Thursday, May 19, 2011

15 May 11

", there's man living out the dream..."
Matthew Alfano (of Mason's Case) about Michael Freer

Chicago - home of the Blues and Blues legends. So what better place to hear some Blues, blogspot readers, than here! Tonight, SouthSide closes out her rockin' weekend with a unique Blues performance by Michael Freer (MI) and his ukelele, "Brownie", at Elbo Room.

SouthSide enjoyed his descriptive storytelling style (in which he mentioned every song has a story ...but he never writes in third person) and the deep baritone vocal falsetto that wonderfully pops the vivid imagery of the words within his lyrics to life. His blues-driven songs also featured another element - the hidden "voice" of the harmonica that added the words as well as rhythms not originally heard through the artist's composition. In between his ukelele strumming and blowing on the harmonica, you can distinctly the unspoken voice loud and clear singing for Michael before he returns with his human voice.

Performing a variety of song from his lastest CD - Wilbur's Blues, this singer/songwriter entertained the audience with his lively tales about parking (a term used for snogging/kissing under the cover of darkness) and the police causing trouble for no apparent reason in Police Don't Come To My Door. She was hopelessly enthralled by the romanticism and poetic imagery found inside his love song - very realistic as it was personal done in a troubadour/acoustic style. Then showed off his love for the music from the 60s and 70s through his vibrant rendition of Jimi Hendrix's Along the Watchtower (written by Bob Dylan this was a powerfully done ukelele cover with more symbolic realism and meaning heard from the lyrics) and a song about the music which influenced him and his music (by such artists Simon and Garfunkel, Credence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash and of course, Young) before rockin' a rendition of Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath (could literally feel the angst dripping from Michael's voice on this one, blogspot readers).

Yet the real special moments of Michael's performance occurred when he performed a touching song about a son helping his father understand what it's like being in his shoes while in turn the father offers his son sound advice (i.e. not to hide or walk in shame proud to wear his name). This particular song written for Michael's son, vividly expressed the same sentiment and words SouthSide told her own daughter when she came out to her. Michael offered more sound advice about things not being bad as they truly seem before rockin' out the Elbo Room stage with a fiery Robert Johnson cover Crossroads (done in the "sittin' on the porch sippin' whiskey" Blues style on his ukelele) lighting it on fire with some furiously fast fingering (thanks to Matthew Alfano's encouragement for him to play faster).

Hopefully this artist makes another Chicago appearance soon ...perhaps during the summertime - nothing like hearing some cool Blues in Chicago on a hot summer night. Visit Michael Freer at or

Until next time, support your local scene,

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