Saturday, September 29, 2012

October 2012

Fall is upon us, blogspot readers, and so are the ghostly ghouls and goblins haunting the music scene near and far. It's a thrillin' month to shake and rattle your bones while attending a show (or few) during the month of October.

Please note all shows are 21+ unless posted otherwise.

Oct 1:
Elbo Room - Fairhaven will be rocking the stage there.

Oct 2:
Martyrs' - Brown Bag Event presents Fresh Hops, Catfish & the Dogstars/ JMB (Joe Marcinek Band) and Brown Bag with an acoustic set by Scott Larsen.

The Exit (the upstairs lounge) - try a little poetry with you absinthe, blogspot readers, at this social literary meeting which features local artists/writers and poets spouting words while the drinks are flowing.

Oct 3:
The Whistler - The Claudettes must perform two sets at this venue starting at 9:30p

Oct 4:
House of Blues (Chicago) - The Giving Tree Band Album Release Concert featuring The Ragbirds (MI)  and Old Shoe at this 17+ show. Tickets on sale now.

Ultra Lounge - Robots Counterfeiting Money, Warhellride, Analecta and Jet W. Lee (in support of their new album - Western Nightmare)

Oct 5 - 6:
Andy's Jazz Club - Human Spirit comes to Chicago to perform two back-to-back shows.

Oct 5 - 7:
Art in the Little Village. For more information visit

Oct 5:
Metro - Hemmingbirds, Carbon Tigers and Parlours will be joining Audiences in their CD release show. It's a FREE show RSVP on the Metro website.

The Unsatisfied will be releasing a downloadable single - Blood Gospel (which was recorded at Pindlewood Studios with engineer Alex Rexroat as part of the a scouting deal with Capital Entertainment). Check out this band's Reverbnation and Facebook pages.

Bird's Nest - Joe Taylor will be performing a live solo acoustic show

Reggie's - King's Foil, Set The Trend, Grand Finale, and Having Antlers will be rockin' the stage.
ALL AGES / $10

Oct 6:
Stonefly Brewery Co (Milwaukee, WI) - Riverwest ArtWalk 2012 After Party featuring live performances by The Pillowsnatchers, Tiger Mouth and Heavycritters, silent auction and more.

Metro - dance until dawn with the other fashionable vampires and night creatures at this Nocturna.

Livewire Lounge - The fabulous Ms Cherries Jubalies is hosting a Monster Metal Madnes: Badass Bitches and Boobies!

Oct. 8:
Chester Street Bar (Champaign, IL) - Nekromancy: Revolution Zero 2012 happens featuring Psyclone Jack, Dark Valentine, Leper and Illusion Fate.
19+ / 21+ to drink / $6 cover

Double Door - Check out Pet Peeve!
8p / $7

Oct 9:
Winery - Alex Cuba in support of his new album, Rudio en el Sistema as well as featuring other songs from his last album (that won him a Latin Grammy for Best New Artist and nomination for Best Latin Pop) will be performing.

Oct 10:
Cubby Bear - Makeshift Prodigy will be rockin' the stage along with I AM Dynamite and Board of Governors.

Oct 11:
Beauty Bar - it's BUMP and GRINDCORE VOL 2: Welcome to the Spam Jam featuring The Embraceables and DJ sets by Zebo, Moneyworth and All The Way Kay.
RSVP for the Hosted Colt 45 at DO312 site.
FREE til 11p / $3 after 11p

Elbo Room - Swallows fly back to Chicago for a show in support of their new album, Witching and Divining.

Lincoln Hall - Frighten Rabbit in support of their new album State Hospital (featuring Wedding Gloves with Aidan Moffat) will be rockin' the stage as part of their Fall tour. Tour starts on Oct 5th at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia, PA. Visit for tour info and more.

The Burlington - Luck of Eden Hall in support of Rocket Miner and The Foreign Resort (Denmark) will be rockin' the stage at this venue.

Oct 12:
Cafe Mustache - Glad Fanny and Jim Drake will be performing. Please note this venue holds approx 50 people. So it's advisable that you get there early!

Two Brothers Roadhouse - that's where you're going to find Strange Arrangement performing.

Oct 13:
Jesse Oaks - check out this metal/thrash show featuring Blood Rites, Thunder Driver, Lucifreum, Purge Felony 4, The Atrocities and Devangelist rocking the big red barn in the back.
7p / $5

Bottom Lounge - My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult  along with Sinister Fate and DJ Scary Lady Sarah will be rockin' the stage there.

Lincoln Tap Room - Cirque De La Femme: Peep show / Freak show!

Cort's Cafe (located 2922 Central in Evanston, IL) - Black Forest presents a night of songs from the magical year of 1967! It's the Summer of Love! Where were you when you heard lovely tunes like Let's Spend The Night Together, Strawberry Fields Forever, San Francisco or Both Sides Now as well as Soul Kitchen and more? Come out to this coffee/BYOB shop to see featured artists like WhiteWolfSonicPrincess, Telepaths, Chris Bock, Brian Cox and many more performing these memorable hits!
Free /7p

Oct 14:
Fitz's Spare Keys - Simplistic Urge featuring Heroine and more.
All Ages / 21+ to drink / $8 / 6p

Oct 15:
Double Door - Arrested Development will be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their groud-breaking debut record "3yrs, 5 months, 2 days in the life of..."

Oct 17:
Vic Theatre - Italian artist Jovanotti will be performing.

The Canopy Club (Champaign, IL) - Bambi Raptor and Pearl Jem will be performing.

Quenchers Saloon - Andy Metz performs an acoustic show
$5 / 9p

Oct 19:
Reggie's - Come one ...come all to Carnivale Delirium III! This yearly circus cabaret extravaganza will feature Master of Ceremonies - The A.S.S. Titan (of Boston, MA), musical guests Bakelite 78 (Seattle, WA), Environmental Encroachment,  Mary Squeezebox and more, sideshow by Squidling Brothers, and even a Haiku contest! Vendors ...palm readers ...and more surprises!
$20 adv / $25 DOS / $45 VIP (includes two hour open bar sponsored by Koval) / 9p / 18+ / 21+ to drink.

Elbo Room - Sutured Psyche bids a fond rockin' farewell to the stage after 2 1/2 years of being the "bastards" of the local scene featuring Cheer Up Moon Cat in the lineup too.

Penny Road Pub - Strangers will be rockin' the stage.

The Abbey - the Unofficial Trey Anastascio After Party featuring performances by Jimkata (NY), Digeometric and Nipple.
$8 adv / $10 DOS

Reggie's - Peelander Z, Electric Eel Shock, Everything's Alright and The Joy of Painting will be performing
$10 adv / $12 DOS

Oct 20:
Martyrs' - Last Rites present singer/songwriter Kasim Sulton (of Todd Rundgren, Utopia, Meatloaf, Joan Jett & the Heartbreakers, Blue Oyster Cult - just to name a few) will be performing a solo acoustic show featuring great stories and playful conversations.
6:30p doors / 7p show / $15 adv / $20 DOS

Reggie's - The Creepshow, The Hellbound Hepcats, Johnny Murder, 25 To Life and The Tromatons will be performing.
$10 adv / $13 DOS

Oct 21:
Montrose Harbor - head out and support a fundraiser in loving memory of Eric Olesky by participating in either the 5k timed run or 5k walk.

Elbo Room - the fundraiser continues with a charity event to Rush Copley Hospital Cancer Center and Trust funds for Eric's kids, Hannah and Brandon. There's a $5 door donation.

Oct 24:
Music Box Theatre - film buffs should check out this special event  - Alliance Francias presents Melies, celebrating the 150 anniversary of Georges Melies through  thecinamatic wonderment of his works featuring reels of movies in which  he produced, performed, distributed, and directed accompanied as once done in 1900s with a narrator and pianist. For more information, visit
Oct 25:
Q4 / Multi Kulti - Quennect 4 Gallery presents Philip Morris Fundraiser - while away touring, his apartment was robbed (electronics, his kids' video games safe that held rent money, and more). All proceeds will go to helping him find a new place and rebuilding his studio. It's an open open mic show / sign up is at 9p / show begins at 10p

Oct 26:
House of Blues (Chicago) - Swizzle Tree returns to open for LBC (Lucky Boys Confusion)

Chicago City Limits (Schaumburg) - it's a Halloween show opportunity for the grown ups to dress up and wear costumes while rockin' to music by HedsTronG.

Congress Theatre - It's Freaky Deaky - The Biggest Halloween Party in the Midwest (and these aren't SouthSide's words)! Live performances include Midnight Conspiracy, Wolfgang Gartner and Bloody Beetroots DJ sets. For tickets and information, visit

Fitz's Spare Keys (Elmhurst, IL) - Too White Crew Halloween Bash!

Oct 27:
11919 S. Ave O - check out Rock Scarz Networking Convention 2012 - it's a chance for everyone in the business/industry to meet, network and conduct business.

Township - Husker Dudes featuring Boogazi (Bully in the Hallway as Fugazi) and Unknown Pleasures (Joy Division tribute) will be rockin' the stage.

All Star Rock Bar (Kansas City, MO) - It's the Alice Sweet Alice Masquerade! This is a public costume party as well as multi-media event for ALL AGES to enjoy. The event is split into 3 - Halloween (children/AA), Mardi Gras (18+) and Vampire Ball (21+). For complete list of activities and bands performing visit
$10 adv / $12 DOS / under 12 FREE

Double Door - check out The Last Vegas rockin' the stage as Billy Idol at this annual Halloween show!

Oct 31:
Bottom Lounge - It's the Annual Nocturna All Hallow's Eve Ball! No tricks, blogspot readers, just treats!

Until next time, support your local scene,

Thursday, September 27, 2012

23 Sept 12 - Farmer's Market


Hey, blogspot readers, let's go the farm! Actually, if you live in a big metropolis city like Chicago, the farm comes to you. From May until October at many locations around the city (including the downtown area), there's always a Farmer's Market site that's connecting local food growers with people with fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, cheeses and more. SouthSide and her daughter spent a fun Sunday morning at a local Farmers Market site at Independence Park (located at Irving Park Rd and Hamlin) where they were also having a book swap, free Yoga class, hot rockin' bluegrass music (which anyone who plays an instrument could join in the jamboree) and free arts and craft for the kids. And this reviewer had plenty of time to browse, sample (believe it or not, SouthSide tried some tofu) and shop at the Market right before Da Bears won the game against St Louis Rams.

Photo0117 (from Jolly Posh booth)  Photo0112 (from the St Rogers Abbey booth)

This Market basically had yummy treats to buy like real bangers (sausages to you Yanks) and back bacon (real bacon ...not the fatty stuff in the grocery store) from the Jolly Posh ( to honey sticks in a variety of flavors like chocolate, root beer and strawberry lemonade, delicious sweet corn  (from Twin Garden Farms in Harvard, IL) and fresh mushrooms (from River Valley Kitchen in Burlington, WI - try their spicy spinach artichoke dip!). SouthSide does advise bringing your own reuseable shopping bag (or two) or a cart because on this day, there was good apple cider by the gallon (from Klug Orchards in Berrien Center, MI) being sold in which she did purchase a half gallon. Next time, she's buying two. This reviewer and her daughter browsed at other vendors that were there like the booth featuring all organic beef, pork and chicken by Grass Fed (SouthSide will be getting some steaks to sample at the next one) and try the Gouda cheese with nettles in it by Stamper Cheese as well as the yummy strawberry jam by Katydid Homemade Condiments. From St Rogers Abbey, SouthSide was told that the lemon tart was to die for but she's more of an apple tart girl (and yes, it was die for too). She highly suggests buying some bread and/or tarts from the sisters where all the proceeds from the sales go to finance the Chicago Soup Kitchen (located at Central and Race) and other services.

Photo0121  Photo0115

Yet, besides promoting people to eat more healthy and naturally, it's also about getting people to read more via the book swap or cleaning out the old and unwanted electronics cluttering around your home via the electronics recycling drive. This reviwer and her daughter donated a bag full of books generally not read anymore to the book swap in exchange for 6 gently used books (1 for this reviewer and 5 for her daughter). Books that weren't "sold"  during this Farmers Market were donated to another great organization called Open Books (check out the location on 213 W. Institute Place near the Chicago Brown Line station), a nonprofit that supports literacy by operating as a bookstore with a wide range of books, comics, manga and more within rather reasonable prices. And for those who wanted a little exercise in between shopping, there was a mini yoga class and for the kids, arts and crafts making Japanese soot sprites in which SouthSide made a red one for her shy daughter. The non-food items sold at this Market was handmade soaps and lip balm and pet products like this water container that can be shared by both dog owner and dog. And for your musical enjoyment, there was a bluegrass group singing and playing lively songs that anyone who plays or sings could join in.

Photo0120  Photo0111

The next Famers Market at Independence Park will happen on Oct 14 and 28. Those will be the last market Sundays until next year, blogspot readers. Visit for more information.

Until next time, support your local farmers market,

22 Sept 12 - Mods vs Rockers


Hey, blogspot readers, are you a Mod, Rocker, Hell's Angel, Sons of Anarchy or Rebel? If you are, there's a new addition along the Clark street of stores located near Belmont that you should check out. And hopefully, it will stay permanently beyond its Sept 31st date (a little joke by the owner, Larry). SouthSide spent her Saturday night being a rocker while visiting Mods vs Rockers: Urban Hooligan Gallery store. Sandwiched between The Architectural Design/The Alley shops and The Dunkin Donuts, this rockin' place is where you should go if you're looking for that vintage feel and style of being that rebel without a cause in 2012.

Photo0106    Photo0104

This shop contains a large array of silkscreen posters and banners (all for sale) cleverly decorated around the walls of the store as well as a good stock of comics, clothing - from t-shirts featuring iconic names like Ducati, Triumph and more to leather jackets and rides like Ducati to the modernVespra GTV 300 model in which you can actually purchase in the store. There's also a cool selection of patches to add some vintage decor to your new leather jacket, blogspot readers. Yet, this new store feels more like a museum dedicated to the hooligan rocker in all of us. This reviewer saw items and brand names that either aren't produced or around anymore. Check out this awesome Lucas Brit Battery sign in which Larry, the owner of this establishment, found many years ago on eBay. In an enclosed case, view the autographed Evel Knievel lunchboox, Arai bike helmet and BSA/Triumph oil cans and much more.

Photo0107  Photo0110

During this night of SouthSide's visit, it was a rockin' party featuring hot classic tunes funk/R&B/soul like Curtis Mayfield's Move On Up and other fine danceable selections spun on 45s (as in records) - no digital DJing here tonight, blogspot readers. And viewing on the flat screen were some trailers for biker movies like Hell's Bloody Angels, The Hellcats, Bury Me An Angel and Angel's Wild Women just to name a few.

Photo0108  Photo0105

Mod vs Rockers is open every day from 12p to 8p or visit for more information.

Until next time, be a rebel at Mods vs Rockers,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

20 Sept 12 - Fatpour Tap Works

Hey, blogspot readers, barhopping around town with SouthSide continues as she makes her way (after her other "secret" job) to the Wicker Park/Bucktown/West Town/Ukrainian Village area. Tonight, she's visiting a new sports bar that just opened featuring a familiar face for some beer and football (just kidding on the beer part) And, OH MY GOSH - Brian "B-Rock Da Fender" Bender (former Hot Sauce Committee, The Branded, A Birdsong Valentine member) actually wearing a real button down shirt too! It was scary seeing him all grown up and business-like as General Manager, blogspot readers. This reviewer recommends checking out this new neighborhood bar . And you really can't miss it because it's the only establishment without an outdoor sign* announcing its name but so far that gimmick seems be working because when SouthSide arrived around 10p Thursday night, the place was jumping. That's very good for a cool pre-Autumn night too, blogspot readers. Fatpour Tap Works seemed to be the place for watching New York Giants trounce on Carolina Panthers or simply hanging out with friends after a long day at the office. It was quite a scene for a pre-weekend day.

On the outside, this bi-level building establishment looks rather small even with an outdoor patio area (there are heated warmers to keep the chill off you). Yet looks can be quite deceiving, blogspot readers, until you're inside Fatpour itself. The every inch of this bar space (on the first and second floor) is put to good use ...there's plenty of seating at the bars on both floors but if you're with friends - check out the booths which have the taps on the table ready to pour your favorite beer. There are also table seating for four and SouthSide highly suggests sitting close to the enclosed keg room ...great spot for people watching and checking out the kegs and kitchen area. Also sports fans, you're never without a view of the game and/or highlights since you're surrounded with flat screens. And if the keg room wasn't where it's located, you would easily have a perfect 360 degree view of each screen on both floors. Tonight, this reviewer was a little daring and decided to sample Fatpour's sangria. The verdict? Nice, cool and refreshing with a powerful kick from the alcohol. Making his rounds as General Manager, Brian  disclosed to SouthSide that Fatpour has 150 bottles/cans of beer as well as 50 kegs inside the keg room. Looking at the menu, he pointed out that each beer/wine etc is arranged by style ie - Wheat to Pilsners/Lagers and Ales (both pale and amber) ...even Belgian too! Plus they have ciders, stouts and wines (reds, whites and sparkling). Brian highly recommends sampling Fatpour's Fish Bowl which comes with a sparklers. Maybe ...during SouthSide's birthday next year.

After ordering her drink, SouthSide had the difficult task wondering what to eat! The food selection was vast and offered a wide variety of yummy eats from starters to sides and soups and then the entrees. That's where her server - Lauren, assisted this reviewer in what to choose from the menu. The first thing that caught her eye was BBQ chicken wings and she wasn't disappointed by her choice either. In fact, SouthSide had to remove her rings off her left hand. They were that lip-smacking smothered within the tangy sauce with the right amount of kick in the after taste at the back of your throat ...the sauce you could smell even before the plate arrived to the table. And the sauce wasn't store bought either - homemade from scratch kind of sauce (great on the veggies too). The wings were cooked just the way she likes them - crispy skin on the outside and moist and tender meat in the inside. Lauren suggested she try Fatpour's mac-n-cheese ...and guess what, blogspot readers, it's simply to die for. The small portion this reviewer tried tasted as if her own mom was in the kitchen making it ...melt in your mouth taste from the creamy cheese sauce over the noodles. In a nutshell, SouthSide was in food heaven tonight. And lastly before the kitchen closed for the night, this reviewer tried the "create your own pizza" selection even though Brian highly recommends his favorite - Notorious B.I.G. - this monster of a pizza features bacon, pork butt, prosciutto, pepperoni, sausage, onion, and tomato sauce. The basic "guy" food groups prepared on this pie. However, SouthSide opted for her own creation pepperoni, sausage, tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese (she did ask for black olives but they didn't have that item). She enjoyed the fresh dough crust cooked nicely for a crispy bottom and chewy taste with the toppings. After taking leftover pizza home, there was none for SouthSide since the pizza goblin had it for breakfast before school the next day.

Other menu options, blogspot readers, include Grilled Lamb (quite upscale entree item for a neighborhood sports bar but will have to sample the next time she returns) and Pork Chops as well as sandwiches such as Pulled Pork and Mango Chicken Salad and sides from fresh fruit to sweet fries, tots and more. And if you have any room left in your stomach, there's also a dessert list for you - Framboise Float, Skillet Cookie and Caramelized Plantains to entice your sweet tooth. On weekends (Saturdays and Sundays only), Fatpour has a brunch menu featuring items like Stuffed French Toast and Chi-town Skillet to other tasty entrees from 11a to 3p. Then, there's the daily specials to whet your after work appetite, blogspot readers. On Mondays, it's Fat Day, Tuesdays - $2 Tacos and $3 Mexican beers, Wednesdays - $4 select 12oz bottles, Thursdays - it was "skinny" Day and Fridays - from 3p to 6p, it's 1/2 off appetitizers, $20 Fish Bowls and $5 PBR and select shots. During the weekend, the Fatpour specials are $7 Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar and $5 Beermosas and of course, brunch. Be sure to say "hi" to Lauren and tip her well as well as the hardworking Fatpour staff, bartenders, and servers. From what SouthSide on Thursday, Brian and the co-owners hired a a solid team of people including the chef and kitchen staff (from which you can watch them working on your food orders too).

As far as sports goes at Fatpour - unofficially it's a Chicago sports bar in which they support ALL Chicago teams including the 1st place White Sox (kinda rare on the Northside). According to Brian, officially the bar is a University of Wisconsin, (the hated) Green Bay Parkers and Phladelphia Eagles bar, blogspot readers.

The verdict: overall, SouthSide's not really a barfly but she wouldn't mind going to Fatpour Tap Works to hang out with friends and/or bands after a show or day at the other "office". She was thoroughly surprised how much serious thought went into this establishment's in a prime Division Street location to capture the bustling Wicker Pack/Westown/Bucktown/Ukrainian Village night life and scene (especially during the weekends). It's an upscale but not too much make it be or have that River North bar atmosphere - more like a regular Joe and Jane to meet, hook up, and dine within moderately priced food items. This reviewer loved the friendly hip charm which attracts a wide range of genders, sports fans, races, and age demographics without the drunken college kid appeal. Plus, on Fridays and Saturdays - check out the live DJ spinning current pop hits and mixes upstairs.

For more information about this establishment, visit

Until next time, support your local bar scene,

*currently there's a sign now

Monday, September 24, 2012

14 Sept 12 - Rookies Gastro Pub / Lounge


Hey, blogspot readers, thank goodness it's Friday! SouthSide's taking a bit of a break from bands (Eva Trix ties wicked knots!) after her "kidnapping" ordeal. While away, she's checking out two new nightspots vying for the attention of clubsters, wannabes, hipsters and et al who want to be seen or simply people watch. In the Bucktown/Wicker Park area - there's Fatpour Tap Works (located on Division near Damen ...and the bar without an outside sign as of yet) and in the Central Lakeview/Wrigleyville area, there's Rookies Gastro Pub/Lounge. SouthSide was at Rookies for an impromptu meet-n-greet as well as a battle of the DJs hosted by her friend Matthew Nalett of Chicago Music Promotions.

Walking into this establishment, this reviewer liked the spaciousness of the bar/lounge ...plenty of table seating inside and outside on the patio area. Enough room to handle the large weekend crowds of barflies and hoppers looking for another hour or two of a good time. Luckily, Rookies is located away from the central (crowded) area where most of the Wrigleyville/Lakeview bar scene is siutated. Sitting on the cusp of the area (between Grace and Newport) along Clark Stree at Roscoe, this bar has the potential in attracting the nightcrawlers walking southward towards Belmont and beyond. While inside this quaint bar, blogspot readers, check out the many portraits of famous sports figures from Sammy Sosa to Larry Bird (in his Boston Celtics uniform), Magic Johnson, Mia Hamm, John McEnroe and more. Sorry, Sox fans, there were no Minnie Minoso, Dick Allen or Frank Thomas seen on the walls. Don't worry, SouthSide will take care of that problem the next time she visits Rookies.

Since Rookies is a sports bar, this reviewer did test a sample of the menu offerings.She was somewhat disappointed because it had the usual choices such as chicken wings, Chicago style hot dogs, and nachos ...nothing really to entice the appetite. On this night, the special of the day was fish tacos and the sampler which included a bit of the wings, jalepeno poppers, nachos, chicken strips and more for $10. She did settle on trying the bar's selection of grilled wings with the Barcardi Honey BBQ sauce and here's where she was sorely disappointed. Though liking that "fall off the bone" effect with the chicken, the plate had a tepid warmth to the touch upon arriving to the bar. There was no smokey smell of the bbq sauce (or any extra sauce and bleu cheese for the veggies) but it did have a slight spicy kick that burned for a couple of minutes in the back of SouthSide's mouth. She did suggest to manager/owner Harial Patel that there should have been fresh veggies and more sauce's a sports bar - come on! Men love sauce on top of sauce when it comes with their wings. And wings are made to be messy, blogspot readers, especially when smothered in some good lip-smacking sauce. Her friend next to her sampled Rookie's nachos and agreed the nachos as well as cheese sauce could have been a litte warmer and spicier.

Another problem SouthSide did find while visiting Rookies was the strange location for the bathrooms. Take the stairs down, they're located in the basement to your right  but the area has a sort of open and unguarded section of the bar where anything or anyone could be lurking unseen because the short hallway isn't well lit. That alone could be a potentially dangerous and security risk for Rookie's patrons if they are not too careful about their surroundings down there. Hopefully, management and staff will correct that by adding more lights and removing the extra chairs cluttering the far wall. Speaking of the staff, SouthSide found them to quite bubbly and cheerful (especially Jessica who was behind the bar that night) and ready to create to your favorite drink concoction or speciality. Tonight's drinks special featured peach / dirty apple shots and Old Style - both for $3. Jokingly, Matthew told SouthSide why many show up at Rookies around the bewitching hour and stay until closing because it's the home of the cheap drinks/beers prices. Fair enough, it's a tough economy ...and even harder on the restaurant/bar industry - so if you want to spend as well as at the same time save money on your bar tab - check out Rookies.

Sports fans should know that Rookie's is home to the Detroit Lions, Ball St and Michigan St. On Sundays, the bar does offer a weekend brunch (11a - 3p) special featuring a Bloody Mary Bar and food and drinks specials all day/night long. Before leaving, SouthSide did briefly talk to Harial if he has thought about hosting live local music since he does have the space and stage for small acoustic or up to trio acts. He did state he would like to have singer/songwriter as well as something classical but it would need to fit and appeal to the particular young crowd (especially during the weekends). He related that when Bruce Springsteen was town performing at Wrigley Field, he wished he had a Bruce Springsteen cover band performing to entertain the crowd inside the bar both nights. Also he disclosed soon Rookie's will be changing it's entrance from its Clark Street side to the corner door that faces Roscoe and that means the stage would be moving too. All of this should be happening within a few weeks, blogspot readers.

For more information, visit

Next - Fatpour Tap Works...

Until next time, support your local bar scene,

Monday, September 17, 2012

08 Sept 12

V Is For Villains

"... up next, V Is For Vengeance..."

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! SouthSide has been kidnapped!

Have no fear, readers of this blog, Lt Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard is on the case! He suspects the band, V Is For Villains, is responsible for dastardly deed of her disappearance after visiting Angels & Kings ...and now he's on the hunt for: Mr. Agitator, Fallon Flynn, Veronica Jade and The Pulse.  When caught, he vows to bring these four criminal masterminds to justice!

*evil laugh*

Yeah, your precious SouthSide is safe ...for now. She's tied up as my prisoner by me, Eva Trix, criminal extraordinaire of all evil trickery with words, blogspot readers. Tonight, I'm taking her place to document the villainous ongoings at the House of Blues (Chicago) when other fashionably dressed villains like Thee Bluebeard and his lordship, Lord Baron, from points near and far of the Steampunk community converged to heed our fearless leader's call - Evolve or Die. This special mandate was put forth by Mr. Agitator and his villainous members of V Is For Villains as they prepared to take over this music establishment (and perhaps one day, the world) headlining the lineup that featured Pyschopathic Daze and Punch Cabbie. Yet, who are these V Is For Villains and what of plans to spread their villainy music to others as well as what is this steampunk that has suddenly made a strong presence in the music scene? Before getting herself kidnapped (that's what chickie bird gets for taking the short cut down the wrong alley at the wrong time of day, folks), your SouthSide was caught with a taped interview of Mr. Agitator.


For those not in the "know" about your villainous band, how would you describe V Is For Villains to them?
Mr. Agitator: I usually like to describe it visually as Steampunk Carnival Noir. Sound wise I think it blends elements of Electronic, rock and industrial. I feel like its a fun project because we can borrow elements from various genres and different forms of media all together. There is no form of media that is off limits.

In a brief nutshell, could you explain what is steampunk and how does this music genre and lifestyle relate to V Is For Villains?
Mr: Agitator: Steampunk is a modern neo victorian style. It is very interesting to me because, like the band, it isn't afraid to encompass all different forms of media. There are Steampunk bands, Steampunk clothes, Steampunk cons, books, toys, movies, etc. I have always loved the Victorian era style. I thought it was very sharp and classy. To be honest though I don't think I understood Steampunk until I started running in the circles. As far as Steampunk as a music style is concerned I never wanted to be bound to the label. I feel the same way about Industrial music. We borrow elements from all of these genres but it is hopefully in the pursuit of making something fresh and entertaining.

It has been over a year since your last interview with SouthSide and debut performance at Bottom Lounge, what has changed for you and the other villain members?

Mr. Agitator: A Lot of things have changed with us. We have two new members; Veronica Jade, who does live keys and backing vocals, and The Pulse who does the live drums. We obviously lost the other band members Ava Vice and Foster Von Trox. Sometimes you find as you move forward that you don't quite share the same vision and that's okay so it was an amicable split as far as I am concerned. I LOVE this group though. They are great friends. It's like getting to work with family. We laugh a lot during rehearsals and band meetings. That's a great dynamic to have. I feel like we are finally starting to understand this show and I feel like it has become pretty tight.

Ever since your debut within the local scene and now steampunk community, is Villains poised to take over the world?
Mr.Agitator: Unapologetically so!

Seriously, what's next for Villains in terms of spreading its music villainy to other steampunk/electronica rock fans beyond Chicago?
Mr.Agitator: We have been playing Anime, Comic book and Steampunk conventions all over the Country since April. It has been an extremely rewarding experience. You have so much time to get to know the communities who support these conventions and the staff who runs them. There is such a love for these ideas and we feel very lucky and privileged to be invited into their worlds. I feel like as far as music politics are concerned there is a change happening, a real shift that I am excited to embrace. It used to be you were a signed band or a local band and that was it. That's not the case anymore. We are independent entertainers and we are VERY proud to be independent and play Chicago as well as all the fantastic cities we have visited this year.

Recently Villains released its full-length CD, Evolve or Die, which song (or songs) would you personally recommend listening to and why?

Mr. Agitator: Personally I go back to the The Black Swan Love Song and The Disease a lot. It's hard for me to say. They are all my babies and I feel like I can't pick one kid over the other. I will just say what my Mom would say. I hate you all the same.

Lastly, any special announcements, shameless plugs or final words to your Villains fanatics out there you want to share?

Mr. Agitator: I wan't to say thanks to our Villain crew and Fans. Everyone believing in this project is the only thing that makes it worth while. Without that it is not real. I would also like to thank you Southside for all of the support through the years and coming to the shows. It is always a real pleasure to see you and chat. Spread to word, warn them all. The Villains are coming!


That's right, Lt Inspector Lestrade, The Villains are coming ...and they're here to stay!

If you are villain, this was THE one show you should have witnessed in person. However if you're like SouthSide, bound and gagged, no worries, Eva Trix was there enjoying the night's villainous festivities galore. It was a party of celebrating the arrival of the new Victorian age of villainy, my friends!. V Is For Villains did more than put on an amazingly instense performance on stage. They essentially united all factions of villainous ranks into one solid army. Through the use of blended sound of rock, electronica, and industrial music, this local band of villains stormed their way offering us a World Without Rules even though Playing The Villain will mean you have to Evolve or Die. There were no ifs, ands or buts about this mandate. The time seriously had come for all of us to chose sides - either be a villain or be an antivillain. Not one moment did our fearless leader, Mr. Agitator, or his villainous band hold back on the intensity or music. We along with them were allowed to do anything we wanted. This was OUR night to be had!


*more evil laughter*

And the glorious lighting fx that surrounded Villains most definitely highlighted the night's experience and fun. This performance had everything a villain could want. Villainous anthems (ie March of the Villians, Rise Above), steamy yet sensual tension between Mr. Agitator and Veronica Jade during Just Another Sinner believable and quite romantic especially when he knelt before her. And yes, villains do feel the pains and aches of love, my friends as demonstrated during the ballad The Black Swan Love Song. Here we get to experience the heartfelt emotions from our leader's voice though not normally heard (somtimes) at Villains' previous shows but tonight, it made its strong presence known. And despite minor technical problems with Fallon's guitar, Mr. Agitator easily conveyed that we villains too have hearts that can break. Of course no Villains' performance wouldn't be without its fan favorite - the diabolical Disney cover from Dumbo - Pink Elephants. Fellow villainess, Poison D'Arte quiped that if Disney ever releases Dumbo again on video or Blu-Ray, they should consider adding the fiendish Villains' version as an extra to the movie's special features section.

Now, villains of the world unite once more when V Is For Villains takes over Hard Rock Cafe Oct 26 along with a special appearance by Digital Mindy!


Until next time, support your local villains!
Eva Trix

Friday, September 14, 2012

06 Sept 12

This local band has been known to inspire, motivate, enpower as well as enlighten their fans through the use of mind-blowing, epic compositions and sound heard within the symphonic/experimental rock music, blogspot readers. Now, they're poised and ready to take that inspirational experience and more to the next level. Tonight at Angels & Kings (located inside Hard Rock Hotel), Makeshift Prodigy held a listening party to give family, friends and fans a sneak preview of their upcoming (yet to be titled) EP. This follow-up to Mathematica will feature not only an intro and outro but also five new songs in between.

And the verdict from SouthSide?

If the band's goal was to bring their music, sound and inspirational vibe to more of a "adult" level and maturity, then this reviewer says Makeshift Prodigy has accomplished it, blogspot readers, with their first EP under Atlantic Records.

Nothing has been lost or muddled within the new EP's sound. The intensity of the symphonic/experimental music still remains but if you listen closely you can tell each member in this band has grown up a little within their craft. Though missing a few things (like Brandon and his lyrical hip hop verse), the direction to incoporate more falsetto vocals and powerful bursts of energy as well as upbeat, rhythmic piano-driven (check out track 2- Bittersweet Surrender) songs is a welcomed sight. There's even a touch of hardcore guitar rock riffs as heard in track 3 - Perfect Mistake and heartfelt tenderness amidst intense crescendo rises and powerful symphonic impact as heard in track 4 - Miracle.

Opening with an attention-grabbing intro and track 1- Chasing Daylight, Makeshift Prodigy's new EP will give their fans something more than hope and inspiration but also more epic-building music and energy that might bring a tear (or two) as heard in Miracle and track 5 - A Way Out. This particular track, after feeling the swell of heartfelt emotions from front man/pianist/guitarist Anthony on lyrics, had the vibe of a Makeshift anthem in the making but not as powerful. Still it's a nice follow-up to SouthSide's favorite songs, Revolution and This Is The End combined with the way the composition and music set up (especially the momentum) highlights the motivitational spirit heard inside the lyrics.

Makeshift Prodigy will be performing the new songs live as part of their Fall 2012 tour with a Chicago performance at Cubby Bear (Wrigleyville location) on Wednesday Oct 10 featuring I AM Dynamite and Board of Governors. For more information, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

One On One with Jesse Charbonier

This local artist embodies the essence of some of his favorite jazz legends from Billie Holiday to Chet Baker and Johnny Mathis including a bit from the Chairman of the Board himself (Frank Sinatra), blogspot readers. With the magical tone of his falsetto voice, this particular person has been known to make women swoon to blushing, grown men cry from painful memories as well as inspire the feeling of romantic love amongst many couples who have attended his Coq d'Or performances. And recently, he celebrated his first anniversary of performing at the legendary Drake Hotel with an extra special show featuring a full band held inside the famous Palm Court. Also, he performed during the Miss Continental finals at the Vic Theatre and soon will be making his New York Debut at Henry's (the old Birdland Jazz Club). SouthSide highly suggests spending an enchanted evening with your special someone while her friend Jess Charbonier tickles the ears with his magic, voice, and swinging jazz style as you listen to your favorite songs.

Descibing himself as someone "...always curious about the future because there's always something new and exciting on the horizon...", Jesse Charbonier has one unique resume for a multi-talented person, blogspot readers. Besides being an accomplished singer/songwriter, he's also a member of SAG (Screen Actors Guild), film producer (including a couple of movies for Telemundo) and organizer for the Mexican Film Festival of the Americas (which will happen in Chicago later this month). Yet during a recent interview before his Palm Court performance, Jesse revealed a major secret about himself ...well, blogspot readers, it was bombshell that left this reviewer completely floored. She had no idea that his Rhumba Supper Club performance over a year ago was actually his first show even though the way he commanded the stage and handled the audience had her thinking Jesse was a seasoned performer. According to him, he was coming out of a mid life crisis. "...sometimes you feel you're not being yourself as an artist..." Want to hear another bombshell? His audition to perform at the Drake Hotel turned into a last minute fill-in performance for a band which was scheduled to perform for a socialite event yet had to cancel. And the rest, they say, blogspot readers, was history.

So how did Jesse Charbonier fool SouthSide (and others) into thinking he's a seasoned performer? He had some help from a select group of well-known teachers, blogspot readers. Names that have graced stages all over the world ...and you might recognize them too. Through the wonderful use of  modern technology ie YouTube, Jesse took his cues from the greats like Smokey Robinson ("...I appreciate his vocal control and stage presentation...") whom he saw recently at Orchestra Hall performing with Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It was a moving performance for this local jazz artist because Smokey made him cry three times. Other legendary names also include Nat King Cole (if he could, he would like to do a duet with him performing the Chirstmas Song [Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire]), Johnny Mathis (another legendary artist he would love to do a duet or collaboration with) and his favorite artist, Billie Holiday. YouTube helped Jesse with live presentations and examples of showmanship especially when in a concert situations. SouthSide, after attending her fair share of Jesse Charbonier performance at Coq d'Or over the year, has to admit his studying their techniques as well as implementing his own style truly has paid off, blogspot readers, in a big way.

"...I think my real sincere joy is performing and responding to people ...not singing to them but for them..." says Jesse. This reviewer has noted on the many occasions that this jazz vocalist has a special way of connecting with and to his audience not only with the magical tone of his voice or personally meeting them between breaks as he works the room with his charming smile and charismatic persona but with also his eyes, blogspot readers. To do this, Jesse personalizes each song performed by reading and capturing the mood of the audience as well as his own. For example, Chet Baker's My Funny Valentine or Frank Sinatra's Fly Me To The Moon, Jesse might invoke the essence and spirit of the original composer and composition while singing these particular songs straight. However, there might be a night or moment when he might combine a bit of nostalgia and his own personal touch to the song ...and POW - what the magic explode. You never know what might happen. There might be a couple or two dancing on the floor ...a few tears shed ...or just people basking in the glow of romance while he sings. Believe or not, blogspot readers, Jesse never knows how he'll singe his vast repertoire of classic songs (most of them rarely sung Billie Holiday classics like Good Morning Heartache or Our Love Is Here To Stay). "...I sing songs [that] I really enjoy ...[thus making] sincerity come across..." while avoiding what irrates. Another Jesse Charbonier fact revealed to SouthSide during this interview. He notices everything ...and she means EVERYTHING. You may not notice him doing this but while he's performing your favorite songs, he's actually singing/talking with his eyes ...observing the tiniest of details like how people are sitting at the tables to which songs sparks those romantic feelings.

When at the Coq d'Or, Jesse starts off the night with a mellow background presence tailored made for the dinner crowd during the first hour so they can enjoy their meals without a noisy selection of songs. Afterwards (around 11p or midnight), his swing crowd arrives to party and/or for drinks and that's when the show goes into high gear with his selection of upbeat, lively tempo songs especially made for his regulars of dancing couples. As far as a set list to follow along during a Jesse performance, it's wise not expect one. Even this jazz vocalist likes to mix it up a bit for his shows ...sometimes performing requests from the audience or his own personal faves. As SouthSide mentioned earlier, it depends on his mood and the audience seated that night. However,  Jesse took a slightly different turn thus creating a swinging mix of upbeat and romantic classics for his special Palm Court peformance which got off to a bang with songs like Can't Take That Away From Me (by Ella Fitzgerald) to something more romantic for slow dancing like Nat King Cole's Walking My Baby Back Home. Jesse did make this reviewer tear up (again) when performing his sultry Latin-flavor version of Besame Mucho (by Mexican composer Consuelo Velázquez) to which some of the dancers did lovely interpretation of tango and rhumba moves on the floor. One could literally feel Jesse's strong and dynamic falsetto vocal piercing the heartstrings on the lyrics as well as melt during Adrian's (the man on tickling the ivory keys) vibrant piano solo. Esta mucho caliente, blogspot readers. Before taking a break (sometimes he forgets the band need to relax their fingers for a few minutes), he wowed the captive audience with renditions of a Eleanor Fagan (ie Billie Holiday) song dedicated to all of the lovely couples at the Palm Court and Chet Baker's Let's Get Lost. His second set featured more heartwarming songs like Johnny Mathis' Misty (to which brought a smile to SouthSide's mom's eyes and face), Billie Holiday's All Or Nothing At All, Chet Baker's Time After Time and some Frank Sinatra (The Lady Is A Tramp).

During the interview, SouthSide asked Jesse for his opinion why classic jazz songs by Sinatra, Baker, Holiday and etc have a lasting effect on modern music today. He replied "...I think [it's] the quality of the lyrics, the thoughtfulness of the lyrics, accessibility of the melody and [because there's] a lack of new music..." He went to say that new music is nothing more than hooks and effects (ie autotune). Plus each artist featured on the radio today are sounding similiar since vocals are not getting stylists or range to which he calls "...the age of the dance producer..." He used Nicki Minaj and Rhianna as prime examples of how their music is sounding alike though totally far apart as performers. When asked about Lady Gaga, Jesse said she's a performer because she can sing, play an instrument and writes her own songs despite noting her gimmick might get the best of her unlike rival artist Adele who has shown fans the "real" her (as in music and appearance). Jesse attibutes the rising popularity of jazz legends and their music to those people who appreciate quality music. "...they're searching for it ...people are discovering [and rediscovering] the Beatles and other old standards ...of how they feel and express themselves..." Jesse also did raise another interesting point about today's music being played on the radio - "...there aren't many popular love songs or ballads on the radio..." adding that "...even disco and 70s R&B songs had melody, strings, orchestrations and etc ...songs had little stories ...something you could relate too it's all about party-party or boom-boom to bump-n-grind..." Yet, he doesn't fault the mainstream radio for this because in actuality with access to technology this is what the mass majority is listening and buying. So what does Jesse listen to when not crooning his jazz favorites, you might ask, blogspot readers?  He loves to listen to the "old school" R&B like Smokey Robinson and other Motown artists.

So besides celebrating his year anniversary at the Drake Hotel and soon his debut in New York, Jesse Charbonier has a full plate lined up for 2013 according to him "...will explode with a new album and featured film..." His song Let's Not Discuss It will be featured in an upcoming film The Resurrection of Joe Gitone and as film producer, he wrote a film Beautiful Sadness to which he hopes it goes into production soon. Now more about his upcoming album, he has written a few more songs like It Could Be In Paris, You've Been Dreaming and Billie, Tequila and Me (about someone having a bad breakup who listens to Billie Holiday and drinks tequila). He and the band will be working on the recording side during the winter months (ie January and February) since that's when his musicians are available. Or as he states " a musician you don't want to be out..." during the cold winter months.

SouthSide felt overly honored to not only meet and interview this wonderful person but also share his passion for the music amongst her friends who are now also huge Jesse Charbonier fans like her spreading the word about him. For more information about this local jazz artist and when he's performing either at Coq d'Or or Mellow Yellow restaurant (located in Hyde Park neighborhood), visit

Until next time, support your local music scene,

Thursday, September 6, 2012

01 Sept 12

"...let's give it to the girls, they don't like being told what to do..." ~ Blane Fonda

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide's rockin' her weekend around town with a stop at the legendary venue well hidden inside an industrial/manufacturing park. The Hideout Inn - a perfect name for this quaint inn-like bar and it's "guarded" location, was the place to be during the busy North Coast Fest affair to catch the dream pop/electronica sounds of Panda Riot featuring that 80s pop-inspired band Blane Fonda as headliner. And as an extra bonus guest - SouthSide caught a glimpse of the famous Burrito/Tamale guy selling his delicious food to the Hideout patrons!

This reviewer arrived in time to catch the remaining performance of Panda Riot as the band enthralled its captive audience with a tribute to REM titled REM, blogspot readers. This electronica/dream pop band has a way enticing the ears with such flowing, dreamy soundwave featuring three guitars, a simplistic drum set up (2 toms and some cymbals) and electronic sound machine (to create dream-esque pop sound). Toss in the soft yet dynamic vocals by guitarist Rebecca and you have one powerful combination which could lead to a mindblowing experience from the melodic tone of Panda's music. SouthSide enjoyed hearing (as well as feeling) the floetry while amidst the downtempo groove and aria-like voice enticing the ears during songs such as Golden Age and Forest which might have you thinking Kate Bush at time. There will be times when the music alone has the tendency of making you move along to the rhythmic vibe like during Camden where the tempo and music was the back focus so Rebecca's voice could have that spotlight focus. If you truly want to enjoy music like this, blogspot readers, SouthSide highly suggests closing your eyes and letting your ears be your guide especially when Panda's performing Black Pyramids ...thus thoroughly hearing the beauty and complexity of each note played within the melodically pleasing music and the poetic lyrics. For more information about Panda Riot, visit

Now it's time for something more eclectic as well as profoundly animalistic and obscure besides rockin', blogspot readers. Something that was totally a direct opposite of the opening band as Blane Fonda kicked off its headlining performance with a hot vibrant bang of 80s pop-inspired/alternative music to which caused the venue of The Hideout Inn to instantly swell with fans. More about their fans in a minute. What makes this band a little obscure and (sometimes) over the top (in a good way)? Well, let's start off with Blane's front man, Mark, on vocals. He must have been feeling his animal spirit tonight, blogspot readers, because he spent the majority of Blane's performance strutting and dancing around (in his little area) on stage with a wolf pelt on his head while draped with a some sort of tribal blanket or covering. SouthSide can only surmise that through these two wrappings he was able to channel that fiery spirit felt and seen during each song performed like Modern Woman or Opportunity Rocks. Yet there's also a heartfelt side to Mark and his animal spirit in which he poured out the raw emotions as a man deeply in pain especially during Fess Up, Face Down  and Salacious Love. Then while listening to Mark, be sure to check out the band behind the man, blogspot readers. You will note that each song has it's own distinct personality and music flavor ...sometimes blended to get you moving wildly to the rhythmic 80s pop vibe. There were moments when SouthSide heard a unique combination of disco/pop before quickly moving to something spicy and Latin-inspired (via off the trumpet) or 80s-inspired dance pop sound. Even though pushing the eclectic boundary with their sound, SouthSide found Blane to be on the cutting edge of not trying to imitate the 80s but creating their own sound that would fit within that era of music. And with music like this, do expect their fans to react crazily with their dancing motion. That's putting it very mildly too. Yet, all around this reviewer, there were times in which Blane's fans had that strong urge to dance and groove along with the band like they did during Modern Woman or shout their favorite curse word. This reviewer highly suggests rockin' along with Blane Fonda at their next scheduled show but in the meantime, visit for music and other wacky musings by this local band.

Until next time, support your local scene,

28 Aug 12


"...We apologize. This might be the unfunny portion of the evening..." ~ The Grownup Noise

SouthSide loves comedy, blogspot readers.

She loves a hot rockin' show too.

And guess what - she was able under to get both under one roof at Schuba's Tavern after a long weekend of partying, premieres and "...trainwreck" antics. Tonight, there was comedy and music wrapped into one lineup when her Bostonian friend, The Grownup Noise, and Golden Bloom rolled into Chicago as part of The Make America More Awesome Tour featuring comedian Timmy Williams of The Whitest Kids U'Know. It was an interesting combination yet SouthSide, in all honesty, didn't find the comedy to be funny one bit. Timmy's opening monologue totally fell flat but not without some (and she means some, blogspot readers) laughs from the sparce audience. And that's just putting it nicely. It was a pretty tough group of people especially when you're joking it up about South Dakota when you're in the big city like Chicago. Other parts of his schtick included why he wouldn't poop or pee on the tour bus (in reference to the Dave Matthew's incident long ago) to how he wants to die. His second attempt after The Grownup Noise performance was slightly better even though this reviewer didn't feel that "Ha Ha" funny in her humorus femor (funny bone to you). Perhaps, it was an off night for the comedian after many stops made during the tour ...who knows.

Meanwhile on the music side to this traveling show,  The Grownup Noise, well, has "grown up", blogspot readers. With Aine on the drums for this tour, SouthSide enjoyed how the band's eclectic Americana/folk/alternative rock sound was popped to life with such exuberant energy and momentum than their last Chicago performance. Not only did she add some thundering percussion rhythm to Grownup's rhythmic, toe-tappin' groove but also a harmonizing feminine touch on the vocals to balance out the male testosterone heard on the mic especially during the song, New Outsiders. Performing other songs like Fife & Drum (a tune about not giving up) and Carnival (off the band's current release), this reviewer thoroughly identified with the "everyman" heartfelt sentiments expressed from lead vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Paul to which his voice projected a "never say die" fighting spirit (listen to Fife & Drum) but also true raw emotions off the words. Yet, blogspot reades, it's a unique combination of vocals and music blends which truly makes this particular band a pleasure to review each time SouthSide sees them. Listen to Come Sunday where the vocal harmonies lit up the stage amidst of lively zyedco sound within a downtempo rhythm or Astronomy where the banjo and accordion are featured in the band's Americana/folk blend to almost give the music a lullaby feel while Paul wonderfully expressed his emotions in a sweet loving way from beginning to end. The Grownup truly had this audience fired up for more during Carnival and especially Outside when the band rocked out Schuba's hard with a jam session. SouthSide highly suggests checking out the "evolved" and "gown up" rock vibe of The Grownup Noise at their next scheduled performance. For more information, visit the band at


Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

25 Aug 12 - I AM Fest 2012

Once a year, fans, artisans and musicians are brought together under one roof for a special, one of a kind all day festival known as I AM Fest, blogspot readers. Started over three years by 9 founding band members of the Chicago Noise Machine, this locally produced fest has grown by leaps and bounds featuring many artisans within photography and waterworks to jewelry craftsman as well as bands of differing genres rockin' the stage at the legendary House of Blues. Every year, there's always something new and exciting happening during  I AM Fest, blogspot readers, so this year Southside decided to take a unique approach in covering this annual event. This reviewer came only prepared with her infamous notepad and pen and an open mind about each of the ten bands performing though already knowing and/or previously reviewed half of the lineup. The goal was to attend I AM Fest with a fresh set of eyes (and ears) as if she had never heard or attended an event like this before. Also she asked random people at I AM Fest from artists and musicians to fans and those behind the scenes in putting together this fest for their thoughts and opinions about the day's event.

Kicking off this year's rockin' Independent Arts and Music Fest(ival) or I AM Fest for short was the winners of this year's Battle of the Bands - The Studs and The Giving Moon. Both bands, blogspot readers, thoroughly not set the pace and mood of the festival as well as its lineup but also got the festgoers pumped and ready to rock out all afternoon long. To say they had hot performances would be an understatement, blogspot readers - those two bands gave the other acts a run for their money by fueling the audience with electrifying , intense energy within their music and sound. So far, I AM Fest was off to a good start. Next to perform on stage was The Underlined - an ecelectic mix of classical with acoustic Americana/folk music during their first appearance as a band on stage. SouthSide did like their unique vaudeville-esque style and sound however the set lacked that burst of energy felt at the beginning of the show, blogspot readers. Still, this was a welcome change compared to the steady stream of rock usually heard at I AM Fest. This reviewer highly suggests listening to the following by The Underlined - Knots and Midwestern Sky. Then afterwards, Cobalt & The Hired Guns took the stage exploding with a burst of energy and momentum within the band's urban pop folk/alternative sound though at first the bass cellist did have a hard time keeping up to the fast paced tempo during the opening song. Yet when the tempo dropped to something a little steadier as well as livelier, Cobalt's unique mesh of  blend genres produced an rockin' sound. One of SouthSide's guests commented that band reminded him of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones heard from Cobalt's peppy list of songs performed. 

Continuing with the theme of explosive energy and music, The Alaya Conscious blew everyone's minds (and ears) with melodic rhythms within the band's guitar rock especially while opening with the song White Noise. SouthSide definitely could feel the flow of momentum surrounding the House of Blues during the chorus and instrumental bridge where the blending mesh of hardcore guitar riffs and flowing melodies merged into one heart-pounding, head banging metal experience. Featuring new material especially for I AM Fest 2012 like Throat and Grace, fans will enjoy feeling (besides hearing) the intensity to which this trio performs under from beginning to end amidst a complexity of electric riffs to draw out the epic composition of each song. Also halfway through this event when A Friend Called Fire electrified the stage with their opening song, The Lightning. This opening song not only fuel the audience's energy throughout the set but also the band's as they rocked this legendary venue with an explosive bang when Jon strummed the guitar on his knees to close out the performance. This act truly had rock fans excited for more bands as the stage was now set for Board of Governors. Voted as having the "Best Hair" in Chicago, last year's I AM Fest openers were poised and ready to turn up the heat as well as electricity with their electrifying guitar rock sound. And this band, blogspot readers, did not disappoint their fans who were screaming and rockin' out along with this trio. There was excitement for the intense riffs and percussion rhythms flowing throughout the main floor ..but watch out for Board's chord changes too -not only will it increase the band's music intensity but also your rock experience even while the hair is flying around the stage. Check out Homo Sapien though taking the energy down a bit there remains life and momentum to keep you rockin or Slow Down yet you don't want to not after listening to this particular song.

 Next representing the singer/songwriter genre of I AM Fest was Leah Druzinsky and her band in which she brought her soulful and dynamic voice to the House of Blues crowd though there were times when she was overshadowed by the band. Yet she did give these fans a powerful display of her vocal powress and emotional emphasis as well as a taste of her sweet seductive side as a sultry temptress during a couple of songs that lit the stage on fire. SouthSide noted the crowd's enthusiastic reaction throughout her performance while they grooved to her soulful style and sound especially when the band jammed instrumentally which was a good lead-in for the next performance. Now, it was time to sweat and rock out with Workout Music. blogsot readers! This local band best known for their wacky antics on stage while entertaining an audience with a few surprises besides performing their hit songs like Don't Stop Now, Drop Them Drawers, and SouthSide's fave - Ain't My Jeans. Last year's I AM Fest, they cluttered the House of Blues stage with confetti. Well, this year - it was messy mixture of bubbles, confetti, streamers, and beach balls everywhere on the main floor. You should have seen the area AFTER the event was over ...what a clean up job for the staff and crew! Viewing part of this set from backstage, the guys definitely were ready to party like last year. Then closing out I AM Fest but also following with Workout Music's crazy lead was The Energy Commission. Featuring an artist creating a portrait during their performance, this band also had other surprises for their fans like dancers to liven up certain songs (ie We Got Game and We're Strugglin') to kick balls and pom poms being tossed into the crowd. SouthSide enjoyed how this group rocked the stage with a variety of genres from hip hop fusion to rocl alternative with such exuberant energy and stage showmanship, blogspot readers. They had this crowd on hyperdrive from start to finish as they rocked out I AM Fest 2012 with a bang!

Throughout the event, blogspot readers, SouthSide sampled a random select group of people for their thoughts and comments about I AM Fest 2012.  Tracy, for example, has been a staunch supporter of the local music scene as a fan and now as a crafts participant within this year's event. She stated "'s great supporting each other and other artists..." while Mr. Agitator (of V Is For Villains) said "...Brian Bender (co-founder of I AM Fest) will always be my girlfriend..." Memebers of Board of Governors were excited to see The Alaya Conscious perform as well as the other bands in the lineup too. Wags (of Red City) expressed that I AM Fest is " opportunity for local musicians to express themselves on the stage that they deserve..." Sarah, Wag's sister and first time I AM Fest-goer had this to say "...I love it music is the best thing in the world..." Other comments ranged from "...more of a sense of pride in music [within] Chicago's music scene..." from Leonard (of We Killed The Lion) to "...a kind culmination of things that Elbo Room does for Chicago's local scene and bands ...something like this is awesome..." - Dave (of The Alaya Conscious). Adam (of A Friend Called Fire) had this to say when asked for his thoughts "...seeing the bands come together is refreshing regardless of genre and the people ...every band that's here should be playing for them [the crowd] like this every night ...definitely an experience..." while bandmate Jon stated this "'s nice sitting in a room with people some we know and other we don't without the bullshit..." Memebers of Workout Music excitedly had this to say "...I AM Fest is an opportunity that Tim and I have been waiting for since the age of 14 years old..." and " opportunity to play at House of Blues, I'm glad [I AM Fest] exists..." Finally but never least, Matt summed up the entire I AM Fest experience with this, blogspot readers, "...the openers earned their spots on stage [tonight] and watching the progression of bands [on the lineup] was amazing ...and Workout Music - partying like there's no tomorrow..." which was followed by "...I AM Fest builds such community and friendships amongst the bands where they will be doing shows together at other venues's amazing watching everything as it happens..." Nicely put but it was also time to "...trainwreck..." the after party!

What a day!

What a fest, blogspot readers!

Until next time, support your local scene,