebie; Trolley; The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club; The Unswept; The Webstirs; Pop Dollys; and The Red Plastic Buddha; and The Romeros are among the top acts, and you’re bound to discover a new favorite along the way. The IPO website has links to all the acts involved.

Even though the annual Chicago International Movies and Music Festival—a global selection of films; concerts; film/concert combos; and special presentations at venues around the city—has been moved to the fall, the very first CIMMfest Spring Fling Thing  takes place this coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the Logan Square neighborhood.

The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo returns to the South Building of McCormick Place this weekend with the promise of Bringing Comics, Cosplay, and Pop Culture To Chicago. It’s always a fun event to check out for the high tech promotions and exhibits, celebrity guests, and loads of people in sci-fi, superhero, ultra villain, monster, and sexy costumes. Rows of vendors offers comics, t-shirts, games, action figures, and all sorts of imaginative memorabilia. Local artists and writers get their shot at selling stuff too.

The 10th Annual Record Store Day offers another massive selection of genre-spanning, multi-generational, limited-edition releases. This year’s crop includes rare vinyl from Against Me!; Air; Andre 3000; The Beatles; Big Star; David Bowie; R.L. Burnside; The Carts; Johnny Cash; Cheap Trick; The Cure; The Doors; Steve Earle And The Dukes; Fleetwood Mac; Dexter Gordon Buddy Guy; Hawkwind; Jane’s Addiction; Elton John; Robert Johnson; The Kinks; Thelonious Monk; Pink Floyd, Iggy Pop; and several other artists. Check out the official site for the complete list. Also, watch for in-store performances. The Luck Of Eden Hall will be performing at Vintage Vinyl in Evanston; and there are full-day lineups of live music scheduled for Laurie’s Planet Of Sound on Lincoln Avenue and Val’s Halla in Oak Park. Reckless Records, Reggies usually schedule live live shows, so be sure to check out your favorite record store to see if anything’s scheduled.

Friday, April 14, 2017


A hearty welcome to The Zombies, who are wrapping up a two-day visit to Thalia Hall in Chicago tonight, as part of their Odyssey and Oracle 50th Anniversary Tour. I wasn’t able to make it out this time, but I did catch a very good Zombies show at The Arcada in St. Charles last year. The Zombies will have two seven-inch singles—“I Want You Back 1965 and 2015” and “A Rose For Emily”/“This Will Be Our Year”—available next Saturday as part of the 10th Annual Record Store Day.

Tickets went on sale today for Evan Dando at Lincoln Hall on June 20, the Graham Parker Duo at City Winery on July 12, and Michele Shocked’s June 27, July 27, and August 25 gigs at City Winery.

Gee, but it’s great to be back home. Usually when I only manage two posts in a week it’s due to a heavy work load. But this time, it’s because I made like Dada and went to Disneyland. My wife Pam and I also checked out both Universal parks while in Orlando, FL and had a great time. There’s a record store called Rock ‘N’ Roll Heaven in Orlando that’s definitely worth a visit for its extensive selection of vinyl, CDs, vintage magazines, t-shirts and assorted memorabilia. The staff is fun, very cool, and willing to help avid fans of The Hollies, and other artists.

This is also the place to pick up a copy of Orlando Weekly, the city’s performing arts/political views (very much like the Chicago Reader) free paper. The Orlando Hard Rock CafĂ© has upcoming gigs by Steve Winwood and Lilly Wood on May 6, and a double bill of Blondie and Garbage on August 9. Orlando’s International Fringe Theatre Festival runs May 16 – 29, and judging from the 130–page full-color brochure, it’s a pretty elaborate event.

Speaking of Blondie, the iconic new wave band invited some intriguing guests to help record its latest album Pollinator, according to a story in Mojo magazine. Writer Pat Gilbert notes that Johnny Marr helped write the song “Monster,” and other guests included Sia, Charlie SCX, and Nick Valensi from The Strokes.

Lead vocalist-guitarist Katrina Leskanich of Katrina And The Waves is currently touring and has a new 18-track album titled The Very Best Of Katrina coming out that will feature live versions of the band’s hits and various exclusives. Check out the Katrina of The Waves Facebook page for more details.

The 33rd Chicago Latino Film Festival kicks of next Thursday, April 20 and runs through May 4.

Kevin Lee And The Kings will be performing at the Breaking The Silence - A Benefit For Autism Awareness next Sunday, August 23, at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine. The event runs from noon to 8:00 p.m., and special VIP Floor Tables (as opposed to in the balcony) are still available for $200.

The 11th Annual Screen Test Student Fest takes place next Friday and Saturday at the Prairie Center For The Arts in Schaumburg. Presented by 3 Monkeys and Aardvark Studios and Tribeca Flashpoint College, the event will include 31 short films by students in grades five through eight, as well as by high school students from around the world.

Soprp Music’s 30th Annual Easter Parade Blues Revue takes place next Saturday, April 22 at Sullivan’s Night Club and Restaurant in Midlothian. Performers include The Chicago Horns, Debbie Seitz, Joey Drada, Doug Lee, and Billy King. There music starts at 9:00 p.m.

The Griffin Theatre’s production In To America, featuring stories of immigrants to America throughout the country’s history, continues at The Den Theatre through next Sunday, April 23.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

RSD - Singles Going Steady

Seven-inch singles with picture sleeves are long-time favorites among vinyl aficionados so it’s not surprising to find another bumper crop among this year’s Record Store Day releases. Generally, they’re the lowest-priced RSD items, so it’s possible to pick up at least a handful of 45s. The limited-edition, one-day availability adds to their allure. Here are a few of the more interesting choices. Be sure to check the official Record Store Day website for a full description of each of these offerings.

The Beatles “Strawberry Fields”/“Penny Lane”

Blondie “ Long Time”/“The Breaks” The first is from their upcoming album Polinator, the second side is an RSD exclusive.

The Chills “Rocket Science”/“Lost In Space” Two songs that follow on the heels of the band’s politically charged and impossibly melodic Silver Bullets album.

The Kinks
“All Day And All Of The Night”/“Long Tall Sally”/I’m A Lover Not A Fighter” French EP, originally released in 1964.

The Shelters
“Really Wanted You”/“So Get Out” Two vintage cover from this amazing L.A. band; the first originally done by Emmitt Rhodes and the second by The Surfaris.

Tegan And Sara/The Regrettes “Back In Your Head” Another entry from the Side By Side series, in which two bands perform different versions of the same song. This time, it’s the popular indie rock duo and the quickly rising L.A. punk band.

Peter Schilling - “Major Tom” picture disc of his one and only major hit.

The Zombies “I Want You Back” 1965 and 2015 The original version and a much newer one recorded decades later.

The Zombies “A Rose For Emily”/“This Will Be Our Year” Two songs from the iconic British band’s 1967 Odessey And Oracle album. The first is the original version, but the second in a recently discovered version with a different arrangement.

Record Store Day is April 22.

Friday, April 7, 2017


CHIRP Radio and Vintage Garage will be sharing space tomorrow when the 15th Annual CHIRP Record Fair And Other Delights takes place tomorrow at the Local 130 Plumbers Union Hall at 1340 W. Washington in Chicago. Vintage Garage will set up shop on the first floor, with 25 vendors offering vintage decor and fashion items. CHIRP will fill the the second floor with vinyl, CDs, videos, and other music memorabilia for sale. It’s also a great place to see local musicians wandering the aisles, looking for rarities. Admission from 10:AM to 6:00 PM is $7; early admission from 8:00 to 10:00 AM costs $25, with readmission allowed all day.

Lovin’ Spoonful founding member and solo artist John Sebastian will be at SPACE in Evanston this Sunday night.

Richard Thompson has two shows at The Old Town School of Folk Music this Sunday; an all request show at 4:00 p.m. and his regular show at 8:00 p.

An Evening With Graham Nash at The Old Town School Of Folk Music on July 30 sold out immediately this morning. Here’s hoping he adds another show because I wasn’t able to get a ticket. In other Nash news, his Facebook page states that he’s now open to patching things up estranged pal David Crosby. The current political climate in the USA is said to be a factor in his change of heart.

Other concerts that went on sale today include NRBQ at The Hideout on May 26 and 27; Feist at The Vic on June 14; Air at the Auditorium Theatre on June 20; Drive-By Truckers at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on June 20; and The Alarm at City Winery on August 28.

Imelda May has a gig at Park West on June 30, and according to writer Tom Lanham’s article in the issue No. 141 of Magnet magazine, the Irish singer explores some new territory on her upcoming album Life, Love, Flesh, Blood.

Tellin’ Tales Theatre wraps up its latest production, Metamorphosisthis this weekend at the Prop Thtr on Chicago’s north side. James Sweeney from Live Lit will be joining in, along with regular members Tekki Lomnicki, Steve Glickman, and Judi Lee Goshen.

The Griffin Theatre’s In To America, a new production that features stories of immigrant to America throughout the country’s history, continues at The Den Theatre through April 23. Tickets are $36
Los Angeles-based band The Shelters, whose self-titled debut was one of the very best albums of 2016, will be at Beat Kitchen next Wednesday, April12.

The Zombies bring their Odyssey and Oracle 50th Anniversary Tour to Thalia Hall on Thursday and Friday.

The Kaleidoscope Eye psychedelic festival coming to the LiveWire Lounge in Chicago this September now has an official Facebook page. Check it out for updates, and also to provide feedback to organizers Tim Ferguson of The Red Plastic Buddha, Gregory Curvey The Luck Of Eden Hall, and Lee Klawans.

Exhibitionism, the massive, multi-media The Rolling Stones exhibit comes to Navy Pier next Saturday, April 15and will run through through July 30.

The Penthouse Sweets, a band who’s made some memorable appearances at The Abbey Pub and other venues around Chicago since 2002, have a new album titled In The House Of The Penthouse Sweets coming out at the end of this month. Band member Lou Hallwas helped out Material Reissue on keyboards during a recent concert at Metro.

In other local releases news, new albums are coming John San Juan from the psychedelic band The Hushdrops; Christopher David from Magatha Trysty, and singer-guitarist Phil Angotti.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Smithereens Return To The Chicago Area

Photo by Cat Lynn from The Smithereens Facebook page.

The Smithereens’ concert this past Saturday night at the Schaumburg Prairie Center For The Arts was noticeably different from their show at City Winery Chicago last September. Back in 2016, the New Jersey-based band was marking the 30th anniversary of its stellar debut effort Especially For You. With that celebration finished and the dawn of a new year, The Smithereens have set out with a different playlist. The result was another energetic and well-crafted performance of catchy power pop songs, along with a few covers of The Beatles and The Who.

At one point, lead vocalist Pat DiNizio thanked the audience members for allowing his band to delve deeper into its catalogue. I’ve been to several Smithereens shows over the years, but I don’t recall seeing them do “One Look At You,” “If I Never Get Back Home,” “The War For Mind,” or “Life Is So Beautiful.” Even the choice of Beatles covers—“Please Please Me” and “It’s Only Love”—were different this time out. In addition to being a first-rate vocalist, DiNizio always serves up a number of bitingly funny comments and anecdotes.

Elsewhere, the songs that have become milestones in The Smithereens’ live shows were just as vital as ever. Even though Especialy For You wasn’t front and center, DiNizio, guitarist Jim Babjak, drummer Dennis Diken, and bassist Severo Jornncion tapped into it for rousing versions of “Behind The Wall Of Sleep,” “Only A Memory,” and “Blood And Roses.” There was also the touching noir of “In A Lonely Place,” originally a duet for DiNizio and Suzanne Vega. “House We Used To Live In,” with its exuberant call-and-response vocals from all four band members, segued into the instrumental “Sparks” from The Who’s rock opera Tommy. The Smithereens returned to The Who for “Behind Blue Eyes” as well as Free’s “All Right Now,” for a rousing finale that had everyone in the theater up on their feet. 
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