Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saturday Slumgullion

Johnny Marr is one of the stars rocking on social media.

Just a quick reminder that The Fest For Beatles Fans 2020 Virtual Fest is taking place this weekend. The event can be viewed via The Fest’s Facebook and Instagram sites, and will feature live performances of Beatles music by special guests and musicians from Apple Jam stage series. A recent email promises Beatles-related authors and experts will also be on hand. Fan participation is enthusiastically encouraged, so check out The Fest For Beatles Fans website and social media pages for details.

Videos Kill The Corona Blahs. Let’s raise a toast to everyone who’s been chasing away our shelter-in-place blues by posting inspirational messages and live entertainment on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In addition to the above-mentioned Beatles bash, we’ve had Graham Nash singing “Our House,” Johnny Marr strumming a fantastic instrumental on his electric guitar, Nick Offerman using his patented dry humor to describe what his typical day is like, current Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker alluding to the corona virus and outer space villains in an optimistic “emergency transmission,” and Romee Strijd, Jasmine Tookes, and other famous models challenging each other to send out positive vibes.

I’ve seen several local musicians posting tunes via The WC Series, and others paying homage to the bands and albums that first inspired them to compose their own material. Phil Angotti offered a brand new acoustic song titled “Shy Violet,” and participated in the Fest For Beatles Virtual event. Chicago actress Roxi Heart has been reading from a novel based on the mythological gods Loki and Thor. For a dose of visual culture, you can follow pretty much every famous art museum in the world, including Chicago Art Institute. Keep up the great work, everyone.

Robyn Hitchcock will be doing a Sweet Home Quarantine show live from his house on April 1 at 8:00 p.m. The eccentric English rocker promises “music, requests, inane banter, cats, [and] technical glitches.”

Also, while we’re stuck inside, remember the Secret Weapon show on the online Woody Radio station offers the best in new and vintage power pop music, as well as a wide range of “Boris” favorites.

Steve Dawson and Funeral Bonsai Wedding have an album release party for Last Flight Out scheduled for May 8 at the Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall. The venue is located 4544 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. In the meantime, the band is offering a Last Flight Out video preview on YouTube. The clip features Dawson and the various artists who help record this enticing collection of classical, jazz and folk music, including the Quartet Parapluie and the Birth Death Breath Singers.

The official Tower Records Instagram page is promising it will be posting some big news in the near future.

The Dream Syndicate’s new single “The Longing” is available on Bandcamp. The song finds the west coast group expertly tapping into its Paisley Underground roots, and serves as an enticing calling card for its The Universe Inside album due out April 10.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Picking Up The Reader

The Reader is currently raising funds to help it stay in business. Chicago’s long-running free alternative weekly is known for its confrontational and critically acclaimed feature stories, performance art reviews, and extensive listings of upcoming events. You can make a straight-up donation via its website or buy the new 52-page Reader Coloring Book in digital ($30) or printed ($45) format. As for the paper itself, the printed version of this week’s Stay At Home issue will have a limited print run, but you’ll be able to grab a copy for $15. The digital version is available for free online. I’ve contributed to Reader fundraisers in the past, and I’m happy to help out now.

It was probably the summer of 1972 when I saw my first copy of The Reader. As a resident of Chicago’s southwest side, I was intrigued by the radio commercials for a free weekly alternative newspaper, but I didn’t have access to it. Back then, as now, The Reader’s circulation was limited to downtown and the north side. On an extended bike ride to the Lincoln Park Zoo with a couple of friends, I saw some copies outside (or maybe inside) a store and thought, Hey, it’s that Reader I’ve been hearing about. Over the years, The Reader would become an essential part of my life.

When I was attending the University of Illinois at Chicago, I would check out the personal ads while sitting in the cafeteria, wondering what the people behind those imaginative pseudonyms were really like. For a while, the Kroozin’ Music record store at 79th and Pulaski would import Readers from the north side, and I’d pick up a copy every Friday after getting off from work at Montgomery Ward. When I worked as a proofreader at various companies downtown, my Thursday ritual involved grabbing a stack of Readers at lunch and bringing them back to my fellow employees. When I moved to Lincoln Park, just around the corner from Tower Records, it was easy to find copies.

Now that I’m living in Palatine and working away from downtown, things have come full circle. Each Thursday, instead of heading straight home after work, I take the Blue Line into downtown to visit the Reckless Records and Graham Cracker Comics stores. And, grab some copies of The Reader for myself and my coworkers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

All Together Now - Virtually

Feeling the current coronavirus situation gave them no choice but to postpone their annual New York Metro Fest at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City, the organizers of The Fest For Beatles Fans found a way to still get some fab four fun into our lives. The Fest For Beatles Fans 2020 Virtual Fest takes place this weekend, March 27 – 29. The event can be viewed via The Fest’s Facebook and Instagram sites, and will feature live performances of Beatles music by special guests and musicians from the Apple Jam stage series.

A recent email promises Beatles-related authors and experts will also be on hand. Fan participation is enthusiastically encouraged, so check out The Fest For Beatles Fans website and social media pages for details. There’s no charge to participate. Having attended Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago for several years now, I’m looking forward to seeing how this will all come together. The actual NY Metro Fest has been rescheduled for October.

Speaking of virtual entertainment, be sure to check out what your favorite musicians, film stars, authors, and friends are posting on social media. Support your favorite local venues by contributing to their online fundraisers, and order takeout food from local restaurants. As the late Neil Innes once told me as he signed an autograph at Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago, “Put a smile on the world’s face.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Sound He Appears To Make

Considering how there hasn’t been much news regarding live performances, it seemed like a good time to experiment with a new feature designed to promote music being released by recording artists around the world. I’ll continue to post full album reviews as well.

This coming Friday, March 27, we’ll see the Gigaton abum from Pearl Jam and Aporia from Sufjan Stevens.

Futureman Records honors XTC in a big way with its 49-track compilation Garden Of Earthly Delights – An XTC Celebration. Most of the acts involved aren’t household names, but they obviously can appreciate and bring to life the simultaneously sophisticated and eccentric allure of the English trio. Among the numerous highlights are “Respectable Street” by Dot Dash; “Life Begins At The Hop” by The Kickstand Band; “The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead” by Chris Price; “Don’t Lose Your Temper” by Derrick Anderson; “Vanishing Girl” by Bepopalula; a “Rocket From A Bottle”/“That Wave” mashup by Plasticsoul; and “Love On A Farmboy’s Wages” by Jason Berk. Garden Of Earthly Delights is available in digital and CD formats; some tracks are digital only.

The Boomtown Rats recently released Citizens Of Boomtown, which is their first album in 36 years.

Ex-Norwegian, a Miami-based band I’ve been following since I heard their irresistible cover of the Bay City Rollers hit “It’s A Game” on a split single from the U.K. vinyl label Fruits de Mer back in 2015, have a new album coming out on June 5. Hue Spotting is now available for pre-order in digital, CD, and vinyl formats on Bandcamp. The song “Bloody Parrots!” from Hue Spotting can already be downloaded, and it suggests Ex Norwegian will be continuing with its quirky power pop/garage rock approach.

The Chicago-based psychedelic band Hushdrops will be releasing its first album in six years, according to a recent post on their Facebook page from founding member John San Juan. Fans can get a preview by checking out the lengthy song “I Had A Room” on YouTube.

Moby’s new album All Visible Objects is now available.

The American Laundromat indie label has been on a roll with tribute albums; starting with Juliana Hatfield honoring Olivia Newton John and The Police on separate releases. Tanya Donelly and The Parkington Sisters have a CD coming out in August with cover songs of The Go-Go’s, The Pretenders, Leonard Cohen, The Kinks, Paul McCartney, and other acts. It’s now available for pre-order on the label’s website. And, American Laundromat is offering Just Like Heaven - A Tribute To The Cure in cassette and CD format. 17 indie acts are featured covering classic Cure material.

Musician/producer Brian Eno and his pianist Roger have collaborated for the first time with their new album Mixing Colours. It came out last Friday.

The digital single “Last One Standing” is the first new music from the Boston-based punk band The Dents in quite some time, and it’s available as a free download on the Rum Bar Records Bandcamp page. The high-speed, guitar-driven arrangement and Jennifer D’Angora’s raw vocals bode well for an EP that’s due out this summer on the Rum Bar Records label.

Gregory Curvey, a founding member of the long-running psych/prog rock outfit The Luck Of Eden Hall, has another release on the way from his side project Custard Flux. Echo is being released on vinyl and will come with a six-song bonus CD. Curvey, who lives in Detroit but travels extensively across the astral plane, drifts easily across exotic songs such as “Holiday” and “It’s Just A Matter Of Time” on the CD.

California-based musician Richard Turgeon’s new single “Higher” is being used in April Abeyta and Kim Nucley’s new sports documentary After The Game. The film will have its premiere at the Piedmont Theatre in Oakland on March 26. Turgeon created “Higher” specifically for After The Game, which studies the positive effects competitive sports have on three athletes over two decades.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Saturday Slumgullion

David Bowie tribute band Sons Of The Silent Age will be at Thalia Hall on May 23.

Best wishes for good health and safety from the coronavirus to pretty much everyone on the planet. It’s safe to assume no one in Chicago is partying in a bar, dining in a restaurant, or rocking out at a concert as I post this. We’re currently practicing social distancing, which will hopefully slow down the spread of the virus.

The financial damage associated with this is particularly devastating to those in the restaurant and entertainment industries, so it’s heartening to see so many fundraisers designed to help out. Many restaurants are staying open for carryout and delivery, and when you order, add a huge tip to your payment. Check out your favorite venues on social media to see where you can send money to help their staff, and buy music like crazy on Bandcamp and your favorite artists’ websites. You love their shows so now show them some love.

Be sure to check to check out Facebook and Instagram for entertainers who’ve posted performance videos. In the past few days, I’ve seen Margot Robbie reading a children’s book; Susanna Hoffs singing “Here Comes The Sun;” Ellen DeGeneres doing comic bits; and Karen Gillan just being goofy. (A fun goofy, though.) Chicago musicians Phil Angotti; Kevin Lee; Michael Steven Cohen; Guy Schingoethe; Ralph Covert; John San Juan; and John Petitt can be seen performing songs. Much better than binge watching TV shows.

Tickets are now on sale for Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings with Dave Mason at the Rosemont Theatre on on June 20; The Box Tops at City Winery on August 23; The Hollies at the Chicago Theatre on July 18; Justin Hayward and Mike Dawes at City Winery on April 20 and 21; Bettye LaVette at City Winery on June 9; and Sons Of The Silent Age and Damiana at Thalia Hall on May 23. Keep in mind that all shows are dependent on whether it’s safe to assemble in public by then.

Friday, March 20, 2020

For The Record - A Tribute To John Wicks

There’s no escaping the bittersweet aspect of For The Record, the impressive but final album of new material from the late John Wicks. As a founding member of the U.K. band The Records, Wicks sang lead on the enduring power pop hits “Starry Eyes” and “Teenarama,” and later moved on to a successful solo career. While battling pancreatic cancer over the course of five years, he co-wrote a batch of songs with Richard Rossi. The duo enlisted Jamie Hoover from The Spongetones to produce an album, but unfortunately, Wicks passed away before he was able to record the vocals. Determined to finish the project in Wicks’ honor, Rossi and Hoover recruited an all-star collection of singers.

Like Wicks, a number of the well-known performers who agreed to help out on For The Record - A Tribute To John Wicks were frequent participants at charity events organized by the California-based Wild Honey Foundation. Wicks and Rossi provided solid material to work with, from gritty character studies ala Warren Zevon—another musician we lost too soon—to messages of strength and inspiration. Most of the songs have basic but catchy, guitar-driven arrangements.

Bill Berry humorously conveys the jealousy of a low-rent doctor who discovers a former friend has become a major star on “1-800-Colonoscopy,” and Jamie Hoover is authentically sleazy as the title character of “Repo Man.” Al Stewart lends his appealing vocals to “The Beltway,” an ironically breezy portrait of corrupt politicians, and Carla Olson has a ball with “(The Sordid Tale Of) Elvis Strange.” Peter Case nails the quick and clever rhymes of “In And Out Motel” while Paul Collins captures the heartache of “Glittering Gold.”

The mood is more upbeat when Ray Paul performs the picturesque “The Sun Sets Over London Town,” which sounds like it was influenced by Ray Davies. Wicks wanted to poke fun at his own legacy with “The Ballad Of Johnny Wicked,” and Chris Thompson gives it a satirical cowpoke ambience. Wicks obviously also had more serious themes in mind, and Nick Guzman brings this tribute to a touching conclusion with a gorgeous acoustic version of “Chasing Angels.”

Friday, March 13, 2020


NOTE: A number of concerts and festivals have been postponed or cancelled in order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. It’s a good idea to check the status of any event you plan to attend to make sure it’s still scheduled. Best wishes for good health to everyone. Please be cautious, considerate, and stay safe.

Director Peter Jackson’s long-awaited documentary The Beatles: Get Back will arrive in movie theaters September 4. It’s widely believed that previously unreleased footage in this film shows John, Paul, George, and Ringo getting on much better than we thought they did during what turned out to be the band’s final recording sessions.

Social Act, El Gato Roboto, The Dry Look, and The Differents will all be rocking tomorrow night at Liar’s Club at 1665 W. Fullerton.

The full schedule for this year’s International Pop Overthrow – Chicago at LiveWire Lounge has been announced and it has a lot of familiar names for long-time fans of this power pop/indie rock festival. The performers include The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club; Phil Angotti; Magnaphonic; Dave Rave; Vee Sonnets; The Walkdown; Mark Watson; Rob Schultz; Ralph Covert; Michael Stephen Cohen; The Jay Goeppner Band; The Jeremy Band; Scott Niekelski from Go Time; The Lilacs; and The Spindles. LiveWire Lounge is located at 3394 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Tickets went on sale today for Wilco and Sleater-Kinney, with special guest Chicago-based instrumentalist NNAMDI at the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park on August 29; NRBQ at SPACE on May 2; Off Broadway at FitzGerald’s on June 26; Sunshine Boys and Bobbleheads at SPACE on April 30; Snow Patrol at Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago on October 16; and Modern English at SPACE on June 26.

The 25th Annual Asian American Showcase will be held April 16 – 30 at the Gene Siskel Film Center in downtown Chicago. The festival will feature film, art, comedy, and music.

Citizens Of Boomtown, the first album by The Boomtown Rats in 36 years was released today. The band’s Facebook page promises, “crunching glam riffs, foot-stamping choruses, and lip-smacking vocals.” I don’t know that Bob Geldof’s singing has ever been described that way before.

Sunny Afternoon, the musical based on the early days of The Kinks and featuring several of their best songs, is returning to stages in the U.K. this summer. The music of Ray Davies is matched to a book by Joe Penhall and the show is directed by Edward Hall. The tour kicks off August 7 in Manchester.

Kathy Valentine from The Go-Go’s has an autobiography titled All I Ever Wanted coming out in April. As a member of the first all-woman band to top the charts with an album they wrote and performed themselves, Valentine no doubt has an interesting perspective on the business of rock and roll. Especially since The Go-Go’s ascended from L.A.’s vibrant punk scene in the late 1970s. Valentine’s book tour is scheduled to bring her to the Anderson’s Book Store in LaGrange, IL on April 27, but a recent Facebook post noted that some of those dates are subject to change due to the coronavirus outbreak.

California-based musician Richard Turgeon’s new single “Higher” is being used in April Abeyta and Kim Nucley’s new sports documentary After The Game. The film will have its premiere at the Piedmont Theatre in Oakland on March 26. Turgeon created “Higher” specifically for After The Game, which studies the positive effects competitive sports have on three athletes over two decades.

Phil Collins, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford are reuniting for their first tour in 13 years. So far, all the dates on their Last Domino Tour are in the U.K. and Ireland, but American fans are holding out hope that some U.S. dates will eventually be added.

According to a recent piece by theatre critic Chris Jones in the Chicago Tribune, there’s a live musical version of Billy Wilder’s popular 1950s comedy Some Like It Hot coming to the Cadillac Palace Theatre in 2021. I have a feeling Desiree Burcum, a local writer/performer with the Famous In The Comedy group and The Rut indie band, will be first in line for tickets. I performed with Famous In The Future for a number of years and she was the most avid Marilyn fan I’ve ever met.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

“Susie Survived Chemotherapy” - Kid Gulliver

Boston-based trio Kid Gulliver combines humor with an uplifting message on its new single “Susie Survived Chemotherapy,” and creates an energetic arrangement perfect for slam dancing. The title character not only has to contend with “a tumor that’s as big as the family cat” and the medical procedures needed to shrink it, but also with classmates who call her names and mock her bald head. Her mother struggles to explain why some kids behave that way. But Susie has the last laugh, after achieving “a miracle recovery.” She keeps the tumor in a glass jar by her bed and takes a pass on the formerly mean kids who now want to be her friends.

Kid Gulliver created a video for “Susie Survived Chemotherapy” that uses vintage discotheque footage and dancing scenes from the 1960s TV shows Batman and The Avengers. Combined with the song’s driving beat, it exudes a feeling of fun and celebration. It’s easy to imagine this song was written either by someone who overcame the ordeal of chemotherapy or was close to someone who did. Either way, it’s an inspiring effort. P.S. If you like “Susie Survived Chemotherapy,” you can find more catchy songs on Kid Gulliver’s 2018 EP Spree.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020


The Long Players, who apparently are to Nashville what Tributosaurus and Great Moments In Vinyl are to Chicago, will join forces with Hands On Nashville at the 3rd and Lindsley Bar and Grill tomorrow night, March 12. The event will raise funds for victims of the recent tornado there. The band members have extensive experience on the music scene—Steve Allen with 20/20, John Deaderick with Dixie Chicks, Steve Eby with Human Radio, Garry Tallent with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and Bill Lloyd with Foster and Lloyd—and they specialize in tribute concerts. The website doesn’t list a band for bassist Brad Jones but performing with The Long Players makes for an impressive resume. Tom Petersson from Cheap Trick and other special guests will also be involved performing original material and classic rock tunes tomorrow night. Hands On Nashville is an organization devoted to helping community needs through volunteers.

They’ll stop the world and melt with U.S. audiences. Modern English will celebrate its 40th Anniversary with an American tour in June and July.

Clark Weber, one of the better-known WLS disk jockeys on the Chicago AM radio station back in the swinging 1960s, has passed away. As noted in Rick Kogan’s tribute in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune, Weber introduced The Beatles when they performed at Comiskey Park in 1965. Rock In Paradise, Mr. Weber.

International Pop Overthrow – Chicago will be held at Live Wire on Milwaukee Avenue again this year, from April 17  to 25.  The schedule hasn’t been posted on the official website yet, but I understand IPO Founder/CFO David Bash has notified the participating acts as to when they’ll be playing. I’ve heard from local power pop band The Spindles that they’ll be performing on Saturday, April 25, along with Three Hour Tour and Scott Niekelski from Go Time. So, that night’s already looking pretty enticing.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Time To Make Your Record Store Day Wish List

The list of limited-edition vinyl releases for this year’s Record Store Day is now available on the official RSD site, and once again, it includes music from virtually every genre. Some are vinyl editions of previously released CDs; some are concert recordings, and others feature previously unreleased material. There are a few CDs in this year’s batch and at least one cassette. Whatever style of music you prefer, if you collect vinyl, there’s sure to be something on this list that will have you standing in line outside your favorite record store on April 18. Here are just some of the artists included this year.

LPs: David Bowie; Solomon Burke; The Church; The Doors; Billie Eilish; Emerson, Lake and Palmer; Brian Eno; Fleetwood Mac; Al Green; Bob James; Jethro Tull; Lil’ Kim; K.D. Lang; Paul McCartney; Hugo Montenegro; Randy Newman; The Rolling Stones; Roxy Music; Tegan and Sara; Tom Tom Club; Tones On Tail

Double LPs: The Allman Brothers Band; David Bowie; Johnny Cash; Coolio; Alice Cooper; The Cure; Miles Davis; Bill Evans; Alejandro Escovedo; Philip Glass; Elton John; The Kinks; K.D. Lang; Charles Mingus; Ennio Morricone; New Riders Of The Purple Sage; The Ramones; John Prine (actually, it’s a four-record set); Lou Reed and John Cale; The Replacements (actually, it’s a three-record set); Ravi Shankar; Son Volt

Seven-Inch Singles: Beck; Steve Earle; John Lennon and Yoko Ono; Mott The Hoople; Pink Floyd

10-Inch Vinyl: Guided By Voices; The Specials; Ennio Morricone

12-Inch Singles: Brandi Carlile; Bob Marley and The Wailers; Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets; Modern English; Motorhead; and The Specials

EPs: Def Leppard; New Order; Britney Spears; TLC; Tangerine Dream; Toto; and Ultravox

So far, my wish list includes a live double album of a Cheap Trick performance in 1977; a live album of a 1980 concert by The Pretenders; a seven-inch single of two Beatles songs recorded by The Smithereens; and a 12-inch single of “11 O’Clock Tick Tock” by U2. I’m sure I’ll be adding more selections as April 18 gets closer.

Friday, March 6, 2020


The Ron Wood documentary Somebody Up There Likes Me will have its U.S. premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan. Directed by Mike Figgis, the film honors the musician/artist’s storied career with The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck, and The Faces, as well as his critically acclaimed artwork. Tribeca runs April 15 — 26. Other music-related films at the festival this year include Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road; Jimmy Carter - Rock And Roll President; The Nowhere Inn featuring St. Vincent; and The Go-Go’s featuring The Go-Go’s.

Singer-guitarist Ralph Covert returns to the Hey Nonny venue in Arlington Heights tomorrow night for a special and emotionally resonant project titled Welcome To Deadsville that also features his long-time Bad Examples mate Steve Gerlach; Mike Hartigan; and a string quartet. Covert performed an extensive and thoroughly enjoyable retrospective with The Bad Examples at Hey Nonny a while back.

Reason Number 5,678 why I want to visit England every year: Construction has begun on the 12-acre George Harrison Woodland Walk Memorial in Liverpool and is expected to be completed at some point in 2021. The Liverpool City Council is seeking artists to contribute sculptures honoring Harrison’s music.

Tickets are now on sale for The Hollies’ concert at the Chicago Theatre on July 18. It’s the band’s first visit here since they played ChicagoFest at Soldier Field in 1983. The 2020 The Road Is Long U.S. Tour brings them to America for the first time since a brief series of small-town dates in 2002. On a related note, drummer Bobby Elliott’s autobiography It Aint Heavy, It’s My Story - My Life In Hollies, is coming out in April. It’s available on the band’s official website.

Other concerts that went on sale today include Marshall Crenshaw and The Bottle Rockets at SPACE on May 29; Santana and Earth, Wind and Fire at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre on July 11; Clannad at the Irish American Heritage Center on September 15; Phil Angotti and the Mark Watson Band at FitzGerald’s on April 24; Black Keys; Gary Clark Jr., and Marcus King Band at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre on July 25; Coathangers at Empty Bottle on June 13; Robbie Fulks at SPACE on April 18; New Order and Pet Shop Boys at Huntington Pavilion on September 18; Ty Segall and Freedom Board at Thalia Hall on May 7; and the multi-act South By Southwest Send-Off at The Hideout on March 14.

Moby has a new album titled All Visible Objects coming out today. Next Friday will bring Citizens Of Boomtown by The Boomtown Rats; March 20 brings Mixing Colours by Brian and Roger Eno; and on March 27, we’ll see Gigaton from Pearl Jam and Aporia from Sufjan Stevens.

The Dirty Knobs, featuring long-time Tom Petty and Heartbreakers member Mike Campbell, have a show next Wednesday, March 11 at Park West. Special guest Jeremy Ivey will also be on hand. The Dirty Knobs have actually been together off and on for years, but are releasing their debut album Reckless Abandon on March 29. WXRT DJ Johnny Mars recently played the guitar-driven title track, and it immediately stood out as one of the best songs I’ve heard on the radio in quite a while.

Comedian Steven Wright will be bringing his life-size map of the world to the North Shore Center in Skokie for an evening of stand-up comedy on March 26. Wright’s head-spinning one-liners and offbeat stories are consistently hilarious, although you’ll rarely see him laugh or even crack a smile.

The 37th Annual Chicago Blues Festival will be held on the weekend of June 5 – 7 in Millennium Park. Acts scheduled to perform include Shemekia Copeland; Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials; John Primer and Steve Bell; Jimmy Johnson and Billy Branch; Eric Gales; and Catherine Russell.

Foo Fighters will be the headline act for the D.C. Jam Festival in Washington, D.C. on July 4. Other acts scheduled include Chis Stapleton; Pharrell; The Go-Go’s; Band Of Horses; Durand Jones and The Indications; The Regrettes; Beach Bunny; and Radkey. It would be interesting to watch The Go-Go’s and The Regrettes comparing notes backstage since both bands mix punk with the 1960s girl group sound, despite having formed decades apart.

Metric will the headline act for the CBC Festival taking place in Toronto on May 30. CBC is an annual event spotlighting Canadian musicians.

Lin Shook and Perpetual Motion Inc. have a dance performance coming up on April 17 and 18 that should fits right in with the spirit of this year’s Earth Day on April 22. We Touch The Earth, The Earth Touches Us features dancers Natalja Aicardi, Iris Loconto, Lin Shook, and guest dancers. Perpetual Motion brings together dancers of various ages to “open awareness, challenge perceptions, and create community.”

The 48 Annual Dance For Mother Earth Powwow will take place on March 28 and 29 at the Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, MI. The event features Native American singers, dancers, and artists.

Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue with be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day early on Saturday, March 14 with the U2 tribute band Without U2 and the Thin Lizzy tribute band Tin Lynott. A week later at that same venue, another double bill of tribute bands will lean more toward angst-ridden British alt rock. Primary will be playing songs by The Cure, and Stil IL, will be covering The Smiths.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020


It’s great to hear that tickets are now sold out for the Celebrate The Life Of Kim Shattuck – Create A World Without ALS benefit concert taking place at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on March 15. Ronnie Barnett and Roy McDonald will host the event, with performances by Veruca Salt; The Coolies; Redd Kross; The Pandoras; Kathy Valentine from The Go-Go’s; Vicki Peterson from The Bangles; Kay Hanley; That Dog And Friends; Honeychain and Rob Zabrecky. Shattuck, who passed away last year due to complications from ALS, was a founding member of The Muffs, and more recently The Coolies. She also performed with The Pixies and The Pandoras. The show is a benefit for the ALS Association Golden West Chapter.

FitzGerald’s is staging two concert events to celebrate International Women’s Day this Saturday, March 7. Cathy Richardson’s Goddesses Of Rock tribute is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., with Katie Todd as the opening act. In addition to leading her own long-time band, Richardson is also known for her portrayal of Janis Joplin in the Love, Janis off broadway production, and serving as the lead vocalist for Jefferson Starship. There will also be a show in FitzGerald’s Sidebar, featuring Sandra Antongiorgi; Naomi Ashley; and Cathie Van Wert.

Sharon Van Etten; Fiery Furnaces, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs; Angel Olsen; Run The Jewels; Twin Peaks; and Cat Power are among the acts scheduled for Pitchfork 2020, which returns to Union Park in Chicago on the weekend of July 17 – 19. Tickets are now on sale.

Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue with be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day early on Saturday, March 14 with the U2 tribute band Without U2 and the Thin Lizzy tribute band Tin Lynott. A week later at that same venue, another double bill of tribute bands will lean more toward angst-ridden British alt rock. Primary will be playing songs by The Cure, and Stil IL, will be covering The Smiths.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

We’ve Been Longing For This Road Since 1983

Last week when a post on The Hollies’ Facebook and Instagram sites promised a major upcoming announcement, I dared to dream big. They must be coming to America. The iconic British Invasion band frequently performs across Europe, and fans already know that drummer Bobby Elliott has an autobiography due out in April. What else could a major announcement be about? And then, there it was yesterday on Facebook, like a present under the Christmas tree. A U.S. Tour.

The Road Is Long 2020 U.S. Tour, which brings The Hollies back to the States for the first time in 18 years, kicks off in Saratoga, CA on July 8. Then it moves to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and San Antonio. The Hollies concert at Chicago Theatre on July 18 will be the first time the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductees have been here since they played ChicagoFest at Soldier Field in 1983. A brief American tour in 2002 didn’t include a Chicago stop. Other dates on this year’s tour include Washington, D.C. and Boston. The full schedule is on the band’s website.

Elliott and guitarist-harmony vocalist Tony Hicks are the only original members still touring and recording with The Hollies, but the current crew has been together for several years. Lead vocalist Peter Howarth came onboard in 2004 after Carl Wayne passed away. Wayne, a former member of The Move and a successful performer in British theatre, had previously replaced the retiring Allan Clarke. The current lineup regularly picks up glowing reviews in the U.K. press and their shows draw big crowds. It will be great to finally get a chance to see them in America.

Friday, February 28, 2020


Damaged Gods, a Gang Of Four tribute band, will be performing at Liar’s Club on Fullerton Avenue in Chicago tomorrow night. Sadly, we lost Gang Of Four founding member Andy Gill at the beginning of this month, so I’m sure they’ll be a few toasts in his honor at Liar’s. Three other acts —The Handcuffs, Sugarpulp, and Tiberius Strange are on the bill tomorrow night as well.

The Handcuffs will likely be performing new songs at Liar’s since they’re putting the final touches on their fourth album. Coming up on April 18, they’ll be part of a one-two punch with another of Chicago’s best bands—Off Broadway—at Reggies Rock Club on State Street.

Tickets are now on sale for Nick Lowe’s Quality Rock Roll Revue and Los Straitjackets at Park West on June 13; Laura Marling at the Old Town School Of Folk Music on April 16 and 17; the American Music Festival at FitzGerald’s on July 5; and Beatles tribute band Fab Faux at Park West on May 30.

Welcome to everyone who’s in town for C2E2, which has returned to Chicago for another weekend run at McCormick Place. This year’s celebrity guests include Mark Ruffalo; Erin Moriaty; Stephen Amell; George Takei; Isa Briones; Laz Alonso; Walter Koenig; and Emily Bett Rickards, as well as several popular artists and writers. Lots of fans dress up as their favorite sc-fi, graphic novel or film heroes and villains, so it’s like a huge Halloween party with celebrities guests where you can buy action figures, posters, t-shirts, comic books graphic novels.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Wizard World Comic Con just announced the first round of guests for its annual event at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont August 21 – 23. So far, the list includes James Marsters; Kate Mulgrew; Emily Swallow; and Patrick Warburton.

Temple Of Geekdom – An Improvised Adventure, which opened recently at The Second City, has added extra shows to coincide with C2E2 tonight and tomorrow.

Record Store Day U.K. has named The Big Moon as its 2020 Ambassadors, which comes as no surprise if you’ve been checking out English rock publications. The four-woman band has been getting a lot of favorable press for its debut album Walking Like We Do.

The west coast charity organization Wild Honey is staging another all-star benefit tomorrow night at The Alex Theatre in Glendale, California. The Lovin’ Spoonful – A Celebration Of The Music will include original band members John Sebastian, Steve Boone and Joe Butler, along with Micky Dolenz, Dave Alvin, Carnie Wilson, Dennis Diken, Susan Cowsill, Marshall Crenshaw, Don Dixon, Marti Jones, Elliot Easton, Darian Sahanaja, The Three O’Clock, Carla Olson, Wednesday Week, Annette Zilinskas, and other musicians. The event will benefit The Autism Think Tank.

The 21st Chicago Irish Film Festival - Films From The Land Of Story Telling  runs today through Sunday at the Society For Arts - Gallery Theatre; Logan Theatre; and Willmette Theatre.

The English Beat’s aptly titled Still Can’t Stop It! 40th Anniversary Tour kicks off in the U.K. on June 3 in Brighton. I still have their debut album I Just Can’t Stop It! in my record collection, as well as a pin with the band’s dancing ska girl logo.

The Evanston Literary Festival is returning for what its organizers are calling their “Sixth Edition” beginning on May 9 and running through May 17. Events will take place at the Evanston Public Library and other locations around town.

The eccentric and always engaging singer-songwriter Dawn Landes has written the music and lyrics for a new musical titled Row (book by Daniel Goldstein) that will have its premiere at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts on July 30. Landes based her songs on Toni Murden McClure’s novel A Pearl In The Storm.

Anyone familiar with the The Empty Hearts knows each member comes from a well-known band. Wally Palmar is from The Romantics; Clem Burke is from Blondie; Elliott Easton is from The Cars; and Andy Babiuk is from The Chesterfield Kings. But even they had to be psyched when Ringo Starr helped out on play drums for their new song “Remember Days Like These.” The seven-inch black and blue splatter vinyl single quickly sold out on Little Steven Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool label, but can be streamed on various sites.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020


Wild Honey, the west coast organization that’s so nice in putting on all-star concerts to benefit worthy causes, is presenting The Lovin’ Spoonful – A Celebration Of The Music this Saturday night at The Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA. Original band members John Sebastian, Steve Boone and Joe Butler are participating in the tribute concert, along with several pop, power pop and indie rock musicians, including Micky Dolenz, Dave Alvin, Carnie Wilson, Dennis Diken, Susan Cowsill, Marshall Crenshaw, Don Dixon, Marti Jones, Elliot Easton, Darian Sahanaja, The Three O’Clock, Carla Olson, Wednesday Week, and Annette Zilinskas. The event will benefit The Autism Think Tank.

Congratulations to Ellis Clark, Ary Paloma Jeebie, and the Martyrs’ music venue on Lincoln Avenue for staging another successful George Harrison Birthday Tribute last Saturday night. The annual event involves local musicians, and is at its best when several of them are on stage at the same time. In addition to Ellis and Ary, participants who performed during the two hours I was there included Phil Angotti; the Sandalwood Sitar Ensemble; Chloe F. Orwell, Phoenix; Jay Goeppner; Thom Klein, and Kenn Goodman. Proceeds from the event will help fund the MusiCares charitable organization.

The Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier will present a poetic and pop music mashup when director Daryl Cloran’s adaptation of As You Like It returns on April 30. Originally conceived by Cloran and the Bard On The Beach Festival at CST’s Courtyard Theater, As You Like It is described in the company’s brochure as a “high-spirited, music-filled adaptation [that] infuses Shakespeare’s comedy with hit songs of The Beatles.” It runs through June 21, and tickets are already on sale.

Regular customers of Chicago’s long-running record store Dusty Groove on Ashland Avenue might want to check out the Chicago premiere of director Danielle Beverly’s film Dusty Groove: The Sound Of Transition. The premiere takes place at the Chicago Cultural Center this Friday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m. Described as “a documentary about love, loss, and our deep personal connection,” it will be available for streaming and on DVD in June.

Be a celluloid hero. The Chicago International Film Festival is accepting entries for its 2020 event, which runs from October 14 through 25. The Early Bird Deadline is April 6; Regular Deadline is June 15; and the Late Deadline is July 6.

Emma Draves and Project Bound Dance with guests Nine Worlds Music Ensemble will present The Nearest Place at 7:30 this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night at Links Hall on Western Avenue on Chicago’s north side.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Regrettes - How Do You Love?

Teenage band The Regrettes made their mark in 2017 with a debut album that combined vintage punk with the 1960s girl group sound. Feel Your Feelings Fool featured lead vocalist-songwriter Lydia Night taking down jerky guys, dismantling body shaming, and confronting sexism with lines like, “I’ll still kick your ass even in my skirt.” So at first, it’s disappointing to hear that gritty voice praising blueberry eyes, dimples, and baking cookies on the follow-up How Do You Love?. The new album definitely focuses on dating, but after a few careful listens, it’s clear Night is on top of her game.

Starting with the spoken word piece “Are You In Love?,” the album guides listeners through the ups and downs of a typical relationship. “I Dare You,” with its playful, Motown arrangement, and the energetic “Coloring Book” capture the uneasy euphoria of those first romantic inclinations, and “Fog” could have been a Ronettes hit single in the early 1960s. “Pumpkin,” which has more of a ballad feel, gets pretty close to syrupy (it’s a boyfriend’s nickname) but otherwise The Regrettes make these songs relatable and fun.

How Do You Love? is just as believable exploring the inevitable fractures that afflict relationships, particularly on “Dead Wrong,” which sports a new wave 1980s keyboards arrangement, and the hard-edged hint at reconciliation “More Than A Month.” Ultimately, the title song closes the album by deciding that none the emotions involved with love make any sense. But The Regrettes consistently keep the rollercoaster ride interesting, particularly on high-energy tracks like “Dress Up” and “Stop And Go.”

Monday, February 24, 2020

The Doughboys - Running For Covers

The Doughboys formed in 1964, called it quits in 1968, and came back to stay in 2000. The New Jersey quartet has been releasing albums on a regular basis, still specializing in vintage garage rock. On the recently released Running For Covers, The Doughboys revisit a few of their own early hits and reinvent some by their mid-1960s contemporaries. The album is a blast, as band members Myke Scavone, Richie Heyman, Mike Caruso, and Gar Francis apply guitar-driven muscle to pop, soul, and blues material.

That approach is particularly successful on Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man,” which retains the romantic angst of the original while clearly making it The Doughboys’ own. “96 Tears” by ? And The Mysterians was already unique, so it makes sense that the new version here remains faithful to the original. The Doughboys are adept at handling songs by the major acts—a thundering take on The Rolling Stones’ “Play With Fire” and a spacey rendition of “It’s All Too Much” by The Beatles—and also succeed with more obscure artists.

Other highlights include a garage/roots rock take on The Band’s “The Shape I’m In” and the rollicking bluegrass of Herman’s Hermits’ “My Reservation’s Been Confirmed.” The classic blues number “Your Mind Is On Vacation” and the jazz standard “Moanin’” benefit from some spirited harmonica playing. The Doughboys’ own “Rhoda Mendelbaum” remains one of the most oddly named songs in rock but still packs the garage rock sting of the original.

Friday, February 21, 2020


Tomorrow night (February 22), several Chicago area musicians will gather at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue for the annual George Harrison Birthday Tribute Concert. The event will once again be hosted by Ellis Clark and Ary Paloma Jeebie, with bluegrass impresario Ken Mottet serving as MC. Clark was a founding member of Epicycle, one of Chicago’s first punk acts, as well as Social Act. He’s also a successful solo recording artist and producer. Ary Paloma Jeebie is the lead vocalist for Amazing Heeby Jeebies, a garage/rockabilly band.

Returning performers include Sandalwood Sitar; singer-guitarist Phil Angotti; singer-guitarist Chloe F. Orwell from The Handcuffs; Phoenix; Frankie B; and Soulkeeper Gerald McClendon. If previous years are any indication, the selection of Harrison material performed will range from hit singles to deep tracks and rarities. It’s also fun seeing musicians from different groups join together on stage. The music starts at 8:00 p.m. The George Harrison Birthday Tribute Concert will benefit uninsured musicians and the MusiCares nonprofit charity organization.

Depending on when you read this, you could still catch an evening of local power pop tonight at Montrose Saloon with Phil Yates and The Affiliates, whose name alone will tell you they approach the genre with humor and wordplay. The Spindles and singer-songwriter Brother Derek are also on the bill. I haven’t seen the latter, but I know The Spindles have performed “Look Through Any Window” and “Bus Stop” by The Hollies at their live shows. Their latest album Past and Present includes “Look Through Any Window,” along with a batch of catchy originals.

Temple Of Geekdom – An Improvised Adventure opens on February 24 at The Second City and will run on Monday nights.

Tickets went on sale today for Nielsen Trust featuring Rick Nielsen and Scott Lucas at Chop Shop on April 3; Al Jardine at City Winery Chicago on March 31; Flat Five at FitzGerald’s on March 27; Shellac and Loki’s Folly at Lincoln Hall on March 10 and 11; Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues featuring Ernie Watts and Goran Ivanovic at City Winery on March 1; Bad Examples at FitzGerald’s on May 29; and Jeff Tweedy at The Vic on May 15 and 16.

Last Friday night’s double bill of Tommi Zender and The 45 at Hey Nonny was another example of how the Arlington Heights venue is bringing acts normally associated with Chicago’s north side music scene to the usually tribute-band-obsessed northwest suburbs. Each of the artists I’ve seen perform at Hey Nonny has made a point to thank the owners and the audience for supporting original music. Zender, backed by a talented band performed songs from his impressive latest album More Songs About Time and earlier releases. The 45, led by Chicago Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper on bass (he also composed all the songs), is a new band on the local scene. Kasper’s bandmates—Dag Juhlin, Matt Spiegel, Liam Davis, and Gerald Dowd—have extensive experience in other groups. Like Juhlin’s Sunshine Boys, the songs by The 45 resonate musically and emotionally even when heard for the first time. I'm looking forward to when their debut album comes out later this year.

The Chicago premiere of director Danielle Beverly’s film Dusty Groove: The Sound Of Transition takes place at the Chicago Cultural Center next Friday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m. Described as “a documentary about love, loss, and our deep personal connection,” it will be available for streaming and on DVD in June.

Be a celluloid hero. The Chicago International Film Festival is accepting entries for its 2020 event, which runs from October 14 through 25. The Early Bird Deadline is April 6; Regular Deadline is June 15; and the Late Deadline is July 6. Best of luck to all the aspiring filmmakers out there.

Music Box Theatre on Southport is hosting its annual Cat Video Fest tomorrow and Sunday. In addition to celebrating the endless ways cats find to amuse, challenge, and astound their humans, another benefit is that the festival supports local animal shelters. Chicago Tribune columnist Nina Metz has a full article about it in today’s edition. The Cat Video Fest admission price ranges from $8 to $12.

You can sense the winter season is in its death throes when info on Record Store Day and International Pop Overthrow – Chicago starts trickling out in emails and on social media.

The Second Disc website—always an essential resource for keeping up on upcoming album releases—recently posted writer Sam Stone’s preview of the David Bowie I’m Only Dancing double live album that will be part of this year’s RSD vinyl treasures. It features songs recorded at concerts in Detroit and Nashville in 1974. This year’s Record Store Day is on April 18.

As for IPO - Chicago, singer-guitarist Michael Mazza’s band The Walkdown has announced it will be offering free CDs of a new single titled “The Distance (Gets In The Way)” at its performance at the annual festival in April. The song is on the upcoming EP Future Tense. This year’s International Pop Overthrow - Chicago takes place at the Live Wire venue on Milwaukee Avenue from April 17 through April 25.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Saturday Slumgullion

Page spread from Beacon Arts Centre brochure.

Excuses, excuses. I wasn’t able to post Slumgullion last night because my wife Pam and I went out for a Valentine dinner at the Seasons 52 restaurant in Schaumburg. Good food and friendly service. It’s worth mentioning again that I would have never been able to have this blog without my wife Pam setting it up for me over 10 years ago.

Tickets are now on sale for Decemberists and Fruit Bats at the Auditorium Theatre on August 11; Steve Dawson and Funeral Bonsai Wedding with Quartet Parapluie and Louis Bardales at the Old Town School Of Folk Music on May 8; Struts and The Regrettes at the Riviera Theatre on May 29; Heartsfield at FitzGerald’s on April 11; and Portland Cello Project Presents Purple Reign at SPACE on April 2. Yep, that last one is a mix of classical and Prince music, and from the clips I saw on the PCP website, it’s pretty amazing.

I Love Jennifer Eccles – The Hollies Story was performed tonight at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock, Scotland. Presented by Treble Clef Productions, it covered the British Invasion band’s entire career, starting with Graham Nash and Allan Clarke meeting as schoolboys. The Beacon website states, “This highly entertaining show for all ages is packed with hit after hit, performed by a talented young band and hosted by a seasoned narrator.” If the talented young band doesn’t mind flying to Chicago to perform Jennifer Eccles, I could be the seasoned narrator.

Tommi Zender, a singer-guitarist who’s performed with several musicians on the Chicago club scene, will be at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights tomorrow, February 16. He’ll no doubt be showcasing songs from his new album More Songs About Time, an engaging mix of introspective acoustic ballads like “Learn To Be Alone” and more energetic fare like “Echo Chambers In The Hall Of Mirror.” “No Good For Your Health” is a clever message to a woman about the guy she’s dating. Chicago Cubs broadcaster/musician Len Kasper will also be performing at Hey Nonny that night with his band The 45. A recent social media post from Kasper indicates his original tunes will be hard-edged and energetic.

Next Saturday night, several Chicago area musicians will gather at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue for the annual George Harrison Birthday Tribute Concert hosted by Ellis Clark and The Big Parade with Ary Paloma Jeebie. A number of favorites are returning, and there will be some interesting newcomers. If previous years are any indication, the selection of Harrison material will range from hit singles to deep tracks and rarities.

Hello, Cruel World. Several well-known new wave, alt rock, and punk acts will perform on May 2 at the Cruel World Festival on the grounds at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles. The lineup includes Morrissey; Bauhaus; Blondie; Devo; Psychedelic Furs; Echo and The Bunnymen, Violent Femmes; The Church; The English Beat; Publice Image Ltd.; Gary Numan; Missing Persons; Berlin; and Marc Almond from Soft Cell. Fans can register for presale tickets on the festival’s website.

Temple Of Geekdom – An Improvised Adventure opens on February 24 at The Second City and will run on Monday nights. According to the post card I picked up at Reckless Records downtown, there will be extra shows during this year’s C2E2 run at McCormick Place on February 28 and 29. Now why they would connect geeks with C2E2?

Actor Matt Smith is catching some flak on social media for cancelling a scheduled appearance at C2E2 for the second year in a row, due to a scheduling conflict. I met Smith at an autograph session at the Ace Comic Con on Navy Pier a few years back (shortly before meeting his Doctor Who co-star Karen Gillan for an autograph—an epic afternoon) and I give him the benefit of the doubt. He called me ‘mate’ and was very open and friendly with the people coming up to his booth. Still, I can relate to the disappointment of those who were looking forward to meeting him at C2E2 these past two years.

It will be a rollicking evening of bluesy and Americana rock and roll tomorrow night (February 16) when Marcia Ball and Sonny Landreth join together for a double bill at FitzGerald’s.

WXRT is bringing another live music event to the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove. This time out, the station is co-sponsoring (with Classic Cinemas) a Poi Dog Pondering concert on February 20.

The Right Tidys were absent from the Chicago club scene for a while, but now they’ve reunited under the abbreviated name Tidy and have a live gig coming up. They’ll be at Montrose Saloon on Monday, March 30, with Erica Loftus in her familiar lead vocalist role.

The House Theater Of Chicago’s production of Verboten continues its run at the Chopin Theatre through March 8. Written by Brett Neveu with original songs by Jason Narducy, Verboten is set in 1983 and concerns a teenage punk band aiming to rock out the Cubby Bear venue. Nathan Allen is the director.

The extremely clever magicians Penn and Teller will host an Aids Walk and Run in Las Vegas on March 20. The event will include a run, a walk, and a festival featuring various acts. Anyone interested in taking part can find info a

Wednesday, February 12, 2020


The Who is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its iconic Live At Leeds album with a show tonight at the PRYZM venue in Kingston upon Thames in England. Congratulations, lads!

I wasn’t able to post a Slumgullion column last Friday due to my being at the Hey Nonny venue in Arlington Heights to catch Rachel Drew and Rob Newhouse followed by The Imperial Sound. Singer-songwriter Drew and former Elvis Brothers member Newhouse combined for terrific harmony vocals on set of original tunes (and few covers) as well rollicking versions of the Elvis Brothers songs “Hey Tina” and “Santa Fe.”

Considering Drew’s versatile singing, it was no surprise when she announced she would return as a guest vocalist with The Imperial Sound. Her style was perfectly suited to the mixed bag of soul, rock, and jazz from their 2018 debut The New AM. Drew and lead vocalist-guitarist Rick Mosher combined on songs like “Ain’t Crawling Back,” a clever take on a guy not quite over his ex, and the film noir inspired “The Quarry.” A three-piece horn section and Kenn Goodman’s keyboards also keep things lively.

Tickets are now on sale for Rhett Miller from The Old 97s at SPACE in Evanston on May 15; Bauhaus at the Aragon Ballroom on July 25; Heaven 17 at Park West on May 8; Todd Snider at Park West on April 10; House Of Love at Subterranean on May 11; Ike Reilly Assassination at FitzGerald’s on March 20; and NRBQ at SPACE on May 2.

NRBQ member Casey McDonough will be doing a Valentine’s Day show this Friday at Honky Tonk BBQ. It's located at 1800 S. Racine in the Pilsen neighborhood.

The Psychedelic Furs will kick off a tour of southern U.S. states on April 13 in Key West, Florida and finish up in Scottsdale, Arizona on April 30. They’ll be in London on May 14 for a concert in the Albert Hall. The Furs have new material to showcase at these gigs, to go along with past hits like “The Ghost In You,” “Heartbreak Beat,” and “Love My Way.” A brand new album titled Made Of Rain is due out in May and a video of their single “Don’t Believe” is now available to watch on The Psychedelic Furs website. The duo Elettrodmestico, which features Jane Wiedlin from The Go-Go’s and Pietro Stracci, will open for The Psychedelic Furs on the April tour dates.

The Right Tidys were absent from the Chicago club scene for a while, but now they’ve reunited under the abbreviated name Tidy and have a live gig coming up. They’ll be at Montrose Saloon on Monday, March 30, with Erica Loftus in her familiar lead vocalist role.

FitzGerald’s has an International Women’s Day Festival planned for March 7 that will include performances by Sandra Antongiorgi; Naomi Ashley; Cathie Van Wert; and Katie Todd. The Festival will also feature Cathy Richardson’s Goddesses Of Rock. In addition to her own music, Richardson is also known for her critically acclaimed portrayal of Janis Joplin.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Hey Nonny Brings The Imperial Sound

The Imperial Sound, a relatively new band made up of Chicago music scene veterans, will be back at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights tomorrow night, February 7. Their 2018 debut album The New AM offered a consistently engaging mix of soul, jazz, blues, and rock, with a dash of supper club ambience. Songs like “Ain’t Crawling Back” and “Yesterday” featured guest female vocalists so it should be interesting to see how those are performed at Hey Nonny. The Imperial Sound has been known to have special guests at its live shows. Singer-songwriter Rachel Drew and former Elvis Brothers member Rob Newhouse will be the opening act. The music starts at 7:30 pm.

It was nice seeing Hey Nonny get some press last Thursday via Selena Fragassi’s interview with Chip Brooks in the Chicago Sun-Times. Brooks’ comments affirmed my belief that he and co-owner Chris Dungan are aiming for a northwest suburban version of popular Chicago clubs like Schubas and Evanston’s SPACE. Booking bands like The Imperial Sound is definitely a move that direction. Singer-guitarist Tommi Zender with The 45 (featuring Chicago Cubs Len Kasper) will be coming to Hey Nonny on Sunday, February 16.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Hot Stove, Cool Music Returns To Boston

Spring training kicks off later this month, but baseball fans in Boston can celebrate the sport and help a worthy cause this Saturday, February 8 at the Paradise Rock Club. That’s when The Foundation To Be Named Later will host its annual Hot Stove, Cool Music charitable event. Formed by Theo Epstein and his brother Paul shortly after he led the Red Sox to their first World Series since 1918, TFTBNL combines baseball and rock music in a uniquely fun way to raise funds to help disadvantaged youth in Boston. Epstein established a Chicago version of The Foundation after he moved here to bring the Cubs a World Series Championship.

The indie rock band Letters To Cleo will be performing at the Paradise this Friday, along Tanya Donnelly and Gail Greenwood from Belly, Peter Gammons, and The Hot Stove All-Stars. Fans can also check out Band Of Their Own, a rotating group of well-known women musicians that’s become a regular Hot Stove feature. Saturday’s lineup includes former Runaway Cherrie Currie; Donnelly, Greenwood, and nine other perfrormers. Limited edition BOTO t-shirts will be available for sale at this gig only. The music starts at 7:30 p.m.

As in past years, there will be a Chicago version of Hot Stove, Cool Music taking place in Wrigleyville sometime in June. I caught last year’s bash at Metro and it was a night of positive vibes and great rock and roll.

Friday, January 31, 2020


A recent post on The Hollies’ official Facebook page promises information in the next few days about how to pre-order drummer Bobby Elliott’s long-awaited autobiography It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Story - My Life In The Hollies. Elliott has been with the iconic British Invasion band almost from the very start, and along with founding member guitarist-vocalist Tony Hicks, leads the current version of The Hollies.

Glancing though the comments regarding that Facebook post, I was surprised someone mentioned The Hollies being part of a Flower Power Cruise that sets sail from Miami, FL on March 28. Other 1960s acts who’ll be onboard include The Zombies; Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone; Peter Asher; The Turtles; Arlo Guthrie; The Outsiders; The Buckinghams; and The Grassroots. I wish I had known about this earlier; it’s already sold out. Maybe The Hollies can squeeze in a few on-land American gigs after they finish up the Flower Power Cruise. I've been waiting for them to return to the U.S.A. for 16 years.

The Hey Nonny venue in Arlington Heights has been open for a little over year, and has already established a reputation from bringing some of Chicago best local acts to the northwest suburb. Hey Nonny has an ambitious event going on this weekend—a three-day blues festival that incorporating four separate stage areas.

The Imperial Sound will be at Hey Nonny next Friday, February 7; and Tommi Zender with The 45 (featuring Chicago Cubs broadcaster/musician Len Kasper) have a gig there on February 16.

Outronaut and fellow instrumental bands Los Gringos and Tony Richards Trio are performing tomorrow night at Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue. The bands will rotate their performances in 15-minutes sets over the course of three hours.

The Social Act will be performing at the Live Wire Lounge on Milwaukee Avenue next Friday, February 7.

Tickets went on sale today for Steely Dan and Steve Winwood on June 26 at The Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre; James Taylor with His All-Star Band and Jackson Browne on June 10 at the United Center; Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club, Draft Week, Bambiraptor, and Kachi The Band on February 7 at Lincoln Hall; and Jay O’Rourke and Spies Who Surf on February 14 at Reggie’s Music Joint.

The above listings are from the Early Warnings page in this week’s edition of the Chicago Reader, which features the cover story The Best Chicago Albums of The 2010s. Wilco; Wild Belle; Mavis Staples; Dolly Varden; Dreezy; The Autumn Defense; Twin Peaks; Ric Wilson; Rempis Percussion Quartet; Sin Orden; Beat Drun Juel; Fee Lion; Judson Claiborne; Sonny Falls; and Immortal Bird are among the chosen. I’d be lying if I said I’m familiar with all these acts.

The Go-Go’s have an 11-city tour coming up this summer and can also be seen on film. Alison Ellwood’s documentary The Go-Go’s is currently having its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT. Band member have expressed an appreciation that Ellwood concentrated on the fun and camaraderie The Go-Go’s have shared throughout their career. They were definitely exuding a fun attitude when I first saw them on the Rock Stage at ChicagoFest on Navy Pier back in the early 1980s. 

Next Friday, February 7 will bring the new albums Father Of All. . . by Green Day; A Simple Trick To Happiness by Lisa Loeb; and Perdida by Stone Temple Pilots. We’ll get The Slow Rush by Tame Impala on February 14; Surrender Your Poppy Field by Guide By Voices on February 21; and The Main Thing by Real Estate on February 28. This news comes via the February issue of the Illinois Entertainer. You’ll also find Jeff Elbel’s 9-out-of-10 rated review of the Supergrass Super Deluxe Box Set The Strange Ones in this month’s I.E. He sure makes it sound like it’s worth the money, and he also offers hope that the U.K. trio’s upcoming tour might include a Chicago date. Nothing definite on that yet.

The House Theater Of Chicago’s production of Verboten continues its runs at the Chopin Theatre through March 8. Written by Brett Neveu with original songs by Jason Narducy, Verboten is set in 1983 and concerns a teenage punk band aiming to rock out the Cubby Bear venue. Nathan Allen is the director.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Now Maybe He'll Get At Least Six Hours Of Sleep Each Night

After tomorrow morning, Lin Brehmer’s loyal listeners will have to find him elsewhere. WXRT’s popular morning host isn’t going away but he is moving to the station’s mid-afternoon (10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.) shift. That’s bound to be disorienting for those who are used to encountering their “best friend in the whole world” along with their first cup of coffee. And then there’s the question of whether Brehmer’s approach will change in his new time slot. His long-time on-air partner news anchor Mary Dixon had been let go—thankfully she’s landed at WBEZ AM—so he’s already had to adjust to that. My guess is Brehmer already has some tricks up his sleeve that will become new traditions for his followers. But please keep giving us Lin’s Bin.

Speaking of tradition, let’s raise our cups of coffee (or tea) in tribute to the guy who made us laugh and feel like family even on those mornings when he had been out late at a concert or watching a west coast Cubs game on TV. Brehmer has never gone for the cheap humor that’s the bread and butter of so many morning jocks. He can be bawdy at times, but the bulk of his appeal is based on clever observations and self-deprecating jokes. Plus, he loves to rock. There’s not a doubt he’ll still be blasting The Rolling Stones over the airwaves or assuring us the next tune coming up is “the best song in the whole world.”

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Seeing the Chicago-based, reunited band Spies Who Surf at the Hey Nonny venue in Arlington Heights earlier this month was a pleasant reminder that instrumental rock can be a blast. That fun could be tripled when Outronaut and fellow instrumental bands Los Gringos and Tony Richards Trio perform at Martyrs’ this Saturday on Lincoln Avenue. And to make things even more fun, the bands will rotate their performances in 15-minutes sets over the course of three hours. Outronaut describes its approach as “surf-noir-crime-jazz,” and jazz/bebop guitarist Tony Richards will be joined this time out by bassist John Tate and drummer Larry Beers. The four-man Los Gringos promises “vocal-less renditions of b-sides, deep cuts and originals that could help you ponder your very existence!”

Best of luck to Jason Thomas, who’s no longer with WXRT after a 13-year run. Even with that much time at the station, Thomas was probably still viewed by fans as part of a newer generation of XRT DJs. He hosted the weekly cutting-edge program The Big Beat, as well as doing his regular weekday shift. A Facebook post from him today announced he’ll be taking over the afternoon drive shift at public radio station KVOQ (Indie 102.3) in Denver.

The Yardbirds have a concert coming up on October 3 at The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. The current lineup features founding member vocalist-drummer Jim McCarty; guitarist Godfrey Townshend; bassist Kenny Aaronson; vocalist-harpist-percussionist Myke Scsavone, and vocalist-guitarist John Idan. All the musicians involved have extensive experience working with well-known artists. Seeing this gig scheduled for The Arcada raises hopes that similar events will be coming the Des Plaines Theater in suburban Des Plaines after it’s been fully remodeled and open for business. Both venues are run by concert promoter Ron Onesti.

Look for an evening of 1960s-influenced power pop as well as decades of cover versions when The Spindles share a double bill with The Last Generation at Danny’s On Douglas in Elgin this Friday night. The Spindles’ most recent release Past And Present includes a cover of The Hollies’ jangling hit “Look Through Any Window” along with catchy originals and a take on The Elvis Brothers’ fun 1980s track “Santa Fe.” The four members of The Last Generation range from 17 to 20 years old but in addition to their own material, play songs from The Beatles, Green Day, Beastie Boys, and Poison.

Friday, January 24, 2020


Wild Honey, the west coast organization that’s so nice in putting on all-star concerts to benefit worthy causes like The Autism Think Tank, has unveiled the lineup for its tribute to The Lovin’ Spoonful at The Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA on February 29. The event will feature original band members John Sebastian, Steve Boone and Joe Butler. Participating musicians include Micky Dolenz, Dave Alvin, Carnie Wilson, Dennis Diken, Susan Cowsill, Marshall Crenshaw, Don Dixon, Marti Jones, Elliot Easton, Darian Sahanaja, The Three O’Clock, Carla Olson, Wednesday Week, and Annette Zilinskas.

In related news, I bought a copy of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s "You Didn't Have To Be So Nice" 45 RPM single at the Reckless Records in downtown Chicago yesterday. The store always has an amazing selection of picture sleeve records for sale.

Squeeze and KT Tunstall shared a splendid gig at the Chicago Theatre last year and they’ll join forces again—along with Daryl Hall and John Oates—on July 18. That show will be at the far less convenient (for me at least) Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park.

Other concerts that went on sale today include Robin Trower at the Copernicus Center (just outside the Jefferson Park Blue Line station) on September 24; the Girls Rock! 10th Annual Auction at Parson’s Chicken and Fish on February 5; Motels, Bow Wow Wow, When In Rome II at House Of Blues on February 3; and the Chi-Town Sings: British Invasion at City Winery on February 10.

Mark your calendar. The 18th Annual CHIRP Record Fair and Other Delights will be held Saturday, May 2 at the Local 130 Plumbers Union Hall in Chicago.

I’m raising a pint in tribute to Monty Python member Terry Jones, who passed away earlier this week. He was a versatile actor who made each of his characters believable and funny, whether it was a middle-class housewife with a new artificial brain or a somber office clerk who unintentionally made his co-workers laugh every time he spoke. Several years back, my fellow Famous In The Future cast member Frank Carr and I went to an in-store appearance featuring Jones and Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy author Douglas Adams at the Borders Book Store in Lincoln Park. They were two very clever gentlemen who have left us but won’t be forgotten.

Katrina and The Waves have been back on the concert trail for a while now, and the band just announced on social media that it will have a new album coming out later this year.

Congratulations to actress Jodie Whittaker on signing up for a third season of the title role on the long-running British sci-fi show Doctor Who. She’s been doing a bang-up job.

The current issue of Streetwise has a five-page feature on musical acts coming to Chicago this winter. There are profiles on Tedeschi Trucks Band; GZA; The Wailin’ Jennys; Bob Weir and Wolf Bros.; Lil Wayne; Thom Yorke; Kurt Vile and Cate Le Bon; and others. Be sure to pick up a copy for $2 from a vendor in the downtown area.

There’s a Celebrate The Life Of Kim Shattuck event coming up on March 15 at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. Performers honoring the late power pop/alt rock sensation include Vicki Peterson; Kathy Valentine; Veruca Salt; and The Coolies. Tickets are $50, with all proceeds going to the ALS Association Golden West Chapter in honor of Shattuck.

Scottish musician Midge Ure, who performed with Ultravox and Visage, as well as participating in Band Aid, is coming to City Winery Chicago next Wednesday, January 29.

Sunshine Boys, who are currently on tour with Juliana Hatfield, have announced an IndieGoGo pre-order campaign for a vinyl version their upcoming album Work And Love. Their Facebook page has the link.

The Andy Warhol exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago closes this Sunday.

The House Theater Of Chicago’s production of Verboten continues its run at the Chopin Theatre through March 8. Written by Brett Neveu with original songs by Jason Narducy, Verboten is set in 1983 and concerns a teenage punk band aiming to rock out the Cubby Bear venue. Nathan Allen is the director.

How To Defend Yourself, Liliana Padilla’s new play concerning college students taking a self-defense class in the wake of an on-campus assault, opened today at Victory Garden Theater, and runs through February 23. It won the 2019 Yale Drama Series Prize.

An email newsletter from Pop Geek Heaven arrived in my inbox today proclaiming that the fifth and final volume of author/musician Ken Sharp’s expansive and informative Power Pop Heroes book series will come out toward the end of this year.

The Chicago European Union Film Festival will bring 60 premieres from Europe to the Gene Siskel Film Center in March.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Saturday Slumgullion

Todd Rundgren is coming to Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago.

Slumgullion is late and once again it’s due to a Friday night booking at the Hey Nonny venue in Arlington Heights. Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen from the Chicago-based alt-rock/roots rock band Dolly Varden offered a rare duo performance that was funny, entertaining, and showcased their amazing harmony vocals. Singer-songwriter Chris Rawlins opened with a set of off-kilter but engaging love songs sung with Gordon Lightfoot type vocals. His new album Bring On The Rain was produced by Steve Dawson.

Tickets are now on sale for Todd Rundgren at Athenaeum Theatre on May 10 and 11; Graham Parker at Old Town School Of Folk Music on April 10; Jeff Lescher with Green and Joy Poppers at GMan Tavern on March 7; J. Davis Trio and Prismatic at Chop Shop on January 25; Brit Floyd at Chicago Theatre on March 28; and Alejandro Escobedo with Antonio Gramentieri and Alex Ruiz at City Winery on March 18 and 19.

WXRT has shown an affection for bringing events to the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove over the years, and they’ll be back there on February 20. This time out, the station is co-sponsoring (with Classic Cinemas) a Poi Dog Pondering concert. Tickets went on sale yesterday at 9:00 a.m.

Chrissie Hynde performs as a guest vocalist on the track “You Can’t Let Go” on the upcoming The Hands Of Time album by The Picturebooks. It’s a slow, bluesy number in line with her work on the Valve Bone Woe album with The Valve Bone Bone Woe. “You Can’t Let Go” should not be confused with The Hollies’ “I Can’t Let Go” although I’d love to hear Hynde perform that as well.

The House Theater Of Chicago’s production of Verboten continues its run at the Chopin Theatre through March 8. Written by Brett Neveu with original songs by Jason Narducy, Verboten is set in 1983 and concerns a teenage punk band aiming to rock out the Cubby Bear venue. Nathan Allen is the director.

The Spy Who Loves Indie. Singer-songwriter Billie Eilish, who’s generated quite a buzz in recent years, composed and recorded the title song of the next James Bond movie No Time To Die.

Mark your calendar and start saving your money. This year’s Record Store Day is coming on April 18, although it will be a while before we learn which vinyl treasures will be available. I’m also looking forward to the in-store performances by local bands that usually take place on RSD.

The Regrettes will kick off their 2020 European tour with a gig in Dublin on March 12 and move on Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Hamburg, and Paris. On How Do You Love?, the full-length follow-up to their well-received debut Feel Your Feelings Fool, the Los Angeles-based quartet continues to mix authentic punk with the 1960s girl group sound. Lead vocalist/chief songwriter Lydia Night come across a bit more introspective this time out, but she can still spit venom when the occasion calls for it.

The Social Act will be performing with Nicholas Baron and The Hurtin' Kind at the Live Wire Lounge on Milwaukee Avenue on February 7. The band is led by singer-guitarist Ellis Clark, and it looks like vocalist Ary Paloma Jeeby from The Amazing Heeby Jeebies joins in sometimes, judging from the photos I’ve seen on social media.

Speaking of Live Wire, it will be the home of International Pop Overthrow – Chicago again this year. David Bash’s annual festival of power pop and indie rock will run at the venue from April 17 through 25. The full schedule of performers will be available on the IPO website at some point in the future.

The Taste section in this past Wednesday’s Chicago Sun-Times includes the article 2020’s New Chicago Hot Spots. My nephew and Top Chef winner Joe Flamm’s soon-to-be-named debut restaurant in the Fulton Market area is included on the list, and the Sun-Times notes “Flamm, a South Side native, is eager to show off more of what he did at Spiaggia, along with some Croatian influences.” Best of luck, Joe. Hope to see you at the grand opening later this year.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


The Hollies Spring 2020 U.K. tour starts on April 16 in Aberdeen, Scotland and wraps up on May 9 at Symphony Hall in Birmingham, England. Original members guitarist-harmony vocalist Tony Hicks and drummer Bobby Elliott are still onboard, and their current mates have been with them quite a while. It seems futile to suggest the band should return to America for the first time since 2001, but I’ll extend an invitation anyway.

Meanwhile, American Hollies fans will be able to buy Elliott’s autobiography It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Story - My Life And The Hollies when it comes out on April 2. Graham Nash continues to tour extensively in the States, and in more recent years, he’s added a few Hollies tunes to his concerts. Now that former Hollies vocalist Allan Clarke has made an impressive comeback with his latest solo album Resurgence, it would be great to see Nash and Clarke perform as duo, like when they were teenagers.

If you’re still hoping to check out the Andy Warhol exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago, you’ve got less than two weeks to do it. Andy Warhol - From A To B And Back Again closes on January 26.

Just a reminder: Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue has a psychedelic triple bill tomorrow (Wednesday) night with whitewolfsonicprincess, Ovadya, and Baby Noname. Decoy Prayer Meeting will be doing a tribute to The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield at Montrose Saloon this Friday, with special guest Josh Chico. Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen of the critically acclaimed alt rock/roots band Dolly Varden (and before that Stump The Host) will be at Hey Nonny in Arlington Heights this Friday night.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Saturday Slumgullion

Tickets are now on sale for Rod Stewart and Cheap Trick at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre on September 5; Mark Caro’s Talking In Space series featuring Jon Langford at SPACE on January 21; Terry Reid and Railheart at SPACE on April 25; Man Or Astro-Man? and Wray at Sleeping Village on February 26; and Ides Of March featuring Jim Peterik at City Winery on March 4.

Scottish musician Midge Ure, who performed with Ultravox and Visage, as well as participating in Band Aid, is coming to City Winery Chicago on January 29. The City Winery ad in this week’s Reader promises he’ll offer songs, questions, and answers. So you can do your best Chris Farley, and say, “Remember when you were in Ultravox and recorded ‘Reap The Wild Wind’? That was awesome!”

Garage/rockabilly band Amazing Heeby Jeebies turned in a great performance last night as the opening act for Spies Who Surf at the Hey Nonny venue in Arlington Heights, and they’ll continue their Second Sundays residency at Montrose Saloon tomorrow with special guests The Handcuffs. It’s a great opportunity to catch two of Chicago’s best bands on the same bill.

The reunited Spies Who Surf were also fantastic, and seemed genuinely thrilled with the wildly appreciative audience at Hey Nonny. These guys create adventurous instrumental songs while simultaneously exuding the suave persona of James Bond.

Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue has a psychedelic triple bill coming up next Wednesday, January 15 with whitewolfsonicprincess, Ovadiya, and Baby Noname. I first met vocalist Carla Hayden and guitarist-vocalist James Moeller of whitewolfsonicprincess when they performed with their theatre group Black Forest at the annual Abbie Fests at Mary-Arrchie Theatre. The music of their band exhibits a similar off-kilter charm to Black Forest’s avant garde theatrical pieces.

There will be a bit of a reunion when Sunshine Boys open for Juliana Hatfield at SPACE in Evanston next Thursday, January 16. Drummer Freda Love Smith was a member of Blake Babies with Hatfield long before she joined forces with Dag Juhlin from The Slugs and Jacqueline Schimmel in Sunshine Boys. Hatfield just released a fun video for her cover of The Police’s “Can’t Stand Losing You” which features her performing as Sting, Andy, and Stewart. It’s a prime example of how she brought her own approach to all the songs on her recent tribute album to The Police.

Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones recently mentioned The House Theater Of Chicago’s upcoming production of Verboten as one of his recommendations for local shows this winter. Written by Brett Neveu with original songs by Jason Narducy, Verboten is set in 1983 and concerns a teenage punk band aiming to rock out the Cubby Bear venue. Nathan Allen is the director. The promo postcard I picked up at the Gene Siskel Film Center states the play is based on Narducy’s own experiences when he started a punk band when he was 11 years old. It runs at the Chopin Theatre January 16 through March 8.

Crosby, Stills, and - - - . Decoy Prayer Meeting will be performing the music of Buffalo Springfield and The Byrds next Friday at Montrose Saloon. That’s two-thirds of the history just prior to CSN, so I’m not sure why they wouldn’t throw some Hollies songs in there as well. Nevertheless, it’s bound to be a good show.

Annoyance Theatre will a hold Food, Tunes and Booze event at the Cubby Bear on January 15. Founding member Mick Napier and Executive Director Jennifer Estlin will serve as hosts.

Mean Girls, the musical based on Tina Fey’s film of that same name, runs through January 26 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre. The book is by Fey, and the songs were created by lyricist Nell Benjamin and composer (and Fey’s husband) Jeff Richmond.

I just finished reading The Vanishing Stair, the second novel in Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious YA mystery trilogy. I’ve been told by literary agents that I need to find popular books that are similar to the novel I’ve written so they have an idea of what I’m pitching to them. Johnson’s ability to mix tension, romantic attraction, and humor; all the while dropping fascinating clues is something I strive for, and there are similarities between her story and my latest YA novel. Mine is still waiting to get published someday, but you can enjoy Truly Devious already. The final book of the trilogy is due out in a couple weeks. Note: Each of the first two books ends with a cliffhanger, so you're pretty much forced to read all three.
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