I AM Fest 2013 ...Chicago's one-day independent arts and music (and sometimes more) festival under one roof at House of Blues happened over the weekend, blogspot readers. Besides featuring live music performances by up and coming artists and bands like Pirates!!!, Eagle Trace, and Leah Druzinsky, there were vibrant colorful displays of modern to abstract and poster art as well as shiny pieces of jewelry by local artists and craftsmen for fest goers to purchase. This, in a nutshell, is what I AM Fest is all about -showcasing the best of who's making Chicago's local scene thrive in art and music. Previous I AM Fest showcases have featured live performances by the original Chicago Noise Machine alums (A Birdsong Valentine, Echo Son, 72 Hours, Lucid Ground), I Fight Dragons, Mason's Case, Workout Music, Bambi Raptor and many more. This year's lineup featured a wide variety of music genres from hip hop/rap to neo R&B/soul and pop/alternative rock by bands like Eagle Trace, RayIsDude, Social Focus, Leah Druzinsky and Kelsey Montanez. I AM Fest's headliner was Energy Commission with the winners of the Battle of the Bands opening. SouthSide highly recommends checking out all of the bands (and artists) listed in this review.
Arrgh, mateys! Thar be Pirates (http://www.reverbnation.com/thesepirates) plunderin' the legendary House of Blues stage! However these weren't any ordinary swashbucklin' pirates like Captain Bluebeard or Jack Sparrow appearing on stage. Nope, blogspot readers. These were a vessel-load of rockin' scallywags came for your smokes, alcohol, gold, pearls and the pretty girls! This wild and crazy fun band got I AM Fest 2013 off to an energetic start by performing with a groovilicious dance sound during their hot (and sometimes steamy) R& B set. Wowing the many wenches and buccaneers with songs like Pleasure, the Boogaloo song and their theme song, they truly got out of control on stage when their captain leader somehow was able to strip out of his jeans to reveal his leopard-print leggings. According to Elbo Room owner/manager Dave Cook, the Pirates' front man goes a little further than this with his stage and stripping antics (almost the full monty but I AM Fest is an all-ages show so no nudity here), blogspot readers. This reviewer enjoyed dancing to this band's hot saxophone rhythms amidst the lively upbeat swing felt throughout the set.
|Rory Tyer Band|
|Phil Jacobson Band|
"...Really excited to be here ...it was awesome ...[we] want to say 'thank you' to everyone and Elbo Room..." ~ Ben McMunn of Social Focus
From Memphis, TN, Av0nDale (http://www.reverbnation.com/avdale) combined the energy of an alternative sound with a rockin' twinge of country/rock music throughout this trio's set. What made this set enjoyable was the band's flair for the dramatic that was vibrantly heard from the intricate music composition and rhythmic tempo thus creating two different complimentary styles between the Av0nDale's guitarists. Each vocalist had his own way of making the crowd feel tender sentiment and/or the raw angst of the "every man" tone to draw you deeper into the meaning of the lyrics being expressed over the mic. Fans also wildly delighted in the band's gritty guitar riffs which gave the semi-acoustic sound a slight razor sharp edge especially during the instrumental bridges.
In between the music acts, SouthSide visited some of the featured artists showcasing at this fest and met people like Dan Olvera (http://www.danolveraphotography.com), Jeff Radomski and Peter Bullock (http://art-hounds.com). While briefly with Dan, SouthSide was informed that there will be a HUGE announcement coming from him on September 20 but in the meantime, check out his work especially his abstract paintings that were on display. Also in the merch area, there was really cool handcrafted and upcycled goods by Rad Chicago ...lovely jewelry pieces and works of poster art by Clinton Worthington as well as villainous masks and more from the local band V Is For Villains who stopped by to recruit new villain minions and promote their return to the music scene happening on Oct 26 in Elgin, IL for the Nightmare On Chicago Street.
Overall, blogspot readers, wow what a show! And it was a near sellout success too! There's a growing support for Chicago's local scene as more and more people attend shows around town like I AM Fest. Reserve this possible date - August 23 - I AM Fest 2014. Hope to see you there!
Until next time, support your local scene,