Thursday, May 21, 2009

13 May 09

Hey, Fearless fans, want to hear a variety of eclectic music? Then check out AMP Booking Presents series happening every Wednesday until June 3rd. From acoustic to country rock and electronica, fans were treated to performances by Tommy Pope and Six Nights Alone. A last minute add performed an lively but short techno/electronica set while Sirens In Vein was setting up. The highlight of the lineup was the energetic rock set by Vital Light. SouthSide enjoyed the life and feverish energy this band brought to the stage on May 13th. Fearless fans, count on a full review when they perform again during the summer. For more information and tour dates, visit them at or

Stiff, lifeless and boring are usually not the best words to label any band reviewed by SouthSide. However, Fearless fans, after seeing Sirens In Vein that’s how she would vividly describe their Elbo Room performance. This reviewer felt robbed after listening to the songs off their myspace page. She enjoyed what she heard but somehow the recorded version of Sirens didn’t translate well as a live band. For a band with great guitar sound, it seemed too rigid standing on stage barely rocking out. Their screaming fans were rocking harder than band! SouthSide had a hard time with their attempt at being a mix of a goth and death metal band. At times, they tried to be like Evanescence …other times they tried to sound like Lacuna Coil. Yet their music was mess of mass confusion to be either. There were too many chords and riffs going in different directions at once. Even Sirens’ so-called dramatic song failed to live up to its own hype. The too many pounding percussion rhythms crashed the drama and suspense it was building. The soft femme fatale vocals didn’t compliment this band’s rock sound. There wasn’t enough fire or passion in her voice throughout the set until Sirens closed with Witch Hunt. SouthSide doesn’t know for sure if this was an off night or whatnot for them. It was, in her opinion, one of the poorest performances by band with a good potential in its genre. For more information about Sirens In Vein, visit them at

Until next time, Fearless fans, support your local artists and music.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

09 May 09

SouthsSide felt the Earth move under her feet, Fearless fans! Fans packed the famous Double Door to see a fantastic lineup rockin’ the stage. There were good sets by Arma and The Evening Redness which kept many grooving to the beat. It was also an extra special night for the guys of Algren. This Chicago Noise Machine member celebrated its release of A Wayward Sound Floods the Street album and graphic novel. Closing out the night was another spiritual experience by Makeshift Prodigy. This was one of the best headlining performances ever witnessed by SouthSide. Words could never describe the emotions experienced not as a reviewer but as a fan of this inspirational music. For more information about this band, visit them at or

SouthSide felt her mojo rising when Arma kicked off the night with a thrilling performance. This type of set had lots of energy perfect in getting the audience momentum switched on high. That same momentum also fueled Taylor (Arma’s front man) to channel his inner Jim Morrison as he moved about the sage. There was one song in which the percussion in a tribal beat had him dancing wildly. Yet it was the band’s Santana-like guitar sound that really had this audience going. The songs had a wide spectrum of riffs and chords which would have Guitar Hero fans doing their best airplay. Performing songs like In the Black Light and Carrier, Arma dazzled and amazed everyone with head-banging guitar sound. During one song, there was a wicked guitar instrumental that certainly was a crowd pleaser. If you’re looking for some mojo in your rock, Arma is definitely the band for you. For more information about this band, visit them at

If you like a little more experimental and funky guitar riffs in your rock music, SouthSide recommends you check out this next band. The Evening Redness’ trio of guitars lit up the Double Door with hardcore sound during their set. Their fans went wild for this type of music especially during the Alice in Chins’ Man in the Box cover. Like Arma, this reviewer enjoyed the life and energy this band brought to the stage. There were more crowd-pleasing guitar solos of wild rhythms that keep the audience excited. Performing songs like Let Me Go and Take What You Need, The Evening Redness certainly were entertaining. However the band did weigh down their set with one too many covers and not enough originals. SouthSide felt their Corey Hart cover, Sunglasses, was the lowest point of their performance. The 80s song was roughly mixed with part of Eurhythmics’ Sweet Dreams at the middle throwing the entire song off balance. Overall, this band had one rockin’ performance. For more information about The Evening Redness, visit

The grand moment finally arrived for this Chicago Noise Machine band. Fans and fellow Noise Machine members were on hand to help celebrate Algren’s new album release. Combining both rock and a graphic novel, their EP, A Wayward Sound Floods the Street, escalated this rock band into new heights. SouthSide’s certain that rock fans will enjoy the energy felt from songs like My City and End of the World. It was a wild ride of guitar riffs that kept the crowd energized throughout Algren’s set. Even while taking the energy down a notch during Exposed, never once did this band lose that vibe. In SouthSide’s opinion, this was one of their better shows ever reviewed. Meanwhile, graphic novel fans will want to snag a copy of the book which accompanies the new EP. The storyline is taken from Algren’s songs about the ills of society like cultural decay and consumerism. Created by writer Jason Hissong and illustrated by Brain Defferding (of Deftoons Comics and Illustration), this is certainly a collector’s must have via or at their next show. SouthSide highly recommends catching this band along with many others when they rock the Congress Theatre stage on June 13 for I AM Fest. For more information, visit them at or

Until next time, Fearless fans, support your local artists and music


07 May 09

Hey, Fearless fans, there only could be one crowned as number one! It was the Metromix’s annual Rock “n” Vote for Chicago’s favorite local band. Held at the recently opened LaSalle Power Co, fans cheered and text their votes for one of the four bands performing on stage. Past winners of Metromix’s Rock ”n” Vote have include bands like White Hot Knife and JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound. This year’s final four were Cobalt & the Hired Guns, Pet Lions, The Loneliest Monk and I Fight Dragons. So who was crowned as the winner? The answer to that question is revealed within the review.

Cobalt & the Hired Guns got the night off with a rockin’ bang. The band impressed this reviewer with their unique spin to Americana music. What was performed on stage wasn’t your ordinary brand of folksy music. It was Americana with a punk twist that had the audience moving to the beat. This unusual sound was energetic, fun and, Fearless fans, Southside liked it! Even while taking the energy down a peg to a more relaxed atmosphere, Cobalt never lost the momentum with its fans. They were too hyped enjoying the guitar solo which was the highlight of their show. Rowdy, foot-stompin’ honky-tonk music closed out this set leaving everyone hungry for more. If you’re looking for a cool twist to Americana music, SouthSide recommends checking out Cobalt & the Hired Guns at their next show. For more information about this band, visit them at or

When seeing this next band, think Beatle-esque, Fearless fans. Pet Lions rocked the stage without any gimmicks and flash …just good old fashioned music that had fans dancing. It was the perfect eclectic sound to spice up a wonderful evening. Though a bit slower than Cobalt & the Hired Guns, SouthSide enjoyed the Lions’ brand of easy-listening music. At times the keyboard rhythms gave their sound some energy and fire. Yet, the lack of audience interaction between songs had this band performing a straight set of songs. Plus there was some difficulty hearing the bassist on vocals above the music during their performance. Fearless fans looking for some clean cut rock music should take a look at Pet Lions. For more information about Pet Lions, visit them at or

This next band brought something totally different to the stage that was worthy of a SouthSide review. The Loneliest Monk performance had this air of mystery mixed with theatrical pop. In other words, this is what music would sound like if Mozart was alive today. This reviewer loved the hidden romanticism felt between the duo on stage which created the awe-inspiring atmosphere for their set. It was like watching the Phantom and Christine (of Phantom of the Opera) performing instrumental music of the night. At first, SouthSide thought the audience wouldn’t appreciate such beautiful imagery. Yet to her delight, the masses were completely soaking every minute of it. There were rhythms and melodies tucked inside The Monk’s songs that might seem familiar to classical music lovers. During one song, SouthSide distinctly heard the melody from a famous Beethoven sonata. Meanwhile in another, there was a sweet lullaby carrying the tune. Fearless fans, don’t fret. You don’t have to be a classical pop fan to enjoy this flavorable music. The Loneliest Monk did wow the audience with some rock and techno pop songs such as If We Played in Colors and Easy Breeze. This talented duo won 2nd Place at the conclusion of the Metromix Rock “n” Vote show. SouthSide highly recommends checking out The Loneliest Monk on June 19th at Schubas. For more information, visit or

Announcing the winner of the 2009 Metromix Rock “n” Vote show – I Fight Dragons! Yes, Fearless fans, this was one wild show! The popular NES band rocked out this show with lots of energy. Compared to their other shows reviewed recently, SouthSide enjoyed this one better despite having a shorter set time. Still, the band packed a lot of fun for everyone to enjoy. Performing songs like, Heads Up, Hearts Down and No Likes Superman Anymore, excited IFD fans danced and sang along with Brian and the band. SouthSide noted they took her suggestion about adding the video to Money as part of the other videos played during the set. Don’t worry, Zelda fans, a worthy knight quickly saved the Princess from doom to close out the show. SouthSide highly recommends checking out the world’s only NES band when they make an appearance the Apple Store this Friday. Or see them at the I AM Fest happening Saturday, June 13 at the Congress Theatre. For more information about I Fight Dragons, visit them at or

Until next time, Fearless fans, support your local artists and music


Sunday, May 10, 2009

LaSalle Power Co

Hey, Fearless fans, during times of uncertainty within the current economic situation, a new nightclub / venue recently opened its doors in the River North area. Located in a prime spot on LaSalle Street, the LaSalle Power Co currently resides the space once occupied by His Airness, Michael Jordan. It’s a swanky place perfect for attracting the right clientele to be seen. However in SouthSide’s opinion, it’s overly swanky for any independent (rock) band she knows to ever perform on stage.

When you first arrive to LaSalle Power Co, it appears to be like any other restaurant in the area with outdoor seating when the weather’s nice. Go inside and you’ll notice there are three levels. The first level depicts itself in a nightclub atmosphere like its neighbor Excalibur. The second level is the sports bar area with dining, pool tables (still smelling new) and huge flat screens to watch the games. The third level is the independent music venue that is dark and ominous almost like the Darkroom.

It’s great conception – three separate levels …totally different from the other but in the long run, it’s a poor idea. LaSalle Power Co must decide one day what it truly wants to be in order to survive the coming summer entertainment season. Does it want to be a nightclub and compete against the already established hot spots like Spybar and Excalibur? Does it want to be the next ESPN Zone? Or does it want to be hottest independent music town compared to Metro and House of Blues? Trying to establish itself as all three at once is doomed to failure. Here’s why.

There’s a dress code to enter LaSalle Power Co. Upon arriving to the Metromix Rock “n” Vote show, this reviewer was told no sports jerseys are allowed inside. A dress code?! How is a tourist walking off the street supposed to know if there’s no sign posted stating to that effect? There was no mention of a dress code in Metromix flyer online either. SouthSide has never encountered a place where there’s a dress code to attend a rock show. That seems kind of strange since this place bills itself as a relaxing atmosphere for independent music. Not the case, Fearless fans. You have to casually or dress to impress to enter this place. Believe SouthSide, most rock fans don’t dress to impress anyone. They dress to be comfortable and to have a great time rocking out with their favorite band. Wearing a slinky black dress and heels is not typical rock gear. A dress code is better suited for places like its neighboring nightclubs in the same area. If it’s the average Joe and Jane who wears jeans, t-shirts and/or sports wear this venue wants to attract, then it will have to ease up on the dress code. Or be prepared for dwindling revenues because bands and fans seek of a more relaxed (non-dress code) vibe to rock and party.

The menu is simply uninspiring and priced unreasonably high. SouthSide enjoys (fine) dining out however she doesn’t enjoy dining where it will break her bank. She found nothing there to be relaxing, fun and sports-like atmosphere. The loud alternative music overshadowed the four screens showing the Sox, Cubs, NBA basketball and Hawks. How is an avid sports fan like SouthSide to enjoy a ballgame if there’s a Gorillaz song playing in the background? The pool tables appeared to be new and fresh off the factory floor as well as oddly placed close to the restroom entrance. The table setting screamed “you’re now dining at the Signature Room” with its square plating and cloth-rolled flatware. The wait staff was somewhat confusing. The servers who took your drink and/or food orders were dressed casual wearing the company t-shirts while the table servers looked more professional in their polished uniforms.

Hanging out at the bar will cost you too. SouthSide’s not a drinker but she knows paying five dollars for one bottle of beer is a bit pricey for the average rock band and fan. The menu was SouthSide’s biggest problem – it didn’t appeal to her taste buds. It didn’t impress the “dining on a dime” persona in her as she viewed the boring selection. Where’s the real greasy sports food like ribs? LaSalle Power Co should take a lesson in menu pricing from Reggie’s on the Southside. The clever menu design and wording keeps this reviewer coming back for more each visit. Also patrons can get more bang for their buck with daily specials like .25 cent wings on Tuesdays or half off any burger or sandwich on Thursdays. Though she didn’t sample the eats at the time for this review, she doesn’t see many munching down on a ten-dollar burger …not in today’s economy. There was no sports bar atmosphere to be found within this fine dining setting.

Lastly, the stage on the fourth floor is smaller than other stages at Double Door and Metro. Energetic rock bands that enjoy moving about won’t find much room unless you strut your stuff on the bar counter. Yet watch out for the beer taps on your way back to the stage with your long guitar cord. There are VIP tables (for a fee) along the wall. Bad idea – especially if bands like I Fight Dragons or Makeshift Prodigy bring their legions of fans. Take away the VIP booths and there would be more room for the audience to rock out. Also, there should be a green room for bands to store their equipment before and after the show. And having the bands’ merch tables on the first level (in a room where no one can visibly see them) instead of near the third level where the majority of fans will be is a very bad idea. One other suggestion – do away with the photographer’s / media pit. The stage as well as the venue is way too small to rope off space for that. Rowdy rock fans be forewarned – behave yourselves. The beefy security staff (and there’s plenty of them) stationed in various areas of the room watching your every move.

Amazingly there are a couple of pluses. The lighting and sound for the Metromix show was absolutely perfect. The guys did a wonderful job timing and coordinating the lights with the right songs performed by each band. SouthSide does see LaSalle Power Co rising to the status like other music venues such as Metro, Double Door or Elbo Room. However changes will have to be made if it wants to attract viable fan base with popular local bands. Nightly drink and beer specials would be a good start. Fans adore nightly bar specials during a show which in turns boosts the bar’s beer sales for the night. The cheaper the price of bottle the more they will buy throughout the night. And VIP – how can one be a VIP and see the show if there’s a crowd blocking your view? Management and owners need to rethink that idea.

Though it can less intimidating than House of Blues however LaSalle Power Co is notch higher in the target clientele than they’re actually looking for. There’s no laidback atmosphere to be had if you’re an average rock band and fan. The premiere location itself suggests you have to dress to impress if you want to be seen. It does run a risk of losing the ideal target base with its imposed dress code and fine dining for a sports bar / music venue theme. Yet what can you expect, Fearless fans, this is River North, an area known for upscale eating and nightlife …not for an independent music venue. Don’t expect SouthSide to be frequenting LaSalle Power Co during her adventures around town. It’s too uptight and swanky for her. She prefers the local yet smaller venues to review live shows without the fanciness which costs extra.

Until next time, Fearless fans, support local indie artists and music.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

11 Apr 09

“…and now something completely different…” Cavalry

Hey, Fearless fans, SouthSide spotted the Easter Bunny! He was busy hoppin’ and partyin’ at the hottest nightspot on the near Westside. It was one rockin’ party as fans packed the Cobra Lounge to see Professor Kliq, Cavalry and The Glide.

Professor Kliq was a perfect last-minute replacement for Fun Club that got this party to a fast hopping start. This duo’s mixture of funky underground music had the crowd on fire from start to finish. SouthSide enjoyed hearing a couple of throwback songs tucked within their mad spinnin’ rhythms. This style made the tracks flow continuously without the crowd missing a single beat. There was energy pumping through the Professor’s keyboards and mix tables that kept this reviewer dancing. The music was contagious and fun. And these hips don’t lie because the butt was shakin’ throughout this performance. Sadly it was quickly over before the party really got started. SouthSide recommends Fearless fans to take a class with this duo of electronica/techno wizardry. For more information about Professor Kliq, visit them at or

The last time SouthSide saw Collin he was rockin’ the stage as a guitarist under White Hot Knife. Currently he’s the front man of his own band called Cavalry. And this reviewer highly recommends Fearless fans checking out the new look and sound of this ex-guitarist. It’s a stark difference going from powerpop to hardcore rock but SouthSide loved every minute of their performance. The momentum felt after the first guitar riff didn’t end until Cavalry’s set finished. It was fun watching how Collin and the band reacted and interacted with the crowd. He even looks great as the front man of the band though telling SouthSide he’s still getting use in that position. He did have this rock god image going well for him as he poses and flashes some eye candy for the ladies. Performing songs like Dead Rose and Love Rock, the band thrilled them with amazing riffs and music. They were totally soaking up every bit of Cavalry’s music that there were demands for more. This was way better than their US Beer Company Co show last month. For more information about Cavalry, visit them at

Closing out this mad party was band that combined a little rock, powerpop and loads of fun. The Cobra Lounge instantly turned into a hip nightclub when The Glide stepped onto the stage. Not only did they provide fun in their music but also had glow sticks and balloons to spice up their performance. Wild dancing on and off the stage ruled the night. And SouthSide was absolutely enjoying herself amidst the sexy craziness. The Glide had this infectious sexy persona which had everyone dancing throughout their performance. Performing songs like Future and Ashes, this band never once had a moment where anyone wasn’t moving. The entire room was hopping like bunnies and having a great time. And even after the encore, the crowd wanted more and more. Whew what a hot, sexy performance by The Glide, Fearless fans. This reviewer highly recommends getting caught up in this dance fever whenever this band performs again. For more information about The Glide, visit them at or

Until next time, Fearless fans, support local indie artists and music.