Tuesday, March 29, 2011

25 Mar 11

...we're ridin' UFOs... ~ Andy Metz

Hey, blogspot readers, it's finally Friday ...and that means a long night of partying for SouthSide! Tonight's fun festivities got off to a rockin' start at Elbo Room for Andy Metz and The Crooks on stage. Then afterwards, it was off to NEO to stop the lunatics from taking over the "asylum" at this themed party. SouthSide had a fun time at this nightclub ("hidden" behind a retail store in the Lincoln Park area)where the fashionable industrial/vamp scene hang out ...cool lights and effects ...vibin' industrial remixes (like David Bowie's Let's Dance and Eddie Murphy's Party All of the Time) by DJs which one has plenty of space to show off their best moves on the dance floor ... an eclectic atmosphere (as well as seating) that attracts a wonderful view people watching. If dancing to the latest industrial steps not your thing, then cozy up to the bar crowd and enjoy your favorite drink prepared by the staff. Tonight's main feature during this particular night was a steamy yet naughty burlesque show and photo opportunities with GlitterGuts. Visit http://www.neo-chicago.com/ for more details about this nightclub.

Well ...SouthSide would like to admit something - she lost a bet. More about that later in this review. Andy Metz along with The Crooks and special guests - in a nutshell, one unique rockin' performance! This singer/songwriter combined a little of everything (acoustic, alternative, rock and hiphop/rap) into his show which had this audience groovin' to the vibrant as well as energetic sound. After popping onto the stage with a BANG during the opening song, Andy got the night rolling by energizing the basement lounge to Ready To Roll in which SouthSide instantly felt the vibe of band's momentum. Also this was one of many moments this artist showed off his mad skils at the art of lyrical verse (rap) within a rockin' alternative sound, blogspot readers. In one particular song, Andy didn't miss a single beat with his lyrical rap skills while The Crooks performed a steady alternative rock groove. This reviewer was quite surprised how part of the rap/hiphop sound naturally fit so well within this music genre ...easily flowing to the melodic tempos and rhythmic guitar riffs. Andy and The Crooks even rocked the stage with a standard 4-count rap/hiphop beat but surprisingly done very well inside a lively alternative/rock rhythm at one point of this performance.

Yet, blogspot readers, Andy's performance didn't solely feature just him expressing his lyrical skills on the mic. During another song mid way thru this set, Brian (that loveable Elbo Room door guy) electrified the stage with not only his energy but also his phenominal skills at lyrical rap on the mic. Now this was where and when SouthSide lost her bet with him ...not expecting that he had mad skills (and more) while performing on stage with Andy. Another featured performer named Seth also rocked the stage with his mad lyrical skills as well as complimented Andy's lyrical style and music for a few songs. This performer had the audience feeling the vibrant yet fiery momentum of his voice that was full of expressive aggression and frustration. SouthSide rocked to Andy's songs like Just A Friend (that combined a downtempo pace with an acoustic tone and lyrical hiphop/rap) and the trippy space/psychedelic rock of UFOs (electric vibrations under an upbeat tempo).

As far as the bet goes (made with Brian), blogspot readers, SouthSide admits he can rap ...and she highly recommends checking out Andy Metz along with The Crooks at their next show. Fans will definitely enjoy the unique combination of alternative/rock with the lyrical energy of hiphop/rap rockin' their ears. Visit http://www.andymetz.com or on Facebook for more information.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, March 25, 2011

24 Mar 11 - Project Exploration's Girls Health & Science Day

It's about inspiring the young mind of today's teenage girl as well as equipping her with the general knowledge about respecting herself and her body, blogspot readers. Various student representative from schools like ACE Technical Charter High School, Perspectives - Rodney D. Joslin, and Yound Women's Leadership Charter School attended Project Exploration's annual Girls Health & Science Day. In its eleventh year, this one of a kind conference geared for young ladies in grades 7 thru 10 was held at School of Social Service Administration, located near University of Chicago Hospital and campus. These student representatives were encouraged to address concerns and ask questions in which they would receive frank yet direct answers during their group sessions without the snickering and giggling.

The confernece opened with Keynote Speaker, Gladys Nash, R.N. advising the young ladies to think of key events (experiences) and role models effecting and shaping their lives as well as being careful who they choose as their role model. Then she asked the entire group to consider a vision and set a legacy with the challenge of making life happen for themselves. Ms. Nash reminded the ladies of two very important things "...today did not just happen..." and "...this day is for me and I must make the most of it..." before lastly advising them to take advantage of this conference. With that sound advice to start their day, the young ladies were split up into their respective groups to began the day of informative sessions. To get a better perspective of this conference, SouthSide spent her day covering each of the five student groups while at the workshops offered.

"...no one is perfect ...we all have flaws..."

SouthSide began the day by attending the Pressures! Pressures! Pressures! workshop with Group 5 (Mikki, group leader) that was presented by Girl Scouts. This enlightening session taught the young ladies how to handle pressure from themselves (and others) and media on what the ideal "perfect" person should be, blogspot readers. Actually, there's no "perfect" person, shape, body, et al - they were told it's simply subjective by their own opinion alone ...what one's idea of "perfect" may not be theirs. Throughout this workshop, postive music was played with inspirational songs by such artists Christina Aguilera to help the young ladies feel their self worth while being told "...you are not your hair, your thighs ...your body... you are your heritage ...love the way you look..." The principle speakers Ms CJ (a former petite model) and Teslyn (a full figured model) inspired all to dream and dream big reminding them there's no quick fix diet to lose weight - eating right and exercise is the way to go. This session also showed the young ladies how our perception of beauty is (grossly) distorted via video demonstration on what's done to create the "perfect" image for advertisement with a few computer clicks. The session ended with a quick look at a timeline of how the perception of beauty gradually changed from 1900s (the voluptous look) to 2000 (Tyra Banks, et al) and the participants creating a vision board of their own. After the session, SouthSide asked Tesyln if modeling is easy it seems to appear to which she replied "...it's fun but hard work for approximately one hour of work ...[it's] more than posing..." Both Ms CJ and Teslyn relayed stories about dealing with agencies, losing weight and wearing fashions even if ugly to make it look fun.

"...if there's trust, there should be no jealousy..."

Next SouthSide attended How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Group 2 (Katina, group leader) which was presented by Between Friends, a Rogers Park organization offering services in domestic violence help and to counseling and prevention education. Speakers Yolonda and Erica began the workshop with a quick exercise for the participant by having them close their eyes and imagine the "perfect" Sam before running through a few scenarios. The scenarios (i.e. Sam accuses them of cheating or Sam's getting progressively possessive) read had the young ladies choosing whether they would "stay" or "leave" their boyfriend (or girlfriend) Sam. This, blogspot readers, was simply more than an exercise ...it was a teaching tool on how a relationship starts off in the "honeymoon" phase yet gradually (and dangerously) moves toward an abusive cycle. Though each participant "failed", they were allowed to explain their reasoning for wanting to "stay" or "leave" during certain scenarios especially when "Sam" became too controlling and possessive. The young ladies were taught the warning signs (i.e. buying their love, excessive jealousy, physical force, etc) as well as told they have the power (and control) of the relationship. They also learned about 3,000 women a year are killed by domestic violence and take responsibility for allowing the person get away with the warning signs even after identifying the problem(s), breaking up and returing to that same person. Yes, women do abuse men however that goes unreported while 95% of the time it's men abusing women. The young ladies left knowing it's easy to get into an abusive relationship but it's so hard to get out of it and how to have a healthy relationship. Later, SouthSide asked Yolonda what she hoped the participants took from this informative seesion and she replied "...[to] realize they deserve a healthy relationship and can have it..." She also stated the media doesn't do a good job portraying that to today's youth.

Before breaking for lunch, SouthSide hung out with Group 4 (Amaris, group leader) during their Fast Forward workshop, presented by About Face Theatre (http://www.aboutfacetheatre.com). This lively as well as interactive workshop opened with a shorter version of the group's current play about realistic subjects facing today's teens - sex education, coming out, sex and HIV/pregnancy. Based on a series of true stories, these (as well as many more) are barely the tip of iceberg, blogspot readers, of what they have to encounter yet the sensitive subject matter and information was handled openly and respectedly in a fun tone without overwhelming them. Sara and her group of players kept the discussions informative as the participants were asked to call out what they remembered about the play - most remembered the condoms. All fun aside, these young ladies were told that condoms are not evil ...but in fact, good and a safe way to protect themselves from STDs and HIV. With some time left to spare, a small group of participants performed a small skit titled "The Class" in which gave a deeper and thought-provoking glimpse at what teens actually think and feel about using condoms. In reality, most believe they don't need to use a condom while many believe won't get pregnant or HIV(or any other STDs) - what an alarming notion. The young ladies left the group knowing two things - having a condom does not make you a slut (really a smart a person) and high school is not always a safe place to come out. The workshop ended with a quick lesson in what L(esbian) G(ay) B(isexual) T(ransgender) Q(uestioning/Queer) A(lly) meant within the gay community. Personally for Sara, Q stood for something positive than its negative connotation over the years before asking the girls what does it mean to be Ally.

"...need to know the business and how to handle it before someone's all up in your business..."

After a delicious lunch break, it was back to business with the young ladies of Group 1 (Jeanne, group leader) during their Taking Care of Business workshop presented by S.T.A.R. (Sisters Talking About Respect) Consulting. These lively (and energetic) group of young ladies split into 3 different groups (at first) to work at 3 stations (Reproductive System, STDs, Sex) for one minute and then switch moving clockwise to the next. At each of these stations, they were encouraged to write what they know or heard about each subject - the answers might astound you, blogspot readers, however it was an interesting look at what they do know. The workshop leader's motto was all about "keeping it real" ...and keeping it real was what she truly did during this informative session. She talked to the group frankly, openly and honestly that (A) reproductive system is something they need to know what it is and how to take care of it; (b) STDs are preventable and avoidable as well as knowing the symptoms and signs; and (C) sex is kissing, touching, oral, anal and vaginal intercourse and a way you can transmit a STD. She told them the following two points "...it's not about birth control but self control..." and "...proper planning prevents poor performance..." These young ladies were equipped with the knowledge about the three purposes of a vagina (including warning signs - itching, burning and/or smelling bad; how to properly wipe oneself, and more) and the menstrual cycle/ovulation (how to predict their next cycle and when they're ovulating). Plus they were told the important factors that could effect a regular menstrual cycle (stress, diet, weight) advising them to drink plenty of water and eat healthy before they left to attend their next session.

Last on SouthSide's agenda during Girls Health & Science Day was attending The Five Fingers of Self Defense with Group 3 (Kendra, group leader). This highly interactive session, presented by Thousand Waves Martial Arts and Self-Defense Center black belt instructors Kate and Jessica, equipped the young ladies with helpful techniques using the five fingers of self-defense - THINK, YELL, RUN, FIGHT and TELL. After given a color (either blue or green) upon entering, the participants (during certain parts of this sesson) had opportunities to practice with the instructors on what was taught to them. They learned how to stop and/or avoid violence by loudly saying "NO" to it as well as in depth points about each of the five fingers. The young ladies learned prevention, awareness and attidude during THINK to making a loud noise with their voice in YELL and avoid if they can, confront if they must as well as have a plan and don't move from a public to a private place in RUN. During FIGHT, the participants were told it's a serious choice and their right before learning some techniques to defend themselves such as the bear claw/rake and jabbing a person at the knees by kicking with their heel straight up. This active session ended on a meditative and positive note when the instructors taught the young ladies how to calm themselves down before standing in a close circle to say what they would take from this workshop.

The conference ended with a group Q & A session in the main lobby in which the panel, representatives from University of Chicago Medical Center, answered questions submitted anonymously by the attendees. Such questions (i.e. can I be on birth control without my parent's consent ...when is it okay to have sex) were answered respectedly and professionally as well as honestly even though one question did stump the panel because the answer could be subjective to that person's opinion. The young ladies did address other concerns and comments such as being picked on to how to inform a friend about her boyfriend without sounding jealous and other issues. SouthSide was highly impressed how respectfully the young ladies handled themselves during this time as well as offering sound advice and opinions to each other. She wished there was a conference like Project Exploration's Girls Health & Science Day when she was a teen (eons ago) to guide and equip her with what these young ladies were told today. Many of the young ladies expressed how they enjoyed the sessions however Jasmine, a 7th grader at University of Chicago Woodlawn School had this to add "...[it] teaches me [the] tools on how to be a woman ...and having a healthy relationship..."

And what were their adult chaperones and teachers doing while the students were in session? They attended their own workshops in the Adult Track Programs on subjects that dealt with Pleasure Matter: A Sex-Positive Approach to Rape Prevention and Sex Health Education that Works! SouthSide spoke with a few of the adults asking their opinions about today's conference and here's what some had to say: "...wished this was available for my own children ...[very] helpful and absolutely necessary..." - Elizabeth Pagan representing Telpochcalli School, who also planned to speak to her adult children about what she learned; first time participant, Angela Harrison of Reavis Elementary said "...very nice and very informative ...[it had] a lot of helpful information not just for young girls but all teens..." and Diane Hawist of Amundsen High School had this to add "...very informative ...and current ...learn more each year..." She also stated that she brings a different teacher each year to this conference and always receives a positive feedback from the girls adding one final thought "...need one for the boys..."

It was quite an interesting day, blogspot readers, for SouthSide as she spent it walking in the shoes of the new millennium teenage girl ...experiencing what effects them in their daily lives. It was indeed an awakening as well as enlightening moment for her wishing there was more time in each session for the young ladies to absorb the amount of information given in its shortness. Yet she hopes each one left the conference feeling like empowered young women. SouthSide would like to thank Gabrielle Lyon, Elsa Rodriguez and the (hardworking) dedicated staff of Project Exploration for inviting her to this conference as well as the students for allowing her to spend the day in their shoes with them. A huge thanks for all of the workshop leaders/speakers for being so honest and frank with their answers/information.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

22 Mar 11

Hey, blogspot readers, check out this rockin' music from SouthSide's newest friends from the land down under! Touring the US (with previous shows at this year's SXSW recently), Drawn From Bees rocked out the Elbo Room stage last night with an energetic blend of Aussie Country/Western/electro/pop sound. Or think of it this way, if David Bowie (as Ziggy Stardust) and Clint Eastwood had meshed musically, this would be their band. And SouthSide highly recommends attending their next scheduled show.

Musically, Drawn's unique rock sound produced a vibrant as well as mesmerizing vibe from its electro rhythms and country melodies which (sometimes) creates an epic ambience during their performance. This reviewer was completely awestruck ...spellbound and captived by this band's ultra cool momentum felt from the vibrating riffs and harmonizing three-part falsetto vocals (by Dan - guitar, Raven - guitar, and Matt - drums which also included Stew - bass during one particular song) that popped the lyrics to life with dynamic (and emotional) voices. And though Drawn asked forgiveness for sounding tired (this was their sixteenth gig thus far on the road), blogspot readers, this performance and band was sounded neither - it was superly intense and vivid especially with the lighting sequences complimenting each song's mood/tone.

SouthSide recommends listening to The East Wood Fox (track 3 - off current CD, Cautionary Tales For the Lionhearted) which perfectly spotlights the Aussie Country/Western sound (think "spaghetti" movie theme music when hearing the whistling) under the energetic electro/pop groove as well as feeling Dan's tenor falsetto voice pouring emotionally into the lyrics while in a downtempo pace. In another particular song, the acoustic opening highlighted Dan's vocals (with Raven and Matt backing) before wowing the captivated audience with a fiery rockin' blast of music which takes your breath away. You could actually hear the vocal angst behind "...this is your last chance..." in three-part harmony - the energy was indeed spectacular. Also check out track 4 - Picture Show for its ballad of cool rock vibe melting the ears as well as the vibrant harmonies (sung acapella at one point with the music toned down before a gradual crescendo rise).

Drawn From Bees are heading towards Boston (or have landed there) as SouthSide posts this review. She highly recommends blogspot readers there to show some love and attentive ear to this Aussie band at their next performance. Visit http://www.myspace.com/drawnfrombees (or visit Facebook)for details and how to snag a copy of their current CD.

Until next time, support your local scene,

21 Mar 11 - CD review (pt 2)

More highly recommended CDs for your consideration, blogspot readers.


"...this is the 'now' generation who are a part of the wave of the future..." - a bold but interesting statement that opens this rockin' 6-song EP by Shrub. And though SouthSide's not really a fan of the hiphop/rap genre, this band wonderfully fuses a little bit of everything (funk/soul to reggae/ska and Latin flavor) within their core sound instantly having her think of them as the indie version of War. This type of fusion kept this reviewer feeling the energetic rhythms and lively beats heard behind the lyrical verses within such songs like We Wanna Smoke and My Blood (in which features the vocalist expressing pure anger towards a neglectful father and sympathy for the mother in the lyrics with a Santana-like guitar solo). She also recommends getting your groove on with Come and Get It and Cherries (a smashing closing song which features a rockin' mixture of everything from pseudo country/alternative/R&B/etc).

Souvenirs From the Other Side of Here
Machinegun Mojo

Time to get your mojo on! Recently reviewed at Elbo Room, Machinegun Mojo rocks the local scene with a follow up to their 2009 EP - Fundraising For the Devil with Souvenirs From the Other Side of Here. This 12-song album features a Southern/Country rock sound ...even some downhome hillbilly with a retro rock-n-roll feel (1923) within many of Mojo's songs. This, blogspot readers, band's music now is a complete 360 from their previous "devil may care" hardcore guitar rock sound stage despite knowing Rooster (front man) and the guys are constantly experimenting as well evolving to where they want Mojo to be. After opening with a quick Asian-influenced title track, the band moves right into a lively upbeat sound with a couple of ballads (Woman and Jacob Palmer). SouthSide recommends listening to Latin-flavored (with flamenco guitar riffs inside a "spaghetti" Western theme) Spanish Gold and the quick ditty (or commercial break, depending on how you view this fun song) about a woman named Fat Lip Lucy.

The Living Room
Abbi Rajasekhar

SouthSide highly recommends snagging this CD featuring a raspy, Janis Joplin-like voice within a powerful display of realistic storytelling lyrics by Abbi Rajasekhar. Fans will enjoy listening Abbi's dynamic voccals in which she emotionally inserts herself into the words thus creating heartfelt as well as expressive vibe throughout this 7-song EP. Musically, this EP has a lively yet upbeat acoustic guitar riffs full of passionate energy and melodic rhythms (as heard in track 2) and profound sadness/heartache (as heard in track 3 - a perfect starter to hear how dynamic Abbi's voice can be). SouthSide also recommends listening to the radio-ready song having heartfelt realism and honesty in My Heart in My Hands.

Gemini Club

Hey, club scenesters, SouthSide's currently rockin' to a revived dazzling techno/rock energy and feel found in Ghost by Gemini Club. This band (recently seen at a rare live appearance) wonderfully captures the essence of Chicago's underground club scene with its song - Ghost, however remixed by other local artists rockin' the scene/genre. The original title track is full of danceable energy and digital wizardry but SouthSide recommends groovin' to Hey Champ's remix (featuring additional vocals by the band) which flips Gemini's original into an ultra cool club mix pumping vibrant rhythms and beats (with some electric conga sounds near the end). Also she recommends Midnight Conspiracy's version (Gemini Club meets the metal/industrial scene) that's a darker digital remix and Barresto's version (Gemini Club meets Daft Punk-esque sound) as well as Gemini's own nine minute plus re-edit version.


Have you taken your daily recommended (government perscribed) dosage of Xanax today, blogspot readers? Then grab your meds and listen to this 14-track CD by local metal rockers, Cyanotic. Recently reviewed rockin' out Double Door, this band combines the hardcore (thundering guitar riffs and screamo) and digital (techno synths and sampling) to create one rockin' blast of gritty industrial music to bang your head to each song. Since this is the age of the medication generation, Cyanotic's raw sound and realistic lyrics essentially captures the current mood and state of our modern society's dependence on the "fix all, cure all" drugs. Plus Sean (front man) and the band tackles our need to drop out of the human race and become mindless, emotionless robots. Besides cranking up the volume to efficacy, monochrome_skies, and sentient, also listen to the same and programmed - an excellent expose on what happens when becoming a mindless bot (Cyanotic's Matrix-like subject in reverse) as well as comadose - a surprisingly mellow, meditative metal track for that loopy medication trip feeling as Sean's hauntingly whispers in your ears "...I wish I felt safe / I wish I knew my place..."

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

21 Mar 11 - CD review

Hey, blogspot readers, spring has finally arrived! And with it comes new music to rock your ears. SouthSide highly recommends snagging one (or more) of the following CDs reviewed.

North Of Nowhere
The Real Jane Martin

Featured in last Friday's RedEye here in Chicago, this local duo of the urban folk sound recently released a follow up to their Simple Math album titled North Of Nowhere. This 6-song CD pops with harmonizing vocals (by Mark and Allen), energizing music full of melodic rhythms and refreshing sounds (from pop to a funky Blues/R&B) heard in the title track, North of Nowhere and Elise (track 4). This reviewer liked the heartfelt lyrics within the storytelling words which at times brings tender meaning and/or sentiment like in Nine Miles. The Real Jane Martin is always a pleasure to see performing live on stage and their next performance will be Saturday, March 26 at Uncommon Ground (Wrigleyville location).

Word Of Mind
Along The Parallel

SouthSide highly suggests cranking up the volume to hear as well as feel the full effect of Along The Parallel's hardcore rock in this debut CD. There's plenty of rip-roaring guitar riffs to appease any blogspot reader who enjoys their metal done hard with Mike's (front man) raw screamo/vocals (even while in a downtempo ballad like Mercury Retrograde) pumping that angst into the lyrics throughout this 6-song CD. Check out ATP's rockin' songs Nexus (track 1) and Messiah's Anthem (track 3) for that twitterpating chords and metal-tastic sound to bang your head.

Darlingside (MA)

Recently reviewing this quintet's Elbo Room performance, SouthSide had the opportunity to hear the recorded version of Darlingside off their self-titled CD. Besides wowing the ears with harmonizing vocals, the real main attraction about this unique rock band is the inclusion of electric symphonic rhythms by cello and violin within its vibrant alternative sound. The orchestral strings (heard in songs like Surround and Malea) add a melodic touch as well as energetic momentum to Darling's songs. Yet there's also an acoustic side which doesn't feature both cello and violin together but (sometimes) a mandolin with the violin creating a downtempo Irish tune (The Catbird Seat) or mandolin with guitars for a rockin' vibe (In The Morning).

Bambi Raptor

Well, blogspot readers, SouthSide's friends, Bambi Raptor, recently had a growth spurt ...a major one with its follow up to Conception. In Adolescence, this local band has gradually shown its maturity in the music but especially in Roger's (front man) vocals. Fans will enjoy Bambi's teenage stages throughout this 6-song CD from rebellion (I'm Not Listening) to fantasties (Dreams) and heartache (Border Patrol). This CD also features the popular fan favorite Cosplay under a vibrant electro/pop with some Asian influence heard off the guitars and synths.

The Holy Noise
Damon Moon & The Whispering Drifters (GA)

Looking for something out of the ordinary Country music to add to your collection? SouthSide highly suggests checking out this 6-song CD by Damon Moon & The Whispering Drifters which features a vibrant psychedelic/electro rock sound within this band's country songs. It's haunting yet melodic (as seen during their recent Elbo Room performance) under its nontraditional as well as unconventionally epic ...what a unique genre combination, blogspot readers. The trippy electro woven intricately throughout Damon's music can be (sometimes) a mystical downtempo ballad (as heard in track 3) or an energetic hardcore rock song (as heard in track 6). Though Damon's vocals give each song that whispering ghost-like falsetto meant to scare a little, SouthSide enjoyed the deep profound mystery heard too within the lyrics.

Until Then
The Bright White

Recently reviewed rockin' the stage at Scubas, The Bright White wowed SouthSide with their energetic take on the retro/Brit pop sound and dynamically intense vocals by front man, Matthew. This 5-song EP, blogspot readers, matches that same sensation felt during the band's live performance even though not having his charismatic stage performance in your ears. Fans will definitely enjoy the melodic rhythms, exciting guitar riffs and lively danceable tempos in what SouthSide calls a "feel good" vibe heard in such songs like We Are Not Animals and Refugees. This reviewer highly suggests listening to Upon The Wall - compared to the live version's downtempo feel, the recorded version popped with a livelier tempo and edgier guitar sound.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, March 18, 2011

16 Mar 11

SouthSide wishes to express her heartfelt sympathies and love to her blogspot readers in Japan ...she's thinking of you as well as encourages others to support their local scene trying to raise money for Japan at upcoming benefit shows happening in your area.

...that song was an anti-drug psa ...drugs don't cure everything...

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide's partying with the leprechauns on this St. Paddy's eve-ning! Tonight, she's hanging out at Double Door for a chicago.com/music presents show that featured an energetic combination of rock and techno (and some instances, visual imagery) rockin' the stage. The lineup included performances by electro/pop by Social Focus, metal-tastic/industrial by Cyanotic and club/pop rock by Violet Winter as the headliner. This reviewer sadly missed her friends, Seratonin Telegram's opening set however suggests visiting http://www.seratonintelegram.com to listen to Checks & Balances and Villian with a Thousand Teeth.

SouthSide was extremely excited to see this band perform after reviewing their three-song, self-titled EP. And she can honestly say, blogspot readers, the recorded version of Social Focus pales in comparison to the live stage performance. This reviewer enjoyed the vibrant bursts of digital pop/rock as well as the raw depth of vocals pouring over the microphone. This band held nothing back from its audience ...they constantly kept the stage alive with such fantastic energy that SouthSide immediately found herself groovin' to the rhythmic tempo. Two things impressed this reviewer about Social Focus - first, how emotionally charged Adam's (front man) voice would get behind the electro vibe. He truly inserted himself emotionally and physically into the lyrics thus drawing out the powress heard within his voice to make the words come to life. For example, listen to new song Telephones in the Sky (not that type of anagram like Beatles' Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, blogspot readers) and feel the emotional angst via Adam's high falsetto tone with an edgier guitar riff sound. That type of falsetto vocals emphatically emphasized the dramatic side of the lyrics until the end. Or listen to track 3 - Note to Self in which Adam once again emotionally inserts himself with each falsetto range he reaches so easily. Even while the electro/pop was toned down for this ballad, you're made to feel the angst dripping from his voice. Second, fans will definitely enjoy the unique take of Social's three guitars rockin' the stage but not in a hardcore rock tone. Amidst the digital keyboard rhythms, this band managed to keep most of its riffs and chords well under the hardcore with a more subtle guitar melody thus creating a vibrant electro/pop vibe. For example, SouthSide's favorite song Merry-Go-Down (track 2 on the EP) was beautifully turned into a quick meditative minute (and half) of instrumental mood music for tonight's set. Yet if listening to the recorded version, you'll definitely hear the vividness of Social's melodic rhythms within this Beatles-esque tone of vocal harmonies. There was a moment, blogspot readers, when Social did amp up the hardcore sound during the song, Safeword, in which the entire band performed fiercely as well as passionately ...the energy felt from both lyrics and music blew this reviewer away. SouthSide highly dares blogspot readers into partaking the emotionally charged sound of Social Focus at their next show. Though feeling breathlessly drained, she guarantees you'll want more of them in the end. Visit http://www.socialfocusmusic.com or http://www.reverbnation.com/socialfocus for more information about this band.

This next band, blogspot readers, begs the question - are you an angry robot hyped on drugs or not? Save the answer until finishing this review about Cyanotic. Combining the hardcore power of metal rock with techno rhythms (off the synths) and dizzying effects of random images displayed on screen, this band did happily leave this reviewer feeling her first pseudo drug-induced rock experience. Opening with a thundering blast of screamo and riffs, Cyanotic's music not only vibrated across the stage but throughout the entire venue ...infecting everyone within listening distance of their unique sound. It was freakishly fantastic hearing the blood-curdling angst within Sean's (front man) vocals amidst the shredding of metal riffs and digital sampling. And the creepy stage lighting also added a fine detail to this band's hauntingly psychotic experience for its audience. While performing songs like alt_machine and med:gen off their current album, The Medication Generation, Cyanotic also kept the eyes well entertained with a barrage of images running in sync with its set list. At one point, it became visually violent to fit the fast paced techno sound (while the metal faded to the background though still strongly felt) or the metal guitar riffs. This reviewer enjoyed Cyanotic's take on a Matrix-like subject but in reverse (retiring from the human race and becoming a robot) that featured a hardcore head-banging vibe of industrial sound as well as emotionally charged vocals literally steaming the microphone. She also recommends (loudly) rockin' your brains to track 6 - efficacy, track 10 - monochrome_skies, and track 14 - sentient ...have your neighbors think you're habving one serious panic attack because you missed your meds! After viewing this band, SouthSide was thoroughly left reeling in the wondrous effects of her Alice In Underland experience with Cyanotic, blogspot readers, they're definitely addictive. Visit http://www.cyanotic-online.com for your own "angry robot on drugs" experience ...if you dare. So, blogspot readers, are you a robot or not?

...do you want to be used or abused...

Good queston. Also combining digital rhythms with rock and visual imagery on screen, this headlining band quickly immersed its audience into the subtle yet haunting feel of person splitting in twos and fours during opening song, Part of Me. Violet Winter, when last seeing them, made quite of impression on SouthSide however tonight, this band impressed her even more as the headliner. There was more excitement heard within the music that produced edgier guitar riffs and vibrant techno rhythms as well as more vocal power by Oscar (front man) that had this reviewer feeling the lyrics. Compared to their Debonair Social show, SouthSide liked this Violet Winter rockin' the Double Door stage, blogspot readers. For example - Living A Lie (SouthSide's favorite song besides Abuse Me) and Break simply featured more than emotional depth from Oscar's voice but energetic momentum which instantly fueled fiery fan reaction ...especially during Break where they felt a front man gradually on the verge of snapping from pressure. Violet's energy was also felt in other songs like Disease (something you don't want to catch unless its Oscar's raw vocal angst behind the trio of guitars and synths), Perfect Drug (yes, more drugs coarsing your veins from this hardcore riff sound and lively digital groove that incited band momentum and Oscar to vocalize his voice powress) and new song Exosphere (SouthSide's new favorite that popped digitally within its downtempo pace retaining the hardcore guitar feel with the snyths rhythms intricately woven inside ...had that air and vibe of a club mix for the audience to dance). SouthSide highly suggest watching the steamy S/M themed video to Violet's Abuse Me on Youtube as well as visiting http://www.violetwinter.com or http://www.myspace.com/vltwntr for more information about this band.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

April 2011

Hey, blogspot readers, April showers bring SouthSide's birthday wishes this month as well as shows/events happening around town.

April 1 - House of Blues welcomes Ben Rector (from Nashville, TN) to its stage. This singer/songwriter will be performing songs off his just released album, Into the Morning. SouthSide highly recommends checking out his videos, Dance With Me Baby and Moving Backwards on Youtube.

April 2 - SubT invites kids of all ages to see this rockin' lineup featuring SouthSide's friends, The Frantic at their EP release show. The Fold, The Downtown Struts and Shortstop From Tokyo will be there too.

Meanwhile, SouthSide's other good friends, PJ's My Cousin Too will be rockin' the stage at Ace Bar (formerly McDuna's) located 1505 W. Fullerton. Show starts at 8:30p - FREE

April 4 - Feel the warm tropical breeze and heat from Brazil, blogspot readers, at Elbo Room during this special Brazilian Indie Rock Party! The lineup features SouthSide's friends - Diafanes with Eric Matern.

April 5 - Good friends, Hemi, will be rockin' the stage at Double Door with Trials, Along The Parallel and Armored Assualt. Show starts 9p / 21+ / $5

April 8 - Good friends, Seven Day Sonnet, will be rockin' the stage at Cobra Lounge as part of their pre-tour send off! SouthSide will be there wish the guys safe travel at this free 21+ show.

April 14 - If you can snag tickets, check out SouthSide's friends, Thirty Seconds To Mars at Aragon Ballroom.

April 15 - Rock out with SouthSide's other friends, The Killjoys of My Chemical Romance at Aragon Ballroom.

April 16 - International Pop Overthrow will be hosting an all-ages show during its tenth anniversary at The Abbey Pub. The lineup will feature They All Have Legs, The Injured Parties and Freetoed. Doors open at 12:30p / show starts 1p / $10

April 19 - Good friends, Illusions Fate, will be featured radio guests at WRLR 98.3 FM. Fans are encouraged to phone in questions at 1-847-546-9757 or enter the chat room at http://www.justin.tv/wrlr

April 20 - Biffy Clyro makes another Double Door appearance to this venue's stage. Tickets for this show will go on sale March 19 - see http://www.doubledoor.com for details.

April 21 - SouthSide's birthday ...TBA on what she's doing or where she's partying...

April 23 - It might the night before Easter however the Easter Bunny and SouthSide will be rockin' with her friends, The Branded and Beneath The Stares along with Social Focus, at Elbo Room.

April 30 - SouthSide and guests will be attending Mia LeBlon Album Release Show & Party at Flat Iron Arts Building (#340 - Catawampus Art Gallery) 1579 N. Milwaukee. DJ Huggies Supreme will be spinning while everyone can check out artwork by featured artists: Myster Scottie Bee, Matt Luda, and many others. This is a B.Y.O.B / all-ages / $5 / 8p

Until next time, support your local scene,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

14 Mar 11

WOW! What a weekend, blogspot readers! After rockin' (and working) hard it was time for this reviewer to enjoy a night of musically pleasing performance by Darlingside. This band (from MA) wonderfully combined the elements of symphonic stringed clips and staccatos with the powerful blast of rock-n-roll. Its eclectically unique sound from this quintet featuring an electric cello and violin packed the Elbo Room basement lounge for Darling's special double set.

SouthSide highly recommends checking out this band's vibrant orchestral sound full of crescendo rises and allegro tempos as well as edgy guitar riffs. Fans of both classical and rock will enjoy the intensity from Darling's music ...its vividly energetic vibe wafting from the melodies and rhythms that will leave the ears straining for more. It's an intriguing combination, blogspot readers, when hearing this band's songs (even while in a downtempo pace or in semi-acoustic/alternative sound) being performed fiercely and passionately. This reviewer suggests listening to The Catbird Seat (track 4 off Darlingside's self-titled EP) - a heartfelt Irish-inspired ballad which complimented David's (front man) vocals between frequent bursts of violin and cello rhythms under a calming lull towards the end. Meanwhile Ava had the essence of taking a flight with Darling as the electric strings rose and fell dramatically along with the guitars that soothingly encompassed the song. She also suggests listening to fan favorite, track 2 - Surround (dynamic falsetto vocals done in three-part harmony amidst vibrant stringed rock music) and the straight alternative/rock sound of Terrible Things. The hightlight of this night was Darling's cover of Muse's Knights of Cydonia. This electrifying version of England's unofficial anthem symphonically rocked out Elbo Room with a BANG!

Darlingside's currently on tour and will have performances during SXSW. Blogspot readers should visit http://www.darlingside.com/shows/ for details of upcoming performances.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

12 Mar 11

Hey, blogpsot readers, Chicago's in a river of green for St. Padddy's Day! After taking in the traditional city parade, SouthSide continued her long weekend around town with not one but two hot shows in the Lakeview neighborhood. Her first stop took her to Elbo Room to riot with pals, Riot Inside before heading to Schubas with number one fan, Joe, to see The Bright White and The Parlotones (South Africa). Also performing at Elbo Room were SouthSide's other good friends, Arma, Social Hero and Echoson. This reviewer's sad to report that this was Echoson's last performance on stage however the two principal members of this rockin' band, Alex and Brynn, will return again under a new name, blogspot readers.

They're back ...and in a rockin' good way, blogspot readers! SouthSide's good pals, Riot Inside did a rare opening performance which featured a "new" sound, look and feel to this popular local band. She didn't mind that the band dropped its dapper Speakeasy wear for something more comfortable and ready to cause a riot on stage. Gary (front man) and the guys rocked as if they were actually rioting from the grittier as well as dirtier hardcore guitar rock sound blasting throughout the basement lounge. While the Riot band played harder the more Gary emitted vocal powress into the mic and when he did that, the band in turn added more umph into the music especially during Wicked Games. SouthSide had never heard (or seen) them make the audience feel the emotions (from Gary's voice) and the rip-roaring riffs vibrantly coarsing within this song. And this Riot energy wasn't solely self-contained to just this one song. They gave it their all during Riot ("...let's start a riot..." - this should be the band's anthem as it incited fierce screaming from their loyal fans), Satisfy (Castro's hot drum solo/intro always a bonus feature to Riot's shows before adding twitterpating guitar riffs everywhere to the mix) and Sex On Sunday (a whole lot of Gary sex appeal happens here, ladies, as he shows off his charismatic [shirtless] side). Overall, blogspot readers, this "new" Riot was a rockin' exciting fun and this reviewer hopes to see more shows like this soon. Visit http://www.riotinsidemusic.com or http://www.myspace.com/riotinsidemusic for more information about this band.

...anyone who celebrates drinking, I'm in... ~ The Parlotones

After rioting with Riot Inside, SouthSide was ready to hit Schubas with her friend, Joe for more rockin' fun and music. Besides The Bright White and The Parlotones, the lineup also included a Chicago debut performance by Xylos (New York) in which this reviewer recommends seeing despite not liking the one-sided retro 80s electro/pop sound and soft female vocals. Though rockin' the stage with lively ear-popping music, this band performed with twinkling lullaby/melodic rhythms to non-technical instruments (i.e. tambourine, cowbell, etc) to give their songs a unique feel. The music at best was simplistic however after the third or fourth song Xylos began sounding too repetitious ...repeating certain hooks and melodies to SouthSide's ears. The female vocalist did emit some powress from her voice but solely done in gradual stages to be heard above the rockin' sound especially with a keyboard positioned next to her. Overall, blogspot readers, Xylos' performance was good in generating excitement and danceable tunes for this Schubas' crowd but not so much for this reviewer. On April 5, this band's debut record will be releasedd yet in the meantime visit http://www.xylosmusic.com for pre-order information and more.

SouthSide highly recommends checking out the soulful yet dynamic vocal power (by front man Matthew) and rockin' Brit pop/alternative rock of The Bright White, blogspot readers. This band literally blew this reviewer away that she found herself deeply intrigued as well as mesmerized by the vocals more than its music throughout this performance. Matthew's vocal powress and charismatic presence commanding the stage not only fueled the rest of Bright's momentum but the crowd's too. Song after song this front man generated passionate screaming from the ladies whenever he belted such dynamic vocal tone over the microphone to make the lyrics pop to life. And yes, blogspot readers, he also generated a subtle hint of sex appeal (from his dance moves) especially while hitting those high falsetto notes during Red Summer Rose (track 1 off debut CD - Until Then). Fans will enjoy the simplistic yet melodic tone that gave a "feel good" vibe permeating throughout the crowd from this song's catchy hooks and rhythms. This vibrant sound was also felt within Upon The Wall (track 3) and We Are More Than Animals (track 2) in which SouthSide liked the radio-ready energy and lively tempo off the guitar riffs in both songs. Bright's These Are The Days should be taked as the millennial message of the decade for its realistic words of hope and brighter future. What a show, blogspot readers, full of falsetto vocal power and charismatic charm behind a rockin' melodic pop sound. And ...thanks for the shout out, guys. Visit http://www.thebrightwhite.com or http://www.thebrightwhite.bandcamp.com for more information about this band.

Quite popular in UK and Europe, The Parlotones brought their crescendo of melodic rhythms and vibrant digital beats to their adoring Chicago fans. This band from South Africa rocked the Schubas stage with a vibe and energy which kept this packed venue grooving to the music with enough strength to grant them an encore at the end. SouthSide liked the electro/pop feel causing excitable momentum within many to sing along with The Parlotones to their favorite songs such as Welcome To The Weekend and Push Me To The Floor. And like The Bright White, this reviewer was mesmerized by the dynamic falsettos by the front man, Kahn (also on guitar). Behind the epic-sounding melodies, The Parlotones' vocalist emitted heartfelt emotions heard within his voice especially during the acoustic moment of the set. Even while in a downtempo pace, he demonstrated how dynamically powerdul his falsetto range can get during Don't Stop and Remember When - it simply blew away SouthSide's ears, blogspot readers. What she also liked about The Parlotones' set was how each member passionately rocked the stage ...giving it their all so the fans would be drenched in this energetic type of momentum having the best rock show experience ever. There wasn't a moment when they weren't singing and/or dancing between shouting requests to hear favorite songs like The Stars Fall Down to Beautiful (the most requested song of the night). SouthSide highly recommends blogspot readers catching The Parlotones while on their US tour (they will be touring Europe in April starting in Germany) as well as snagging a copy of their new album - Stardust Galaxies. Visit http://www.theparlotones.net or http://www.myspace.com/theparlotones for tour details.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Saturday, March 12, 2011

11 Mar 11

"...you guys completely fell apart like the Chicago Bears..."
Gaelic Storm

Having survived her first French Invasion at The Abbey, it was time for SouthSide to tap into her Irish roots. And that's no blarney, blogspot readers! Tonight, she managed to escape undetected to the warm comforts of House of Blues to raise a pint and dance a lively jig with Gaelic Storm featuring Oakhurst. This world famous venue was festively decorated for St. Paddy's weekend fun happening around town when this reviewer arrived yet her night got to a partyin' start at the Foundation Room (VIP lounge). DJs were spinnin' the latest club mixes to keep everyone in the mood for the night's activities of Irish folk music and fun. Beyond the doors of the Foundation Room, SouthSide had a spectacular view of the stage and crowded action below even though there were two jumbo scenes displaying video of the stage.

Oakhurst (from CO) kicked off St. Paddy's fun with a rockin' jamboree - Celtic style, blogspot readrs. The crowd was deeply immersed into the band's quick fingered fiddlin' and toe-tappin' energetic tempo and rhythms heard within their Americana/Folk sound. Besides covering a tune by local guys, Wilco, Oakhurst had the crowd (on levels of House of Blues) feeling the essence of a steel locomotive rambling down the tracks during Train before swinging to a new version of Texas two-step in Twango. Both songs featured simplistic yet rhythmic sound that vibrantly popped to life as well as harmonizing vocals amongst the Oakhurst members while performing this feel good music, blogspot readers. With their combination of Americana with Country/Western or Folk wafting throughout the venue, there wasn't a moment during this performance where not one person was standing still thus forgoing the urge to dance. Oakhurst's music was too contagious not to especially when the band rocked the stage with a wee Irish instrumental tune titled Rough and Ready. SouthSide highly recommends attending Oakhurst's next schedule performance while currently on tour ...be prepared to dance a lively jig or two, blogspot readers. Visit http://www.porchmusic.com for details about this band.

This band definitely enraptured its loyal fans (as well as new ones like SouthSide) within an energetic storm of lively Irish folk tunes during their headlining performance, blogspot readers. Gaelic Storm (from CA) brought the magic and sound of the Emerald Isle with traditional violin and bagpipes rhythms amongst the acoustic/folk music which kept the crowd dancing a jig (between a couple of fights happening on the main floor). You should have seen how this crowd exploded to life with hot instanteous cheers that lit up the venue when this band performed a few fiery yet passionate traditional Irish instrumentals. While watching the crowd around and below her, everyone seemed to have their favorite Gaelic song or two in which they sang along with the band like Green Eyes, Red Hair (off current album, Cabbage), Scalliwag (a ballad about a gypsy and his girl, off the album Bring Yer Wellies), Rum Runner (about the worst in American History - Prohibition, also off Cabbage) or The Night I Punched Russell Crowe in the Head (a true but funny story about the time Steve punched Crowe for not extinguishing his cigarette inside a LA bar, off the album Where's the Rumpus?). Even though fans were sadly disappointed earlier when it was announced their favorite, Johnny Tarr (off the album Tree), wasn't on the set list for tonight's show ...but Gaelic did later oblige the diehards by performimg it. Oh don't think, it was merely this band performing on stage, blogspot readers, this crowd had their moment in the spotlight too. During one particular song, the venue was split straight down the middle - one side had to shout "whiskey" while the other "light" (while holding up their mobile phones) which also included having them doing a little "dance around" when told. Or the band had everyone pretending to be a "donkey" during the song Darcy's Donkey (also off Where's the Rumpus?) ...and if you didn't, be prepared to get pointed out by the band for not participating. It was certainly a workout riding like a "donkey" during a derby.

To say SouthSide had a fun time would be an understatment, blogspot readers, she had a fantastic time reviewing Gaelic Storm. She enjoyed the band's energy in which wasn't solely contained to the stage but felt amongst the fans around her ...the stories behind some of their songs (ie about Russell Crowe getting punched or about the stuffed donkey mounted like a trophy on the wall) were vividly brought to life with vibrant folk music (even Gaelic's downtempo ballads were performed fiercely as well as passionately). This reviewer highly recommends snagging a ticket for tonight's performance at House of Blues (Chicago) before this show is sold out however if you can't attend, visit http://www.gaelicstorm.com for more information about when and where their rockin' Shamboozle 2011 tour rolls into a town near you.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, March 11, 2011

09 Mar 11

Help! The French have invaded Chicago, blogspot readers! Shouting slogans like "...Viva la France..." and "...liberte egalite franternite...", the Napoleonic soldiers of music seized and captured The Abbey turning this quaint Irish pub into *gasp* a Euro discotech. For one night, vibrant sounds of electro/pop and club mixes by Gemini Club and Tahiti80 along with Chateau Marmont (making their first US appearance) easily won over the patrons by continuously keeping them in a party mood. Oh what a scene ...Napoleon would have been proud...

Before there were bumpin' sounds of Lady Gaga and others ruling the hip club scene of today, Chicago had its own distinct club/house sound vibin' the airwaves and scene. Gemini Club fantasically captured that essence and spirit as well as helped SouthSide relived those glory days during their French Invasion 2011 performance. The vibin' music (without a single break between songs) continuously popped with digital rhythms and thumping beats as well as edgy guitar riffs to give it that rock feel behind the keyboard wizardry. SouthSide immediately enjoyed how each Club mix had its own sound, rhythm, and energy - never sounding like the previous and the next. This reviewer was so busy rockin' to the electronic beats that she also forgot Gemini had a vocalist and lyrics, blogspot readers. At times, she heard dynamic falsetto amidst the digital groove while in others, there was some sounds of angst. Yet during one particular song, there was raw vocal powress rockin' Gemini's set. The highlight of SouthSide's night with Gemini Club was intensely watching the two keyboardists spin the stage with fierce energy full of digital rhythms especially during Ghost and St. Patrick's Day songs which featured guitar riffs and fast paced tempo within the vibratin' digital beat. Gemini Club will be rockin' SXSW with six appearances, blogspot readers, in which this reviewer highly recommends attending ...just be prepared to wear out your dancing shoes! Also snag a copy of their Ghost CD that features a Hey Champ remix (quite popular at certain clubs in Chicago). For more information, visit http://www.myspace.com/geminiclub.

Music, blogspot readers, knows no borders because speaks everyone's language. That's how SouthSide felt while grooving to Chateau Marmont's first US performance tonight. From Paris, France, this band brought their popular disco/techno music to an enthusiastic crowd who welcome them with open arms of friendship. SouthSide instantly enjoyed the fast moving, heart thumping music full of digital arias with a slight rock edge and vibrant keyboard rhythms ...melodies that dazzled the ears and inspired the soul to dance. Marmont's set had danceable beats intricately woven throughout their instrumental bridges creating an air of profound mystery (like Mer du Japon) at times. Add a few robotic-like vocals to the lyrics of certain songs thus immersing the audience into a wave of ultra cool techno rock sounds and energy. There was one particular song in which SouthSide enjoyed the space-like keyboard rhythms performed very vigorously as well as passionately. It literally blew her ears away while hearing hints of classical stanzas within Marmont's digital vibe that generated simply more than excitement amongst the audience ...they were left starving for more. Chateau Marmont easily veni vidi vici (came, saw and conquered) The Abbey in a matter of forty-five minutes, blogspot readers. SouthSide highly recommends checking out this band at their next scheduled appearance near you and she hopes they consider another Chicago appearance soon. In the meantime, visit http://www.myspace.com/chateaumarmont for more details and music.

Jusqu'à la prochaine fois, soutenez votre scène locale,*

*Until next time, support your local scene in French

Thursday, March 10, 2011

09 Mar 11

Hey, blogspot readers, are you in a band looking for a summertime gig? Or do you know a band looking for more exposure like an outdoor festival?

SouthSide's in search of talented and rockin' Latin/Hispanic music acts - bands and/or acoustic solo acts to fill a lineup for an outdoor summer music festival ...no matter the genre - rock, alternative, salsa, heavy metal, etc - SouthSide needs YOU!

This festival will take place in Elgin, IL on August 13 and the organizers expect an estimated number of 3,000 to 5,000 people (or more) attending. There will be compensation for performing - in other words, it's a paying gig, bands.

If you and/or your band is interested or knows a band/musician that SouthSide should contact, please email her at southsidechgo@gmail.com and send her links and information.

Thanks, blogspot readers.

Until next time, support your local scene,

08 Mar 11 (part 2)

"...best looking crowd on a Tuesday night..." ~ Brian, The Branded

Hey, blogspot readers, the free hugs and Mardi Gras cheer continues! After a quick CTA bus ride from Elbo Room, SouthSide arrived at a packed Double Door just in time to party down to more rockin' music and exciting fun. The lineup featured hot performances by Even Bigger, Trainwreck Symphony and Finley Knight with The Branded making their debut on this venue's stage. BAM! A special "shoutout" to Brian's mom - despite this reviewer's playing teasing about tonight's show, she's happy to report that he was on his best behavior. Also another "shoutout" to the local Who's Who - Ryan Powers, Matthew Alfano (with his fuzzy beard), Beneath The Stares and Bambi Raptor for coming out to support the bands.

This reviewer highly recommends checking out the cool yet unique jazz/rock instrumental fusion by Finley Knight in which its rich sound permeated throughout the venue. The music had an ear-catching vibe popping vibrantly with plenty of funky rhythms and soulful melodies as well as R&B tempo keeping this crowd within its vibin' momentum. SouthSide enjoyed the long aria breaks in between Finley's harmonizing vocals (sometimes there were no vocals to be heard however you could still hear the "lyrics" amongst the notes played) featured in one particular song while in another was a trippy psychedelic groove that had a lively Funkadelic-esque tempo. She highly recommends listening to the rhythmic beat and melody of Talk of the Town and the trippy mystery of Undivided Time. Visit Finley Knight at http://www.reverbnation.com/finleyknight or http://www.finleyknight.com to experience this band's amazing, magical sound as well as grab a copy of their Undivided Time CD.

SouthSide highly recommends reading her expose on this band's recent rockin' show on the February 26 blog however what she witnessed then didn't compared to what she saw at Double Door. After absolving everyone of their sins with Jesus Christ, The Branded got down to the serious business of rocking out this crowd. Brian and the guys did more than simply rock out their Double Door debut, blogspot readers ...they thrilled many while delightfully keeping others within a screaming frenzy until closing with the song, Let's Get Down. To say The Branded performed another good show would be a gross understatement by this reviewer. The band performed one helleva show ...even better than their recent Elbo Room one since the guys had more stage room for more energetic rock sound. Plus it gave Brian a great opportunity to show off some of his charismatic, sexy self to the ladies especially during the song, First Move in which an excitable Monique was brought to the stage dance to with him. This generated was huge crowd response (and yes, he "behaved" like a gentleman while showing off his steamy dance moves) beside the ever popular and funny Merch Booth commercial. The Branded will be touring their way towards SXSW soon so visit http://www.thebrandedmusic.com or http://www.myspace.com/thebrandedmusic for all of the details, blogspot readers. BAM!

What a noticeable difference three months can show from a band, blogspot reades. Trainwreck Symphony at Double Door were nothing like the Trainwreck Symphony at Bottom Lounge ...this was a completely different rock band! Xavier (front man) and the guys, looking so dapper and handsome tonight, came out swinging with a series of one-two punches of hardcore rock sound and energy to the frenzy delight of their fans. During their opening song, SouthSide instantly noticed how much Trainwreck improved. There was more excitable umph heard within the guitar riffs as well as more dynamic vocal power from Xavier especially when adding a bit of screamo to the mix which in turn totally revealed a vulnerable side to him ...drawing out the emotions inside the lyrics. Now there was more meaning behind the words within Trainwreck's songs, blogspot readers, that also fueled the band to follow their leader's lead by matching the emotional angst with rip-roaring guitar rock wrapped inside the melodic rhythms. Looking back at her Bottom Lounge review on this band, SouthSide could clearly say without a doubt Trainwreck was indeed having fun rockinng out the stage as a premiere headliner while continuously evolving towards the band they desire to be. The metal-tastic sound had a vibrant energy that this reviewer literally felt note for note that even rocked harder during the instrumentals ...giving their loyal TWS fans a show they'll never forget. SouthSide, though staying for a few songs, hopes to review more rockin' shows by Trainwreck Symphony like this one soon. In the meantime, visit http://www.myspace.com/trainwrecksymphonymusic for more details about this band.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

08 Mar 11

"...get your head out of your ass / put on your game face..."
Movin' On by Carrie Westbay

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide made a return appearance to Elbo Room to give free hugs (to Eric Blair and the band) and Mardi Gras cheer to everyone. She was also there to check out Carrie Westbay (MI) and her acoustic performance at the upstairs acoustic lounge before dashing off to Double Door for The Branded and Trainwreck Symphony.

Here's another singer/songwriter in which SouthSide highly recommends seeing if you want to hear dynamic vocal powress with a raspy soulful tone (liken to Janis Joplin) mixed with fiery emotions from a broken relationship (liken to Alanis Morisette), blogspot readers, then attend Carrie Westbay's next scheduled appearance.

This artist throughout her performance dug deep tapping into the heart and soul of her lyrics to draw out fierce raw emotions that was wonderfully matched by the acoustic riffs. And SouthSide truly means Carrie dug (way) deep to literally have you feeling what she experienced at the moment when writing any particular song. After opening with her current single, Right In Front Of Me, this singer/songwriter immediately let everyone have it - forcefully and bluntly - during the song Movin' On (the best "that creep wasn't worth your time and day" song ever!) while encouraging the listener to move on towards better, brighter days. Another fine emotionally charged example would be Push You (featured tonight in its seventh incarnation in which Carrie stated the song's still in transition) and though not hearing the other six versions, this reviewer delightfully enjoyed this version. This artist absolutely had the ears feeling the fierce vigor within the riffs as well as vocals while dramatically venting the words. There was plenty of anger to be heard yet there was also a (surprising) moment of calm, blogspot readers, even though not lasting long.

Fans will notice that most of Carrie's songs (about 99.9%) were about the ups and (mostly) downs of relationships tackling the heartache and pain of a love gone awry and/or breakup. However this artist did show the tender side of herself via the songs like Long To Be Free - not fiercely performed as she did during Push You but there was still a lively upbeat tempo and energetic vigor heard off the riffs - and Sorry, not your average "I'm sorry" song but more of a sarcastic one to those who seriously pissed you off. Carrie wonderfully delighted this reviewer with a passionate version of her favorite Janis Joplin song, Me & Bobby McGee in which brought out her raw natural vocal talent ...totally immersing herself emotionally into the essence of Janis. Then there was the heartfelt use of pulling a rabbit out of her guitar during her cover of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit. Both covers blew the roof off Elbo Room, blogspot readers! SouthSide also liked hearing the interesting stories behind her songs that gave the reviewer a clearer incite to what Carrie was feeling or what occurred in her life (i.e. like the time writing a song when she was twenty years old that featured gentle finger picking and flowery prose in the lyrics) while in the process of creating them.

For more information about Carrie Westbay, visit http://www.reverbnation.com/carriewestbay.

Until next time, support your local scene,

07 Mar 11

"...our lives are not in vain..." - Euhoria by Emilio Basa

Hey, blogspot readers, get ready for more rockin' adventures with SouthSide! This roving reviewer kicked off a busy week of local shows happening around town at Lakeview's popular venue. Tonight, Elbo Room took a brief break from the rock scene for a more intimate acoustic scene. The upstairs lounge featured singer/songwriter Emilio Basa's soulful Motown sound while the downstairs lounge was captivated by the lovely Abbi Rajsekhar's dynamic vocal performance.

Currently on tour in support of new EP, The Living Room, SouthSide highly recommends attending Abbi's next scheduled performance near you ...and she wholeheartedly assures your ears won't be disappointed. This singer/songwriter not only impressed this reviewer but also the staff and management of Elbo Room. Dimitri (sound guy) said how this artist has "...natural talent..." commenting that her second song of the set could be heard on the radio. Fans will adore the raspy heartfelt vocal tone which can wow the ears with dynamic emotions felt from the lyrics. This singer/songwriter literally made the few attending her show feel what she was singing while hearing the lively acoustic music. There was passion found in the tempo as well as melodic rhythms that were delightfully pleasing. SouthSide suggests listening to the tender words behind the calming melody heard within Abbi's song My Heart My Hand (featured on her new EP with a video coming out soon). For more information, visit Abbi Rajsekhar at http://www.myspace.com/abbirajsekhar.

Opening with Obsession (track 6 off his first album - Sweet Memories), SouthSide was immediately hooked by the vibrant yet soulfully dynamic vocal power of Emilio Basa (MI). Whew, this singer/songwriter filled the upstairs lounge with sweet R&B falsettos in which had this reviewer definitely feeling the emotion dripping profusely from his voice. To say she was blown away by Emilio's performance would be a gross understatement, blogspot readers. SouthSide was deeply captivated not only by his vocal talent but also by his songwriting skills. This artist captured his own personal experiences with such realistic symbolism (as heard in Poor Boy, track 2 off current album To The End) that his words could be a positive message (Euhoria, track 10) for his audience. SouthSide found comfort from his gentle words especially when dynamically immersing himself into the lyrics which immediately opened a flood of emotions within his voice.

And watch out, blogspot readers, when Emilio does that ...his acoustic sound will definitely match the fierce passion of his voice. For example during Tomorrow Always Dies (track 5), this artist had the command of everyone's attention by vividly emphasizing the emotions heard within his falsettos but also within the guitar riffs. Even while performing Broken Arrow (the highlight of his performance), he truly wowed the ears with a full range of vocal power and fierce riffs that nearly brought tears to SouthSide's eyes. Yet when Emilio performed under a livelier rhythms but not as dynamic or powerful within the melody, the soulful R&B voice came into the spotlight found in songs like Keep the Light and Top of the World (track 5 off his Sweet Memories CD) in which SouthSide was moved by the ballads' downtempo pace and emotional pain.

SouthSide highly recommends checking out singer/songwriter Emilio Basa at his next scheduled appearance ...he will not only amaze the ears but also fill the heart with raw vocal emotions under a vibrant yet soulful sound. Also she recommends adding his CDs Sweet Memories and To The End to your collection. For more information about this artist, visit http://www.emiliobasa.com.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

05 Mar 11

...can we have some mood lighting... ~ Blue Eyed Jesus

Hey, blogspot readers, after last night's incredible, one of a kind show at Reggie's Rock Club, this fearless reviewer was ready for more! SouthSide's next adventure took her back to Elbo Room to get her mojo going with good friends, Machinegun Mojo. This band was excited about rockin' out their extra long set celebrating the sophomoric release of Souvenirs From the Other Side of Here (the follow-up to Machinegun's Fundraising For The Devil). Also performing along with Machinegun were good friends Shrub (look for a review on their Senorita album soon) and Blue Eyed Jesus and The Fingerprints. SouthSide would like to give a "shoutout" to Wags and company of Red City for taking a break from recording to support the bands. Still looking for a bassist, Red promises to return to the stage in a couple of months or so, blogspot readers.

This Jesus (not Ted Neeley of Jesus Christ Superstar) loves to thrill its fans with an exciting rock show, blogspot readers. Yet compared to their last show, SouthSide's good friends Blue Eyed Jesus added more rock umph into not only their vocals but music. For the diehard fans, there was more wicked electric licks and vibrant bass rhythms pulsating throughout the basement lounge to enjoy. For this reviewer, BEJ continued to amaze her ears with the band's intermixing of genres heard amongst their songs. It's their use of edgy guitar hooks and upbeat tempos (even while performing the ballad - Tell Me Again) that fuels the loyal BEJ fans into a fanatic frenzy at each show. They were excited to hear such favorites Hey Beautiful, Long Hard Nights and closer Velvet Years but this band had two new surprises rockin' the stage for them. New song Too Late jumpstarted this set with a loud rip-roaring bang in which SouthSide immediately like the melodic rhythms ...meanwhile Your Time (new song dedicated to the people in Libya, Egypt, and elsewhere) blasted the ears with hardcore guitar rock sound. This rock anthem was the highlighted featured of this performance for the way BEJ had the stage under an electrifying glow. Who knows when and where (Blue Eyed) Jesus will appear on stage again, blogspot readers, but do visit this band http://www.myspace.com/blueeyedjesusband for more information.

...let's hear it for the mustache... ~ Machinegun Mojo

SouthSide has reviewed a few incarnations of these local rockers before tonight's album release party, blogspot readers. Machinegun Mojo have been known in the local scene for its gritty guitar band feel with a "devil may care" explosive sound ...then turning into a band changing but always elvolving while experimenting with different genres to "find" themselves. Yet, they always delivered thrilling shows to their devoted fans. That was definitely the past because in SouthSide's opinion, this band has taken the right steps towards their destined rock niche after see the "new" mojo setup and hearing the new mojo sound. Besides Rooster (real name Josh - vocals/guitar/harmonica/violin/etc) and the Mojo regulars, there were two new faces added to this rockin' lineup - Katelyn(cello/guitar/vocals) and lapsteel guitar (performed on an upright keyboard stand). As the crowd chanted "mojo mojo" with eager anticipation for Mojo to begin, SouthSide wasn't too shocked over the new faces ...she was used to Rooster surprising fans with something different and/or extra for the show. However ...what she had seen before couldn't prepare this reviewer for tonight's show.

Machinegun Mojo, upon opening with Hannah (track 4 off new album, Souvenirs From The Other Side of Here) amazed and excited this crowd with a powerful vocal display by Rooster amongst the semi-acoustic sound. Yet there were surprises to be had when the band began rockin' the stage with an energetic mix of southern/country rock tempo which instantly had many heads banging to the rhythms. Fans should notice something special aobut her Mojo friends - this band's performances tend to be very intense whatever the genre they perform and they do not follow any conventional rules about their show ...basically come prepared to rock and get your mojo juices flowing along with. And tonight, this was one rockin' jamboree, blogspot readers, that had SouthSide loving the new additions sparking Mojo's fiery rock vibe. She had never seen them rock the stage with this kind of intensity before especially during her favorite song, Devil On The Radio (off Mojo's first album Fundraising For The Devil) which featured some spicy female vocals by Katelyn. This reviewer also enjoyed Rooster's fierce harmonica and violing skills while performing Jacob Palmer (track 9), one of the many rockin' highlights of this Mojo performance. This lively country rock tune featured Le Froix (guitar) on lead vocals while Rooster thrilled fans with his fantastic violin rhythms.

Other special highlights featured Katelyn and her dynamic female vocals which blew this reviewer away with her presence amidst Mojo's downtempo sound (heard in Walls) and gritty alternative/country style (Bad Thangz). Sadly disappointed that both songs aren't on the album (perhaps the next one) she perfectly complimented the vibe and feel of this band adding some sultry heat (while vocally assisting Rooster on certain songs) especially while covering Mojo's take on the popular 80s hit My Sharona (by The Knack) cleverly titled My Shit-rona. SouthSide hopes to see and hear more of her at future performances. Yet there were a few misses during this rockin' performance in which this reviewer does see as a growing process for the band. SouthSide had a difficult time jelling with Mojo's second vocalist in which she couldn't heard part of her vocals above the loudly performed music. There wasn't much soul heard or felt within her voice to draw out the heartache and pain experienced in song, Woman (track 5) or keep up with Mojo's vibe in the lively The Station (track 12) to fully compliment Rooster's dynamic vocal powress. Still, this reviewer enjoyed this local band's CD release show featuring new faces and rockin' sound ...who knows what new surprises will happen when Machinegun Mojo performs again. Visit http://www.myspace.com/machinegunmojo for more details about this band and its music.

Until next time, support your local scene,

04 Mar 11

Hey, blogspot readers, embark on a fantastical journey of the epically instrumental kind. Tonight's On The Town adventure took this roving reviewer to Southside's popular music venue - Reggie's Rock Club. Known primarily as a "rock" club, the lineup featured a rockin' experience full of melodic sound and haunting rhythms the audience would never forget. Performances by local rockers Community College, The Crown and Two Chairmen and good friends Army of Monsters included SouthSide's Austrian friends Lehnen and the Icelandic band, For A Minor Reflection. Blogspot readers are highly encouraged to attend these bands' next scheduled shows.

A thunderous clash of sound and vibrant mix of thrash/metal riffs opened Community College's performance under a cloud of eclectic instrumental energy. SouthSide enjoyed how the band's music was loudly as well as vigorously performed on stage which popped with hardcore stamina. Throughout the set, this reviewer was taken on a riveting adventure of epic heart-pounding rhythms despite tricking the ears of its seemingly off base melodies. There were moments when Community performed a particular piece with the gentleness of lulls or in another with the harshest blast of guitar chords ever heard. Yet it's this reviewer's honest opinion that the use of keyboard rhythms (during certain songs) did nothing to enhance the band's eclectic core sound ...simply confused it even more. Community's instrumental rock sound was absolutely fine without the few notes barely registering over the rockin' guitar jam during the closing number. Visit Community College at http://www.hicommunitycollege.com or http://www.myspace.com/ourwolffriends for more information.

Don't worry, blogspot readers, these monsters don't bite ...unless they're rockin' the audience with its unique blend of dark electronica/pop rock sound and haunting vocal power (by Bianca). After opening the set with the howling call of the wild, Army Of Monsters wowed this reviewer again but this time with its instrumental piece titled, Stadium of Stars Part 1. She enjoyed how the vibrant piano/keyboard ladened sound (combined with rockin' guitar riffs) vividly popped under the electro vibe. Plus new song Be Alone spotlighted Bianca's dynamic usage of her vocals behind the melodic electro/pop rhythms ...don't be fooled by the softness of her voice - this vocalist packed a powerful soprano punch when she wants to be effectively heard over the microphone. SouthSide recommends listening to Army's electronica/rock song with sharp-shooting lyrical verse in the song titled Back of My Mind (a fan favorite that certainly gets the audience feeling this band's music). Visit her friends Army of Monsters at http://www.aofmrock.com or http://www.myspace.com/aofmmusic for more wild information about them.

Combining the dynamic (ambient/electro rock) with dramatic (random visuals played on a screen), Lehnen vibrantly rocked out its second Chicago performance at Reggie's, blogspot readers. This Austrian band not only captivated but astounded the entire audience as they performed with vigorous energy (despite some technical difficulties). The combination of random video images (running in sync with the songs off current album Awake) gave the eyes a deeper appreciation for Lehnen's epic-sounding arias and haunting rhythms. Plus such images like lightning streaks and firework bursts or slow moving traffic (going forward/backward due to good editing skills) tend to give the listener some incite to the music's central theme. Beside hearing favorites Coma, Awake and What Is In The Air, SouthSide enjoyed Lehnen's new song in which the sound of electro/rock vibrated a pulsating vibe throughout the venue. Blogspot readers should know that 10% of this band's CD sales goes to the Charity: Water (http://www.charitywater.org) which brings clean, fresh drinking water to people of developing nations. Visit Lehnen at http://www.lehnenmusic.com or http://www.myspace.com/lehnen for more information.

Continuing where Lehnen ended, local rockers The Crown and Two Chairmen performed an exciting yet vigorous set full of ear-popping melodies and rhythms. To SouthSide, this band's music created a profound aura of mystery within its epic tone ...the sound was so vivid that any lyrics added wouldn't have truly captured the music's essence. This reviewer distinctly felt the passion off the heart-pounding crescendo rises and soulful falls - the tempos were electrifying besides hearing them. For example, in one particular song, Crown took the energetic tone down to a calming lull yet this instrumental piece still breathed life under its steady pace. However in the next one that followed, the ears were blasted with vibrant of bursts of melodic arias between a gentle lull before exciting the audience with a huge electrifying finish. Crown ended their performance with a ballad played solemnly as well as reverently displaying the band's "softer" side on guitar consisting a wonderful combination of an allegro tempo and steady rhythms yet finishing with a BANG! Visit http://www.thecrownandtwochairmen.bandcamp.com or http://www.myspace.com/thecrownandtwochairmen for more information about this band.

SouthSide only has two words to say, blogspot readers, after seeing this band's rockin' performance - F*CKIN' AWESOME! And that's not really a good description of what she (and everyone else) experienced when For A Minor Reflection rocked out the lineup. This Icelandic band after a grueling fifteen hour drive from New York amazed the late night audience with the stamina and energy to perform a full ambient/instrumental rock show ...with more room to spare to grant the audience's request for an encore. You simply had to be there to witness the explosive sound full of vibrant crescendo rises and melodic rhythms played vigorously fast and furious. It was epically astounding as well as profound as SouthSide listened closely to the hidden "lyrics" being sung. Just feel, for example, the hushed lullaby vividly portrayed with the tenderest of feelings ...or the clashing cymbals coupled with rip-roaring riffs within Minor's melodic arias. SouthSide highly recommends listening to Dansi Dans which featured a hint of Mozart-like concerto duet on piano with each set of hands playing an octave higher or lower from the other as well as songs Kastljos and Okyrrd. Joel (front man of Lehnen) had this to say about For A Minor Reflection "...[these] guys are amazing ...[it's] everything you wanted to hear..." in music. And he also wishes he was touring with them - and SouthSide agrees ...they would make a good touring companions hopefully returning for another rockin' show in Chicago. Visit http://www.foraminorreflection.com or http://www.myspace.com/foraminorreflection to experience this amazing music for Iceland yourself.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, March 4, 2011

01 Mar 11

...it's all about the egg ...all I want is an egg...
Tony Lucca referencing Lady Gaga's red carpet egg entrance at this year's Grammy's

Hey, blogspot readers, it was a beautiful night for music. Kicking off her busy March calendar, SouthSide attended another intimate as well as captivating performance at SPACE (located in Evanston, IL). Singer/songwriter Tony Lucca returned to this popular suburban venue (try the pizza at the restaurant) for another one-night only show featuring an acoustic set by Jerad Finck. This reviewer highly suggests checking out this singer/songwriter (currently touring with Tony Lucca) for his dynamic yet powerful falsetto voice, upbeat rhythmic sound and heartfelt lyrics. His performance though short was the perfect mood setter in warming up this audience for Tony. SouthSide enjoyed how this artist acoustically brought a particular rock song to life (plenty of fiery passion heard off the riffs during the instrumental) and then express reverent tenderness under a melodic downtempo ballad in a new song (about hanging onto people we've lost). After performing his hit single, Goodbye, Jerad closed out his opening set with a unique version of The Beatles' Paperback Writer featuring more harmonized vocals (with Steve on acoustic as well) and a livelier tempo with a rockin' vibe of country sound. Visit http://www.jeradfinckmusic.com for more details about this artist.

It was ultra-cool, smooth with his soulful R&B vocals vividly expressing the realism/fatherly advice within the lyrics ...music vibrantly rocking the stage at times with vigor while in others gentle tenderness that can bring tears to the eyes ...all this and more while captivating the complete attention of his audience. Basically that's how SouthSide summed up her experience after seeing Tony Lucca's performance at SPACE. She was instantly hooked by his deep, soulful falsettos with some R&B tone in the voice that easily switched from being passionate and dynamic to downright funny depending on the song performed. Tony's vocal style mesmerized not only this reviewer but the audience as well ...keeping everyone within listening distance spellbound with his fascinating storytelling lyrics. He did more that simply sing the words, blogspot readers, he spun painted portraits about the personal experiences/people within his songs - creating realistic images that popped to life each time. A perfect example would be Two Trains , the "not his true story" song about taking acid and SATs (SouthSide enjoyed Tony's improvisational skills when forgetting some of the words). Another would be Around The Bend in which this reviewer vividly heard personal experiences (probably some from his own life) woven into the lyrics during this acoustic solo.

The highlight of the night for SouthSide came when Tony performed Broken Wagon (off his Shotgun album) on the piano. Though never hearing the song until now, she enjoyed how the piano rhythms perfectly complimented his soulful voice while the band gradually matched the vibrant sound. It was one of many moments in which the audience sat completely still ...held captive by this singer/songwriter's songs. Another highlight came when he performed a song dedicated to his young daughter ...oh such tenderness heard within his fatherly advice to her brought a few tears to SouthSide's eyes. Being a mother of two (daughters) herself, this reviewer understand completely when he meant about loving her always, blogspot readers. This artist certainly captured the art of making the audience feel like close friends while spending moments between songs to talk to them about anything/everything while setting up for the next song. He had everyone fired up with exuberant laughter during his humorous take on Hide Your Kids Hide Your Wife (Bedroom Intruder) song - truly capturing the essence of this Youtube craze by Antoine Dodson. Besides other songs off his current album, Rendezvous With Angels, Tony did oblige his "friend" by performing their personal favorites like Devil Town and more.

SouthSide had a memorable time at SPACE and highly suggests catching this singer/songwriter while currently touring. Visit http://www.tonylucca.com or http://www.myspace.com/tonylucca for details when and where Tony Lucca's performing near you.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

26 Feb 11

"...I'm not thirsty anymore..."
Roger (of Bambi Raptor) after getting Iced by Brian Bender (of The Branded)

Hey, blogspot readers, ready for more exciting music and fun at Elbo Room? There were raptors rockin' the stage in Polo shirts ...hip-shaking guitar rock ...ambient country rock from the South and Branded bombs to be had. BAM! The Who's Who of the local scene (i.e. Ryan Powers, Sutured Psyche, Lucid Ground, etc) came out to support the bands featured - Bambi Raptor, Supersixty, The Black Saints, Damon Moon and the Whispering Drifts and The Branded with the lovely Rachel Katzman opening. A couple of SouthSide shoutouts to her resident "stalkers" Ryan and Bill of Sutured Psyche ...and check out their March 12 show at Red Line Tap! Meanwhile upstairs, good friends Elven Dollar Life were rockin' the acoustic lounge with a very special Eleven Dollar unplugged show.

Their Conception may been difficult but somehow this band managed to reach the Adolescence stage of life without a fight. Sporting matching polo shirts (except for Doug who opted for the cute red-white-blue Rocky shorts), Bambi Raptor kicked off their CD release show with a carnie-type intro to put the crowd in the "mood" before rockin' their brains with Griffin (the angriest song off Bambi's first album, Conception). However, blogspot readers, this little Bambi Raptor is growing up now and it's gradually leaving that temper tantrum stage for something more adult musically and vocally. Oh there were still moments when that fierce temper (provided by Kenneth on bass) appeared yet it was more subdued allowing the band to expand towards calmer songs ...thus allowing them to have fun while performing on stage. And the guys of Bambi Raptor were having plenty of fun during one of their best performances seen so far. After getting Iced by Brian Bender (of The Branded), Bambi rocked the crowd with I'm Not Listening (track 1 off Adolescence) which featured some keyboard effects mixed with band's fantastical guitar sound and percussions. The one thing blogspot readers will notice about this song (as well as the others of this new 6-song album) how rather "calm" Bambi Raptor can be. Yes, it was quite alarming not to hear the emotional screamo angst over the microphone but SouthSide enjoyed seeing the maturity presenting itself. Roger (front man of Bambi Raptor) still projected some anger while singing "...I'm not listening..." yet it's the music that actually picks up on his feelings venting "angrily" for him. Meanwhile during Heartbeat (track 2), the screamo angst did return to project a heart left broken despite Roger singing he's okay when he's really not. Performing other songs off the new album such as Away We Go, track 3 (the fun side to Bambi's adolescent stage) and Dreams, track 4 (bubbles ...bubbles everywhere creating that right atmosphere and mood) as well as fan favorite, Cosplay, track 6 (the teenage sexual fantasy side of Bambi), the band debut new song, Alchemy (will be on upcoming 3rd album) in which SouthSide enjoyed the most of all Bambi songs. This particular song clearly demonstrated Bambi's gradual rise not only in maturity but also finally finding its niche within the rock genre ...they can actually perform a "normal" song, blogspot readers. This reviewer cannot wait to see what the future has in store for Bambi Raptor as this local band progresses onward through its stages of life. SouthSide highly recommends visiting http://www.bambiraptor.bandcamp.com for more details about this band. Also she wants to thank to the band for their "thank you" mentioned inside the new CD cover.

In between Bambi Raptor's and The Branded's performances, SouthSide checked out the other bands featured within the middle of the lineup. She enjoyed the gritty guitar rock sound and deep falsetto vocals of Supersixty. This band's front man, Tim, truly put the sexy back into the rock scene by having this reviewer's heart aflutter with his poetic style on the lyrics ...it generated a lot of excitement between band and fans. She highly recommends listening to the psychedelic-driven sound of Spacey (he ripped through the words with such fervor and determination while making you feel what he's saying not just hearing the words) and the soulful melody of Body (the melodic rhythm highlights the passion found within the words as he vividly describes the essence of a woman's body ...very sultry though retaining that hardcore gritty rock sound. Visit Supersixty at http://www.supersixty.net or on Facebook for more details. Meanwhile, SouthSide really got her rock groove literally lit on fire by the hip-shaking, electrifying 80's guitar rock sound of The Black Saints (WI). And yes, just as their poster stated, blogspot readers, this show indeed had hot, dirty rock n roll. There's plenty of dirtiness to be felt (as well as heard) off the guitars in which SouthSide caught Ryan (of Sutured Psyche) rockin' along with the band throughout this set. Wither, ladies, this front man, Drew, had a whole of sex appeal and vocals to make you an instant Saints groupie by the mere twist of those hips. Even his sexy powress and charismatic stage showmanship could have the charmed the purest of all virgins out her lacy underwear during this show especially during songs Cocked and Loaded (falsettos that amazed while being blinded by fast, furious guitar riffs and epic instrumentals) and Screwin' (a revival of a Van Halan-esque Hot For the Teacher but with more kick arse guitars and sex appeal). She does recommend checking out the "softer" side to The Saints heard in the ballad, Tomorrow. The Black Saints will be rockin' again this weekened in West Chicago Friday and in Milwaukee (with The Branded) Saturday. Visit http://www.myspace.com/theblacksaintsrock or "Like" them on Facebook for more details. Then it was time for some country rock of a different kind which combined the elements and essence of a Pink Floyd-esque vibe. That's the best way SouthSide can sum up the performance by Damon Moon and the Whispering Drifts (GA) without giving too much away if you have never seen this band perform live. This reviewer immediately found herself knee deep within this band's blend of rock, country and ambient sound thus liking the dark melodic tone Damon's music projected itself. She also liked how this profound yet haunting vibe perfectly highlighted Damon's vocals in which vividly brought the words inside the lyrics to life. There's something strangely unique, blogspot readers, when a band like Damon Moon not only creates an atmosphere but also set the mood as well as tone of its show even though not inadvertedly doing so. The thundering riffs and epically melodic instrumentals had certainly mesmerized this reviewer under its cloud of mystery. Currently on tour with appearances at this year's SXSW in Austin, TX, SouthSide highly recommends checking out this unique, one of a kind country/rock band, blogspot readers. Visit http://www.lungsdirtanddreams.com for more details.

Preparing to embark on their first tour (with appearances in New Orleans and SXSW) since forming nearly a year ago, this band rocked out the lineup with another exciting performance. After the Boondock Saints intro on the television screens, the church of The Branded had commenced by performing the rip-roaring song, Jesus Christ. Blogspot readers will immediately notice that this rising local band combines the art and excitement of music with visual imagining (in which the random video/images run perfectly in sync with The Branded's set liet. Each scene/image shown on screen played a significant role to their songs central theme (i.e. Too Kool had random images of famous douchebags including cast members of the Jersey Shore). These talented musicicans pride themselves in giving their fans and audience one heck of an explosive rock show each time they hit the stage ...espeically with Dimitri (on sound) and Pep (on lights). And tonight was no exception. The Branded proved themselves worthy as a headlining act in which the late night audience felt the furious fire of hardcore guitar rock and Brian's (front man) vocal power (with some screamo). This reviewer enjoyed how this band keeps constantly improving its performances by adding something a little extra that wasn't there before. For example, compared to their last show reviewed back in Novemeber, this performance featured more umph in the guitar rock sound as well as Brian vulnerably exposing more of himself on vocals thus bringing out more emotional angst off the lyrics. Check out The Branded's balled, Let Me In, though taking the energy and tempo down a notch, Brian was allowed to make the audience feel the same pain he was feeling within the song even with a bit of his famous gut-wrenching screamo for sound effect. Also the same could be said during Running Away in which Brian really conveyed that essence of being frustrated and in pain within his voice. Performing other songs like Vanity and First Move, the highlight of the night was when The Branded closed with Let's Get Down in explosive rock action until being surprised by Roger (of Bambi Raptor) with Smirnoff Ice. Visit http://www.thebrandedmusic.com or http://www.myspace.com/thebrandedmusic for more details for this band's upcoming tour dates and appearances.

Until next time, support your local scene,