*this review is dedicated to the three special people in SouthSide's life who could be with her to share this extraordinary night of soul/funk music with her*
...soul power... ~ Tower of Power
Hey, blogspot readers, got soul? SouthSide's got plenty of soul ...and more tonight while at the world famous House of Blues! She was about to experience something so soulfully exciting ...spiritually uplifting urban sounds of funk/jazz music by the legendary super group Tower of Power (CA) featuring Mike Milligan & Steam Shovel as the opening act. It was going to be one extraordinary night for this reviewer in which she'll never forget, blogspot readers. Seated in an opera box about the sound engineer at stage left, SouthSide had the best view to not only observe the crowd on the main floor and balcony but also to watch bandleader (and on 2nd tenor saxophone/vocals) Emilio and the band "work" their funky soul magic up close and personal. It was a fantastique view!
SouthSide highly recommends rockin' to the blues/funk (and of course a bit of soul) sounds of Mike Milligan & Steam Shovel who coincidentially opened for Tower of Power at House of Blues five years prior to tonight. And this reviewer could see why. Mike and the band had the energy as well as vibe to rev up this packed venue during their short yet lively set with songs like Do What You Got To Do and Timing Is Everything (title track off their last CD). This quartet of talented blues musicians (from IN) had the crowd feeling the hot harmonica rhythms thoughout each song performed ...right down to the cool sounds of the guitar riffs jazzing their feet to dance along. This reviewer like their blues rendition of Billy Preston's Going Round in Circles (one of SouthSide's favorite songs from the 70s) in which they flipped the original upbeat tempo of this 70s classic for a steady laidback groove yet retaining plenty of energy via harmonic rhythms ...and Mike's deep falsetto voice added the right amoung of vibrant umph to pop the lyrics to life. Steam Shovel truly made their mark on stage while covering a song from The Commitments move that was performed (almost) spiritually within a Southern blues/soul combination before rockin' out the set with a bang, blogspot readers. Visit http://www.mikemilligan.homestead.com for more details and music.
...D J, play something really funky... ~ Emilio Castillo
SouthSide grew up listening to Tower of Power (and other legendary super groups within ToP's funk/soul/jazz range i.e. Steve Wonder, Parliament Funkadelic, et al) thanks to her Dad. Yet nothing could compare seeing this band live for the first time on stage who are still soulfully rockin' and groovin' their fans (of all ages) after 43 years. Believe SouthSide, blogspot readers, they rocked that stage harder than any other band she has reviewed at House of Blues and plus had the energy to meet their fans after the show. It was amazing ...not observing how ToP worked the stage in front of their fans but also observing the fans soaking every drop of ToP's funk/soul sound. As Emilio mentioned to SouthSide during his recent interview with her, people would be "...emotionally touched on several levels..." Well, that part was true while she walked around the packed balcony and main floor. Howerver, multiply that "emotional level" times tens (or more) and you would have felt that energy and excitement permeating throughout House of Blues - each Tower song effected not just everybody but every body in its own own unique way. For example, during the songa Loveland, this reviewer met a longtime fan (who also knows Tom, lead tenor saxophone) who told her "...still sounds fresh as the day I first heard it..." also mentioning that it didn't matter which Tower song they (the band) were going to perform, each one held a special memory for her and her husband. And she wasn't the only one sharing that same sentiment to SouthSide ...she could plainly see it on the many faces while walking about the crowd or hear it as they sang every song with ToP. Probably wondering what did SouthSide feel during the Tower concert - let's just say wished she could have shared this moment in time with her Dad (as well as the special guy in her life) since he has never seen them live either (don't worry, this reviewer did get her Dad something from ToP).
Back to the Tower show itself, if you haven't seen this amazing super group of musicians live on stage, SouthSide HIGHLY recommends snagging a ticket (and fast) to their next scheduled concert. During the night, she met a group of fans who were religiously following Tower from show to show (something Emilio also mentioned during the interview) saying they could not get enough of Tower ...and she could see the excitement shining in their eyes as they excitedly talked about their favorite ToP show so far. SouthSide can tell you why ...Tower of Power rocked the stage with "...high energy emotional soul music..." There was definitely plenty of "high energy" especially when Tower performed Funkafize - this band got totally down and funky in which their fans did the same too. There was also "emotional soul music" especially when performing the classic soul hit by Billy Paul - Me and Mrs. Jones (off their current CD - Great American Soulbook) in which front man, Tom (Chicago's own from the Westside) emotionally immersed himself into the lyrics thus making SouthSide quite weak at the knees with his voice. That wasn't the only time he did that either, blogspot readers, hearing him sing (during the encore) You're Still a Young Man - all she can say was "WOW" ...melting hearts across the venue everywhere. Even while Tower slowed down the tempo and beat to perform songs like Just Enough and Time, Emilio and the famous horn section along with the other band members had the stage soulfully rockin' with its vibrantly hot rhythms. Yet watch out - when it got time to get funky (especially during Tower's James Brown Medley of songs and What Is Hip? with some extra horn help by Mark Russo of The Doobie Brothers as well as ToP alum), Emilio had this crowd on fire! Music was too contagious to stand still for neither band or fan. SouthSide could hear an enthusiastic fan loud and clear shouting "...bring it on..." as well as a fan holding up an IL license "TWR PWR2" license plate (in which they had the band sign after the show).
SouthSide would like to reveal every single detail of this extraordinary night with Tower of Power but felt it would take away your own unique experience with the legendary band. In other words, you have to atend a show to experience them and the music with your ears, body, mind and soul yourself. She does highly encourage meeting Emilio and the guys after the show ...and don't be surprised if you see them signing a pair of women's knickers (panties) or two (an actual fan had Tower of Power sign a pair). For more information, visit http://www.towerofpower.com for tour details and discography.
Until next time, support your local scene,