Friday, October 26, 2012

20 Oct 12 - Kasim Sulton


"...gotta play the martyr when playing at Martyrs'..."

Good evening, blogspot readers, it's an extra special edition of SouthSide On The Town just for you! Tonight, SouthSide enjoyed a rather intimate singer/songwriter acoustic performance by the legendary Kasim Sulton. His name should ring many bells since this bassist/keyboardist's name is attached to many well-known bands / artists such at Todd Rundgren, Meatloaf (on vocals - Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell), Utopia, Joan Jett (member of the backing band - The Blackhearts), Cherry Vanilla, Blue Oyster Cult, Yellow Matter Custard (a Beatles tribute supergroup) - just to name a few. In his vast career, spanning decades, he has toured with other acts such as Hall & Oates, Cheap Trick and Richie Sambora and performed as studio musician alongside artists like Patti Smith, The Indigo Girls, and Steve Stevens. Also, Kasim has sang lead on Utopia's only top 40 hit Set Me Free (1980) and hit the Canadian Top 40 with Don't Break My Heart (1982). 

So, after looking at a brief summary of this artist, one should get the feeling why SouthSide was excited to be part of this unique opportunity. It was more than just hearing music being brought to life amidst such heartfelt vocal falsetto, lively acoustic rhythms and touching yet inspirational lyrics. It was also about the stories Kasim shared with his audience ...little intimate details not noted on any CD or album cover about a particular song to life as a single dad with his son in Staten Island to which he emphatically stated that "...single parenting is not for the faint of heart...", blogspot readers. For the fans who attended this special early Martyrs' show, it was a chance for them to relive their Kasim Sulton memories through the particular songs performed. There were moments when this reviewer heard a few shouted requests (one in particular - Utopia's The Martyr even though he really didn't know all of the lyrics but did improvised a little). This audience was totally basking in Kasim's warmth and friendliness as well as compassion for the music during certain songs like Utopia's Lysistrata (which was a part of a CD giveaway where fans had to name the song after a few chords played). This particular did resonate very well with some members of the audience due to its peace activism.
"...How may here want to hear a Lorne Greene song?" That question had many suggesting Patches however Kasim lovingly soothed the tempered requests and the audience's music soul with another filling the peaceful venue to the command of his heartfelt falsetto which wonderfully captured the emotion and tone of the ballad performed. While not observing Kasim working his magic on stage, this reviewer also noted some the audience singing along with him from time to time to other songs like 15 Minutes (off his upcoming album) that perfectly captures everyone's desire of having their "15 seconds" of fame under a rather spirited tempo and upbeat rhythm though the lyrics do have a serious tone and meaning when he sings. Or check out the unlikely song (meaning unlike what he normally writes) titled Stand Up in which he wowed the audience with something he had never done before - performing an allegro (upbeat) acoustic tempo song that he just wrote. According to Kasim - it's about him but the preverbial "him". This particular song, blogspot readers, was quite motivational as well as inspirational that encourages everyone to "stand up" for themselves and be something. SouthSide enjoyed it for the heartfelt falsetto and the bridge where you defintely felt his motivational words speaking loudly through his voice. Kasim hopes to add this song to the new album.


Besides being a singer/songwriter, Kasim is also a wonderful storyteller. He regaled the audience with tales about his days performing at Durty Nellies with a Beatles-like band to his busy multitasking lifestyle in which he's between touring with Blue Oyster Cult, being a single parent, and recording the new album. Yet, his eyes would light up the entire room espeically when he told the story about his son who was suppose to be home doing homework and walking the dog not over his girlfriend's house that weekend. He did passionately speak about his involvement with the Band of Brothers project and Rockers In Recovery until getting somewhat heckled by an audience member to which he told him " see the show is not about you's about me..." This project puts together 12 soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan who have been diagnosed with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and are given instruments. So far, blogspot readers, there have been 5 or 6 webisodes in which you can see at  And in one of the webisodes, the opening theme used was Watching The World Go By that you truly get the sense that every Kasim song expressed a sort of "every man (or woman)" sentiments inside the lyrics. He wonderfully captures what real people are thinking and/or experiencing in their lives whether it's love and relationship to socio-political ideals as heard in the closing song One World. During this particular, his assistant used his pivot head glasses to record everyone for his YouTube page.

However, the audience was saddened that he had to go. But before he did leave, we had a choice of hearing his version of Puff The Magic Dragon or the Bikini song. Someone wanted to hear Martyrs again as others were shouting their favorites to be heard and sung. To appease the audience one last time with his presence, Kasim closed out this special show with Baby, Don't Hold Back. It was truly a magical evening spent with this singer/songwriter and this reviewer highly suggests attending his next performance.


For more information about Kasim Sulton, his music and career, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,


  1. Were you the woman walking around with a notebook and a white rose? I was commenting to friends that it was very poetic, thinking Kasim 's music was inspiring you to write! Thank you for the nice review. We always have a great time at Kasim Sulton solo gigs in Chicago. Cheers!

  2. Wasn't inspired to write - was doing what I do best reviewing the music scene. It's not a job it's an adventure.


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