Hey, blogspot readers, it's a rockin' Friday night party for SouthSide! She's lost somewhere inside crowd of Wicker's Park hip rock venue to celebrate with her friend, Jon Drake & The Shakes during their "unofficial" official release of their new album, Dear Ulysses (coming out May 29). This show, presented by Grape Juice Records, also featured other rockin' performances within the Americana/folk/alternative rock genre by Rachele Eve and Frontier Rucus with a special appearance by Glad Fanny. Upon arriving, this reviewer was able to enjoy the final half of Froniter Rucus (http://www.frontierruckus.com) which rocked the stage with a lively Country/Western as well as a modern Americana/folk twist off their new album Eternity of Dimming featuring the song Black Holes. This band incorporated a wide range of organic sounds and rhythms (i.e. trumpet, mandolin, etc) to wonderfully blend their core music into vibrant bursts of energetic momentum amidst the heartfelt falsetto vocals by front man Matthew(who's also songwriter / guitarist on harmonica and pedal steel). Frontier's songs do tend to get lyrically intense and dramatic but the band matches that intensity with the jamboree-like music for everyone to kick up their heels and dance. Hopefully, this band returns again for a full review of their next Chicago show.
Now, blogspot readers, it was time to shake, rattle and roll the local scene's only mini organic Americana/folk orchestra. Usually, SouthSide gets to enjoy rockin' out with her friend Jon Drake & The Shakes during their annual outdoor performance at the Taste of Chicago. However, it was a treat for her to see them rockin' inside a venue in front of a packed house of family, friends and fans attending their "unofficial" official release of Dear Ulysses. What a rockin' party it was inside the Double Door tonight. Never had she seen this band shakin' and rollin' song after song that they were ready to take this party to a whole new level (if had the chance) all night long. What SouthSide enjoyed about this extra long set was how this band kept the crowd wrapped inside their vibrant energy and momentum from the moment they stepped on stage until the very last. There wasn't a moment of dead lull between songs - Jon and band had this crowd wanting more of that rockin' Shakes sound. Passionately performing songs off their previous releases and new album, this release show featured just more than lively danceable tunes like Rattles and Snakes and Gustav and dark haunting ballads (i.e. Mary and Margie) but also at times spotlighted Jon's intense vocal performance amidist the Americana/folk rock music. Yet with Jon and The Shakes, expect a little something added to the core sound - it's infused with other genres to please the ear of any music type. For exmaple, during one particular song, this band rocked the stage with a lively country jamboree-like sound continuously bursting with fun and energy while a bit later, they surrounding the crowd with a hauntingly dark yet moody Blues ballad to draw out the emotions inside the lyrics after rockin' the crowd with a melodic tone to spotlight Jon's heartfelt vocal style. Yes, even being melodramatic tends to be a good things while rockin' with The Shakes, blogspot readers, since it wonderfully allows their music to encompass you deep within the rhythmic vibe and Jon's dynamic vocals. And like an orchestra, this band places it's bursts of music energy and lulls at the right moment to generate that excitable crowd reaction each time especially when each member is within that moment of intense passion while performing. In SouthSide's honest opinion, this show had to be one of Jon Drake and The Shakes' finest moment since reviewing them nearly two years ago. She highly recommends getting to know her friend as you shake and roll along with them. For more information, visit them at http://www.jondrakeandtheshakes.bandcamp.com.
Until next time, support your local scene,