The NME Magazine Instagram site recently reported that Wolf Alice has a new album titled The Last Man On Earth coming out soon. The U.K. band is being pretty cryptic about it on social media, hinting that it could arrive as soon as February 24. When Wolf Alice released Visions Of Life in 2017, I noted in a review here that “lead vocalist Ellie Rowsell can evoke an angel, a street fighter, or an alluring hipster, depending on the song [and the] arrangements flip from pristine to overpowering in a matter of moments.” It will certainly be interesting to hear what they’ve got coming up next.
Artist/musician/Beatles pal Klaus Voormann has been added to the list of special guests participating in the virtual Life Of George - A Beatles Birthday Celebration taking place next Thursday, February 25 on Zoom. The event is being presented by The Fest For Beatles Fans and will kick off at 4:00 p.m. and run through 10:00 p.m. CST. Tickets are $15 on EventBrite. The full schedule can be found on The Fest For Beatles Fans website. One of my most prized rock and roll possessions is a copy of Voormann’s birth of an icon - Revolver 50 graphic novel that he autographed for me at Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago a few years back. Voormann created the iconic cover for The Beatles’ Revolver album.
There will also be some pre-event shows this Thursday on The Fest For Beatles Fans Facebook page. My Sweet George, the Chicago-based band led by vocalist Ary Paloma and vocalist-musician Ellis Clark, will be performing at 1:00 p.m. They will be followed by Scott Erickson at 2:00 p.m., and Joe DeJesu at 3:00 p.m.
Chicago-based musician and Beatles fanatic Phil Angotti has a two-hour George Harrison tribute livestream at Fulton Street Collective Arts and Entertainment this Monday night at 8:00 p.m. on YouTube. He’ll be joined by Casey McDonough; Eric Howell; Blair Holmes; and Tony Richards, along with visual artist Melanie Brown. Admission is free.
The Art & Hue online store is offering limited-edition prints from its The King Of Carnaby Street collection through February 28. The prints are inspired by famed London retailer John Stephens, and include portraits of Mick Avery of The Kinks and Jeff Beck, as well as scenes from Carnaby Street in all its 1960s fab gear glory.
The Empty Bottle music venue is sponsoring Waltzer TV: Season II Episode II at 8:00 p.m., February 25 on the Noon Chorus Facebook page. The virtual event will feature Chicago-based indie rock musician Waltzer, AKA Sophie Sputnik, performing songs and comedy sketches, and hosting an off-kilter variety show. An Instagram post by The Empty Bottle stated, “Don’t miss this love letter to you, music, to the city, and our world, airing on Noon Chorus.” Also, be sure to check out The Empty Bottle’s website for ways to help them stay in business during the pandemic.
As noted by Joe Marchese on The Second Disc website, Elvis Costello has just released a Super Deluxe box set of his 1979 album Armed Forces. It’s strictly a vinyl affair, spreading live performance and studio recordings across a mix of 12-inch and 10-inch records. Twenty three of the live songs were previously unreleased. The Armed Forces box also includes seven notebooks with updated liner notes; a poster; and postcards. All for $199.98.
The Chicago Tribune recently carried an article by David Syrek describing how local artist Nikko Washington has created limited-edition hoodies and t-shirts that are currently available at the Chicago Cubs online Ivy Shop. Washington, who earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, chose to honor two of the team’s Black players—Ernie Banks and Buck O’Neil. As a lifetime fan of Banks, I ordered the black t-shirt with his image on it. Proceeds from the shirts will benefit the nonprofit organization The Bloc.
The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit at the Lighthouse ArtSpace in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood has been extended through September 6. Organizers have social distancing, along with numerous other health and safety measures in place, so visitors can be surrounded by the world famous artist’s best works for a little over a half hour.
So far, the late Fela Kuti holds a commanding lead in the 2021 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction voting. Known as a political activist, as well as a vocalist, musician, composer, and bandleader, the Nigerian-born Kuti has a commanding lead over second-place nominee Tina Turner. The top five vote-getters will most likely be the five acts chosen for induction, and if the voting ended today, those five would be Kuti, Turner, Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, and Carole King. As it is, the voting continues through April 30, so Kate Bush fans (she’s currently in last place) have time to rally behind her. As I mentioned here previously, my choices are Tina Turner, Carole King, Kate Bush, The Go-Go’s, and Todd Rundgren.
This past Thursday’s newspapers brought tributes, and sadly, eulogies for owners of two special venues in the Chicago area. In the Chicago Sun-Times, staff reporter Maureen O’Donnell noted the passing of Mary Jo McGuire, who along with her husband Butch, founded the Butch McGuire’s bar on Division Street. As O’Donnell noted, its legacy is that it was one of the first singles bars in the U.S. Butch McGuire passed away in 2006; the place is now owned by the McGuires’ son Bobby. The Chicago Tribune picked up a Courier-News piece noting that Kathleen Mau, the co-owner of the Blue Box Cafe in Elgin, had suddenly passed away. Mau and her husband Chris began running what they called, “the very first Doctor Who dedicated cafe in North America” in 2014.
I have fond memories of being at both of these venues. Butch McGuire’s was a frequent stop whenever my friends and I hit the Division Street/Rush Street area back in the 1970s and ’80s. My wife Pam and I often stopped by the Blue Box Cafe when we traveled to Elgin to work with Jeff Kelley and Dave Metzger on their short films for the city’s annual Nightmare On Chicago Street Halloween festival. As a Doctor Who fan, I was fascinated with the Blue Box Cafe’s decor. The common thread in those newspaper tributes to McGuire and Mau is how friendly and devoted they and their spouses were to their customers. And how they brought a unique quality to their venues.