Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Peek In Santa’s Bag - Record Store Day List Launch

The countdown feature on the official Record Store Day website shows there are 43 days until RSD 2019 takes place. But as of today, the list of one-day only vinyl treasures that will be available on April 13 is available to view or download. As usual, the selection sweeps across multiple genres, from Disney Songs The Satchmo Way by Louis Armstrong to Live At The Palladium by The Ramones. You’ll find new songs, reissues, and oddball collaborations on various size records in the jazz, blues, classic rock, folk, punk, and soul categories.

Over in the U.K., they give the Record Store Day List Launch a proper celebration, with several stores offering live band performances, DJs and refreshments throughout today. Their list varies from the American one, and in some ways, seems more interesting. I haven’t seen any mention of List Launch bashes stateside, but there’s sure to be plenty on the actual Record Store Day. Be on the lookout for any announcements from your local store and your favorite bands. In the meantime, you can view the upcoming releases on the RSD site and figure out which ones you’ll be waiting in line for come April 13.

Monday, February 25, 2019


In the famous words of Johnny Carson, “I did not know that!” Part I. George Harrison and Chicago Cubs Hall Of Fame third baseman Ron Santo were both born on this day. Somewhere right now, they’re playing catch while singing Beatles songs. (The ones George wrote.)

Congratulations to Ellis Clark, Ary Paloma Jeebie, and the Martyrs’ rock venue on successfully staging their third annual George Harrison Birthday Tribute. A number of acts performed George songs, ranging from “Don’t Bother Me,” the very first one for he wrote for The Beatles to a track from his last album Brainwashed. I had to catch a bus and a train back to Palatine so I couldn’t stay for the entire celebration, but I did enjoy three hours of George music.

EXPO ’76, one of the most unpredictable and fun cover bands you’ll ever see, will close out this challenging month of February this Thursday night with a show at the SideBar at the FitzGerald’s in Berwyn.

The Lorrie Kountz Band will be performing at Mac’s On Slade in Palatine this Wednesday night. Kountz first arrived on the Chicago club scene in the late 1970s as the lead guitarist for the hard rock band Bitch and went on to perform with Surrendur Dorothi and Rash. The four-piece Beatles tribute band Liverpool Acoustic will be performing on the following night at Mac’s.

The Chicago Feminist Film Festival runs this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, at Film Row Cinema on the 8thfloor at 1104 S. Wabash Avenue.

New Zealand band The Chills will be performing heavenly pop hits at The Empty Bottle this Friday night.

In the famous words of Johnny Carson, “I did not know that!” Part II. I just found out via a phone conversation with my younger brother that his son/my nephew Joe Flamm created the menu for this year’s official Grammy Awards after-party. US Magazine’s online site described the event’s theme as, “a French-inspired modern masquerade ball [featuring] an exciting menu by Joe Flamm, Executive Chef of Chicago’s Michelin-starred Spiaggia and Café Spiaggia, of four Renaissance-inspired food stations including appetizers, entrees and desserts.”

Friday, February 22, 2019


George Harrison’s birthday is Monday, February 25 but there will celebrations in the late Beatle’s honor over this weekend. WXRT DJ Terri Hemmert’s Breakfast With The Beatles program this Sunday morning will have a George theme, so look for her and correspondent Professor Moptop to serve up his best songs as well as some rarities and fun trivia.

My Sweet George, the George Harrison Birthday Tribute Concert hosted by local musician Ellis Clark each year, returns to Martyrs’ tomorrow night. Clark, a founding member of Epicycle and Social Act, always brings together some of the city’s best acts, and serves as Master Of Ceremonies. Ary Paloma Jeebie from the garage/rockabilly band Amazing Heeby Jeebies will once again be his co-host.

Scheduled performers include Ken Mottet; Clar Monaco/Sandalwood Sitar; Constantine; Greg Jackson Combs; Phoenix; Frankie B; The Unswept; Gerald McClendan; Robin and Jenny Bieneman; The Handcuffs; Gunner Cleemann; Tom Linsk; Southside Exiles; The Fluffers; The Beyond; and Scott Williams. There’s a genuine atmosphere of peace and harmony at this fest that George himself would (does?) love. Martyrs’ is located at 3855 N. Lincoln Avenue.

Local music fans will have to make a tough choice tomorrow night because there’s also a show featuring the original lineup of legendary power pop band Off Broadway at Reggie’s Rock Club. Cliff Johnson and his mates will celebrating the 40th Anniversary of their debut album On. Singer-guitarist Phil Angotti, another veteran of Chicago’s power pop elite and founding member of The Idea, and The Evictions are also on the bill. Reggie’s Rock Club is located on State Street just south of downtown.

Out on the West Coast, The Wild Honey Orchestra, comprised of all-star musicians, will recreate The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society album at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. The Three O’Clock; Dennis Diken from The Smithereens; Peter Holsaple and Chris Stamey from The dB’s; Jason Falkner; Scott MCaughey from from Minus 5; Clem Burke from Blondie; Elliot Easton from The Cars; Mike Mills from R.E.M. and Jody Stephens from Big Star are among the numerous participants. The event is being organized by the Wild Honey Foundation, and once again, proceeds will go towards the Autism Think Tank. Past Wild Honey events have honored The Beatles, Buffalo Springfield, Big Star, and The Hollies.

Kevin Lee and The Kings, a veteran power pop band that fills its catchy songs with a lot of guitar firepower, has a gig tomorrow night at the Chicago Loop bar in Streamwood.

Tickets went on sale today for Johnny Marr at The Vic on on May 13; Bruce Cockburn at The Old Town School Of Folk Music on September 27 and 28; Al Green at the Chicago Theatre on May 7; and John Mayall at City Winery Chicago on August 1

A lot of us Paisley Underground fans bought the 3X4 vinyl album featuring The Bangles, The Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, and The Three O’Clock on Black Friday Record Store Day last year, but now it’s officially available on CD and for streaming. I highly recommend it.

The Chicago Film Society will co-present with CHIRP Radio The Ramones musical comedy flick Rock ‘N’ Roll High School  this Monday evening at The Music Box Theatre on Southport. Showtime is 7:00 p.m.

The Chills will be performing at The Empty Bottle next Wednesday, February 27 as part of rare U.S. tour. The New Zealand band found worldwide success with “Heavenly Pop Hit” back in the 1980s, but with Martin Phillipps still at the helm, continues to record engaging albums like the recently released Snow Bound and their politically charged 2016 effort Silver Bullets.

The Chicago Feminist Film Festival runs next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, at Film Row Cinema on the 8th floor at 1104 S. Wabash Avenue.

The Chicago Irish Film Festival will mark its 20th anniversary of “Celebraring Films From The Land Of Storytelling” when it runs Friday through Sunday next week. Films will be screened at Theater on the Lake, The Logan Theatre, and Gallery Theatre.

Reason number 4,387 why I’d love to visit England again: There a venue called Southsea’s Pie and Vinyl Café that’s sponsoring a Record Store Day Official List Launch on February 28 and March 1. There will be DJs, a live performance by the band Barbudo, and free cider. They have a great slogan as well: Record stores are for life, not just a day so come and visit us every week and prove the physical experience is alive and kicking!

Matt Smith fans will get a chance to see the Doctor Who and The Crown star as they never have before when director Ondi Timoner’s 2018 film Mapplethorpe opens its first Chicago run at the Gene Siskel Film Center from next Friday, March 1. The Gene Siskel Film Center describes Mapplethorpe as a “fictionalized biopic” that “benefits from the full authorization of the artist’s estate.” It runs through March 7.

Local bands Sonia Dada; The Way Moves; Nicholas Tremulis and The Prodical 9; and Dick Holiday and The Bamboo Gang join WXRT air personality Lin Brehmer for Kocour Fest – A Celebration of the Life of Steve Kocour on March at Metro. Kocour was a highly regarded and popular sound/lighting expert and teacher who worked with several bans in the Chicago area.

International Pop Overthrow hasn’t announced the schedule for this year’s Chicago edition, but a few local bands are promoting their IPO gigs already. Thrift Store Halo and The Collectors will be performing on April 19. Note: this year’s IPO Chicago is being held at the Live Wire venue on Milwaukee Avenue.

Chicago radio station WXRT’s Friday Feature this week was prog rock, and morning DJ Lin Brehmer kicked things off by playing “In The Beginning” and “Lovely To See You” from The Moody Blues album On The Threshold Of A Dream. I haven’t heard those songs in ages (I used to own the album) but they still rock.

The English indie/vinyl-only label Fruits de Mer specializes in prog and psychedelic rock, and has just announced its release of three new double LPs. Moose Goose creates guitar-driven instrumentals on its FdM debut Source Code; 16th Dream Of Dr. Sardonicus Live offers live performances of various prog rocks acts; and Astralasia finds Marc Swordfish remixing tracks from bands he’s worked with throughout his career.

Chris O’Dowd, who was funny in Juliet, Naked, Pirate Radio, and pretty much everything he’s been in, will star in a new sitcom titled State Of The Union on Sundance TV this spring.

The Weeklings, a band that has released two albums of obscure Beatles songs and similar-sounding originals, recently came up with a great idea. They joined forces with Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits to record a new version of The Easybeats’ garage rock classic “Friday On My Mind.” It’s available on Amazon, Spotify, and iTunes.

Chicago-based, hard-edged power pop band Go Time! just released a 19-track new album titled Midway. Lead vocalist Scott Niekelski has also been working as a solo act in Chicago area venues. He’ll be performing an acoustic show with Patrick Potts from The Drysdales at District Kitchen and Tap in Oak Park tomorrow from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Remembering Peter Tork

I was sad to hear the news that Peter Tork from The Monkees has died. In a post here last week, I wished him a Happy Birthday and shared a link to a friend’s story about how nice he was to her during a photo op at Wizard World Comic Con in Chicago. When I saw The Monkees perform at the Chicago Theatre in 2012, Tork frequently addressed the audience in a genuinely fun, friendly manner. It was a natural progression from the The Monkees sitcom persona that made him so popular in the 1960s. Rock In Paradise, Mr. Tork.

Here’s a review of that concert that I wrote for the Illinois Entertainer.

One of the first of many nostalgic images that flashed across a big screen at the Chicago Theatre during the sold-out performance by The Monkees last Friday night showed the band decked out in top hats and tails. It drew a huge round of applause and foreshadowed an evening of good-time, almost old-fashioned entertainment. Original members Michael Nesmith, Mickey Dolenz, and Peter Tork, backed by a seven-piece band, journeyed deep into an eclectic catalog of mid-1960’s material. Anyone who came with only a knowledge of the group’s biggest hits was likely left feeling stunned. But in a good way.

Still dismissed in some circles as actors who pretended to be musicians on a sit-com, The Monkees started writing their own material while the TV series was on the air but didn’t hit their creative stride until LPs like Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. The current 12-date tour, which reportedly was already being planned before the death of Davy Jones, gives the surviving members an opportunity to showcase just how inventive and talented The Monkees can be. It helps that all three have vibrant voices, and they pretty much play the same quirky roles that made their TV show an instant success in 1966. Dolenz and Tork exude a childlike energy while the more reserved Nesmith prefers a droll approach.

Audience members at the Chicago Theatre could be forgiven for casting a wary eye on Nesmith, who has always seemed to be the most reluctant Monkee to participate in reunions. He has occasionally performed with his mates over the years, but this is his first actual tour with them in quite some time. Fortunately, he seemed in good spirits, even during some technical difficulty with his guitar. There was a good chemistry among the three stars, starting with the opening number, “Last Train To Clarksville.” The band immediately switched to the more obscure LP tracks, “Papa Gene’s Blues,” a country-flavored song that featured Nesmith on lead vocals; and “Your Auntie Grizelda,” which found Tork delivering the silly lyrics while strutting around like a Broadway performer.

From then on, it was an almost equal mix of hits like “She,” “I’m A Believer,” and “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” with lesser known fare like “Sweet Young Thing” and “You Just May Be The One.” Dolenz was particularly impressive on the Gospel-flavored workout, “Goin’ Down” and very British sounding rave-up, “Randy Scouse Git.” On several occasions, the live performance was augmented by eye-popping footage on the big screen, particularly during psychedelic selections like “Porpoise Song” and “Can You Dig It” from the band’s 1968 avant garde movie, Head.

The Nesmith-penned “Daily Nightly” from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. (believed to be the first rock song to feature a Moog synthesizer) showed these guys haven’t lost their touch for clowning around. Dolenz introduced it as a song, “That has never been performed before . . . and rightfully so” while adding that the lyrics were completely incomprehensible. Nesmith explained Moog synthesizers were too expensive and cumbersome to take on tour, and then vocally tried to recreate the instrument’s unique sounds. Dolenz, who was singing lead, was barely able to keep from laughing.

There were well-crafted video interludes honoring Davy Jones at various times, but the most touching tribute came toward the end of the concert, when the audience was invited to provide the vocals for “Daydream Believer” and overwhelmingly obliged. It proved to be the defining moment on an evening when The Monkees had been able to reconnect with some of their most loyal fans.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Back-To-Back Brit Bands In Chicago

Procol Harum arrives in Chicago at a time when relentless snowfall has given us a bit more than a “Whiter Shade Of Pale.” Their concert tomorrow at City Winery will no doubt include that magnificent Top 40 hit, along with “Shine On Brightly,” “Homburg” and “A Salty Dog.”
Vocalist Gary Brooker, whose soulful delivery of those cryptic “Whiter Shade Of Pale” lyrics first brought the band international attention in 1967, is still onboard, although other members have come and gone over the years. Procol Harum released it most recent album, Novum, in 2017.

The British Invasion continues on Thursday night when The Kooks perform at The Riviera Theatre. The group’s latest album Let’s Go Sunshine finds them sounding more like the working class lads who first gave us engaging tunes like “She Moves In Her Own Way.” Their previous effort, Listen, dabbled in hip hop and techno with mixed results. Sunshine will give them plenty of good material to showcase, including “Pamela,” “All The Time,” and “Believe.”

Monday, February 18, 2019

Mod Hippie - Wannabe Nobody

Mod Hippie’s latest album Wannabe Nobody is similar to Sonic Assault, the Jonny Weathers With Paul Cook EP that also came out last year. Cook was the drummer for The Sex Pistols, and Mod Hippie’s lineup includes D.J. Bonebrake, who still drums for X. Both releases create a gritty, off-the-beaten-path ambience via sparse arrangements and intriguing lyrics.

The epic “Saturday Show” on Wannabe Nobody compares a veteran band on tour to a weekly cartoon that’s lost its audience. “The older kids no longer want to hear,” vocalist and chief songwriter Doug McGuire explains over a driving beat. The power behind behind the glam rock fun of “And Everyone The Fashion (So Sorry)” comes from Jason Berk, Mike Schnee, David Marks, and Adam Marsland all playing electric guitars, and Berk’s slide guitar adds a country and western feel to the down-and-out ballad “You Know.”

It’s hard to tell if “Lux” is paying tribute to Cramps singer Lux Interior or mocking him, but either way, the twangy guitar arrangement is a blast. It follows directly after a catchy rendition of Paul Westerberg’s satirical “Johnny’s Gonna Die” that features McGuire and backing vocalist Teresa Cowles. Bonebrake sets the pace for the garage and psychedelic rock of “We Leave It All Behind” and the Schnee-penned “Cricket LaRue” mixes T-Rex with silly lines like, “After party, zing zang, everything, the whole shebang.” Shebang, indeed.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Saturday Slumgullion

The Bangles will headline the Like Totally Music Festival On The Beach concert at Huntington State Beach in Southern California on May 11. Public Image LTD; ABC; Kim Wilde; The Romantics; The Smithereens; Animotion; The Smithereens; B Movie; and Greg Kihn are also on the bill. Despite the retro name, most of these acts, especially The Bangles, The Smithereens, and The Romantics, are still going strong.

The critically acclaimed Chicago-based power pop band Frisbie will join Mike and Eric from The Bon Mots for a double bill tomorrow night, Sunday, February 17 at Montrose Saloon. The music starts at 8:00 p.m.

If you missed Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour at the Allstate Arena this past Friday you can still check out the Burn Down The Mission: Songs Of Elton John 1969 – 1975 show at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow at SPACE in Evanston. Alton Smith, Hohn Abbey, Debbie Kaczynski, Peter Manis, Richard Pettengill and Tommi Zender will be the musicians involved with this tribute.

Tickets are now on sale for Beck, Cage The Elephant, and Spoon at Huntington Bank Pavilion on July 31; Andrew Bird at Green Mill on April 2 and 3; Dream Syndicate at Hideout on May 31 and June 1; Fab Faux at Park West on May 10; Heart and Sheryl Crow at Hollywood Casino Amphitheater on July 7; Rodrigo Y Gabriela at Chicago Theatre on May 24; and John Sebastian at City Winery on July 8.

The Chicago Auto Show, billed as the nation’s largest auto show, finishes its 2019 run at McCormick Place this Monday, February 18. In addition to all the cars on display, there will be special events and guests, including local media and sports celebrities.

The Symphony Center Presents Jazz series will offer Jazz In The Key Of Ellison, a multimedia celebration of novelist Ralph Ellison at 8:00 p.m. next Friday, February 22. Roxane Gay will serve as narrator and host, and there will be performances by Will Downing, Nona Hendryx, Quiana Lynell, Nicholas Payton and The Andy Farber Jazz Orchestra. The Symphony Center is located at 220 S. Michigan Avenue.

Procol Harum will be at City Winery Chicago next Wednesday, February 20. The Kooks, whose latest album Let’s Go Sunshine finds them back in top form again, will be performing at The Riviera Theatre next Thursday, February 21. On the next night, Gin Blossoms will be at House Of Blues; and the Bowie Celebration - The David Bowie Alumni Tour hits The Vic.

Chicago’s hard-driving and sharp-tongued power pop band Van Go will be performing songs from their impressive latest album Everyone Loves You When You’re Gone on Saturday March 2 at Gallery Cabaret. Red Wigglers are also on the bill.

A black dress Marilyn Monroe wore at a 1954 press conference will be going up for auction on March 30. Don’t be surprised if you see Famous In The Future performer/writer/Marilyn Monroe fanatic Desiree Burcum wearing it on opening night at this year’s YippieFest in August. Famous In The Future will once again be hosting the three-day festival of theatre, comedy, and music.

The Impostors Theatre Company’s new show Caged - An Allegory at the Pentagon Theater opened this past Friday at Collaboration Studio. Written and directed by Stefan Roseen, the play mixes comedy and horror while exploring questions of identity and the ethics of art.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Happy Birthday To Peter And A Few Other Thoughts

Happy Birthday to Peter Tork! I still remember the great story a friend told me about how nice he was when she paid for a photo op with him at a Wizard World Comic Con in Chicago in 2011. And of course, there are all those cool Monkees songs and their fun TV show. Hope he had a blast celebrating today.

The Chicago Auto Show, billed as the country’s largest auto show, opened last Saturday at McCormick Place and runs through Monday, February 18. In addition to all the cars on display, there will be special events and guests, including local media and sports celebrities. A handful of radio stations will be broadcasting live from the Auto Show. A number of years back, Cheap Trick had a gig at there, but the closest thing I see for 2019 is a pair of School Of Rock concerts next Monday.

The Symphony Center Presents Jazz series will offer Jazz In The Key Of Ellison, a multimedia celebration of novelist Ralph Ellison at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, February 22. Author Roxane Gay will serve as narrator and host, and there will be performances by Will Downing, Nona Hendryx, Quiana Lynell, Nicholas Payton and The Andy Farber Jazz Orchestra. The Symphony Center is located at 220 S. Michigan Avenue.

If you live in the Chicago area, Metra wants to reward you for surviving the recent polar vortex by letting you ride free on its trains this weekend. That’s nice for people who would normally drive to some entertainment venue. But it does nothing for Metra’s biggest supporters—the monthly pass holders who endured delays, unpredictable schedules, and the occasional surly conductor who thought passengers were somehow at fault for the inclement weather. In a better world, Metra would give every monthly pass holder an Apple iPod nano 7th Generation to listen to on our ride each day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Pearl Jam has been chosen as the this year’s Record Store Day Ambassador, an honor that has gone to St. Vincent, David Grohl, Iggy Pop, and other cutting-edge acts in the past. RSD arrives on April 13, with another wide-ranging selection of one-day-only vinyl releases.

Congratulations to director Michael Glover Smith on the successful run of his latest film Rendezvous In Chicago, at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Last Friday’s night’s screening sold out, and when I went on Saturday, it was pretty much the same deal. The 69-minute Rendezvous In Chicago is a comic and easygoing slice of life divided into three separate tales involving relationships. There will be one more screening tomorrow (Wednesday) evening featuring a discussion with Smith afterward.

The Go-Go’s will be the subject of a full-length documentary scheduled to air later this year on Showtime. An extensive press release shown on the band’s Facebook page and across social media describes director Alison Ellwood’s film as a “candid archive-rich biography.” I bought a Stiff Records import single of “We Got The Beat” (probably at Wax Trax! on Lincoln Avenue) in 1980 and shortly after that, saw them perform at ChicagoFest on Navy Pier. I stopped at a record store on Rush Street after the concert and bought their Beauty And The Beat album. Still, I never could have predicted back then how successful they would become.

Chicago Theatre Week continues its 2019 run through this Sunday, February 17 at various theaters around the Chicago area. Discount tickets of $15 or $30 will available for 120 participating shows.

Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour comes to the Allstate Arena this Friday night. Maybe he should hang around a couple days and check out the Burn Down The Mission: Songs Of Elton John 1969 – 1975 show at 2:00 p.m. this Sunday at SPACE in Evanston. Alton Smith, John Abbey, Debbie Kaczynski, Peter Manis, Richard Pettengill and Tommi Zender will be the musicians involved with this tribute.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Wes Hollywood - Dynamite

When Wes Hollywood recorded Fantasy Arcade back in 2012, it landed in the number three spot on my Broken Hearted Toy Favorite Releases for that year. Dynamite (available from Kool Kat Musik) came out in November 2018, and it feels like he’s never been away. Hollywood still likes to approach an irresistible melody with a bag of lyrical tricks like quick rhymes, putdowns, and witty observations. And along with Tom Shover, Peter Javier, and Spencer Matern, he continues to specialize in energetic power pop.

That said, Wes Hollywood draws from music that arrived at least a decade after the mid-1960s pop and Brit Invasion hits that inspire a lot of his peers. Songs like “Evelyn” and “Dirty Manhattan” evoke Elvis Costello in terms of instrumental style and biting sentiments. “I’ll Take You Back,” a funny tale of a guy who’s unaware of the legitimate reasons his girlfriend dumped him, calls to mind The Cars.

A lot of these tracks deal with crumbling relationships, but there’s also the aggressive “Get It Right,” which finds Hollywood vowing to save the world. “Small Talk,” a slap at an incessant chatterbox, would make a great companion for The Elvis Brothers’ rollicking “Motormouth.” “When Sunday Rolls Around” is another song about a girlfriend departing, but here Hollywood swaps humor for genuine emotions and a soulful arrangement.

Friday, February 8, 2019


John Cusack will be at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan this Sunday night for a conversation with moderator Dolly McCarthy after a screening of High Fidelity. The movie starts at 6:00 p.m. There was an interesting article by Jessi Roti in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune in which Cusack talks about the making of the film and his mixed feelings about the upcoming TV version starring Zoe Kravitz.

Tickets went on sale today for Captain Beyond at Reggie’s Music Joint on April 12; Dollyrots at Reggie’s Music Joint on March 14; Florence + The Machine with Blood Orange at Huntington Bank Pavilion on May 23; Lemonheads and former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson at Thalia Hall on May 7; Specials at The Vic on June 8; and Vampire Weekend at Huntington Bank Pavilion on June 16.

This year’s Chicago Theatre Week began yesterday and will run through Sunday, February 17 at various theaters around the Chicago area. Discount tickets of $15 or $30 will available for 120 participating shows. Check the Chicago Theatre Week website for more details.

Rendezvous In Chicago, director Michael Glover Smith’s third feature film, kicks off a four-day run tonight at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Smith will be on hand for an audience discussion at tonight's screening, as well as the ones on Saturday afternoon, Monday evening, and Wednesday evening.

Chicago alt rock band whitewolfsonicprincess will perform with a different lineup for each of its two sets at the record release party for its new album The Alternate Boot Vols. 1 and 2 at Jarvis Square Pottery tomorrow night. There will also be acoustic sets by Will Phalen and Kacie Swierk; and musician/actor/film critic Pat McDonald will serve as Master Of Ceremony. The music starts at 8:00 p.m., the Jarvis Square Pottery store is located at 1443 W. Jarvis.

The Chicago European Union Film Festival begins on March 8 and runs through April 4 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

If you’re planning on meeting up with David Tennant at C2E2 (Chicago Comic Entertainment Expo) next month, be on your best behavior or he might talk about you on one of his podcasts. The Doctor Who, Broadchurch, Jessica Jones actor has already recorded a couple episodes of David Tennant With…, and they’re available on cashbox. His first two guests were Whoppi Goldberg and Olivia Coleman. Kristin Ritter, Jon Hamm, and Jodie Whitaker, and Ian McKellen are slated for future episodes. C2E2 runs at McCormick Place March 22 –24, and the guests also include Doctor Who alums Matt Smith and John Barrowman.

The critically acclaimed Chicago-based power pop band Frisbie will join Mike and Eric from The Bon Mots for a double bill next Sunday, February 17 at Montrose Saloon.

Upcoming concerts in the Chicago area include Judy Collins at Old Town School of Folk Music on February 15; Elton John at the Allstate Arena on February 15; Procol Harum at City Winery on February 20; The Kooks at The Riviera Theatre on February 21; Gin Blossoms at House Of Blues on February 22; and A Bowie Celebration - The David Bowie Alumni Tour at The Vic on February 22.

The Impostors Theatre Company will present Caged - An Allegory at the Pentagon Theater starting next Friday, February 15 at Collaboration Studio. Written and directed by Stefan Roseen, the play mixes comedy and horror while exploring questions of identity and the ethics of art.

There was a pleasant surprise for Graham Nash at the UK Americana Awards in London last Thursday when the person presenting his Lifetime Achievement Award turned out to be Allan Clarke. Nash and Clarke first began singing together as schoolboys and went on to form The Hollies. It’s likely their reunion last week involved some additional celebrating since Nash’s birthday was just two days later.

Joni Mitchell photographs taken over several years by Rowland Scherman, Patrick Harbron, Jay Blakesberg, Norman Seeff, Joel Bernstein, Graham Nash, Guido Harari, Henry Diltz, David Gahr, and Ken Regan will be featured in an exhibit at LeeAnn Brook Fine Art in Nevada City, CA in collaboration with the Morrison Hotel Gallery.

The Corky Siegel Chamber Blues with Lynne Jovdah takes place on March 31 at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. Siegel performed blues and folk influenced rock with The Siegel-Schwall Band in the 1960s and 70s, and the band joined forces with conductor Seiji Ozawa and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra for some amazing blues/classical mashups.

I had been wondering why Phil Angotti, a veteran of Chicago’s power pop scene, wasn’t part of the lineup again for this year’s George Harrison Tribute at Martyrs’ on February 23. But then I remembered that’s the day he’s sharing a bill with the original lineup of Off Broadway at Reggie’s Rock Club. The Evictions are also scheduled for Reggie’s Rock Club on February 23.

The Palatine Patch website is reporting that the Durty Nellie’s music venue in Palatine is moving quickly toward reopening after a fire caused extensive damage a few weeks back.

Mark your calendar with paisley colors: YippieFest, a three-day celebration of theatre, comedy, and music returns for its third year on the weekend of August 16 – 18. The festival carries on the tradition of Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins, which was an annual event at Mary-Arrchie Theatre for over 25 years. Abbie Fest vets Famous In The Future are the driving force behind YippieFest and they’ll be looking for participants soon.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


Looks like there’ll be a lot of fun, catchy sounds this Friday night at Montrose Saloon. The Chicago-based indie rock band The Handcuffs will share a double bill with The JetBeats from Grand Rapids. Led by lead vocalist-guitarist Chloe F. Orwell and drummer Brad Elvis, The Handcuffs have released three albums (all favorably reviewed on Broken Hearted Toy) and are finishing up their next effort in the studio. The JetBeats take a fun, early Beatles approach on the two EPs they’ve released, with an emphasis on guitars and harmonicas.

Chicago Theatre Week kicks off tomorrow and will run through Sunday, February 17 at various theaters around the Chicago area. Discount tickets of $15 or $30 will available for 120 participating shows, including Glass Basement by iO Theater; Defiance by Buffalo Theatre Ensemble; How To Catch Creation at the Goodman Theatre; Dead Man’s Cell Phone by The Comrades; Small Jokes About Monsters by 16th Street Theater; Arms And The Man by Shaw Chicago Theater Company; and One Clover Road by American Blues Theatre. Check the Chicago Theatre Week website for more details.

The Chicago European Union Film Festival begins on March 8 and runs through April 4 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Making John Wicks' Final Album A Reality

Singer-guitarist John Wicks, a founding member of The Records, as well as a successful solo artist, passed away from cancer last October. He was recording a new album at the time, and now thanks to an IndieGoGo campaign, there’s a good chance it be completed and released. A recent email sent out by Bruce Brodeen from the Pop Geek Heaven website invites Wicks’ fans to become “Executive Producers” by making a donation.

As explained on the funding page, Jamie Hoover from The Spongetones, along with other musicians familiar with Wicks, will supply the missing instrumentation and vocals. The campaign aims to raise $5,800 to cover recording, mastering, packaging, and manufacturing. If all goes as planned, Wicks’ final album, with help from his friends and fans, will arrive in October of this year. There are rewards for helping out, depending how much money a donor pledges. Options from $15 to $500.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Saturday Slumgullion

Tickets are now on sale for Chvrches and Cherry Glazerr at Aragon Ballroom on May 2; Mekons at The Hideout on July 14; Portland Cello Project at SPACE in Evanston; Jessica Pratt at Sleeping Village (that’s a venue on Belmont, not a town) on May 10; Wild Belle at Metro on April 21; and for Strange 90s: A Benefit for Jerry Bryant of JBTV with Naked Raygun, Andrew W.K., Local H and other acts at Metro on March 8.

For a more extensive list of upcoming concerts, check out page 40 in this week’s issue of The Reader. This is also the edition that thanks all the people who donated money to help the long-time Chicago free paper stay afloat. According to publisher Tracy Baim, 2,400 people and businesses pitched in, including one donor who gave $4,800. You can find my name among the donors on 24. Long live The Reader.

Congratulations to Graham Nash on receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the UK Americana Awards this past Thursday at Hackney Empire in London. He’ll be coming to Chicago for show at The Athenaeum Theatre on March 17. The event is a benefit for the Old Town School Of Folk Music’s music education programs.

Rendezvous In Chicago, director Michael Glover Smith’s third feature film, kicks off a four-day run at the Gene Siskel Film Center next Friday.

The Specials released a new album titled Encore yesterday. “It’s a celebration of what The Specials is, and what it’s about,” founding member Terry Hall explains on the band’s Facebook page. “That’s why I still do it.” The band’s 40th Anniversary Tour brings them to Chicago for a show at The Vic on June 8.

Other albums due out this month include Sunshine Rock by Bob Mould and Varshons 2 by The Lemonheads on February 8; and Ladytron by Ladytron, Band Signs by Tedeschi Trucks, and Psychedelic Country Soul by The Long Ryders on February 15.

Durty Nellie’s in Palatine is temporarily closed due to a fire at the music venue last Friday. I didn’t see a mention of this on their Facebook page, but the official website promises to let everyone know when they’ll reopen. The message also thanks, “all of the first responders who worked so hard, and in such extreme temperatures, to put the fire out as quickly as they could.” Here’s hoping Durty Nellie’s will be back and rocking in the near future.

Rock documentary updates. Boy Howdy: The Story Of Creem Magazine will have its premiere at this year’s SXSW Festival in Austin. Things are moving along for The Power Pop Movie, according to a recent Facebook post from Justin Fielding stating there’s extensive editing to do but he’s “very much on track for release at the end of this year.” Director Peter Jackson of Lord Of The Rings fame is now on a quest to transform 55 hours of previously unseen footage of The Beatles into a proper documentary about the recording sessions that preceded the 1970 film Let It Be. Maybe he’ll make it a trilogy.

Chicago alt rock band whitewolfsonicprincess has a record release party coming up at Jarvis Square Pottery next Saturday, February 9 at 7:30 p.m. for its tuneful and beguiling third album The Alternate Boot. The store is located at 1443 W. Jarvis on Chicago’s north side.

Fatima Ali, one of the contestants from the 2018 season of Top Chef has passed away from cancer. Her skills, determination, and engaging personality made her a fan favorite, and she continued to show those qualities while sharing her battle with the disease on social media. My nephew Joe Flamm and all the contestants from that season of Top Chef supported Fatima throughout her struggle, and have expressed their sorrow and offered condolences to her family.

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