Monday, April 25, 2011

23 Apr 11

"...if you were my first..." ~ Brian of The Branded

Happy Birthday, SouthSide (as well as Masta Shen of The Branded and Erik of Beneath The Stares)! Saturday was the perfect night to rock out this reviewer's unofficially official 21st birthday (times two). Some math to correctly figure out her real age, blogspot readers. Prominent members of the local scene from Bambi Raptor and The Flavor Savers to Model Stranger and V Is For Villains as well as SouthSide's friend, Thomas, Adam's (of Social Focus) parents came out to support the lineup rockin' the Elbo Room stages. The main lounge upstairs featured an acoustic performance by Matthew Alfano of Mason's Case ( or Meanwhile downstairs, performances by Beneath The Stares, The Branded and Social Focus with The Just headlining rocked the stage. SouthSide highly recommends checking out the soulfully dynamic vocal power of Kelsey Montanez rockin' behind her band of alternative/rock sound. Whether it's a downtempo ballad or a lively upbeat tempo, this talented singer/songwriter absolutely popped with her folksy voice yet with a lot of heart and soul which draws out the emotions heard within the lyrics. For example, during Alone, Kelsey electrified the stage that featured a powerful demo of her raspy vocal style while being accompanied by an electric guitar. One could literally feel as well as hear the heartbreaking tone dripping from her words. SouthSide also recommends listening to Rolling Stone and her new song Come Down. Visit for more information about this artist and her music.

This local band's last performance at Double Door blew SouthSide away. Tonight, blogspot readers, Social Focus added an element of surprise to their mind-blowing Elbo Room performance. The surprise featured an excellent yet psychedelic powerpop rendition of SouthSide's favorite Beatles' song - Tomorrow Never Knows. Social flipped the original meditative vibe into a rockin' mind trip of guitar riff sound especially under the glow of Elbo Room's lighting fx during this opening number. And with that, once again, the band's focus to give the crowded basement lounge another fine rock experience was firmly set featuring music that literally encompassed all your senses within Social's melodic vibe. Besides this element of surprise, Adam (front man) and the guys also added a bit more umph into the music and vocals compared to their Double Door show a month ago. This reviewer noted how Social simply "tuned in and dropped out" thus allowing the powerpop momentum and energy take center stage during As You Like It and Never, Never Mind ...generating excitable fan response. Meanwhile during Telephones In The Sky and Note To Self (off Social's three song CD), Adam truly brought plenty of emotionally charged vocals to the microphone amidst his falsetto voice. He's simply not singing the lyrics, blogspot readers, he's immersing himself into every word for you to feel (and hear). SouthSide highly suggests listening to her favorite Social song - Merry Go Down (the lyrical version can be found on the three-song CD consisting of vocal Beatle-esque harmonies) in which during the band turns it into a quick two minutes of psychedelia downtime before melting your ears with Safe Word. Visit or for more information about Social Focus and when Adam and the guys are performing again.

"...I'm getting to old for this..." - Brian

Now a word from The Branded fan Joe who just arrived from Metro about Madina Lake's performance - "...incredible ...[they] blew the roof..." Now back to your regularly scheduled The Branded programming, blogspot readers, done Hi-Def surround sound. SouthSide said she wasn't going to review this band tonight but felt she had to after witnessing Brian and the guys rockin' the stage with one fiery momentum of hardcore guitar-driven music and energy during opening number Jesus Christ (coupled with scenes from Boondock Saints). If you haven't familiarized yourself with this rising rock band rockin' the scene, this reviewer highly suggests that you do especially while they embark on another tour. This band's live show was simply more than a rock performance tonight's a rock show within a show featuring a montage of video clips (such as The Fast and The Furious, The Fifth Element, Kill Bill part 1, Sin City, From Dusk Til Dawn) and random images (used for the douchebag song - Too Kool) on screen. Each video/image run perfectly in sync with every The Branded song thus giving the audience the sensation of watching an MTV-like progam without the mindless filler but with a crowd favorite - Merch Booth commercial in the middle of the set. SouthSide highly suggests rockin' your ears to the band's version of a power ballad - Let Me In, the popular homage to all of the douchebags of the world - Too Kool and The Branded's (unofficial) fist pumping anthem - Dirt as well as Brian's "get down sexy with me" songs, First Move and Let's Get Down (in which according to guitarist Mike H. "'s about blowjobs..."). Tonight's The Branded programming what brought to you by the non-first response pregnancy test, tattoos you would never sport on your body and the number 42. Visit or for more information about the band's upcoming tour.

SouthSide highly recommends soaking your ears into the melodically epic of hardcore metal guitar rock combined with docile vocals by Lisa (lead vocalist) by Beneath The Stares. This local band never ceases to amaze this reviewer on how they blend the rockin' metal vibe with epic poetry and theartic aria-like voices (sometimes featuring Birthday guy Erik). Metal-tastic opera rock in a nutshell, blogspot readers, in which packs a powerful blast of music as well as dynamic chord/riff changes throughout Beneath's songs. Opening with Guilty Bystander (off BTS' soon to be released album - Controlling The Chaos), the audience was immediately immerrsed into Lisa's emotionally charged yet docile voice full of heartache and pain especially during Pieces For the Fall. She's definitely the heart and soul of the melodic side to this band's poetic epicness - her voice commands the mood as well as sets the tone of BTS metal music side. And though Lisa's vocal style might seem not to fit the scope of BTS sound, it wonderfully brings out the emotions intricately woven within the guitar riffs, blogspot readers. SouthSide highly recommends listening to Beneath's three-part epic trilogy - Tropic Of Cancer (only parts 1 and 2 were performed tonight). Despite sharing the same song title, each part of TOC contained its own sound, tempo and lyrics which differs from the other. For instance, part 1 was metal hardcore with the melody barely visible while part 2 took a more a melodic route yet retaining that guitar energy like in the first however all three parts contain vivid poetic imagery within the lyrics. Also she recommends checking out Mood Swings (down playing the metal a bit for an alternative sound) and new song Citadel (don't be fooled by the introduction ...this song packed a powerful punch of hardcore metal-tastic rock). Visit or for pre-order album information and more about this band.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

May 2011

Hey, blogspot readers, May's rockin' all month with tours and shows. Check out SouthSide's good friends, Seven Day Sonnet and Dastardly as they tour places/venues near you. However, if you're in the Chicagoland area, this reviewer suggests checking out the following shows happening around town this month.

Also visit for I AM Fest Battle of the Bands shows during this month.

May 5 - DJ Scary Lady Sarsh presents The Sky Drops at Shimmer will be rockin' Late Bar on Fullerton.

May 6 - Paper Thick Walls along with Derek Nelson and The Musicians are performing at Hideout - 10p show start. Also Paper Thick Walls will be rockin' Milwaukee's International Pop Overthrow the next night.

May 7 - Kids of all ages will be rockin' SouthSide's good friends Action Blast when they perform at Metro.

Also at Cubby Bear - Your Villain My Hero performs a FREE show.

May 10 - Urban folk rockers The Real Jane Martin will be peforming at Martyrs' with a FULL BAND, blogspot readers! Also performing that night - SouthSide's other rockin' friends from New York, Izzy and The Kesstronics and Candy Town. 8p show start / $7

May 13 - Basket Case - The Ultimate Greenday Tribute will be rockin' the stage at Cubby Bear along with her other friends, The Passing and Trainwreck Symphony. $5 / 21+

May 14 - Ninja Tunes and Last Rites presents Kid Koala, Cave, The Loyal Divide, and Save The Clocktower featuring DJ Intel and DJ Demchuk rockin' The Abbey Pub. 8p doors / 8:30 show start / 21+
Visit for advance ticket prices.

May 15 - Michael Freer and his unique ukulele performance happens at Elbo Room.

May 17 - Rock with the legendary super group of Soul/Funk/Jazz - Tower of Power at House of Blues (Chicago). Tickets are $22.50 (advance) / $27.50 (door) / 17+.
Visit for more information.

SouthSide will be interviewing bandleader Emillio Castillo on Wednesday.

May 19 - Laura Grill Band performs at Martyrs'

May 20 - Helium Fuse will be rockin' Elbo Room's Friday night lineup.

May 21 - Inn Cinema along with I Can Hear Myself Levitate, Riot Inside, Red Novella and Onasis rocks The Bottom Lounge. 17+ / $8 / 7:30 show start

May 22 - SouthSide's Australian friend Travis Caudle returns to Chicago performing at Uncommon Lounge (Grace and Clark location). 7p show start.
Reversations are encouraged.

May 27 - The Abbey welcomes Frontline Assembly, Die Knupps, Cyanotic along with DJ Acucrack and DJ Scary Lady Sarah. $22 advance / $25 door / 21+
Visit for more information.

May 28 - SouthSide's off to do the Time Wrap with her gal pal, Edonna she'll be in costume while attending the Rocky Horror Picture Show!

Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, April 22, 2011

18 Apr 11

...if you want to go to Heaven, put your momma in your songs...
Lori McKenna

Hey, blogspot readers, check out Chicago's vibrant Folk scene. SouthSide already knew Folk music was making a strong resurgence within the local scene ...a large part of that came from local acts like The Shams Band, Dastardly, Jon Drake & The Shakes and many others keeping it alive as well as other other artists SouthSide has recently met like Seth Adam (CT) and now Lori McKenna and Mark Erelli (both from MA). Then there's another component - Old Town School of Folk Music in which plays a major role too. This unique "school" located in the Lincoln Square neighborhood not only holds classes for kids of all ages but also serves as a venue for concerts and festivals. The auditorium itself is quite spacious ...with seating on the main and balcony floors, it gives every concertgoer an excellent view of the stage from all sides. However, SouthSide was told she had the best view in the house since she was directly in the middle next to the sound booth and could clearly observe the stage and audience around her. Currently Old Town School of Folk Music is "growing" - expanding its facility space to a larger building (being constructed) across the street which would accommodate more classrooms and extras. For more information about Old Town School of Folk Music visit Also SouthSide highly recommends checking out this radio program - Both Kinds hosted by Al Finley on WNUR 89.3 FM (or online His radio showgram runs on Sunday from noon to 11:30p where Al features " with a Southern accent..." such as Country, Americana etc, blogspot readers.

Opening tonight's rockin' Folk concert was singer/songwriter Mark Erelli who truly impressed SouthSide with his performance full of heartfelt emotion, vivid lyrical imagery within his poetic words and falsetto vocal tone that captivated the entire audience. This reviewer enjoyed the bursts of intense melodic rhythms (off the guitar and sometimes harmonica) as well as his enthusiastic momentum that lit up the stage while playing under a lively acoustic tempo. This certainly matched his vocal style thus making his words seem so life-like especially when adding some emotions into his words at certain focal points of his songs. SouthSide highly recommends listening to the heartfelt tenderness in Mark's song Volunteer(which was dedicated to a soldier and his family he met at O'Hare airport) that brought a couple of tears or more to this reviewer's eyes. His gentle words painted a not so pretty picture of war, blogspot readers - yet feeling so real as if he had been at Afghanistan or Iraq himself but truth be told, Mark has never served. However with such reality inside his lyrics, one would have thought he did a tour or two in the Middle East despite expressing some harsh disdain about why he was sent there to fight. Also she highly recommends checking out Mark's Basement Days (a reminiscent look at when forming a band didn't involve a video game listen out for some pop references within the song) and Passing Through (highlight of the show in which the audience sang along with the artist at the chorus ...what a powerful moment to hear all voices including SouthSide's joined as one). SouthSide highly recommends checking out Mark Erelli at his next scheduled performance by visiting or for more information of when and where he'll be performing again.

Lori McKenna, a talented singer/songwriter who has written and toured with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, (joined throughout her performance with Mark) had this audience anxiously fired up (especially a group from WI who drove 7 hours to attend tonight's concert) to see and hear her perform at Old Town School of Folk Music, blogspot readers. And SouthSide could clearly understand why. Lori wasn't really singing about her life experiences in her songs such as Buy This Town she was reflecting on those precious moments in life that everyone in the audience could realistically relate to. Throughout her performance, there were moments in which SouthSide saw a piece of herself inside the heartrfelt lyrics while listening to her Janis(Joplin) like Southern twang such as during one particular song when the artist sung about her mother. The tender words instantly popped this reviewer's own childhood memories of her mother (with some pop references of Judy Garland and Carnegie Hall) while listening to the lively acoustic-mandolin tempo and the paired vocals of Mark and Lori complimenting each other. During How Romantic, SouthSide felt the love between a husband and wife in this ballad (written after 23 years of marriage for Lori's husband) as the lyrics wonderfully describe their joys and pains of their married life. Lori certainly tugged on the heartstrings during this particular song with her dynamically powerful voice which no Hallmark card could ever match the sentiments heard from her words. And nicely paired with Mark (subbing as the "husband" for this song), this reviewer enjoyed how their vocals as well as stage presence together fed off each other song after song emitting that warm fuzzy glow whenever they sang. There were so many Lori highlights of the night, blogspot readers, that SouthSide had a difficult task in picking which one she should spotlight in this review because each song performed was a highlight of the night. SouthSide highly recommends checking out Sweet Disposition - which was one of the few times Lori demonstrated her raw vocal power while Mark slowly, reverently played a steady acoustic tempo with some backing vocals and Unglamorous - which SouthSide can totally relate to this particular song (she's not a rock star all of the time, blogspot readers) because just like Lori, this reviewer lives a "no thrills, no fuss" life too with her two daughters ...nor does she have diamond rings in the tub. Though closing her amazing show with a somber song, Lori did surprise the audience with a sort of an unplugged (no vocals over the mic) cover version of Tom Petty's Room At The Top which also had the audience singing along with vocal harmonies as one. What a beautiful way to end the night, blogspot readers! SouthSide highly suggests adding Lori McKenna's new album - Lorriane (her real name but affectionately named in dedication for her mother) to their collection but it's WAY better seeing this phenomenal singer/songwriter/storyteller (her tales about life at the McKenna home were delightful) up close and personal. Visit or for more information when and where she'll be performing again.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

16 Apr 11 - International Pop Overthrow Festival

Hey, blogspot readers, it's an early Saturday outting for this rockin' reviewer! Despite the unseaonably dreary cold and rain, SouthSide was ready to rock out her first International Pop Overthrow fest at The Abbey. Founded by David Bash in 1998 at Los Angeles (where the first IPO was held), this festival has featured not only local acts but international acts at select cities including Chicago since March 2002. Now in its tenth year, the festival name pays homage to one of Chicago's hometown bands, Material Issue, in which its debut album bore the same name - "International Pop Overthrow". IPO 2011, over a span of two weeks, featured nearly 79 artists like Common Shriner, The Love Shots, Million Yen and Penthouse Sweets rockin' the stages at Red Line Tap and The Abbey Pub before the fest moves to Detroit and then Milwaukee. Today, IPO held an all ages show featuring performances by Missing The Point, Freetoed, The Injured Parties, They All Have Legs, and Grammy-nominated artist, Dave Rave (from Ontario, Canada). For more information about International Pop Overthrow, visit or SouthSide highly recommends blogspot readers checking out the following bands/artists mentioned in this review.

Missing The Point rocked the opening IPO slot with its a burst of intense melodic rock sound inside a hint of country twang during their opening song Dreams at the instrumental bridge. This reviewer enjoyed hearing the intensity within the guitar riffs but also with inside the front man Steve's vocals. This musician made the lyrics literally pop inside his vibrant falsetto range in which the music nicely matched his fire and vigor note for note. Plus there's plenty of rhythms and danceable grooves within Missing's music that will get you moving to the beat. However, it wasn't intensely melodic all of the time, blogspot readers. This band wowed the ears with a lively country-inspired pop sound as well as Polka-inspired song which was interesting to see three guitars rockin' the stage with a Polka/rock vibe. Missing even surprised SouthSide with some island heat heard in their reggae/ska sound and rock riffs in the song Four AM. Besides performing Anxiously Waiting and Life So Badly (off Missing's upcoming album which featured a retro rock tempo and sound), Missing rocked the stage with a mesh of covers by The Cranberries (Zombie) and Metallica (Enter The Sandman) before ending their set with Friday Night. Visit or

Performing their second IPO appearance, Freetoed rocked the stage with a unique subtle lead-in of soft falsetto and calming guitar riffs ...then POW - blasting the ears with intense music. Like Missing The Point, this band also featured a melodically intense sound yet in a subtle way to soak the ears into the vibrant music first. SouthSide liked how that intensity came mostly from Freetoed's front man's vocals and then from the music during the instrumental bridges. This reviewer suggests listening to Alchemist (a song featuring less melodic tone and more rock edge off the guitars) and Never Looking Back (a gritty rock sound which draws out the emotion heard in the vocals as well as a fiery intense vibe from Freetoed). Both songs though different in sound retained a certain energetic momentum that highlighted the dynamic vocal tone especially when Freetoed cloed with Patterns. Despite rockin' the stage with intensely vibrant music, SouthSide did have one small problem with Freetoed's set - not enough voice projection in between songs. Where she was sitting, close to the sound board, her ears had to strain themselves to decipher what was being said over the microphone. Visit for more information about this band.

Making their tenth IPO appearance, The Injured Parties took a humorous approach to their rockin' performance, blogspot readers. SouthSide immediately liked how the fun lyrics and lively pop/rock sound cohesively blended together especially after an acapella intro for For Your Protection (off Injured's Fun with a Purpose album). TIP's songs popped with catchy rhythms and danceable melodies ...almost reminiscent of the 80s music genre and feel that had energy and vibe never dulling the senses. Plus this band also added a touch of local flavor within their songs - for example one was about Damen Avenue which was quite poetic off front man Larry's deep vocal tone. Still that deep range made the imagery inside the words breathed life like during On Her Way to Becoming Something Else (an interesting song about transcending or about alien abduction - cue X-Files theme here which can also be found off Fun with a Purpose album). SouthSide appreciated how this band rocked the stage with a simplistic yet energetic sound and lyrics which kept Injured's music within a lively tone flowing melodically while enticing the ears with its catchy rhythmic groove. This reviewer recommends listening to the slice of life within American Comfort and Zingerman's Deli. Visit or

They All Have Legs rocked The Abbey as an eight-piece symphonically melodic pop/rock band, blogspot readers, despite needing more vocals to be heard above the horns, guitars and cello during the opening song since the (soft) arias could barely be heard vocally. Still, this reviewer enjoyed how the entire band collectively rocked under such vibrant (as well as vivid) bursts of energy amidst Legs' catchy rhythms wafting from the stage. However that was at the beginning of the set ...somewhere afterwards that energetic feeling was lost and in its place was something more melodically emo (patent pending). SouthSide cited Legs' music as such because that's how her ears perceived the music - somewhat depressing and moody (perfect for the day's weather). Legs did rock out the venue with a little livelier tune (their pseudo-theme song, We All Have Legs) towards the end of its performance but after the two emo downer songs, the thrill was already lost that she felt from the beginning of the performance. Visit for more information about this band.

Rockin' out this performance of IPO's all ages show was solo artist Dave Rave (Ontario, Canada) who has performed at all fifteen IPO locations including Liverpool and London, blogspot readers. This Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter electrified The Abbey stage with a unique energetically "acoustic" set that featured Dave on his electric. This reviewer instantly felt the intense guitar riff momentum as well as fire wrapped inside his lyrics in which this artist inserted himself emotionally into each word sung. Dave brought a bit of 80s back to the stage with a 2011 twist that vibrantly contained a G-chord to spark more electricity throughout the venue ...SouthSide felt every riff played during Top Down - it was very intense, blogspot readers. During the song Anne-Marie (off his current Live With What You Know album), this reviewer saw a tender side to Dave yet while still rockin' the stage under a cloud of intense momentum and heartfelt emotions combined before offering a little observational slice of life when Patty Rocks. Dave rocked out his performance by having IPO founder and CEO, David Bash join him to do some shaking and singing during Let's Shake. SouthSide highly recommends David Bash doing more rockin' and shakin' on stage with Dave again at this artist's next IPO appearance. Visit or for more information about this artist.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Monday, April 18, 2011

15 Apr 11

...if you want, you can shake your butt to all of these songs...

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide's mini tour around Chicago continued in Lakeview area for her most unique and eclectic adventure ever! On the fourth floor (sorry, no elevators for you non-stair climbers) inside an obsecure building (located on North Lincoln Avenue), there's a little lesser (underground) known venue called The Observatory that's also a recording studio. This recording studio/venue caters to the new millennial generation of the avant-garde, beatniks and hipster crowd it's probably the only place in town where the smoking ban does not apply and you can B.Y.O.B. (bring your own beer) to the show. Despite being surrounded by smokers of all kinds (saw a few bongs and reefer madness happening), The Observatory pulsates an artistic atmosphere through its dim lighting and splashes of psychedelic artwork on the walls.

This was perfect for tonight's lineup in which SouthSide wouldn't classify the performances as "out of the norm" from her usually typical Friday night of rock-n-roll festivities. No, blogspot readers, it was a truly music adventure for the senses that had no true definition or standard major/minor tempo structure. It mostly took on a universal sound with rhythms yet to be boxed in a genre and melodic not truly part of this millennium. Basically, for one night, SouthSide got a wonderful peek into the future of what the next millennial generation will be rockin' to at The Observatory ...and she like the futuristic possiblities of the direction where the music scene might be heading. Part of the night's lineup featured a debut performance by Joywheels (loud clashes of different rhythmic tones and melodies merging together into epic pieces ...earplugs are a must while enjoying the eclectic mindblowing soundwaves), Panda Riot and RYAT (pronounced "riot" from Pittsburgh, PA) with Light Pollution headlining.

In keeping with tonight's central theme (avant-garde industrial/instrumental music), Panda Riot impressed SouthSide with its performance full of melodic tones, electro/pop rock sound and docile female vocals (by Rebecca) sweetly pulsing throughout the upbeat rhythms. This band performed danceable groove yet there were moments in which an edgier rock sound came into play due to three guitars rockin' the stage. And even during those moments, the rock tone still had balance from the vocals melodically wafting over the microphone like a haunting siren's call - it was very soothing to hear along with Panda's energetic tempo. Thanks to RYAT for solving the band's minor technical problem, this band had the audience feeling groove-tastically (SouthSide's latest "it" word of the night ...patent pending) excited through its vibrant electro sound and some symphonically toned music especially while ending the set with a mix of twinkling sounds and digital rhythms. SouthSide highly recommends blogspot readers to personally immerse their ears to the avant sound of electro/pop rock music by Panda Riot at the band's next scheduled performance. Visit for more details about the band and its music.

At the time of this review, RYAT was wrapping up its spring tour which included a couple of shows during SXSW and other points between New Mexico and Wisconsin. Tonight, this unique duo, the fashionable Christina and Tim, eclectically not only rocked The Observatory stage but also blasted everyone's mindset into the year 3000 and beyond. In order to "understand" RYAT's music, one must gaze at the intricate detail of the stage setup for these two multi-instrumentalists. By SouthSide's count, there was a piano/keyboard and synth, 2 laptops (for digital programming), 2 tom drums and cymbals, electric guitar, two microphones (for Christina) vocals in which one was used for digital vocal fx and more. Together as RYAT, Christina and Tim electrified the stage with music so avant-garde that in SouthSide's opinion it was beyond gold (a little play on words referencing their next album Avant Gold featuring remixed RYAT tracks). Those two artists are wonderfully paired feeding off each other's unspoken momentum and vibe seen throughout this energetically charged set. Watching them effortleslly switch between instruments (sometimes while playing other instruments at the same time) without missing a beat or interruption to the vibe should be an Olympic sport, blogspot readers. Yet, do not waste one moment of your time trying to decipher the many undescribable rhythms, sounds, melodies, etc which energetically fueled this duo's electically rockin' music. Simply, let go and enjoy the futuristic fusion of genres and sound from around the world (heard some Asian pop and African beats) and music spectrum ...feel the sweeping vocal arias heard within the powerfully vibrant rhythms ...rock to the eclectic (or at times, chaotic - for a good reason) mesh of digital sounds that flow and intertwine together as one ...sometimes it's quite spiritual as well as intensely fierce or lyrically poetic with a lot of danceable excitement and more, blogspot readers. And that's just barely the tip of what the entire RYAT performance encompassed. SouthSide highly recommends tapping into the avant future heard musically now by RYAT at their next scheduled show. It's one soulfully mindblowing experience you'll never forget. Visit or for more information about this hot duo and their music.

Until next time, support your local scene,

14 Apr 11

...everything's about life... ~ The Hepsounds

Hey, blogspot readers, the weekend has finally arrived! And this reviewer has four days of planned, nonstop fun and music until Sunday to cover. SouthSide will be roaming around town from Old Town/Lincoln Square to Downtown Chicago with a few places in between covering what's rockin' Chicago's vibrant local scene. Her first stop tonight was at Lakeview's popular local venue, Elbo Room, to see her good friend, singer/songwriter Nate Z and meet some jive hep kats known as The Hepsounds. Blogspot readers are highly encouaraged to check out their next scheduled performances.

SouthSide's good friend Nate Z rocked the Elbo Room stage with another powerful solo "acoustic" performance but not done using the an acoustic guitar. No, blogspot readers, Nate electrified the basment lounge by playing his electric (tuned as an acoustic) which matched his dynamic yet emotionally charged vocals. This artist personally described his music as "...rhythmic melodic rock..." however SouthSide would like to add "acoustically metal-tastic" too because there were a couple of songs in which he could jam with an acoustic metal sound. And when he does, watch out. Nate will not only blow your mind away with his fiercely intense guitar fingering but also your ears with his vocal intensity ...Nate inserts a lot of vocal power upon feeling that emotional high off the song's momentum. Even while gently calming your ears with a deep falsetto lull in his voice, you can still feel as well as as hear what this artist's expressing emotionally via the lyrics. For instanace, during Love Me Hate Me, SouthSide clearly heard the anger and frustration dripping empathically within the lyrics and guitar chords despite not so much from Nate's voice. That emotional high was somewhat bottled inside not what this reviewer was expecting however after speaking with him about this particular song, Nate promises to get more vocally angry which might also bring out the metal-tastic sound hidden inside the guitar riffs. Other examples include, Holy Ghost where this artist powerfully rocked the stage with a fiery montage of riffs and vocals - both perfectly matching the other with the same intense energy; during On A Train To Chicago, the audience saw (and heard) a totally different side to Nate in which heartfelt vocals within a downtempo ballad was spotlight; and his brand new song (finished muscially but not lyrically), though untitled, this reviewer enjoyed hearing the poetic imagery within an upbeat tempo that truly highlighted how dynamic his vocals can get. For more information about Nate Z and his music, visit

They swing with the liveliest ...hippest music around town, blogspot readers. They're the coolest hep kats to really have this venue rockin' with a vibrant energetic combination of R&B/Soul/Funk/Country/Blues (and the list could go on for days) and more within one set. And this band has the perfect name that totally described its main theme - The Hepsounds. What a band ...and what a performance! Nonstop funkified rhythms and melodic groove ruled the stage yet that's merely the tip of these cool kats' sound. There was also Hep's charismatic as well as vocally dynamic front man Nathaniel on vocals (and guitar) who literally electrified the microphone with his soulfully raspy deep falsettos. Wither, ladies, because this hep kat will make you swoon and sigh throughout Hepsounds performance especially while performing such songs like Satisfied and All I Want. The Hepsounds kept the ears poppin' with a lively upbeat Chicago Blues-driven song affectionately titled Cold Chicago (SouthSide suggests a longer jam session, time permitting, instead of abruptly ending the song) and a downtempo Country with a sharp rock edge in Falling From Grace which wonderfully spotlighted Nathaniel's emotional side within his soulful vocals (also another song in which The Hepsounds could have jammed a little longer). The band itself entirely impressed this reviewer with its vibrant energy from start to finish ...even while in a downtempo too. The funkified Hepsounds sound was quite contagious as well as it's diverse that they easily can switch from one genre (or combination two together) to the next without losing that upbeat momentum or groove from each song intro. SouthSide sees bright things happening this band in the near future and highly suggests getting to know her new friends, The Hepsounds on a personal level at their next scheduled performance. Visit The Hepsounds at or for more details.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

11 Apr 11 - Interview with Ragbirds

Hey, blogspot readers, come flock with some hip birds who affectionately describe themselves as "...hopeful, joyful, energetic, world conscious travellers..." Hailing from Ann Arbor, MI, the Ragbirds are currently on tour and will be rockin' Chicago's Reggie's Rock Club on Saturday April 23. Though not being able to attend this particular show, SouthSide recently had an opportunity via telephone to chat with Erin Zindle, Ragbird's lead vocalist, about the band's Kickstarter campaign to the upcoming album, touring in an eco-friendly van and more.

First, SouthSide wanted to know more about Kickstarter and why did the Ragbirds consider using it. Erin explained that Kickstarter is a fundraising platform in which artists (music, film, art, etc) can raise money in support of a particular project and fans of said artist (i.e. Ragbirds) can be supporters within that creative process of the artist's campaign. In a nutshell, blogspot readers, think of Kickstarter as the online version to PBS (Public Broadcasting Station) quarterly pledge drive that includes special parting gifts as each different level of donation. She says "...people don't realize that it's a lot of money to put out an album..." which why the band is using Kickstarter to fund their next album. For instance with the Ragbirds' Kickstarter campaign, fans can join at the basic level (Hummingbird) with support of $1 or more to an elite level (Phoenix) with support of $1,000 or more. According to Erin, by supporting the Ragbirds in their campaign, fans can receive special as well as unique "thank you" gifts that go beyond the standard t-shirt/CD combination. For example, at one level, fans cane be mentioned inside the "thank you" liner notes of the new Ragbirds album meanwhile at another level, fans can receive the van cut-out (used in their Kickstarter profile) in which the band will autograph and/or private Ragbirds performance. How cool is that, blogspot readers? Erin told SouthSide that she was a bit hesitant (and didn't want to go "begging" for money either) at first about using Kickstarter after learning about it from a friend who also worked as consultatnt with three other successful projects. So far, the Ragbirds' campaign is going well. Currently, the band (at the time of this interview) was 76% funded of their $10,000 (and more) goal in which the fundraising campaign will end on Thursday April 21.

According to the press release given to SouthSide, the Ragbirds perform nearly 200 shows a year travelling over 40 states which had this reviewer wondering what was their most memorable city and/or place. She actually stumped Erin for a moment with this question, blogspot readers, before revealing Nederland, CO (a mountain city near the Continental Divide and Barker Meadow Reservoir in the mountains southwest of Boulder County) as the answer. Erin said there were other special places that standout however Nederland stands out because it's a really beautiful hippie town - full of artists and musicians. Definitely sounds like a good place to visit for SouthSide whenever she decides to take her On The Town blog on a little road trip. Then, this reviewer asked Erin how would she personally describe the Ragbirds' music to which the vocalist instantly replied "...infectious global groove..." The "infectious" part, according to Erin, comes from the Ragbirds' catchy pop elements while the important word "global" incorporates the band's usage of world music (i.e. Gypsy/Celtic/Afrian/etc) and the "groove" comes from the pop/rock music. That's when SouthSide asked her another tough question - which song(s) should people familiarize themselves about the Ragbirds. Erin suggested checking out Tarantella (loosely based on combined purification ritual and ancient Italian belief) - the band calls this their "...dancing to sweat the spider poison out..." song and title track off current album, Good, which is about being in the present moment. Besides Erin's suggestions, this reviewer also recommends checking out their Romanian Train Song and Believe It.

Speaking of albums, the Ragbirds are currently working on their 4th release (scheduled to be out this fall), blogspot readers, but don't have a title as of yet. So, SouthSide asked Erin how the new album will differ from the Ragbirds' current and prior releases. The vocalist noted the new album will have more of a "live" studio sound (i.e. capturing that same energy and momentum that fans would feel from their live performances) than a "regular" studio-produced sound. She also stated the band has been exploring a few new styles that they never tried before as well as tightening arrangements learning as they go. They have been preparing songs about their travels meant for live audiences - so Ragbirds fans can expect more danceable tracks and fun music within the new album. Yet, besides the band's travels, this reviewer wanted to know what else influences their songwriting and music. Erin replied with one word that came to mind - spiritual ...not in a religious senses, blogspot readers, but a message of hope woven throughout the lyrics. She also stated throughout the Ragbirds' songs, she tries to paint a picture of hope amidst the difficulties and unpleasant life experiences. Then, SouthSide asked what kind of performance can fans expect from Ragbirds next Saturday at Reggie's and she was told the following - their live shows are really fun in which the band sings their hearts out. It's diverse with sounds from all over the world with danceable rhythms and fans are encouraged to sing and/or dance along too.

The main interesting thing, blogspot readers, about the Ragbirds is their eco-consciousness for the environment as they travel across America in a diesel-converted van that runs on waste vegetable oil. Yes, SouthSide indeed said "waste vegetable oil" - the leftover stuff which restaurants/fast food places toss at the end of business. Well, this independent has a found a way to use that waste as their fuel to travel state to state while on tour. So far, the Ragbirds' eco-friendly van has logged over two hundred thousand miles and still uses some diesel fuel however it mainly (95%) runs on waste veggie oil thus saving this band a lot of money by not spending it on regular gasoline. And if you live in Chicago, current prices (as of this post are between $4.13 to $4.29) are way above the national average. According to Erin, "...[it's] an alternative way of doing things ...[as well as] another option instead of using regular gas..." By now many of you are probably wondering how do the Ragbirds go about obtaining the waste veggie oil since it's not ready-made at any service station pump. Erin told SouthSide a little secret - her husband, Randy, has a prepared speech when asking restaurants for their waste oil ...some don't give it way but others do which in turn saves the business from dumping it in the dumpsters and later harming the environment. And like any ordinary vehicle always on traveling on the road, the Ragbirds do experience typical van-related troubles such as engine and/or transmission problems but rarely is it related from using waste vegetable oil, blogspot readers. And the Ragbirds have done a few workshops about their eco-friendly van to show people there are different ways to impact the earth without harming it by being more eco-conscious.

To conclude this fun interview, SouthSide asked Erin if she had any final thoughts. She only had one thing to say "...come to the show..." on Saturday April 23 at Reggie's Rock Club. Plus she added the Ragbirds are easy to find online ...on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Visit or for tour details and more.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

11 Apr 11

Hey, blogspot readers, this band soulfully rocks! Tonight's featured On The Town adventure had SouthSide returning to Elbo Room for a soulful ...vibrant yet always energetic until the last note performance by Lake Street Dive (NY). This reviewer highly recommends checking out this amazing group of musicians (currently on tour) who held the basement lounge within their captivatingly eclectic grasp through the mix of rockin' music as well as dynamic vocal style by female lead, Rachel.

Opening with Go Down Smooth, Lake Street wasted no time in capturing the audience's attention - their set of catchy pop sound intermixed with a bit of R&B/Soul and Jazz in the melodies kept everyone groovin' to the beat. The energy from the stage was totally contagious, blogspot readers. It truly had you feeling it was Saturday night instead thinking it was Monday. Yet what amazed this reviewer the most about Lake Street was how the simplistic band set up vibrantly rocked the Elbo Room stage - a mini drum kit, bass (upright cello), guitar and Rachel, front and center on the microphone. Tiny as it sounds, you should have seen this quartet perform under such vigorous fervor ...creating nonstop energetic momentum throughout their performance. And speaking of Rachel, this dynamic vocalist definitely has some soul rooted inside her voice. SouthSide's speaking of that Aretha Franklin-type of soul in which her vocals dug deep enough to powerfully wow the eats and melt your soul. It's somewhat hard to describe but that's how SouthSide felt when hearing Rachel (along with Bridget and/or Michael on backing vocals) vividly popped each Lake Street song to life with her voice ...even while covering (Ben E. King and)The Drifters' This Magic Moment. This reviewer absolutely loved the unique music spin to this classic oldie in which Lake Street flipped the original crooner tempo into a new milennium danceable groove as Rachel soulfully rocked the lyrics.

Performing other songs off their self-titled debut album, this audience enjoyed the humor-filled tune about Bridget's amorous (sex all times of the night) neighbors in an apartment above her in Neighbor Song (track 9) - this reviewer liked how Rachel vividly captured the painted imagery via Bridget's words the music had lively bursts of trumpet energy during the instrumental bridge. During Elijah (track 7), the entire basement received some soulful as well as electrifying edification upon feeling the band's momentum but also from the dynamically powerful vocals - Rachel truly shined on this song; meanwhile during Don't Make Me Hold Your Hand, SouthSide liked hearing the smoky R&B sound off this radio-ready track which perfectly exemplified an obvious relationship frustratingly not moving forward (i.e. think of Agents Mulder and Scully if you're an X-Files fan like SouthSide while listening to this song) Besides rocking the stage with Got Me Fooled (a downtempo song with a sharp rock edge featuring a R&B/Funk melodic sound ...also off the debut album), Lake Street ended this performance with an explosive BANG of music and vocals when performing an upbeat Jazz-inspired tune Hello? Goodbye!

SouthSide suggests visiting for details of when and where this rockin' eclectic caravan of musicians will be performing next near you, blogspot readers!

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

10 Apr 11

...we're folk rockin'... ~ Seth Adam

Hey, blogspot readers, a (brief) taste of summer weather arrived to Chicago! Tonight, SouthSide's enjoying an evening of cool rockin' performances by Seth Adam (from CT) and local new band, Ivivra Motive at Lakeview's popular venue - Elbo Room. In between Seth's and Ivivra's performances, this reviewer also checked out the rockin' sounds of "stripped down old school folk" by singer/songwriter, Mike Felten. This artist rocked the upstairs lounge with a nostalgic look and feel of storytelling songs full of vivid realism and imagery inside the lyrics during his acoustic show. Yet what caught SouthSide's attention was how Mike performed under an aura of boisterious vigor while pumping deep raspy as well as raw vocals over the mic. There were moments in which his voice filled the lounge with an emotionally charged voice especially when performing a classic John Prine (a country/folk singer-songwriter) standard, Angel from Montgomery (btw, Mike use to open for this legendary artist back in the 70s, blogspot readers) and Hockey Games In French. And there were alos moments in which his voice carried such vivid image-drawn pictures off the lyrics within a downtempo rhythm as heard in the song, Going to New York. SouthSide highly recommends visiting to learn more about this singer/songwriter and his music as well as when he's performing live again.

Usually performing with a full band, Seth Adam along with friends, Gerald (electric) and John (mandolin/violin) vibrantly folk rocked out the downstairs lounge which included harmonizing vocals. This unique acoustic performance had the audience grooving to lively tempos and melodic rhythms as well as feeling the heartfelt lyrical sentiments delicately written inside Seth's songs from albums - Where You Come From and new release, Amplify. For example, during Troubled Times(a post-graduate song), Sethwowed the audience's ears with deep vocal emotions that brought out the sentimental realism found in the lyrics while amidst a downtempo mandolin-driven rhythm. Meanwhile, Song For My Friends, more upbeat in tempo but still within a downtempo mandolin rhythm, SouthSide enjoyed the hint of country rock provided by electric and acoustic guitars. However, the main feature of this song, blogspot readers, was Seth's soulful falsettos making the lyrics pops to life and the three-part harmonies (especially at the close done in acapella) perfectly complimented each other. Off his new release, Amplify, Seth rocked the stage with a couple of "Seth's ex-girlfriend" songs such as Not Sad To See You Leave(track 4) and I Can't Wait To Let You Down (track 6). Both being break up songs (mostly told in his point of view) featured more of Seth's soulful voice and sound while expressing his true feelings of frustration when the relationship went wrong yet in I Can't Wait To Let You Down, this song had more of an upbeat tempo than Not Sad To See You Leave. Sethalso expressed a somber side to his music which brought out the storytelling lyrics found in the song, The Last One (track 5) and closing song, Old Town(wonderfully dedicated to Gary, IN). SouthSide highly recommends supporting a worthy organization by purchasing the Dream Along compilation CD in which all proceeds goes to Speical Olympics (Connecticut) for $5 which features Seth's song, New York City Bound. SouthSide liked the melodic acoustic/folk sound and violin rhythms with a minor lyrical change to fit Chicago into the song during tonight's performance. Blogspot readers, are encouraged to check out Seth Adam and friends while currently on tour by visiting for details and more.

Ivivra Motive bursted onto the scene with a blast of thundering hardcore guitar rock sound and raspy vocals (minus the strain while attempting to reach the high falsetto) in Motor Sludge thus opening the set strong. However, somewhere in the middle, this band lost that momentous vibe exchanging it for something more melodic within their core rock sound (off the acoustic guitar riffs) - this sorely confused SouthSide, blogspot readers. Not saying she didn't enjoy the flowing psychedelic groove and intensity felt (as well as heard) amongst the rhythms ...this band was definitely tapping into some Led Zeppelin-esque rock. Ivivra lacked that certain rock excitment to truly fire up their audience (not just the already fans) about the band's music and performance - in other words, more was needed from them as a whole. For instance, The Snake, this reviewer enjoyed Ivivra's front man Jarred (without a guitar in hand to concentrate on vocal duties) had the audience fired within the band's energetic momentum however the band itself didn't seem to feel that umph on stage. There was no movement excitement one really rocking out the stage despite the song having a rockin' vibe especially when Jarred inserted himself vocally into the lyrics (though not letting his voice naturally reach to the high falsetto/screamo range). The same could be said during another particular song in which the band sounded instrumentally flat during the bridge by repeatedly playing the same solid three chords even though this song had a funky soulful vibe that SouthSide enjoyed. Yet, she did have a few good reasons why blogspot readers should check out Ivivra Motive at their next show - such as their Doors cover of Been Down So Long(a rare B-side off L.A. Woman album solemnly heard or covered) rocked out the basement lounge with a rockin' blues/rock jam vocally, Jarred tapped into the essence of the Lizard King while pumping strong raspy vocals as well as some stage presence into this song. Other momentous highlights of Ivivra'sperformance included the ballad, Nighttime Woman (SouthSide liked the unexpected chord/tempo change mid-way thru before returning to original tempo and sound), Drinking Gin and closer Firewater(a couple of drinking songs in which the band absolutely shined on stage rockin' to the vibe ...finally feeling the momentum while on stage) and Dead Dove(new song featuring a lively tempo and emotionally charged vocals within the lyrics). The entire Ivivra Motive's performance wasn't bad, blogspot readers - it simply needs a few improvements before hitting the stage again at their next scheduled show. SouthSide does suggest to Jarred - allow your vocals to flow naturally or it will sound like you're straining it over the mic while reaching that high falsetto range. To the band as a whole, this reviewer suggests - rock out the stage! This is your show ...not just play the songs but enjoy and love the way they feel while shredding the riffs off the guitars or pounding the rhythms off the (drum) kit even while in a downtempo mode ...but don't simply stand still or you might bore this reviwer. Ivivra Motive has that potential of being a rockin' addition in Chicago's vibrant local scene in the months to come in the meantime visit (or find them on Facebook) for more information about this band.

Until next time, support your local scene,

08 Apr 11

...this is chaos...

Chaos - a good word choice to perfectly describe tonight's On The Town adventure, blogspot readers. If she could, SouthSide would have avoided spending her Friday night at the capacity-filled Cobra Lounge. However, she was there along with members from such prominent local bands - Janus, Inn Cinema, Heartset Selfdestruct and The Branded (and many more) supporting her good friends, Seven Day Sonnet, before leaving on tour. Also sharing the stage with Seven Day was opening band, Hessler and headliner, The Last Vegas. This reviewer has long sought to review a live performance by The Last Vegas but the overcrowded scene had her ending the evening earlier than anticipated.

...awesome... performance I've seen by you guys so far...

No, blogspot readers, those above statements weren't made by SouthSide. They're actual fan reactions overheard after witnessing Seven Day Sonnet's rockin' performance at Cobra Lounge. And SouthSide wholeheartedly agree with those statements for this was one Seven Day show in which the band rocked down the stage with more energetic excitement and hardcore guitar music. In front of their loyal fans and a packed house, this rising local band had everyone reeling from its thrilling riff momentum as well as uncommon use of melodic rhythms not typically associated with Seven's core sound. It did take a slight edge off the hardcore music but only enough to highlight the emotionally charged vocals by front man, Ben. This dynamic vocalist, blogspot readers, put a lot of vibrant umph into Seven Day's lyrics somewhat creating a poetic tone yet feeling angst/frustration (at times screamo) within his voice.

Prime example would be Seven Day's Closer where Ben made the crowd not only feel the emotionally charged angst dripping from his voice but also the emotionally charged sound within the band's heart-pounding guitar riffs by Mike (guitar/vocals), Rick (guitar) and Anthony, (SouthSide's unofficial boyfriend on bass). And with drum percussions by Dan driving home that hardcore rock sound, one can literally feel Seven Day pumping fiery momentum throughout this venue. The same could be said during All Fall Down in which Ben added some screamo angst into the lyrics thus exciting Seven's diehard fans to sing and/or bang their heads to the music. Even while taking the energetic rock sound and tempo down a bit, fans were still reeling from the hardcore vibe (off the guitar riffs) especially during the instrumental bridge. This was also the moment when Ben shined as front man where he asserts himself vocally and emotionally amongst Seven's lyrics.

SouthSide highly recommends visiting (or find them on Facebook) for tour details of when and where her rockin' friends, Seven Day Sonnet, are coming to a venue near you, blogspot readers.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

06 Apr 11 - I AM Fest

Hey, blogspot bands, want to be a part of this rockin' fest happening this summer at House of Blues on Saturday August 27, 2011!

Read the information below on how to be a part of the Battle of the Band contest. Out of state/regional area (MI, WI, IN, etc) indie bands are invited to participate as long as you're available to commit and make the dates for your said Battle date,


The Elbo Room presents I AM FEST 2011 INDEPENDENT ARTS&MUSIC FESTIVAL. It will host 11 bands at Chicago's very own HOUSE OF BLUES on SAT AUG 27th, 2011. There is just one thing missing... the MAIN STAGE OPENING BAND FOR THE SHOW and THAT COULD BE YOU!

There will be several Battle of the Band contests held at the Elbo Room. Bands will be provided with a basic backline (Guitar/Bass Cabs minus heads and Basic drum set and hardware minus kick pedal, snare drum and cymbals). 20 min sets for each band will be judged by a music industry panel, voted on by fans in attendance and tallied for the number of people watching the LIVE VIDEO STREAM of the show per band thanks to

This unique BATTLE OF THE BANDS looks for talented musicians that put on a great show and can win over an audience in person and LIVE online. The top 2 bands from each night advances to the Secondary Rounds on THURSDAY 6/2, 6/9, 6/16 or 6/23. 2 winners from each of those nights with 1 wild card will advance to the SEMI-FINALS on FRIDAY 7/1 or 7/8 along with 1 wild-card band. The winner and runner up of the FINALS (on SATURDAY JULY 30th) OPENS The 2011 I AM FEST at House of Blues presented by the ELBO ROOM Chicago.




4) WHICH PRELIMINARY SHOW(S) YOU ARE AVAILABLE (5/2, 5/3, 5/4, 5/9, 5/10. 5/11, 5/16, 5/17, 5/18, 5/23, 5/24, 5/25)





9) A Member of your band is available to attend the MANDATORY meeting at ELBO ROOM ON WEDNESDAY APRIL 13th (7:00pm) to pick up presale tickets and get details for the BATTLE OF THE BANDS show.

Kayla Chaffee
Artist Relations Coordinator
The Elbo Room
2871 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 549-5549


04 Apr 11

Oi, leitores, enquanto blogspot ...SouthSide fora da corrida para o Brasil! E então ...não na realidade no entanto se ela poderia, ela iria e sua primeira parada seria Sao Paulo. Ela bons amigos, Diafanes, voltou para Elbo a quente com quarto trazente com eles a quente bossa nova/balouçar sons de seu amado país. Eles também trazer com eles um artista extraordinário sobre o elétrico instrumental balouçar - Eric Matern. O presente crítico altamente recomenda fazer chegar uma melhor familiar com tanto sensationally rockin' actos.

Hey, blogspot readers, so long ...SouthSide's running away to Brazil! Well ...not actually however if she could, she would and her first stop would be Sao Paulo. Her good friends, Diafanes, returned to Elbo Room bringing with them the hot bossa nova/rock sound from their beloved country. They also brought with them an artist extraordinaire on the electric instrumental rock - Eric Matern. This reviewer highly recommends getting better acquainted with both sensationally rockin' acts.

There was beauty well as fiery passion all wrapped around an instrumental rock sound, blogspot readers, within Eric Matern's Elbo Room performance. This talently young musician electrified the stage with vibrant melodic riffs that dazzled the ears within a pulsating rhythm song after song. His music came to life at every electric chord performed as well as lyrically (yes, one can hear lyrics being sung from the tone and tempo of Eric's epic pieces). SouthSide literally felt the twitterpating riffs from his fast fingering excitedly stirring the soul with its energy even while taking the tempo down to a steady pace - there was still life vibrating. Basically, blogspot readers, when Eric shreds, he truly shreds on the electric guitar. Besides performing Paperthin Hearts (track 3) and Daydreams (track 4) off his current album, Something's Missing (in which he also plays bass, drums and piano), this reviewer suggests listening to Since You Wanna Know - which had this reviewer riding the electrifying waves of hardcore riffs. Eric soaked this particular song containing sparks of fiery emotions with lots of heart-pounding momentum amidst its thundering sound. SouthSide can only imagine what the actual lyrics would be yet knows no human voice could ever truly match this song's mood and momentum beautifully as Eric Matern did. Visit or Facebook for more information about this amazing musician.

Diafanes (as of the date of this review) were wrapping up the final days of their tour which had them rockin' stages at Washington D.C.'s Cherry Bloossom Festival and SXSW. SouthSide's friends returned to their favorite city with an awesome lakeshore skyline to rock out Elbo Room with their vibrant music combination of Brazilian flavor, world influences and rock. Performing songs off current albums, See Through and Obviously Clear, Diafanes lit up the stage with pulsating bursts of guitar energy and flowing melodic rhythms behind a unique chanteuse-like vocal style by Lorena. It's a misconception her vocals fit out of place with this band's type of sound however this talented vocalist adds the right amount of spice and fire to the music from her high soprano vocal tone where Diafanes melodic tone mostly comes from. The band itself thrilled this reviewer with sound of worldly influence intricately woven amongst its songs ...from a hint of Latin/Flamenco to Asian (J-Pop) as well as Arabian (from the finger cymbals), your ears will be soulfully inspired by the rhythmic vibe. Off the album, See Through, SouthSide highly suggests listening to the melodic Asian-Brazilian combination with some Flamenco guitar riffs and castanets (by Lorena) heard in track 4 - Inside Me, the J-Pop sound and danceable Latin rhythms heard in track 8 - Open Your Eyes and title track - See Thru (featuring a steady heart-pounding pulse through within a downtempo feel). Off Diafanes' album, Obviously Clear, SouthSide highly suggests listening to tack 9 - In Your Pockets (SouthSide's favorite song) for its blast of guitar riffs weaving in and out of ranges unimaginable within its fiery momentum (and vocals) and some bossa nova rhythms that made her want to dance, track 12 - Blank, though taking the energy down again thus creating an air of mystery as well as vibrant sound of electric/country pop sound and track 3 - Unity. Visit or for more information and music by this band.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

02 Apr 11

...I don’t care if the rain freezes / as long as I have my plastic Jesus...

Welcome, blogspot readers, to Saturday night fun festivities! Once again, SouthSide’s rockin’ Elbo Room reviewing more hot local performances burning the stage. The featured lineup tonight performed a variety of genres from Organic/Folk to Hardcore Rock and everything else in between. Fans rocked to music by Always The Villain, 28North (PA) and 20 Mark Helga with WhiteWolfSonicPrincess opening.

Reminiscent of the flower power generation, this local band still keeps that spirit alive within its music, sound, and lyrics. WhiteWolfSonicPrincess put a modern twist on the decade where poetic lyrics about political and social themes reigned in the grassroots scene and the music had a flowing melodic Folk/Americana vibe yet quite organic in sound. In a nutshell, Carla (vocals) and Jim (guitar/vocals) have recaptured the essence and spirit of the late 60s with some modern help from Tim (on bass) and Richard (on drums). For example, SouthSide recommends checking out White’s You Must Believe and Sadness in the World in which one will hear powerful but realistic with plenty of truism about the state of our current society and around the world. However, blogspot readers, it wasn’t all political and social ...there were moments in which this band expressed a poetically mystical side in its songs such as Shadow Boxing as well as songs full of poetically imagery within its lyrics under melodic rhythms such as Lady in the Sand (featuring a hint of Spanish flamenco in the guitar riffs) and Sad Eyed Prophet (with a lively melodic tempo). SouthSide would like to highlight one special feature about White’s live performance – observe the way Richard on drums performs on the kit. He didn’t just simply use the kit ...he used the entire kit (i.e. using his bare hands to give one particular song the sound of earthy drum beats) to set certain tones and rhythms for White’s songs. SouthSide highly recommends feeling the groovy-ness and spiritual essence of WhiteWolfSonicPrincess at their scheduled performance. Visit for more details about this band and its music.

Compared to what was seen during this band’s performance last year at Cubby Bear, this Elbo Room performance launched SouthSide into a confusing loop. 20 Mark Helga, after opening with a melodic classical rendition, immediately jumped into a merged blend of R&B/Funk/Soul/Country (?) and Rock. Deciphering what type of “new” band Helga designed itself to be was a difficult job in itself for this reviewer even though she did enjoy how the band’s music vibrantly popped with its melodic rhythms and beats. Honestly, blogspot readers, she tried but couldn’t fully soak her ears into Helga’s “new” sound especially when hearing a symphonic aria during the middle of one particular song. Performing songs like Fiendish Pleasure (in SouthSide’s opinion, sounded dull vocally as well as on guitar) and Sirens of Dreams, this band did have SouthSide enjoying the heartfelt lyrics that drew out emotions in the vocals (though the female vocalist didn’t compliment front man Phineas’ vocals) in When Snow Falls. In the midst of reviewing, SouthSide did note some suggestions for Helga to take into consideration – (a)need more vocal umph to compliment for each vocalist to compliment the other (When Snow Falls is a prime example) and (b)need a solid band image (SouthSide was left scratching her head upon seeing the look of a country band but mixed with some Lady Gaga-esque from the female vocalist). Yet mainly, the “new” Helga needs to seriously work on its blended genre sound – some genres didn’t mix well together times overpowering each other in which clashed making it harder to comprehend. However if this is your type of band and sound of music, this reviewer suggests checking out 20 Mark Helga however in all honesty, SouthSide cannot recommend this band. Visit for more details.

...not cutting my hair [or] I’ll lose all of my power...

Guitar rock gods, SouthSide highly salutes you! After nearly two months on the road touring (with previous performances at SXSW last month), 28North (from Pittsburgh, PA) rocked out the Elbo Room stage with a performance that was full of thrilling and exciting guitar rock sound, blogspot readers. SouthSide immediately found herself rockin’ the heartpounding, quick tempo energy in between a steady downtempo rhythm pace ...epically instrumental bridges which soaked the ears with their vibrant sound ...roaring riffs that can get the blood (and soul) boiling and yet North brought more than that to rock the stage. They also brought the sounds of Reggae/Ska and Funk. And when this band got funky ...they truly got down and dirty with the funk inside North’s thundering rock sound. There was never a dull momentum throughout this performance. It definitely kept this audience dancing to the melodic upbeat music. SouthSide highly recommends listening to North’s awesome rendition of Dreams (originally done by The Cranberries) and the current single, Call Me Up (which was dubbed as a bit of a love song highlighting heartfelt emotions in a retro guitar rock sound). It was interesting to hear North’s lively rhythmic sound of Reggae/Ska within hardcore rock music giving this one particular song an edgy but rockin’ groove for the audience to dance along with the band as well as during another in which the band could have jammed all night just on Taylor’s guitar solo alone. The highlight of the set came while performing a personal favorite of front man Michael which demonstrated the dynamic vocal power and epic rock sound in this ballad. Pittsburgh fans, you should be proud of your hometown boys for they rocked out this Chicago stage on their last night of tour with a BANG! 28North promises to be on tour again but in the meantime, visit or for more details.

First SouthSide would like to apologized to the members of the next band if she made any one of them nervous. It’s been a long time since this reviewer last seen Always The Villain rocking on stage feeling quite honored to see them again. What made this local band uniquely special was the four (mostly three during their performances) guitars pumping volumes of hardcore rock with a mix of keyboard rhythms as well as dynamic vocals by front man Billy. Yet it’s mostly the vibrant rock sound which attracts a large following of fans to their shows, blogspot readers. Villain’s killer sound had momentum especially during new song, Hot Princess that one could literally hear the venomous hatred dripping from the vocals amidst the thundering guitar riffs (with a surprisingly brief moment of calm in between). Songs What To Do and Incredible featured another excellent display of dynamic vocals expressing love as well as melodic rhythms within a pop guitar sound (in What To Do) and trippy electric guitar effects (in Incredible). Yet it was another new song (sorry didn’t catch the song title) in which SouthSide enjoyed Villain’s head banging sound from its roaring chords and fiery momentum during the instrumental bridge (with another fine example of vocal power). And despite sounding a little rough around the edges, this reviewer predicts will be Villain’s next hit. Other songs performed in this set included Andy (featuring some digital wizardry off the synth smoothing out the sharp rock edge a little), Back To Here (a calming semi-electric acoustic vibe before blasting the ears with vibrant sounds of music) and Carnival (loved the carny music intricately woven into the intro). SouthSide highly recommends checking out Always The Villain at its next scheduled performance but in the meantime, visit or for more details.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Monday, April 4, 2011

01 Apr 11

Oh, what a night, blogspot readers! And this was no April Fool's joke either. Friday night, the local scene was abuzzed with rockin' music everwhere - from the world famous House of Blues to the popular hot spot Elbo Room. First, SouthSide found herself at House of Blues with fans of all ages to see Ben Rector open for Matt Wertz. Afterwards, she made an unscheduled visit to Elbo Room to hold court with The Jesters and rock with Apache Stone (featuring Michael Lombardi of FX's Rescue Me) as well as enjoy a unique acoustic performance by Dave Hiltebrand.

There was only one problem with Ben Rector's opening performance, blogspot readers - too short. Not enough time (in SouthSide's opinion) to really soak her ears into this singer/songwriter's vibrant Alternative/Pop sound, romantically heartfelt lyrics and falsetto vocals. This artist (bursting with spontanity and energy even while between songs) had this all-ages crowd grooving to his fun momentum during his set. From a random pizza survey (btw, this reviewer suggests trying Apart Pizza located on Montrose near Lincoln) to improvising a thrid verse about bears (the animals not the football team), Ben's word of the evening was "fun" which truly accomplished its goal as he made the most out of his short set for all. SouthSide did have a fun time groovin' to his throwback song, Never Gonna Let You Go, that featured a soulful R&B/Funk sound within a lively downtempo pace. The crowd definitely came to life while assisting Ben with some snapping of fingers and clapping (and they stopped right on cue as he asked when the chorus ended) during The Beat (track 1 off his current album - Into The Morning) ...had many on the main floor dancing along to its melodic rhythms. Yet in between the fun times, blogspot readers, Ben demonstrated another side to his fun music which involved emotional pain and heartache. While performing When A Heart Breaks (also off his current album), this artist revealed a tiny part of himself (via the lyrics) since the words sang were so personal as well as powerful yet sounding sincere (as advice to a heartbroken friend) in his voice. And though the tempo was down a notch or two, the band wonderfully captured the solemn mood of this song by reverently keeping a steady rhythm to compliment Ben's vocals. Ending this performance acoustically with Loving You Is Easy (also off current albun featuring the improvised third verse about bears), the crowd was left wanting more. SouthSide highly recommends checking out Ben's Dance With Me Baby and Moving Backwards song videos on YouTube as well as snagging a copy or two (Ben will suggest purchasing two) of his current release Into The Morning. However, this reviewer suggests seeing this singer/songwriter live on stage to personally feel that fun energy yourself. Visit or for tour details and other information.

Since the night was still rather young, SouthSide visited her good friends at Elbo Room to see and hear what's rockin' the acoustic and basement lounges. She highly recommends checking out this lively court of musicians known as The Jesters at their next performance. Dressed in their finest roaring 20s wear (for this particular appearance), this band rocked out the packed basement lounge with music that vibrantly popped and energetically spontaneous from a combination of Alternative/Soul/Ska/R&B/more, blogspot readers. The "more" came from The Jesters' liveliest horn section which totally brought hot funky danceable rhythms in reminiscent of big band swing throughout the set. And leading this lively court of musicians was their prettily dolled up femme fatale who impressed this reviewer with her dynamically powerful vocals. She truly had the stage and crowd feeling the fiery momentum of her voice especially during Shame On Me. Blogspot readers, expect a full review of this rockin' band in the near future but in the meantime visit for more details about The Jesters.

Meanwhile upstairs, instrumental guitarist Dave Hiltebrand electrified Elbo Room's upstairs lounge with a unique performance featuring acoustic variations of a select list of popular songs done on the electric guitar. SouthSide enjoyed how this musician passionately infused his own spin to familiar rock songs like Tom Petty's Free Fallin' and Bruce Hornsby's The Way It Is during his double set appearance. Dave rocked the stage with cool electric (sometimes with a steel or slide guitar riff feel) in a downtempo pace highlighting the beauty of the originator's composition with such grace and style. On the flipside, this musician performed under a cloud of vibrantly popping with some sweet Stax rhythms and soulful riffs especially during his rendition of American Woman. Then there was a moment when he made the guitar wail tenderly yet mournfully during Dave's cover of Eric Clapton's Can't Find My Way Home - best version SouthSide has heard so far. This reviewer highly recommends catching this instrumental artist, Dave Hiltebrand, at his next scheduled performance. Visit for more details about him and his music.

Back downstairs, Apache Stone thrilled the crowded basement lounge with a thundering blast of guitar riffs and energetically popping rock music. Its front man, Michael (of FX's Rescue Me) strutted around the stage flaunting a sexy band image to the adoring screams of fans while pouring some heart and soul into the lyrically poetic words. However, Apache Stone, blogspot readers, was musically flat when it came to generating any crowd interest and/or excitement (unless it was a die-hard fan) as well as vocally flat due to Michael's vocals (in which SouthSide's discounting the fact his voice sounded a bit hoarse from her opinion) ...there wasn't much umph or dynamic power to really have her ears "feeling" the words. Collectively, the entire band (in SouthSide's opinion) was trying to do so much at the same time during Apache's performance which left no room for the music to take center stage even though it did thrill this reviewer with hardcore rhythms and melodies. Though Apache Stone rocked out the stage, the band really didn't rock out its audience. Visit http://www.apachestonemusic or for more tour details and more.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, April 1, 2011

31 Mar 11

Hey, blogspot readers, ready to shake your groove thang this weekend? Capping off her own March madness around town, SouthSide returned to the local scene hanging out at Double Door. This popular Wicker Park venue toned down its rock side a little for something more neo and fusion-like and/or soulfully funky. Tonight's lineup featured such performances by Kick The Record, Anna Soltys & The Familiar, and her good friend, Aryk Crowder (with his "new" band) with Origin Of Animal opening.

To be honest, blogspot readers, SouthSide has mixed reactions after observing Origin Of Animal's set. On the one hand, she enjoyed the organic symphonic/neo-jazz/rock fusion ...that part was very easily understandable and appealed to her ears. However, on the other hand, this reviewer had a confusing time comprehending the (loud) clips and staccatos meshed everywhere ...which were very overpowering and off balance when suddenly (after 3 minutes) Origin's opening song went into mass confusion. SouthSide doesn't know if that what the composer(s) intended the piece to sound but in her best opinion, not everyone was performing on the same scripted measure (either lagging behind or moving faster than the others). On the plus to this band, she did enjoy one particular song which featured less rock (off the guitar and bass) and more of Origin's Neo-Soul/Jazz fusion - this song (highlight of the entire performance) completely popped with vibrant music with lively melodies and danceable rhythms. The rest of this set was a muddled mass of fusions clammoring against each other to rock out the stage (instead of cohesively unifying as one band) as well as straining to be heard above each other. Though there were moments in which Origin's music was performed passionately ...vividly, its confusion within the epically sounding compositions was a major turnoff for this reviewer. Visit Origin Of Animal at

It has been a long time since SouthSide last saw this singer/songwriter perform on stage and with a band. Tonight, her good friend, Aryk (pronounced "Eric") Crowder returned to the stage with a livelier, energetic sound of Neo-Soul/R&B/Funk fusion (than his earlier lo/fi pioneer band incarnation) and soulfully vibrant falsetto vocals. Though his performance had the look and feel like his former band, this reviewer noticed how he gradually distanced himself from its shadows by adding more melodic rhythms (off the keyboard/piano) into his music. Hearing old lo/fi favorites (i.e. Roses - SouthSide's personal favorite) had more depth as well as menaing behind the new soulful sound. She literally felt the heartfelt emotions from the lyrics while Aryk sang with the band slowly adding the rhythms to compliment his solo opening thus really bringing it down to a "Steppers" groove. Compared to its original version, this reviewer enjoyed this live version of Roeses better, blogspt readers. And this wasn't the only example in which Aryk and the band rocked the stage. She certainly felt their Fire during this excellent rockin' funk cover of the Jimi Hendrix song - plenty of fiery momentum within in the intro that had the audience instantly groovin' to this version's downtempo pace yet still feeling that psychedelic/rock energy in Aryk's vocals and band's music. This cover did feature a female vocalist (Anna of Anna Soltys & The Familiar) to help with backing vocals however she was difficult to hear over the fiery blast of funk music. SouthSide also recommends listening to By the Way You Dance (live version featured some of Stevie Wonder's Superstition at the middle of the instrumental bridge) and Into the Groove (with the addition of piano/keys in this song - livelier dance groove and soulful than its original version). This reviewer highly recommends grooving to Aryk's new song, More Than Ordinary which closed out his performance with a funk/soul bang. Fans seeking music with a 70s retro feel of soulful R&B sound and vocals yet in a modern vibe should definitely check out Aryk Crowder and his band. He will be performing soon in Wisconsin and Kentucky later in April. Visit him at or for more details.

Until next time, support your local scene,