Friday, January 29, 2010

28 Jan 10

"...GP, glad you took my heartfelt song and turned it into a double bass..." ~ Blackbox

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide's hitting the red carpet for an extra special night on the town. Tonight, she's attending her first (pre) Grammy party which was held at LaSalle Power Co. It was a rockin' celebration for Chicago's very own - Malik Yusef, a spoken poet and nominated artist (with Kayne for Best Rap Song by Group/Duo - Amazing) off Kayne West's G.O.O.D. Music record label. Fans packed the third floor of this venue to hear performances from guests such as Blackbox and Zach Crawford. This reviewer honestly felt sorry for the opening act. Though the three-song set was okay, the duo couldn't generate enough energy to get the anyone excited for their music. They certainly faced a tough crowd since there was a noticeable lack of response after each song.

The party truly came to life when this (Emmy) award winning local duo took the stage. The audience caught the Blackbox fever of rockin' electric guitar rhythms and fantastical drumming. Recently returning from the west coast, Damon (vocals/guitars) and Greg (World's Greatest Drummer) amazed with songs like Condition of Man and The One. This reviewer enjoyed the hard hitting guitar riffs during Damn You and Alive. In Damn You (a song written while in L.A. after getting into trouble), there was a definite sound of rage at everything and everyone that would piss you off. Yet in Alive, you could hear the frustration and angst off the lyrics as Damon pours out his heart. Meanwhile, GP entertained the crowd with his wild drumming skills. It's fascinating to watch him hit the cymbals positioned out of his line of sight. You have to see this duo live to soak in the rock star experience which Blackbox provides at each show. Closing with SouthSide's favorite song, Sick, energetic drumming fueled Damon's wild ride throughout the crowd - rockin' on top of the bar counter and table tops. For more information, visit or

After that rousing rock performance, fans were now ready to enjoy the soulful music by Malik Yusef. Accompanied with a full band, this Grammy-nominated artist's performance literally blew SouthSide away. She enjoyed the modern twist to the R&B/Soul sound which paid homage to other artists such as Curtis Mayfield and The Roots. Yet with Malik's music, there was also soulful versions of rock songs borrowed from The Beatles and Red Hot Chili Peppers. What made his songs unique was the inspirational yet motivational freestyle poetry he adds to the original lyrics. This artist tailored each song performed during the set to his own style thus giving them a new lease on life and an audience to hear them. For example, listen to his ode to Chicago titled My City. Though having the basic sound of RHCP's Under the Bridge, this reviewer liked how Malik flipped the rock into a soulful R&B sound with some REM's Losing My Religion in the middle. Another fine example would be his tribute to Curtis Mayfield in Get Ready Ready. Still borrowing from a classic R&B artist, Malik made this song his own with the freestyle poetry in between. He did take a moment to get down and funky with a vibrant instrumental piece. Any lyrics added to this song would have spoiled the energetic groove felt. And if you watch very carefully, you might notice him using American Sign Language to "sing" the lyrics during the intros of certain songs. With Zach Crawford joining him on stage, Malik performed a rockin' but R&B version of The Beatle's Come Together. SouthSide also suggests listening to his other songs such as Wouldn't You Like to Ride and Universe to hear how diverse this artist can be with his music. SouthSide highly recommends checking out this spoken poet/songwriter during 2010. For more information, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

23 Jan 10

...are you alive or dead... - Villain Vs Villain

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide's back! Not even wearing a cast (due to a broken ankle) could keep this reviewer away. And she made the triumphant return to the local scene hanging out at the Double Door. The Saturday night crowd packed this famous venue for another free Rock-n-Roll Bailout show. The lineup of electro/powerpop/rock featured great performances by Heartset Self Destruct, Villain Vs Villain, Meqqa and The Assembly. For more information about other free shows happening soon, visit

After witnessing this hot opening performance, Heartset Self Destruct have finally arrived into the rock band they're meant to be! And this is SouthSide's honest opinion, blogspot readers. Their Double Door set was moodier and darker than when she first met them during MOB Fest 06. There's a definite sound which hardcore fans will enjoy. Plenty of guitar riffs and screamo angst to get you head banging to the music. This set was performed with so much gusto and fire that SouthSide saw them as the closer rather than the opener. Even while taking the energy down a notch for Tourniquet (off HSSD's first album), there was still enough rockin' tempo to keep the fan momentum going. SouthSide recommends listening to Flaw - one hot number full of smokin' guitar rhythms and screamo vocals. The fast tempo kept the audience feeling that energetic vibe until the end. This reviewer also recommends Skin and HSSD's closing song, Black Tattoo - explosions of guitar rock sound. A spectacular ending for one heck of a beginning by Heartset Self Destruct. For more information about this band and where they're rockin' the stage next, visit

Who is Villain Vs Villain? Certainly not what SouthSide originally expected. This band from a former name (to be revealed at the end) had this reviewer totally fooled until their closing song gave them away. She found it funny to hear a Willie Nelson track introducing Villain's set before cuing their first song. This band prided itself with synth pop sound behind the hard guitar riffs. Plus there was plenty of energy which electro rock fans can sink their teeth into. Compared to listening to Villain's recorded tracks, SouthSide recommends seeing them live. It's the best way to experience the mindblowing music under the neon-glow of their stage lighting. Their King of the World was an ego trip of smokin' riffs and danceable rhythms. Though not ready for them to slow things down, Villain's ballad took on a dimension of its own which didn't sound like a rock ballad. It had the angst perfectly highlighting Peeler's (the band's front man) vocals. Yet the moment of the night had finally arrived for SouthSide when she heard her favorite songs, New Way to Die and Love Is Murder. Coincidentally, Love Is Murder, an old Royal tune, was the biggest surprise for this reviewer upon discovering who Villain Vs Villain truly was. She thoroughly enjoyed the new look and sound of this band but wished they had performed a longer set. For more information and where they're rockin' the stage next, visit or

This next band took a more of a darker side to emo rock. However Meqqa's not quite where they should be within in this genre. Mind you, blogspot readers, it's not a bad criticism of their music. It mainly shows this band's constantly evolving (as well as experimenting) towards the direction they want to be. Right now, Meqqa's still in its infancy stage as a hardcore/emo band - and that's fine with this reviewer. She liked how they're working with Tiffany (the femme fatale)on vocals to compliment Johanna(the band's front man)and his moody vocals. Each on Saturday night balanced the othr like night and day. They're fun to watch building that duet chemistry while interacting on stage. Now the music you might expect it be hard and fast in tempo. Not exactly. There was energy in Meqqa's rock sound but somewhat mellower to allow the audience to soak in the dark ambience. SouthSide did more than hear the angst and rage off the guitar riffs ...she also felt it pulsating through the monitors. It was wonderful to feel that darker spectrum which can take you beyond that emo rock sound. This band may have a lot growing up to do before reaching their desired rock plateau but this reviewer recommends checking them out. For more information and where they're rockin' the stage next, visit

Headlining tonight's lineup was a band that brought lots of electro/powerpop rock to the stage. The Assembly had this packed venue rockin' to the tripped out rhythms and guitar sound. With the synths (and programmed recording) performing there was a slight edge taken off the guitars. Thus turning Assembly's music into a club sound. For example listen to their song Optimization, blogspot readers. Be prepared to get movin' to the energized beat that the synths heavily provided. Other times, the powerpop sound took a brief break allowing the band's core guitar rock sound to lead. The synths (and piano) were still there but not as vivid than the previous songs. The Assembly did debut a new song, Never Let Me Down, which sounded a little edgier compared to the one before it. Both guitars and lower keyboard created a catchy rhtyhm - so wicked and hot. Definitely a hit for this band and with the crowd. For more information and where they're rockin' the stage next, visit or

Until next time, support your local scene,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

06 Jan 10

SouthSide wishes to express her apologies to the following bands for the delay of posting this review.

...the party people are here on a Wednesday... - Whiskey Sin

Hey, blogspot readers, Wednesday was party night for SouthSide! She was ready to rock with fans at another Rock-n-Roll Bailout show at the Double Door. This free show featured exciting performances by Whiskey Sin and Riot Inside. Though arriving a little late, this reviewer did catch the last few minutes of Ziolo's set. SouthSide enjoyed the experimental sound off the guitars and highly suggests checking out this band.

SouthSide was completely blown away by this band's hard hitting guitar riffs and energetic rock sound. Whiskey Sin's performance literally set the stage on fire with excitement. Tony T's (Whiskey's vibrant front man on vocals) rough yet raw voice of angst vividly set the tone and mood for each song performed. The thunderous tempo each time did get the audience movin' to the rockin' beat. And that was merely Whiskey's opening song, Nothing Desired, blogspot readers. SouthSide enjoyed the feel of the rising crescendo off the guitars during the instrumental. Then it crashed with a heavy explosion of music - very hard and loud. Just the way SouthSide likes her hardcore rock sound. Even this band's cover song was perfomed with this much gusto and enthusiasm. Sometimes it had the audience waiting on bated breath between dramatic pauses in the lyrics. A nice way to set up that explosive rock sound emphasis happening in Bother. To SouthSide, it wasn't a matter of hearing Whiskey's rock performance but also feeling it as well. This was raw sound pulsating through the monitors ...the kind which kept this reviewer excited for more. SouthSide also suggests listening to Whiskey's Lounge Puppet and Borrowed Time. For more information about this band, visit or

They're ultra cool, uber sexy and have been known to cause a riot wherever they go. Yes, blogspot readers, Riot Inside once agan rocked out the lineup with a bang of energetic rock sound. It's quite true that this reviewer has seen them numerous times before. However each show's never like the one previously performed. Something new is always added which keeps bringing her as well as fans back for more. And Riot does leave you wanting more of them and their music - time to start planning on encores, Riot! To say Riot wowed tonight's audience would be a gross understatement. Fans were totally amazed by Gary's (Riot's head honcho on vocals) charismatic vocals ...spellbound by the hard hitting guitar sound (and other surprises) and jammed to songs like Satisfy, Wicked Games and Follow Me. 2010 seems to be the happening year for Riot Inside. Starting January 10, the song Wicked Games is now available on iTunes for download. In March expect to see them rockin' the Metro or the new Lincoln Hall with A Friend Called Fire - details to come shortly. In June, they're planning to rock the SubT again and perhaps with another sellout crowd like the one in November 2009. For more information, visit Riot Inside at or

Until next time, support your local scene,

Monday, January 4, 2010

02 Jan 10

...remember, the revolution begins with you... ~ Diagram Of Truth

Happy new decade, blogspot readers!

SouthSide kicked off 2010 with a rockin' bang! All it took was a trip to the famous Double Door for one of many free Rock-n-Roll Bailout shows scheduled this month. Dubbed as Holiday Hangover, tonight's show was sponsored by Window Licker Records ( It featured and eclectic lineup of music from such local bands like Oui Si Only You, Without A Breath, Diagram Of Truth and Starter Kit. Albino Spiders (from Des Moines, Iowa) also made an appearnace on stage. Fans were treated to special burlesque acts by Siren Jynx and Donna Touch between sets. What a way to really heat up this venue on a frosty Saturday night.

This lively duo kicked off the night with a mix of lyrical verse and pre-recorded rhythms. Diagram Of Truth's songs filled the Double Door about social consciousness as well as their favorite things. SouthSide especially enjoyed one about world news and genocide happening in Africa. She recommends listening to Left Handedness (what you do with your left hand without your right knowing) and What It Was (the monster ballad of the night). This particular song's slower tempo gave it a haunting rhythm which brought out the vocal angst. Meanwhile, Focus was a happier motivational song to inspire all to seek out the good and not the bad. That should be the motto for this new decade, blogspot readers. This reviewer highly recommends hearing the spoken truth and social activism by Diagram Of Truth at their next performance. For more information, visit this duo at or

Members of Chester and Riot Inside were in attendance tonight to witness another extraordinary set by Oui Si Only You. This local band impressed SouthSide last year with its unique mix of experimental/psychedelic guitar sound and lyrical Emcee. Their musical combination took the audience on a journey through the mind of one who's frustrated ...or fed up with life, love and even society. Basically, it's Oui Si's venting what we wish to say when reaching that critical breaking point in our lives. In this reviwer's opinion, it's good to feel angry especially within this type of music. For example, check out her favorite song, New Clear Beauty (also found on her Reverbnation playlist). Besides hearing guitar rhythms which sometimes does not exist, one can also feel the angst dripping from the lyrics. At times, both music and words cross and intertwine at unlimitedless boundaries connecting fans of other genres together. Another good example was Shadow Ride in which the mood and tempo went down a notch. Still this song retained plenty of fiery angst to light up the stage. Despite feeling Ben (Oui Si's energetic front man on vocals) was holding back on the anger, he truly gave a tiny sample during Open Wide. This song (about the media's usage in glorifying school shootings) had everyone blown away by his frustration and freestyle dancing. SouthSide highly recommends going to the Excalibur in the River North area on Jan 27 to see Oui Si Only You rockin' the stage. For more information, visit the guys at

SouthSide had mixed feelings while observing this band's performance. To her, Albino Spiders had an eclectic approach to their music that they sounded pop/hardcore/screamo at the same time. Somehow the high falsettos between the vocals (during the chorus) were too soft to be heard and the screamin' angst at the wrong moments within songs had SouthSide scratching her head. Since the vocals bemuddled this band's core rock base, she found it difficult to comprehend what type of music Albino was presenting to its Chicago audience. She did, however, enjoy the rockin' guitar rhythms and energy but that wasn't enough to save the lull noticably seen amongst the venue. Honestly, blogspot readers, this reviewer suggests to Albino that they re-think either its rock sound to match the vocals or vice versa. Soft vocal pitches does not work well when the music is bit more hardcore off the guitars. Also the screamin' angst throws off the pop sound. Sad to say, SouthSide really cannot suggest this band but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check them out. For more information, visit Albino Spiders at

Rounding out the Holiday Hangover lineup were performances by Without A Breath and Starter Kit. This reviewer suggests checking out both rockin' bands during 2010 and beyond. Though using a keyboard for its rhythms in certain song intros, the hardcore guitar sound was what fueled this band's energy. SouthSide liked Without's tumbling riffs and exciting momentum put into each song. Also you could clearly hear the angst in the vocals without resorting to high fake falsettos then turning into lowered pitches. SouthSide suggests listening to Without's Obvious for its energetic intro which had her feeling the pulsating guitar rhythm. Plenty of instrumentals that one can savor the riffs while banging their head to the music. Also check out, Wake Up and Paranoid. Though the guitars were great, this reviewer would like to hear and see more of the keyboard incorporated more into their songs. A little experimentation doesn't hurt to see where such rhythms and sounds could possibly take Without's music. For more information, visit Without A Breath at or

Meanwhile Starter Kit had a louder and harder rock sound that had the audience movin' to the beat. Plenty of guitar rock with some screamin' angst in the mix added more energy to the stage. This band has certainly come a long way since first meeting them at the Beat Kitchen. This reviewer suggests listening to Starter's Little Lies (off their new CD). This song not only sparked band momentum on stage but off stage as well. The first few chords had the audience going wild while dancing to the music. Be careful, blogspot readers, it did cause some minor fan moshing near the middle amongst the audience. Also SouthSide liked their song, Resurrection Mary (perhaps based on the local ghost legend). The guitars created haunting rhythms that set the mood but fooled this reviewer into thinking each was off key. Not truly the case. If you listen very closely (before reaching the chorus), the guitars are in fact harmonizing yet on different chords. For more information about this band, visit them at or

Until next time, support your local music scene,