Thursday, July 22, 2010

Folk gone crazy, Dedicated Ears Show #3

The latest Dedicated Ears Presents at the Chopin Theatre featured an array of folk styles. The heat and the festival down the road made getting people out a bit difficult but the turnout was respectable. The crowd was ready for the bands and was very vocal. Gabe from Dastardly is responsible for getting The Bears Of Blue River and Teenage Rage to play as well as being a man about the crowd. I enjoyed all 4 sets. The Bears Of Blue River played a more traditional brand of folk with Gavin telling some stories in between. Teenage Rage played a wide open anything goes set that utilized piano, guitar, bass, drums, saxophone , male and female vocals while stretching the bonderies of folk music. Dastardly offered up a loose and energetic set that was punctuated by Gabe's showmanship. The Black Atlantic were sublime and beautiful while Geert used some jokes as well to propel their great set along. I have a video from each band on this page, the rest can be found on Chopin Thetre's youtube account. Again there were many remarks about the awesome venue and genial owners of the Chopin Theatre. Those sentiments are heard at each show I have done.

Special thanks again to Brian Fitzgerald for the great poster again! Also, to Aaron Hui who has been at all three shows and takes pictures as well as helps with the lighting. Thanks again to Lela and Zygmunt.

Next up I am finalizing a show with Judson Claiborne. I am also in talks with Louis from Sky White Tiger about bringing their concert and visual spectacle they did at Adler Planetrium to the Chopin in Nov. Also, I am starting up a monthly singer-songwriter night and will have a date for the first one in Aug. very soon.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sky White Tiger at Adler Planetarium

(photos by Brad Meese)

After listening to the Sky White Tiger album and also seeing their in store performance at Reckless Records, I was looking forward to seeing the band play in the planetarium setting. This show succeeded in many ways. The bands music fits the venue both lyrically and musically. The spaced out effects and mostly languid pace matched the sights that were seen at the Adler.

The band themselves were dressed all in white which served 2 functions, first it allowed the to have some cool light bursts displayed on the like a screen so that their bodies looked like they were made up of stars when the lights were lowered and the were hit with light projections. Secondly the white get-up mimicked the white of astronaut suits and at times in harsh shadows they looked like they were walking on the moon.

The music developed an overall vibe that built to louder noise only a handful of times. It was an interesting contrast for me to have seen the band perform these at the in store and then at the Adler later. The setting of the planetarium really added to the vibe the band was going for. That can't be said for all shows.

The venue itself with the huge telescope in my fore ground is a wholly unique setting for a band to play in and this band did very well with that. The constellations were bright above and at times the constellations were lit up by lines so you could see the see each constellations drawing over the pinpoints of light for stars. The most effective points in the show was when the light was pulled all the way back, just short of pitch black and a low amount of light lit the band members.

I was able to talk to Louis from the band for a bit afterward and he told me that he wrote the songs envisioning a unique set up for playing them live. This really showed in the relationship of the music and the setting of the show. Louis was also in Polyphonic Spree as well. Here has a penchant for forming unique surrounding for his musical projects. If you haven't picked up The Sky White Tiger ep ,get it. I have it on a good source that the band is looking to bring this show to the city again, soon.

Thanks to August and Novo Entertainment who promoted the show and extended me an invite. The Novo shows are always a great time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

After Pitchfork Party at The Chopin (4 Bands for $6!!!)

(Thanks= Brian Fitzgerald for another distinguished looking poster design(

The next Dedicated Eras show at the Chopin Theatre is this coming Sunday July 18th. The lineup for the show is : The Bears Of Blue River, Teenage Rage, Dastardly, and The Black Atlantic from the Netherlands. These are all folk and singer songwriter acts that will make for a great bill. This will be the last time you will be able to see the Black Atlantic for a couple of years, so if you haven't seen them, make it to this show. . You can download the beautiful Black Atlantic album, Reverence For Fallen Trees is a FREE legal download. check out the other bands at their links too!

If you are thinking "I am going to Pitchfork on this day", then you are in luck. Our show will have doors at 9:30pm and first act at 10:30pm, right after Pitchfork lets out. It's $6 for four bands! Just head up Ashland. Chill out in the laid back vibe of the downstairs cabaret and have some cold beer. The show is a 21+ to enter and there is a CASH BAR. Also, I will be playing music that has been featured on this blog. Come on by and enjoy a complete concert experience. Lela and Zygmunt , the owners of the Chopin are really nice and very approachable. Our idea is to have an environment where people can talk in between music acts.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Suns Mania! Double ep releases reviewed.

In full disclosure I am a big fan of the band Suns. I saw them at Lincoln Hall (my video below) through a gracious invite of Rebecca at Betta Promotions. I was amazed by their full sound created by a clarinet, mandolin, and also double drummer set up utilized by the band as well as soaring guitars. So I was attentively awaiting the release of their album or ep and was happy to hear that they released 2 ep's at one time.

The Howl and the Many and Close Calls in the U.S. Space Program can be download the for FREE HERE (Donations Accepted Too). After listening to them for the past 2 weeks I can tell you they are really good. They encompass indie pop, indie rock, chamber pop with hints of Americana. Each of these has it's own distinct feel. Both are propelled by the double drummer setup of Clinton Weber and Chris Pagnani who use mallets through a good chunk of the songs on toms. This makes for a low rumbling that matches the symphonic sound of these two ep's. Mikey Russell 's vocals put a bit of an Americana spin on these out-sized pop gems. The guitars of Nick Enderle and Mikey Russell make a wash of sound that is punctuated by Kody Nixon's smooth bass lines. Then there's Matt Lemke who is a jack of all trades playing rhodes, magnus, harmonium, synth, guitar.

The Howl and The Many is a bit more of a straight ahead indie album. From the rumble of "Everything Changes", the opener, to the closer "Four Winds" (video above) this ep is addictive. My favorite is the drowsy goodness of"Gladys". That ambling hook has been in my head for two weeks! Chants and howls and symphonic passes are abound. These four songs work really well together.

Close Calls In The U.S. Space Program is a bit more experimental than The Howl and the Many. The songs on Close Calls are moody and feature the signature symphonic sound that Suns will always be known for. "Little Horn" is my fave track on this ep, the low rumble of the toms and chants in the chorus are offset by many song breaks which make this song feel like 3 or 4 songs. There is attention paid by Suns to every sound on here. With headphones you hear every feint sound and gentle fade. They know what they want, and they achieve it on both of these ep releases.

So please download the ep's and donate if you can. At least help spread the word. People need to hear this band. Also, if you like live music you have to see them. They may be playing a gig at the Chopin soon. Stay tuned.