Friday, June 26, 2020

Slumgullion

The Chicago-based Sunshine Boys were one of the highlights of Hot Stove Cool Music.

Cool To Be Kind. I watched the entire Hot Stove Cool Music virtual concert last night, only taking a short break to feed the cats. Which apparently caused me to miss Nick Lowe’s performance, because I didn’t see him. It was the 20th Anniversary of Hot Stove Cool Music, but the first time it hasn’t been staged in a venue before a live audience. The format enabled big names to join in the fundraising, including Lowe, Common, James Taylor, Steven Tyler, and Robyn Hitchcock. Band Of Their Own and Ted Leo were also among the many highlights, and I was particularly proud to see local acts Sunshine Boys and The 45 sounding so impressive.

100% of the proceeds from last night will benefit Paul and Theo Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later and Peter Gammons’ Scholarships for urban young people. The virtual auction runs through July 3, so there’s still time to bid on some amazing sports and popular music related memorabilia. According to an email sent out today by The Foundation To be Named Later, they will be re-airing this year’s event in the near future on Facebook.

Radio Hall Of Fame inductee Terri Hemmert will host Pride In The Name of Life on WXRT this Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The event, which will celebrate diversity, equality and the LGBT+ community, follows immediately after Hemmert’s weekly Breakfast With Beatles program.

The following livestream events were listed on the Early Warnings page in this week’s edition of the Chicago Reader: Andrew Bird on June 28 at go.seated.com/events; Dollyrots on June 28 at stageit.com/the_dollyrots; Larkin Poe on June 27 at livestream at fans.com; Ramsey Lewis on June 27 at stageit.com; Roots Picnic Virtual Experience on June 27 at rootspicnic.com/philly; and Voices: A Benefit Concert for Chicago Artists featuring Taylor Mallory and more.

Tickets are now on sale for Riot Fest 2021, featuring My Chemical Romance, Smashing Pumpkins, Run The Jewels, Pixies, Circle Jerks, L7, and more. The event will run September 16 through September 19 next year.

I’m going to renew my subscription to the Chicago Reader since I’m still working from home and don’t want to miss my weekly copy. The 26 issues option looks like it might bring me through the end of 2020. Please consider supporting our local publications.

Is that the wacky neighbors playing new wave cover versions again? Chicago-based musician Mike Cohen (The Abbeys, Pop Dollys, The Everly Hillbillies) often finds fun things to post on Facebook, and I particularly like a YouTube video he just shared of Glenn Tilbrook, his wife, and sons doing a shelter-in-place cover of The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me Baby.” I’d buy a recording of this in a minute. The people in my neighborhood just blow off fireworks.

Chicago Tribune theatre critic Chris Jones offered a heartfelt tribute to the recently closed Mercury Theater in today’s Arts and Entertainment section. I thoroughly enjoyed a production of Spamalot there last year, but was unaware of how many critically acclaimed productions the company had done. Best wishes to everyone involved for their future endeavors.

Posts have appeared on Broken Hearted Toy less frequent lately, partly because I’ve been preparing for the annual Writing Workshop Of Chicago. It’s a virtual event for 2020, but I’ll be able to SKYPE with four literary agents tomorrow about my YA Paranormal Rock and Roll Romance novel. I finished it a while back but have revised close to 130 pages. It’s hard work, but I like the results I’m seeing.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Take Me Out To The Website - Hot Stove Cool Music Goes Virtual Tonight

Tonight brings the 20th Anniversary of Hot Stove Cool Music but don’t try to find the Chicago version anywhere in Wrigleyville. The annual event organized by Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein and journalist Peter Gammons will be virtual concert that kicks off at 8:00 p.m. EST. 100% of the proceeds will benefit Paul and Theo Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later and Peter Gammons Scholarships for urban young people. Check out the Hot Stove Cool Music Facebook page for details on admission and how to make a donation.

The online format has enabled some big names to participate, such as Common, James Taylor, Steven Tyler, Nick Lowe, and Robyn Hitchcock. There will also be a number of baseball stars involved. Mike O’Malley will serve as emcee and guests include Bernie Williams, Kay Hanley, Len Kasper, Tanya Donelly, Chicago Children’s Choir, and Will Dailey. The all-women/all-star Band Of Their Own will be on hand, and other special guests are likely to show up.

I attended the Hot Stove Cool Music event in Chicago last summer, and it was fantastic. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for all the performances due to having to catch and a train back to Palatine. This year, transportation won’t be a problem.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Slumgullion

The Hoodoo Gurus, Australia’s legendary garage rock/power pop band, has postponed all the concerts on its 2020 U.S. concert tour to next year. That includes the one at City Winery Chicago, which is now September 22, 2021. In the mean time, a Deluxe Edition of their 2004 Mach Schau album, which includes two rare B-Sides, and all the songs from the American and Australian versions, is now available on various streaming sites.

The Fest For Beatles Fans, which has already announced the cancelation of its 2020 event at Hyatt Regency O’Hare Chicago, continues the weekly All Together Now virtual concert series tonight on Facebook. New York-based singer-guitarist Kelly Sabatino kicks things off at 7:00 p.m. EDT, and Drew Hill from The Fest favorites Liverpool takes over at 8:00 p.m. EDT with his daughters Dora and Casey. Next Friday, it will be The Wag, at a time yet to be determined.

Chicago-based singer-songwriter Phil Angotti performed as part of the All Together Now virtual concert series last week, and he announced today on Facebook that he has a new album coming out on Big Blast Records. There’s no release date yet for The Best Of Phil Angotti - Top Tunes and Real Grooves, but we do know it will have two new singles. The photo shows a 1960s style LP, but it’s not clear if this will a vinyl-only release.

Michelle Obama and The Roots will co-host the 13th Annual Roots Picnic Virtual Experience when it’s shown on YouTube June 27. The actual picnic was scheduled for much earlier this month but was canceled due to the coronavirus. Guests for the online version will include Janelle Monae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington, Tom Hanks, and Lin-Manual Miranda. The acts performing include H.E.R., LIL Baby, Roddy Ricch, and SZA.

Alison Mosshart, half of The Kills with Jamie Hince, as well as a member of Jack White’s quartet The Dead Weather, has a solo spoken word album named Sound Wheel coming out August 7. It's part of her upcoming Car Ma book of art, short stories, photographs, and poetry.

Tickets are now on sale for Todd Rundgren at House Of Blues on January 26 and 27; and The Carole King and James Taylor Story with Phoebe Katis and Dan Clews at City Winery Chicago on June 22, 2021.

WXRT continues its Live From The Archives concert series tonight with a 1993 performance by Smashing Pumpkins a at Metro. The band had just released its Siamese Dream album around the time of the concert.

Steve Dawson and Diane Chrisiansen, co-founders of the alt-rock/Americana band Dolly Varden and a couple that could easily have its own TV show, will be doing a streaming performance this Monday, June 22, at 8:00 p.m. The Venue in Aurora. Fans can watch via The Venue’s Facebook page.

The Chicago version of the annual Hot Stove Cool Music concerts organized by Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein and journalist Peter Gammons will be a virtual event that takes place on June 25. 100% of the proceeds benefit Paul and Theo Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later and its “non-profit partners working on the frontline s with the youth and families in disadvantaged neighborhoods . . . and Peter Gammons Scholarships for urban young people.”

The Hot Stove Cool Music Facebook page promises 75-minute mix of baseball and music with emcee Mike O’Malley and guests Peter Gammons, Bernie Williams, Kay Hanley, Len Kasper, Tanya Donelly, and Will Dailey. Other special guests will be named later. Tickets for the virtual event range from $25 to a VIP Package for $350.

This Sunday, June 21 is Pam Appreciation Day, the annual celebration of my wonderful wife Pam and all the things she does to make our life together so happy and fun. She set up this blog for me just about 11 years ago and Broken Hearted Toy could not have existed without her help. Whenever PAD falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it becomes PAW—Pam Appreciation Weekend. I always encourage everyone to use this occasion to celebrate your own significant others, and now, I’m extending that to any friend, relative, or hero you’d like to honor with gratitude and appreciation. Welcome to Partner Appreciation Weekend! Make it a good one.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Slumgullion

If you’ve noticed people drinking champagne that tastes just like Coca Cola today it’s because this is the 50th Anniversary of The Kinks releasing their provocative and irresistibly catchy hit single “Lola.” To commemorate the occasion, the band has been posting various renditions of their own as well as ones by Crowded House and Madness on social media. Here’s a toast to Ray Davies, one of the most clever of all rock and roll songwriters.

After having to cancel its 2020 festival scheduled for July 30 – August 2 in Grant Park, Lollapalooza is moving forward with a virtual event on that same weekend. It’s going to feature live performances from around Chicago as well as never-seen-before Chicago and international footage from the Lollapalooza archives. The full schedule will be announced next month, and Lollapalooza also vows to retain its focus on community and civic engagement. In the meantime, the Perry’s Power Hour resumes tomorrow night on YouTube with a video of the band Big Gigantic performing at Lollapalooza in 2016. The weekly series benefits Crew Nation, a global relief fund for live music crews.

Tickets are now on sale for the following livestream events: Jimmy Buffett on June 20 at margaritaville.tv/live; Do Division Virtual Street Fest on June 26 and 27, various bands each night; Feed Chicago Virtual Summer Fest featuring Omar Sanchez Omi, Twin Peaks, Dennis DeYoung and others on June 18 to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository (donation required); and Millennium Park At Home Presents Blues Night on July 31, August 1, and August 2 at youtube.comChicagoDCASE.

Actual concerts now on sale include Every Shiny Thing: A Tribute To Jonie Mitchell at Maurer Hall, Old Town School Of Folk Music on January 24, 2021; The First Time Live Lit and Music Series at Martyrs’ on August 12; and Without U2 and Dead Letter Office at Martyrs’ on September 25.

The above listings are from the Early Warnings page in this week’s edition of The Chicago Reader, which had a very limited distribution but is available online via the weekly free paper’s website.

Switch Hittter. The Chicago version of the annual Hot Stove Cool Music concerts organized by Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein and journalist Peter Gammons will be a virtual event that takes place on June 25. (As far as I can tell, the Boston version scheduled for April 3 was postponed.) 100% of the proceeds benefit Paul and Theo Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later and its “non-profit partners working on the frontlines with the youth and families in disadvantaged neighborhoods . . . and Peter Gammons Scholarships for urban young people.” The Hot Stove Cool Music Facebook page promises a 75-minute mix of baseball and music with emcee Mike O’Malley and guests Peter Gammons, Bernie Williams, Kay Hanley, Len Kasper, Tanya Donelly, and Will Dailey. Other special guests will be named later. Tickets for the virtual event range from $25 to a VIP Package for $350.

The Fest For Beatles Fans announced via email today that its Chicago event scheduled for August 7 – 9 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare has been cancelled. The Fest will continue to offer its weekly virtual concert series All Together Now on Fridays via its Facebook page. Earlier tonight, there were sets by Phil Angotti and Scott Erickson. Next Friday, All Together Now will offer sets by New York-based singer-guitarist Kelly Sabatino and Drew Hill from the Beatles tribute band Liverpool, with Dora and Casey. Also, there are lots of Beatles-related items for sale on the The Fest For Beatles Fans webpage for those who love the vendor tables at the actual Fest.

It’s not everyday I receive a tea towel from England, so I was one happy Anglophile this afternoon when the postman dropped off the one I ordered from the Salford Lads Club. It’s beige with the names of The Hollies, The Smiths, The Fall, Happy Mondays, Joy Division, The Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets, and The Ting Tings printed on it. I spotted actor Christopher Eccleston, who’s known for portraying John Lennon in a biopic as well as The Doctor on Doctor Who, posing with one on Instagram a while back, and ordered my own at the Salford Lads Club website. The club provides opportunities for local young people in sports and the arts.

The 10th Anniversary Salford Music Festival was held online at the end of May, with Graham Nash, John Cooper Clarke, and Peter Hook And Light among the acts performing.

This Sunday will be Jeff Kelley’s birthday. A number of years ago, Jeff, who used to work with my wife Pam, asked if I wanted to contribute short films about my rock and roll memorabilia to his weekly internet show Sunday Morning Coffee With Jeff. I accepted his offer, with the additional touch of making up an outlandish story about each piece. With a huge boost from Pam’s filming and editing skills, my Manchester Gallery series morphed into a comic soap opera that ran through 20 two-minute episodes. We also created clips featuring an inept roving reporter, a cranky old man, and an avid Hollies fan. Later, Jeff and his coworker David Metzger invited me to perform in the zombie films they create each year for Elgin’s annual Halloween Festival Nightmare on Chicago Street. Jeff discontinued his internet show, but still does a podcast on a regular basis. So, here’s an early birthday toast to Jeff, and a hearty thank you for all the fun opportunities.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Incoming

The Fest For Beatles Fans continues its All Together Now virtual concert and event series tomorrow (Friday) night with sets by Phil Angotti and Scott Erickson. Angotti will cover Paul and Linda McCartney’s Ram album at 7:00 p.m. EST, and Erickson will serve up Beatles-related covers starting at 8:00 p.m. EST. Both have been impressive while performing live on the Apple Jam Stage at The Fest For Beatles Fans - Chicago in previous years. Next Friday, the All Together Now series will feature New York-based singer-guitarist Kelly Sabatino at 7:0 p.m. and Drew Hill from the Beatles tribute band Liverpool, along with Dora and Casey and at 8:00 p.m.

The July issue of British Vogue features 22 fashion models who are donating outfits they’ve worn for an online auction that runs through tomorrow (June 12). The event aims to raise funds for England’s NHS healthcare system and the NAACP. Anyone interested in bidding on a black dress from Lily Aldridge; a jacket from Kate Moss; a dress from Ashley Graham; a tweed flap bag from Adut Akech; or items from the other participating models, can go the Vogue Hardly Ever Worn It website. If the prices seem a bit steep for the average person’s wardrobe, prints of each model with her donated item are available for £50.

Anyone’s who’s familiar with the George Harrison and John Lennon birthday bashes hosted by Ellis Clark and Ary Paloma at the Martyrs’ venue on Lincoln Avenue knows Paloma usually has various forms of art for sale at these events. The items have included t-shirts, stickers, posters, and candles. Starting on June 15, she’ll be teaching a virtual art class every Monday at 1:00 p.m. Paloma, who’s the lead vocalist for The Amazing Heeby Jeebies rockabilly/garage band and performs with Clark in The Social Act band, notes on her Facebook page that her lessons will start with the basics. Participants will only need a sketch pad, pencil, and eraser.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Vince Melouney Gets It Right

Vince Melouney has performed with a number of rock stars, dating back to the mid-1960s. But he’s probably best known for his guitar playing on early Bee Gees hits such as “New York Mining Disaster,” “To Love Somebody,” “Words,” “Holiday,” and “Massachusetts.” So it’s great to see him exploring his 1960s roots on the new digital single “Women (Make You Feel Alright).” Plus, Melouney had some expert help in recording and producing it.

The catchy, guitar-driven song was originally a hit for his fellow Australians The Easybeats back in the nascent garage rock days of 1966. The 2020 version recaptures that era via Melouney’s rough-hewn vocals and guitar playing, as well as the expert production by Shel Talmy (The Who, The Kinks, etc.). These 1960s vets are joined by drummer Clem Burke of Blondie and The Empty Hearts; and Jonathan Lea of The Jigsaw Seen and Dave Davies’ band. Bassist Alec Palao and backup vocalist Paul Kopf, both members of Strangers In A Strange Land and The Seeds, also helped out.

“Women (Make You Feel Alright),” and an instrumental take on the same song are available as a digital album from Burger Records on streaming services, including Bandcamp. The press release also mentions that Melouney will be featured in a documentary about The Bee Gees that’s going to be released released by Universal Music Group sometime this year.

Friday, June 5, 2020

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Graphic from the Bandcamp homepage.

My favorite weekend of the year usually happens right about now. In 2017, on this blog, I dubbed it “A Cultural Cornucopia” that included The Old Town Art Fair; Wells Street Art Fair, Chicago Blues Fest, Printers Row Lit Fest; and the Andersonville Midsommarfest. A perfect time to invite out-of-town friends to Chicago and show off our city. None of that is going on this year, due to the coronavirus. There are ways to experience elements of those events, as you’ll see below. But let’s not forget how the major art fairs, concerts, and street festivals made us feel. Walking amidst people of every color and nationality, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, neighbors and tourists, almost all of them perfect strangers, we had a blast.

Depending on when you read this, you can get a serious blues fix on WXRT tonight. The long-running Chicago rock station is airing a recording of Buddy Guy and Junior Wells performing at the Biddy Mulligans venue in 1982. The show is part of the Live From The XRT Archives series, which has featured some major names (Robert Plant, Dire Straits, R.E.M., etc.) over the past few weeks. The shows run at 9:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights.

There are still a few hours left to help recording artists earn some extra money on their independent releases. Bandcamp is waiving its share of sales to support musicians impacted by the coronavirus. Several artists and indie labels are offering limited edition merchandise and donating their share of sales to worthy causes.

Tickets are now on sale for Rodney Crowell on March 27, 2021 at City Winery Chicago; Cryfest: The Cure Vs. The Smiths Dance Party on June 20, 2020 at Subterranean; Split Single on January 2, 2021 at SPACE; and the FitzGerald’s Drive-In Concert featuring The Waco Brothers and School Of Rock on July 3. The preceding listings are from the Early Warnings page of this week’s edition of the Chicago Reader. The full issue can be downloaded on the paper’s website.

The Chicago Reader is spearheading the recently established Chicago Independent Media Alliance and the Save Chicago Media campaign to help publications and radio stations affected by the coronavirus. The deadline for donating is midnight tonight.

Then June issue of the Illinois Entertainer can be viewed on the long-time rock music publication’s website. In addition to a cover story on Tim Burgess, there’s a feature on the Jay O’Rourke Band, and album reviews of Paul McCartney, Tuff Sunshine, Rush, and Daryl Hall and John Oates.

The Writing Workshop Of Chicago will present its annual Writing Day Workshop as a virtual event this year. Aspiring writers will be able to attend seminars and pitch their work to established literary agents. So if you’ve been working on your long-delayed novel while sheltering in place, or have read enough books recently to inspire you to write one of your own, the Writing Day Workshop is a great opportunity. It takes place online Saturday, June 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. See the website for admission price; a list of participating literary agents (pitching costs extra), and the full schedule.

I’ll be pitching my YA/Paranormal/Rock and Roll/Romance novel to four literary agents via SKYPE at the above-mentioned online event.

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has begun African American Music Appreciation Month with a week-long tribute to Aretha Franklin. She was the first woman to be inducted into the Hall, back in 1987, and is best known for her recording of Otis Redding’s “Respect” 20 years earlier. African-American Music Appreciation Month began as Black Music Month, when it was initiated by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

The Hollies Official Facebook page has started posting clips of drummer Bobby Elliott reading excerpts from his autobiography It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Story - My Life In The Hollies. One deals with the first time guitarist Tony Hicks performed with The Hollies at the Cavern Club. Founding members Graham Nash and Allan Clarke joked about Hicks being so young (17 at the time) and promised the crowd he would serenade them with “The Teddy Bears’s Picnic.” Elliott notes the title of the band’s 1966 album For Certain Because was a line lifted from that children’s song, and that it was one of the best albums The Hollies ever recorded. I certainly would agree with him there.

The Record Store Day website proclaimed via email today that record stores around the globe are starting to reopen, with rules for social distancing. In the Chicago area, Laurie’s Planet Of Sound on Lincoln Avenue is now open 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Masks are required, and customers must use a sanitizer station before browsing. I didn’t see any mention of opening on the Reckless Records website, although some of its stores are open for pickup. Be sure to keep tabs on your favorite record stores and be ready to support them when they return.
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