Saturday, July 31, 2010

30 Jul 10

~ Welcome to the dark side ~

Hey, blogspot readers, abandon all hope if ye dare to enter this dungeon! SouthSide's hanging out amongst the walking "dead" at the Dead 4 Life Tour featuring Mars, 2NSANE, and Kung Fu Vampire along with local party schoolboys and gals of The Prep School Tragedy. They as well as a lineup that included Lil Sicc & Intrekit, Liquid Assassin and Damienz Dezign were ready to rock the Bottom Lounge stage. Though this reviewer wasn't hip on the hiphop/rap sound, she did like the zombified theme happening throughout most of the acts performing tonight.

Despite constant technical difficulties (due to the audio player), opening acts 2NSANE, Damienz Dezign and Lil Sicc & Intrekit (sorry missed the name of the 1st group that performed on stage) rocked the audience with mad rhymes and crazy beats. 2NSANE ( had a strong performance that kept within the dark sinister theme of the night. SouthSide enjoyed the live drum percussion rhythm that gave this group's music a touch of the rock sound than a pop feel. Besides the energy and momentum, some of 2NSANE'S songs did have a message or life lesson such as no one's going to help you when things fall apart. Then there was the lively Damienz Dezign ( or who had the coolest intro of the night. It nearly had Southside scared out of her seat while enjoying the demonic and wicked sound of fast lyrical hiphop floetry. Death and destruction reigned supreme with this music duo with their angst/frustration heard in lyrics like "...murder is my Alpha Omega..." or "...religion isn't much to save ya..." Though not dark in nature, Lil Sicc & Intrekit's set was met technical problems in which they had to re-start the one particular song three times. This performance somewhat bored SouthSide with their constant fascination of smoking weed despite liking their sick beats. Fans of Lil Sicc & Intrekit should be on the look out for their new mix tape coming soon. Check out for more details.

Meanwhile, The Prep School Tragedy faculty shocked this reviewer by not performing in their zombified face paint. Now that was very creepy, blogspot readers! Yet this performance still had the same energy and momentum as their recent Cubby Bear show a month ago. Performing songs such as Be My Abortion and Step Into The Night (with more testosterone), this lively crunk/rock (and everything else in between) group showered the kiddies with black balloons, confetti and candy sweets while the TPST cheerleaders kept everyone rockin' to the music. Despite this being a short set, it still had all of the fun and excitement of a regular show. SouthSide highly recommends heading back to class with this band on Aug 4 at the Darkroom. Visit the faculty and staff of The Prep School Tragedy at for more details.

With a name like Liquid Assassin, blogspot readers can expect this artist not to be a very "nice" guy especially since he's not shooting blanks with his hiphop floetry. Not only did this artist pump momentum into the Bottom Lounge audience but also had them going mad over his vibrant music. Liquid's songs flowed from one to the next without any delay or losing the vibe felt from the stage until he closed with an acoustically done song. Check out for more information about this artist. Then it was Mars turn to rock down the stage in his zombified face paint. Though not as lyrically fast as Liquid, this artist brought more of a versatile style and rhythmic method to his performance. What SouthSide liked about Mars was that he did more than hiphop/rap - he impressed her with his amazing vocal abilities. Meanwhile a vampire closed out this rockin' hiphop/rap show with headless (female) mannequins decorating the stage. Kung Fu Vampire had SouthSide liking his combination of dark vampyre rock/lyrical rap full of trippy space rhythms off the double piano/keyboards (think Bernie Worrell, founder of the P-Funk sound rockin' the stage with Kung Fu). Music like that thoroughly appealed to this reviewer's rock side as heard in songs such as Dead Girls Don't Say No (his favorite type of women) and Wicked Clowns (not a song for those who are afraid of the red rubber-nosed things). Yet she also loved Kung Fu's switch to something more funky in a jazz/R&B sound which worked wonderfully for his lyrical style. It's fair to say this group did have the right elements like Rage Against The Machine within their music but nowhere did they even try to imitate them. Be prepared to party all night long with Kung Fu Vampire - he does a mean vampiric robot dance, ladies. For more information and tour dates, visit or

Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, July 30, 2010

25 Jul 10

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide's rockin' the streets of Lincoln Avenue! Though taking a much needed "vacation" from the music scene, this busy reviewer sampled the sights and fun at the Taste of Lincoln 2010. This popular two-day fest featured an array of local music acts (such as Model Stranger, 16 Candles, The Moves) performing on five different stages as well as local vendors and yummy food from restaurants within the area between Wrightwood and Fullerton. On Sunday, SouthSide was there to check out Heavy Manners reunion performance.

Rockin' the Fullerton stage, Heavy Manners brought back the original reggae/ska sound to its Chicago fans and audience after a long absence from the scene. This reviewer enjoyed the energy felt in their music heard in songs such as Hometown Ska, Timebomb (from their Politics & Pleasure album) and Waiting For You. Yet minor problems plagued this performance for SouthSide one of which was the real lack of enthusiasm amongst the band's diverse audience. Heavy Manners is quite known with the Boomer generation and this reviewer noticed there was difficulty getting the younger generation to rock out with them ...especially when many didn't understand some of the old cannabis references. Plus their pseudo political songs (including Fight The Good Fight off Heavy's new album) seriously brought the lively momentum to a crawl despite the message being relevant today as it did back then. Also there was practically no diversity within this band's core reggae/ska sound unlike many of other younger bands (i.e. The Embraceables, State Radio, Passafire etc) that SouthSide has reviewed. Bands like them invoke a more creative blend to the traditional reggae beat and rhythm by adding flavor from other genres like modern jazz to rock. Such cross-blending keeps their audiences rockin' along ...but that's not what this reviewer felt from the Heavy Manners' performance.

Overall, blogspot readers, it was a mixed reaction from SouthSide. There were moments when she felt the momentous vibe during the Heavy Manners music while in others, there was nothing to feel from them. It was an okay show for an outdoor festival however this was one that didn't generate much interest in their straight reggae/ska sound from this reviewer. Yet SouthSide does recommend checking out Heavy Manners and their music. For more information, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,

23 Jul 10

Hey, blogspot readers, time for another duel to the "death"! There were many vying for that last remaining spots for this year's rock-studded I AM Fest. Now the competition was down to the top five! The stage was set for one tough ...fierce battle of the bands lineup that SouthSide has ever seen or reviewed. She spent the entire week sizing up each of the contestants before tonight's showdown. Who will come out on top? Only this reviewer will tell the end of this review.

The good Dr. Kevorkian and The Volunteers kicked off the competition with its performance of shredder/hardcore rock ...or was it a bit of modern jazz coupled with an electric rock sound? Who knows exactly because that's what SouthSide liked about this band, blogsot readers. Dr. K had a versatile and energetic style which kept the audience rockin' to their momentum. Opening with Roger O'Malley, other songs performed included New Disco (vibin' to the psychedelic/electric disco groove), Bob The Bodysurfer (wonder if he's related to Bob The Builder) and Shoobeedoowop (Dr. K's lively version of rock doo-wop with hot sax rhythms). This reviewer also enjoyed the Dr's instrumentally-driven songs that thrilled the ears with wild guitar riffs and sudden chord changes as heard in Metal and Interlude. The highlight of the performance was their smokin' hot cover of Jimi Hendrix's Fire. They certainly "murdered" this one rock classic with enthusiasm and rockin' passion. For more information, visit

It's been a very long time since reviewing The Alaya Conscious on stage. However, once again this rockin' experimental-based band had a couple of new surprises awaiting SouthSide during this performance. First surprise was their rock sound. It was darker ...harder ...and full of more energetic music ...plenty of riffs and chord changes to bang your head to Alaya's epic-sounding rock. This music made you feel (not just hearing) each pounding riff and rhythm. The second surprise was the vocals (by Evan on guitar) within a few of this band's songs. This totally caught SouthSide off guard, blogspot readers. She never knew Evan could sing besides amazing her with his thrilling guitar-instrumental masterpieces. That's what Alaya is known for ...its Pink Floyd-esque inspired songs will take you to one end and back of the music spectrum. Yet adding vocals, now this band had the audience hearing the angst/frustration. Hearing the words behind the music certainly brought more energy and head-banging metal momentum to rock the stage. For more information, visit

Eureka, IL (not to be confused with the SyFy series) was well-represented by the duo known as The Bob Clymers. And, blogspot readers, they rocked down the Elbo Room with their country/blues performance. The female vocalist not only impressed this reviewer with her bluesy vocals but also with her awesome guitar skills. The other half of Bob thrilled the audience with his rockin' drumming on the kit in the back. Fans will enjoy how this duo brought fire and energetic momentum to the stage via their songs. One minute they had everyone banging their heads to its hardcore sound and suddenly the next feeling the sweet lullaby tone. Sometimes the chord changes were happening so fast that you didn't know what hit you until the song was over. Bob even had the audience's toes tappin' to their rockin' ho-down sound as well as grunting their frustrations away in The Grunt Song. For more information, visit

SouthSide heard about Sutured Psyche from word of mouth as well as checking out their music online. However it wasn't this band's head banging guitar rock that impressed her. No, it was the front man's vocals that had this reviewer melting from his deep voice full of angst/frustration off the lyrics. Plus the evil laugh after certain songs sent wild chills down her spine too. Though that type of vocal style might seem out of place due to Sutured's sound, it totally fueled its rock momentum, blogspot readers. Yet, let's not forget the manly hardcore rock which kept the audience rockin' to thunderous guitar sound and epic-sounding intros to get that blood boiling inside you. But towards the close of the set, SouthSide was expecting more BANG with Sutured's core sound. Also there was minor distortion off the monitors that somewhat hampered this performance. Still the show went onward as songs Invocation, Luck Of The Draw and Trickster were performed. For more information, visit or

Though slightly disappointed with their last show two months ago, SouthSide noticed a HUGE difference with Sonic Pistol's headlining set tonight, blogspot readers. She noticed more rockin' energy vibin' from the band to the audience and vice versa that created more excitement throughout their show. Also Kurt (front man on vocals) added more body language as well as emotions to truly depict the mood and feel of Sonic's songs such as 9 Miles, Disappear and Ambitions. And it wasn't just Kurt creating more fan momentum. It included Peter (on guitar) rockin' the stage in his (Superman) briefs and Dominic's smokin' drum solo to pump up the second half of Sonic's set. That's how hot this performance at the Elbo Room while wowing this reviewer with plenty of head-banging guitar riffs. Now this was the Sonic Pistol SouthSide was expecting a couple of months ago! All the umph and BANG she could handle from this band start to finish. For more information, visit

Well, blogspot readers, it was a tough I AM Fest Battle of the Band Finale. There were no losers in this competition - everyone was a winner! The two bands that will be performing at the House of Blues on August 28 will be The Bob Clymers (2nd place) and The Alaya Conscious (1st place) along with Digital Mindy, Ryan Powers, Bambi Raptor and host of many others rockin' the stage.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Portage Theatre - 24 Jul 10

Hey, blogspot readers, let's get spaced out with SouthSide! She spent a fun Saturday afternoon at the movies with her daughter munching on buttered popcorn and viewing classic cinema on the big screen. Yet this wasn't any ordinary movie showing either was classic sci-fi movies by Universal Studios at the historic Portage Theatre. The Portage Theatre Monster Club, started 2 1/2 years ago by John Jankowski, held its once-a-month "meeting" featuring another quadruple selection of classic movies. This month's theme was Sci-Fi which included Jetsons the Movie, The Reluctant Astronaut (starring Don Knots, a very hot-looking Leslie Nielsen), The Last Starfighter (starring the original Music Man Robert Preston in his final cinematic role) and It Came Without Warning.

Besides enjoying the classic sci-fi on the big screen, SouthSide also browsed at the vast collection of horror/sci-fi memorabilia for purchase. Plenty of items worthy of any addition to a collector and/or film buff to snag such as vintage comics and movie posters to VHS/DVDs (even the hard to find or out-of-date titles) to figurines and t-shirts. Everything for sale at reasonable prices too (slightly more for one-of-a-king collectibles). SouthSide spotted a LONG list of movie titles (some classic, others campy) to add to her home movie collection. She snagged two VHS movies (Creepshow and Ed Wood) and Spaceballs (by Mel Brooks) on DVD. Next month, more titles will be added such as Phantasm or ET (not that special edition version either). Svengoolie fans should check out the three volume DVD collection of funny outtakes and favorites by current Sven, Rich Koz, as well as the DVD featuring the original Sven, Jerry G. Bishop.

Before grabbing a seat inside, say "hi" to Tony who works at the concession stand. They have the freshest popcorn and other snacks (hot dogs, nachos, etc) to munch while watching the quadruple movie feature. For adults, they do serve alcoholic beverages (something you usually don't get at most multi-plex theatres). And save your ticket stubs! Before the 3rd movie showing, the Monster Club holds a raffle, blogspot readers. Plus there's judging too on the best movie-themed toy. On Saturday, patrons were asked to bring their best space toy. Next month, it's bring your coolest Frankenstein item.

And speaking of next month, the Portage Theatre Monster Club's quadruple movies will be: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Man of A Thousand Faces (starring James Cagney), The Invisible Man (starring Claude Rains - SouthSide's personal favorite by this actor) and a special treat for all Ed Wood fans and movie buffs - Plan 9 From Outer Space! SouthSide's excited about this lineup yet you don't have to take her word. Simply ask Tracey Knox who was also there Saturday enjoying the classic sci-fi movies with her family. This was her third time attending the Monster Club showings and what she likes most about this is "...they have a good selection of movies that you can bring you kids can come and go as you please (they stamp your hand for re-entry)..." Plus she feels its an economical for the entire family - it's $9 or $10 for one movie compared to $5(for kids) and $10(for adults) for four great movies.

Enough said. This is a great adventure for film buffs of all ages students as well as fans of horror/sci-fi. Yet if this isn't your favorite genre, SouthSide highly recommends checking out The Portage's Silent Film Fest. Friday, it's Ben Hur (1925) and on August 6, it's Douglas Fairbanks in The Mark of Zorro (1920). The August 6th showing is extra special because it will feature the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra performing the movie music. Still, this reviewer says check out the "meetings" for the Portage Theatre Monster Club - you just might see a movie you haven't seen on the big screen in a long time.

The Portage Monster Club doesn't have a website yet however for more information/details, visit You can also contact John Jankowski directly at This historic theatre is located at 4050 N. Milwaukee AV (near Irving Park/Cicero/Milwaukee) by public transportation (there's parking too). Oh, did you know that the interior of this theatre was used (as The Biograph) in the movie Public Enemies (starring Johnny Depp)? Who knows - perhaps SouthSide sat where Johnny did during the film showings.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Monday, July 26, 2010

21 Jul 10

"...I think I lost the button to my trousers..." Crazyfish

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide's reviewing rock gods tonight! Well, not actually the real legends of rock who have charted hits such as Angie and Satisfaction. HOWEVER this Italian tribute band came close enough giving this reviewer another rockin' taste of Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones. She has seen the actual Stones themselves perform live as well as other tribute bands (i.e. Beggars Banquet) before. So she was ready to put Crazyfish to the test during their double set performance at the Double Door's Dirtroom. Opening for Mick (wonderfully portrayed with all the right Mick movements and expressionisms by Domenico) were local rockers Steve Stone ( or and The Black Oil Brothers ( or

During Steve's set, this reviewer had a difficult time with the subpar acoustics (especially with the bad electric feedback) that would at times overpower the vocals despite enjoying his shredder/hardcore sound. There were moments when SouthSide felt he was channeling the Hendrix experience due to the tone and feel of the lyrics within songs like Find Somebody New (a new song) or Just Can't Quit but with a slight modern twist. Still Steve did perform this set with lots of energy yet she wished the electric was turned down a notch to hear both vocals and lyrics. Meanwhile, The Black Oil Brothers rocked the humid basement lounge with their lively acoustic mixture of hillbilly/country/blues sound. Though simplistic in music, this trio performed their songs such as Wednesday Afternoon and She's My Drinking Problem with lots of rhythmic gusto. They even had the audience vibin' to their take on two Muddy Waters' classics. SouthSide recommends checking out both bands wherever they're rockin' the stage again.

SouthSide was somewhat disappointed that the other members of Crazyfish didn't "dress up" as their respective Rolling Stones counterparts. However, blogspot readers, this rockin' Italian tribute band did have all of the thrills, excitement, and enthusiasm (as well as kisses) of a Stones' show. Fans were delighted to hear great hits such as Get Off My Cloud, Dead Flowers, Paint It Black and Sympathy For The Devil many more to sing and dance along to. This reviewer did have a slight problem with their guest female vocalist, Angela, who seemed trying too hard to sound professional especially while Gimme Shelter. She didn't allow her high falsettos to come naturally and it also sound that was "talking" instead of singing the lyrics to Brown Sugar. Besides the classic standards, Crazyfish also wowed the audience with soulful renditions of Not Fade Away (a Buddy Holly cover) and Just My Imagination (a Temptations cover) which featured Rodney Johnston of Sticky fingers (another Stones tribute band) joining Mick on vocals. The highlight of the night for SouthSide was when Mick sang As Tears Go By in Italian before closing out the performance with Honky Tonk Women. Though not hearing other classics (and SouthSide's favorites) like Ruby Tuesday, Satisfaction, or Under My Thumb performed tonight, she does highly recommend checking out the Italian sensation known as Crazyfish while they're rockin' across the US! Just don't tell SouthSide's boyfriend that Mick kissed her (twice). For more information and tour dates, visit or

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

16 Jul 10

Hey, blogspot readers, the streets are alive with the rockin' sounds of music! This weekend Chicago played host to Pitchfork and Lilith Fair both happening during the same time. Yes, it was an action-packed weekend however SouthSide opted to hang out at the Elbo Room to see The Nod perform. Upstairs, singer/songwriter Tim Williams (from PA) was rockin' the audience with his soulful vocals and energetic acoustic music. This reviewer enjoyed a couple of his songs before heading downstairs for The Nod.

SouthSide was excited to hear the fantastic (yet sometimes the unbelievable) stories by The Nod (from WI) pop to life after reviewing their CD - Easy, Maverick. This lively trio rocked the Elbo Room stage with their performance of energetic pop/rock alternative sound in an Americana tone. They impressed this reviewer by performing each song with lots of gusto as well as fiery momentum which brought excitement to the basement lounge. Opening strong with Piggy Bank (track 7 off the CD), The Nod's lyrics consisted of wit and tall-tale humour set in an observational style of human life. You might say some (if not all) of their subjects sung about in their songs do lead rather interesting or whacked out lives. For example, there's a woman who loves to sleep with your friends but not you in She's A Wreck (track 6) to life of the mundane in Durango, CO (track 4). Or hear the latest gossip being spread around town in News (track 11). SouthSide enjoyed their one song (which is not featured on the album) titled Frustrating The Sh*T Out Of You (done in the key of A for this ballad) in which this rockin' country/Americana sound had her laughing. She also enjoyed hearing her favorite song Pseudo Picasso (track 10) for its funny pop culture references (i.e. As Marconi was wireless/He called up John Mayer/He said "John I need a favor I need a song/His secretary said "go write your own") as well as Vinyl Bluez (track 5). This reviewer highly suggests taking a trip out of the norm and into the lively pictured world of the people inside The Nod's songs. Plenty of zany craziness to be found in their tall tales whenever this band rocks the stage again. Also snag a copy of their debut CD - Easy, Maverick too. For more information, visit or

Until next time, support your local scene,

15 Jul 10

...there's a golden moment between speaking and thinking...

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide touched the hand of God. That's how she would accurately describe her profound experience ...a cosmic journey across the solar universe with Sky White Tiger. On Thursday night, this reviewer had the extreme pleasure of attending their double Adler After Dark performances at the Adler Planetarium. Both performances featured the famous Adler Sky Show as well as visual constellation designs by A.J. Epstein inside the Adler Sky Theatre. Both starry combinations truly brought the symphonic/rock music of Sky White Tiger to life. Plus for SouthSide, this was the most unique venue ever to review a rock performance.

Compared to yesterday's Reckless Records performance, SouthSide was completely blown away by the cosmic spectacle of music and visual art. There was more to be awe-struck over with the stars and constellations above her head while listening to Sky White Tiger and vice versa. This reviewer enjoyed the featured constellations which appeared at the beginning of each SWT song. It aided by giving the audience an idea of what the song was about. For example, for Miles To Go, the constellation featured a man holding a portrait of a road that seemed endless. Or for their cover of Peter Gabriel's Mercy Street, it was a woman inside a china tea cup while Returning The Shard had a starry scene consisting of two open palms with a shard of glass in the middle. Besides the starry glow of the universe above, the band itself was aglow with their own constellations projected against their all-white clothing. This also gave the performance a psychedelic atmosphere as trippy neon colors or meteor showers bounced off them during certain songs.

Both SWT performances featured music in which orchestral movements were created for the celestial darkness. It inspired all of SouthSide's sensory imagination to come forth while "feeling" this band's symphonic/rock vibe. The audience took an incredible ride between reality and fantasy that had this euphoric high before SWT sent everyone back to earth in the end. Each set opened with an ambient crescendo (which SouthSide dubbed as the call of the Sky White Tiger) to prepare everyone for their fantastical journey of music. Fans will enjoy the bursts of energy felt in their music and sound. During certain songs, the music was filled with electronic rhythms while in others, Louis and the band had this rockin' alternative/pop/psychedelic groove happening. It would be a fair comparison if viewing SWT's genre/style of music to Pink Floyd's however this music had more depth while tapping deeply in other genres and influences. SouthSide highly suggests listening to SWT's version of Time to familiarize yourself with this band. Though nothing like Pink Floyd's song, this song still retains the same concept that time is fleeting and always momentary. She also suggests listening to Twisted Trail and Fantasy Man. The highlight of both performances came when Louis did a spoken word poetry about the Sky White Tiger which had the enter Sky Theatre aglow with all of the pictured constellations as well as the Sky White Tiger constellation.

This reviewer highly recommends journeying across the solar universe with this band at their next performance. Hopefully Sky White Tiger can return soon for another fantastical adventure during a future Adler After Dark date. For dates and places where this amazing band is performing again, visit or

Until next time, support your local scene,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

14 Jul 10

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide journeyed across the universe in one afternoon! It was an incredible experience rockin' to the symphonic sounds of Sky White Tiger. This band performed a special in-store set at Reckless Records (Wicker Park location) before their double Alder After Dark appearance happening Thursday night. This dress rehearsal gave the audience an enlightening as well as enchanting sample of what to expect under the starry glow at the Alder Planetarium. Despite not having the stars and constellations to accompany the fantastical music, this reviewer still enjoyed "feeling" selected songs (some off SWT's current CD) come to life ...immersing her within its deep rhythms and orchestral vibe. It was music from the cosmos for all to hear.

Sky White Tiger had the Reckless staff as well as the audience groovin' to songs like Miles To Go (an excellent song to familiarize yourself to this band) and Returning The Shard (a power ballad in which you feel the dynamic and intensity of Louis Schwardon's voice on the lyrics). Compared to the recorded versions, both songs performed live captivated this reviewer's sensory imagination in ways she never thought could occur. While listening to the music, she rode the cosmic soundwaves of the fantastical electronica (off the keyboards) and rock (off the guitars and percussion) combined. Think Pink Floyd yet with more depth, intense sound and personal meaning found withing the lyrics bordering between reality and fantasy. And wow - what bursts of energy felt during each song in this performance Sky White Tiger's music had influences from other genres (i.e. Indian sitar to Latin flamenco rhythms) woven inside its sound. She truly enjoyed their cover of Peter Gabriel's Mercy Street in which was awe-inspiring with the added touch of world music and electronic rhythms.

Well, blogspot readers, as SouthSide mentioned earlier this was merely a sample what to expect during their Alder After Dark double show. SouthSide will be there tomorrow night covering both sets under the starry glow for another special On The Town review. If you live in and/or near, attend one of Sky White Tiger's Adler After Dark performances - tickets are a mere ten dollars ($10).

She highly recommends fans checking out Sky White Tiger and it's extraordinary music. Visit or for more information and/or where they will be performing live again.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

09 Jul 10

Hey, blogspot readers, the kids have seized control of this On The Town review ...again! On Friday, SouthSide was accompanied with the test audience (Vyolet and Sunday) for a rockin' all-ages show at Lincoln Hall. This popular off-shoot of Schuba's welcomed the younger listener crowd to see three of the hottest and rising local bands in the music scene. The lineup featured performances by Riot Inside and A Friend Called Fire with Makeshift Prodigy headlining. The "audience" did like the venue however for Vyolet it was too stuffy (not enough AC felt in the stage area)that she had to leave the show early due to a migraine headache the bar crowd was quite intimidating for eight year old Sunday (especially since she had to get her soda from the main bar area). Hopefully the next all-ages show, Lincoln Hall would consider having the non-alcoholic stuff at the bar inside the stage area instead having to get it from the main lounge.

Though liking Riot Inside for its energetic rock style and sound, this reviewer was a little dismayed at this Lincoln Hall performance. It was a good set but the song list was exactly the same as their MOB Fest appearance at the Elbo Room. However, according to Gary, the charismatic front man of Riot, this was done for new fans in the audience to get them familiarized with the rockin' guitar sound and music (which at times can cause their fans to riot along with the band). Performing songs such as Wicked Games, Follow Me, and Satisfy, the audience enjoyed dancing along to the new track Sex On Sunday. Yet, Vyolet says "...Riot Inside really didn't capture my attention [throughout their performance] except Castro's drum solo..." Sunday says "...they were cool..." but like her sister, there were moments when the performance was too intense for her little ears despite hoping Gary would toss out his cane. Overall, blogspot readers, the audience recommends checking out Riot Inside at their next scheduled performance. For more information, visit or

It was celebratory night for this Chicago Noise Machine member, A Friend Called Fire. Tonight was the release and debut of their Stories of Tomorrow show in which the set featured songs from the CD. Also celebrating this special night with AFCF was some of the Who's Who of the local scene such as The Branded, Model Stranger, Red City, Lucid Ground, and other friends in the audience. This local band brought lots of energy and a hardcore guitar rock sound to the stage with songs like Untitled (actual song title) and Shadow. The test audience enjoyed that as well as the acoustic feel to AFCF's music like Once (featuring special guest Tony on violin accompanying Jon on acoustic guitar) and In American Daydream (with more special guests on violin and cello accompanying the full band). The additional instruments gave this particular song a touch of Americana to compliment the sharp rock edge. Sunday says "...[AFCF] was cool band..." Plus she's like the songs too. It's recommended that fans check out A Friend Called Fire whenever they're rockin' the stage again. For more information, visit

SouthSide deeply regrets missing Makeshift Prodigy's headlining show at the Metro during MOB Fest a couple of weeks ago. Though this show was a bit tamer than their others (MSP shows tend to get very wild and crazy when their hardcore fans begin to "feel" the music), the test audience was dazzled by the neon glow of the lighting effects (designed personally by Makeshift) and the epic-sounding, inspirational music. The End was the beginning of this rockin' show which also featured other songs like Sirens (one of the heartfelt ballads off their Mathematica EP), Sentimentalist (Vyolet's favorite - more of a happy pop song) and Alive (MSP's power as well as motivational ballad). Sunday gave Makeshift her stamp of approval saying " ...they have cool songs ...I liked the lights..." Performing the title track, Mathematica, to end this performance, SouthSide and company recommend checking out Makeshift Prodigy as well as snagging a copy of their current CD, Mathematica. For more information, visit or

Until next time, support your local scene,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

03 Jul 10

" thing is sure is universal..." ~ Hypernova

Hey, blogspot readers, plenty of fireworks were happening during this American holiday weekend. At the Elbo Room, it was a star-spangled banner lineup of the red, white and blue stars within the music scene. Tonight, SouthSide was busy dividing her time between up and downstairs lounges for rockin' sets by Brinn Black (Nashville, TN), Kaylin Lee Clinton (NY) and Hypernova (Iran/NY). This reviewer highly recommends checking out all three this summer.

Raising money and awareness about the flood victims in Nashville, this country darlin' impressed SouthSide with her Elbo Room debut. Yes, even this hardcore rock chick like SouthSide found herself enjoying the pop/country music. Singer/songwriter Brinn Black performed an acoustic set full of rich emotion and passion found her vocals. The dynamic power really made the lyrics in her songs pop with life under the vibrant guitar sound. She had the small audience in the lounge rockin' to her hit single, Not That Girl. Though this reviewer was only able to catch part of her performance (before joining the fun downstairs), she encourages fans to check out Brinn which currently on tour. Also support the Nashville flood victims by purchasing a flood relief t-shirt for a mere ten dollars ($10). For more information on tour dates and places, visit or

Modern jazz/soul/R&B enthusiasts should check out the music and vocal style of Kaylin Lee Clinton. What made this performance so special was the fact she had the full band backing her up this time. She had everyone in the basement lounge rockin' to wide range of music genres from Latin groove (with a jazz mix - think Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass) to a little Western and even some French chanteuse songbird. Whew there was more in between during Kaylin's set. And though her soft vocals perfectly fit the mood and tempo of each song, it was (at times) overpowered by the band itself. Still Kaylin's voice had that certain spark to make the lyrics pop with life. This reviewer enjoyed her chocolaty ode to Yoohoo drinks titled Yoohoo (in which she had never tasted one before). She created a hot and steamy atmosphere for the audience with her Latin-sounding song. The highlight of her performance came when she shared an emotional duet with the keyboardist in which her vocals truly shined. After closing with a fun and witty number, one lucky fan treated this artist to her first Yoohoo! SouthSide highly recommends checking out Kaylin Lee Clinton wherever she's rockin' the stage (with full band or not) as well as checking out her The Dustbunny EP on For more information, visit

Connecting the best of Middle Eastern and Western influences for their rock sound, Hypernova rocked out the Elbo Room with an energetic performance. It was full of electronic/techno nicely complimenting the sharp guitar rock edge. This reviewer immediately found herself enjoying the club atmosphere of this band's music while liking the deep vocals by Raam (front man/guitar). She felt the emotions behind the simplistic message-like lyrics in which could be forceful at times though making his wants and intentions well-known to the audience dancing to the music. Lyrics, "...I don't have the answers/one thing is sure/love is universal..." or listen carefully to another song in which he states there are no happy endings in fairy tales (Fairy Tales) and in another, he expressed wishing to be a martyr for the cause, tend to be quite serious (and very personal in nature)behind Hypernova's rockin' music. Despite finding this technique slightly odd, she did find it unique as well since this band's take on the Western rock genre went beyond the typical love/relationship lyrical tone. Still Hypernova set poetry into motion with thundering guitars and Euro-sounding keyboard rhythms (that didn't overpower the rock music. Besides listening to Fairy Tales (off their current album Through The Chaos), this reviewer also suggests listening to Viva La Resistance. For more information, visit or

Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, July 2, 2010

30 Jun 10

Hey, blogspot readers, let's get ready to rumble ...again! The Elbo Room was hosting the I AM Fest Battle of the Bands. The I AM Fest is a day-long event (this year held at House of Blues) which features not only a taste of what's rockin' within Chicago's local scene but also art (freeform, modern, etc), photography and independent filmmaking. Some of the bands that performed last year's premiere event (at the Congress Threatre) included Phat Cats, Lucid Ground, Digital Mindy, I Fight Dragons, 72 Hours and Your Little Ponies to name a few. Tonight's eight card lineup were battling for the last final spots to perform during this music showcase. Two notable performances off this lineup were by Nate Z and Beneath The Stares.

Nate Z demonstrated to the audience (and judges) the dynamic power of his vocals during his acoustic performance. Though a mere sample of what to expect at I AM Fest, this singer/songwriter impressed SouthSide with the range of vocal emotions expressed in his songs. For example, listen to the tenderness and pain within a lover's lament in which the lyrics pop with vivid imagery in My Queen. Or feel the fire and passion spouting raw anger and frustration behind Nate's fierce acoustic riffs in Tell Me. Yet it was the showstopper when his high falsettos matched the vibrant acoustic rhythms (as if played like an electric guitar) while creating incredible riff/chord ranges during the closer, Alone. This reviewer highly suggests fans checking out Nate Z wherever he's acoustically rockin' the stage again. For more information, visit

Though this was their first performance as a full band, Beneath The Stares thoroughly impressed this reviewer with its dark haunting epic rock. Think Lacuna Coil or Evanessence (however more depth and feeling) as Lisa (femme fatle of the band) captivates you with the dynamic power as well as passion featured in her voice. Wow - the vibe off ehr chantenuse vocals was like a siren's call luring the audience deeper into Beneath's hardcore sound. Yet SouthSide was expecting more body language to express the emotion of lyrics as well as more microphone for when Erik (on guitars/bass) sings backup along with Lisa. The music itself consisted of long epic-sounding instrumentals (to immerse the listener into its fierce guitar rock) with a touch of classical overtone. Fans should listen to Tropic Of Cancer (pt1) for its fiery energy after a downtempo intro ...lots of thundering head banging rock and Tropic of Cancer (pt2) more haunting and darker than its predecessor yet the downtempo sound still retains that burst of energy as heard in the first one. Despite this being a sample what people can expect during I AM Fest, SouthSide cannot wait to complete a full review on Beneath The Stares soon. For more information, visit or

Until next time, support your local scene,

26 Jun 10

Hey, blogspot readers, it was another successful MOB Fest 2010! Fans were thoroughly thrilled and rocked by a variety of music performances like Steel Panther and Cealed Kasket (at Cubby Bear) to a hip hop showcase (at Bassment). This afternoon, indie artists/bands took part of the MOB Fest panel discussions learning about the business side to this industry which was held at Elbo Room. Afterwards, there were special performances by The Outer Vibe and Workout Music, recent winner of WGN's Breakthrough Battle of the Bands. SouthSide's looking forward to MOB Fest 2011.

Tonight on SouthSide's agenda, it was Martyrs' for some mucho spicy chicken quesadilla with tasty homemade pico de gallo (highly recommended) and rockin' music. When she arrived, the band - Say You Swear was already in the middle of their opening performance. Though missing the majority of the set, this reviewer enjoyed the energetic sound heard within their music - full of emotion and awesome guitar rhythms. With three guitars (two electrics and bass) rockin' the stage, SYS could have gone hardcore yet kept it within the alternative/rock range with plenty of energy you can feel and dance to. The highlight of their show came when Adam (front man on vocals and guitar) did an acoustic number. The pain and woe (mixed with some angst) in his voice certainly tugged on this reviewer's heartstrings. She suggests checking out Don't Stop for Lights, Cops, Nothin' and Merriam-Webster (one cool song named after a dictionary). Hey east coast readres, check out this band while they're currently touring your area this summer. For more tour dates and places, visit or

Now with a name like Bambi Raptor, SouthSide honestly didn't know what to expect from this band besides a big-chested bimbo looking dino rockin' the stage. (So sorry about that, blogspot readers, sometimes she has a creeped-out imagination that will not quit.) However, this reviewer did have a fun time analyzing the split personality of a person suffering some serious anger management problems. Don't worry, with Bambi having a personality like that seems to be the "norm" especially when singing about a broken heart (i.e. Alaska). Behind this band's punk/alternative/pop (and everything else in between), was the "split" personality of Roger (front man on vocals) with the emo/angst in his vocals and Kenneth (bass and vocals) for that hard screamo/frustration effects venting that true emotion. And believe it or not, this type of vocal duo absolutely worked during certain moments of Bambi's set. Fans should listen to BSP (for its funkified groove fueled by the smooth percussion beat and raunchy sexaully-suggested lyrics), View to a Kill (not a Duran Duran cover but hot enough to become [007 James] Bond song ...even had SouthSide envisioning a movie opening sequence for it) and Greenology (definitely not about loving the environment unless you count getting "baked" with friends ...loved the pseudo reggae/ska-rock mix which had the audience dancing). As Bambi closed with Gunslinger (louder and angrier than most of this band's songs), SouthSide was ready for more fun-tainment of anger management. This reviewer highly suggests checking out the emo/angst split personality of Bambi Raptor - be prepared for one energetic and entertaining performance dinos were harmed in rocking of the stage either. Expect that and more when they'll be rockin' House of Blues for I AM Fest showcase on August 28. For more information, visit or

Until next time, support your local scene,

Thursday, July 1, 2010

25 Jun 10

**WARNING - this review might make you fat!**

Hey, blogspot readers, no diets allowed at this annual summertime food fest! Today, marked the start of this town's 10 days of sampling delicious eats at the Taste of Chicago. It's a food extravaganza galore! Over 50 restaurants represent what this fun town has to offer even though that's barely the tip of the iceberg of the MANY great places to dine. From pizza to ribs and jerk as well as Asian and everything else in between, you can eat it here. And besides the food, there's music too. Local and big name acts gracing the three music stages at any given time to rock the crowd. SouthSide had fun at the Taste Stage where it was Americana/Folk music day featuring The Shams Band and Jon Drake & The Shakes - two local bands that her good friend, August Forte and Wags (from Red City), introduced her to.

The Shams Band was already rockin' the audience when SouthSide arrived with their lively mix of the Americana sound. She loved the guitars and banjo rhythms that gave this band's music a little country twang though having a rock edge within its songs. However there was more that country rockin' that stage during this performance. Fans had fun grooving to the hillbilly and blues (yes, there was a cowbell) which kept everyone feeling the energetic momentum song after song. This reviewer enjoyed how The Shams added a light touch of humor and fun(found in their lyrics) in songs like Shelly. However in others like Des Plaines River and Working Man, the downtempo somewhat kept the light mood in somber tone though retaining a burst of energy heard in the instrumental bridge. In another song, SouthSide heard some soulful blues sound not only in the music but also in the vocals. The Shams performed this one with a gritty feel (thanks to the harmonic rhythms) in the song that sent cool shivers down this reviewer's spine. She also suggests checking out the heart-wrenching ballad (she apologizes for not giving its song title) ...but it truly brought out the emotions and angst heard in the vocals. Catch this band throughout the summer when they rock the stage again at the Beat Kitchen on July 8 or at The Square Affair on August 27 with Jon Drake & The Shakes and The MPLS Henrys at the Logan Square Auditorium. For more information, visit or

Looking at the interesting setup of Jon Drake & The Shakes and one would have thought the CSO (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) was joining this band on stage. There was an array of instruments from a keyboard and organ (it's amazing how they got it onto the stage) to cello as well as a horn section and violin. Add the guitars and drums ...and you have now been introduced to the Jon Drake rockin' team lineup. And wow! What energy did SouthSide hear from this band as they rocked the Taste stage. She enjoyed the lively mix of genres found in their songs such as Rattles-n-Shakes and 4th of July like she did in The Shams' performance. Yet, unlike The Shams, Jon Drake's lyrics were more of an observation/storytelling style as if he was looking into the box of random people's lives, love, etc. Though having a serious tone, sometimes there was wit to be found inside the songs too. This reviewer suggests checking out the soulful funkified rhythms in an Americana sound within the song Cherry or the rockin' intro instrumental in Shakes-n-Rattles (in which SouthSide felt didn't any lyrics ...just let the band jam) or rock to the organ-filled sounds of the fun song known as Charles. Visit or for dates and places where this busy band is rockin' the stage again especially during The Square Affair on August 27.

Until next time, support your local scene,

24 Jun 10

...unleash hell on us... ~ Riot Inside

Hey, blogspot readers, it's that time of year again - MOB Fest! The annual 3-night music fest featuring indie artists/bands near and far rockin' stages at local venues around town. From Beat Kitchen to Metro and Elbo Room as well as Cubby Bear and Double Door, there was plenty of great music waiting be discovered. However, with so many shows on the schedule, SouthSide had a hard time choosing which ones to attend ...and that was no easy task. The kick off party for this event began at the Beat Kitchen ...and then on Saturday, Elbo Room will host the panel discussions about the business side to the music industry with a special performance by The Outer Vibe with the wrap-up party at LaSalle Power Co. This reviewer was able to catch the action at Elbo Room for performances by Travis Caudle (Perth, Australia) and local favorite, Riot Inside.

Singer/songwriter Travis Caudle instantly had SouthSide liking his smooth (accented) vocal style (nearly sounding like another famous singer/songwriter Neil Diamond) accompanying his acoustic guitar sound. He thoroughly impressed her with the heartfelt emotions as well as the awesome falsetto heard in his voice sometimes emphasizing dramatic angst and frustration. The music certainly matched the dynamic of his vocals in which the audience felt and heard lively rhythms and energy. The lyrics in most of his songs were simplistic observations of the world around him i.e., life, love, friends, etc. SouthSide suggests listening to You Only Got Yourself to Blame (for the passion heard in Travis' voice and music), Getting Back to Who You Are (even while dropping his voice to a tenor/baritone range, his falsetto will melt your ears), Singles (a song about re-inventing yourself in which the lyrics presented a vivid picture in this reviewer's mind) and Live This Down (plenty of strong emotions projected that SouthSide felt what Travis was feeling). She also enjoyed his acoustic rendition of Men At Work's Overkill (as featured on TV's Scrubs). This reviewer highly recommends checking out this Australian singer/songwriter Travis Caudle wherever his travels in the US take him next or visit him in Perth if you live in the land down under (extra 10 SouthSide points if someone can tell her who did that song reference). For more information, visit or

There can't be a mob without a riot being involved, blogspot readers. This year's Fest featured the awesome and dynamic rock sounds of Riot Inside as loyal fans packed the basement lounge to see them rockin' the stage. For over a year, this rising local (as well as popular) band has been making quite a name (and causing a few "riots" here and there) for itself in Chicago's scene. Fans cannot get enough of the BANG and excitement Riot brings to every performance. Gary (front man on vocals) and the guys always had their "game" faces on while pounding the stage with lots of energy and themselves into the music. And even though SouthSide has seen and reviewed them numerous of times, she could tell this MOB Fest set truly meant something special for them. Riot added a few extra riffs during the instrumentals and more Gary-ness in his charismatic stage persona and vocals in the lyrics. It was hot observing each Riot member working the stage and crowd. It's very hard picking just one song in which this reviewer should suggest listening by this band however she selected the following: Wicked Games (plenty of smooth criminal sexiness hitting the stage ...also, ladies, this is the moment of the performance when Gary starts stripping off his shirt) ...King (deep falsettos ...fine example of how powerful his vocals can be while he charms the crowd along with the band rockin' hard with energized riffs at the instrumental bridge - it kept this crowd screaming for more) ...and Levitate (always a Riot crowd pleaser that closed out their MOB Fest show). SouthSide also suggests checking out Sex On Sunday (S.O.S. - SouthSide patent-pending, folks) - this band got down and sexily dirty with this gritty rock song for its fans. She liked the fact that it brought them out of their "normal" sound by performing an 80s-esque style of rock - big on riffs and sound with head banging action. It was a wonderful lead-in for Castro's (the hardest working drummer for Riot) smokin' hot solo before Higher, blogspot readers. This reviewer hopes to see Riot Inside making its next step within their (music) evolution which includes more rockin' songs like S.O.S. into their performances. For more information, visit, or

Until next time, support your local scene,