Ron Gallo at Thalia Hall 4/28/2017

When I saw the name Ron Gallo as the opener for Hurray For The Riff Raff, I assumed it would be a guy and an acoustic guitar playing some soft folk songs for half an hour before the main act came to the stage. That was, to put it mildly, an incorrect assumption. The three members of Ron Gallo came out and, after a brief explanation of who they are, ripped the stage apart. Ron Gallo’s frantic guitar work leads this garage/punk/blues band to all kinds of music sensations. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Check out this video from the show to give you an idea of their style.

Hurray For The Riff Raff at Thalia Hall 4/28/2017

April 29, 2017 3 comments

As The Navigator tells the rough and tumble tale of early American life for Puerto Ricans, it made a lot of sense to showcase it at Thalia Hall. Nestled in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, home to a lot of the Hispanic culture in the city. Alynda Segarra and the latest incarnation of her backing band that make up Hurray For The Riff Raff really brought the album to life.

I was hoping for more early stuff-songs from Look Out Mama and Young Blood Blues, but I get that this album needs to be told as a whole so you have to play all the songs. A few people have mentioned trying to turn it into a stage play on Broadway. That’s an idea worth following through on, because the story is certainly an interesting one. Plus the songs are great. They did bring out a few oldies for me. Toward the end of the show they played “The Body Electric” and “Blue Ridge Mountain” from their previous album Small Town Heroes.

Segarra has really grown as a performer since I last saw her back in 2013. More a social activist now, she doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind. One song introduction included “This is a protest song…I want you to sing so loud Trump can hear you at Mar-a-Lago.” She also moved around a lot more, dancing to the beats of the street featured on The Navigator.

Singing under a banner reading “We’re All In This Together,” Segarra took time to relay the message that has been the driving force behind her entire career: be kind. Try to understand viewpoints other than your own and act with compassion. The audience was fully on board with this message, and you could feel the love and positivity in the room. At the end of the show a couple even got engaged!

It was a great way to end an amazing night of music. Here are some photos from the show:

The War On Peace-Fear Of Loss (video)

April 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Photo by Chris Hershman


Chicago band The War On Peace are about to release their new EP on May 12th. After two full-length albums, Automated People finds the group looking to expand their sound and their fan base. With comparisons to The Fray circling around them, I’m sure they won’t have any trouble tapping into the mainstream crowd.

“Fear Of Loss” is the first single from Automated People, and the video is very well done. If I had one issue, it would be that I wanted to see more of the actors and less of the band. The story the song tells is interesting, and I would have liked to see a whole video of just that narrative playing out. Still, it’s very well-made and fits the song.

In addition to releasing the EP on May 12th, The War On Peace will be playing at SubT with Minor Characters. Tickets can be found here.

Split Single at Schuba’s 4/22/2017

April 23, 2017 Leave a comment

Jason Narducy has been a well-respected name among musicians for the past 20 years. He remained pretty much under the radar until an appearance on Dave Grohl’s HBO series Sonic Highways in 2014. The latest version of his punk/rock/pop musical stylings is the solo project Split Single. The debut album featured Jon Wurster and Britt Daniel. We got some new tracks mixed in with songs from Fragmented World and Metal Frames, and a little comedy from the band’s domestic life.

Narducy let us know that the show almost didn’t happen after a small spat over correct dish loading procedure between he and his wife. We were also let in on the tale of his drummer having his scrotum punctured by the claws of his cat in a freak accident. A fun show to be sure.

Vérité at Concord Music Hall 4/20/2017

April 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Thursday night singer Vérité proved not only a talented singer/songwriter, but a consummate pro. When she lost her mic’s power she didn’t panic. Instead she found her way back to her keyboards where another mic was already set up and sang on that one until the techs fixed the issue.

Betty Who at Concord Music Hall 4/20/2017

April 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Betty Who put on a fun, energetic set at Concord Music Hall on Thursday, highlighting tracks from her new record The Valley.

Coast Modern at SubT 4/18/2017

April 18, 2017 Leave a comment

I didn’t know much about Coast Modern before they hit the stage at Subterranean for their slot on the Alt Nation tour with which they’re currently traveling. Luke Atlas and Coleman Trapp turn their indie pop duo into a strong foursome for live shows, and they keep the people moving. They opened the show with about 45 minutes of material, including some new stuff that might come up on their first EP or LP (they’ve only released singles in the two years they’ve been making music together).

The mostly-under-21 crowd seemed to know every song, even the new stuff. That caught the attention of Coleman, who asked one of the girls up front if she was following them on tour ( I didn’t hear her answer, but someone next to me said they were probably going to catch them again in Milwaukee tomorrow night).

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