I returned from vacation halfway around the world to check out some music a little closer to home. House Of Blues hosted a night of bands from around Chicago and I caught a couple of really talented acts that I’d never before seen. Both had a huge stage presence and a lot of energy.
First was Tamarie T and The Elektra Kumpany. If you’re familiar with the music of Parliament Funkadelic or Sly & The Family Stone, you might be ready for what Tamarie T calls Exotic Funk. With a dozen people on stage, there was constantly something interesting going on. They feature a tap dancer, a great horn section, some brilliant guitarists, and singers that’ll blow you away.
Still, the main draw is Tamarie T himself. He’s a super-compelling frontman from whom it is nearly impossible to draw your eye away. His style reflects the 60’s protest movement and glam rock fashion at the same time, with gold pants and high boots joining his native body and face paint.
The headliner for the night was Local Motive, a blue-eyed soul band that takes influences from the blues and Motown. Lead singer/guitarist Mike Vinopal dominated the first few tunes, but soon it became clear that this band is much more of an ensemble, with three other vocalists taking the lead on different songs.
A lot was said about hope and mental health, as Local Motive was using the night as a way to raise money for the charity Hope For The Day. It’s a suicide prevention outreach program, and the band donated all proceeds from their merchandise sales.
Another large band, there were again about a dozen people on stage for this set. The horn section was a bit more subdued, but still played an integral part. They had someone on the bongos to amp up the percussion section, Mike Palma banging his head around the stage on bass, and Michael’s cousin Chris on rhythm guitar. Every one of them a very talented musician whether they were in the spotlight or providing the background for someone else’s moment.