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 http://www.mikefelten.com 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 http://sethadam.com 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 ...no excitement ...no 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 ...plus 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 http://myspace.com/ivivramotive (or find them on Facebook) for more information about this band.

Until next time, support your local scene,


  1. Southside,

    I haven't gone to check out country and folk acts here, but your review of Seth Adams has given me something to think about.

    And the weather last Sunday was splendid. Too bad this Sunday will be back to the cold, cloudy and windy variety. Thus the way of Spring.


  2. You should check out the folk/americana/etc acts here (and from elsewhere - I try to cover as many as I possibly can every year) ...this genre is making a resurgance as of lately. Sunday will be at Old Town School of Folk Music to see Lori McKenna.


Thank you for your feedback - SouthSide