Posts Tagged ‘Local’

Localpalooza Returns 7/22/2017 At Lincoln Hall


Michael Vogus’ fundraiser for The Patrick Grange Memorial Foundation for ALS research is returning for it’s second year next week. Lincoln Hall will play host to some great bands with a suggested donation of $10.

I’ve seen a couple of these bands before, most notable The Ivory’s. They put on a great set at House Of Blues in May of last year, opening for another great local band, The Roalde Dahl’s. They’re a trio whose sound would make you think they’re at least twice that in number-it’s loud and hard and will shake your core.

The show with have some lighter fare as well, with opener Elle Casazza. Her pop tunes bring in influences from jazz, reggae, soul, and R&B. She just put out a new album at the end of last year, so this might be a good time to familiarize yourself.

Also on the bill are punk group Bad Bad Meow, soul band Honey & The 45’s, rockabilly trio The Dyes, and hip-hop artist Rich Jones.

Top 10 Local Releases Of 2014 (Chicago)

December 13, 2014 Leave a comment

10. The Damn Choir-Creatures Of Habit

9. NE-HI by NE-HI

8. Bummer-Bummer

7. Twin Peaks-Wild Onion

6. Michele McGuire-Off The Wagon

5. Martin Van Ruin-Every Man A King

4. Flesh Panthers-S/T

3. Axons-Unmanageable

2. Empires-How Good Does It Feel

1. Archie Powell & The Exports-Back In Black

Toronto Urban Roots Festival-Day 1

July 5, 2014 2 comments

20140705-113604-41764541.jpg After a less than spectacular beginning to our trip to Toronto, which required us getting off of a plane we woke up at 4:30am to catch and waiting 3 hours for another one, the day ended up going much more smoothly than I’d feared. We missed Born Ruffians set, but the rest of the festival was really cool. The planners did a great job of setting up the stages so that you’re far enough away that the noise doesn’t bleed over, but never so far that walking from one to the other is a hassle. It also helps that there are wide open spaces between the stages so you’re not trying to force yourself through a huge crowd between stages. It’s a much more relaxed fest than I’m used to, and I really like it. 20140705-114154-42114309.jpg The first band we saw was Lucius on the South stage. They were delayed a few minutes while they checked out the sound, but once they started they were great. I love their blend of new wave synth pop and folky harmonies. I was a little disappointed they didn’t do their cover of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” that they just released, but what can you do. When we arrived at the stage the crowd was pretty small. After the third or fourth song the audience had tripled at least and everyone was dancing and bopping their heads. After Lucius we headed up the hill to see Gary Clark jr on the East Stage. He had a fairly large audience before we even got up there, and I talked to a guy in his late teens/early twenties who had come just to see Clark play. He was treated to a great performance that featured the guitar master shredding all over the stage with his red-hot blues riffs. The set was like lightning in a bottle for the first six or seven songs, then when he slowed it down for a tune the audience lost a little interest and a lot of people started leaving. It never quite recaptured the initial energy, but Gary Clark jr puts on a helluva show and I recommend checking him out. 20140705-113939-41979781.jpg Read more…

This Ridiculous Weekend Of Music In Chicago


We still have a lot of time before Lollapalooza brings some of the biggest acts in music to our fair city, but festival season is already well underway. It kicked off with the Do Division Fest last weekend, and tonight the city takes it up a notch with Ribfest.

I don’t know who the person was who came up with the idea of plotting festival around music, drinks, and ribs, but they deserve some kind of genius award. The only problem I have with this festival is that it’s way up on the north side. It may as well be in Evanston! But I went last year and the lineup is great again this time.

Not only does it start with a rib eating contest featuring “world eating champion” Joey Chestnut, but Chicago’s own billion-piece rock n roll marching band/gypsy army Mucca Pazza is headlining the Chicago Reader stage at 8pm. If you’re looking for a good time, that act is tough to beat.

The fun continues tomorrow night with California Wives headlining the Bud Light stage at 7:45 and Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit over on the Reader stage at 9. I haven’t seen California Wives live since 2010, but they recently opened for Stars across the US, so I’m sure they’re even better now.

Sunday night presents the best bang for your buck. At 745 on the Reader stage Bobby Bare jr will delight with his country-tinged rock. At 9 We Were Promised Jetpacks close out the festival! I’ve been a fan of theirs since about 2008 and its great to have them back here in Chicago. They seem to pop up around these neighborhood festivals pretty often, but every show is a can’t-miss event.

Don’t like listening to music while standing in the sun eating a half-rack and paying $8 for a beer? No problem! Chicago’s indoor music venues also have a lot to offer this weekend. A veritable smorgasbord of talent awaits music fans of all genres.

Tonight: Archie Powell & The Exports play Schubas, Rachael Yamagata hits Lincoln Hall, and Baths gets Metro groovin’ and swayin’.

Saturday: Recent winner of the Red Eye’s Rock N Vote contest Michelle McGuire will be playing at Beat Kitchen, The Uncluded (Kimya Dawson & Aesop Rock) are at Old Town School
of Folk Music, Glee’s Darren Criss performs at House Of Blues, bring your dancin shoes to Bottom Lounge for !!!, and local psych rockers Secret Colours celebrate their record release at Empty Bottle.

Sunday: Glen Hansard plays a sold out solo show at Metro, hardcore punk legends Black Flag will be at Reggie’s Rock Club, and 60’s icon (or coattail rider depending on who you ask) Joan Baez will play the Ravinia Festival.

The Local Strangers-Left For Better

November 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Really pleasant surprises are few and far between lately. Seems like between June and August I was hearing nothing but albums that I really liked. Then in September and October it flipped and I heard maybe one good record a week or less. So I started listening less, hoping that the good albums would catch up with me eventually. When The Local Strangers sent me a link to their record at the beginning of October, I intentionally put it off trying to fool myself into thinking it would be a better album if I let it breathe a bit. In hindsight this was a really stupid plan.

The two full-time members of The Local Strangers are Matt Hart and Aubrey Zoli, both former midwesterners now living in Seattle. Matt is a Chicago guy who used to be in the band Cobalt & The Hired Guns, and part of the Chicago Roots Collective. Having listened to Cobalt’s last record and hearing what Matt is doing with The Local Strangers, there was obviously a big separation in artistic vision. On Left For Better, the third release for the band, Matt and Aubrey focus mostly on harmony and matters of the heart.

They bill themselves as soul-americana and I gotta tell ya, I hear a lot more soul in these songs. In fact, I would almost consider this more of a folk-pop record than americana. I think this is mainly due to the vocals from Zoli, which are rich and powerful from the very beginning.  “Mr. Blackberry” isn’t exactly a great indicator of the rest of Left For Better, but it is an amazing introduction to the talents of those involved.

There’s an interesting dynamic between Hart and Zoli that keeps the listener oh their toes. Whenever Hart is taking the lead, the songs seem to lean to a more folky singer/songwriter tone.  “Uptown” is a drastic change of pace. It’s equally as good, but quite different. The same change occurs on the next song, “Chase The Battle,” which might be my favorite song in this collection. Zoli’s voice sounds very similar to La Roux’s Elly Jackson here, and it fits the music perfectly.

There’s some really nice production touches throughout the record, like on “Daniel.” They worked with Kevin Matley (The Head And The Heart) and I definitely think his touch pays off on some of these tracks.  The way the vocals are layered gives “Daniel” a great texture. Even though there are many other things going on, it never gets overcrowded and you can hear all the pieces coming together.

The lyrics for most of the album are good-not mind blowing, but they serve their purpose (I would argue that this record is more about the overall sound than the individual words). There is one song that I particularly enjoy for it’s romantic sentiments, though. “House On A Hill” is the best of the Hart-led songs, and it holds up despite being very quiet and sweet. Somehow the way Hart and Zoli’s voices intertwine reminds me of a show tune being sung by the two leads.

Please just tell me straight
No need to complicate
After all, this ain’t no ring on a finger

But the view from my bed
I see the sun rise, not set
So for now, in the East, we can linger

Despite the inconsistencies, I think Left For Better is a record worthy of your time. It’s a great listen for these fall and winter months, as it just oozes a warmth that is the musical version of sitting by a fire with some hot cocoa. The Local Strangers are currently on a short east coast tour that includes a FREE show at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn on November 20th. You can stream this record, as well as their first EP and a single on their Bandcamp page, and purchase Left For Better for $10.

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