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3.02.2011

MULDOON'S rock + beer + chow = good times in wheaton il on friday nights

Nestled in the quaint atmosphere of the formerly blue-lawed town of Wheaton, Illinois (home of Wheaton College where noted evangelist Billy Graham went to school)...lies the cozy little spot known as Muldoon's Irish-American Eatery Pub & Restaurant (in photo: fave Friday-night bartenders from left-to-right Jamie Hoffman, Mike Carl, and Charlie Anne Harrington). I'm reviewing it here on ROCKzology because its a great rock music venue on Friday nights to experience exceptional all-original-music Chicago-area rock bands as well as the proverbial cover groups from time to time. Although its a little crowded space-wise for the bands, it just makes the friendy atmosphere all the more appealing (reminiscent of the old "Cheers" tv show crowd), from the cool color-framed picture of some of the staff hanging out after a ball game to the always sports-oriented programming dialed-in on their High-Def big-screen TVs surrounding the bar. Seemingly a students college-town hangout, as the start of the band's performing hour nears (usually around 9PM), Muldoon's fills up with folks of all ages that come by to sample the "free to the public" performances of various local rock bands. Several groups I have seen there in the recent past are Sonic Soul, Harlan Flo, Anita & The Yanks, among others and debuting there on April 1st, 2011 will be some friends of mine with their band "Into The Real".

"Muldoon's Wednesdays" feature $3 drafts (Guinness Stout, Bass Ale and 7 others...hey, check out my other blog's Youtube channel
BEERzology for a few laughs) and $3 appetizers (like buffalo wings, beer-battered mushrooms and 3 others). The food is way above par for a typical neighborhood pub (due to the attached restaurant area) and the selection of beer is more than ample...but for my money, Muldoon's intrepid dedication to bringing in and featuring live original rock music bands is what does it for me. The atmosphere is, like-I-said, quite friendly, crazy at times and a little loud on Friday music-nights...but couple this with a more-than-accommodating staff greeting you with a simple smile and a handshake (see the pic above of my favorite bartenders Jamie Hoffman, Mike Carl, and Charlie Anne Harrington always ready to keep you happy and your glasses filled with your fave brew) and you can't go wrong here. Even the over-worked and always-busy bar-back, Ulises Solano, makes the effort every time I'm there to say "Hi...how are ya?".
Its just a great neighborly place to hang (especially Fridays) where the equation for food, fun and unalduterated fraternization with the opposite sex is: ROCK + BEER + CHOW = GOOD TIMES FRIDAY NIGHTS @ MULDOON'S Of Wheaton, Illinois. As their motto goes: "There are no strangers here; only friends who have not yet met"...'NufSed.

Venue:
Muldoon's
133 W Front Street, Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 668-8866

Website:
http://www.muldoonswheaton.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Muldoons-Irish-Pub/151105778280308?sk=info

Hours:
Monday - Thursday:
11:00 am - 1:00 am
Friday - Saturday:
11:00 am - 1:00 am
Sunday:
11:00 am - 12:00 am


Upcoming Bands:
...for the latest schedule, just click it...!
Event Calendar
A Muldoon's favorite, the blues-pop-rock band Harlan Flo performing at the pub:

11.21.2010

SONICSOUL blues rock jam band a soulful sensation

Happened by the Irish-American eatery/pub/restaurant Muldoon's (a rock venue I just reviewed) in Wheaton, Illinois back in October of 2010 (okay, I have been back-logged on band reviews...geeez) to see the first Yankees Rangers major league baseball playoff game (yes, I'm a Yankees fan...what of it?) and suddenly heard this incredible wave of soulful musical sounds that just rocked me right over...it was SonicSoul, the band for that Friday night, doing their last set of funkable blues-rock tunes...by the way, I have to give it up to the owners of Muldoon's, these guys offer a bevy of really solid rock bands on weekend nights (with no cover charge!)...none of the bands I've heard there so far have disappointed me as of yet. You should check this place out when you are looking for a hang on weekends that features live rock music in the burbs and a neighborhood-friendly atmosphere, along with the always smiling and delightful barmaid that goes by the name of Charlie Anne.

The band SonicSoul advertises themselves as "one of Chicago’s premier blues rock jam bands, focusing on the music of the masters" aggresively playing rocking covers of such guitar icons as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix as well as more traditional blues artists and original songs. The band is comprised of three members, John Bruhnke on lead vocals/guitar, Kevin Johnston drums and vocals and the newest member bass player Chuck Comanse who just joined the band about 5 months ago and is currently working on some other projects as well, but he seems to be quite a welcome addition here. Chuck's bass playing is superb and it incorporates a funky rocked-out style similar to that of a
Stanley Clarke. The affable and more-than-capable drummer Kevin Johnston is one of the Chicago area's most versatile and has been playing with local blues and rock bands since 1983. In 1992, he accompanied blues legend Buddy Guy on a world tour supporting the five-time Grammy award winning blues icon. Add to this mix of burgeoning talent guitarist John Bruhnke, who acquired his blues chops in the early 1990's playing south side Chicago clubs as lead guitarist with notable local blues men L.V. Banks and later on the north side with the late "Professor" Eddie Lusk. SonicSoul started recording in October of 2010 and plans to release a CD in the summer of 2011. Their next show promises to offer alot of new covers and the stuff I cherish, original material...so come on out and check it! As their name implies, these artists emanate music having a frequency within the audibility range of the human ear (hence the word sonic) in waves of sound from the soul... SonicSoul. 'NufSed.

Next Show:
Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 9:00pm
John's Buffet
27W482 Jewell Road
Winfield, IL 60190-1225
(630) 752-2000

Video of the original tune "Drove Down To Memphis":




10.25.2010

BENEATH THE STARES prog metal rock band emanates experimental experience


I attended the Dame Nation Redux 2010 show held at The Portage Theater recently primarily to catch the 4-piece progressive metal rock band Beaneath The Stares, the latest collaboration between four seasoned rock musicians that is only about a year old...it also afforded me a glimpse of the effort to promote female-fronted rock bands here in Chicago. It is a cause most worthy of note. Beneath The Stares (also known as "BTS") opened the show which included several other "femme metal" bands such as Wicked Soul, F.H.O.D., Deadmanswake, Circle Of Fate and A.D.D. (aka Analog Digital Disorder). The show was emceed by celebrity guest host Metal Sanaz, an emigree from Iran-turned-rock-music-journalist, that has a cult following on the metal rock music scene. The crowd was a little thin considering all the promotion that was done for the show, but those in attendance were definitely enthusiastic about the bands and music flowing from the stage. The acoustics in the theater were not the greatest which hampered the audible clarity of the music being performed and a fog machine that tended to obscure the view of the band on stage with billowing clouds of whiteness, making the task of photography by my partner on this assignment, LeAnne Zimmerman, somewhat of a challenge.

Beneath The Stares, fronted by the "slightly Grace Slick styled" vocals of the dark-haired-red-streaked beauty, Lisa LoGrasso (former member of the bands Stunato, The 28th Day), is a rock music force that is rapidly establishing itself here in the Chicago metal music world, even to the surprise of the band members themselves. Combine the seriously-stellar 25 years of cultivated lead guitar talents displayed by the deftly skilled, quiet and reserved Erik Oldman (former member of the bands Avernus, Stunato, Radar, Sons of Ra), the flamboyant 6-string bass guitar work (yes, I said a 6-string bass) bordering on the jazz-rock approach of a "Jaco Pastorius gone wild" by the physically imposing YES-influenced and prominently-tatooed Yorg Rinker, and the well-traveled percussive skins and incessant rhythmic beats of 20+ year drummer Bill Hamning (former member of the bands Urn, The Electric Hellfire Club, Avernus) and you have a set of musicians that as the bassist Yorg puts it, takes a "democratized approach" to their musical artform. Each and every member giving their equalized input on the culmination of expression via musical ideas...in short, they work very well together... and its obvious in watching them during the course of a show how intimately they interact with one another's musicality. Their sound borders on, what I call, an "experience of the experimental"...each band member seeming to drive onesself to the edge of expressive chaos and then abruptly retreating from that tonal abyss with chordic motifs that continually adds texture to their material.


Lisa LoGrasso, besides being just eye-candy for the band, adds a distinctive coloratura (an Italian word literally meaning "coloring") to the group's sound by singing a half-step up or down on the chord pitch of the guitar lines. It makes for a very original sound much to the benefit of the band. Erik's guitar playing noticeably enhances Lisa's vocalizing, as at various times Oldman plays his lines very fluidly with a minimalist quality (along with the rhythm section) to showcase LoGrasso's voice. This was best displayed on the last of their set of five original songs on a tune entitled "Tropic Of Cancer II: Sono", which I considered their best of show...the opening guitar riff on this one knocked me out and was a great song for showcasing the skillset of this band. They opened with an energizing tune "Guilty Bystander" with Lisa using a wireless microphone that allowed her to be very animated on stage (which as she told me she attributed to "being Italian"), making her a pleasure to watch as one could tell how "into it" she was. LoGrasso was definitely charged for the show...her voice easily carried over the wall of melodius guitar sound. The tune also featured lead guitarist Erik Oldman doing a very haunting guitar riff that sounded to me like it was based on an eastern Indian sitar-laden raga. It looked to me that they had Hamning's drum kit set back a little too far on the stage, making it at times hard to hear him, being occasionally swallowed up by the guitars. When Bill did make himself heard, there was no denying the drumming was an integral part of the hard driving rhythms to rock you out. Watching bass player Rinker at work on his 6-stringed instrument one got the feeling that the word intensity was synonymous with the name Yorg. Ha! Then they went right into "Tropic Of Cancer I" which offered a tune with nuanced levels of volume, sometimes soft and then just the opposite. The third tune in the set was "Forging For A Plan", then the self-named "Beneath The Stares" where the vocals are initially flat but then it works its way up into a mantra of melody that offers a counterpoint to the guitar lines which are constantly alternating between heavy guitar riffs and a subdued rhythm section accomodating Lisa's lyrics and vocals. I'd like to mention here that the lyrics themselves in many of the songs are deep if not dark and add depth to the performances. The fourth and next to last tune called "Mood Swings" which is one of the songs on their CD sampler, exemplifies the band's description found on the Rockbill that was handed out at the show which states, "Beneath The Stares comes from the tradition of adventurous, dramatic, cohesive well-crafted songs in the style of Queen and Genesis, balanced with memorable hooks in the style of Muse, the ambiance of Radiohead, the artistic sensibility of Bjork and the pummeling rhythms and blistering guitar-work reminscent of Opeth." That's a pretty good synopsis. So, believe me when I say, what's waiting for you out there in the dimly lit rock venues of Chicagoland when you go looking for a new metal music experience, is the discovery of a unique approach to progressive metal rock...if you look hard enough you'll most definitely find it in that dark corner over there somewhere...no man, OVER THERE...Beneath The Stares. 'Nuff Sed.

Next Show:
November 6, 2010 9PM
Ye Olde Town Inn
18 W Busse Ave
Mount Prospect, IL 60056

Band:
Lisa LoGrasso-lead vocals
Erik Oldman-lead guitar, vocals
Yorg Rinker-bass guitar
Bill Hamning-drums

Management:
self-managed

Label:
indie

Websites:
http://www.beneaththestares.com/
www.reverbnation.com/beneaththestares
www.facebook.com/beneaththestares
www.twitter.com/beneathestares
www.youtube.com/btstares
http://www.myspace.com/understares


Here is a video of Beneath The Stares performing "Guilty Bystander" at Dame Nation Redux 2010:



Here is a video of Beneath The Stares performing "Tropic Of Cancer 2:Sono" at the Elbo Room Chicago:



(source: wikipedia.org, beneaththestares.com, photo from dame nation redux 2010 by LeAnne Zimmerman)

10.12.2010

DAME NATION REDUX 2010 chicago's female-fronted-bands fest where "chicago girls rock"

DAME-NATION Redux 2010 is the rock music concert event in Chicago, Illinois that promises to be revolutionary; its where girls rock! This is the second event of this nature where all the attention is put on the women of metal from six of the best Chicago-based female-fronted rock bands that stand out from their male-fronted counterparts! Offering up featured celebrities and local/national music talent across the board coupled with fans stretched across The Portage Theater-Chicago, the success of this event will prove that women are a rock force to be reckoned with. Official Websites for additional info:
http://www.chicagogirlsrock.com/
http://www.myspace.com/chicagogirlsrock

You can sample the six bands that are being featured during this concert here at CD Baby for free!
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/damenationredux2010
Track 1: The Path by A.D.D.
Track 2: What If by Circle of Fate
Track 3: Back To Blood by Deadmanswake
Track 4: Unashamed by F.H.O.D.
Track 5: Got It Made by Wicked Soul
Track 6: Tropic of Cancer I by Beneath The Stares



WHAT: DAME-NATION Redux 2010

WHEN: Saturday October 16, 2010 - Sunday October 17, 2010 from 5:00pm - 1:00am

WHERE: The Portage Theater
4050 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60641

WHY:
Why go you ask? 'Cause the titillatingly hard rockin' Dame-Nation returns to Chicago on Saturday October 16th featuring the cream of the crop in regional, underground and female-driven rock bands! Dame-Nation Redux 2010 is set to be a rocker's dream as the infamous Metal Sanaz (
http://www.metalsanaz.com/) comes to Chicago to host the "hottest & hardest female-driven rock event...ever"!

WOW!(The Bands):
A.D.D. (
http://www.addloud.com/)
BENEATH THE STARES (
http://www.beneaththestares.com/)
CIRCLE OF FATE (
http://www.circleoffate.net/)
DEADMANSWAKE (
http://www.deadmanswake.com/)
F.H.O.D. (
http://www.fhodband.com/)
WICKED SOUL (
http://www.wickedsoul.net/)

WHATEVER (Special Promotional Giveaways include):
1) A FREE Special Edition Dame-Nation Redux 2010 ROCKBILL to the first 500 ticketed attendees. (Additional souvenir programs available for purchase for only $2 each).
2) A FREE Daisy Rock Guitar to one lucky attendee who entered the MySpace and/or Facebook "Rockin' Snapshot" Photo Contest.
3) A FREE Dame-Nation Redux Swag Bag (performer giveaways).

This is an All-Ages Show!

PRE-SALE TICKETS: $10 & $12
AT THE DOOR: TICKETS WILL BE $15

Visit Online to get tickets at:
http://www.chicagogirlsrock.com/

I know I'll be there..fo sho...'Nuff Sed.


















As Seen and Heard:
The Chicago Sun-Times, The Chicago Tribune's Triblocal, The Southtown/Star, The Columbia Chronicle, The Illinois Entertainer, Wassup Magazine, Time Out Chicago Magazine, Q101, The Loop, WXRX The X Rocks, WIIL Rock, Rebel Radio, One Twisted Pirate.com, Kimmi's Rock N Roll Deli, Indie 104, RadioUgly.com, FemmeMetal.com, ChicagoReader.com, Metromix.com, DaisyRock.com, WomensRadio.com, Hot Topic stores, Guitar Center stores, TheLocalTourist.com, NBCchicago.com, RealityRollCall.com, Exposay.com, PRphotos.com, MetalLife.com, ROCKzology.blogspot.com


(sources: http://www.myspace.com/chicagogirlsrock, http://www.brownpapertickets.com/, http://www.chicagogirlsrock.com, youtube.com)

9.30.2010

'STACHE! chicago-based cover band deluxe offers working-man's rock

A band called wha? 'stache! ...?
Okay...usually I don't like to spend my "live music" leisure time going to see/hear rock cover bands, especially when it comes to garnering viable content for this ROCKzology blog of mine...(images in order of appearance: Ryan Schoonover-lead vocals, Jay Pullano-rhythm guitar/vocals, Terry Karaboyus-lead guitar, Pat Aquilino-drums, Kevin Glenn-bass guitar/vocals) I like to experience live music where originality is displayed (a reason for my great love of jazz music in particular-checkout my other blog JAZZzology) with two exceptions...Tributosaurus and Chicago Catz...the band 'stache! has just become my third...all three of these cover bands are Chicago-based, but thats about the only thing they have in common besides a desire to offer up a high quality performance. I consider Tributosaurus a fantastic cover band of classic rock where they strive to create authenticity of sound and music detail applied to their folio of songs by devoting each of their once-a-month shows at the venue Martyrs to re-creating a band from the classic rock era incorporating whatever configuration of musicians is needed to be authentic...Chicago Catz I believe to be the best rhythm and blues cover band without a doubt in the Chicago area, if not the midwest, in fact, probably in the country...their music will just not let you stand still, you have to dance! And now this is where a band like 'stache! comes in...they are not r&b particularly or are trying to re-create with great accuracy a particular rock band from the past...'stache! just does really great, solid, rock versions of cover tunes from various bands ranging from the 70s, 80s, 90s through today...and they do it professionally, with style and a performance that continually engages their audience.

I met with three of the 'stache! band members pre-show (which I typically don't do-usually interviews are done after-show but I was short on time)...lead singer Ryan Schoonover, rhythm guitar/vocals Jay Pullano (only been with the band 5 months) and drummer Pat Aquilino (the other two members are Kevin Glenn bass/vocals and Terry Karaboyas lead guitar)...the band was formed only two years ago (they are so good it seems hard to believe) with an average band-performing experience of seven years for each of the five members...they have a repetoire of about 150 to 200 tunes with about 80 to 85 that they play on a regular basis for their 6 to 8 gigs per month. When I asked them why they weren't expending their talent on doing original stuff, Jay matter-of-factly responded without hesitation, "It's for the money", then pensively adding, "...and the music". Besides, all the band members have day-gigs anyway. Okay...that's cool...did the same thing myself once, for the same reasons. So what's with the name? Their moniker Ryan indicated is really a business-generating gimmick which is humorous, fun and marketable and it refers to the word "mustache"...so they can advertise having "mustache shows" or "mustache parties", where people have to come wearing a mustache or some such thing as that...whatever works I guess. Most of the band's following is based in the city of Chicago and they are actually the only other cover band that is ever allowed to play the Martyrs venue besides Tributosaurus, since the spot usually devotes itself to promoting up and coming original-music rock bands and arcane pop music shows. As the 'stache! website states, the band offers "songs that soundtrack your life". Here is an example of their typical set list currently:

TODAY
Sex on Fire - Kings of Leon
Are You Gonna Be My Girl - JET
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
Last Nite - The Strokes
I Believe In A Thing Called Love - The Darkness

THE 90's:
Basket Case - Green Day
Self Esteem - The Offspring
Santeria - Sublime
Buddy Holly - Weezer
Cherub Rock - Smashing Pumpkins

ONE HIT WONDERS:
Inside Out - Eve 6
Flagpole Sitta - Harvey Danger
My Own Worst Enemy - Lit
Song 2 - Blur
Possum Kingdom - The Toadies

THE 80's:
Wanted Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi
Take Me Home Tonight - Eddie Money
Your Love - The Outfield
Jack and Diane - John Mellencamp
867-5309 - Tommy Tutone

POP ROCK:
Dirty Little Secret - All American Rejects
All The Small Things - Blink 182
The Middle - Jimmy Eat World
Love And Memories - OAR
Semi Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind

ACOUSTIC ROCK:
Mr Jones - The Counting Crows
Wonderwall - Oasis
All For You - Sister Hazel
Laid - James


Cover bands are great for dancing...and I love to dance! If the guitar riffs are half-way accurate and the vocals are close to the original these type bands can usually pull off a good job of imitation...but this band, 'stache! seemed to go a step beyond that, injecting energy and enthusiasm throughout their performances. At one point during the show lead singer Ryan yells out jokingly, "Don't want to hear any "B" sides today?"...on the first tune they opened with "American Girl"...by their 4th tune they had a request from the audience for "I don't want to lose your love tonight" to celebrate a couple's 30th wedding anniversary (Jerry and Collette) which the band immediately obliged...about a dozen people on the dance floor by the fifth tune...it was great how the band did not break between songs, but drove right into the next one to keep people on the dance floor...by their tenth tune the room had about 100 people there to check them out. The great venue they were playing at is a spot that was recently renamed "Fitz's Spare Keys" which is located in downtown Elmhurst, Illinois (home of my old school Alma Mater Elmhurst College) about a half mile north of the train station on York Road..it offers a mini-bowling alley and pool tables along with a horseshoe-shaped bar area that is separate from the back room where the stage and an ample supply of couches, tables and high-top table seating is available with a nice over-sized dance floor. The couple sitting next to me watching the band, Mark and Kathleen, seemed to really be getting into the music (particuarly Mark)...when a band can get people moving in their seats thats a pretty good sign that they are above average in their renditions. The first set consisted of about 16 songs (such as "What I Like About You", "Love and Memories", "Slide", "Last Night", "All The Small Things"). They did about another 20 tunes for their second set (for instance "Dancing With Myself", "Dirty Little Secret", "Free Fallin", "The Joker"). The band had a sign-up list on a clip board at the front of the stage encouraging people to get on their distribution list for the band's shows, with Ryan adding "We really don't have time to spam ya!". The band's sound is tight and clean and comes off professional, but also full of fun. Ryan makes for a good emcee and communicates with the crowd from time to time getting them engaged in the show and ensuring everyone is enjoying themselves. This cover band is very good at what it does...and what it does well is to make sure you know that its party time...its not like the cover bands of old...they keep it fresh and the audience wanting to hear more...youthful energy abounds...definitely not your father's 'stache! 'Nuff Sed.

Websites:
http://www.stacherockschicago.com/
http://facebook.com/stacherockschicago
http://mypsace.com/stacherockschicago

Band Members:
Ryan Schoonover-lead vocals
Jay Pullano-rhythm guitar/vocals
Pat Aquilino-drums
Kevin Glenn-bass guitar
Terry Karaboyus-lead guitar

Management:
self-managed

Next Show:
Saturday October 2nd, 10:00 PM
Uncle Fatty's
2833 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
http://www.unclefatty.com/

Here is a video of the cover band 'stache! :


9.28.2010

Announcing ROCKzology's Official Youtube Channel

Finally, the ROCKzology Official Youtube Channel has arrived! It went live on September 21, 2010 and is a way to compliment the ROCKzology blog (http://ROCKzology.blogspot.com/) ...presenting ROCKzology's favorite Youtube videos on the topic of global rock music, featuring videos of rock bands that have been reviewed by the ROCKzology blog (including interviews) and any other info related to the world of rock music. So...get ready to rock, then point your web browser to http://www.youtube.com/ROCKzology (or just click on this link), sit back, relax and while away the hours enjoying all that the new ROCKzology Official Youtube Channel has to offer. "Nuff Sed.

9.25.2010

UPDATE: ODAYIN Rock Band Wins Third Place In Detroit's CityVoter 2010 "Vote 4 The Best" Contest



Odayin, the band reviewed here on ROCKzology in August 2010 during a Chicago-area tour (read the original ROCKzology review by clicking here), has won third place in the Detroit, Michigan CityVoter "Vote 4 The Best" Contest, landing in the top three for the category of "Arts & Entertainment - Local Bands" out of 223 bands entered from the Detroit area...as the band Odayin states in their reaction to the announcement made at 6AM Saturday September 25th, 2010 on WDIV-TV channel 4 Detroit (Post-Newsweek Stations, Inc./WashingtonPost.com/CNN/NBC/MSNBC affiliate station), "We are thrilled to have finished in the Top 5 for Best Local Bands in Detroit. Thanks to all who voted for us!". You can read the original posting here from ClickOnDetroit. A total of 239,649 votes were cast overall for the contest. Odayin videos are also featured currently on the new ROCKzology Official YouTube Channel, the ROCKzology Wikizine and on Rock.com. Congrats you guys...you deserve it! 'Nuff Sed.
(source: wdiv.cityvoter.com)

9.01.2010

TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION red dirt metal band lives up to its name


So...I ventured forth into the night to catch a show where a favorite band of mine, PARAGON (refer to ROCKzology's review of them here), was opening for Texas Hippie Coalition, the 5-piece heavy-metal-texas-centric-southern-rock band from that state of the Union that has given us everything from such notable historical contributions as The Battle of The Alamo, the assassination of a President (JFK) & the assination of a President (GWB) (I attended his first inaugural but passed on the invitation to the second), pools of black gold, Tex-Mex chili, and Lone Star Beer to what I consider to be their greatest cultural contribution to America which is the live music scene located in the town of Austin, boasting more music venues per capita than any other U.S. city (approx. 150).

Currently based out of Denison, Texas (according to their Facebook...but their Wikipedia profile says its Chickasha, Texas...?), Texas Hippie Coalition, also known by their initials as THC (intended as a subtle reference to their admiration for the psychoactive substance found in cannabis, no doubt, which was made known vocally throughout their show via song and speech by the singer fronting the band Big Dad Ritch) is basically a throwback to the heavy-metal days of old with a country-fied spin, offering up a Jimmy-Page-lead-guitar-look-alike in the personage of Randy Cooper, a bass-guitar-on-hip-wielding John Exall, a dark-haired-adrenaline-driven-drummer by the name of Ryan "The Kid" Bennett (recently replacing the group's former drummer Carl), a rockin-rhythm-guitarist-but-sometimes-lead that goes by the single name of Crawfish, completed by the band's frontman, lead vocalist "Big Dad Ritch" who could probably double as the bouncer/security guy for this outfit, gauging by his behemoth size and monolithic-styled black-leather-Stetson-cowboy-hat.

Prior to the show the instrument soundchecks were handled by two roadie-technicians rather than the musicians themselves. The show started with an intro announcement yelled by a third roadie posing the question to the crowd gathered in front of the stage, "Are you ready to get your ass kicked?". They played a fest of eleven tunes even though their set-list that I was given listed fifteen. They opened with "Cocked and Loaded" from their newly released CD entitled "Rollin" which established their heavy metal sound with the guitars using feedback and sustain techniques and the drummer Ryan Bennett doing a showy cross-over display of sticks to skins; second was "Texas Tags" accompanied by the statement from Big Dad Ritch that "...we're from Texas, don't f**k with us..." coming from their first/self-produced CD "Pride Of Texas" a song that has a chorus line that states "...mess around with me, and your blood will be spilled..."; third was the title track from their second CD by the same name "Rollin" (again Ritch lets the audience know that they wanted to title it "Roll A Big Fat F**k'n Joint" but that the F word would have to be removed so they decided to just call it "Rollin'" instead...how clever...the bass player John Exall got very animated during this one running all over the stage and then would prop the guitar up on his hip or hold it with the neck straight up while playing...something different for the show; fourth tune was "Property Line" where Ritch pronounced about the song's theme "you can't just grow anything over there...you should own a little piece of property where you can do what you want to do...don't you cross that line"...it was on this tune that the country sound was first evident mixed with the metal...great guitar solo by Cooper on this one, just not long enough; fifth was a tune dedicated to the late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell (promoting the charity Ride For Dime) "Clenched Fist" Ritch telling the crowd to forget the moment of silence but to yell and raise a clenched fist instead; sixth was "Groupie Girl" "...for the Ladies in the house..." as Ritch said, seventh "Intervention" a song where Ritch conveys the message that he "...doesn't like people telling him what to do..."; eighth tune was "Flawed" where Ritch says "...its about me...I'm that SOB from Texas..."; ninth "Back From Hell" inspiration for the tune came from a time he "...rode a bull and got hurt real bad...scars are cool..."; tenth, one of their better tunes, was a southern-burnt-sounding rock anthem (another from their first CD "Pride Of Texas") called "River Bottom" where Ritch states "...the coalition is growing like a weed...", lyrics offering up the words "...guess thats the way I'll be smokin' THC...thats where I'll be while drinkn' whiskey..."; and ending the show with their biggest hit to date (most radio airplay) "Pissed Off And Mad About It" which I believed to be the best tune of the show.

So there seems to be basically three themes (aside from Texas) running rampant in most of THC's tunes...anger, weed and whiskey...wrapped up in an old musical saddlebag of red dirt heavy metal...couple that with gyrating guitarists, a pounding rhythm section and an over-sized growling-vocal Stetson-covered Texan fronting the band, the "Texas Hippie Coalition" appears to be striking a chord with some of the metal rocking public...at least in controversy (leaving shows before fans could meet them or get autographs, some calling them Pantera Wanna-BEs with Dean guitars, some saying they are too old, etc.), if not their music...but there is nothing new here in presentation or musical invention. The musicians are all very technically proficient but I believe their talent is being wasted...where is their originality of sound? This is a missed opportunity to make something new in metal. They definitely lived up to their name with a display of over-inflated Texas-ego, the hippie-ish long-haired tokers image and their musical campaign to form a coalition of people in the same mode of thought (coalition-a pact or treaty among individuals or groups, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest, joining forces together for a common cause)...staying true to their moniker and in typical hippie form (having lived through that era), the band managed to skip out on me for the interview I was hoping to have with them after the show (assured by both their Tour Manager Zack Higgins as well as Big Dad Ritch telling me "about 20 or 30 minutes")...or more likely they had toked up so much...they forgot...leaving me to wait an hour only to find them gone from the venue having taken off in a haze of blue smoke...they essentially left me "Pissed Off And Mad About It". 'Nuff Sed.


New video of their hit "Pissed Off And Mad About It":



Texas Hippie Coalition video of the tune "Leaving":



BAND MEMBERS:
Big Dad Ritch - lead vocals
Randy Cooper - lead guitar specialist
John Exall - bass guitar
Crawfish - rhythm/lead guitar
Ryan "The Kid" Bennett - drums


MANAGEMENT:
CMG Group
Creative Management Group
creativemanagementgroupinc.net
dbaker@creativemanagementgroup.com

LABEL:
Carved Records

WEBSITES:
http://www.thcoutlaw.com/tour.html
http://www.myspace.com/texashippiecoalition

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Hippie-Coalition/30869320207

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Hippie_Coalition

http://thenewreview.net/reviews/texas-hippie-coalition-rollin

V4F5Z7YQ96WJ

8.31.2010

WAKE UP SIOUXSIE sets off alarm with an alt-styled-50s-60s-rock 'n' roll twist

Wake Up Siouxsie is a four-piece Chicago-area rock band that draws from 1950s /1960s rock 'n' roll roots and twists it into an alternative rock-based format...very original in overall sound, you can hear elements of a Beatles-vox-guitar influence lying just beneath the surface on some of their tunes while throwing in some references to early Elvis-era beats and stylings along the way...then wrap it all up into a youthful high energy alternative-imaged band in their approach to on-stage performance and meticulous choice of cover music displays and there you have it...musical re-invention at its finest. Their band's moniker tries to illustrate where their musical compass lies I believe, ranging somewhere between the be-spectacled Buddy Holly rock-a-billy to the British punk rockers group Siouxsie and the Banshees. This band had the honor of being the final one on-stage to close out the now defunct nightclub venue, North Beach in Downers Grove, Illinois on Saturday August 14th, 2010 and as a result (due to another band cancelling) got to play an extended set of music for a total of eighteen tunes.

(Images in order of appearance below: Mike Curran drums, dopplegangers Andrew Paluch and John Lennon, Jake Ames bass guitar, Mike Napoli lead guitar, Andrew Paluch lead vocals/rhythm vox guitar)

They opened with their very good original that sounded like a back-handed tribute to Buddy Holly and The Crickets called "Wake Up", very representational of their musical style, then "Chinese Eyes Blues" which featured the drummer Mike Curran and I loved Mike Napoli's lead guitar riff here...then the third tune, introduced as a new one, was "Seventh Trumpet" where the sound was uneven and the lead vocals by Andrew Paluch seemed to be over-reaching drowning out the back-up vocals (the band started into drinking gratuitus rounds about here, proclaiming "one more shot")...then they dove into their fourth "Your Way"...they made it to the fifth tune before starting in with covers, this one being Muddy Waters's "Hoochie Coochie Man" which I have to admit was a great rendition with a slight heavy metal take and great bass work by the fedora-hatted Jake Ames, although I prefer when bands stick to their originals...then another cover, The Beatles tune "Money" again offering a rendition with an alt-metal twist...the seventh I believe was "Yellow Rain"(?)...then one of their best ones of the night, number eight, "White Cadillac" where Mike Napoli's guitar lead was doubled-up on with Andrew Paluch's rhythm guitar offering a 50s-era rock 'n' roll styled song (by the way Andrew's appearance at times reminded me of a young John Lennon but then maybe it was just the vox guitar)...by the ninth tune (didn't catch the title) another round of shots preceded the playing and it was a hard rock 'n' roller song definitely 50s-styled guitar-lines but with punk-rock-yelling on the vocals by Andrew...on the tenth tune (again no title given) the band mentioned something about another group called The Rebel Angels playing a reunion concert at the Beat Kitchen on October 22nd (apparently one of the band members, I think it was lead guitarist Mike Napoli, was an alumni)...the eleventh tune was my personal fave of the night called "Magnum Forty Four" which featured a great guitar riff on the opening coupled with good guitar lines and drumming throughout sounding like The "early" Beatles from The Cavern Club days...then number twelve, "What Goes Wrong In My Mind" a tune that was just good and loud where the drummer seemed to get really worked up on this one, very syncopated rhythm...the thirteenth was strictly a drum solo, no guitars with the exception of an occasional bass line...then number fourteen, another original called "Ziploc Lover" interesting title which Andrew explained to me that its about how people are always putting stuff into ziploc bags throughout their life...the fifteenth was a cover of punk-rockers The Clash's "Should I Stay Or Should I Go", again a great rendition...then another punk-rock band cover of The Undertones's "Teenage Kicks" which was fairly good...then number seventeen was another new song by the band entitled "Boy Who Cried Wolf" fairly good...finally ending with the tune "Deadman (a.k.a. Run Like Hell)" which was a slow tune, one of their better ones of the evening featuring the lead guitar on a short shred with the drums doing a nice job here (according to lead singer Andrew Paluch, it was a tune that was a homage to the late grunge musician Kurt Cobain). Their original tunes offer a very promising and appealing sound and their presentation of the cover tunes were, I admit, quite good by not emulating the authors of those tunes but to present them in their band's own fashion.

Not sure if it is intentional (if it is it may be to keep the aura of underground rock appeal) but the Wake Up Siouxsie's MySpace page is very unprofessional and appears to have been cobbled together in hap-hazard fashion...ditto on the photos of the band, they need to be better quality if they are interested in viable commercial promotion...the array of videos available on the internet of Wake Up Siouxsie are even more atrocious; the sound quality is very poor and the images are either out of focus half the time or are not very steady shots...it would be great if they would invest a little effort to get these things improved on...it wouldn't take much...also there doesn't seem to be an official logo for the band, aside from artwork found on the occasional promotion poster advertising an appearance. The band doesn't seem to care about this aspect I guess, just their music, which they do seem to be very serious about...but it could help them greatly to get these items organized and more presentable along with the establishment of an official YouTube channel of high quality videos. Seeing them live, they are definitely a cut above the "garage band" level, but you wouldn't know it by what is out there on the web. At least the recordings available on their MySpace site do not suffer the same fate and are half-way decent but again they only have a measly four of their many great originals posted to their site (there are more on video but they have very bad sound quality and do not do their musical genius justice)...they just need to get their act together a little more on these elements that represent their ongoing musical enterprise. I believe they could go far in the music business if they give more attention to these things I mentioned here. This two-year old band has great potential and I was very impressed with their sound, although it is still somewhat immature in musical production technique and marketing. Thier repetoire of great original music is on a very good start and growing. But, if you want to make this band a serious move at a career guys...you had better Wake Up...Siouxsie. 'Nuff Sed.

Video of Wake Up Siouxsie (best sound quality one I could find):


NEXT SHOW:
tba

BAND MEMBERS:
Mike Curran-dummer
Andrew Paluch-vox rhythm guitar, lead vocals
Mike Napoli-lead guitar, backup vocals
Jake Ames-bass guitar, backup vocals

MANAGEMENT:
self-managed

LABEL:
indie

WEBSITES:
http://www.myspace.com/wakeupsiouxsie

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wake-Up-Siouxsie/77048639785

http://www.youtube.com/user/mhcdrum

http://twitter.com/wakeupsiouxsie

8.25.2010

6 DEGREES OF SEPARATION american-hard-rock power-pop trio connects with the basics


Ever since I attended my very first rock concert at age 15 to see The Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Chicago Coliseum (a.k.a "The Syndrome") in December 1968, I have always had a special place in my heart for the classic sounds of a 3-piece rock band comprised simply of guitar, bass and drums. I finally got a chance to see this rockn’ similarly-formatted "power pop" trio hailing from Hanover Park, Illinois called 6 Degrees Of Separation at a Chicago suburban venue earlier this month (August 14, 2010@North Beach-Downers Grove, IL). One word describes these old school rockers…WOW! This band rocked me to the rafters, baby! Good ole solid American straight-ahead classic hard-rock music recalling the 1970s and 80s somewhat, giving you the expectant feeling that the Chicago Outlaws or the Hell’s Angels are gonna show up riding their Harleys to the edge of the stage in dazed excitement at any minute. Okay, okay...maybe thats a little over the top...but then so is this band's original sound. Also known as “6DOS” to their fans, these musicians pretty much stole the musical show for me this night and it was great to get to hear them do an extended set of 13 tunes (due to a band cancelling so they got extra stage time) that were ALL ORIGINAL with the exception of a Billy Idol cover, thank god. Damn, this band is good! With a tinge of the laid-back bluesy-hard-rock heavy-driving sound one hears with ZZ Top, the very experienced songwriter/lead singer/guitarist and consumate musician Rich Dahl was singing forth with a timbre in his voice and a vocal style similar to that of Roy Orbison...with perfectly and clearly heard lyrics to boot and a unique guitar sound that uses a "sustain" technique...then the steady drumming of a Ginger Baker coming from the sticks of Scott Jacks, along with the "way cool" occasional single-fingered bass playing by the chick musician D.D. Dierking displaying a playing style reminiscent of Cream’s Jack Bruce (which she claims to be one of her musical influences, not surprisingly). What a musical combination this band of rockers make. They've got their craft down cold. 6DOS is very polished and professional in thier presentation, hitting the stage right on-time, tuned up and ready to play for you. No fumbling around with the equipment or annoying sound-check or anything like that, just getting directly to the show at hand.

Prior to starting their set, Rich half-jokingly called out to the beer-happy crowd of mostly 20-something-rockers (which were gathered there in-part for the last night of the venue’s incarnation as the North Beach nightclub), “You’re gonna hear a lot of good music you won’t know.” I laughed when I heard him say it as I purveyed the youth-laden crowd. He was right. It was all original music created by this band (except for one cover). Only I would have replaced the word “good” with “great". After a short intro riff...the opening tune was “Tear This Down” loved this tune's opening guitar riff, the Orbison-like vocalizing by Dahl and driving drums by Jacks with lyrics pleaing "give me the power to change me now", then “Face In The Crowd”, followed by Rich matter-of-factly announcing “...A new one by us...” called “Modern Life” a tune that has a slow start then gets jacked up in speed, about dealing with the fast-paced gadget-oriented life of today and the electronically-caused isolation/withdrawal from in-person contact with people these days due to FaceBook and cell phones and the like singing the lyrics "I feel like I'm getting so old...I feel so lost...I feel alone"...then a chick wearing a sequined belt buckle that simply spelled out the word ROCK in sparkling letters (named Michelle) was called to the stage by the band from the audience to do some back-up singing with them on the Van Halen-esque title-track tune from their album of the same name “Just Wake Up”...next “Pennies For Heros”...then they deferred to a cover of the Billy Idol tune "Rebel Yell", followed by “Just A Little Rain” which I considered bet of show...“Healer” which had a guitar riff using a plucked/picked lead style of playing alternating with beats from the drums...then after two clicks of the drum sticks they drove into the tune “All I Can Do”...but my personal fave of the show was “Seven” I guess due to the hauntingly repetitive guitar riff and lyric that defines the tune...“Make It To The Bridge” was the only song that didn't make it for me having the beat being tempered by a cowbell on the drum kit that somehow seemed out of place with the guitar line of the tune...then another great original sounding tune similar to ZZ Top stuff that showcases Dahl's lead guitar work and Dierking playing the bass guitar one-fingered throughout called “Thin Skin” and ending with another one featuring Rich's lead guitar skills entitled “No More Heartache”.


The self-described "power pop trio" was formed about five years ago with the goal of reording and performing in their words, "strong definitive original music". The band's configuration as a rock trio lends itself to the "rawness and edge of real rock music" as the band states in their MySpace bio. They are in the process of moving from playing Chicago suburban venues to those in the city. Rich Dahl has a ton of experience fronting bands over the years such as Watz (1978-81) to Ready For Ransom (circa mid-1990s) and having had played with members of the band The Blasters (before they came to fame on L.A.'s punk rock scene in the 1980s) from his early musical years in Los Angeles, California. The self-taught Rich had a musical association with the drummer Bill Batemen from that band, as he made use of him in several of his California-based bands. He also played with the likes of Elton John, the Allman Brothers and Eric Burton of War fame. The drummer for 6DOS, Scott Jacks, started playing in rock bands, age 16, at venues from Chicago to Los Angeles and back. Bass player D.D. Dierking, not having been at the music game as long as the other two members, has guested with many bands but now has found a musical home here with 6 Degrees Of Separation.

The actual concept of "Six Degrees Of Separation" (also known as the "Human Web") refers to the idea that everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, "a friend of a friend" statements can be made to connect any two people in six steps or fewer...the band will accomplish this easily through their original music as it goes out into the world at large, as once you've heard them you'll probably become a fan and find yourself connected with other people by only 6 Degrees Of Separation. 'Nuff Sed.

NEXT SHOW:
tba

BAND MEMBERS:
Rich Dahl-Guitars, Vocals
Scott Jacks-Drums
D.D.Dierking-Bass

MANAGEMENT:
self-managed

LABEL:
indie

WEBSITES:
http://www.myspace.com/6degreestheband
http://www.facebook.com/pages/6-DEGREES-OF-SEPARATION/136183999759
http://6degreestheband.com/
(source: Wikipedia.org, MySpace.com, various artists sites)

8.24.2010

SIX WAYS FROM SUNDAY metal-alt band shows commercial promise but may have long road ahead

Six Ways From Sunday is a 4-piece band that headlined a four-band Friday-the-13th August 2010 show in the waning days of the now-closed-venue North Beach in Downers Grove, Illinois. Their music offered eight really good original rock tunes, in fact a couple of great ones ("Tell Me Father" and "Hold On")...and I liked the way that they moved from tune to tune without hardly a pause in between...but they deferred to cover music (counted at least five covers) towards the end of their thirteen-song set. Bands sometimes have a "not-the-best-they-could-do-show" and I believe this may have been the case here (I would like to re-review the band in about a year from now). The set may have gone on a little too long for the musicians, tiring both themselves and the listeners...not sure...but whatever the cause was, I know from hearing their recorded work that they have great potential for commercial success with a "wall-of-sound" that combines and showcases very good alternative-rock song-writing with metal-based guitar lines. This is an instance where I think the band is much better sounding studio-recorded than live. Even though I heard it in their music, the energy of performance was missing visually on-stage. At times the guitar and drum work, although very good, would drown out the lead singer and the lyrics would become unintelligible...maybe a more careful sound-check procedure prior to showtime would help here. During the course of the first three tunes I did not catch a song title announcement...the fourth tune entitled "Tell Me Father" was the first song to capture my attention with expressive lead vocals by Francesco Roti containing noteworthy lyrics (probably the best one of the show), the fifth tune was declared to be a "new song debut" but I did not catch the title (if it was mentioned), on the sixth tune it started out very strong but the guitars buried the lead singer, the seventh one was the first of four cover tunes, the eighth song was called, I believe, "Hold On" which featured the drummer Tony Rotkvich doing a more than adequate job and on this one the band really came together with a song that offered up very nice soulful lyrics, however, the ninth tune the band seemed to fall apart on (again no title), then for their tenth they sailed into what they claim Joe Chavez (band/talent booker for the venue) considers to be "The Best Song In The World"...it was a not-quite-up-to-par rendition of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" with lyrics that were aimed at poking fun at Chavez. The next two tunes were covers and the final song of the set was the original "What If" (I think). Their internet presence needs to be a little more professionalized if they want to garner more marketability. They have a substantial MySpace page but it looks like their namesake site is still under construction. They also have a good start on a YouTube channel and I understand they are about to release a professional quality video for the tune "Blind" which is currently getting the finishing touches and should be out by summer's end. Once it is available I will post it here assuming its embedable. Currently they are in the studio re-tracking thier first album "Long Road Ahead" and are in the process of working on a second one called "Breaking The Chain"...so they may not be doing live shows for a while until these projects are completed. The "Boys Of Six Ways" (a.k.a. SWFS) show a lot of promise to go commercial successfully someday and their sound is intriguing...they have a growing fan-base that is quite large for a band that was essentially started in 2003 when Frank Roti and Tim "The Hatter" Hughes discovered their mutual interest in making music...having formed a band, they named it Six Ways From Sunday in 2005 and then in 2006 they did their first show...but only as recently as 2009 did they acquire musicians that fit with the vision that lead vocals/guitarist Frank Roti (who writes the music) and vocals/bass guitarist Tim "The Hatter" Hughes (who writes the lyrics) have to showcase their talent with the help of driving-drummer Tony Rotkvich who was brought into the group along with (and by) the more-than-able guitarist Jason Moore. I have mentioned this in other articles before...a band is so much better when they stick to their original songs...these guys don't need to do covers...spend the time you have on stage doing your own stuff...it sounds "way better"...this band proved it in the show I saw them in. As I said, they have much promise and a great start...if they can survive the challenges that lay before them as they work on getting the band more "together" professionally-speaking, the road ahead may not be such a long one after all...just keep the compass steady and concentrate on one direction...forward. 'Nuff Sed.
Video of Six Ways From Sunday doing the tune "Tell Me Father" live at Reggies in Chicago:



Video of Six Ways From Sunday featuring Frank on lead vocals doing the tune "Hold On" live at Reggies in Chicago:



NEXT SHOW:
tba

BAND MEMBERS:
Francesco Roti - lead vocals/guitar
Tim “The Hatter” Hughes - bass/vocals
Jason Moore - guitar/vocals
Tony Rotkvich - drums/vocals

LABEL:
indie

MANAGEMENT:
self-managed

WEBSITES:
http://www.myspace.com/sixwaysfromsunday

http://www.facebook.com/sixwaysfromsunday?v=wall

http://twitter.com/BoysofSixWays

http://www.six-ways.com/

http://new.music.yahoo.com/six-ways-from-sunday/albums/long-road-ahead--202184163