Harmonica Dunn books great shows around Chicago all year long. So it’s nice that the man behind the whole thing, Donnie Biggins, can throw himself a victory party every February and celebrate some of the artists that inspire him to keep doing what he does. This year all the shows will take place in one venue, rather than spread them out across the city. That place is Fitzgerald’s Nightclub, where he recently took over booking duties.
I liked that the shows were in different locations, so a choice had to be made about who to see each night. I also understand that if you have a room (or two) big enough to hold it all in one spot, you’d be crazy not to. Either way, if you go you’re going to see a ton of awesome music played.
This year Donnie has gathered a lot of amazing talent and put them together for 3 nights of pure, unadulterated joy. Thursday night is headlined by the beautiful pop harmonies of Moonrise Nation. Appearing earlier in the night will be Michigander, Emily Blue (new addition to the Harmonica Dunn staff!), Empty Bottle’s unofficial house band The Hoyle Brothers, Allegra Malone & The Revival, and MilkMoney.
Friday night things get a little funky with The JC Brooks Band taking the top spot for the evening. Charlie Crockett and Blackfoot Gypsies will play supporting spots. Earlier in the evening you’ll hear some Chicago locals like Cole DeGenova and Gar Clemens (whose latest record I’m listening to right now-very good!). Also playing: The Heavy Sounds, Wild Earp, Bailey Dee And Her Late Night Bait, Bonzo Squad, Fox Crossing String Band, and Scientific Map.
Saturday you’ll find, in my opinion, the best overall night of music. I’ve seen a number of these bands (across all nights), and I can say with confidence that you will not see anything better than Alanna Royale. And they’re not even the headliner! That honor goes to Toronzo Cannon (I’ve heard, haven’t seen live). Show up earlier to catch Ryan Joseph Anderson-a great singer/songwriter who also plays a helluva guitar. For an example, check out the solo in Biggins’ song “When You Return.” The opportunity will also be there to see Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin’ Stones, High Divers, Matthew Ryan, Carson McHone, Josefina, Chicago Funk Mafia, The Family Gold, and Ian Leith.
Doors open at 7 on Thursday and 6 Friday and Saturday. 3-day passes are available to purchase directly from Harmonica Dunn, as well as single-day tickets. Click here for all ticket info.
Donnie was kind enough to make a whole playlist for the fest in case you need to check out any of the artists with which you may not be familiar.
To check out my coverage of previous Dunn Dunn Fest events, click here.