Sunday, December 15, 2013

Top 5 Bands of 2013

As 2013 winds down into history, blogspot readers, SouthSide was challenged into getting off the fence by embarking the most difficult task ever in her reviewing career - picking her Top 10 bands of the year. For the record, she has long avoided doing these kinds of lists because she might either forget a band or two OR (finally) admitting which bands she enjoyed the most. Peeking inside the mind of SouthSide is not an easy task that's why it was so difficult picking a Top 10. So to be fair, blogspot readers, she resorted to doing a Top 5 by grouping them in the following categories - Local, National and International. All shows (127 completed and still counting at the time of this post) featuring the following bands were  the tops during the 2013. Enjoy.

Top 5 Local:

5. (tie) - I AM Fest / Honey & the 45s ...SouthSide picked I AM Fest due its unique lineup which featured a strong variety of musical acts from electrifying pop/rock (Energy Commission) to hip hop/lyrical rap (RayIsDude) as well as  two female powerhouse vocalists (Leah Druzinsky and Kelsey Montanez) in the middle and more this year. There was something for everybody to like and enjoy during this one-day music festival. 

Honey & the 45's rocked the Cubby Bear earlier in the year with a one hot performance which was sexy, "in your face" funky kind of groove during a chilly winter's night. Never had this reviewer sweat to the groove (except when Bernie Worrell came to town years ago) along with many others around her to songs like "Got The Need" and the James Brown classic "I Feel Good". SouthSide will be seeing this band again at Metro coincidentally on the same date (Jan 11) when she first saw them.

3. DJ Scary Lady Sarah ...she's a fixture in the local scene by playing the best of industrial/post industrial/shoegaze/and more as well as keeping it alive for over 25 years with such events like NOCTURNA (held once a month at Metro or sometimes Bottom Lounge) and MACHINA (she dj's on the 1st Wednesday every month at Smartbar). Besides that, she has her own band - The Bellwether Syndicate's time to time in support of other shows ...and now working hard Convergence 20 Chicago First & Last & Always (occurring in April 2014), blogspot readers.  SouthSide is quite honored to know her as a friend and artist.

2. Social Focus ...after accidentally "discovering" this band's CD laying around the Elbo Room one night, then taking a listen and immediately liking demo sample (especially Merry-Go-Down), this reviewer had the extreme pleasure of watching this local band grow from obscurity to releasing a full self-titled album and rockin' out a crowd at House of Blues during I AM Fest 2013, blogspot readers. She hopes 2014 brings more exciting things for the members of Social Focus.

1. Makeshift Prodigy ...another local band SouthSide accidentally "discovered" back in 2009 when she was reviewing another band at Metro and soon got caught in this band's awe-inspiring music that instantly blew her away. She watched the members and music grow and evolve to what it is today ...still mind-blowing, motivational, inspirational symphonic rock to which they had a chance to tour and share with others on both sides of the coast ...and rockin' the crowd at Lollapalooza 2013. This band has a bright future ahead of them, blogspot readers.

Top 5 National:

5. Captured By Robots (CA)'s one of those bands you have to see to believe, blogspot readers, where's a lone human on guitar surrounded by a band of animatronic robots performing on horns, guitars and drums. The entire show itself was weird ...psychedelically trippy ...mind-bending as if you have taken acid before the show but nonetheless a fun time while absorbing the strangeness that was this band, blogspot readers. SouthSide can see why Captured has a strong fan following in Chicago...

4. Scary Cherry & the Bang Bangs (TX) ...this reviewer highly recommends rockin' to this Texan band's glitter glam/punk rock at their next show, blogspot readers. They love to have fun and be sure to sing Cherry Bomb with them on stage. She hopes they return in 2014 to rock Chicago again (as well as munch on deep dish pizza and Chicago style BBQ).

3. Esh the Singer (WI) word - WOW. This soulful sister will blow your mind with her voice. She can be dynamic as an R&B/Soul vocalist but also can rock hard like Stevie Nicks when she covers classic rock songs, blogspot readers. SouthSide had the pleasure in seeing her bring the audience to their knees by pumping so much emotions (from heartache to anger) into her lyrics during an acoustic set as well as when she's amplified with the full band. You heard it here first - she's better than Rhianna.

2. Hellions of Hollywood tour (CA) ...this tour featured Dawn of Ashes and Psyclon 9 rockin' the stage at Livewire Lounge after when a heavy downpour soaked Chicago, blogspot readers. Thanks to her friend, Tom George of Tag Publicity, SouthSide had the extreme pleasure interviewing both bands before they rocked and shocked their fans with intense headbanging thrash/dark electronica metal rock full of Hollywood glam and glitz all night with local band JILT opening for them. Yep, SouthSide got her metal on that night ...and lost her hearing too - now that's a good show.

1. Revel Without A Cause tour ...this tour featuring The Relapse Symphony (Washington D.C.), Fearless Vampire Killers (UK), Davey Suicide (CA) and William Control (WA) recently rockin' the Bottom Lounge on Black Wednesday night. Before the show (and thanks to her friend Tom George), she was lucky enough to do interviews with William Control and Fearless Vampire Killers as well as hang out with Davey Suicide (whom she interviewed when he was in Chicago with Blood On The Dance Floor a year ago). The lineup had the Chicago fans rockin' and dancin' as well as begging William for "one more song" to which he obliged giving them two more before having to finally end the show. If you there, yes, you caught this reviewer amongst the crowd dancing.

Top 5 International:

5. Anna von Hauswolff (Sweden) ...along with Noveller accompanying her and the band during their first U.S. tour, SouthSide highly recommends getting very acquainted with both and their instrumentally night music. You will be left in silent awe when listening to the melodic sounds. Also read the review recently posted on this blog.

4. Robert Plant with Sensational Space Shifters (UK) ...there's no better way to enjoy (free) music in the park during the Taste of Chicago than basking in the Led Zeppelin glow of this legendary rocker with thousands of other Zep fans (young and old) around you, blogspot readers. Plus she even got a chance to meet him for a few minutes after the performance. SO not worthy...

3. Dope Stars Inc (Italy) ...these Italians headlined at Cobra Lounge rockin' the stage with their 80s rock and much more, blogspot readers. Though the weather was a little too cold for them, they did enjoy Chicago when SouthSide got a chance to interview this band. She hopes they return in 2014 bringing the entire band this time.

2. The Red Paintings (AU) ... rock music and performance art ...nothing new for SouthSide but add the lead guitarist/vocalist dressed in a Russian hat and coat and his violinist in a kimono as well as two visual artists (one having a live model being painted) creating art during the band's opening set. This reviewer was totally blown away when they performed the title track - The Revolution Is Not Coming with such angered fervor and intensity. Check them out when they tour again in 2014.

1. Ian Anderson (UK) ...Thick As A Brick 1 & 2 - seeing this not only once but twice three months apart, blogspot readers. And SouthSide enjoyed both instances but loved it a second time due to the many Tull fans treating the performance more like a rock concert than a musical theatre. They were shouting ...cheering and rockin' out when Ian and the band performed Locomotive Breath during the encore - still that wasn't enough for them. They wanted "one more song" ...if he had the chance, SouthSide would have been shouting "Aqualung" at the top of her lungs. This reviewer would like to thank her good friend Anne Leighton for setting her up with tickets for both performances. SO not worthy but ready to see Ian Anderson again in 2014.

Until next time, support your local scene,

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, SouthSide, not only for the sweet plug for all of us assorted Bang Bangs (in Scary Cherry and the Bang Bangs), but also for turning us on to great music by other bands that you review and blog about. Love you and see you in '14!
    Minx the Jinx Bang Bang


Thank you for your feedback - SouthSide