Tuesday, March 30, 2010

26 Mar 10

"...it's my hair causing that feedback..."

"...how many bass players does it take to turn on an amp?"

Holding Mercury

Hey, blogspot readers, it's Friday night and this reviewer's ready to par-ty! Tonight's adventure had her checking out the happening buzz at the new Lincoln Hall. SouthSide had heard plenty of good things about this Schubas off-shoot. Since opening last year, many of her friends (i.e Lucid Ground, On The Run, Hey Champ - to name a few) have already graced its stage. This time, the all-star lineup was no exception featuring performances by Holding Mercury and The Assembly with The Visitor opening.

Yes, blogspot readers, this venue did live up to its buzz worthy hype and expectations. SouthSide loved the spacious size of the balcony auditorium which is separate from the restaurant/bar area. Bars are fan accessible and located in both levels. This reviewer suggests picking a perched view along the balcony seating. It's an awesome hundred eighty degreed view of the stage and the audience below. One thing which made this place extra special was the handicapped accessibility to the main floor (a ramp) and balcony. Simply ask for Dave for a unique ride in the lift elevator. The Lincoln Hall staff were quite helpful and friendly. Another thing you should know about their drink policies during certain shows. If attending an 18 and older show (as SouthSide did), be warned you're only allowed one drink per person at a time from the bar - with a wristband, of course. For more info about this venue, visit www.lincolnhallchicago.com.

SouthSide highly suggests checking out The Visitor for its rockin' guitar/pop rock sound. Fans will enjoy the lively riffs and rhtyhms off the keyboard as well as the energetic feel vibin' within the music. This type of music certainly had the audience groovin' and having fun throughout their set. And the surprising fact about this performance was that it was The Visitor's first official show. SoutSide suggests checking out songs, and Untitled (no real song title as of yet) for the hard hitting riffs and pop/techno momentum. For more info and where they're rockin' the stage again, visit www.myspace.com/thevisitormusic.

It's been quite a while since last running into this rock band which is why SouthSide was excited to see them again. There was a few new faces on stage with Holding Mercury as well as new songs off their upcoming album. Yet, blogspot readers, the same rockin' music didn't change. Not saying Holding had lost its rock edge or this reviewer found their music to be lacking. On the contrary, she noticed there was more life and sound attached to the "new" Holding songs. She suggests checking out Love In The Information Age (off the new album) about finding and meeting that special someone online. For this song, the band flipped the pop/rock vibe for something a little more hardcore in the guitar riffs. Not their usual sound but the harder guitar sound certainly popped and rocked the stage ...so much so that they blew a bass amp. Also listen to My Personal Hell and Stuck In A Box which can effectively describe hating your job and/or present love life. SouthSide personally rocked out to her favorite song, Let It Go.

Remember SouthSide mentioning that they blew an amp. This unfortunate happening set up the Holding's high point of the night. It's a rare opportunity to hear an acoustic version of Anchors Away that spotlighted the emotional power and feel of Matt's (the front guy on guitar) vocals. Don't think of this solo performance of slowing down the rockin' momentum. It was somewhat mellow as well as symbolic hearing HM fans singing along to close out the song. After closing with their single (also off the new album), I Wait For No One, fans were pumped and ready for one more song. Sadly, blogspot readers, they were denied an encore. Don't fret, Holding Mercury will be rockin' another stage soon. For more information, visit www.holdingmercury.com or www.myspace.com/holdingmercury.

Tomorrow night, it's the fun and music for SouthSide. First, she's attending the Model Stranger (formerly known as Reverie) CD Listening Party at the Elbo Room. Then it's a quick "L" train ride to the Cubby Bear for the Chicago Roots Collective show featuring Makeshift Prodigy.

Until next time, support your local scene,

25 Mar 10

Hey, blogspot readers, springtime fun has finally sprung for SouthSide! This weekend kicked off a long and busy schedule from now until the beginning of May. Faithful readers of this blog can expect reviews on all of her travels around the hottest spots in town for local music. From the Elbo Room to Regge's and Double Door as well as many points in between, SouthSide shall be there reviewing what's new and rockin' in Chicago's music.

Her weekend began Thursday night at the Elbo Room to welcome new friends, The Dirty Flaggs (from Columbus, OH) to Chicago. But first, SouthSide highly recommends fans getting to know Ian Olvera & The Sleepwalkers. This opening act from Green Bay, WI rocked the lineup with their Americana-sounding Alternative Rock set. This reviewer enjoyed the lively rhythm and riffs off the guitars. For more info about this band and where they're rockin' the stage next, visit www.myspace.com/ianolveraband.

SouthSide also highly recommends checking out The Dirty Flaggs at their next performance. This band of lively musicians rocked the stage with their music of rock alternative sound which had plenty of heart and soul in the music. This reviewer enjoyed how The Dirty Flaggs would switch between the alternative and rock throughout the set and within each song, there was life and energetic momentum that kept the audience wanting more. For example, You Plus Me Equals Happiness was an upbeat rock ballad performed with fire and passion than the somber opening song, Regrets and Cigarettes. Even the so-called "chill out" song, Stars & Segways, had too much rock energy for it relax you. This song was the highlight of The Flaggs' set.

SouthSide suggests listening to The Boy That Testified if you want to hear angst and frustration. Everyone, from the drums to guitars, vented their frustrations ...released that built up stress during this number. SouthSide clearly heard it in the guitar riffs and percussion beats. She also suggests checking out The Flaggs' socio-political song titled No Peace In Africa. The hot drumming in the intro grabbed the audience's attention meanwhile SouthSide was more in tuned to the lyrics of the song. It had more depth and deeper emotional sentiment than the horrid "We Are The World" remake.

For more info about this band and where they're rockin' the stage next, visit www.thedirtyflaggs.com or www.myspace.com/thedirtyflaggs.

Tomorrow night, it's off to the new Lincoln Hall for a rockin' performance by Holding Mercury!

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

20 Mar 10

Hey, blogspot readers, discover a new way to sway out your old clothes! Why not try recycling them into something new. That's what SouthSide learned to do on a snowy Saturday afternoon. She attended the Swap-O-Rama Rama at the Chicago Waldorf School. The Swap-O-Rama Rama was a three-day fundraising event in which participants could swap clothing and/or attend do-it-yourself craft workshops learning how to create something new out their old things. You could learn how to make fashionable legwarmers out of old sweaters, create toys for your pets or handmade buttons out of fabric. From silkscreening to making accessories for your iPod or iPhone, there were plenty of new ways to recycle and reuse your old clothing.

That's basically the idea behind this Swap-O-Rama Rama according to Katie Hawkey Swindler who first heard about this in a magazine. The goal of this event was to "...to empower people into learning how to make new things ...it's all about recycling and reusing clothes..." She also stated that it's good for the environment, the pocketbook and the soul. This year's Swap even included a Re:Make Fashion show which all clothes modeled were first hand fashions yet created from second hand materials. After Saturday's Craft and Clothing Swap, there were a film presentation of Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design. This also included a Q&A session with the film's director, Faythe Levine. All proceeds raised during this weekend event went to benefit Chicago Waldorf School (an independent school which incorporates handcrafting for all grades within its curriculum) and Three Sisters Folk Art School. For more information about this fun event, visit www.swap-IL.com.

Now what kind of music goes great with an afternoon of embroidery and tie-dyeing? SouthSide's good friends, Seratonin Telegram provided the rockin' answer, blogspot readers. Though might being one of the most unique venues to have a performance, this up and coming band certainly had fun entertaining the participants at the Swap. One thing you'll notice immediately about this band's sound - it doesn't stay within one single genre. You might hear two or three mixed together ...sometimes fluctuating in between riffs and rhythms thus keeping the music fresh and interesting. While cruising the workshop and craft tables, this reviewer enjoyed listening to the rip-roaring rhythms off the guitars and feeling the energetic vibe from Seratonin's sound. And despite having to tune down the heavy sound, this band rocked out the Swap-O-Rama Rama. SouthSide recommends listening to Checks & Balances (for its angst and woe in the vocals behind the guitar soloing wail in the background) and 68c (for its retro rock throwback sound within the lively rhythm). Blogspot readers can expect a full review on Seratonin Telegram when they rock the Elbo Room on May 26. For more information, visit www.sonicbids.com/seratonintelegram or www.myspace.com/seratonintelegram.

Until next time, support your local scene,

03 Apr 10 - Preview

Hey, blogspot readers, let's rock for a great cause! On April 3, SouthSide's joining many from Chicago's indie music community at the Rock-n-Roll For The Cure at the Elbo Room. This fundraising event will feature live performances by five of the best up and coming bands, comedy, prize raffles, and drink specials. All proceeds raised will benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation through the "Passionately Pink" program.

Since 1982, Komen for the Cure has played an important role in the fight against breast cancer. Nearly 30 years later, it's now the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists. They're working hard to save lives, to empower people with support, and to ensure everyone receives quality care as well as energize medical science research to find cures to this deadly disease.

Rock-n-Roll For The Cure event is organized, hosted and promoted by indie Chicago musicians and though doing their part in the fight, they're asking YOU ...ME ...EVERYONE to do their part too. SouthSide highly recommends that everyone in the Chicagoland area to come out and support local music as well as this great cause. The lineup on April 3 will feature Jess Godwin (www.jessgodwin.com), Band Called Catch (www.myspace.com/bandcalledcatch), Machinegun Mojo (www.myspace.com/machinegunmojo),Surrender Dorothy (www.myspace.com/surrenderdorothyorelse) and The Bears of Blue River (www.myspace.com/thebearsofblueriver).

Rock-n-Roll For The Cure will be held at Elbo Room (2871 N. Lincoln Av - at the corner of Lincoln, George and Lakewood). Doors open at 7p and the show begins at 8p. There's a $10 required donation so do get there early, blogspot readers!

For more information about this event, visit www.myspace.com/rocknrollforthecure or www.facebook.com/rocknrollforthecure.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

13 Mar 10

...please tell those other people, it's time for a package check... ~ Lizard

...you're really gonna love this show... ~ Aston

Hey, blogspot readers, it's the same Elbo Room time yet a different Elbo Room action for SouthSide. Tonight, round two kept this reviewer busy covering the rockin' fun happening both upstairs as well as downstairs inside this packed venue. Upstairs, Irish eyes were definitely smilin' shamrock green during a performance of Irish folk music before Brad Cole's Acoustic Circus. This showcase featured Terry McNamara and friends performing a SXSW (South By SouthWest) or Bust set that included Amanda Rheaume, Tara Holloway and NLX and a mystery guest. SouthSide enjoyed the lively acoustic performance by Brad Cole with Sandy Lee which kicked off the acoustic circus fun. Fans of acoustic folk/alternative music will like the vocal harmonies (by Brad and Sandy) and the hot violin rhythm heard throughout the set. The music was so energetic that it inspired some freestyle dancing from one spectator. The only problem this reviewer had with Brad's set was when the drummer tried to drink and drum at the same time. His lack of concentration during one song slightly threw off the lively rhythm as he tried to carry the beat with one hand. Yet it was Sandy who truly stole the show for this reviewer when she took over lead vocals during another song. Her voice had the audience feeling every ounce of passion heard from her voice. Plus SouthSide loved the "happy" song about death featuring a sizzling hot violin solo. For more information, visit www.bradcolemusic.com or www.myspace.com/bradcolemusic.

Meanwhile downstairs, the crowd was rockin' to performances by Dulcet Road (it was the band's CD Release party) and Super Big. SouthSide recommends listening to Super's Giving Up On You (for its rockin' intro that grabs your attention), the perfect breakup song and the ballad (or love song - depending how you perceive it), Overboard. She enjoyed the sarcastic line - "...she may be overboard but she's not over me...". The lineup also featured a group billed as the hottest band from University of Indiana which instantly raised a skeptic doubt from SouthSide. Sadly, blogspot readers, in this reviewer's opinion, the only hottest thing about this band was the music (despite a few minor exceptions). For a lively funk/soul/hiphop/R&B fusion group with an energetic sound (at certain times), SouthSide felt jipped by JipJop. She only enjoyed the various genres represented within the band's music even though there were moments when it sounded flat. Why - their brass section could barely be heard above the rest of the band and sometimes they couldn't carry a song which required a solid rhythm vibe. In other words, the horns needed more umph to make the songs sizzle and pop with vibrant life especially during Jip's R&B/funk songs. For example, Access Granted, this reviewer felt it was the keyboards and guitars that carried the song no the brass as it should have been. The horns to her ears sounded off key and had no sizzle for a song that absolutely popped with energy. And this wasn't the first instance where the brass section failed to deliver throughout this set.

And that wasn't the only problem with JipJop's Elbo Room show, blogspot readers. SouthSide, though liking their use of lyrical hiphop, found it grossly overused for each song. There were times in which the fast lyrical verses didn't truly fit the song, tempo and/or genre. Switching between rap (for the stanzas)) and actual singing (for the chorus) wasn't enough to convince this reviewer of his real vocal skills. Yes, he had mad skills for the lyrical poetry rap and SouthSide recognized that. However, this reviewer would have preferred hearing more of his vocal capabilities during the set rather than only hearing him sing at the chorus. Jip's front man did have a voice behind his hiphop persona ...she suggests that he use it more. Lastly, JipJop tried too hard to imitate like the original artists while performing covers instead of performing them within their own musical style. For example, the female vocalist during the Lauryn Hill cover covered her part trying to be "Lauryn" instead of bringing her own vocal style to the song. Even their take on Will Smith's hit pop/hiphop single, Gettin' Jiggy Wit It, fell hopelessly flat due to lack of audience participation at "la la la" (however a minor mistake - it's suppose to be "na na na"). SouthSide's ears cringed while listening to their Earth, Wind & Fire cover, Can't Hide Love - not enough energy from Jip's brass section (again). Overall, blogspot readers, it was a lukewarm performance but she couldn't call it hot as it should have been from this band. For more information, visit www.jipjopmusic.com or www.myspace.com/jipjopmusic.

SouthSide hasn't seen her good friends, Hail The Black Dragons, in a very long time. And the first thing she noticed was the band setup. There were new faces as well as a familiar face gracing the stage with Aston (on vocals/guitar), Android (on keyboard) and Bratt(on drums). Tonight, the one and only Lizard rejoined the band - pumped and ready to rock all night long. This lead guitarist was in fine form dazzling the late night audience with his wicked guitar riffs and solos throughout the set. It was nice to see Aston having his right-hand man back on stage with him again. Only Lizard can truly ignite HTBDs' charismatic front man and his inner rock god momentum and vice versa it has the same effect on Lizard from Aston. At times, the show got very wild and intense when both were deep within that zone while jamming together. The new additions to HTBDs fit nicely inside Aston's flamboyant glam rock persona. The new guitarist and bassist tore up the stage following his every twist and turn. It's safe to presume that both have first-hand experience performing in bands like HTBDs. SouthSide even noticed the bassist rockin' hard in his own zone upon feeling that energetic vibe.

The second thing SouthSide noticed was HTBDs' new songs off their upcoming CD that went beyond the metal/hardcore sound. If you're able to view the band's playlist, you'll realize how Aston arranges the songs to tell one huge epic story. In turn, each song adds its own piece of the story thus taking the audience on a ride through an operatic journey into the cosmos. And taking a HTBDs journey can be a bit mind-blowing for the first time yet it gets better when you see them for the second and third time. It's the reason why their music was meant to be savored since the instrumentals consist of sudden riff and chord changes. For example check out new song, Cobrahead in which the space rock sound was slightly replaced by some heavy metal. Or Motorcycle Song (not the official title) had the feel (and roar) of being on a motorcycle rumbling off the guitar riffs ...well, more like a hyper-fast space motorcycle cruising at light speed. Plus it had some rockin' harmonics which totally spiced up the song at the end. SouthSide also recommends listening to the ballad, By the Light of the Electric Moon as well as favorite HTBDs standards like Female Archetype and Radio to Mission Control. Yet, SouthSide wonders when HTBDs will perform live versions of Monster Zero (her song) or Memory ...or better yet, their theme song, Hail The Black Dragons. Before ending their set with a three-fold montage of epic songs, Lizard showed off his lyrical rap for the ladies in the audience.

It's recommended that everyone take the cosmic ride with Hail The Black Dragons at their next epic performance - sweeping space operatic music for the new millennium. For more information, visit www.hailtheblackdragons.com or www.myspace.com/hailtheblackdragons.

Until next time, support your local scene,

12 Mar 10

Hey, blogspot readers, having dinner with a dinosaur was fun. Now it was time to rock! SouthSide's next adventure took her to the Elbo Room where the fun and good times were already in full swing. Friday night patrons packed the upstairs and downstairs lounges to hear the featured lineups of the evening. The audience upstairs were serenaded by a moving acoustic performance by Jenna (from New York). Meanwhile downstairs, the crowd was groovin' to performances by Absinthe Junk and Channel Four. This reviewer was told she missed one hot performance by Blue Moon Revue (Nashville, TN). She heard from a good friend (Matthew of Mason's Case) that this band as well as the others rocked down the stage. SouthSide hopes these bands make a return soon for an opportunity to review them.

It was a fast, heart-pounding, instrumentally whiplashing psychedelic ride of guitar rock that wowed SouthSide's ears. In one word - electrifying. And that, blogspot readers, precisely described how this reviewer felt after seeing Aetiology on stage. It was an honor reviewing this band after listening to their demo CD for months. Yet nothing could compare than experiencing this music live like SouthSide did. This local band took the audience on an incredible cosmic ride of sound through rip-roaring riffs and trippy rhythms. Essentially, Aetiology was merely jammin' on stage feeding us that energetic vibe note for note while entering music spectrum unknown.

Though entirely instrumental, there were "lyrics" to be found wrapped within this band's mind-bending music, blogspot readers. You simply had to listen carefully to the guitars "chatting" to each other ...sometimes the percussions would control the conversation and the guitars would kindly reply back or vice versa. Still SouthSide felt privied to such unspoken communication amongst the instruments as she sat enjoying the experimental sound twisting and turning from song to song. For instance, Codex (off Aetiology's upcoming CD due out this spring) had this funky space theme going. However there was a sudden sharp change up in the tempo (slower) and rhythm (steady). This song had passion while retaining that energetic vibe felt earlier.

Or try Geomancer - Aetiology's psychedelic version of a ballad. The music dazzled and amazed SouthSide's ears with its spellbounding sound that this reviewer had to close her eyes for a meditative minute break. This band had everyone (including SouthSide) under its rockin' magic psychedelic sound. You not only heard the music but felt it as well. There were shivers running down her spine while listening attentively with closed eyes. To her, it was the only way to fully experience what she was hearing. She simply allowed the music to take her away from the modern day worries into its peaceful serenity. Ah, this reviewer felt relaxed within the music groove especially during Sonoluminescence. There was so much beauty flowing from Aetiology's sound that one couldn't help admire its electrifying beat.

Sadly, blogspot readers, this cosmic ride had to come to an end. Aetiology closed out this performance with their Pink Floyd-esque sounding song, Strange Hieroglyphs (also off their 3-song demo CD). SouthSide also suggests listening to Atom Smasher and Dream however she highly recommends seeing this band live to experience this psychedelic music up close and personal. For more information, visit www.outstage.com/aetiology or www.myspace.com/aetiology.

Until next time, support the local scene,

12 Mar 10 - Project Exploration

Hey, blogspot readers, are you brave enough to eat dinner with a dinosaur? SouthSide was ...even brave enough to touch a live alligator too! On Friday, this reviewer had the extreme pleasure of attending Project Exploration's annual dinner and charity auction event at the historically famous Union Station. This nonprofit's Dinner With A Dinosaur X brought the world of science alive for all of its attendees and honored guests.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Project Exploration was cofounded by paleontologist Dr. Paul Sereno and Gabrielle Lyon in 1999 as an idea sketched on a napkin. Their goal was to form an organization which would find a way of making science more accessible to students (mostly inner city youth and girls) who otherwise wouldn't be exposed to it academically. Through after school programs and hands-on field experience during the summer with real scientists, Project Exploration has seen many of its students attending colleges/universities and majoring in science-related fields. Recently this organization received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring on January 6. Also, it received a proclamation by Mayor Richard M Daley (signed on Thursday March 12) for 10 years of service within the community bringing Science and Mathematics to inner city youth and girls. For more information about Project Exploration, visit www.projectexploration.org.

During this dinner-charity event, SouthSide witnessed a live demonstration by Michael Davis, Professor of Chemistry. He showed the fun things that can happen when dipping marshmallows and mini 3 Musketeers candy into dry ice. There were also tents around part of the Great Hall of Union Station with exhibits presented by some of Project Exploration's students. These students were very knowledgeable in explaining to SouthSide and others the difference between a chicken's anatomy to human's or about fossil discovery and how actual paleontologists carefully clean bones and fossils. Another fascinating exhibit at this event was about the many different birds in Illinois and Chicago. There this reviewer met a wonderful young lady named Brittany (age 13) from Calumet Prospective Middle School who was quizzing attendees - "Is The Statement True for Birds, Bats or Both?" Let's just say, SouthSide needs to take a science class again however she asked Brittany what did she like most about Project Exploration. And according to her, she enjoys learning about forensic science and meeting new scientists to learn new things. She also loves the field trips taken and then showing her teachers what she has learned the next day. Though haven't deciding on what she wants to be when she grows up, this reviewer expects great things and new discoveries to happen from Brittany when she does.

And SouthSide could see that same excitement and enthusiasm like Brittany's in the eyes and voices of the other students at the event. They were were certainly passionate about being involved in the programs in which Project Exploration provides. She also met Chicago Public School teachers who are part of Project Exploration programs like Lorel Madden of Seward Elementary School. She was part of a group who went to Montana for an actual dinosaur expedition. According to Ms Madden, it was a life changing experience for her and soon her students will start their own fossil hunt. SouthSide while chatting with Ms Madden held a real T-Rex bone and was told how she herself can tell if a bone is a real dinosaur bone (by sticking her tongue on it - if it's sticky, then it's a real dinosaur bone). Plus she touched real coprolite i.e. fossilized dino poop and coal rock.

Besides exhibits, there was a full scale Nigersaurus which was discovered in 1997 by Dr. Paul Sereno. Its scientific name, Nigersaurus taqueti, was derived from where it was found (in Niger) and a French paleontologist, Dr. Philippe Taquet, who led the first fossil expeditions in Niger in the 1960s. Nigersaurus was a bizarre-looking, long-necked planteater which measured in length at 9 meters (30 feet) with more than 500 tiny teeth (in which old teeth were replaced by new ones). Plus there were live "dinosaurs" too. The Chicago Herpetological Society had an array of turtles to snakes for attendees to meet very up close and personal. SouthSide met Rosy the North American Boa Constrictor and a Blue-tongued Skink (from Australia). And yes, she even dared to touch (not hug) a real, live alligator named Bubba (handler Mike of Cold Blooded Creatures stood nearby).

Attendees were encouraged to buy raffle tickets to win prizes such as a Dr. Paul Sereno painted chair, Lucky Strike King Pin Party or a limited edition Suchomimus Claw. Then after dinner, there were items up for bid during the auction part of the program like exploring the gardens of METTAWA MANOR with Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra or being part of Sereno Dinosaur Expedition in the Summer of 2011. All proceeds from the raffle ticket sells and auction went to benefit Project Exploration's youth programs and public outreach. Each dollar goes to expanding access of science and continue impacting the lives of youth and girls as well as send approximately 1000 kids to summer programs this year. Robert Jordan from WGN News was the event's Master of Ceremonies. Governor Pat Quinn and Senator Dick Durbin were named Honorary Co-Chairs.

It was a fun and memorable learning experience, blogspot readers, for SouthSide. She would like to thank the wonderful staff and volunteers of Project Exploration for the opportunity of meeting the faces who benefit from their programs.

Until next time, support the local scene,

Friday, March 12, 2010

10 Mar 10

...this is couples skate, ladies choice - don't get fresh, fellas... ~ JC Brooks

Hey, blogspot readers, hump day was totally swingin' for SouthSide! The spring-like temps and hot music performances were an excellent combination for tonight's adventure at the Tonic Room. The stage had the audience groovin' to funk/soul sets by James Johnston (of Bumpus), IJ Quinn and JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound. In between acts, DJ RC kept the party hopping with his lively array of soul/R&B tunes as well as rarely heard retro tracks. Also SouthSide sampled a preview of songs by Scott (Cealed Kasket's fearless drummer) who was working very hard behind the bar tonight. It wasn't the hard stuff he normally performs with Mortal Death (CK's Jesus Christ of Heavy Metal), Maurice (on the large guitar) and Sarsicus (the wizard on electric). It had a rockin' club/dance sound in which this reviewer cannot wait to hear the rest of Scott's upcoming album. For more information about live music happening at the Tonic Room, visit www.tonicroom.com.

James Johnston (of Bumpus) and a few friends kicked off the lineup with an energetic acoustic funk/soul performance. SouthSide enjoyed the lively music combination of bass and acoustic guitars, congas and soulful voices by Tina and Ava on vocals. This group electrified the stage with its retro soul sound yet keeping it funkifiedly fresh for all to feel that groove. Even while taking the momentum and tempo down for Don't Worry, James and friends still retained the energetic vibe felt in their earlier songs. The highlight of this performance came when they performed a moving cover song, Inner City. SouthSide was literally blown away by their take on this classic 70s track while sensing a deeper meaning within the lyrics as it relates now today. As they closed with a Bumpus song, Open, this reviewer was greatly disappointed. Not about the set, blogspot readers, but how it was already over just when it was really getting started with great music. In her opinion, it wasn't enough to fully enjoy this hip acoustic music. However, don't despair, James and friends shall return to the Tonic Room on March 24 for another intimate acoustic performance. For more information, visit www.bumpusweb.com or www.myspace.com/bumpus.

SouthSide had a mixed reaction while observing IJ Quinn's performance. Though enjoying his new songs with a keyboard pop sound, this reviewer felt more was needed than just his vocals and rhythms to carry the melody. For example, during Giving Up Your Love, she noted that backing vocal assistance was needed with the repetitious echo within the chorus. Otherwise, IJ's three new songs were favorably enjoyable - this reviewer liked the energetic vibe that had the audience grooving to his soundwave. On the flip side, SouthSide thoroughly enjoyed the acoustic half of his performance. She could feel the fiery emotion and passion off the lyrics especially during I Got A Hold On You. This reviewer also recommends listening to Think About It and Sweetest Talk which brought down the house to end his acoustic act. She does recommend checking out IJ Quinn and his music at www.myspace.com/ijquinn or live at the Lakeshore Theatre on March 28.

JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound - the hippest set of cats to ever rock a stage with swingin' soul/funk sound that will keep you dancing all night. And basically, blogspot readers, that's SouthSide's profound description of this group's solid performance. Yet, she's barely touching the tip of the iceberg about the entire show and the fun she had watching them perform. From start to finish as well as in between, JC Brooks and band had this crowd (packed house from front to back) groovin' to it energetic beat. The ladies were charmed by JC's debonair and dapper appearance as this charismatic crooner literally wooed their hearts aways with his smooth vocals. Men certainly did want to be like him - so suave and well-dressed like Marvin Gaye with all the right dance moves like James Brown. This animated front man kept the performance fun and lively song after song.

Yet what's a dapper front man like JC without great music backing him up? It didn't take SouthSide long to feel that funky soul groove provided by The Uptown Sound. Hot percussion, jammin' guitars and jazzy horn section rocked the tiny stage. Yes, they even had more cowbell sound to the mix too. Whew, blogspot readers, this band sizzled and popped while keeping everyone in a happy party mood. Though there were moments when the momentum was taken down for the slow jams, it still had SouthSide rockin' to the sultry sound and melting from JC's deep falsetto voice. Yes, once again, another band melted this reviewer in her seat especially during To Love Someone. Besides singing their other hits like 75 yrs of Art Sex (2010's version of Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On with one hot sax solo) and Get It Together (a James Brown-esque song but done with fiery energy JC Brooks style), they also did a few cover songs as well. Songs like Groove Me Baby (by King Floyd) and I've Been Loving You Too Long (by Otis Redding) had this crowd swooning with fervor. JC Brooks' closer, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, rocked the joint as fans sang along with them.

Whew, what a set, blogspot readers! SouthSide did her very best to cover the high points of JC's set however she highly recommends experiencing this funk/soul sensation yourself live - up close and personal. They'll be rockin' the Tonic Room again on March 24 - so come ready to groove with them all night long. Also snag a copy of JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound's current CD, Rabbit Factory as well as their two-song 45 record. For more information, visit www.theuptownsound.wordpress.com or www.myspace.com/theuptownsound.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Thursday, March 11, 2010

08 Mar 10

Hey, blogspot readers, the party never stops for SouthSide ...even on a foggy Monday night. That's what she likes most about her adventures around town. There's always something new or different performing on stage. And this performance was definitely quite out of the ordinary for this reviewer's ears. She spent an enchanted evening at the Elbo Room enjoying the unique pop/electronica music by Be Nice.

Be forewarned, blogspot readers, do not expect to find the sublime or typical electronica rhythm or programmed beats from this artist. Yet, you'll find yourself being like Alice tumbling into Underland of Be's eclectic music and lyrical verse. That's how SouthSide felt as she took this music journey into his world. It's not all flowery and pretty once you're inside either. No, blogspot readers, this was the harsh reality of pain, angst and dissolution with self, love and society in general. Extremely emo as it sounded but Be's lively "happy" music balances out the darkness heard within his verses. It's was the type of music that had the audience mesmerized without realizing how emo or unhappy the poetry truly was.

And that, blogspot readers, was what that kept this reviewer spellbound by Be's futuristic pop sound. The various rhythms and beats, always differing one from the other as he moved from one song to the next, did set not only the tempo to his poetry but the tone as well. Though performed under such seriousness, the poetry was somewhat "sung" behind poppy keyboard/piano rhythms. For example, in one song, Be voiced his rage and frustration about self and religion but somehow the music heard wasn't full of anger. Nope, it still retained that "happy" feeling in the tempo. It certainly had Southside grooving to that energetic vibe without weighing her down in emo darkness. And Be also kept the music fresh for the audience's listening pleasure throughout his set. It was interesting how he could use a club-sounding beat and then remix it until it was something totally more for a ballad or a soothing meditative tempo. With such music, Be's verses did come to life as if he was actually painting his words on canvas.

Overall, it was one of the most unique experiences (so far) in music for SouthSide. She highly recommends partaking in the futuristic pop/electronica ride with Be Nice ...the strangeness of his performance might dazzle or leave you scratching your head or both - depending how you perceive this artist's unique talent for music creativity. Somehow, SouthSide has this distinct feeling that is what Be Nice's going for - strange yet profoundly different from the rest.

For more information, visit www.myspace.com/benicebenice.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

06 Mar 10

Hey, blogspot readers, who's ready to rock? SouthSide's latest adventure took her to the Rockbox on Lincoln Ave. This quaint Lakeview bar has featured live rockin' acts such as Chester, Cealed Kasket and Donkey Punch on its stage. Tonight, it was hardcore/metal performances by Chainwax and Denial Machine with Tryst opening the lineup. Look for Nothing Forgotten and Whiskey Blonde performing there soon. For more information, visit www.rockboxchicago.com.

SouthSide wished she could recommend checking out Tryst however in fair and honesty to her readers, she cannot. In her opinion, the band had a lackluster performance which didn't generate any attraction to their metal sound. SouthSide felt something was sorely missing while observing their set. The mesh of screamo vs soft vs hard vocals (during certain songs) somewhat threw off Tryst's metal vibe for this reviewer. There were too much of the dramatic within the instrumentals and finishes even though that actually rocked. The closing song, Narcissist, perfectly described the other-the-top drum solo that had SouthSide wondering when the song would finally begin. This band did more of the "speaking" for its music than letting their music speak for itself.

The rockin' hardcore sound of Chainwax jolted the Rockbox instantly to life, Just barely into the opening song, SouthSide felt the spontaneity of this band's energy while vibin' to the music. One thing you can say about this band, blogspot readers, was they came to rock. And rocked the stage Chainwax did. This reviewer suggests listening to the title track, Provoked, off their current CD for its head-banging guitar sound. She enjoyed the fast riff changes that escalated their tempo during the chorus before returning to its original sound. She also recommends listening to Chainwax's ballad, Steal My Soul. Though the energetic momentum still remained, Kriz's (the band's front man) vocals easily conveyed the angst and frustration off the lyrics. SouthSide highly recommends checking out Chainwax at their next performance where they'll be rockin' the stage at Idols in Palatine on March 11. Also snag a copy of their CD, Provoked. For more information, visit www.chainwax.net or www.myspace.com/chainwaxband.

Closing out this lineup was another rockin' metal/screamo performance by Denial Machine. SouthSide enjoyed the wicked guitar riffs that tore up the stage during the instrumentals. Feel, blogspot readers, this band's head pounding sound and energetic vibe woven throughout their songs. This reviewer enjoyed Denial's take on a pseudo metal version of a love song however don't expect it to dip into a ballad style. For a love song, it had a rockin' hardcore sound and rhythm. Yet the audience could still clearly hear the pain of a broken heart in Eamon's (the band's front man) vocals. This reviewer was totally wallowing in Denial's metal groove especially when they performed track one, This Burden (Tortured), off their current CD. Metal fans are totally encouraged to partake in head banging experience that this local band brings to the stage. Plenty of screamo and angst that makes one feel what Eamon is feeling while singing the lyrics. Denial Machine will be rockin' the stage again at the Tequila Roadhouse in Alsip. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/denialmachine.

Until next time, support your local scene,

05 Mar 10

...justicia y dignidad para todos los immigrantes...

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide's taking a break from music for a film screen. On Friday, she had the extreme pleasure of attending El Zocalo Urbano's Film Festival at Pilsen's Lincoln UMC (United Methodist Church). El Zocalo Urbano is an organization that works in conjunction with other community leaders, organizations and politicians in the fight for immigration rights and reform as well as promotes cultural, artistic expression at the grass root level. The selected cinemas for the weekly free showings certainly did reflect the main theme of this organization's goal. The festival which began last week (Feb 26) with The 800 Mile Wall, will conclude on March 12 with Elvira. This week's cinema of choice was 7 Soles starring Ricardo Chilaca, Gustavo Sanchez Parra and Evangelina Sosa. The movie showings are free with discussions afterwards ...plus there are snacks, soda and water provided for a small price (way cheaper than at your local cinemas).

7 Soles, directed by Pedro Ulteras, was about a group of Mexican migrants and their struggle as well as hardships faced while crossing the desert. This 2009 film centers around on one particular group of migrants - a mother crossing the US border with her son and daughter. They make this treacherous journey from Sonora, Mexico to join her husband, Senor Ramona, already living and working in Chicago. He paid a hefy lump sum of money to hire "coyotes" (human migrant traffickers) to transport his family to be with him. Also traveling with his family included a young mother with her infant son, "Don", his son and a friend, a husband and wife and a few other migrants. Guiding this group across the border and then through the desert was their two coyotes in which one was named Javier (or Negro as the second coyote called him).

As the journey began under a cover of darkness crossing the Mexico-US border through barbed wire, one might think the rest of the way would be simply easy. In fact, blogspot readers, the real journey was barely getting started. There were untold dangers lurking behind the prickly cactus plants. Besides watching out for snakes and other creepy poisonous things that go bump in the night, the migrants had to keep an watchful eye out for la migra - border patrol, National Guard, Minutemen (homemade militia groups), etc combing the desert at night for illegals crossing the border. Yet the journey was also hampered with a sudden route change which forced the group further and deeper into the desert than previously anticipated. This move did cause tempers to flare amongst the migrants following their guides thinking they (the coyotes) were trying to get them lost. And with the new route now taken, the water supply gradually becomes a precious yet scarce commodity. What started as a quick passage into the US across the desert suddenly turned into days upon days towards the migrants' new pick up point for Phoenix. SouthSide truly sympathized for these people as they traveled under a gruelling hot conditions across the vast, dry land.

This group of migrants faced extreme hardships and tragedy though retaining that strong will to survive at any and/or all cost. It was heartbreaking to watch Senora Ramona cross the desert without her much needed diabetes medicine or the young mother struggling to keep her infant son alive while nearly running out of water and food for him. Death seemed to follow this group at every twist and turn especially after "Don" (who couldn't continue the journey due to a severely broken ankle) was left behind with his dying son (after being stabbed by Javier). Then the infant son died from no food and dehydration. Next it was the husband (dehydration) and his wife (murdered by the second coyote who didn't want to leave her dying husband). SouthSide was heartbroken that Senora Ramona didn't survive the journey to reach her husband nor did her son who did from a scorpion's sting which left her daughter alone in the desert. Meanwhile the rest of the migrants eventually do arrive "safely" to Phoenix - only be held captive.

There's somewhat a happy conclusion to this film however it did come with a heavy price of sorrow (for Senor Ramona) and a coyote's redemption. Though it's not in his nature to care, Javier did have a spark of compassion for the migrants he was leading across the desert. Even despite raping the young mother in exchange for water to keep her son alive, he did care for Senora Ramona and her childern promising that he would make sure they reach Chicago alive. He demonstrated it again by searching for the little girl (Amanada) after escaping the illegal migrant safehouse. His redemption came when he betrayed his fellow coyotes and boss by informing la migra of the illegals housed there. And then safely delivering the little girl to her father.

7 Soles (a reference to the seven dead bodies found in the desert) was a powerful film about the journey many illegal migrants face everyday when crossing into the US. The movie was dedicated to those who continue to struggle to find a better life here. An excellent movie (with English subtitles) that had believable characters and realistic desert scenes of hardship, despair and danger. SouthSide highly recommends checking out this movie as well as many other like 7 Soles to fully comprehend why the US needs immigration reform. During the weekend of March 20-22, families, community and faith leaders as well as politicians will untite for a march in Washington D.C. It is to bring to President Obama's attention that the time has come for reform ...that it is very important to this nation as well as universal healthcare and jobs/economy. For more information, visit www.familialatinaunida.org.

For more information about El Zocalo Urbano, visit www.myspace.com/elzocalourbano.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Thursday, March 4, 2010

03 Mar 10

...it's just a phase ...I can quit whenever I want... ~ Camera

Hey, blogspot readers, the busy March calendar began with a rockin' bang for SouthSide! She kicked off a month-long of fun activities by first attending the One Man(no) Show at Angels & Kings. This free Wendesday night local showcase has featured hot acts such as Til Death, Makeshift Prodigy and Villain vs Villain. Now, it was Dear Noel's and Camera's turn to light up the stage. SouthSide suggests checking out next week's lineup featuring Oceans Over Airplanes and The Insecurities. For more information about this showcase, http://www.angelsandkings.com/chicago/#/calendar/upcoming/.

SouthSide enjoyed the spinning DJ sets presented by DJ Kickz before the show. He got the Wednesday night crowd into the mood with his lively selections of popular hits and hidden tracks. This reviewer liked the awesome re-mix of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit as well as songs by Journey and The Clash. However, the low point of this week's showcase came when Ryan Manno attempted his hand at comedy. This reviewer wondered where his head was at after beginning with an off color and somewhat racist joke before Dear Noel's performance. Even the one about the difference between Jesus and a Mexican was totally uncalled for (and yes, SouthSide was offended by it). Luckily, the audience had good common sense not to laugh or even acknowledge his comedic attempt. In the meantime, blogspot readers, you can find Ryan Manno hosting the local music program, JBTV.

Despite having no such luck firing up this lukewarm audience tonight, Dear Noel had a good opening set. SouthSide enjoyed the rock alternative music with a bit of pop sound (courtesy of the synth/keyboards). It must have been an off night for Angels sound guy because there was some difficulty hearing the vocals over the rockin' music. At times during Noel's performance, this reviewer noticed the "shouting" done on the mics in order to be heard. Even the backing vocals at the chorus were barely there. Still this reviwer liked how the poppy synth rhythms sometimes would take the slight edge off the guitar rock sound. Fans will enjoy the energetic vibe Dear Noel brought to the stage. SouthSide suggests checking out this local band at their next show. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/dearnoel.

SouthSide would never dare call Camera an eclectic rock band even though they do have one unique rock sound. Performing some songs off their current CD, Fire & Science, fans will have some difficulty pinpointing exactly this band's core sound of their music. This reviewer suggest that you don't but does recommend listening how they can combine as well as twist genres into something totally new. It's almost like listening to a retro 80s pop rock music yet the guitars carry the poppy sound instead of keyboards/synths. From one song to the next, the sound effortlessly changes rhythms and riffs giving the audience a unique rock experience. It's like Camera has their songs tailored made to fit a particular mood or theme. For example, listen to Camera's song, Grazed, in which one might hear a lively rhumba/island theme going behind the thumping guitar rhythms. Or listening to One Neo Eon for that Talking Head-esque in the vocals and sound - very hot guitar action near the end of this song. This reviewer also recommends listening to her favorite song, Wicked Wicked Games for its sultry yet steady guitar riffs (like a heart beating). This song gave SouthSide that certain thrill ride of eletric chills whenever she hears it performed live. Though taking the vibe down a notch for Buried Alive, Camera still retained its wicked guitar riffs and energy which kept fans dancing in front of the stage. This performance closed with a cynical look at radio in the song, Pop Radio 101. SouthSide suggest snagging a copy (if there are any available) of Camera's CD, Fire & Science when they rock the Darkroom stage on March 26. For more information, visit www.cameraband.com or www.myspace.com/camerachicago. One final note, on their myspace page, check out their awesome Radiohead cover of Idioteque.

Until next time, support your local scene,