Sunday, June 28, 2009

MOB Fest pt 3 - 20 Jun 09

“…let me know when you’re ready to rip people’s faces off with your music…” Brian Bender at sound

Well, Fearless fans, another exciting MOB Fest year came to a close on Saturday night. This year, Elbo Room hosted the industry panel sessions in which included discussions about record labels to media exposure. Panelists such as Jerry Bryant (of JBTV), Jason Silverman (ASCAP) and Chris Payne (of Q101) were on hand to give helpful advice and answers to local musicians. The music portion of this final night had performances by Blackjack Rover, Sars Flannery and Emily Mugler. Rocking the house with their NES-style show, I Fight Dragons premiered a new song and video created by a fan in Germany. Fans also enjoyed sets by Mason’s Case, The Infamous Ashley St. Ives and Fifth Story.

SouthSide caught a tiny sample of Mason’s Case with Matthew (on guitar) and David (on drums) as Matthew Alfano during I AM Fest a week ago. With the full band joining them on stage, his rock/alternative songs took on a different personality compared to the prior week. Yet one thing still remained – the set had the same rockin’ energy as before. After opening the set with Disco Ball, Mason immediately got down to business of rocking out this crowd with music that never slowed down. Fans were thrilled by the fire in guitar riffs and heart-pounding percussions. During Tin Foil, the crowd went wild for the drum solo meanwhile Miracle Man brought out the emotions in Matthew’s vocal. Mason literally lit the Elbo Room stage on fire, Fearless fans, with this one amazing set. It was hard deciding which performance did SouthSide like better – the I AM Fest or MOB Fest. Either way, both certainly had this crowd asking for one more song. For more information about Mason’s Case, visit them at or

This was not your typical guitar rock performance since the front man was behind the band on drums. And that wasn’t a bad thing, Fearless fans. You don’t see many with the chops while handling the sticks at the same time like The Infamous Ashley St. Ives. Boy, did this band ever rock down Elbo Room with their head-banging metal sound! St. Ives’ guitar section provided all the thrilling guitar riffs your ears could possibly withstand in one setting. Feel that thumping bass rhythm ...groove to the electrics’ hardcore strings …and go nuts for drummer/front man bringing that energy. The fan momentum during this performance was set on high even while taking the fast pace tempo down for Guilty. Though a ballad, the song retained the spunk and energy especially during the guitar solos in the instrumentals. Oh yeah, watch out for the hair flying around stage if standing in front while St. Ives’ performing. SouthSide highly recommends this band for those who love pounding guitar/metal rock in their diet. For more information about The Infamous Ashley St. Ives, visit them at

Simply good rock music with deep, raspy vocals is how SouthSide would describe Fifth Story’s MOB Fest performance. This band didn’t need a flashy gimmick or whatnot to garner the fans’ attention. They let the music be their spokesperson for them. Fifth Story throughout the set showed how versatile they can be within in the rock genre without pegging them into one category. One minute they could turn a ballad into a sweet lullaby and in the next pounding your ears with blood-curdling guitar riffs. SouthSide suggests listening to their Southern fried rock song, Whiskey. The guitar solos during the instrumental had many in the audience dancing to the music. Yet this reviewer did have problem with the low vocals during the set. At times, the lead’s voice was too soft to be heard over the rockin’ music. Still at the precise moment, he could rip the microphone with such emotion and passion that it drove the ladies wild. SouthSide recommends listening to Fifth Story’s Lady Love in which you can feel as well as hear emotions pouring out of his voice. Another fine example would be Lake Michigan in which the softness of his raspy voice shined throughout the song. In the end, Fifth Story had this crowd screaming for more. This reviewer recommends Fearless fans checking out this unique band at their next performance. For more information about Fifth Story, visit them at

Well that ends another successful MOB Fest season. Lots of good music heard and discovered during those three nights. SouthSide had another fun rockin’ time attending the shows. Thanks to all who helped and hosted the bands performing on stage.

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


Saturday, June 27, 2009

MOB Fest pt2 - 19 Jun 09

Hey, Fearless fans, ready for more MOB Fest fun? Well, SouthSide was as she tackled three separate shows too hot not to miss. Even a sudden rainstorm couldn’t stop this party gal from seeing old friends rockin’ the stage. Though at three separate venues, this reviewer had one adventurous night covering the bands performing. Her first stop was the all-ages show at Metro to see Cavashawn.

There was excitement in the air for this next band after the Danger Is My Middle Name performance. While stage crew helped set up the stage, the entire Metro from main floor to balcony was engulfed by frantic screaming. And that, Fearless fans, was before Cavashawn performed their opening song. Recently featured in the RedEye, SouthSide had to see why this local band was quite popular amongst the many teenage girls screaming their names. Was it the guys’ dashing handsomeness that made them swoon with fervor? Was it their bubble gum pop alternative sound and its energetic music? Or was it all of the above and more? Actually, Fearless fans, it was all of the above. It was very apparent Cavashawn had everything that appealed this crowd into a screaming frenzy. The young music fans will like their rockin’ music and charming sex appeal while their parents will enjoy the clean wholesome lyrics attached to their songs. At one point of the set, it did get a tad racy when performing a song about a stripper. The lead’s swinging hip action and sultry voice had the young ladies next to SouthSide going nuts. Toss in some guitar riffs during the instrumentals and watch the Metro erupt with more wild screaming. Yet there was point in which the screaming did die a little. While performing the cover, Misunderstood, this reviewer felt the classic rock song was more the parents in the audience than the youngsters. Though not SouthSide’s usual taste in music, overall she did enjoy how they worked the stage keeping their fans hyped from beginning to end. For more information about Cavashawn, visit the guys at or

After making a mad dash to Elbo Room, SouthSide arrived in time to see The Evening Redness perform next on stage. She first saw this band at the Double Door last month during Algren’s spectacular CD release show. Once again, this band thrilled the audience with wicked guitar instrumentals and quick riff changes. The changes took their songs to one end of the rock spectrum to another by incorporating unique sounds not commonly paired together in rock music. For example, Fearless fans will enjoy hearing some Asian rhythm in one song that had lots of energy. SouthSide recommends listening to Evening’s new song, Choose, in which drew more fan momentum during the instrumental. The serenading guitar solos were on fire …full of passion as he allowed the notes to drift endlessly. You have to see this band to feel such hot sensuality in guitar rock. For more information about The Evening Redness, visit them at

With the crowd already hyped from the last band, Moxxy was ready to keep that feeling going during their set. These guys were on fire, Fearless fans! Nothing slowed them down for one second ...not even a few minor technical difficulties could stop them from rockin’ out the Elbo Room. It was almost like watching their I AM Fest performance all over again but on a smaller stage. Moxxy had so much energy that they made the photographers work hard to snap decent photos of them. No one s ever standing still on stage when their music has this much energy. The highlight of this set was when they performed a rock instrumental piece. Adding lyrics to this song would have spoiled the awesome music heard. SouthSide highly recommends seeing this band when they returned to the Metro on July 17th for an all-ages show with Lucid Ground and Makeshift Prodigy. For more information about Moxxy, visit them at

To end this long but adventurous night of MOB Fest venue hopping, SouthSide returned to Wrigleyville for the ASCAP showcase held at Fiesta Cantina. There she was able to see Snowsera rockin’ out the stage for enthused fans. This reviewer has plans for another full review of this band soon. In the meanwhile, she encourages Fearless fans to check out Snowsera and their music at or

Headlining this MOB Fest show was long time SouthSide friends, Blackbox. It has been ages since she has seen this rock duo perform around town. And she’s glad that she did because they added a few new surprises within their set. First, the one and only World’s Greatest drummer, Greg Potter, was sporting a dual drum kit. If you’ve seen him rocking out on kit, wait until you see what he does with two kick drums. Once again, his drumming feats wowed and amazed the audience especially when he hits the two cymbals behind his sight range. This new setup also gave the band more rock percussion sound in their songs. Second, Damon, the guy on vocals and guitar, added a little more hardcore rock sound into their songs especially the new ones. Blackbox did perform the classic hits like Girls Like You and Only One during this performance. However SouthSide recommends listening to their new ones, Mistake and Rocker Boyzz. These two songs were a bit edgier than their older ones but with more hard guitar riffs and changes. At times, it felt as if there were two Damon performing on stage instead of one. He really packed a lot of guitar power into this set when Blackbox closed with a fan favorite, Sick. Compared to their shows in the past, this one for MOB Fest had more energy than before which gave the feeling of a full rock band though being a duo. SouthSide recommends Fearless fans checking out the new and improved Blackbox at their next performance. For more information about this band, visit them at or

Well, Fearless fans, that completes SouthSide's challenge - covering three amazing MOB Fest shows in one night. Now she had to rest up for Saturday’s big finale at Elbo Room.

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


Thursday, June 25, 2009

MOB Fest pt 1 - 18 Jun 09

Hey, Fearless fans, SouthSide’s back on the beat covering the 13th annual MOB Fest. It was three fun-filled nights of indie music and parties in venues around town like Fiesta Cantina and Metro. To kick things off, there was an opening party was held at Elbo Room. The crowded upstairs bar enjoyed acoustic performances by Brad Cole, Robin Horlock ( or and Makeshift Prodigy ( or Fans are encouraged to head to the Metro on July 17th to see the entire Makeshift band headline the stage. Meanwhile the downstairs offered fans a night of acoustic to hardcore guitar rock.

The lovely chanteuse, Sarah VonderHaar, opened first night of MOB Fest with a singer/songwriter set. It was a unique mix of acoustic and alternative music. SouthSide enjoyed how Sarah’s docile vocals were lost amongst rockin’ sound. There was no stopping the fire and passion in her voice while singing such songs like Over You and Sick of It All. This reviewer recommends Fearless fans who are heading to Summerfest to check out her July 1st performance. For more information about Sarah VonderHaar, visit this artist at or

This band from IN rocked the Elbo Room with a set that had lots of energy and music. The keyboard rhythms and horn sound gave Nate and His Kite that extra spark of momentum to keep the fans dancing. SouthSide enjoyed how each song had its own fresh and exciting sound that were interwoven with a mix of music genres. For example, she suggests Fearless fans listening to their Volcano Song. Despite taking suggestions to rename it, this reviewer enjoyed the steaminess of raw sensuality dripping from the Blues/R & B sound. It tempted and teased the audience at the same time with its smokin’ sultry music. Don’t be fooled by that slow tempo in the beginning either. It did gradually pick up the pace at the chorus before returning to its original rhythm at the end. Yes, Fearless fans, it was that hot. She also recommends listening to Nate’s Love Song. It’s not your typical love ballad …not with that fast tempo and quick riff changes it had. There was too much energy for it to be bogged down with sappy lyrics. If you like whimsical and lively songs, SouthSide highly recommends checking out Nate and His Kite. For more information about this band, visit them at or

This next band was the 3rd place winner during the Battles for Congress last month. Bad With Names once again wowed the audience with their neo-Reggae / Soul / Alternative sound that included double percussions of congas and drums. After opening their set with Wait, this band brought more than just their usual funk-ified sound. This time Bad added some R & B and Latin / Island rhythms to the mix. It gave them a chance to show the audience how they can incorporate different musical styles into their songs. Also it truly showed how versatile this band can be without solely being known for its thrilling conga beats. SouthSide enjoyed the energy Bad brought to the stage during this performance noting it was better than their previous Battles sets. For those who like a little spice and funk in their music, this band is for you. For more information about Bad With Names, visit them at

Band Called Catch featured a mixture of acoustic, alternative and folk music that didn’t feel watered down or dull the audience momentum. This performance was lively and full of energy that kept everyone moving to the beat including SouthSide. You couldn’t help but feed off the rockin’ vibes from the band and vice versa. Their songs at times took the whimsical side of life such as doing anything to be a rock and porn star. Though the energy did lax a bit for an acoustic solo by the front man, Tim, the fast pace quickly returned when performing the Friendly Song. This reviewer however thought it was a waste that Band Called Catch didn’t incorporate move of vibrant violin rhythm into their set. It kicked off their set with a bang but soon disappeared not to be heard again. Overall, the unofficial official CD release show, as they billed it, was fun from start to end. SouthSide recommends Fearless fans checking out Band Called Catch and their new EP titled This. For more information, visit them at

Headlining the lineup was the doctor of hardcore rock. Dr V closed out the 1st night of MOB Fest with a rousing performance of metal guitar sound that thrilled the audience. Fans gushed over his skilled fingers switching from the 6- and 12-string dual ruby red electric especially during the instrumentals. What surprised SouthSide was the Dr’s new drummer who assisted him with backing vocals. It was nice to see and hear Dr V getting the vocal help needed for such songs like American Dream and Night and Day. Yet it wasn’t solely a metal set of guitar wizardry. There were brief moments when he would switch between rock and alternative sound depending on the tone of the song performed. SouthSide enjoyed hearing the Dr’s tender side during the ballad, Loving You. The lyrics and passion in his voice revealed a side to this artist sometimes rarely seen on stage. No matter the style rockin’ the stage the fans loved his guitar sound that got them screaming for more. And the good Dr obliged his enthusiastic patients with one more that rocked down the Elbo Room. If you want to be amazed and thrilled by wild guitar rhythms, SouthSide highly recommends setting up an appointment to see Dr. V. For more information about this band, visit them at or

This, Fearless fans, was just the beginning to an exciting 3-night weekend of live indie music during MOB Fest. Part two of this 3 part review happened on Friday night when SouthSide reviewed five bands at three different venues in one hot night.

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


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I AM Fest - 13 Jun 09

"...This [stuff] is local…” I AM Fest

Yes, Fearless fans, this entire festival was local. The I AM Festival was one of a kind independent show in which SouthSide had never experienced before. I AM Fest, meaning Independent Arts and Music Festival, was an idea first thought up by Brian Bender (front man for A Birdsong Valentine and Elbo Room Talent Booker). He envisioned something more than gathering great local bands making noise in Chicago’s music scene under one roof. He saw an all day event which would include local artists, photographers and filmmakers as well. What a better way to get more fan involvement in Chicago’s rising local scene. So with help of friends from Chicago Noise Machine and sponsors such as Washburn Guitars and Rock Scarz Magazine, he was able to turn this idea into reality on Saturday, June 13th.

The morning rain couldn’t dampen the excitement and nervousness felt by many as the bands eagerly waited to hit the stage. I AM Fest, Fearless fans, featured twenty-five awesome bands rockin’ on the main and Tattoo Factory/Rock Scarz Magazine stages until the wee hours of Sunday morning. This fest had everything for every type of music, art and film lover. In music, fans were treated to acoustic/singer-songwriter to metal and country rock to pop alternative. Local artists such as Josh Kelchner and Jane Kemp displayed pieces ranging from the abstract to neo-modern and photography. Then there were short films between bands that gave fans a few laughs and deep thoughts about the message they’re trying to convey. Plus there were booths like free Monster drinks to keeping fans hyped, Bank of America and IAMTHETREND and Delicious food and snacks were provided by J & L Catering. During the I AM Fest, fans had the chance to purchase raffle tickets to win a custom-made I AM Fest guitar by Washburn. All the proceeds went to Merit School of Music which helps kids around Chicago to the joys of music education and instruments.

A fest of this magnitude did pose a tiny problem for SouthSide. How would she cover the action at the same time? Though it was no easy task, Fearless fans, this reviewer was able to sample all of the sights and sounds of both stages. The first half of the main stage lineup opened with runner-up and winner of Battle for Congress bands. Red City once again got the audience grooving and shaking to their funk-ified rock. The Battles winner, Phat Cats, was next to wow everyone with their neo-funk/soul/alternative set. Fans were excited to see bands, A Friend Called Fire, Moxxy and Camera which all three rocked down the house. Even the raunchiest indie band, Your Little Ponies, in the local scene was on tap performing the ever popular Dude song. SouthSide was in awe Digital Mindy’s performance. They had the Goths and Vamps in the audience banging their heads to songs like Meet Mr Agitator and Popular. Closing out the 1st half of the main stage was Chicago’s only NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) band, I Fight Dragons. Fans enjoyed the look and feel of being part of a video game during their set.

Meanwhile, in the lobby of Congress Theatre, the Rock Scarz Magazine/Tattoo Factory stage was alive with acoustic performances. Singer-songwriter Tommy Tuesday opened the stage who was followed by Ryan Powers and Adriana Ramirez. After meeting Adriana, SouthSide had the opportunity to partake in her performance where she was joined by Matt Mullen (of Smentek & Mullen). This reviewer highly recommends checking out this songtress with a soulful voice. Her songs were inspirational and uplifting to the ears. Rock alternative music by bands like S Joel Norman and Fishing With Spoons filled the middle of the lineup on this stage. Fans went crazy for the Southern-fried rock sounds of SouthSide’s friends, Green Sugar. Matthew Alfano’s lively performance with his drummer closed out the lineup.

So far, Fearless fans, the 1st half of I AM Fest was one heck of a rockin’ time. The 2nd half featured the nine bands that make up Chicago Noise Machine. Algren lit the stage on fire with another hot performance since their CD release show at Double Door. Echo Son brought the sexy side of rock while Bullet Called Life shined on stage to adoring fans. The rafters shook and rattled from the mighty screams of Brian Bender during the A Birdsong Valentine performance. The guys dedicated their set to a long time friend who recently died. Karl’s deep vocals added some heart and soul during Lucid Ground’s rock alternative set. The highlight of Reverie’s show was when other Chicago Noise Machine members joined on stage for the Monster song. That wasn’t the only lovefest moment of the night. Heavy The Fall and Simplistic Urge totally rocked the stage with thrilling guitar rock music. Closing out I AM Fest 2009 was 72 Hours. Other CNM members once again joined the band on stage for Elephant Song. What a rousing way to end this fun-filled day of music and art.

Whew what a day, Fearless fans! And it didn’t stop there when the show was over. It was off the afterparty at Original Mother’s on Rush and Division to celebrate today’s momentous event in history. This will be one unique music experience SouthSide will never forget. She cannot wait for what Chicago Noise Machine has in store for I AM Fest 2010. For more information about I AM Fest, visit or For more information about Chicago Noise Machine, visit them at or

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


Monday, June 8, 2009

06 Jun 09

“…I’ve never been asked that by a man…” Machinegun Mojo
“…wait til later…” Brian Bender (of A Birdsong Valentine) at sound

Hey, Fearless fans, SouthSide’s back at the Elbo Room for another eclectic night of music. Not your usual lineup for a Saturday night either. There was acoustic, pseudo hip/hop and rock. SouthSide enjoyed the opening acoustic acts by Jessie Yoakum and Keith (of Keith & The Complications). However the pseudo hip/hop-rock performance by Laser Love failed to impress her. It was too gimmicky and too much talk as well as not enough music to satisfy this reviewer. Closing out this lineup was the rockin’ style of hip/hop and alternative by Anti-Crew. The highlight of the lineup was the energetic, mojo-fied guitar rock by Machinegun Mojo.

Machinegun Mojo’s music breathed life back in the Elbo Room with its electrifying opening song. This hot band wowed the audience by pumping riffs and rhythms that thrilled to the bone within each song. Yes, Fearless fans, this was the type of music which air-guitarists could rock out to. It had SouthSide’s mojo on fire and her booty shakin’ to the fast guitar rock sound. Fearless fans will like their energetic honky-tonk blues which really got the mojo flowing inside Elbo Room. You could feel it dripping from Rooster’s vocals and harmonics while the band thundered with bluesy rhythms. Whew, Fearless fans, it was one HOT number! Also, SouthSide suggests listening to The Devil. It will definitely get your mojo rising. Though Mojo took the energy down a notch, there are enough riffs within this song to keep your momentum running on high. So don’t let the slow tempo fool you that’s a ballad. The steady pace does pick up speed near the end for the hard guitar finish which was an audience pleaser. Machinegun Mojo closed out their set the way they began it – lots and lots of energy. What an exciting finish to end this band’s set. If searching your rock mojo, SouthSide highly recommends you’ll find it with Machinegun Mojo. For more information about this band and its music, visit them at

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


Saturday, June 6, 2009

03 Jun 09

Hey, Fearless fans, are you ready for some Tennessee rock? If you are, then check out this hot rising band, November, from Nashville. They recently rocked the Elbo Room stage on Wednesday night opening for AMP Booking Presents show. SouthSide enjoyed the fire and energy this group had for their music. It was something this reviewer wouldn’t expect after listening a sample of songs off their myspace page and EP, Superstar Paradise.

Fans can expect lots of guitar rock that thrills you to the bone. It’s loud enough to get your blood pumping and feet moving to the beat. November had the type of music that kept the audience enthused for more. SouthSide enjoyed how they combined different genres and rhythms to give their songs such rockin’ life. It’s never dull and did change the tone of their set as each song was performed. For example, listen to Jamie. This reviewer liked the power pop sound laced within the guitar riffs and sound to keep her dancing. Another song fans should listen to is New Year’s Day. The gritty guitar sound will grab your immediate attention to their unique style. There was another song that played out like a hypnotic mantra with soothing rhythmic music. It was oozing in charismatic charm and sexiness from November’s front man strutting around the stage. Their fast paced momentum did take a momentary break during Plain View. Yet it still had that upbeat fun tempo within the chorus. Their set ended the way it began in tons of energy upon closing with Sugar Free.

Whew – this band was a blast to review! SouthSide highly recommends checking out November this summer when they perform in Tennessee and Alabama. Hopefully, this band will return to Chicago soon. For more information about November and their music, visit

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


Friday, June 5, 2009

02 Jun 09

"…I love the sweet, sweet taste of alcohol…” Outshine

Hey, Fearless fans, SouthSide’s summer season kicked off with a bang! It was one hot night of music covering all corners of the globe performed at the Elbo Room. The first half of the lineup consisted of alternative and acoustic rock by Vehicle and Robert Law (from Flint, Michigan). The second half featured hot performances by Outshine (from Gothenburg, Sweden) and Chief (Wisconsin). Appearing for the first time as a band, Vehicle ( impressed this reviewer with their opening performance. This young band handled the stage very well offering the audience a unique mix of rock alternative music.

SouthSide also recommends checking out the energized guitar rock of Chief ( Whew, Fearless fans, their performance literally melted the Elbo Room’s sound system from start to finish! This trio pumped lots of loud, rip-roaring riffs and rhythms that took you deep into the zone and back. It was the type of head-banging performance which had this reviewer begging for more. She highly recommends listening to Chief’s Rollin’ (hot sweaty sexiness packed into one song), Diamond (their rock ballad), and Slaughter Stone (think Led Zeppelin meets Pink Floyd during the intro).

The Vikings have landed in Chicago …again! Fearless Radio welcomed Outshine back to the studio Tuesday to talk about their album, Until We’re Dead, and tour. Podcast is available if you’ve missed the original airdate of their appearance, Fearless fans. After the studio appearance, it was off to Elbo Room for one hot rock performance on stage. It was loud, hardcore and sexy as these Vikings showed how they do it in the lands of ice and cold. Performing songs like It’s Over and I’m Sorry, SouthSide enjoyed the anger in Outshine’s song, Fortune. Oh, you could literally feel that frustration dripping from EJ’s voice as he sang. Even the guitar riffs matched the mood set by the vocals. The highlight of the performance was during the awesome cover of Billy Idol’s White Wedding. SouthSide loved how Outshine brought the original tempo down a peg allowing the music to emphasize the tone of the lyrics. It was definitely not another “let’s imitate Billy Idol” cover version but a fresh take on this 80s classic. It's also featured on their album. The audience was treated to some Swedish sexiness at the end of the set with Save Me. Lots of sexy guitar sound which had everyone asking for one more song. Definitely check out these Vikings before they return home, Fearless fans, as they wrap up their spring tour in Wisconsin. Hopefully they’ll return in the fall to shower Chicago with more Swedish love. For more information about Outshine and their music, visit them at or

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