Tuesday, May 25, 2010

24 May 10

Hey, blogspot readers, it's a hot time in Chi-Town! Summer's almost here and SouthSide's getting ready for a long season of fun and music around town. Tonight, the beat took her back to the Elbo Room for rockin' performances by Tim Halperin (Fort Worth, TX) and The Migrant (Denmark/TX).

Currently in the middle of his Midwest tour, this singer/songwriter rocked the Monday night audience on the piano/keyboard. His opening act had plenty of gusto and energy not only in his music but also in his voice. Tim Halperin reminded SouthSide of another singer/songwriter/piano man - Billy Joel during his set. While listening to his original songs, each one contained a story about life, love and relationship. This reviewer felt if Tim's set was performed with a full band or any differently, it would have lost that spirit and/or momentum heard. There would be no emotional tenderness (or any other vocal emotion) projected from his lyrics and the piano/keyboard notes. For example, listen to Tim's new song - Where I'm Going. Within this downtempo/ballad style, there was life being pumped into music and lyrics at the right moment due to his vocal emphasis on the words. Tim knew when and where to project the key emotion at the audience even though SouthSide felt the high falsetto was forced not allowed to flow naturally. Yet the song itself rocked the stage with its meaningful lyrics and tenderness. Another fine example of this reviewer hearing vibrant life within Tim's voice would be his cover of Gavin Degraw's Chariot. This was a very good song to take notice of his vocal range while singing it with fiery energy. One could literally feel the emotions pouring out of him. His rendition of Marc Cohn's Walkin' In Memphis was also excellent. Plus Tim showed the witty side to him during a song about Wendy's and his infatuation for "her" square burgers. Caution - do not listen while on an empty stomach, blogspot readers. It will make you crave the juicy deliciousness of one in the end. Fans should google to find and watch the YouTube video of this song. Other songs this reviewer suggests listening to are Come For You and Lost For You (new song) as well as She Runs - more melodic than the other songs he performed. She highly recommends supporting Tim Halperin (as well as other artists) as he raises money for the American Cancer Society in the Relay For Life. Check out this amazing and talented singer/songwriter at his next performance. For more information, visit www.timhalperin.com or www.myspace.com/timhalperin.

This next band had the most unique stage setup seen at the Elbo Room. Yet the music by The Migrant will simply blow you away with its melodic/acoustic but electrifying feel. SouthSide found herself instantly enjoying the docile tones of violin to xylophone rhythms as well as a mini floor drum and horn. Yes, blogspot readers, these unique instruments made The Migrant's songs / music pop with life bursting with profound energy throughout the performance. She did feel a little overwhelmed by the electric strumming off the guitar which seemed too loud and overpowered the ambient/folk side to this band's sound. Still it had its place within the rhythmic tempo that kept everything else mellow and pleasing. With the many cross mixtures of genres heard, this reviewer for the sake of this review won't classify this rockin' band into a box since it would be very difficult to do. Besides being hooked on The Migrant's flowing atmosphere of sound, she also enjoyed the poetic feel to the lyrics. The words were on a deeper personal level ...straight from the heart rather than a storytelling style. The floetry heard within each song perfectly matched the melodic (or at times, the fire) of the music being performed. There was a moment when SouthSide wondered whether it was the music of the lyrics (or both) fueling The Migrant's fiery momentum that rocked the Elbo Room stage. She highly suggests listening to The Migrant (actual song title) with an airy spring-summertime feel heard in the song and Do What You Say One Day, sung primarily in Danish with plenty of rockin' energy ...plus watch him play the acoustic, tambourine and cymbal at the same time. It was a shame The Migrant had to end their set early just when the fun was on a roll. SouthSide highly recommends checking out this band at their next performance. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/themigrantmusic.

Until next time, support your local scene,

22 May 10 - Part Deux

... it's f*cking freezing down here... ~ Lucid Ground

Hey, blogspot readers, the party now continues at the Elbo Room. SouthSide along with prominent members of the Who's Who from the local scene such as Red City, The Branded, 6 Degrees of Separation, and Kazy, was there to celebrate Lucid Ground's Video Release of Shaken Crown. Lucky fans attending this show received a free DVD copy of this song that's from Lucid's upcoming fourth album, Somatic, due out this fall. Also sharing the stage during this momentous event was Canvasmen, EchoSon, Bullet Called Life and S. Joel Norman.

S. Joel Norman's performance wowed this reviewer with its rockin' yet energetic vibe from the R&B/funk/soul sound. However, the performance could have been delightfully better if SouthSide was able to hear Norman's female backing vocalist. She felt completely distracted by the unnecessary waving of the mike in front of her mouth which made it very difficult for her vocals to be heard in the basement lounge. There was no umph (or effort) on this vocalist's part to "sell" the band and its music to those seeing S. Joel Norman for the first time. SouthSide felt short changed by the lack of personality and stage presence that it sent the impression the vocalist wasn't having a rockin' time with the band. This reviewer highly suggests the following: a) please stop waving the mike - if you're going to wave it, then move along with it or no one will be able to hear the lovely voice; b) stop staring at Joel for the vocal pitch and range - need to find the groove which can compliment this band's style and music and c) loosen up a bit - dance, shake a tambourine ...do something to "sell" the band's rockin' sound.

Other than that, blogspot readers, SouthSide still had a rockin' time checking out S. Joel Norman's electrifying music. She enjoyed how it had a bit of the old school (i.e. parts of the classic jam Tell Me Something Good tucked within one particular song) as well as new showering the stage with a vibrant groove. Even while taking the music down to a slower tempo, S. Joel and the band still retained that fiery spark found in his vocals and keyboard rhythms. SouthSide did have trouble enjoying this band's take on the retro psychedelic sound. The hippie-happy song really wasn't working for them that this reviewer felt it was completely way out of their "normal" element. Though it was a nice try to recapture the spirit of that era, she feels S. Joel should stick to what they do best - rockin' the stage with R&B/soul/funk. For more information, visit www.sjoelnorman.com or www.myspace.com/sjoelnorman.

Lucid Ground - SouthSide has closely watched this band grow from its cover days to what they've become now for the last three years. As a rising premiere rock band within Chicago's music scene, this band continues striving to achieve the level where they desire to be. Tonight, Karl (on vocals), Lou (on guitar), Jeff (on guitar/vocals), Brian (on bass) and Leonard (on drums) rocked out the Elbo Room like never before. There was plenty of fire ...passion ...and energy setting the stage ablaze with its Lucid sound especially opening big with Downcast. Even when the momentum went down a notch, one can still hear the sparks of life (as well as emotional angst) off Karl's raspy vocal tone. His vocal style truly emulated the essence and fiery vibe of Lucid Ground's guitar rock. He makes you feel the emotions behind the lyrics without really realizing that you are. And when Karl does hit that emotional high, you'll definitely be blown away by it, blogspot readers.

Plus take notice of the guitar sound rockin' the stage which Lucid Ground is famous for wherever they perform. On Saturday night during this performance, it totally fired up the crowd with excitement and head banging amongst their hardcore Lucid fans. There were moments when the riffs can be calming and gentle in the beginning of a song but then unexpectedly explode with hard-hitting sound that will move you. And how can you not with a rock sound like that? For instance, SouthSide highly suggests checking out Lucid's new song, Further Down. It began with a subtle guitar sound that didn't overwhelm the ears though rocking the stage with three guitars. Once Karl shined with his vocal angst on the lyrics, it fueled that momentum heard in the chord changes and riffs. The tempo within this song made you feel each note played as it rocked our faces off. SouthSide also suggests listening to Count The Miles and Shaken Crown as well as fan favorites All To You and Lost You. As Lucid Ground closed out their video premiere with a HUGE bang, this reviewer could still see there's still potential and room for growth in this band. And they'll gradually get there after each performance since their rock sound keeps evolving along with them. She highly recommends checking out Lucid Ground at their next show ...expect to be wowed and amazed, blogspot readers. For more information, visit www.lucidground.com or www.myspace.com/lucidground.

Until next time, support your local scene,

22 May 10 - Part 1

... ironically, we're [now] saying 'bye' to Dubai
though I wrote this 4 years ago
... ~ The Telepaths

Hey, blogspot readers, what goes good with rockin' music? Awesome BBQ, beer and friends! SouthSide spent a part of her Saturday hanging out at The Mutiny before heading to the Elbo Room for Lucid Ground's video premiere. At The Mutiny, it was the Rock and 'Q II party celebrating Egomaniac (Pat), front man on vocals for Los Lost Boyz and The Telepaths. SouthSide and partygoers munched on fantastic BBQ eats (loved the mushrooms and yummy brownies - nope, not specially laced). Afterwards, there were special performances by Los Lost Boyz and The Telepaths as well as a mystery appearance by T.O.M. Who is T.O.M.? Well ...ask the bartender/owner of The Mutiny about this mystery band. According to him, they put on a rockin' show ...even plays podcasts of them for patrons too. With T.O.M., everyone's part of the show! SouthSide hopes to meet them one day for review.

Los Lost Boyz kicked off the music portion to the Rock and 'Q Party with a quick four-song set of acoustic/Americana songs. This reviewer enjoyed the witty titles and whimsical lyrics behind an unplugged acoustic atmosphere and harmonic sound. There was a lively rhythm and energetic beat for the audience to enjoy. For example, listen to Big Box Store for its poking fun at Wally's World (Wal-Mart)about not wanting to work in a store like that or Catholic School for its funny take on the Catholic Church and religious dogma/symbolism. Don't worry, blogspot readers, Los Lost Boyz received an extra special dispensation from the Pope himself before performing this song. They suggest getting your own dispensation from the Holy Father while it's hot. This band certainly had the audience moved with their Steve Miller rendition of The Joker. With the blues harmonica, it gave this 70s hit song that energetic momentum to match Pat's raspy vocal tone. The short set ended with a fun 420 song (5 bonus SouthSide points for knowing the significance of 420) that was dubbed the 'real' national anthem. So don't bug it out, blogspot readers, take a hit and pass it down. Whether or not if this was a debut performance or simply a dress rehearsal, SouthSide wasn't completely satisfied with this tiny Los Lost Boyz sample. Hopefully, soon this band will be rockin' stage again for a full length review. Los Lost Boyz are James on acoustic guitar, Pat on vocals and Lou on harmonica.

And the fun continued with The Telepaths - an electrified version of Los Lost Boyz with Professor (Tim on bass), Big Bang (Peter on drums) and Secret Weapon (Corey on acoustic) joining Egomaniac (Pat) and Jammer (James on electric) on stage. During this performance, there was more wit and whimsical lyrics to be found in songs such as Bye Bye Dubai (about saying 'bye' to buying foreign oil from Dubai) and Maharishi Military (sign up and join the new age militia, blogspot readers). There was also a wide variety of music genres represented within The Telepaths' songs from roadhouse blues/rock (Strange Americana), psychedelia (Susan Sontag) and/or blues (Something In My Mind). Plus plenty of vocal emotions and charismatic stage presence from Egomaniac (Pat) throughout this set. Being fifty years young certainly hasn't slowed down this rocker who knows how to put on a show with his funky dancing. The lyrics kept the socio-political cause of the late 60s/early 70s alive ...sometimes poking fun at how we live and love today. SouthSide enjoyed their rockin' renditions of Johnny Cash's Rusty Cage (which had an electrifying Soundgarden punk sound at the bridge) and Neil Young's Fucking Up (which featured Jammer [James] on vocals) - this cover brought the venue to life. She has the distinct feeling The Telepaths made contact with other lifeforms while performing Area 51 - yes, the truth was truly out there when this song was over. Route 66 rocked out the party with one spectacular finish. Whew, what a party and show! SouthSide highly recommends making a special trip to see The Telepaths rockin' their next show ...perhaps at Area 51 with E.T. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/thetelepaths.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, May 21, 2010

20 May 10

... does anyone in the store have a cider block? ...

... I have lipstick on the mike ...

Hey, blogspot readers, have you ever seen a panda in an all-girl glam band? SouthSide has while reviewing The Maybenauts at Laurie's Planet of Sound last night. And guess what - he can sing as well as rock the guitar. Also ask him what "rabble rabble rabble cheeseburger rabble rabble" means. She along with Sunday, the younger half of the test audience, attended an all-ages performance before The Maybenauts' huge EP release show at the Darkroom. Think of this as their dress rehearsal just for the kiddies at this used record/CD/VHS/DVD and a while lot more store. Sunday shares her thoughts at the end of this review.

The Maybenauts are out of this world. They popped with energetic momentum and rockin' punk in a glam atmosphere when opening the set with Girl Fight. The music didn't have that hardcore punk sound in which this reviewer was more accostumed to. The Nauts kept their music on the lighter side of fun with a slight bit of trippy psychedelia (off the electric)/pop rock and witty song titles/lyrics. For example, My Head's A Bomb (beware of that, blogspot readers, when SouthSide gets angry) was where Leilani's (female lead glamour gal on vocals for The Maybenauts) took a powerful yet dramatic turn. She absolutely poured out her emotional angst into this song. Or check out a song cleverly titled 2012 in which there was plenty of pop culture name dropping heard within the lyrics such as Sarah Palin, mad cow (disease), Fox News, and octomom - just to name a few. This reviewer personally enjoyed the awesome Panda trippy space guitar riffs in this one.

Even while taking The Nauts' fiery momentum down a notch, there still remained a burst of energy heard more from the vocals than the instruments. This was where they had a chance to shine for the audience. There was also a hint of sultry heat of rhythmic music that tempted and teased the ears but it was more PG-13 rated instead of an X-rating. It was still just as hot as watching Selma Hayek doing her Satanico Pandemonium scene from Dusk Til Dawn. This song was played with a splash of Latin flare (off the guitar) during the instrumental though it would have worked better if under softer lighting and a smoke machine to create a more ambient atmosphere (perhaps that will happen tonight at the Darkroom). And with a subtle drum solo ending to this particular song that concluded The Maybenauts' Big Bang EP show.

Sunday says "...it was a cool show ..." and that she liked it.

SouthSide highly recommends attending The Maybenauts' EP Release show at the Darkroom tonight! They'll be sharing the stage with other bands such as The Sonnets, Tennicourts, Gidgets GaGa and Penthouse Sweets. Looks to be one hot and exciting show, blogspot readers, which is FREE until 10p ...then it's a mere 5 bucks afterwards. The Maybenauts are rockin' the stage first - so get there early to dance along with them. For more information about this band, visit www.maybenauts.com or www.myspace.com/maybenauts.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Monday, May 17, 2010

15 May 10

... the room's full - let's rock-n-roll... ~ Lophophora

Hey, blogspot readers, watch out for flying beach balls, bongos and three men dressed in chemical suits. That's basically sums up what type of night SouthSide had on Saturday ...another wild adventure deep inside the local scene. The music and fun was already in full swing at the Elbo Room with fans packing the upstairs lounge for another edition of Brad Cole's Acoustic Circus show. Meanwhile downstairs was groovin' to Bainard Panic Defense performance. Other bands slated to perform included Lophophora, Snareburst and The Blamers headlining.

Even though it's one of the most difficult band names to pronounce, Lophophora's the type of band slowly making its dent into the local scene. With each performance, these rockers are constantly improving whether it's their stage performance and/or music style. Last time SouthSide reviewed them, they performed a half-acoustic/electric show that was totally amazing. Tonight, she saw a completely different side to them in which she had never seen before ...and she hopes they keep it going for their future performances. With new drummer, Dan "the man on the cans" rockin' the band, there was more fire and energy in Lophophora's sound especially during the opening song, Blow Me Down. Despite needing more mic vocals for Todd, DC certainly had no problems settling into the Lophophora wild rock-n-roll persona. He was definitely made for this band. His percussion rhythms fueled Todd's animated stage presence and energetic enthusiasm ...this front man truly poured out the vocal emotions as well as added more body language to express the mood within the lyrics. Fans will definitely enjoy the way he projected the angst/frustration over the mic that had the guitars following his every lead. SouthSide literally felt each emotion pumping momentum and life into Lophophora's songs while closely observing how Todd worked the audience. For example, Can't Stand It - besides hearing the angst, the audience saw the anguish as Todd fell to his knees on stage. He kept pouring out his heart to the point that the poor mic stand took a rough beating. He even had the ladies swooning to a little hip swivel action during You Got It ...shaking that pelvis almost like Elvis.

Fans will also get into Lophophora's rockin' guitar sound that lit the stage on fire. However, do not expect this band to simply stick to one solid rock genre, blogspot readers. That's not how they rock or roll. In past shows, you might hear them tapping into some serious music styles such as Iron Maiden or The Clash within certain songs on their set list. Tonight, SouthSide heard some blues (off the harmonica during Satellite) and psychedelic bongo beats (during the jam session after Rattlin Bones). There were moments when Lophophora's guitar sound was hard and gritty or fast like a classic rock-n-roll riff. Sometimes while watching this band perform, this reviewer gets the distinct feeling she's peeking inside Todd's hidden iPod playlist. Or she simply guesses Lophophora's rockin' sound happens depending on his mood for that night's performance. She suggests listening to her favorite song, Red Hot Betty for its wild and smokin' hot guitar rock sound as well as Rattlin Bones. And to the band - MORE bongos during your next performance. SouthSide highly recommends seeing Lophophora for the un-expectedness of the unexpected. Who knows what new musical style or other antics that will occur during their next show. She did love the sweaty Todd bear hugs received after the set. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/lophophoramusic.

Now it was time for SouthSide to leave the current realm of time and space and travel far into the distant future where music is without void or lyrics. That's simply a safe description of what she experience during Snareburst's Elbo Room performance, blogspot readers. And she has to remain "safe" because it would very difficult to accurately account the eclectic sounds, beats and/or rhythms invading the basement lounge where a trio of musicians in chemical suits rocked the stage. There aren't enough words in the human language to fully describe what she heard or saw unless you were there to experience this for yourself - believe SouthSide as she states ...it was the most unique musical experience ever. Between the table full of weird chords and tech devices to electronic drums, her ears were instantly thrust into a psychedelic Underland where electronica/techno reign supreme. This reviewer enjoyed Snareburst's futuristic music style which featured beats totally out of this world yet retaining some modern influences.

For example in one song, SouthSide felt as if she was listening to their version of Pink Floyd's On The Run (from Dark Side of the Moon) for the way the subtle crescendo of electronica sounds would rise until crashing with an explosive burst. Even while taking the set to a slower downtempo pace (that had her thinking strawberry bombs [Across The Universe reference] falling from the electronic skies), there still remained a spark of energy felt within the futuristic music. Another fine example - there was a splash of funk and hiphop added to this band's eclectic techno sound though resembling a chaotic mesh of noise. That, blogspot readers, wasn't a bad thing at all. We must remember that in Snareburst's future world, music's truly the only universal language and way to communicate. So think of this trio sending us a message now for working towards a better tomorrow. It's what SouthSide honestly believes that's their mission within the indie scene. She highly recommends checking out Snareburst wherever these futuristic rockers beam to next. She also suggests having an open mind as well as an understanding ear for those moments when it seems the music doesn't connect. within the ambient/psychedelic/electronica sound. For more information, visit www.snareburst.com or www.myspace.com/snareburst.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Monday, May 10, 2010

08 May 10

...hope you're wearing your earplugs - it's about to get loud...
The Dirty Vibe

Hey, blogspot readers, who wants to be SouthSide's date for the prom? And it won't your ordinary high school prom either. Dressed in her finest prom attire, she along with other invited guests attended the Illys Prom on Saturday night. Held at the ever popular Elbo Room, there was dancing to DJ-ed music and munching on yummy cupcakes as well as stuffing the ballot box for king and queen. Meanwhile downstairs, fans were rockin' to live performances by Hudson's Landing and The Reunion. They also shared the stage with The Dirty Vibe, Red City and Bryan Cherry Band.

There's nothing dirty about this vibe, blogspot readers, yet this rockin' band certainly knew how to make everyone feel so good with their music. Though sensing The Dirty Vibe quote would be an understatement, it was definitely about to get more than loud during this CD release performance. It had plenty of heat from the thundering guitar riffs and fire from Anna (female lead on vocals) which literally set the stage ablaze. And that was merely the opening moments to The Vibe's first song, Fast Enough. SouthSide enjoyed the electricfying rock music full of that "dirty" hardcore sound. She liked that it had a sultry yet rhythmic energy to get you feeling this band's groove. The rockin' instrumentals alone will soak your ears with The Vibe's gritty guitar riffs. This reviewer suggests listening to new song, Can't Go as well as Crazy Girl (for its classic Stax guitar sound that funkified the stage) and I'm Yours (for its heavier bass rhythms which immediately led into Iron Butterfly's Inna Gadda Da Vida teaser at the end). She also suggests listening to Damned for how Anna's voice pumped the emotional angst clearly heard over the mic. Despite having a good performance (again), SouthSide felt The Vibe's cover of Journey's Any Way You Want It sounded too closely like the original recording instead of owning it with their "dirty" style. This reviewer highly recommends catching the rockin' vibe of The Dirty Vibe at their next show. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/thedirtyvibe.

...Cheers, f*ck face...

By now the crowd was warmed and ready to take a rockin' trip to Red City. Though haven't performed for awhile, this popular local band has seriously impressed SouthSide with its stage performance and music. It contained a firecracker energy that's wild with plenty of hairbanging rock tapping into the classic Led Zeppelin-esque genre. Whenever this band hits the stage, blogspot readers, expect lots of hard-hitting guitar riffs in which totally captures the spirit and essence of what rock-n-roll is all about. Even while taking the same momentum and energy to a slower tempo, fans can still clearly hear the fire and passion within Red City's sound as well as Wags' (Red City's front man) voice. That's the moment when this young man absolutely shines on stage pumping that emotional angst over the mic. And tonight it was no different - he truly poured a lot of himself into this performance ...literally lighting up the basement lounge with fan fervor for more. This crowd wanted to feel more of the sultry heat off the guitar sound ...to hear the riffs twittering in their ears especially during the instrumentals ...and groove all night long to Red City's rhythmic rock beat. SouthSide suggests listening to Tightrope and Sandstorm - don't let the slow beginning fool you as it gradually raises the Red City heat towards that explosive headbanging rock while Wags' voice lures you deeper into that rockin' groove. You'll certainly feel the emotional cry when he sings "...she loves me..." waifing throughout the lounge. This song was the highlight of Red City's set. Despite closing this performance with Get My Kicks, fans wanted and received one more for the road. Whew, blogspot readers, what a performance! This reviewer highly suggests taking your own trip to Red City wherever they're rockin' the stage again. For more information, visit www.redcity.tk or www.myspace.com/redcitychicago.

...nipples bleeding - it happens...

Closing out this lineup was the smooth rock vibe of the Bryan Cherry Band from Milwaukee, WI. SouthSide instantly enjoyed the soulful sounds of this band's rhythmic R&B/Soul groove in which she heard plenty of fire and energetic momentum during the instrumentals. The more she listened to Bryan's eclectic sound, the more she realized it wouldn't be fair to box his music into one solid genre. His music covered a wide spectrum of genres such as blues, modern jazz and alternative. She liked how Bryan and the Band at times honed into the early psychedelic phase of Jimi Hendrix however with their own unique rock style. There were moments when the music electrified the stage as well as other moments when a calming downtempo vibe reigned. Yet even while at this slower pace, there was still that fiery spark within this momentum remaining in the electric and bass riffs. What also impressed this reviewer about this band was how Bryan's vocals invoked the essence and spirit of Jimi Hendrix himself. It was like hearing Jimi singing the poetic floetry of BCB's lyrics instead of Bryan. SouthSide sometimes felt his words were taking the audience on a journey into Bryan's innermost private thoughts with the music blindly following his every move wherever his words led. Both music and lyrics naturally complimented each other which had this reviewer sensing it was personal from the heart. And when he's not singing, listen carefully to the unspoken hidden lyrics "spoken" by the electric guitar. SouthSide highly recommends listening to Laura and You Can Bring Me Flowers for that personal poetic feel to BCB's songs. She suggests listening to Act A Fool and How It's Gonna Be for the way BCB can electrify and funkify the stage with its trippy Hendrix rock vibe. If you're between the Madison/Milwaukee area during May 21 - 23, check out Jam For Jam 2010 in which the Bryan Cherry Band will rock the stage on May 22. For more information about this event, visit www.jamforjam.com. For more information about Bryan Cherry Band, visit www.bryancherryband.com or www.facebook.com/bryancherryband.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Thursday, May 6, 2010

04 May 10

Hey, blogspot readers, lights ...cameras ...ACTION! Tonight, this reviewer ditched the rock scene for the bright dazzling lights of the cinema screen. Southside attended the monthly screen at the Midwest Independent Film Festival. Held at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, this festival is the only one of its kind in the US that presents independent movies solely produced from the Midwest (i.e. Indiana, Wisconsin, etc) region. It's a year long event with showings every first Tuesday of each month. Co-founders Mike McNamara and Michael Kwielford started this to celebrate and strengthen as well as collaborate ties within the independent film community. With help from sponsors like Resolution Digital Studio, O'Connor Casting, Illinois Film Office, the Midwest Independent Film Festival is also made possible by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council (which receives funds from National Endowment for the Arts). For more information, visit www.midwestfilm.org.

This month's featured screening was a music video - Bring Yourself by local rockers, Oh My God and premiere showing of Annabelle & Bear. It was also dubbed as Canon Night at this indie film fest in which SouthSide viewed some exclusive camera shot tests from Zacuto's "Great Camera Shootout!". It was an informative discussion about DSLRs that included showing and comparing the different camera resolutions and how it's changing the face of filmmaking today. She enjoyed the rockin' stop animation video by a director from Madrid, Spain shot entirely in 7D resolution. Meanwhile, she highly recommends checking out Oh My God's latest video to their song, Bring Yourself. Though never hearing this local band's music before, she liked the theme conveyed which was the perfect lead-in to tonight's movie premiere of Annabelle & Bear. This video, animated in black and white comic/cartoonish style, depicted the sense of hopelessness and pain within the main character's life behind the backdrop of destruction and war. SouthSide liked how director Dan Bigelow (of Adult Swim) incorporated parts of the lyrics throughout different scenes of this video. It was a song about the reality all of us have problems which sometimes never seem to get any easier. For more information about Oh My God, visit www.ohmygodmusic.com or www.myspace.com/ohmygod.

SouthSide highly recommends viewing Annabelle & Bear by director/filmmaker Amy Weber starring Curt Massof (as Bear) and cute little Olivia Walby (as Annabelle). This heartwarming cinematic feature is a bout a loner known as Bear who is unexpectedly thrusted into the role of fatherhood when his junkie ex-girlfriend dumps his daughter, Annabelle, on his hands. Instantly his world changes in a flash as he faces the responsibility for raising and caring for someone who needs him (and his love) when he doesn't really know how to take care of himself. And at the same time, he learns what it truly means to be loved by someone else while gradually letting Annabelle win over his stone heart. Bear also learns what it means to be a father even though feeling he's the unlucky choice for such a role to this little girl. As a sudden single dad, Bear quickly soon realizes how having a child changes your life ...and that his lifestyle doesn't really have room (or the time) for a child like Annabelle. In a sense, he's not ready to be a responsible father nor is he equipped to handle this new concept of parenthood thus forcing him to confront the issue that caused the breakup in communication between him and his mother. He needs her help now more than ever and decides it's best for Annabelle to stay with her.

As the film progresses, he realizes that no matter what he thinks is best for this little may not be the best after all as the bond between father and daughter grow stronger while on a road trip to his mother's place in Maine. It takes a frightening medical situation (Annabelle's asthma attack) and some friendly advice a motel owner (portrayed by Olivia Walby's real life grandfather) for Bear to realize that Annabelle needs him in her life (and vice versa). He really doesn't want to leave this precious little girl so far away with his mother ...he wants to be there for her. However there's a major problem in all of this when Annabelle's mother unexpectedly appears in Maine. She wants her daughter back with blind promises of entering a rehab program to get clean when they return home. Yet, that's far from the truth, blogspot readers. She takes off with Annabelle during the middle of the night leaving Bear heartbroken as his world comes to a crashing halt. Feeling that heartache and pain as any parent would for their missing child, he searches high and low for Annabelle with the help of his friends and mother.

Sorry but there are no movie spoilers posted here - but SouthSide can only tell you there is a happy ending. You have to see this touching (and yes, you will cry during certain moments too) indie film yourself. This reviewer, being a hardworking mom of two herself, clearly felt and understood Bear's pain when he had to rush Annabelle to the hospital or the joy she brought to his life as they spent quality time together. Cute Olivia Walby will literally steal your heart. She explodes onto the screen with such innocence of a child who manages to be happy little girl even though seeing so much evilness in her young life ...and that little cherub face of hers will tug on even the hardest of hearts each time she's with Curt Massof. There's definite natural connection between these two actors which made their interaction so realistic and believable. And Curt as the tough yet lovable Bear simply wowed this reviewer with his first acting role. She hopes to more from this actor/film editor in the near future. SouthSide liked how Amy and her production team truly depicted the desperation of Annabelle's mother looking for that quick fix to the scary scenes within the crack houses. This reviewer found herself laughing, crying and cheering (sometimes at the same time) throughout this film. Annabelle & Bear is the perfect movie to treat not just Mom for Mother's Day but any parent ...in fact she highly suggests everyone seeing this movie - perhaps it will get major nationwide distribution soon. And if this movie ever gets released on DVD, be certain, blogspot readers, that this wonderful indie movie will be a part of her collection. For more information about this movie, www.annabelleandbear.com.

In closing, actors Olivia Walby and Curt Massoff (as well other cast members) and director Amy Weber were in attendance Tuesday night for this premiere. Also so was Dan Bigelow for the mini Q & A session after the movie and the afterparty which was held at Forno Diablo.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Monday, May 3, 2010

02 May 10

... we're going to do some more drugs and play more music...

Gypsy Revival Band

Whew,what a night, blogspot readers! Having survived her first The Branded show, this reviewer returned to Elbo Room for more music and fun. Tonight's lineup featured a rockin' array of musical performances by Gypsy Revival Band, Christian Larsen and Shinobi Ninja (from Brooklyn, New York). SouthSide wishes she could stay for the energetic performance of hiphop/rock fusion that totally blew her away during the opening number, Brooklyn to Babylon (title track off their videogame EP). This reviewer was instantly hooked by the lively mix of lyrical rap with electrifying guitar riffs and mixmaster beats. Though hard to hear the lyrical portion of Shinobi, SouthSide liked how the vocalists, DA and Baby Girl, worked the stage pumping the audience with excitement. Blogspot readers can expect a full review (and perhaps an interview) of Shinobi Ninja whenever they return to Chicago. In the meantime, you can find Shinobi Ninja Attacks as an app for your Apple iPhone and/or iPod Touch that you can unlock songs (after completing a game level), watch Shinobi videos and much more. Visit www.shinobininja.com or www.myspace.com/shinobininjamusic.

Gypsy Revival Band (from IN) rocked the Elbo Room stage with its funky blues music within the hot rock sound. It was very lively that it immediately had this reviewer's toes tappin to the beat. There was plenty of rockin' instrumentals laced inside Gypsy's songs which kept this audience groovin' to the bluesy rhythms especially during the opening song. Though the vocals could have used more volume, SouthSide liked the raspy tone projecting lots of emotion off the lyrics. Even while switching to to more of a country sound, Davey's voice easily conveyed that sense of vulnerability and tenderness. The music in this tempo still retained the spark of momentum during the instrumentals. This reviewer enjoyed their hot renditions of Ray Charles' Let's Go Get Stoned (so funk-ilicious that she felt its hotness in the downtempo pace) and the Allman Brothers' Whipping Post (a Gypsy remix that literally blew the roof with the dazzling guitar riffs). Also listen for a few riffs of Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven attached to the end of this song. However she recommends rockin' to their original Monterrey for its witty lyrics and danceable beat. Fans will definitely enjoy Gypsy Revival Band and their unique homage to Blues/Country greats distinctly heard within their rock sound. SouthSide highly recommends catching their next performance wherever they're rockin' the stage again. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/gypsyrevivalband.

Switching from blues to something more soothing and ambient now, blogspot readers. The audience was about to take an incredible ride for the mind and soul. Christian Larsen and his music had SouthSide instantly hooked to his meditative undertones instrumentally created to soothe the senses. The music simply projected an air of calmness to her ears within this opening piece. When the music moved into something more electric in a rock tone, it suddenly took on a whole new dimension with edgier guitar riffs. It was the the type of music in which there would be no lyrics to be vocally heard to convey Christian's mood or thought process. Yet if you listen attentively to each song, the lyrics will pop from the piano/keyboard/programmed beats. At times, SouthSide felt as if the guitars were the "backing vocals" by the way the riffs would respond back to the rhythmic keyboard beats. There were moments in which she heard angst or tenderness creatively hidden in the songs though sometimes not readily recognizable. The delicate combination of sounds (off the instruments and programming) kept Christian's songs energetic and passionate note after note. It wouldn't be fair to box Christian Larsen's unique instrumental music into one solid genre since many were heard at the same time. From modern jazz to psychedelic rock and new age vibe, this extraordinary artist mostly covered all spectrums of the music world. There was even some industrial/techno waifing through his rockin' sound too. It would be fair to say that SouthSide highly recommends you experiencing the music which she can liken to Mer du Japon (check out her favorite song Air). Be prepared to take a musical journey that's out of this world. For more information, visit www.christianlarsenmusic.com or www.myspace.com/chrislarsenofficial.

Until next time, support your local scene,

01 May 10

... hope you guys love bubble baths... ~ Workout Music

BAM, blogspot readers! That was the word of the night for this crowd packing the Elbo Room. Everyone was prepared to get branded during the The Branded's debut appearance on stage. It was a star-studded night as the Who's Who of the local scene (i.e. Machinegun Mojo, Lucid Ground, Matt of Smentek & Mullen, Heavy The Fall, etc) came out to show their support for this band. Family, friends and fans were in attendance as well ...everyone was excited and ready for The Branded to perform. However before getting branded, this crowd grooved to other rockin' performances by Jack In Space, Mahoney, and Workout Music with Bombay Black (from Arizona) headlining. SouthSide also took notice of the array of fun merchandise sponsoring The Branded on the table. From pregnancy tests to action figures and other goodies, this band was ready to brand its fans with something more than just rock music.

When seeing this band, be prepared to sweat out your hair after they finish the first song, blogspot readers. Workout Music's set will leave you feeling that you've completed an entire exercise DVD. It's the latest craze to shed those unwanted pounds by having fun while rocking along with this bubble machine blowing band. These energetic guys were all about the party as they perform cool music whicch can get pretty wild at times ...especially since most of Workout's songs are "love" songs. SouthSide suggests listening to Aint My Jeans (hm, sometimes she wonders if they are) and Cuz It's Good (a pseudo disco/punk sound) to acquaint yourself with this band. She also recommends Save You Not for its trippy keyboard sound mixed with a hardcore tempo in this "I'm breaking up with you" song. And even though it was a rather short performance, this reviewer had another sweat-ifying workout as she jammed to Don't Stop Now. This closing number rocked the stage with a bit of Chelesa Dagger (by The Fratellis) in the middle. It's highly suggests that you don your best workout clothes and attend Workout Music's next show. Guaranteed 100% to make you sweat! For more information, visit www.myspace.com/workoutmusicband.com or www.facebook.com/workoutmusic.

SouthSide's so excited to see Mahoney after hearing raving comments about their last Elbo Room appearance. This duo from North Carolina packed a lot of rock sound on stage as if they were a 4 to 5 piece band. They performed with such energetic momentum that nothing seemed to slow them down or the pace of the song when opening with Hey Girl. At times, Mahoney's music had dirty and gritty guitar riffs giving the music a tone of sharpness or rockin' so fast at the blinding speed of light. And the vocals complimented each other though fooling SouthSide into thinking it was one person singing on the mic instead of the two together. Mahoney's cover of The Bangles' Walk Like An Egyptian featured a few lucky Elbo Room regulars as well as fans joining the band on stage to their tambourines. Meanwhile during the Neil Diamond classic, Sweet Caroline, everyone participated at the right moments. Both cover songs rocked the stage and so did originals like Stereo and Thunder which had this Native American tone steadily beating from the drums. Closing the set with Where Will We Go?, this reviewer didn't want them to go - she was ready for more. Hopefully, this band will make yet another rockin' appearance at the Elbo Room but in the meantime, fans in North Carolina, SouthSide says you should attend Mahoney's next performance. For more information, visit www.mahoney.com or www.myspace.com/mahoneymusic.

Though seeing them for the first time, this reviewer enjoyed Jack In Space's ultra cool ...ultra mellow rock sound. It had this unique combination of psychedelic/jazz feel to its music off a semi-acoustic (two acoustic and bass guitars) setting. Somewhat unusual for a Saturday night rock crowd at this venue however it seriously jammed, blogspot readers. This reviewer liked the soothing effect Jack's music had on her ears gently taking her on a meditative experience. Yet inside this calming sound, there definitely was fire and passion as well. This type of music made you feel a wide range of emotions in each lyrical notes within the guitar riffs. It was very powerful and hardcore when they switched guitars to electrify the stage with some screamo angst in the lyrics. Even though this gave their music a harder edge, SouthSide preferred that psychedelic mellowness to Jack In Space. She highly suggests checking out this band wherever they're rockin' the stage again. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/jackinspace321.

... the after pictures will be a lot more wet... ~ The Branded

The moment of the night had finally arrived, blogspot readers. However before The Branded exploded with Mama Ain't Got No Mercy For Ya (track 1 off the debut album No Mercy), Stephen Francis (of Model Stranger) shaved off his lovely yet famous mustache. Not to worry, blogspot readers, he shall have another one soon. Meanwhile, Brian and the guys wowed this reviewer with an intensive, fan interactive performance that dazzled the ears and astounded the eyes. The huge TV screens placed on either side of the stage bombarded the crowd with random images while running in sync with their songs. For example, during Too Kool (track 5), we were educated in what a douchebag was and how not to be like one or First Move (track 6) - lots of sexy images from movies like Sin City and Selma Hayek's Santanico scenes from Duck Til Dawn. Oh just to let you know, ladies, The Branded's currently taking applications for the stripper positions of the band - experience not necessary. Fans will certainly laugh at the funny commercial breaks strategically placed between songs (no dead air breaks or talking) which "sponsored" The Branded's show. She enjoyed the commercial mentioning their merch on the table and "Pretends" - the latest in male enhancement in which you can be sexy and well-endowed like Brian. Fans rocked to the thundering roar of the guitars (Mike on electric and Shen on bass) which instantly had them groovin to the hardcore BAM riffs of the music. It was performed fast and furious to the point it felt like wham-BAM-may-I-have-more-please, blogspot readers. And yes, Brian can actually sing live! His voice clearly projected that all famous frustration and angst without resorting to his infamous gut-busting screamo yet during certain songs, you can still hear it. SouthSide hasn't figured out who ordered that pizza with anchovies however she'll tell you when she does. There were other The Branded things that happened at this debut performance but she's sworn to secrecy ...sorry. If you want to know what really happens before, during and after this band's show, you have to attend The Branded's next performance. Who really knows what fun twists and surprises this rockin' band will pull out of their pants. Perhaps someone will pay for that pizza too. Stay tuned, blogspot readers, same The Branded time ...same The Branded channel - www.thebrandedmusic.com or www.myspace.com/thebrandedmusic.

Until next time, support your local scene,