Thursday, July 18, 2013

07 July 13

Which wine pairs better with your music - red or white, blogspot readers? Tonight's On The Town adventure took SouthSide on a rare journey deep within the West Loop area for an evening of soul/funk/neo-R&B at City Winery. This music revue featured local bands The Diplomats of Solid Sound with The Diplomettes and The Right Now with The Heard headlining the lineup and DJ sets by DJRC and Mr. Gac with a funky montage of video images accompanying the music. 

This was SouthSide's first time visiting City Winery which is also a full-scale restaurant/wine bar as well as a sophisticated music venue. City Winery, blogspot readers, can almost be compared to Roger Park's Mayne Stage. The venue itself is quite spacious with ample seating and room near the stage for dancing. However during this performance, the tables in this reviewers were set too closely to each other that you don't have enough room to either move and/or sit comfortably without trying to bump into your table neighbors. SouthSide did browse through the menu which offered a delicious array  of yummy food selections to appease your foodie palette. Yet, the main feature of City Winery of course is the wines and it's very extensive with a suggested house selection for tonight's music performance as well as a list of imported and US craft beers. City Winery does also has whiskeys but not much in the cocktail department (they only have The Manhattan) which was somewhat a disappointment for this reviewer. Then again, blogspot readers, this venue's main focus is wines from France, Italy and California that you can either be served from the tap or bottle.

Opening the evening of funk/soul revue was a lively DJ set by host Rich aka DJRC featuring a mix of his favorite sounds of past, present and modern soul/R&B/funk, blogspot readers. Along with his video montage (that included classic clips from Soul Train and a 70s car commercial), the unique combination of sight and sound not only dazzled its audience but also warmed them up amidst the cool AC before  The Diplomats of Solid Sound took the stage. This reviewer enjoyed The Diplomats' set but feels it could have been better if the female vocalists, Sarah and Kathy aka The Diplomettes, displayed more of an energizing force in the vocal department to match the fiery soul of the band's music. There were moments, blogspot readers, when both vocalists complemented the music backing them (i.e. Give Me One More Chance) however there were times when the vocals seem lackluster and didn't have that soulful umph to boost the emotion and/or heighten the lyrics to make the soul pop to life. To SouthSide, they seemed to be holding back just a little until the right song or moment to really drive home that dynamic soulful voice to wow the audience. The band behind The Diplomats of Solid Sound was indeed solid in the sound department, blogspot readers. This reviewer found the music to be fiercely intense as well as coolly smooth within its R&B/funk soul fusion that offered lots of energizing buzz especially when you have hot rhythms from the saxophone and steamy funk from the guitars and drums. Even though the saxophone was sometimes virtually overshadowed by the rest of the band, it still made its presence heard and known like during the instrumental jam that set the stage ablaze with a fiery rhythmic beat and swinging tempo for some daring enough to dance near the stage. For more information about The Diplomats of Solid Sound, visit

Where The Diplomats of Solid Sound lacked in the vocal department, The Right Now's female lead vocalist made up for it, blogspot readers. Not only did she popped that wow factor with her soulfully dynamic voice but also upped the sex appeal that truly complemented the band and its image for the audience. Hot is not the word for this band's performance at City Winery. It was a steamy ...sultry as well as groove-tastic performance full of rhythmic beats and melodies from beginning to end. This band knew how to get many within the seated area to gravitate towards the dance floor even while it got a little crazy when Adam and Lucas (of The Heard) joined The Right Now thus turning up the funkified rhythm section to full blast. It was an explosion of soul rocking not only the stage but the dance floor during the instrumental bridge. Yet it was Stephanie and her voice which had everyone feeling this band's groove, blogspot readers. At times, she could fog up the room from the sultry sexiness of her voice projected over the microphone especially while the band performed in a downtempo rhythm thus allowing her to shine but when the tempo was more upbeat and happening, that was when she popped the entire to life. *fans self* And when the moment was right - Stephanie didn't hold any emotions back as the intense energy bouncing off the band behind The Right Now assisted in helping her vocals be more expressive on the lyrics. She let the audience have it all including some sassy body language to complete the sex appeal for the band. The true highlight of this set was when she did an acoustic version to Prince's How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore (a rarely covered B-side). Overall, blogspot readers, SouthSide says be prepared to sweat as you groove to the funk/soul sounds of The Right Now at their next performance. This band definitely turned up the heat (even with the AC going) by dazzling the audience with its rockin' energy and steamy yet sultry female vocals by Stephanie. The touch of craziness is simply an added bonus to keep you locked within The Right Now groove. For more information, visit The Right Now at

Get your dance shoes on! It's now truly the time to party, blogspot readers, with The Heard! This local funk jam band many within the audience (including good friend August Forte) kicking up their heels to the rhythmic sounds of their funk/soul fusion on the dance floor area. SouthSide instantly liked The Heard's brand of lively energy and funk vibe as each member got down with their bad selves especially when they paid tribute to James Brown at the beginning of their set. It was very cool to see how his musical legacy had some influence on the music before moving onward to other instrumental songs like The Walrus and Spoon Fork. The music, blogspot readers, can be simplistic with its rhythmic tempo and upbeat groove as well as complex from the way these musicians (especially the hot rhythm section) added a little music piece of themselves into the notes. For instance, listen to The Heard's epic piece titled The Falcon in which you will feel yourself vibrantly soar amongst the towering crescendoes while experiencing the intense melodic tempo around you. The horns vividly expressed the spiraling dizziness of your winged flight as the rest of the band dips and upswings to new heights upon coming towards the end. Then set got a little hotter and a whole lot steamier when Stephanie (of The Right Now) leant her dynamic voice during this performance adding more spice and spitfire that matched The Heard's smooth floetry style. Not to worry, blogspot readers, if you missed this rousing funkified performance by this local band. You can catch The Heard rockin' the stage every Thursday night at aliveOne (located 2683 N. Halsted) ...just be prepared to dance your pants off while having a funky good time. For more information about The Heard, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,

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