Hey, blogspot readers, halfway through a long 4-day adventure around town. And tonight, SouthSide returns "home" (i.e. Elbo Room)! There she was to spend an evening upstairs in the acoustic lounge to interview as well as review her new friend from IN - Me In Radio. But first she highly recommends checking out the intense energy of this "youthful" trio from Ohio that rocked as the opening act for the main stage downstairs. Corey King & The Ohio Weather Band (or simply The Ohio Weather Band for short) set the Elbo Room stage ablaze with an energized blast of rockin' Americana blues/rock sound and soulful falsetto from the band's front man, Corey King, especially he displayed a strong force of vocal powress to certain songs. He had that certain "young" soulful sound which made this reviewer take interest in the band in which complemented the style of performing the music - sometimes performed in a downtempo rhythm. The audience were treated to an upbeat swing homage to the early days of rock and roll at one point before truly impressing them with an acoustic performance where Corey demonstrated the mighty power of how emotionally heartfelt his vocals could be, blogspot readers, as well as the imagery in his songwriting style. Here, SouthSide enjoyed listening to the pictureseque lyrics laced throughout his two-song acoustic set in which the words were designed to touch not only the soul but the heart especially during White Chariot when his voice popped the words to life amidst the downtempo acoustic riffs. She also recommends listening to The Ohio Weather Band's The Whole Damn Town. For more information about The Ohio Weather Band, visit http://www.ohioweatherband.com.
Meanwhile back upstairs in the acoustic lounge, blogspot readers, SouthSide had the unfortunate encounter with a very bad opening act known as Kitty Cat Kitty Cat and does have some advice for the duo who performed before Me In Radio was scheduled to perform. First, the female vocalist needs singing lessons or needs to learn how sing when accompanied with an acoustic guitar ...and this reviewer means this in the nicest way possible since one's ears shouldn't be assualted with a horrible cover of an Adele hit (from the outside of the venue). Second, if going to cover popular 80s and 90s one-hit wonders, please sing all of the lyrics not mumble your way through the songs or loudly announce "...let's go to the Marconi part of the song ...that's my favorite part..." - it shows how disrespectful you are to the song and its composer. And lastly, (and still SouthSide means this in the nicest way possible), she would have rather enjoyed hearing a set of original songs than an entire performance full of covers and some originals.
This singer/songwriter describes his one-man band, Me In Radio, as "...very eclectic, very different and theatrical...", blogspot readers. Yet what makes this particular so eclectic and different as well as theatrical, well according to Richie Versace "...[it] started with a 40-piece band called Soup Kitchen [but] after taking a break from the band, I started playing the piano drawing on influences like Tori Amos, Ani D'Franco, Over The Rhine and Rufus Wainwright..." and then adding "...it's different than [a] traditional rock setting ...every show is different depending on the my mood..." What Me In Radio forgot to add, blogspot readers, was how dramatic his live performance can be just like he said - depending on his mood. SouthSide highly recommends checking out this one-man band theatrical performance in where he fuses a set of acoustic guitar and/or piano-driven songs amidst an intensely strong vocal powress. His voice does command your immediate attention that's laced with more than just heartfelt emotions but also with dynamic falsettos especially when performing his own compositions. Still there's another interesting thing about Me In Radio, blogspot readers, he's not a trained pianist which at times during his double set performance was hard to believe until making minor mistakes here and there. Yet, Richie plays it with a certain intensity and passion as he immerses himself into each and every melodic note and rhythm. As he described the first part of his show, "...a lot of piano and keyboard ...[almost] a Tori Amos-esque type of show..." meanwhile the second part of the show would feature songs off his album, Baptized In Fire where he says "...[it's] about unrequited love, how it's broken and how we rediscover it ...closure..." He hopes use part of the album with the book he's working on about growing up and his life.
And when not on the piano, blogspot readers, his acoustic guitar side to the show is equally powerful. His voice did take on a different style and tone ...more dramatic than what was heard on the piano. Still emotionally deep but darker to bring out the soulful and dynamic tone off the guitar riffs accompanying him. This was where most of his theatrics come into play as he strums and sings before returning to the piano to perform with more a dramatic flare and intensity. One thing, SouthSide did notice about his first set was the shortness of each song but that wasn't a bad thing., blogspot readers. Each song wasn't given a quick run-through of vocals and music yet Me In Radio performed them with emotions and passion that they really didn't seem short at all besides adding a bit of comedy or stories in between them. Now the second set was where the eclectic, avant garde and theatrics came into play with a slight twist when performing songs off his album. Dressed in Christmas lights, Me In Radio powerfully took command of the stage with emotionally intensity that was not only felt but also heard in his songs like Baptized In Fire and Music in which the listening audience was sucked into his angst and tortured soul of pain. SouthSide felt the words dramatically and powerfully touching the dark of his life wonderfully projected through his words ...and again, she felt the urge to weep and/or ache from a broken heart along with him. Another song, Do You Remember John was a loving tribute to his friend where Richie tries to find a way to cope after his friend's death ...definitely there was pain in his voice. And though he wasn't performing on either guitar or piano, blogspot readers, there was plenty of intense energy floating around the acoustic lounge off his programmed music for the songs. Nothing was held back as far as emotions went especially while performing his closing song - Goodbye (about packing up your shit and moving on).
When doing some research about Me In Radio, SouthSide found an interesting point about this artist - the name is in reference to "...play on words ...a representative long lasting emotion that transmit a signal called music..." Definitely the emotions were there as well as the music throughout this performance. Yet don't expect Me In Radio to venture into the label (ie record company) game. He intends to stay indie because when "...the label takes over, the artist loses their creativity and their art..." That's why he was performing in Chicago in hopes of gaining a fanbase besides moving out of his comfort zone to which he added "...Chicago is a new experience for me..." "...Indie bands..." says Me In Radio, "...count on people for support ...and also it's about getting into the moment where you're at..." And he doesn't mind if he's performing for 50 or just SouthSide as long as someone appreciates what he's doing. This reviewer asked Dave Cook, owner of Elbo Room, what he thought about Me In Radio's performance and he said "....it's avant garde..." That's totally true - it was more than just a "one man performing on stage", blogspot readers, you got an entire theatrical production from beginning to end in two powerful acts. Not to worry, Me In Radio will be performing again on Dec 15th at The Monkeys Tale and on Dec 20th at Birdy's Bar & Grill. Take note that if you buy the album - Baptized in Fire and/or any other merch, 15% of the proceeds will be donated to Big Give Back charity fund. For more information, check out http://www.meinradiomusic.com.
Until next time, support your local scene,