Monday, December 7, 2009

4 Dec 09

...tonight, we're going to be channeling a lot of the 80s... - The Real Jane Martin




Hey, blogspot readers, it's an extra special night for SouthSide. She's celebrating her one hundredth and one hundredth first local shows of the year! WOW - it has been one very busy year for this reviewer. And what better place to celebrate this milestone was at the Elbo Room. This popular Lakeview venue had two floors for the regular Friday night crowd to hear great live music. The upstairs bar featured an acoustic performance by SouthSide's good friends known as The Real Jane Martin. Meanwhile, the downstairs lounge featured a rockin' lineup of performances by Room 11, Merlin, and Matt Dragstrem with a unique acoustic set by Lophophora. This venue is always looking for acoustic acts to perform in the upstairs bar area during certain nights of the week. For more information, email Brian Bender (Elbo Room's talent buyer as well as sound guy) at brian@elboroomchicago.com for details.





The upstairs audience enjoyed a lively acoustic performance by the duo known as The Real Jane Martin. The set consisted an array of originals off their Simple Math CD and a variety of cover songs from the 80s and 90s. Fans will enjoy TRJM's whimsical songwriting skills. Anyone with an E-lettered name should check out their collection of songs beginning with that special letter. She highly suggests All About Eve in which the guy falls in love with a lesbian however she wants to remain friends. This could have been a song about the frustration felt for loving a woman who's only interested in other women, blogspot readers. Yet it's a funny tune about the guy wishing he was a lesbian to join in the fun with this woman. There are other whimsical songs like that example found in Gravity (scientific references and love within a ballad) or Work In Progress (a new song about a relationship being a work in progress). SouthSide also suggests fans new to TRJM to introduce themselves to Manhattan. It's an excellent example of the duo's unique writing style ...storytelling laced with narrative descriptions or funny observations of life.


This reviewer also enjoyed TRJM's renditions of Til Tuesday's Voices Carry in which she felt the anguish and frustration told from Allen's pov. Other cover hits during the first half of the set included Eye of the Tiger and Madonna's Crazy for You. Now channeling that inner Britney (Spears) for Oops, I Did It Again was a little too much for SouthSide. Yet she liked their version since it was performed with in a less sexual tone but more emotion from a male perspective. TRJM's performance was fun however it was time for this reviewer to catch the action downstairs. For more information about The Real Jane Martin, visit www.realjane.com or www.myspace.com/realjane.



Downstairs, the crowd was already rockin' to a wicked psychedelic/experimental performance by Merlin. SouthSide was completely floored by the mix of genres (from reggae/ska to metal for some screamin' angst) tossed within their music. Look for a full review on this band soon however in the meantime, check out songs like Killin Zombies and Green Squall which rocked out the close of their set. For more information, visit these wizards of the experimental sound at www.merlinband.com or www.myspace.com/merlinband1.


...zombies love this kind of music... ~ Zombies in the audience


Though having recently seen them rock the Double Door stage, this reviewer had to review Lophophora again. It was a unique but interesting experience to witness a much calmer side to this band. For the first half, the guys took the intensity out of their rock sound trading it for something more alternative and performed a semi-acoustic set. Another interesting fact about their set - all songs performed tonight were brand spanking new (except for one). This move took SouthSide by surprise. She had her doubts about them pulling this off. In the end, Lophophora proved her wrong. Now, this reviewer had a difficult task wondering which side she enjoyed the most. After opening with Maybe Girl, it was amazing to see how "calm" Todd (the band's troublemaker front man) could be in an acoustic setting. Despite being well behaved, the low key tone of their music truly brought out the emotions in his vocals. Whew - it was a sight to behold especially during the song, Beautiful. This reviewer was expecting to see tears flowing from his eyes at the end of the song. Want to hear more of his emotional side, then check out Sakina and Freeway Mind.


SouthSide highly recommends catching Lophophora as an acoustic act - not saying she didn't enjoy their intense electric side any less. However after witnessing the lophophorisity (patent pending) of emotion and passion that rocked the stage, she still cannot decide which side of the band to like better. Lophophora in the second half still gave the audience an intense rock show. This was when the wild side to Todd's and the band's inner demons were finally released to the world. There was angst (Brother), punk with a The Clash sound (Two Birds) and guitar rock with a bang (Crecendo). Get to know the two sides of Lophophora at their next performance. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/lophophoramusic.


...I guess she told you... ~ Room 11


Now it was time for the Elbo Room to get funkified with Room 11! Though a long time between reviews, this band still knew how to totally rock an audience with a combination of funk, rock and lots of soul. Performing under a lively fusion like that, Big Ced and the band were ready to kick it up to the next level all night long. And that's what this audience came for. SouthSide highly suggests listening to Dip Wit' Me for its funky rhythms and tempo. Fans rocked the floor during the lively jam session that came at the middle of the song. Then Room 11 showed its sizzlin' hot and slow tempo side of funk and R&B when performing Let's Ride. Yet this band did appeal to SouthSide's inner rock chick. Cosmic Slop lit up the basement lounge with excitement bridging the gap between most of its audience. This music certainly had Todd (of Lophophora) and others from tonight's lineup rocking out to Room 11's sound. The funk was really let loose during Funk-E-Muzik in which Ced was the wizard of the guitar funk rhythms.


Besides wowing the audience with its funk/rock combination, SouthSide also heard some social messages within their music. The Soul Sisters (Allegra and Dolores) truly laid into some of that sista divatude during certain songs like Mundane Monday and Social Suicide. Dolores really let out her angst and frustrations when performing G.O.M.F. (Get Out My Face). This song was dedicated to those who totally piss you off ...people who like to test and micromanage your nerves. Everyone could relate to the sentiments felt from the lyrics. Then it was time to Face It (Room 11's new song) for the new year, blogspot readers, and rock to the funk fusion with this band. Room 11 will have you catching their Rock Fever of R&B/soul sound with a rockin' twist. For more information, visit www.roomoneone.com or www.myspace.com/roomoneone.


Until next time, support your local scene,
SouthSide.

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