Saturday, November 27, 2021

Saturday Slumgullion


Slumgullion is late this week due to my making rather merry with my extended family yesterday. We always celebrate Thanksgiving on the day after since it lets everyone stay longer. Except last year, when we didn’t get together at all. Great seeing everyone again.

Out Of Time: The Material Issue Story will be screened at Lincoln Hall on Chicago’s north side this coming Thursday, December 2. The Balin Schneider directed documentary recently went over quite well at The Parkway Theater in Minneapolis, MN, from what I see on Facebook posts. The Lincoln Hall event will also feature a performance by the current lineup of Material Issue. The band’s terrific debut effort, International Pop Overthrow, was released 30 years ago.


The 27th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival continues its run at the Gene Siskel Film Center on State Street in downtown Chicago through next Thursday. December 2.


Over The Rhine will bring its annual Christmas Tour to The Old Town School Of Folk Music on December 5. The critically acclaimed alt rock/Americana band, led by Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, will offer a mix of traditional holiday songs and original material. The music starts at 7:00 pm.


Annie Leibovitz, whose photos of rock stars and celebrities have been featured in Rolling Stone and other publications for years, will give a presentation titled On Photography And Fashion at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance on December 7. It’s part of the 2021 Chicago Humanities Festival.

 

It couldn’t be a festive season without the annual Chris & Heather’s Country Calendar Show at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn. This year’s edition falls on December 4. It’s a double win since attendees can enjoy homespun music as well as the opportunity to buy a calendar featuring Heather McAdams’ fun drawing of rock and country stars.


She And Him, AKA Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of their holiday album A Very She And Him Christmas at The Chicago Theatre on December 7.


Tonight, we’re going to party like it’s 2022. Tickets are now on sale for a pair of Tributosaurus shows celebrating the music of Prince at Theater On The Lake. The first is on New Year’s Eve, and the second will be on January 1. Tributosuarus, one of Chicago’s best-known tribute bands, promised on a Facebook they’ll “get funky, soulful, joyful, and sexy as we wanna be.” 


Tickets are also available for Josh Caterer Trio and Sunshine Boys at SPACE in Evanston on December 16; Flat Five at FitzGerald’s on January 21; Janis Ian at Old Town School Of Folk Music on May 14; Chris Isaak at Genesee Theatre on December 11; Local H at Beat Kitchen December 29 through 31; Low at Metro on February 16; Modern English at SPACE on July 2; Sheila E. and the E-Train at City Winery on February 5 and 6; Southern Culture On The Skids at FitzGerald’s on October 12; and Tears For Fears and Garbage at Hollywood Casino on June 16.


The above paragraph of listings comes from the Early Warnings page in the November 25 edition of the Chicago Reader. I’ve been subscribing to it for a while, and it’s available in newspaper boxes and at venues in downtown and Chicago’s north side. I just got a packet of Reader buttons in the mail today that I had ordered from the publication’s website.


The Irish Community Services organization is holding a Jolly Tots, a free event featuring games, crafts, and songs for kids aged six and under at the Irish American Heritage Center from noon to 2:00 pm on Saturday, December 11.

 

Chicago-based indie rock band whitewolfsonicprincess will hold its annual Toys For Tots benefit on December 10 at the La Principal Mexican Restaurant at 700 Main St. in Evanston. The six-hour event will feature 12 sets by local performers, including Gemini; Dark Room Men; Lady Stardust; The Rut; WWSP; and The Telepaths.


The Empty Pockets band have a performance titled An Americana Holiday coming up at City Winery Chicago on December 15; and Michael McDermott will bring Mischief And Mistletoe to that same venue December 20 through 23. 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Holiday Rock and Roll Gift Guide


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who reads my blog. Even if you’re not located in America, it’s a good idea to take a few moments to consider the gifts and opportunities you’ve been given, and how you could use them to help others.

It’s the time of year when indie newspapers and major publications offer holiday gift guides. Options range from brick and mortar stores to websites. The goal is to find something that’s a cut above the usual necktie or a box of candy. We also see articles about ways to help charitable organizations. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of sending money, but more and more, groups are finding creative and entertaining ways to reward those who contribute.


With the above in mind, here’s the somewhat annual (I’ve missed a few years) Broken Hearted Toy Holiday Rock And Roll Gift Guide. Keep in mind that products ordered from online sites may not arrive in time for the holidays.


For the vinyl fanatics in your life, choose from the limited-edition releases coming to record stores tomorrow as part of Black Friday Record Store Day. The selection includes several high-caliber artists, including The Bee Gees; Joan Jett And The Blackhearts; U2; Lana Del Ray; Dire Straits; Billie Eilish; Norah Jones; Charlie Parker; and Nancy Wilson from Heart. Check with your local record store to see if it’s participating.


Guaranteed to break the ice at holiday parties. The official Monty Python online store is offering t-shirts, sweaters, and mugs with a very cool graphic of The Knights Who Say Ni and the slogan Merry Xmas Happy Ni Year!


Select the Store link on The Who’s official website and you’ll find a treasure chest of fun and creative items for fans of the iconic English band. The choices include t-shirts, mugs, vinyl, playing cards, a notebook, socks, and even a model of a very mod looking tour van.


The Fest For Beatles Fans store is loaded with Beatles merchandise, including Ringo Starr’s new four-song EP Change The World on cassette, CD, digital download, or 10-inch vinyl. You’ll also find ornaments, every form of clothing, books, and calendars.


Don’t forget to show The Rolling Stones a little love, especially after those daft and uncalled for insults from Paul McCartney and Roger Daltry. I highly respect both those guys, but really, what was the point? The Rolling Stones have a store called No. 9 Carnaby in London, and fans can also order clothing and memorabilia online.


If you’ve got some extra money to spend on that special Stones fan (or yourself), check out Ronnie Wood’s website for some amazingly colorful and lifelike portraits of the band, along with a few other musicians. Prices range from $450.00 to $5200.00.


David Bowie fans in New York and London can be thankful for having a pop-up store in their city that will run through late January. Both retail locations will feature immersive audio and HD video screening rooms, exclusive apparel, limited-edition LPs and CDs, and gallery installations. The New York City store is located at 150 Wooster Street; and the London store is at 14 Heddon Street, 41B, 4BZ. Fans can also order a variety cool things on the Bowie 75 website.


If you live in New Orleans and are looking for fun holiday entertainment that’s a little off-kilter, check out The Ho Ho Ho Show starring Kate Fagan taking place December 23 at the AllWays Lounge And Cabaret. Those of us in Chicago know Fagan for her work with Heavy Manners, one of the first U.S. bands to fully embrace the 1980s ska revival.


The Chicago-based store Southside Blooms will donate 20% of each purchase of one of its gift items to help buy books from minority-owned bookstores to donate to Black students at the Montessori School Of Englewood. Be sure to use the code BOOKS while ordering so your purchase will go toward this worthy cause.


For avid readers of rock and roll books, check out these new releases: Steven Van Zandt’s memoir Unrequited Infatuations covers his acting and musical adventures, including The Sopranos and Bruce Springsteen. Decades - The Bee Gees In The 1960s comes from authors Andrew Mön Hughes, Grant Walters and Mark Crohan. All three have extensive experience writing about the Brothers Gibb via books, tour programs, articles, and television documentaries. A Life In Focus, Graham Nash’s new book of his photos, features portraits of Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Bob Dylan, and Cass Elliott, along with reflections on what was going on at the time the shot was taken.

BN59 Pop-Art Sports Cards on eBay has created unique items that may prove addictive for collectors. Designed to look like the baseball cards kids faithfully collected over various decades, they feature Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Kinks, Heart, The Bangles, and numerous other rock and roll acts.

Metro, the iconic Chicago music venue located just down Clark Street from Wrigley Field, has a 50% Off (almost) Everything Black Friday Sale coming up. The selection includes t-shirts, hats, books, puzzles, and slip mats. Metro is also offering The PostCard Project, which the venue describes as, “A collectable, limited-run compilation of twenty-three memorable Metro moments.” It includes photos of Brian Setzer, The Muffs, Shirley Manson from Garbage, Wyclef Jean, St. Vincent, and Eddie Vedder. The $40 price can be made in installments of $10, and the best part is 50% of the net proceeds of sales will benefit the CIVL Emergency Relief Fund.


House Of Blues, The Hideout, Beat Kitchen, Schubas/Lincoln Hall, FitzGerald’s and Martyrs’ all have merchandise available on their websites. Be sure to check out your favorite night spot to see if they have anything for sale.


Support the local free press by giving a subscription to the Chicago Reader, or pick out a few items, such as buttons, a t-shirt, etc on the publication’s online store.


Don’t forget to support local bands, music venues, and restaurants when choosing gifts. Check out Bandcamp, as well as individual websites to download music, order a CD, vinyl record, t-shirt, poster, or button.


Record label websites like Bloodshot, Yep Roc, Mega Dodo, American Laundromat, Kool Kat Musik; and Fruits de Mer are always worth shopping, and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame website has lots of inductee and exhibit memorabilia.


Pledge Music, Go Fund Me, Indiegogo, and other crowd funding sites are a good way to support your favorite artists and pick up autographed items. And you never know what rare treasures you’ll discover on eBay.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Incoming


Cold weather and the cherished tradition of consumers stampeding through department stores the morning after Thanksgiving have always made Black Friday Record Store Day less popular than the original April edition. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the April RSD has been ditched the past two years in favor of two smaller, more manageable RSD Drops during the summer. Black Friday RSD has remained untouched, which means the selection is never going to be as extensive as the April one used to be. Still, the high-caliber artists involved once again come from several genres and eras.

This Friday’s list includes Aerosmith; Leonard Cohen; Sam Cooke; Chick Corea and Lionel Hampton; Lana Del Ray; Dire Straits; Billie Eilish; Fleetwood Mac; The Jimi Hendrix Experience;  Chris Isaak; Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit; Norah Jones; Judas Priest; Carole King; Lil Wayne; Little Feat; Modern English; Motorhead; Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price; Buck Owens And His Buckaroos; Charlie Parker; Oscar Peterson; Bobby Rush; The Shangri-Las; Dusty Springfield; Squirrel Nut Zippers; The Staple Singers; Stray Cats; Joe Strummer And The Mescaleros; Tammi Terrell; Big Mama Thornton; U Roy; and Nancy Wilson from Heart.


My personal wish list includes the Three Kisses Of Love LP from The Bee Gees; the 40x40: Book And Record Set by Joan Jett And The Blackhearts; and the “Gloria 40th Anniversary” by U2. If you’re interested in buying any of this year’s releases, it’s advisable to get to your chosen record store early, because copies are limited. Afterward, you can grab a cup of coffee (or in my case, a chai latte) to celebrate the your purchases and the long holiday weekend.


Chicago area radio station WXRT has had success with its Vinyl Day format in the past, and will (turkey) trot out another one this Thanksgiving. Starting at 9:00 am and running through midnight, DJs will be playing entire album sides, and considering WXRT has been around since the 1970s, listeners will be hearing a variety of rock and roll. Continuing a tradition, the station will air Arlo Guthrie’s epic Alice’s Restaurant somewhere around noon. 


The Beatles - Get Back, famed director Peter Jackson’s three-part documentary on The Beatles rehearsing, recording, and performing back in 1969, kicks off on Disney+ on Thanksgiving Day.


The Chicago Tardis, an annual convention that rightfully celebrates the many years Doctor Who has been around, will take place at in Westin Chicago Lombard on November 26 – 28. This year’s guests include Colin Baker; Sylvie Briggs; Lauren Cornelius; Frazer Hines; Neve McIntosh; and Clem So. 


Friday, November 19, 2021

Slumgullion


I wonder if they’ll perform “Cold Turkey.” The Beatles - Get Back, famed director Peter Jackson’s three-part documentary on The Beatles rehearsing, recording, and performing back in 1969, kicks off on Disney+ on Thanksgiving Day.

Congratulations to Chicago-based singer-songwriter Steve Dawson on being invited to perform as part of U.K. Americana Music Week in London. Dawson, whose most recent solo effort, At The Bottom Of A Canyon In The Branches Of A Tree, racked up several positive reviews (including one here), will be performing at the festival on January 25 and 26. In addition to his solo efforts, Dawson is also a member of the Dolly Varden and Funeral Bonsai Wedding bands.


Sting’s new album The Bridge came out today. “Rushing Water,” the catchy and clever track I’ve been hearing on WXRT in Chicago suggests the artist is at the top of his game. WXRT air personality Ryan Arnold recently conducted an interesting interview via Zoom with Sting, and it can be viewed on the station’s website. Sting was in Las Vegas at the time of the Zoom interview for his My Songs residency at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace. His last 2021 shows will be this weekend in Greensboro, NC, but he has more dates scheduled for 2022.


A Cabinet Of Curious Characters - An Art Exhibit From Oddball Art Labs opened today and runs through November 28 at Side Street Studios in downtown Elgin.


As I mentioned here yesterday, The Hollies will bring their 60th Anniversary Tour to Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Beverly Hills, CA; Morristown, NJ and Washington, D.C. in 2022. It will be the band’s first U.S. gigs in 20 years. Chicago area Hollies fans will be doubly blessed, considering Graham Nash will be performing at SPACE in Evanston on March 25, and The Hollies will be at the Athenaeum Theatre on April 7.


Chicago-based indie rock band whitewolfsonicprincess promises to have “an album’s worth of new songs” to debut at its January 19 show at SPACE in Evanston. Prior to that, WWSP will hold its annual Toys For Tots benefit on December 10 at the La Principal Mexican Restaurant at 700 Main St. in Evanston. The six-hour event will feature 12 sets by local performers, including Gemini; Dark Room Men; Lady Stardust; The Rut; WWSP; and The Telepaths.


The 2022 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony will be streaming on HBOMAX tomorrow night November 20, In addition to The Go-Go’s, Tina Turner, Carole King, LL Cool J, Foo Fighters, Todd Rundgren, Jay-Z, Kraftwerk, Gil Scott-Heron, Randy Rhoads, Charley Patton, and Billy Preston being inducted, there will also be special appearances by Paul McCartney, Angela Baassett, Taylor Swift, Brandi Carlile, Christina Aguilera Dr. Dre, Jennifer Hudson, and other well-known musicians. 


As posted by Rhino Records on Instagram today, actor Jonah Hill has been chosen to portray Jerry Garcia in an upcoming film based on The Grateful Dead. Martin Scorsese will be directing. By the way, the Rhino online gift shop is a good place to find ideas for that rock and roll fan on your holiday gift list.


Congratulations to Tellin’ Tales Theatre on its 25th Anniversary. As stated on its website, Tellin’ Tales Theatre’s mission is “to shatter barriers between the disabled and non-disabled worlds through the transformative power of personal story.”


Musicians in cars getting nostalgic. The new documentary Brian Wilson - Long Promised Road - The Genius Behind The Beach Boys And The California Sound  is now available to view on various streaming sites. 


Durty Nellie’s in Palatine continues its ongoing Future Stars series on November 28, with a double bill of Collision and David’s House. The concert runs from 5:00 to 8:00 pm; admission is $5 online, $10 at the door. The venue is inviting music acts who are in senior year high school or younger to audition for a chance to perform on a professional stage before a live audience.

 

The Zombies will open their 2022 Life Is A Merry-Go-Round Tour with an April 1 date in Orlando, FL., and will be performing almost everyday that month. Surprisingly, they won’t be coming to Chicago, or anyplace else in the midwest.


Chicago area fans of cutting-edge English bands will have cause to drop by Beat Kitchen on December 17 when Primary performs music by The Cure and Still Il covers Morrissey and The Smiths. Beat Kitchen is located at Belmont. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.


People looking for a guaranteed fun way to ring in 2022 should consider the Los Lobos shows at City Winery Chicago on December 30 and 31.


The Chicago Tardis, an annual convention that celebrates the many years Doctor Who has been around, will take place at in Westin Chicago Lombard on November 26 – 28. This year’s guests include Colin Baker; Sylvie Briggs; Lauren Cornelius; Frazer Hines; Neve McIntosh; and Clem So. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Ain’t This A Peculiar Situation?


There’s a feeling of magic on those rare occasions when the words ‘The Hollies’ are directly followed by the words ‘U.S. Tour.’ I’d rather not describe the sound I made when I saw that combination on Instagram yesterday, other than to say it was happy. I must quickly add though that so far, the band’s 2022 visit here (tickets are already on sale) will only include five cities.


Their April 7 Chicago gig at the Athenaeum Theatre falls between New York, NY and Beverly Hills, CA, with the other two stops being in Morristown, NJ and Washington, D.C. A fan who doesn’t live in any of those locations exuded the American pioneer spirit yesterday by posting, “Looks like we’re going on a road trip" on Facebook. To put things in perspective, The Hollies haven’t performed on American soil since a small town tour in 2002.


Back then, my wife Pam drove us to Stillwater, MN to see The Hollies at an outdoor festival called Lumberjack Days. Unfortunately, it was rained out, but since the stage was on a barge on a river, we were able to watch their soundcheck earlier that afternoon, and meet the charismatic Carl Wayne. Wayne was lead vocalist for The Hollies at that time; sadly he passed away a few years later. I did see The Hollies reunion tour in 1983, which included Allan Clarke and Graham Nash, and I saw them in 1972 when Mikael Rickfors was lead vocalist. 

 

Hollies fans in Europe have long enjoyed the privilege of attending Hollies concerts on a regular basis. Although the band has gone through several lineup changes over the years, they’ve never stopped touring since they first developed a loyal following in the early 1960s. These days, guitarist Tony Hicks and drummer Bobby Elliott are the only remaining originals, but the musicians they perform with have been onboard for years and are pros at delivering all those hit singles. Peter Howarth does a fine job as lead vocalist.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Incoming


Let’s Active back in the 1980s.

Every word means blow out the candles. Happy Birthday to Mitch Easter from Let’s Active. Unfortunately, he’s the only surviving member from the engaging 1980s indie rock trio—we lost Faye Hunter and Sara Romweber a while back—but their songs sound as fresh as ever. Of course, Easter is also known for producing R.E.M. and he remains a respected producer and musician to this day.


I had never heard of Let’s Active when I saw them open for R.E.M. at Park West, but after that show, I became a long-time fan. I still have all their records, plus a multi-act tribute CD. On November 4, Mitch Easter performed a Lets Active 40th Anniversary Concert in the band’s hometown of Winston-Salem, NC, with help from a number of guests.


Blue Oyster Cult will be calming our fears about The Reaper this Friday night at the new Des Plaines Theatre in northwest suburban Des Plaines. John Waite, a solo artist, as well as a member of The Babys and Bad English, will be there on Saturday, November 20.


The 2022 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony will be streaming on HBOmax this November 20. In addition to The Go-Go’s, Tina Turner, Carole King, LL Cool J, Foo Fighters, Todd Rundgren, Jay-Z, Kraftwerk, Gil Scott-Heron, Randy Rhoads, Charley Patton, and Billy Preston being inducted, there will also be special appearances by Paul McCartney, Angela Bassett, Taylor Swift, Brandi Carlile, Christina Aguilera, Dr. Dre, Jennifer Hudson, and other well-known musicians.

 

On a sad, note, The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame paid tribute today to Graeme Edge, who passed away recently at the age of 80. Edge was the drummer for 2018 inductees The Moody Blues. 

 

There was no Slumgullion in the pot this past weekend because I was preparing for the virtual North Carolina Writing Day Workshop, which was held on Saturday and Sunday. I had Zoom meetings with two literary agents on Saturday, and a third Zoom meeting with an agent on Sunday morning. We discussed my Young Adult RomCom/Paranormal/Rock and Roll novel, and the feedback was very positive.


I’ve been given the green light to send chapters to two of the agents I spoke with, so wish me luck. There were also a number of seminars offered as well. This was the last WDW event for 2021, but if you’re a writer looking to connect with some very helpful and knowledgeable people in the publishing industry, watch for the 2022 WDW conferences.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Tomorrow Night


The 20th Annual International Pop Overthrow - New York kicks off tomorrow (Friday, November 12) with a five-act lineup at the Arlene's Grocery music venue. There will be afternoon and evening showcases on Saturday, and an afternoon showcase on Sunday. All at the above mentioned venue.

Saturday night looks to be the event’s highlight, with sets by The Airport  77s, The Grip Weeds, and The Anderson Council. I say that chiefly because I have albums by those three bands, and am not familiar with Astro Chicken and meyerman—who are also scheduled for Saturday night—or most of the other acts. Still, one of the joys of IPO is discovering new bands and adding them to your favorites. That’s happened to me several times while attending IPO showcases in Chicago.


The recently opened Des Plaines Theatre in suburban Des Plaines has some fun coming up this week for Fleetwood Mac fans. Tusk, which bills itself as The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute, will be performing tomorrow (Friday, November 12) and Saturday, November 13. Upcoming concerts at the Des Plaines Theatre include Blue Oyster Cult on November 19; John Waite on November 20, Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate on November 24; and the Rocky Horror Picture Show 45th Anniversary Tour . . . Again! with Barry Bostwick on November 26.


Congratulations to the Chicago-based Tellin’ Tales Theatre on its 25th Anniversary. Look for founding member/Artistic Director Tekki Lomnicki in an interview with LeeAnn Trotter on NBC News tomorrow (Friday, November 12). Tomorrow is also opening night for the company’s latest effort, a virtual presentation of Six Stories Up in Defiance - A Video Game Musical. As stated on its website, Tellin’ Tales Theatre’s mission is “to shatter barriers between the disabled and non-disabled worlds through the transformative power of personal story.”


And finally, since I used Tomorrow Night as the header for this post, here’s a link to one of the best power pop songs ever—“Tomorrow Night” by Shoes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Wolf Alice At The Vic In Chicago


Photo of Ellie Rowsell from Wolf Alice Facebook page
.


It was a bit of a trek (train, bus, el), but I was able to catch a portion of Wolf Alice at The Vic this past Monday night. The U.K. band is touring the States in support of its latest album Blue Weekend, and it would great to see them establish the same massive following here that they’ve achieved at home. Judging from the sold-out show at The Vic, that just might be happening.


Back when I reviewed Wolf Alice’s full-length debut My Love Is Cool in 2016, I noted, “A major benefit of seeing Wolf Alice perform live would be watching vocalist-guitarist Ellie Rowsell navigate the various genres and personas scattered throughout these 13 songs.” Five years later, that proved to be the case. Rowsell and her mates are fascinating to watch in person, switching effortlessly from rampaging alt rock to heavenly synth ballads. “Smile,” “Formidable Cool,” and “Bros” sounded great, and I’m sure several highlights followed throughout the evening. Here’s hoping Wolf Alice returns to Chicago soon, and I’m able to catch their entire show.

Opening act Bria performed songs from its very recently released Cuntry Covers, a six-song collection of slow, atmospheric renditions of material originally done by Waylon Jennings, John Cale, The Walker Brothers, Lucinda Wiliams, Karen Dalton, and Mary Afton. Lead vocalist-guitarist Bria Salmena provided emotive vocals, and together with co-founding member Duncan Hay Jennings and vocalist-keyboards player Ali Jennings, crafted a haunting aura for each song. 

Friday, November 5, 2021

Slumgullion


Brian Epstein seriously considering managing The Beatles.


Here’s a friendly Broken Hearted Toy welcome to Wolf Alice, who will be coming to Chicago for a sold-out concert this Monday at the Vic. The U.K. band is touring in support of their recently released album Blue Weekend. It’s an impressive collection of melodic and atmospheric tracks, along with a few high energy numbers that give lead vocalist-guitarist Ellie Rowsell an opportunity to cut loose with a ferocious howl.


This coming Tuesday, November 9, The Cavern Club in Liverpool will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the day Brian Epstein came to check out The Beatles at that venue. The festivities start at noon with Clark Gilmour performing early Beatles and Merseybeat material. Victoria McDermott will perform as Cilla Black and Beatles Complete will be playing songs by The Beatles.


Tickets are now on sale for Graham Nash’s March 25 and 26 shows at SPACE in Evanston.


The Chicago-based power pop band The Spindles will be back at Montrose Saloon this Saturday night, along with Dolph Chaney and Daddy Burger Swag. The music starts at 8:00 pm. I deliberately put this after the Graham Nash item because Spindles guitarist-vocalist Jeff Janulis is an avid fan. He once organized a Nash Mob where a large group of people suddenly began singing “Teach Your Children” on busy corner in downtown Chicago. Actually, I made up that last part.


Anyone into classic rock will want to spend some time in Whoville this holiday season, and I don’t mean the happy village that got ripped off by The Grinch. The official website for The Who just sent an email inviting fans to check out its online shop. Remember the overloaded sleigh at the end of The Grinch Who Store Christmas? That’s what you’d need to pack up all the cool merchandise this iconic band has for sale. Most of the items aren’t guaranteed to arrive by Christmas, but maybe if you order now, there will be a chance. If only every band was as imaginative and fun with its marketing.


The 27th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival opened today will run through December 2 at the Gene Siskel Film Center. 28 feature films and documentaries will be shown, along with six short film programs.


Over The Overlords, the first full-length release from Chicago-based punk pioneers Naked Raygun in 31 years, is now available to pre-order on vinyl and CD from Wax Trax! Records. The album includes “Living In The Good Times,” which became available earlier this year as a video clip. Long-time member bassist Pierre Kezdy passed away from cancer in 2020, shortly after Over The Overlords was finished. The album is available as a standard LP and a double LP that includes four previously unreleased live recordings.


Balin Schneider’s Out Of Time  - The Story Of Material Issue will have its world premiere next Sunday, November 14 at the SU 22 Film Festival in Minneapolis, MN. Original band members Mike Zelenko and Ted Ansani will take part in a Q and A afterward.


The 20th Annual International Pop Overthrow - New York takes place next Friday, November 12 at the Arlene's Grocery music venue. IPO founder David Bash named his multi-act power pop/indie rock showcase after the song “International Pop Overthrow” by Material Issue. There will be 20 acts  on the bill.


I stopped by The Music Room in Palatine today to pick up the November issue of the Illinois Entertainer. As I’ve mentioned previously, I was checking out the long-time monthly publication online during the COVID-19 lockdown, before finding a print version at the Reckless Records location downtown. I’m assuming it’s available at other record stores and live music venues in the Chicago area. This month’s issue, with Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan on the cover, includes an article about the Material Issue documentary, an interview with Chip Z’Nuff  from Enuff Z’nuff; a review of the 25th Anniversary Edition of R.E.M.’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi and Gahan’s new album of cover versions, Imposter. Full disclosure: I wrote for the Illnois Entertainer for several years.


The 10-inch vinyl version of Ringo Starr’s new four-song EP Change The World is now available on the Fest For Beatles Fans online store. The record includes “Let’s Change The World,” “Just That Way,” “Coming Undone,” and a cover of “Rock Around The Clock” featuring Joe Walsh on guitar. The EP is also available as a cassette, CD, and as a digital download. As always, the Fest For Beatles Fans online store is loaded with lots of cool Beatles merchandise.


The Chicago Underground Film Festival, which bills itself as the longest running underground film festival in the world, kicked off today and will run through Sunday, November 7 at the Logan Theater, at 2558 W. 16th St., Stage 18.


DOC Chicago is presenting a short film showcase online and in person at the Cultural Center today through Sunday. Admission is free but those interested in attending an event in person need to register at in advance.


Long-time Chicago-based band Hushdrops will be having a listening party for their album The Static at Delilah’s on Tuesday, November 9. Band member John San Juan and musician/Pravda Records boss Kenn Goodman will serve as DJs, and there will giveaways, Pravda swag, and raffle tickets. The listening party runs from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am. Delilah’s is located at 2771 Lincoln Avenue.


The Power Pop Shoppe Showcase, a live performance extension of the Power Pop Shoppe show Kirk Fox hosts on radio station WNUR 89.3, will be coming to Montrose Saloon next Saturday, November 13. The three acts participating are Gal Gun Band, Golden Richards, and The Dry Look.


The Social Act will return to Martyrs’ on Lincoln Avenue for a performance on Friday, November 19. The show starts at 8:00 pm.


Tickets are now on sale for Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets - The Echoes Tour show coming to the Chicago Theatre on February 4, 2022. The Pink Floyd drummer/founding member will be performing the band’s early material, joined by Dom Beken, Gary Kemp, Guy Prett, and Lee Harris.


The Chicago TARDIS, an annual convention that rightfully celebrates the many years Doctor Who has been around, will take place at in Westin Chicago Lombard on November 26 – 28. This year’s guests include Colin Baker; Sylvie Briggs; Lauren Cornelius; Frazer Hines; Neve McIntosh; and Clem So. 


Barb’s Precious Rescue and Adoption Center in Palatine is having a benefit/open house from 1:00 to 4:00 pm next Saturday, November 13. Having watched workers from this no-kill, cage-free cat shelter gently remove two young mothers and their eight kittens from our neighborhood, I’m looking forward to supporting them at this event. Guests will be able to take a guided tour of the newly remodeled facilities, sign up as volunteers, take part in a raffle, and buy t-shirts, tea towels, tote bags, and masks. Donations of money and kitten food are welcome. Barb’s Precious Rescue and Adoption Center is located at 313 N.Quentin Rd.


Tickets are now on sale The Ho Ho Ho Show starring Kate Fagan taking place December 23 at the AllWays Lounge And Cabaret. Any ardent Fagan fans who love her work with the Chicago-based ska band Heavy Manners will have to shell out some bucks for airfare because AllWays is located in New Orleans. 

Apparently, a lot of people can’t live without Regrettes. The L.A. band by that name quickly sold out its upcoming shows in California on November 24 in Santa Ana and November 27 in San Diego. It would be great to see a new album from these guys, since their first two were so impressive. 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

He'll Come To Chicago Once Again


Graham Nash will be coming to the Chicago area next year for shows on March 25 and 26 at the SPACE venue in Evanston. Tickets officially go on sale tomorrow (Friday) at 10:00 am, although there was a pre-sale today for people who signed up for an email notice from SPACE. The tour will also include stops in New Jersey, Georgia, Missouri, Iowa, and Ohio. 

Nash has a new book of his photos coming out November 30, just in time for holiday giving. A Life In Focus features portraits of Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Bob Dylan, Cass Elliott, along with reflections on what was going on at the time the shot was taken. It’s available for pre-order now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million. Perhaps the perfect gift for that Graham Nash fan on yout list would be this book with a pair of tickets inside for one of his 2022 gigs.


I’m not sure what format Nash will follow next time around, or who’ll be joining him onstage. Here’s a review I posted in March, 2019 for a show he performed at the Athenaeum Theatre:


Before Graham Nash was even halfway through his performance this past Sunday night at the Athenaeum Theatre, some guy yelled a request for “Chicago.”


“Do you think I’d come to this city and not play that song?” Nash asked. “Patience, my dear.”


While it was obvious he would save “Chicago” for almost last, the rest of the concert was not as predictable. Nash was once again joined by Shane Fontayne, a versatile guitarist-vocalist who’s also toured with Sting and Bruce Springsteen, but unlike his other recent shows in our area, there was a third party on stage. Keyboards player-vocalist Todd Caldwell is also a familiar companion for Nash, having toured with Crosby, Stills and Nash in the past.


Caldwell and Fontayne enabled Nash to recreate the three part harmonies he perfected with his supergroup mates, whom he described at one point during the show as, “the other kids.” “Marrakesh Express,” “Pre-road Downs,” “Wasted On The Way,” and the rarely performed “Carried Away” were delivered with impeccable singing. They also pulled off a spirited version of Stills’ “Love The One You’re With” as well as his breathtaking “Find The Cost Of Freedom.” That was followed immediately by Neil Young’s “Ohio,” which was driven by Fontayne’s ferocious strumming and climaxed with Nash leading the crowd in a chant of, “Four dead in Ohio.”


Fontayne also added extra power to “Wind On The Water,” “Cathedral,” and “I Used To Be A King.” The quieter moments came on “Golden Days” from Nash’s 2016 solo effort This Path Tonight, “Simple Man,” and “Sleep Song.” Nash mentioned the recent Joni 75 all-star birthday concert (and upcoming film) for Joni Mitchell while introducing his exquisite love song to her, “Our House.” There was only one Hollies song this time out, a well-crafted take on “Bus Stop.” I’d still love to see Nash come to terms with the Hollies portion of his career, perhaps devoting an entire concert or album to reworked versions of his best material with them.


As for “Chicago,” it served as a rousing first encore, bringing the crowd to its feet to sing along on, “We can change the world.” After a gorgeous rendition of Buddy Holly’s “Everyday,” Nash had everyone joining in again on “Teach Your Children,” which he dedicated to the high school activists campaigning to end gun violence.  

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

ANC4 - Strange Tide


It’s not surprising ANC4 took a guitar-driven, melodic approach on its second release, considering how well that worked on the Swedish band’s 2019 self-titled debut. But Strange Tide, available from Kool Kat Musik, has a massive sound compared to its predecessor. If founding members/songwriting duo Roger Arvidson and Tomas Nilsson wanted to make sure their compositions would immediately grab the listener’s attention, they’ve definitely succeeded. One might even call this new material overpower pop.

Backed by fellow veterans of the Swedish music scene bassist Janne Borgh and drummer Niclas Österberg, Arvidson and Nilsson have created the perfect album to convert anyone who claims power pop is strictly for wimps. Other than an occasional mid-tempo change-up, the 16 tracks are delivered at full throttle. Especially “Go Easy,” which powers its positive sentiment with energetic guitar strumming that recalls The Byrds on “Eight Miles High.” Even “The Man Who Is Afraid Of Everything,” a song about a guy who’s nervous all the time, packs an instrumental punch.


Strange Tide also benefits from consistently impressive harmony vocals. “Struck Gold,” “Is It Me Again,” and “Everything Turns Blue” are just a few examples of how inventively these guys blend and twist their voices together. ANC4 takes a bit of a theatrical approach on “Romantic Fool,” using a working class Brit accent for the ironic lyrics. The wistful “There Goes My Baby” could have been a mid-1960s hit single by The Searchers, and like a lot of songs here, deals with a broken relationship.

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