Calendar

 
Thu, Jan 29 - 8pm - $12adv/$15door
In a world of auto-tune, Toby Lightman's pure and soulful voice cuts through the noise. People Magazine has stated that “No small talent... Toby Lightman continues to shine a light on her knack for making rich, soulful pop”. From her major label debut in 2004 to her current independent spirit, Toby has mastered her own sophisticated urban pop. With each song, recording or collaboration, Toby continues to hone, craft and perfect her unique sound.Now, in collaboration with Vertusent Music Group and Red Distribution, Toby Lightman returns with the release of her new album, Every Kind Of People. This is the New York City based artist’s first album since her independent release, Let Go in 2008, and perhaps her most compelling yet. Every Kind of People, will be released on the 10th year anniversary of her Lava Records debut album Little Things that earned her national acclaim with the single “Devils & Angels.” Lightman's long time love affair with living in a hustling, bustling city, coupled with the human condition, is the journey that resides in the songs on Every Kind Of People. "I spent years writing songs about my life and my own personal love and loss, only to realize that my stories were also being played out in front of me on the street. From the girl standing on the sidewalk crying, to the man sleeping on the subway heading home from work, we are all feeling the same things, and that’s what I tried to convey in these songs. Sometimes I look up at the buildings and think, every window is a person, a person with a story."Classically trained on the violin and self-taught on the guitar, Lightman was unaware of her vocal talent until high school. Her first solo appearance was singing Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at her high school graduation to 2,000 friends and family who were unaware that she harbored such talent. The overwhelming reaction from the crowd was what propelled her to buy a guitar and begin her journey as a recording artist. Lightman moved to New York City after graduating from University of Wisconsin, and signed a record deal with Jason Flom (Matchbox 20, Lorde, Jesse J) of Lava Records with only 3 songs written.Thrust into the spotlight, her debut album Little Things appeared on the Billboard Top 100 in it’s first week and gave way to comparisons to sultry songstress' like Lauryn Hill, Sheryl Crow and Norah Jones. Darling to the normally harsh critics, Lightman received high praise from magazines like Rolling Stone, People, Billboard and others, which led to appearances on Letterman, Carson Daly, Conan, CBS Morning Show and more. Her second record, Bird on a Wire (2006), helped lead Lightman to enormous success in the film and TV industry with the single “My Sweet Song” being featured in the movie PS I Love You, starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler. She began and has continued to tour extensively, both solo and sharing the bill with renowned artists such as Rob Thomas, Jewel, James Blunt, Gavin DeGraw, Train, Marc Cohn, and one special evening opening for the legendary Prince, an artist that Toby grew up idolizing. Prince happened to be watching the night Toby appeared on Conan and was so impressed with her performance he invited her to open for him. Since breaking away from the politics and constraints of corporate record companies, Lightman launched her independent record career with her self-released album, Let Go, in 2008. The title track was picked up by Home Shopping Network for use in the network's marketing campaign, with promos featuring the song airing on dozens of television channels for six months, letting Lightman know it would all be okay. She was then asked to sing the theme song and appear in the opening video for NASCAR on Fox. " Being an independent artist in today’s music business can be a scary and daunting thing" says Toby, "but getting constant positive feedback that people are into what you're doing inspires you and keeps you going. I've been lucky to get that feedback and it’s encouraged me to take more chances."As an independent artist, Toby Lightman has enjoyed tremendous success with the placement of her music in film and TV. So much so that she has been dubbed the "queen of TV and film." Some of her songs used in television and films include “Everyday” on Fox’s Bones, “Holding a Heart” in numerous shows such as WB’s One Tree Hill, Vampire Diaries, 90210 as well as the feature film What’s Your Number? Her winter evoking “Snow Day” was the soundtrack to a KMart commercial. “Addicted” was used in the promos for ABC’s Desperate Housewives series finale as well as the trailer for the movie Playing For Keeps. Amazingly, eight of Toby's songs were highlighted in a single episode of the ABC Family series The Fosters. This past winter, Toby and her song “We Are” were featured in the demo for the new Microsoft BING software. Most recently, Toby was asked to write a song for the new American Girl film that will be released in 2015.
You may hear familiar elements in newcomer Claire Constance’s music, but it doesn’t take long to realize the music is hers alone. The Chicago singer/songwriter’s audience is growing quickly as she hits a sweet spot with her soul-infused urban folk tales of life and love. Beginning with a thoughtful acoustic guitar canvas, Claire writes and delivers her songs like a seasoned old soul, embodying the spirit of classic blues and jazz artists while incorporating the influence of contemporaries like Colbie Callait, Sara Bareilles and Norah Jones. At age 27, Claire possesses a confidence—and irreverence—that radiates from her songs that leaves you convinced she’s lived and learned from a few lifetimes already. While studying music composition and performance at Columbia College Chicago, Claire’s songwriting caught the attention of Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones) with whom she worked side by side with in producing her single, “Never Stop Lovin’ You.” While supporting the likes of Buddy Guy, Shawn Colvin, Greg Laswell, Dave Barnes and Joan Osborne, Claire has also made a name for herself in the jingle world singing in a handful of national commercials. Following the success of her first acoustic EP, A Little Piece of Heaven, Claire quickly returned to the studio and released Plastic Heart, a handful of carefully crafted pop songs that can be sure to resonate with every listener personally. For future performance schedules and updates, check out www.ClaireConstance.com.
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Fri, Jan 30 - 9pm - $15
OPEN
Pop music can be divided into a before and an after. An artist introduces herself to the world and in an instant everything that came beforesounds old, as if the future has arrived and with it the future of music. Seinabo Sey is such an artist. At the age of twenty four Seinabo Sey is in a position where the only possible direction isforward. Listening to her music is like hearing contemporary pop music skip a notch andjump straight up to the next level. As a singer and live performer she has few rivals in theworld in 2014. Her debut single »Younger« catapulted Seinabo Sey to the very frontlines of contemporarypop music and attracted considerable attention both in her native Sweden as well asinternationally at the time of its release. »For Madeleine« (named after and dedicated toSey’s mother) is the continuation, an EP of five songs produced by Magnus Lidehäll whereSeinabo Sey has worked with some of Sweden’s and the world’s most talked-aboutsongwriters at the moment, besides Lidehäll, Vincent Pontare, Salem Al Fakir and OskaLinnros. »Younger« and »Hard Time« already sound like classics. »Pistols At Dawn« and »You« arehypnotic pop songs where Seinabo Sey triumphs as a singer in the lower registers. »River« isan intense portrayal of love and break-up backed by fiery gospel choirs. It sounds likeeverything and nothing, often both at the same time. As an artist Seinabo Sey has a uniquetone of voice that makes her music instantly recognizable. Her music cannot be compared toanything other than Seinabo Sey. »For Madeleine« presents an artist with the world as her work place and contemporary popmusic in the palm of her hand.
Irelands Choice Music Prize Award Winner for ‘Song Of The Year’ Hotpress - One To Watch - "the fresh-faced soul machine possesses the power to hush a room purely with the sound of his voice.” Entertainment.ie - "Stand out voice, that falsetto just dazzles. One to watch, for sure” state.ie - "His voice is absolutely astounding” Twenty two year old Dubliner singer songwriter, Gavin kicked off 2013 with two No.1 EP in Ireland followed by winning The Irish Choice Music Prize Award for ‘Song Of The Year’. His rise and development in his home market, has gained him sell out headline dates across Ireland and support tours with acts such as Marina & the Diamonds, Ingrid Michaelson, Kodaline, Nouvelle Vague, Beth Orton, Lianne La Havas. Earlier this summer he supported James Blunt on his sold out stadium tour across Europe and has recently return from his first US headline tour dates. Gavin's talent comes from his mother side of the family. His great, grandparents were both famous Irish opera singers and had their own album released in the early 1900’s. Gavin began to play guitar aged eight. After leaving school, James gigged around Dublin's Temple Bar and quickly began getting himself heard. While working on his live technique, his confidence was growing also, ultimately leading him to signed his record deal and he now joins Good Solider Songs impressive roster alongside David Gray, Biffy Clyro, Birdy and The 1975.
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Sat, Jan 31 - 9:30pm - $8
Hailing from the swamps of Chicago, guitarist and songwriter B Forrest’s palette of audible paint contains the colours blues, folk, love, and soul. His debut album entitled “Back to Bodhi” (due out February 2015), was a seed turned tree at the end of last year. The album was recorded among some of Chicago’s finest musicians at The Coach House. It is through singing that the soul is freed from the flesh, so join him in praise, because Buddha believes in thee.
Cole DeGenova is a pianist, vocalist, and songwriter. Coming from a family of musicians he began studying piano at age four. By 15 he was working as a professional musician around his native Chicago, performing alongside some of the city’s jazz and blues greats such as Kurt Elling, Patricia Barber, Orbert Davis, Jon Faddis, Skinny Williams, and Corey Wilkes before the age of 20. Cole has since toured all across the country, Europe, and South America as a sideman or performing his original material, a blend of neo-soul, jazz, and rock. A recent Berklee College of Music graduate, Cole was also blessed to study under the tutelage of piano greats Danilo Perez and Joanne Brackeen. He has since worked with the likes of legendary producers George Massenburg, Queen producer Dave Richards, and Michael Woodrum. He has recently performed alongside Grammy-winners Paula Cole, Meshell Ndegeocello, and opened for poet Saul Williams and rapper Gza.As lead vocalist, songwriter, and keyboardist, Cole also leads his own group, the raucous Cole DeGenova & The Peoples Republic, touring back and forth across the US. Their first album JUST PEOPLE AGAIN was released in summer 2009. It was produced by Geoffrey Nielsen with arrangement help from Meshell Ndegeocello and is a solid testament to the group’s eclectic and vibrant style.
Deep Fayed is a Chicago based live Funk Hip Hop group fronted by guitarist George Wundsam. Since graduating from Columbia College in '09, George began working with Chicago's greatest up and coming musicians, poets and artists to develop the concept, and write the tunes. Deep Fayed was formed in the spring of 2010 and has developed into what can be described as an organic and powerful sound that hits deep into the soul. Deep Fayed has been building momentum in Chicago and creating a buzz of party blasting greatness. The tight rhythm section provides a mixture of scorching riffs and danceable hip hop grooves while emcee Lawrence Tolefree accents the music with captivating lyrics and soul full melodies.
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Mon, Feb 2 - 8pm - $10
"A great bassist, composer, and lyricist, she has an uncanny ability to mix traditions... following her voice is like reading a great novel." -pianist Jason Moran. On February 2nd at Martyrs', Chicago bassist, vocalist, and composer Katie Ernst will celebrate the release of Little Words, a recording project that features the poetry of writer Dorothy Parker set to Ernst's original compositions. Her music is a heartfelt blend of jazz, folk, indie rock, and minimalism, and she has recently performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Chicago Symphony Center (as special guest with Jason Moran), and at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. She will be joined by tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi, pianist Stuart Mindeman, and drummer Andrew Green. This is Chicago debut and official CD release show for Little Words.
The Chicago-based duo SUN SPEAK comprises longtime collaborators Matt Gold (guitars) and Nate Friedman (drums and percussion). Since the 2014 release of their debut recording Light Blue Light (Genghis Records), Sun Speak has continued to solidify a compositional voice encompassing folk, jazz, and experimental music. Sun Speak is quickly growing a dedicated following throughout the Midwest and East Coast, with performances at The Green Mill (Chicago), Spectrum (New York), The Bop Stop (Cleveland), Pyramid Atlantic (Washington, D.C.) and more. The band has twice served as artists-in-residence at Avaloch Farm Music Institute, and has given masterclasses at universities, high schools, and community centers.
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Tue, Feb 3 - 8pm - $7
M13 is a 13 piece ensemble formed to to play fresh, original music and/or contemporary arrangements written by Aaron McEvers. It is comprised of professional musicians who bring their different backgrounds and skills to bear on music that is compositionally driven, and rendered with improvised sections. Though jazz is the backbone of this band, the group is unapologetically cross-genre and difficult to define with common analogies. Check it out.
The basis of Okapi's work was conceived by the creations of Woodstock, IL native Scott Gorski. Being a self-taught bassist since the age of fifteen, he trudged through several musical genres with curiousity before forming a definitive style with confidence and comfort. After moving his homebase to Chicago in October, 2010, he passed on many unsatisfactory attempts of forming an unconventionally ambitious lineup of musicians. It wasn't until March, 2012 that he was granted with the fortuity of meeting Lindsey Miller, a musician classically trained on the cello since the age of seven. Lindsey came to Chicago in August, 2010 from her hometown of Columbia, Missouri to pursue the traditional studies of her instrument at a conservatory. In hopes of moving into a more creative and experimental direction, she left behind her traditional studies in search of something new. After contacting Scott through a craigslist ad, the two got together and decided to approach songwriting alternatively as a team. The pair had met and auditioned nearly twenty drummers over a year and half period before utilizing craigslist again to catch the intrigue of Tommaso Moretti in October, 2013. Tommaso began drums at the age of eleven in Macerata, Italy with encouragement from his father. He began studying jazz music and performing with local groups before moving to Rome in 2001. Forming successful groups there lead him to partake in European and US tours which opened up more doors for musical collaborations worldwide. After years of teaching and performing, he moved to Chicago in 2013 where he later met Scott and Lindsey. Together, the group challenged one another to utilize each members' style to form something cohesive and different. Since writing and recording their first EP (self-titled, released February, 2014) Okapi has been steadily performing, perfecting their live performances, expanding their horizons with venues, and seeking other artists for collaboration. They promote creative approaches to composition and performance, and discourage barriers within the business that stifle musical freedom. *OKAPI is an endangered mammal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo. It's physical features are similar to that of a giraffe, zebra, and horse. The animal itself has no affiliation to the band, but the "fusion of three animals" concept prompted the trio to use the term as a metaphor for the formation of their project. Each member comes from different musical backgrounds, and offers a significant contribution to what makes OKAPI such a special group.
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Wed, Feb 4 - 7pm - $20
The Chicago Tribune: “I have seen the future of rock 'n' roll, and its name is Tributosaurus.”Tributosaurus strives to do for rock and roll what a symphony orchestra does for classical; treat the music with the respect it deserves, and deliver it to a listener’s ear in glorious detail. They accomplish this goal by utilizing the finest musicians Chicagoland has to offer, and by cutting no corners. If a Stevie Wonder tune has 6 horns, 3 keyboards, and 4 strings, then that’s what you get on stage. If a Santana song needs 3 guitars and 4 percussionists, so be it. Every month, one band is given the treatment, now totaling more than 90 over the first 9 years of the project. The members of Tributosaurus are musical anthropologists, as songs are excavated, dissected, and reconstituted to replicate the original with proper reverence. They aren’t really a tribute band, but are every tribute band. There are no costumes and there is no make-up, because with Tributosaurus, the music is the star.The band is comprised of five core members (Dan Leali, Curt Morrison, Chris Neville, Jon Paul, and Matt Spiegel), who are joined by artists with credits too numerous to mention. Tributosaurus has sold out shows all over Chicago, and their gigs are an event. Fans commune with the musicians, paying homage to songs that made us all fall in love with music in the first place.
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Thu, Feb 5 - 9:30pm - No Cover
free
A night of drinking, dancing, socializing, networking and non-stop music since 1991. For die hard rockabilly devotees and civilian music fans. Over the last decade, this highly organized vibrant jam session, held the first Thursday of every month at Martyrs', has become rockabilly central for many of the musicians & fans of Chicago's American roots scene. Although the monthly jam is devoted to rockabilly, the Big C Jamboree has also offered the span of '40's-'50's Amereicn roots music from Hillbilly Boogie to Western Swing, Jump Blues and 1st generation Rock-n-Roll. The night is run swiftly and simply: a host band performs a short set, followed by a myriad of roots musicians who do 3 songs each. The party like atmosphere includes socializing, drinking & dancing galore while the rotating line-up onstage usually features the raucous sounds of pompadoured rockabilly musicians wailing away on upright basses and hallow-bodied electric guitars; and there's NEVER a cover! It's one of the most dedicated evenings of music in the city.
Well, The Bama Lamas aren't going to sit around and wait to be placed in a nice tidy bucket - we play rock n roll - pure and simple. The kind of raunch you can feel deep down in your soul. Our love for scratchy R&B, Soul, and Rock N Roll 45's brought us together - became our blueprint for saving your sorry souls. The records that make you want to jump out of your skin and hit the dance floor happy just to be alive!
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Fri, Feb 6 - 8pm - $25
Martyrs' annual fundraiser for our local elementary school, A.G Bell, a CPS k-8 elementary school, benefits lots of kids in our community by helping to bridge the gap between what they need & what CPS provides. All bands feature one or more parents of Bell School students, and all proceeds to Friends of Bell. Come for a great rock show and support a great cause!
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Fri, Feb 6 - 8pm - $50 - VIP
Martyrs' annual fundraiser for our local elementary school, A.G Bell, a CPS k-8 elementary school, benefits lots of kids in our community by helping to bridge the gap between what they need & what CPS provides. All bands feature one or more parents of Bell School students, and all proceeds to Friends of Bell. Come for a great rock show and support a great cause!
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Sat, Feb 7 - 9:30pm - $8
Chicago performance art group Environmental Encroachment (EE) uses circus theatrics and an artist marching band to create unique entertainment environments. Performances can include costumes, live music, parades, fire spinning, spontaneous appearances, antics, and audience interaction.EE Marching Band's music uses North African, Latin, and traditional American rhythms, fused with electric bass and a brass section. Melodies are folkloric fusions, and creations inspired from New Orleans, Jazz and Rock. EE encourages participation, dance, and freeing the spirit.EE's magic circus marching band has evolved as part of a new genre of music. EE can do parades, weddings, funerals, historical re-enactments, children's shows, Halloween shows, street busking, second-line, festivals, performance workshops, rituals, marching band flags, circusesque sideshows, music for burlesque, vaudevillian skits, straight out music jams and synchronized swimming with tubas.EE started in 1996, with playground installations and live music interactions for people to play, be childlike, curious, free. Playgrounds for the mind. Playgrounds and performances to stimulate audiences into creative participants.
Dos Santos: Anti-Beat Orquesta rocks the sounds of pan-Latin American cumbia. Their gritty, grassroots approach captures the “golden age” of streamlined, tight-knit ensembles that shook sweatbox dance floors with raw and fierce energy throughout Latin America in the 1970s—honest dance music with no frills and no fear, anchored by piercing guitars, garage organs, and straight-ahead percussive might.The group’s five members (Irekani Ferreyra, Alex Chavez, Daniel Villarreal-Carrillo, Jaime Garza, Peter Maestro Vale) have their own storied careers in a diversity of styles—from jazz, R&B/soul, traditional Mexican folk, punk, cumbia, salsa—in addition to a history of critical involvement in arts education and social justice organizing. Their visceral sound draws from this sonic, cultural, and political well of influence, and is guaranteed to make you move.
The New Constellations sound combines Ethiopian + North African melodies, soulful Afro-Cuban rhythms, psychedelic + ambient textures, and American roots music. Memorable hooks and melodies are balanced with a flair for improvisation. Ideal music for either a party atmosphere, or as chill background music. Members of New Constellations play or have played with Chicago Afrobeat Project, Ted Sirota's Heavyweight Dub, The Interiors, Joe Pug, Van Ghost, Fire Show, Frank Catalano, and Rebel Roots.
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Tue, Feb 10 - 8pm - $7
Great Moments in Vinyl is a band playing tribute to your favorite LPs! Acollaborative effort between master of ceremonies and bassist, Bill Cochran, a veteran Chicago radio personality (WXRT, WNUA...and WXRT again), and music director/guitarist/vocalist, John Mead, an accomplished musician who performs regularly in Chicago and teaches at The Old Town School of Folk Music. The band will be augmented by musicians selected to round out the arrangements for each song.
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Wed, Feb 11 - 8pm - $7
Warm Ones is the brevity that speaks in perfect harmony. Equal parts after-school special and soft porn, the Chicago four-piece specializes in aggressively catchy indie rock songs that range from bubble gum pop, found on such tracks as “Small Spies" and “Love For A Week" - to noisy garage riffs like “Bacteriostatic". The band is as experimental as it is grounded in simplicity and the result has been strong songs, dynamic recordings and memorable melodies.Tony Sackett (vocals/guitar) teaches high school history and art and could eat miso soup every day. He loves the soundtrack to the movie Xanadu and plays video games in a way his parents might have wished he would one day perform surgery - with precision, elegance and a personal touch. He started Warm Ones with Brett Whitacre as a recording project when they were both members of The Saps (Spin Magazine).Mike Metz (bass) is the audio director for a video game company, although he refuses to level up. He joined the line up last fall when he won the band's Blintz on a Bass contest where he successfully balanced 7 cheese blintzes on the neck of his guitar for a half hour. This worked a lot better than posting an ad on craigslist. Mike has resided in Chicago for the last 10 years and still has not met a tamale guy he didn't like. He will occasionally rock a neckbeard that would make Kyle Orton proud.Mike Wszolek (guitar) Guitar? Check. Beard? Check. Blaze? We think he's got it. In addition, Mike enjoys wasting time on facebook at work and cooking food spicy enough to make you choke on your own snot. Mike has an identical twin that we have not met, although once Mike's Facebook status had him "checking in" at an Old Town bar in the middle of our set at the Empty Bottle. His brother filled in admirably, and the matter was never discussed.Jon Adler (drums) is a design and animation guru who loves all things vintage and nostalgic. He also enjoys 5 pocket corduroy pants and hopes to one day be the proud owner of an actual Eero Aarnio pod chair. He once played a drum fill that lasted 32 bars and it was totally appropriate for the song. Since becoming a father, the band has taken to calling him "Dadler".
Tea Tsunami began to take shape when Nick Kapche returned to Chicago after eight years spent finding himself in Colorado. Upon his return, he started collaborating with his friend and high school bandmate, Gabe Keenan. They quickly began writing songs, rehearsing, recording demos, and planting the seeds of what would become Tea Tsunami. But as they would soon discover, there was to be a long road ahead. Two drummers later and feeling jaded, Nick started exchanging ideas with Galen Burghardt, another high school bandmate who had recently started to feel the musical itch again after more than a decade away. They soon realized they shared similar musical ambitions. Finally fed up with trying to find a decent drummer willing to put in the necessary work to achieve greatness, Nick started dragging his girlfriend, Jen Kelley, to all band activities requiring a drummer. He realized the easiest way to acquire someone willing to practice was to physically put the person in a car with him when he left his apartment, and then keep the doors locked for the duration of the trip. As her Stockholm Syndrome took hold, Jen assured Nick that she would work hard and become a great drummer, despite having no percussion experience.Upon hearing a few ideas Nick and Galen were working on, Gabe suggested combining both projects, an idea that seemed natural to everyone involved. A regular practice schedule followed, which enabled the band to get their songs and arrangements together. It also allowed Jen to get a crash course in both playing drums and being in a band. Tea Tsunami is the result of over two years of effort, failure, persistence, and a refusal to accept defeat.
Knife of Simpson, the device used by Football Hall of Famer, O.J., has been rocking Chicago for a couple of years now, impressing music lovers with killer hooks, dynamite dual lead harmonies and butt shakin' beats. See us at your favorite beer bar.
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Thu, Feb 12 - 8pm -$20
As a songwriter for artists as diverse as Pat Benatar (the Grammy-nominated classic “We Belong”) , The Bangles, Jackson Browne, Keb’ Mo’, Dave Edmunds, The Tempatations, Dionne Warwick, Dutch superstar Marco Borsato, The Triplets, Austin outlaw legend Rusty Weir and many more...As a recording and touring artist with longtime songwriting partner Eric Lowen in the acclaimed acoustic duo Lowen & Navarro and, since 2009, as a solo singer-songwriter increasingly on demand on the national concert circuit...As a singer and voice actor in major motion pictures, television series, commercials and recordings, including the films Happy Feet (1& 2), Rio, Ice Age (2 & 3), Robots, The Mexican, The Emperor’s New Groove, Envy; television series Prison Break, Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show; recordings with Neil Young, Andrea Bocelli, Luis Miguel, Jose Feliciano, Susanna Hoffs and Jon Anderson of Yes; and commercials for McDonald’s, Toyota, Coca-Cola, Honda, El Pollo Loco, Nationwide and literally hundreds of others...As an activist in Washington on intellectual property, performer and songwriter issues, lobbying Capitol Hill regularly, including testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Copyright Royalty Board, on behalf of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, AFTRA, NARAS, BMI , SoundExchange and the musicFIRST Coalition...As an institutional volunteer on the elected and appointed boards of such vaunted musician and performer organizations as the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Folk Alliance International, The California Songwriters Association, The Recording Academy and the Golden West Chapter of the ALS Association, fighting the neuromuscular disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease...After 22 years and 12 albums with Lowen & Navarro, Dan ventured out solo in 2009 and released his first album that year, the spirited “Live at McCabe’s”, with his pals from the Austin-based Stonehoney backing him. His next album, “Shed My Skin”, is slated for release in 2012. He also moonlights as a member of the four-artist Christmas revue, Decembersongs, with friends Amy Speace, Jon Vezner and Sally Barris, and is a known abuser of acoustic guitars.
Dann Morr, songwriter and sideman, steps out with his debut album Shouting Into the Wind, a collection of indie rock gems that deftly incorporates the best parts of his long tenure in the Chicago music scene. Produced by Mike Hagler (OK Go, Wilco, Billy Bragg) and Morr, the 10-track album was recorded in Chicago at Kingsize Sound Labs and released September 23, 2014, on Squirrel Trap Records. Since the 1990s Dann Morr has been a singer and multi-instrumentalist in the folk-rock group Wells-next-the-Sea, indie-rock/power-pop outfits Analog Radio, and High Energy Physics, as well as bassist and backing vocalist for a number of other Windy City artists including The Cheetles, Mooner, Kerosene Stars, Kevin Lee, Phil Angotti, and Tom Daily. “My original plan for this album was to find a home for orphan songs that had fallen by the wayside over the last few years… songs that were performed by my previous bands, but never properly recorded or never released,” Morr explains. “Although, once we started recording together, I was inspired to write some new material for this amazing line up of musicians- which we dubbed The Dashing Bastard Sideshow.” Intricately woven guitar lines lounge atop a raucous rhythm section and each track covers distinct territory, from the power-pop crunch of “Jaded” to the rockabilly twang of “I Remember You”, with Morr moving from grit-throat rocker to sly crooner. The end result is that Shouting Into the Wind is an exploration of songs that show where Dann Morr comes from and where he is going.
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Fri, Feb 13 - 9pm - $10adv/$12door
OPEN
Josh Hoyer and The Shadowboxers is an award-winning six-piece Soul/R&B/Funk band from Lincoln, NE, sometimes backed by a killer female vocal trio. Don't doubt it- we can get down here in the Midwest. Borrowing from Stax, Motown, New Orleans and San Francisco, this band blends the classic sounds of Soul and R&B, yet has been able to make a sound that is fresh and unique.It has been a whirlwind of success in their first 2 years of playing, being nominated for Blues Blast Awards Debut of the Year, being in the top ten of RMR Charts for Soul AND R&B for 30+ straight weeks, named the 2013 Omaha Entertainment Winner for Soul Artist of the Year, and nominated for Artist of the Year for 2014. The band has played the Sin City Soul Revival, Sioux Falls JazzFest, the 2013 International Blues Challenge, dozens of festivals in the Midwest, consistently sells out shows in their hometown and has released a debut album that critics say stacks up to the classics. Their highly anticipated sophomore album, "Living By The Minute" is set to drop Jan.13. This band is about exchanging SOUL with THE PEOPLE, and with world-class players on every instrument, that is exactly what they do! And this band knows the value of a good song- a band is only as strong as their latest song- so Josh and the boys are constantly working to keep the hits coming- fresh and soulful! “Josh Hoyer and The Shadowboxers are coming out firing on all cylinders, smashing styles together to come up with their own groove. Funky soul packed with power, it’s Dr. John meets Al Green backed by Booker T and the MGs. You know, the good stuff.”-Charlie Johnson, Producer/Engineer Fuse Recording. “Joshua Hoyer is one of the Lincoln-Omaha scene’s finest songwriters. His new project gives equal weight to his great songs, his rich, soulful, distinctive vocals and his ability to put together funky, driving and passionate collaborations with his fellow musicians. This band’s sound soars and fills up the dance floor with funky joy.” –B.J.Huchtemann, senior contributing writer, The Reader, Omaha, NE
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Sat, Feb 14 - 9pm - $20adv/$25door
////FEATURING SWING BRASILEIRO, GRUPO AXE CAPOEIRA, AND PASSISTAS SAMBA DANCERS. HOSTED BY MARCOS OLIVEIRA. /////Our annual Brazilian Carnaval celebration, hosted by Marcos Oliveira, is a yearly highlight.​ ​One of the most vibrant celebrations of Carnaval in the world happens every year in Rio de Jenairo Brazil. ​ ​Sound Culture and Swing Brasileiro are proud to bring the tradition and vibe of Brazilian Carnaval to Chicago!The night will feature local Brazilian super group SWING BRASILEIRO which combines some of the area’s most accomplished Brazilian musicians playing popular carnaval musical styles such as Samba, Marchinhas, Samba Reggae, Frevo and Batucadas. The evening also includes Carnaval costume dance performances by the beautiful PASSISTAS SAMBA DANCERS. The night kicks off with performances by GRUPO AXE CAPOEIRA from Chicago. Capoeira is a unique, interdisciplinary Brazilian art form combining acrobatics, dance, martial arts and passionate Afro-Brazilian music and dance in beautiful costumes. Originally founded in Recife Brazil in 1982, now with chapters in over 26 countries today, GRUPO AXE CAPOEIRA is without doubt one of the world’s leading Capoeira organizations.THIS EVENT SELLS OUT EVERY YEAR! Advanced discounted tickets available while supplies last, so get your tickets early!
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Mon, Feb 16 - 8pm - $8
Louder Than a Mom because everyone has a depressing, shocking, miserable, vulgar, hilarious family story! Storytelling is one of the oldest human traditions. Come and share yours. If you’re not ready to talk about your family tragedy, your judgmental mother-in-law, your drunk Uncle Pete who ruins every holiday, or why you hate your four-year-old, come and listen. We all love a good bedtime story!!
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Tue, Feb 17 - 9pm - $15
Terrapin Flyer began in 1999 as the house band for the Sunday Grateful Dead Jam at the Boulevard Cafe in Chicago. Through the many associations developed there and many that have continued since, the band has grown into one of the premier Grateful Dead inspired touring acts in the nation. Terrapin Flyer has been performing with a revolving cast of some of the finest musicians in the Grateful Dead family and continuing the tradition of bringing the familiar music of the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band to bold new improvisational places. The band draws from the a variety of skilled musicians including Grateful Dead keyboardists Tom Constanten, Bob Bralove and Vince Welnick (RIP). They also tour with Jerry Garcia Band organist Melvin Seals and Ratdog guitarist Mark Karan. Additionally, they have done one off shows with guest musicians such as grammy award winning blues harpist Sugar Blue, guitar prodigy Fareed Haque, Furthur guitarist John Kadlecik and musician, songwriter and music journalist David Gans. With these icons of Grateful Dead music, Terrapin Flyer has performed at prominent venues and headlined large festivals across the United States keeping the spirit of the Grateful Dead alive.
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Wed, Feb 18 - 8pm - $7
Higgs Theory blends smooth dance grooves with a modern approach to the jam band. Influenced by the likes of Umphrey's McGee, Phish, and STS9, the Higgs boys put on a captivating and emotional show. The group includes Trevor Paulsen on guitar and vocals, Josh Yelden on lead guitar, and Caleb Goldenstein on bass. Eddie Vejvoda (drumkit) and Casey Walker (percussion) round out the lineup.
Al Rose is a striking songwriter and musician with a unique and powerful vision that continues to jell and focus on his sixth and latest album, “Sad Go Lucky,” being released this summer of 2012. His previous albums have received extensive airplay on AAA and Americana stations throughout the US along with a bevy of critical praise. The Chicago-based performer has played coast-to-coast from New York to Boston and from Vancouver down to Los Angeles. He’s toured in Europe and, recently completed his second successful tour in Japan. “With a mixture of irreverence and soul, this veteran singer-songwriter just gets better, funnier and more plaintively incisive with each release…. mixes blues, country and rock influences with off-hand ease, while crafting indelible imagery.” – Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune. Al’s musical soul rose early. Studying flute from 4th grade until losing interest in high school, he picked up an old guitar collecting dust in the basement and became obsessed, not as a guitarist, but as a songwriter and singer. Soon came the college coffeehouse gigs and rock bands including a critical and personally satisfying stint as co-leader of Chicago-based Buffalo Trout. With fevered pitch and hearty focus, Rose formed The Transcendos: his true point of embarkation. Flexibly powerful, from dada gospel to caffeinated pick; explosive rhythm to sparest hush; swampy improv groove to country shine, the band nails them to the wall. The songs bloomed with Rose’s stream of metaphor lyrics connecting our disjointed artifacts of life. “A slice of life in a traffic jam. Raindrops on the basil baked on the setting sun with a slow low rise style”. His word sculptures enlighten the random moment telescoping and microscoping a personal sky where the knives wait to cut and eyes adjust to the dark, open wide. Rose has always approached the recording process by serving the song and, working with gifted co-producer, engineer, and Grammy-winner Blaise Barton, Al has released six stunning discs: Information Overload (1994), Naked In A Trailer (1996), Pigeon’s Throat (2000), Gravity Of Crow (2003), My First Posthumous Release (2008), and now Sad Go Lucky (2012). Each stands alone. In series they expose Al’s evolving habit of craft. It’s so easy to hear the time and care, the patience and skill, the garlic and wine that went into the work. Listen. Al’s wild ride spontaneous live shows, whether solo, full band, or configuration in between, coast and roll you inside out. You know the way a surprisingly loud crackly fire manages to give off a warm, steady glow? Yeah.
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Thu, Feb 19 - 8pm - $7
Communist Daughter's music was featured on the ABC show Grey's Anatomy. "Together, they present a more down-to-earth Arcade Fire and a more gripping Of Monsters and Men while nicely filling the void left by The Civil Wars’ breakup" - Chicago Sun Times. “Fragile, daydreaming harmonies. Swirling synths that spin and spin until they fall down dizzy" - Rolling Stone. "we’ve just found a new band to blast the entire way into the mountain range... we’re already giving them a prime slot in our summer soundtrack”- THE FADER. "enjoy the bittersweet, autobiographical harmonies of one of Minneapolis' greatest singer/songwriter." - Filter. What we also noticed was that, as opposed to others in the clump of bands desperately trying to ride in the post-Fleet Foxes/Bon Iver fauxlk (that would be "faux folk") wake, these guys sound tight as hell—as though they actually finally put down the homebrew and hauled themselves to band practice." - Noisy/Vice. "Solomon and a cast of friends are back at it, recording intricate guitar melodies with gorgeous, haunting vocals layered on top" - Paste Magazine
American Grizzly is a Rock & Roll band of sorts influenced by all things past, present, and future. From tube-screaming “noise rock” to the minimalist approach of rural American folk music, this band transcends any one genre and hits many of the stops along the musical landscape. Pairing well-crafted song writing with tasteful sonic euphoria and sometimes tones that elicit bouts of melancholy, American Grizzly creates music for current times. After years of shaping their craft in basements, garages, bowling alleys, and taverns, American Grizzly has heeded the call for original artistry with recordings and supporting their efforts with live performances. Based in Chicago, Illinois, the band is comprised of Matt Ladd on vocals, Jack Doyle and Dennis Wilson on guitars, Marty Funk on bass, and Owen Yanz on drums.
There’s a source in rock n roll music, a well from which most of the great musicians and songwriters have drank deeply. Born in the Mississippi delta and raised on the streets of Chicago’s south side, The Blues is often recognized as the source. The Black Oil Brothers draw from the same well our heroes have, but what comes out is invariably our own. Utilizing everything we can beg borrow or steal – acoustic, electric and resonator steel guitars, banjos, harmonicas, mandolins, drums, shakers, 3-part harmonies – we create the music that let’s your ears know that there ain’t a damn thing wrong with the sound of a good man feeling bad. Such is the blues. Finding outlets in music that turns heartbreak into ass shake. Such is the music of The Black Oil Brothers and it very well may be saving our souls. Let us save yours.
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Fri, Feb 20 - 9:30pm - $12
Forgotten Space is a North Texas based Grateful Dead tribute band comprised of six diverse musicians with a deep understanding and respect for the rich and varied Grateful Dead songbook.Formed in 2006, the band has continuously grown both in it's popularity and it's repertoire. All the while, they have meticulously bridged the gap between creating the sound and feel of the Grateful Dead experience and finding the balanced, tasteful space to express their own personal identities as musicians. Their clear penchant for fearless improvisation coupled with their appreciation of the story telling component of the Grateful Dead's material subsequently results in shows teeming with amazed and appreciative audiences.Great care and detail is executed in the tones and instrumentation, as well as in the spirit of the performances. Add to that a willingness to explore arrangements from all eras of the Dead's body of work (1965-1995), and you end up with an all out, explosive mixture of good vibes, endless dance party, and deep space musical exploration which engages Deadheads and non-Deadheads alike.
Described as a bluegrass fusion group, the Dirty River Ramblers push the standard boundaries of bluegrass and oldtime music to create a style that sits loosely between genres, allowing them to creatively explore while writing their own material. Riding the wave of their recently released debut album, Ramble On, the band has been traveling and performing across the Midwest, to the Rocky Mountains, and to Alaska, meeting new musical friends, and performing for new fans. The band is getting radio play across the country, and is building a foundation for another exciting year. If you like a basic high-energy, on pitch, hillbilly folk sound, combined with boundary-pushing songwriting and musicianship, you need to see the Dirty River Ramblers.
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Sat, Feb 21 - 9pm - $10
For 5 years, Borrow Tomorrow has been enjoying the ups and battling the downs that accompany chasing one's dream. We've got our right-of-passage band stories--the drunken nights, the broken-down vans, the incomparable rush from stepping onto a dark stage before an anxious audience. We've laughed and cried, loved and lost. As we grow older and do a bit of growing up, we've been taking stock in our lives, both as individuals and together as a group of brothers striving and sacrificing for a common goal: to make our dreams come true.If our story seems familiar, perhaps it's because in many ways, it's no different than yours. There are peaks and valleys, good days and bad, new characters enter, and old favorites depart, but the goal is always the same. We're searching for what makes us happy, and fighting each and every morning to get one step closer.Our music SAYS a lot about us, and a lot about how we see the world and our place in it, but it's not ABOUT us. It's about the time your Dad gave you a piece of advice you'll never forget, or the first time you saw the person you'd marry years later. It's finding your footing after a broken heart, and honoring a fallen friend to whom you weren't able to say goodbye. In other words, it's the laundry list of things that defines all of us as people, and how, armed with this evolving knowledge, we relate to everyone else walking around on this crazy planet.
The Locals are an alt-pop, indie-rock trio from Chicago who aresteadily winning fans and devotees with their latest EP "SALT".Fronted by singer and songwriter Yvonne Doll, the Locals have been apart of the Chicago music scene for the last decade. The Locals' soundis unapologetically guitar heavy alt-pop; think The Pixies meets theYeah Yeah Yeahs and Silversun Pickups. Doll's distinct and powerfulvocals cut confidently through the band, becoming the perfectcompliment to the always solid, sometimes frenzied rhythm section ofChristy Nunes and Tommy Oerding.
Katie Todd has shared the stage with such music scene luminaries as Sarah McLachlan, Patti LaBelle, Train, Steve Winwood, Juliana Hatfield and The Wallflowers. ITunes lauded Katie as one of the "top buzz bands in the country," and she claimed a spot as the website's "Artist of the week," earning nearly 300,000 downloads of their single, "Face Down."Born and raised in Chicago, Katie starting studying classical piano when she was 4 years old. When her older sister started sharing hand-me-down albums by The Beatles, U2 and Cat Stevens, Katie turned onto a different musical path. Katie majored in music at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. After graduation, Katie moved back to Chicago to pursue music full-time. She has performed at Lollapalooza, Lilith Fair, and Summerfest to name a few. Her performances have been said to be inspiring, passionate and full of energy.Now, with 4 studio albums and 1 live album under her belt, Katie is ready to show what she's made of, her more mature and gritty side with her newest release, "CLOSER."
Captain Coopersmith ALBUM RELEASE SHOW! Rock band from Algonquin / Northwest suburbs of Chicago featuring: Tommy Glaviano, Joe Scully, Mike McAvoy, Hanna Azcui, Eric Gianakakos.
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Tue, Feb 24 - 8pm - $8
LAST TUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH - TIX AVAILABLE AT DOOR, NIGHT OF ONLY - The Moth StorySLAMs are open to anyone with a five-minute story to tell on the night's theme. Half an hour before the show, we put the names of all the folks who want to tell a story in a hat. At the start of the show, we start picking names. The 10 featured stories are scored by teams of judges selected from the audience. Each Storyslam generates a Storyslam winner. After ten slams, the winners face off in our Grandslam Championships. Come sign up to tell a story, or just to enjoy the show!
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Wed, Feb 25 - 8pm - $10
Town Mountain’s hard drivin’ bluegrass sound, tight harmonies, and stellar in-housesongwriting have become the band’s trademark. They light up the stage with their honkytonkedge and barroom swagger, featuring a Jimmy Martin-style bounce and confidencethat is countered at times by a laid-back John Hartford-esque groove.The past two years have pushed Town Mountain into the upper tier of acoustic bands andthey have found themselves at some of the most prestigious festivals in the country suchas MerleFest, Grey Fox, Rockygrass, Suwannee Springfest and the Targhee BluegrassFestival earning them a nomination for IBMA’ s 2014 Emerging Artist of the Year, anatural follow up to their two 2013 IBMA Momentum Awards.With the release their first official live album, Town Mountain: Live At The Isis, inAugust 2014, fans and critics alike celebrate the high energy of their one of a kind liveshow. With plans for the studio in early 2015, Town Mountain is certain to continue theirascent in the world of roots music.Town Mountain includes Robert Greer on vocals and guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo andvocals, Phil Barker on mandolin andvocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle and Nick DiSebastianon bass.
The Bubbly Creek Bluegrass Band is a Chicago group that plays traditional bluegrass with a focus on the energy and musicianship inherent in the music. The band name comes from the famous south fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River, which Upton Sinclair described as "constantly in motion, as if huge fish were feeding in it, or great leviathans disporting themselves in its depths."
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Thu, Feb 26 - 9pm - $8
Bryan Doherty bends the bass into something rarely heard, but entirely worth the price of admission." So says All Music Guide, and they're right: Much like Doherty's brilliant bass playing, his band Hood Smoke blends soul and pop a la Rufus, David Byrne or The Band, while managing to sound unique. Hood Smoke's line-up reads like a "who's who" of Chicago music masters, including Michael Caskey on drums, Chris Siebold on guitar, Rob Clearfield on keys and singer Sarah Marie Young (Quincy Jones, Paco de Lucia.) Young's voice will no doubt turn heads with its uncanny combination of grit and precision. Her voice and her bandmates' undeniable chops make Hood Smoke's album, Laid Up In Ordinary, a must-hear release of 2013.
Upper Black Eddy (UBE) is a two-piece rock group with roots from Chicago and Miami. Adrian Davis, formerly of the well-known and popular Chicago group, the "Adrian and Mark Duet" a.k.a "AMD Band", began a musical project with previous bandmate, best friend and South Florida drum virtuoso, Steffen Banas to form Upper Black Eddy. With the significant bulk of acclaim both musicians acquired throughout their individual ventures, the band has accelerated to local fame nearly effortlessly. Already, the name UBE has been cited in magazines and videos to illustrate the dazzling spectacle of their live performances and sonic ambiance. A debut album seems to be on the impending horizon, as the two prepare to embark on a cross-country busking tour to promote themselves and soon gain national recognition.
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Fri, Feb 27 - 9:30pm -$10
Making Movies makes music that matters:Built upon a heavy foundation of Afro-Latino rhythms, they have created a bilingual,psychedelic re-envisioning of theLatin American “son.”The band’s second album, A La Deriva,(“adrift” or “swept away”), produced bySteve Berlin of Los Lobos, tells a storybased on the struggles of an immigrantfamily that tragically falls apart in America,and the consequential impact on thefollowing generation. Taking cues fromLatin American folklore, the band's soundswings intensely, at times sounding likeCompay Segundo being played by JimiHendrix and at other times like The TalkingHeads digging deep into a dembow. WhenFelix Contreras at NPR described the titletrack ‘Deriva’ he stated, “...the young bandMaking Movies (and its producer, SteveBerlin of Los Lobos) shows us how deeplythought-out lyrics sound next to a rhythmtrack that somehow both propels and floatswithout violating the laws of physics.”The band’s strong lyricism, persistentpercussive waves, and deft ways ofstraddling two cultures flowed easily intobecoming a bilingual recording. “SinceI was six years old my life has been inboth English and Spanish so I find itnatural to make music the same way,”explains singer/guitarist Enrique Chi.Enrique and his brother, bassist Diego Chi,grew up in Panama, listening to classicrock from their Papá’s collection. Mama,on the other hand loved to dance to thetraditional sounds of salsa, merengue andcumbia, and the entire family agreed on theinspiration of Panamanian musician RubenBlades. "A huge influence,” says Chi. Evenas a child, he understood the Blades epic,“Pedro Navaja,” to be a dark song you stillcould dance to, and turned a paradox into apersonal credo: “Music should have a deepermeaning, More than just a feel-good time;it needs to make you think a bit.”The brothers formed the band in KansasCity in 2009, with percussionist Juan-CarlosChaurand and drummer Brendan Culp.Upon releasing an EP, Aguardiente, in 2012,the band's sound was described by The K.C.Star’s Ink Magazine as "Cuban dance hallmerged with blasts of scabby guitar straightout of Sonic Youth's Day dream Nation, asif reinterpreted by Santana."
Chicago’s Kelroy create a sound that combines intricacy of composition with simplicity of delivery, drifting between hints of post rock, blues and alternative, as they pour time and essence into the vortex of sound they shape. Each song sets off on a journey of its own. Thick layers of guitars sound more like distress signals and woeful mourning; the keys and trombone add layers of texture and depth, while drums and bass set a pulse that delivers each composition to its natural conclusion. The always-evolving chord progressions, and picturesque and introspective lyrics evoke a mood, a feeling and, undeniably, a train of thought…. Throughout its growth and evolution, the band has been expanding its fan base, having performed in New York, Denver, Cleveland, Columbus, Milwaukee and other cities in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Their music has appeared on public radio like WBEZ and Vocalo, college radio stations like WLUW, and Spanish stations like NOX Live. The band continues to maintain a devoted following in its hometown appearing regularly at such Chicago hot-spots. Kelroy is set to release its third full-length album in February 2015.
KILLER MOON is fundamentally a progressive metal band, but the Chicago based trio are otherwise difficult to categorize: elements of acid rock from the late 60’s early 70’s, stoner sludge, and some good old fashioned Black Sabbath doom can be heard in their music. They weave a complex fabric of sound that takes ones attention without the need for a voice. The intense conversation is between three main characters; lead guitarist Jesse Garza, bass player Amaris Aviles, and drummer Alex Santoyo. Every song they engage in is singular in its theatre, its own raw climatic set of moments. Jesse, often playing the protagonist performs each song with raw creative emotion, mature and relaxed in its expressions. In moments when he goes feverish into the stratosphere, the tangents are not self indulgent but important, for it's in these key moments that Alex and Amaris drift seamlessly to the center -- they contribute their dialogue. The themes ebb and flow or race ahead, but one is not lost nor distracted. Killer Moon's songs express a dominant swagger, like they’re older than they seem.
The DisAssocitates are an idea, a movement, a statement and a hard-faced three-word gesture to the Haters of honest vinyl presentation. Simply put we spin tunes (preferably through the anointed medium of wax) with passion to like-minded people who enjoy it to their fullest. Eventually this ethos will be transferred to a live music setting as a fully-operational band is only a few drinks and a loud bull session away. Continue to enjoy our brand. You will not be disappointed...
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Tue, Mar 3 - 8pm - $10
Artists, activists, musicians, writers, architects, politicians, chefs, and people defying description all grace the stage at PechaKucha Night which brings prominent and emerging creative minds together for an evening of lightning-fast presentations, networking and fun. The PechaKucha format, where a dozen or so presenters are given 20 slides each shown for 20 seconds to reveal their passions, work and inspirations, is now held in over 430 cities around the world. Chicago events are among the most popular, with over 300 people in attendance at each event. It's an amazing, riotous and amusing evening.Vol 29 - As it's Fat Tuesday, there's going to be New Orleans music. Not to mention an international and eclectic group of fascinating presenters chit-chatting about things they love to do! You might just learn something about MOOCs, Belgium, Boston or tasty comestibles. As usual, there's beer, great friends and surprises...
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Thu, Mar 5 - 9:30pm - No Cover
free
A night of drinking, dancing, socializing, networking and non-stop music since 1991. For die hard rockabilly devotees and civilian music fans. Over the last decade, this highly organized vibrant jam session, held the first Thursday of every month at Martyrs', has become rockabilly central for many of the musicians & fans of Chicago's American roots scene. Although the monthly jam is devoted to rockabilly, the Big C Jamboree has also offered the span of '40's-'50's Amereicn roots music from Hillbilly Boogie to Western Swing, Jump Blues and 1st generation Rock-n-Roll. The night is run swiftly and simply: a host band performs a short set, followed by a myriad of roots musicians who do 3 songs each. The party like atmosphere includes socializing, drinking & dancing galore while the rotating line-up onstage usually features the raucous sounds of pompadoured rockabilly musicians wailing away on upright basses and hallow-bodied electric guitars; and there's NEVER a cover! It's one of the most dedicated evenings of music in the city.
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Fri, Mar 6 - 9pm - $10
Classic soul meets rock and roll in this dynamic eight-piece collective from Chicago. The Congregation features Gina Bloom, a singer whose raw and powerful vocals are underscored by Charlie Wayne’s dynamic guitar riffs, the band’s rock and soul rhythm section and the lively call and response of a three-piece horn section. When it comes to the songwriting, you won’t find any sugarcoated love songs here–you’ll get a little bit of longing and a whole lot of wronging.While the 2012 release of "Right Now Everything" marked the band’s full-length album debut, The Congregation has been steadily gaining steam since the release of its seven-song EP, "Not for Sleepin", in late 2010. The band was named by the Chicago Tribune as one of “11 Bands to Watch in 2011” and was featured in Paste Magazine as one of “10 Illinois Bands You Should Listen to Now”. The Congregation’s stop-and-take-notice sound and electrifying live sets have earned the group the opportunity to share bills with acclaimed artist such as Wilco, Andrew Bird, the Flaming Lips and Buddy Guy! The band has also been featured on the small screen--performing on ABC7's "Windy City Live", WGN's "Music Lounge", Science Channel's "Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman" and an upcoming episode of BBC's "Horizon" set to air this spring. The Congregation is currently placing the finishing touches on its upcoming album release,"Record Collection".
“We call it American Gypsy, because it wanders but isn’t lost. Its a tramp, you can’t get lost when you’re in love with where you are.”Formed in 2011, songwriter/director Antony Ablan began his search for a band–a group of musicians that could handle, with grace, the wildly eclectic and dynamic changes in mood of his writing. “It was several months of working with all sorts of great players before I found the right fit. When it clicked it was so obvious to me, I knew these were the right musicians, it finally worked.”The virtuosic group developed quickly. “Once it clicked, things moved fast,” says Antony. The band soon found themselves headlining Chicago’s most notable venues, from Schubas to Lincoln Hall, to The Empty Bottle. They embarked on their first national tour in the fall of 2011, earning notoriety for their explosive live shows all the down to Texas and back. Swinging from gentle sunshine ditties to wild soaring epics, to dirty garage floor american gypsy, The Tramps had come into their own.Upon returning to Chicago, full of fire, they began recording their ambitious debut album. Over 6 winter months, the band created a completely independent, full length album. Its not a studio album, and its not a live record. Making use of portable recording gear they were able to record anywhere, at any time, with unbound freedom to experiment with sound for their anticipated debut.“We had two guiding concepts for this album,” Antony says. “We wanted the texture to be ‘wooden-electric’, and we wanted the narrative and imagery to be a ‘movie for your ears’. The band brought on engineer Matt Livensparger to realize their vision. Matt recalls: “When he called me at 4 in the morning to tell me the album needed to sound wooden-electric, I knew exactly what he meant. Antony came to me with concepts, textures, feeling, scenes for this album, but he isn’t a technical person, so I stepped in to make those ideas into sound–the mic placements, the room choices, and so on. He’d direct the music and musicians with imagery and emotion, never musical or technical terms. I was there to capture these amazing musicians performing.”The band recorded the album like making a movie, choosing locations to suit the scene. Enormous recital halls, warehouse hallways, cavernous train underpasses, intimate bedrooms, tiny closets. “We weren’t stuck in the studio trying to fake it, we could choose the room like choosing an instrument, and it affected the musician, it evoked something in us that inspired the music, inspired the scene we were recording,” Antony says.The result is stunning debut for the Chicago band. A full 63 minutes of original music that takes the listeners through wide open prairie scenes, bustling big-city streets, ragged American-gypsy grooves, intimate soulful pleas, soaring climatic instrumentals, and for the final moment of the album, a heavenly a capella choir that sends the listener endlessly upwards. The album is captivating journey from start to finish.“Its been an incredible process creating it, both in its challenges and finally, its success. None of us have created anything like this before,” says Antony.
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Sat, Mar 7 - 7pm - $17adv/$22door
Ewan Dobson has established himself as one of Canada’s most brilliant and exhilarating young guitarists, having won first prize in nearly every single Classical Guitar competition across the country. His impressive list of credentials include winning the Grand Prizes from both the Burlington Rotary Fall Music Festival and the Pickering Rotary Music Festival where he emerged victorious, after having competed against the top prize winners of all of the other disciplines. In addition to dominating the provincial competition circuit, Dobson has made his mark nationally having represented Ontario twice at the National Finals of the prestigious Canadian Music Competitions (CMC) and having been awarded the top prize in guitar. In the summer of 2009, Dobson was crowned the Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Champion at the prestigious 5th annual Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Competition held in Kingston, Ontario. Shortly after this victory, he captured another first prize in the acoustic category at the 4th Montreal Guitar Grand Prix.The development of Ewan Dobson into the artist that he is today has been an eclectic journey to say the least. After humble beginnings with his first electric guitar playing heavy metal and hard rock music to the structured discipline of his classical training, Dobson has expanded his repertoire to include Bluegrass, Metal, Canadian folk, Techno, Trance, Video Game and Contemporary Fingerstyle music. The culmination of all of these diverse influences has fuelled his creativity to compose his own unique brand of music and resulted in creating the captivating artist that he is today. Endorsed by Guptill Music in California, Dobson uses their ProPik Fingertone split-wrap finger picks. Ewan Dobson is a young artist of exceptional technical virtuosity and refined artistry that will enthral audiences wherever he performs.Ewan has performed at the 2010 Montreal Jazz Festival alongside Gareth Pearson, Craig D'Andrea and Don Ross. He also demonstrated guitars at the 2010 Montreal Guitar Show. In September and October 2010 Ewan hit the road with fellow guitar virtuoso Antoine Dufour for his first Canadian tour that featured performance dates with the legendary Don Ross. This eastern tour brought Ewan to several cities including Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Fredericton, Halifax, Charlottetown, New Glasgow, and more. The impression he left behind has already warranted a return trip within the year.Ewan Dobson II, the new self-titled album released by Candyrat Records, brings with it 18 new recordings. As generous as his last album, Ewan continues to deliver his unique style that has proven to be a force to be reckoned with.
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Sat, Mar 7 - 9pm - $10
What's a Nasty Snack, you ask? It's Tom Selleck standing under a waterfall with a saxophone, eating a ham sandwich. It's Scooby Doo gnawing on a pair of rawhide drumsticks. It's that nasty groove brought to you by nine members of a Chicago funk movement that cannot be stopped! Drawing from influences such as Kool and the Gang, Lettuce, Roy Hargrove, Earth Wind and Fire, and Tower of Power, the Snacks have proven to showcase an explosive, horn-driven, pocket-slamming performance at each live show. With a chaotic balance of R&B grooves and freaky horn melodies, the Snacks have developed a sound acclaimed by most as "just nasty!"Nasty Snacks is a collective of musicians from various musical projects featuring vocalist Catherine Poulos (From Tha 99, Lighten Up), guitarist Ryan Gac (Soul Vendor), bassist Martin Farrelly (Soul Vendor), guitarist Colin Fahey (How Far to Austin), keyboard scientist Anthony Perry Jr. (How Far to Austin), drummer Steven Rutledge (Woo Park), trumpeters Scott Hoecker and Caleb Mitchell (Soul Vendor), and saxophonist Sean Packard (all-around badass).
“ Ilearned a very important lesson while working as a journalist in New York,” says Son Denizen. “To innovate, you must collect and combine all the available information in a field before it can be wielded. Then and only then can you take a step forward.” Such is the goal of Super Doppler Wars: musical innovation. The Chicago duo’s sound could only have been formed in the information age - borne from a generation with access to nearly all of Earth’s recordings. Soul, dance-punk, jazz, funk, indie rock, hip-hop, electronica, African and Asian rhythms - they’re all seamlessly woven into a style that’s all the duo’s own. “We’re consciously trying to write songs that are post-everything,” says Jefferson Jones, the group’s frontman. “Our appetite for music is voracious. We’ve studied the crates exhaustively and now it’s our turn to contribute.” Jones’s baritone vocals are the group’s focal point. His voice is deep, rich and raw. Behind Jones is the wholly modern production of Son Denizen. The beats are heavy, funky and psychedelic. The live show combines the energy of a punk band with the skills of a jazz ensemble. In a review of the duo’s debut EP, entertainment website Grizzly Bomb had this to say: “ ... it becomes apparent that even though the band is self-described as ‘post-everything,’ much of their lyrical content harkens to how one finds themselves in the situation they live. While this speaks largely to the urban mindset, it opens the door for some common themes to cross the border of genre. The hip-hopper can glance at the jazz from whence it came. The rocker can dabble in digital sound.” Son Denizen grew up playing guitar in the punk and indie scenes of the Southeast, where he came to embrace epic, thunderous live shows. He helped found the group The Working Title, which eventually signed to Universal Records. Songs he recorded with the group were played on MTV, satellite radio, surf and skate videos, and in major motion picture soundtracks. Jones is classically trained and studied jazz at Michigan State University. For several years, he was a member of The New Deal, a popular Michigan band known for its high-energy performances. Members from that group went on to form Lord Huron, the L.A.-based buzz-worthy alterna-folk band that’s quickly gaining international prominence.
Blending indie rock, pop and soul into a delectable stew of sound, Ariada is a Chicago-based outfit rapidly gaining a national foothold after over a year of tremendous local growth. The band has received an array of comparisons stretching from The Doors and Queen to the modern sounds of Alabama Shakes and Grace Potter, although Greg Shaw wrote that, "The one fact you cannot argue is that Ariada is unlike anything else." - Nanobot Rock Reviews. Over the summer, Ariada found themselves playing self-booked tour dates throughout the region. Since then, the band dropped their self titled debut EP in late August 2013, having spent the past few months recording with Grammy Award-nominated producer, Chris Steinmetz. The EP has been positively received by critics and press and is receiving airplay on various independent and college radio stations. The band has had the privilege of sharing the stage with national acts Willy Moon, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound and Minus The Bear to name a few, while also playing headlining shows in Chicago's top clubs including; Metro, Lincoln Hall, Schubas, Cubby Bear, and Double Door. Ariada is booking 2013 fall tour dates and is looking to tour nationally in the summer of 2014. The band was formed by Lesleigh Arratia in 2012 after seeking to transition from her traditionally known styles of Classical and Opera music. The band formed when Arratia found drummer, Michael Tassone and guitarist, Albert Amey, on BandMix, a website used to bring musicians together.
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Tue, Mar 10 - 8pm - $10
Inside a handful of Chicago's many pro-musician circles, Kari is a phenom. Reclusive in nature and a beast on the stage, she's one of the city's best kept secrets. Put her in an incubator for a year with Rikky McCrae, Nick Kitsos, Mark Grzelak and John Zdon; and - Holy Mother of All Things Good in the World - the earth's crust just shifted. Kari VON ETHER and the Obdurate Masses are an in-your-face rock band with a taste for the tender and a flair for the dramatic, in an "I want to ride that again!" kind of way. The grooves are huge and hard, the hooks can keep you up at night, the melodies are familiar having never heard them before, and then there's Kari's voice, which can reach down your throat and rip your heart out. THIS is their debut gig.
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Wed, Mar 11 - 9pm - $8adv/$10door
The Helping Phriendly Orchestra revisits Phish shows in their entirety withMark Hague on guitar/vocals,Rich Fobes on keyboards/vocals,Garrett Degnan on bass/vocals, andMike Schroeder on drums/vocals.
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Thu, Mar 12 - 9pm - $10
Forged in fire of youthful rebellion in Chicago, IL, Woo Park, a psychedelic soul sextet and musical assault from all sides, emerges triumphantly amidst a musical climate of uniformity. As far as bands go, it’s a rare occurrence that the magical combination of people, capable of pushing each other to the limit, find themselves together, but after a brief period of playing together, it was evident that the members of Woo Park had found what they'd been looking for. Half of Woo consists of a fiery rhythm section with a near clairvoyant rhythmic flexibility featuring Luke Sangerman, polyrhythmic champion, Steve “The Bongo Kid” Rutledge on percussion, and Parker Grogan, self-proclaimed bass god. The undeniable groove exists in tandem with an atmosphere of ethereal soundscapes fit for even the most heady of new age souls to bask in; Christian Zwit, aural chemist and knob tinkerer, wields keyboard and synth alike while Brian Sanborn’s playing transcends guitar with his singing melodies and cloud-like chords. Emily Nichols’s alluring voice floats effortlessly atop of the controlled chaos, forming a cohesive narrative. Initially taking cues from bands such as Hiatus Kaiyote, Robert Glasper Experiment, and Little Dragon, Woo Park has since crafted a unique sonic niche for themselves and they are dedicated to, one day, hitting the world's stage. A continuously forward looking outfit unsatisfied with the status quo, Woo has attained a hard fought over new approach to a standard instrumentation and continues to push further into their own uncategorizable sound; a kind of Generation Y Jazz with a medley of influences from rock to electronica. The live show is where the spirit of Woo comes alive; mind and body - performer and audience - become one, fueled by a sound which provokes a physical and mental reaction in equal parts. Intensely focused on the now, each member constantly engages in improvisational expression within the confines of their elaborately crafted compositions. And now to pair with their electric live show, their debut EP, "Smokes", represents their first foray into the art of recorded music. With the record's imminent release, Woo Park's time is now. Now, EVERYBODY SAY WOO.
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Fri, Mar 13 - 9pm - $20adv/$25door
La Santa Cecilia consists of accordionist and requintero Jose “Pepe” Carlos, bassist Alex Bendana, percussionist Miguel Ramirez, and lead vocalist La Marisoul, whose captivating voice sings about love, loss and heartbreak. Their influences range from Miles Davis to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin to Janis Joplin and Mercedes Sosa to Ramon Ayala. Their common love of music and openness to all genres led them to the concept of La Santa Cecilia in 2007 – named after the patron saint of musicians.In 2013, the band released their major label debut Treinta Dias (30 Days), which featured a captivating collaboration with fan Elvis Costello on “Losing Game.” Now, just after their GRAMMY win for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album, the band presents their new album Someday New. The album features seven new tracks, which include a heartfelt Spanglish rendition of The Beatles iconic “Strawberry Fields Forever”,plus the unforgettable new Mexican classic “Como Dios Manda”; as well as a fresh new radio-edit of their single “Monedita” and the full version of their moving, and militant “ICE – El Hielo.”
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Mon, Mar 16 - 8pm - $8
Louder Than a Mom because everyone has a depressing, shocking, miserable, vulgar, hilarious family story! Storytelling is one of the oldest human traditions. Come and share yours. If you’re not ready to talk about your family tragedy, your judgmental mother-in-law, your drunk Uncle Pete who ruins every holiday, or why you hate your four-year-old, come and listen. We all love a good bedtime story!!
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Thu, Mar 19 - 9pm - $10adv/$12door
Jimkata’s innovative, fan-funded record Die Digital turned the heads of critics and musicians when it dropped in the Fall of 2012, solidifying the band’s reputation as forward-thinking artists to pay attention to. Jimkata’s refined electro-rock sound is one of a band that has found its voice after years of experimentation; It’s more indie rock than jam, and more 90′s electronica than modern day EDM; yet the five-piece appeals to each of these audiences. In the spirit of LCD Soundsystem, MGMT and Talking Heads, Jimkata’s relevant, quotable lyrics create moods not just for fleeting moments, but for the lifestyle of an entire generation. Following the release of their first live record 10 More Songs! (2013), Jimkata is poised to unveil their third studio EP and sixth official release Feel In Light on 3.4.14. Recorded with Die Digital producer Jocko Randall at his MoreSound Studios in Syracuse, NY Feel In Light represents the continued evolution of this modern rock band’s sound – one which will be simpler in essence – exploring themes of love, triumph and appreciating second chances in life. A staple of the festival circuit from the Rockies to the Atlantic, Jimkata’s 2013 schedule included heavy hitters like Gathering of The Vibes, Summer Camp, Catskill Chill and Rootwire, on top of hosting their very own inaugural festival, Katalyst. Fans can catch the band this winter on their extensive national tour taking them up and down the east coast and to Colorado. “Jimkata proves that rock-based music still has a place in the world of four-on-the-floor beats.” -Relix Magazine. “The band’s powerful drumming and guitar work ride the same wave, catching synthetic high fives and whispering rock n’ roll lyricism out over the constant current of their sonic ocean.” -Performer Magazine.
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Fri, Mar 20 - 9pm - $10
Dos Santos: Anti-Beat Orquesta rocks the sounds of pan-Latin American cumbia. Their gritty, grassroots approach captures the “golden age” of streamlined, tight-knit ensembles that shook sweatbox dance floors with raw and fierce energy throughout Latin America in the 1970s—honest dance music with no frills and no fear, anchored by piercing guitars, garage organs, and straight-ahead percussive might.The group’s five members (Irekani Ferreyra, Alex Chavez, Daniel Villarreal-Carrillo, Jaime Garza, Peter Maestro Vale) have their own storied careers in a diversity of styles—from jazz, R&B/soul, traditional Mexican folk, punk, cumbia, salsa—in addition to a history of critical involvement in arts education and social justice organizing. Their visceral sound draws from this sonic, cultural, and political well of influence, and is guaranteed to make you move.
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Sat, Mar 21 - 9:30pm - $12
If David Byrne is one of the geniuses of modern times, then Start Making Sense is a tribute to genius. The musicians in this 7-piece Talking Heads Tribute take pride in faithfully recreating the music of Talking Heads entire career. Together they bring much of the Heads unique live show to the stage, with front man Jon Braun as a spot-on David Byrne, giving you a "once in a lifetime" experience. Prepare yourself for a rockin', funkin', danceable celebration of the new-wave art punk you loved from the 80's !!!
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Thu, Mar 26 - 8pm - $10adv/$12door
Led by Greek-born singer, film scorer, and composer Magda Giannikou, Banda Magda move fromsamba to jazz manouche, from Greek dance rhythms to samba beats. Their songs, sung in French (withforays into six other languages), hearken back to the golden age of Brazilian bossa, the best of cinematicarranging, and the lush chic of vintage French pop, all while drawing on the band’s global background.Live, Banda Magda bursts with humor and quirky sensibility, powered by a unflagging energy. Thisgroup of close musical friends turn Giannikou’s songs into engaging romps that have won them a spotwith Carnegie Hall Musical Explorers Series, as well as performances at discerning venues and festivalssuch as Celebrate Brooklyn, Joe’s Pub, The Jefferson Center, The Kennedy Center, and Webster Hall.After the success of their brilliantly colorful debut album - Amour, t’es là? – (Top 10 Billboard WorldMusic Charts, NPR’s All Songs Considered, First Listen, NPR’s 10 favorite World Music Albums 2013)the band is releasing album #2 in September 2014 under GRAMMY Award-Winners Michael League'sgroundUP Records.
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Tue, Mar 31 - 8pm - $8
LAST TUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH - TIX AVAILABLE AT DOOR, NIGHT OF ONLY - The Moth StorySLAMs are open to anyone with a five-minute story to tell on the night's theme. Half an hour before the show, we put the names of all the folks who want to tell a story in a hat. At the start of the show, we start picking names. The 10 featured stories are scored by teams of judges selected from the audience. Each Storyslam generates a Storyslam winner. After ten slams, the winners face off in our Grandslam Championships. Come sign up to tell a story, or just to enjoy the show!
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Tue, Apr 7 - 8pm - $7
Determined to make music that offered listeners a break from the norm, four blood brothers joined forces to create The Avantist, a progressive rock band whose music challenges its audience to rethink the meaning and the sound of a traditional rock band. This band draws from a variety of influences to create a truly unique collection of music
THE MOBROS meld and Classic Soul and True Rock 'n Roll into a scintillating blend for their resonant modern sound. Kelly Morris, guitarist and lead vocals, is joined by his brother Patrick on drums. And while most bands would be satisfied with re-creating a sound and mood that invokes nostalgia, The Mobros have expanded on the soul and rock music they listened to in their youth to create an authentic decades old soulful sound. What is immediately gripping about the brotherly band is their flourishing harmonies stacked seemingly effortlessly among the melodic layers of their music; Kelly, sometimes playing dual guitar and bass parts with Patrick adding Caribbean percussive inflections on the drums. With an already impressive list of dates, shows, and festivals under their belts, The Mobros were handpicked by blues legend B.B. King to open two shows for his 2013 summer tour at the Snagajob.com Amphitheater in Glen Allen, VA and the Township Auditorium in Columbia, SC. Other outstanding dates include the prestigious Carolina Downhome Blues Festival, Atlanta’s Sweetwater 420 Fest, Greenville’s Artisphere International Art Festival, Eco Fest in Jacksonville FL, Sautee Jamboree, the Free Times Music Crawl, and about 40,000 revelers were on hand at the Columbia, SC St. Patrick’s Day Festival when they played a headlining slot.
"For the past few months I have been documenting the weekend debauchery of Chicago's very own The Gnar Wave Rangers, so believe me when I say they're truly the most unique, weird, and kind of scary band on the scene right now. " - Greg Stephen Reigh
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Wed, Apr 15 - 8pm - $10
CHIRP Radio’s Live Lit and Music series, The First Time, pairs a reader’s personal story about a First Time event with a song performance by house band, The First Time Three. This unique structure allows the story to resonate with audience members as they experience the accompanying song. The band takes special care to perform unexpected song arrangements, so it is hard to tell what the audience enjoys more each story or each song. Hosted by CHIRP DJ Jenn Sodini, past readers featured in this quarterly series include Shannon Cason, Joe Meno, Ian Belknap, Brian Babylon, Kelly Hogan, Erin Diamond and Ji Suk Yi. January's theme is First Time: First Chance and featured readers include: Freda Love Smith - formerly of The Blake Babies; Lily Be - Host; The Stoop; Tim Akimoff - Strange Brews podcast; Stubhy Pandav - Lucky Boys Confusion; Rick Joyce - Host; Collector's Edition; Ali Clayton - Comedian; Nicole Oppenheim - CHIRP DJ. The First Time series is a benefit for CHIRP Radio.org.
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Fri, Apr 17 - 9pm - $17adv/$20door
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of war and enflamed the passions of fans across the globe with their uplifting songs of hope, faith and joy. The band is a potent example of the redeeming power of music and the ability of the human spirit to persevere through unimaginable hardship and emerge with optimism intact. From their humble beginnings in West African refugee camps Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have performed on some of the world’s most prestigious stages and matured into one of Africa’s top touring and recording bands. Throughout the 1990s, the West African country of Sierra Leone was wracked with a bloody, horrifying war that forced millions to flee their homes. The musicians that would eventually form Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars are all originally from Freetown, and they were forced to leave the capital city at various times after violent rebel attacks. Most of those that left the country made their way into neighboring Guinea, some ending up in refugee camps and others struggling to fend for themselves in the capital city of Conakry. Ruben Koroma and his wife Grace had left Sierra Leone in 1997 and found themselves in the Kalia refugee camp near the border with Sierra Leone. When it became clear they would not be heading back to their homeland anytime soon, they joined up with guitarist Francis John Langba (aka Franco), and bassist Idrissa Bangura (aka Mallam), other musicians in the camp whom they had known before the war, to entertain their fellow refugees. After a Canadian relief agency donated two beat up electric guitars, a single microphone and a meager sound system, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars were born. American filmmakers Zach Niles and Banker White encountered the band in the Sembakounya Camp, and were so inspired by their story they ended up following them for three years as they moved from camp to camp, bringing much needed joy to fellow refugees with their heartfelt performances. Eventually, the war in Sierra Leone came to an end, and over time the All Stars returned to Freetown, where they met other returning musicians who joined the band’s rotating membership. It was there in the tin-roofed shacks of Freetown’s ghettos that Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars recorded the tracks that ended up, along with unplugged recordings made in the refugee camps, being the basis for their debut album, Living Like a Refugee, which was released on the label Anti in 2006. The resulting film that documented this moving saga, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, was a critical success, and introduced the world to the personalities and dramatic stories behind the band, not to mention their instantly appealing music. “As harrowing as these personal tales may be,” wrote The New York Times, “the music buoying them is uplifting.” Newsweek raved, “It’s as easy to fall in love with these guys as it was with the Buena Vista Social Club.” The movie, album and eventual U.S. tours helped expand their following, and soon the band found itself playing in front of enraptured audiences of tens of thousands at New York’s Central Park SummerStage, Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival and the revered Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. They appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, contributed a song to the Blood Diamond film soundtrack, participated in the U2 tribute album In the Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2, and earned praise and backing from Sir Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Ice Cube, Angelina Jolie and others inspired by their life-affirming story and captivating music. In one of the most surreal moments of their climb to fame, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars opened for Aerosmith at the 12,000-capacity Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The senseless deaths and illnesses of friends and family, including some of the band’s original members, and the slimming hope for great change in their country as a result of peace, has only strengthened the resolve of Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars to do what they can to turn their country around. Their weapon in this struggle is music, and their message, while offering critique and condemnation of wrongdoing, remains positive and hopeful. Optimism in the face of obstacles, and the eternal hope for a better future motivates their lives and music. “It’s been a long struggle out of the war, out of miserable conditions,” notes Koroma, “We try to bring out sensitive issues that are affecting the world. It is all of our responsibility that the masses are suffering. We bring our positive messages into the world so we can expect a positive change in the world. And, most importantly, bring about peace.” For their second album, the members of the All Stars knew that they needed to prove to the world that they had the talent to produce an album that would rise above their unique story and stand on its own musical merits. After recording some songs and demos in Sierra Leone, the group went to New Orleans, Louisiana to work on the album with veteran producer Steve Berlin, a member of Los Lobos who has produced for Angélique Kidjo, Michelle Shocked, Jackie Green, Alex Ounsworth, Ozomatli, Rickie Lee Jones and many others. Rise & Shine brought the band new accolades and earned 2010 Album of the Year on the prestigious World Music Charts Europe. The group continued to tour to rapturous crowds, opening for the massive rock/reggae band Dispatch in front of a sold-out audience at Colorado’s legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater in June 2011. The All Stars enjoyed an enviable residency on the Jam Cruise, a floating music festival on a Caribbean Cruise ship that also featured Bob Wier, Robert Randolph, Galactic and Maceo Parker. In addition, the band collaborated with a number of artists in 2011, recording the song “Iñez” with singer-songwriter Chris Velan, joining children’s music superstar Dan Zanes on the song “Little Nut Tree” and appearing on the Playing for Change version of “Gimme Shelter.” In January 2011, the All Stars returned to the studio, this time in snow-covered Brooklyn, NY. Their producer for their third studio album was producer and keyboardist Victor Axelrod, aka Ticklah, who has worked with Amy Winehouse, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Antibalas, The Easy Star All Stars and many others. A master of dub, roots reggae, classic soul, Afrobeat and more, Axelrod added a whole new dimension to the All Stars sound and helped them reveal how years of touring have honed their skills. The All Stars took advantage of the vintage analog gear at Daptone affiliate Dunham Studios to record an album inspired by the retro sounds they heard blasting out of radios in their younger years. Old school reggae, funky African grooves and deep tribal chants form the musical underpinning of Radio Salone, which was released on April 24,2012. The album was selected as the World Music Album of the Year by CBC Radio in Canada and earned rave reviews across the globe. The album's release was followed by extensive touring, earning the band an even larger following. In the summer of 2013, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars began preparing their fourth studio album. The production began with a month long residency at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. The band reunited with producer Chris Velan and daily rehearsal session took place at which the compositions and arrangements were refined. Members of the community often dropped by to help band members get to town to buy a phone card to call home or to cook them their beloved chicken and rice. After the rehearsals, recording began at Lane Gibson Recording and Mastering, the recording studio located at Cumbancha's headquarters in an 1800s-era farmhouse. In this picturesque and relaxed setting, Velan and the All Stars, working alongside engineer Lane Gibson, spent four weeks tracking the songs that would end up on the album. News quickly spread in the community that a world-famous band from Africa was recording nearby, and volunteers emerged to help with transportation, lodging, meals and musical instruments. The comfortable setting was a far cry from the conditions of their first album, which was literally recorded around a campfire in a refugee camp in Guinea and in a hot, ramshackle, studio in Freetown, where electric shocks and power outages were common. The album was mixed by renowned British producer Iestyn Polson, known for his work with David Gray, Patti Smith, David Bowie and others On Libation, the band took a more acoustic approach than on their last two albums, experimenting with a variety of vintage guitars and hand percussion to create unexpected sonic qualities. The unplugged style is a return in a way to the days in the refugee camps when the band had to make do with whatever instruments they could round up or make by hand, and do without amplification and electronics. The band also made a concerted effort to mine the riches of Sierra Leonean folklore, basing their songs on the highlife, maringa and palm wine styles that the band members listened to in their youth but are not heard as often today, as well as baskeda and gumbe, the Sierra Leonean relatives of reggae and soukous respectively. The release of Libation was followed by a worldwide tour including a performance at the Amnesty International Human Rights Conference in Chicago, a concert at the iconic Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York and a special private appearance at the United Nations. After a 10-year adventure that has taken them from the squalor of refugee camps to the world’s biggest stages, Africa’s most inspirational band continues to ascend. Over the years they have evolved to become one of Africa's most recognized bands with fans across the globe. Their albums and live shows embodies and radiates the joy, passion for music and love for their fellow man that have made Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars a living testament to the resilience of the human spirit and an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people across the globe.
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Sun, Jun 7 - 8pm - $17adv/$20door
In a musical world where keeping a working band has proven difficult for many bandleaders,drummer-bandleader Steve Smith has managed to keep three bands working for the past three decades. His jazz-rock band, Steve Smith and Vital Information, has been touring and recording for more than 30 years, while his “straight-ahead” groups Steve Smith and Buddy’s Buddies, made up of Buddy Rich Alumni (with three album releases), and Steve Smith’s Jazz Legacy (a group dedicated to playing the music of some of great drumset masters such as Art Blakey, Elvin Jones and Tony Williams), have toured for five years and released two albums and a DVD.Therefore, it makes perfect sense for this prolific recording artist and bandleader, who has made a career out of amalgamating the many twists and turns of his musical calling, to blend all three bands for a 2015 studio album release entitled The Skyline Sessions on the BFM Jazz label. The updated version of his recording and touring ensemble is called STEVE SMITH AND VITAL INFORMATION - NYC EDITION. Smith refers to this new line-up as, “The best of all worlds. With my band-members all living and working in NYC area, where I live, this group can be organized in a moment’s notice. VI NYC Edition is a lot of fun to play with and is a high-energy, creative, jazz unit!”The lineup of Vital Information NYC Edition brings together members of all of his bands: saxophonist Andy Fusco (from Jazz Legacy and Buddy’s Buddies) guitarist Vinny Valentino (from Vital Information), pianist Mark Soskin (from Jazz Legacy and Buddy’s Buddies), bassist Baron Browne (from Jazz Legacy, Buddy’s Buddies and Vital Information), and Steve Smith on drums.Steve keeps his touring schedule quite busy and you may have seen him on tour with Zakir Hussain and Masters of Percussion, The Mike Stern Band or Hiromi – The Trio Project. Smith’s constantly evolving drumming career has earned him Modern Drummer Magazine's #1 All Around Drummer award five yeas in a row, which led him to being named by Modern Drummer Magazine as one of the “Top 50 Drummers of All Time!" in 2014. Smith’s 9-year stint as the drummer with the rock group Journey resulted in nine multi-platinum albums and eighteen Top 40 hits. His drumming can still be heard almost daily on the ubiquitous hit song by Journey, “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
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