Friday, September 15, 2017


Photo from the Official Smthereens Facebook page.

A hearty welcome to all who have come to Chicago for Riot Fest this weekend. It’s probably the city’s last major outdoor rock festival of 2017, and one that still enjoys a good deal of cred among true indie rock fans. This year’s lineup includes New Order; X; The Cribs; Buzzcocks; The Regrettes; and The Orwells. You can find loads of information on the various acts performing in today’s Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, as well as in the Redeye and Reader free papers. Innerview magazine devoted an entire issue to Riot Fest, but there may not be any copies still around. And, as revealed in a article by Ed Blair in this week’s Reader, Riot Fest has its own online magazine. You’ll find the link at the top of the official website. 

On a related note, the Buzzcocks have an Official Riot Fest Late Night Show at The Cobra Lounge at 235 N. Ashland tomorrow night. Doors open at 10:00 p.m.; the music starts at 11:00.

EXPO Chicago opened at Navy Pier earlier this week and will run through Sunday. This is the sixth year for the international art event, and over 3,500 artists and 135 galleries will be involved. In addition to art and sculpture, there will panel discussions, films, and videos.

There will be a double dose of high-energy power pop at The Arcada in St. Charles tomorrow night when Cliff Johnson and The Raine open for The Smithereens. Johnson was the lead vocalist and driving force of Off Broadway, a Chicago-based band whose debut On remains a classic of the genre to this day. Off Broadway enjoyed several successful years on the club scene, but Johnson is now backed by The Raine, who also got their start in the 80s. I saw The Smithereens not too long ago in Schaumburg and they’re a top-notch live act. In addition to their own hits like “Blood And Roses” and “Behind The Wall Of Sleep,” they cover The Beatles and The Who. 

West Loop Art Fest is back for its third year but has a new location. It’s now on Fulton Street, from Morgan to Racine. Over 120 artists will be showcasing their work, and there will also be live entertainment and food trucks.

Tickets are now on sale for a concert by The Posies on January 31, 2018 at City Winery Chicago. In the less distant future, Fastball will be playing that same venue on October 8 of this year.

Congratulations to Park West on its 40th Anniversary. The Lincoln Park venue took out a back page ad for this week’s Reader, listing some of the artists it has hosted over the years, and it’s quite impressive. Ringo Starr And His All Starr Band; Adele; Talking Heads; R.E.M.; U2; Patti Smith; INXS; B.B.King; Prince; Carly Simon; Bob Dylan; Stray Cats; Mavis Staples; The B-52’s; The Jam; The Strokes; OMD; Tina Turner; Roy Orbison; Iggy Pop; Steve Winwood; Tom Waits; Liam Gallagher; Genesis; The Go-Go’s; The Police; Todd Rundgren; The Pretenders; The Psychedelic Furs; Frank Zappa; and Cheap Trick make up less than half of the list. Some first-rate acts I’ve seen at Park West that weren’t included in the ad are The Smithereens; Matthew Sweet, Fountains Of Wayne; Jon Auer; Graham Nash; Material Reissue; Let’s Active; and Aimee Mann.

Sons Of The Silent Age, a highly polished David Bowie tribute band that comprises veterans of the Chicago rock scene, has a gig coming next Friday, September 22 at Wire in Berwyn. New, a tribute a tribute act honoring the 1970s German electronic rock outfit Neu!, will also be on the bill.

Sunshine Boys, the recently formed trio of Freda Love Smith, Jacqueline Schimmel, and Dag Juhlin, will be performing at Daly Barn on Saturday, September 30 in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. Utah Carol will also be on the bill; music starts at 7:30. This is the first official headlining show for Sunshine Boys, although they did an impressive short set of politically charged, energetic tunes as part of the Power Pop Shoppe Showcase at Elbo Room a while back.

Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue has an eclectic four-act event coming up on October 7 with the sci-fi, high energy music of Tomorrow The Moon, the catchy, coed indie rock of The Handcuffs, the rockabilly sound of The Amazing Heeby Jeebies, and the hard rock/punk of Samson The Aviator. The show starts at 8:30 p.m.

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