Saturday, August 31, 2013

30 Aug 13 - North Coast Music Fest: Day 1

Music, fun, warm summertime weather, colorful costumes, hoopers and heavy rains - that's how SouthSide would describe her first day at North Coast Music Festival held inside Union Park, blogspot readers. This annual music fest (now in it's fourth year) attracted a huge crowd on the first day as music acts like Ghosthouse, The Heard, Zebo and Howie Doin thrilled their fans with a rockin' variety of dance music from retro 80s pop/rock to funk and EDM (electric dance music) even while looming dark clouds threatened overhead. And taking a cue from Lollapalooza, North Coast soon enacted their emergency weather plan via Twitter, Facebook, et al and also on the video screens located on the fest grounds advising attendees to seek shelter from the impending storm. Not to worry, blogspot readers, the festival did resume around 8p to attendees for Passion Pit, Mac Miller, The Disco Biscuits and more.

This being SouthSide's first time inside North Coast she did overwhelm herself with all of the sights and sound this unique music festival had to offer, blogspot readers, that she burned herself out before 6p. Besides the music performances running constantly on five stages around this West Loop park, there's also a Living Art/Graffiti gallery sponsored by the Chicago Reader and an artist meet and greet at booth. SouthSide was somewhat in awe at the many attendees who come "dressed" up in their fest fashion whether it was in their flower power child hippie style to summertime hipster look or whatever was cool to them. However on this steamy hot day, staying hydrated with water was the object of the afternoon before heavy rains doused the music fest at the beginning of the evening lineup. Bring with you a clear plastic bottle to refill with water at the many water stations. When this reviewer returns Saturday afternoon for Day 2, she promises to slow down and pace herself to enjoy North Coast a little more.

In a nutshell, blogspot readers, North Coast is one amazing event. They have free bike parking if riding your bike to the park ...of course there's public transportation near by too. This reviewer highly recommends loading up your CTA fare card before entering the fest grounds so that way you're not stuck in the long lines at the fare machines when it's time to go. As a cool incentive, this fest also offers a VIP upgrade (have to be 21+) from your General Admission ticket to where you get awesome amenities like elevated viewing platforms, private bar (with way cheaper prices) and air conditioned bathrooms - just to name a few. Oh yeah, bring some patience with you while going through security. All bags are subjected to be searched, blogspot readers. And if you can't join in the fun, not to worry - you can always stream live performance feed at

Until next time, support your local scene,

24 Aug 13 - I AM Fest

Dan Olvera

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.

The Pirates!!!

Arrgh, mateys! Thar be Pirates ( 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
Even though having a bit of technical difficulties before their performance, Rory Tyer Band (http://www.rorytyerband), continued the I AM Fest fun with their acoustic pop/rock which featured an intense as well as ferocious sound and vibe, blogspot readers. Singer/songwriter Rory and his band were all about rockin' out the stage while keeping that momentum on a level high that was started by opening band Pirates. Also there was a moment when they cooled things down with a laidback tempo allowing his vocals to shine especially during a pseudo-gospel toned song though keeping that fiery energy in tact from the guitars. This reviewer enjoyed Rory's storytelling style prominently featured within his songs ...sometimes painting a vivid picturesque images in your head, blogspot readers, as his voice pumps expressive emotions into each word sung. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, chants of "Rory" from Pirates could be heard before he and the band performed their closing song.
Phil Jacobson Band
Closing out the opening acts featuring the winners of this year's I AM Fest Battle of the Bands, Phil Jacobson Band's ( set featured a rockin' smooth blend of pop/alternative sound with a bit of bluesy style music to compliment Phil's natural vocal tone. What SouthSide enjoyed the most about this band was the male back up singers. Yes, you heard correctly - male back-up singers whose vocal harmonies wonderfully matched this singer/songwriter's voice range during choruses to such songs like Don't Let Me Leave, Life With the Fool and As One. While on stage, Phil and the band also got this crowd on the main floor grooving to the beat when they added some funky R&B and smokin' hot guitar stax rhythms thus creating a cool upbeat tempo before closing out his set with the title track off his current release - Love Right Now.

Kelsey Montanez
Hanging out back stage for a moment, SouthSide met up with her good friend Kelsey Montanez ( and her band before they appeared on stage to which Matt had something witty to say in a form of a "knock knock" joke. Lately this dynamic singer/songwriter has been getting noticed by the local press for her music ...and rightly so because she's one of the few powerfully dynamic female vocalists rockin' Chicago's vibrant music scene. Kelsey's no stranger to I AM Fest either, blogspot readers. She rocked the stage back in 2010 and again she rocked it in 2013 with another show-stopping performance. Whether she's performing acoustically or amplified with her band, Kelsey packs a lot of intense emotions into each word sung in her songs to which you're meant to feel the same raw feelings as she does. There are moments when she's projecting like a woman deep in pain while in others she's the woman who will not be pushed aside. That's how real Kelsey can get during her performances, blogspot readers. The highlight of her set came when performing the lyrical version to the song Out Of Sight that she did with another rising local artist Chance the Rapper before ending with Sold My Soul.
Being the only hiphop/rap artist in the I AM Fest lineup is somewhat groundbreaking, blogspot readers. However when it comes to this Jefferson Park rapper RayIsDude (, he has attracted quite of a following in recent years. SouthSide has seen him around town (especially at Elbo Room) rockin' the stages with his upbeat rhythms and beats which match his realistic (and sometimes inspirational) lyrics about life in the city like Chicago. And even though this reviewer isn't hip hop's/rap's biggest fan, she does have some respect for Ray who drops a little knowledge here and there within the positive message he relates to the crowd. The highlight of his set happened when another rapper Main Event appeared on stage during Raise Hell to which had the main floor head banging to the heavy metal-sounding rap beats before dedicating the song Poor Johnny to all of the people who have been bullied. The song may have been little graphic but Ray spoke the truth, blogspot readers, about how being bullied can have a damaging and negative effect on all involved.

"...Really excited to be here was awesome ...[we] want to say 'thank you' to everyone and Elbo Room..." ~ Ben McMunn of Social Focus

Social Focus
"...[I AM Fest] is good so far..." according to Elbo Room's Dave Cook who also excited like SouthSide to see the next band, Social Focus ( performing on stage. So were some of the band's family and friends along with the many fans who came to I AM Fest in support of this rising band. Little did this reviewer know after finding Social's demo CD at Elbo Room two years ago that they would be appearing on stage at House of Blues rocking out this legendary venue with such a tour de force. This was, in her opinion, one of their best ever, blogspot readers ...and she has seen them enough times to stand by that statement. Opening with Dreamcatcher and Classic Me off their self-titled release, this band hit the stage hard and never ceased with the intense energy, dynamic fervor and ferocious rock sound until closing with Thank You - a new song dedicated to everyone who have supported them throughout the years. What intense excitement that was running high not only on stage but also everywhere around the main floor in which SouthSide observed their fans either singing along to their favorite Social Focus song and/or dancing to the band's music thrill ride. Whether it was Safeword or Solitaire, fans were totally grooving to the mellow-dramatic rock vibe, blogspot readers, that left many wanting more. SouthSide suggests snagging a copy of their current release to hear other fan favorite songs Note To Self, Telephones In The Skies (yes, the anagram jokingly reads T.I.T.S.) and of course the one rockin' her iPod these days - Merry-Go-Down, Social's trippy song with cool harmonizing vocals.

Av0n Dale

From Memphis, TN, Av0nDale ( 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.
Eagle Trace
Meanwhile from Wisconsin, Eagle Trace ( wildly rocked the stage (at times) with four guitars thoroughly delighting I AM Fest goers (including the busload they brought with them from their hometown) from start to finish. Boasting such of an intense sound (even with 3 guitars going),  this band is very unique because it features brothers Max (on guitars), Jackson (on bass), Mitch (front man/guitar) and Cass (on drums) as well as Broderick on guitar, blogspot readers. This five-member group definitely knew how to rev up this crowd into a crazed frenzy especially during the instrumental bridges where the light-hearted tempo is fused with wild energy like within the song Attack & Release. What truly caught this reviewer's attention was while Eagle Trace performed Shepherd's Call when Mitch's voice had this youthful yet sexy cool punk tone amidst the many guitar riffs to get you moving to the beat. Also she recommends checking out other songs like Calypso and Separator. After their I AM Fest performance, SouthSide had a chance to speak with Mitch and Cass of Eagle Trace to get their soundbites about performing at this year's fest. According to Cass, "...amazing was a blast..." while brother Mitch commented "...[we] played to bigger audiences but nothing like this ...such a cool place to play..." In a nutshell, blogspot readers, it was so surreal for the band. They told this reviewer that being a new band of 2-3 years old (to the exact day of I AM Fest), they have played at other festivals like Summerfest with another rising local band Makeshift Prodigy as well as Elbo Room twice. On a funny note, Cass would have something to brag about to his friends at school come Monday morning.

Leah Druzinsky
"...this is pretty awesome..." says the next performer Leah Druzinsky ( about I AM Fest before her smokin' hot performance on stage. She added that she's hanging out with more people than she did last year because she was nervous about performing on the venue's legendary stage. "...everyone has been awesome..." then commenting about how I AM Fest is an "...artist-friendly festival..." and how she was excited " live the dream for one night..." And what performance this dynamic singer/songwriter did in front of the crowd at I AM Fest 2013! Not only did she rock the stage with her her jazz-like chanteuse vocals but also with a lot of sexiness within her stage presence. Yet it was her vocals that was being spotlighted on center stage since there would be moments when she added a touch of sultry coolness or dynamic soulful heat whenever the song called for it. She truly made the crowd feel the heartfelt emotions especially while amidst a downtempo rhythm and R&B groove before really spicing things up a bit with some jazzy upbeat swing. Yeah, blogspot readers, it was that steamy. Rounding out the lineup for I AM Fest 2013 was last year's spontaneously combusted headliner - Energy Commission ( who had MORE wild and crazy antics in store for their legions of EC firecrackers. If you thought the opening band Pirates were crazy, you haven't truly felt what crazy is all about until you experienced what happens when this band performs. SouthSide must warn you, blogspot readers, things can really intense as well as insane especially if on the main floor of House of Blues. Be on the lookout for bouncing things (i.e. ginormous balloon balls) bouncing around you things (i.e. leis, pom poms and more) tossed by the lovely Commissionettes ...sparkly lighted things (i.e. neon finger lights) and who knows what else Energy Commission has in their bags of free giveaways during I AM Fest! And the crowd goes wild as they chase down the prizes and bouncing balloon balls during Energy's rockin' performance. This is what the band is known for - fun and music while performing songs off their soon-to-be released album like We Got Game (done in the style to Tom Petty's Last Dance With Mary Jane) but with a danceable ska twist. Sometimes Energy Commission likes to smash things on stage (like front man Jay breaking his pink ukulele) or create new art (like their artist creating an ultra cool painting with the band's logo on it). There's so much to see and enjoy that you want the fun to last all night long but sadly it's an all-ages show there's a curfew at House of Blues. Before the Energy's performance, SouthSide spent a few moments with Jay to get his thoughts about I AM Fest. Here's what he had to say "...[it's] a great opportunity especially those who came through the Battle of the Bands..." adding that " one has that 'we're above you' rock star attitude ...we give what the people expect a show..." He also commented that it was really nice to be a part of production like this at a venue like House of Blues.
Rad Chicago

In between the music acts, SouthSide visited some of the featured artists showcasing at this fest and met people like Dan Olvera (, Jeff Radomski and Peter Bullock ( 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,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

September 2013

Hey, blogspot readers - summertime fun is NOT over yet ...even if the first day of autumn happens on Saturday Sept 21. There are plenty of festivals, events and more including touring bands happening around Chicago (and elsewhere) that you should check out during this month.

Please note - all shows listed are 21+ unless otherwise noted, blogspot readers.

Aug 29 - Sept 1:
Millennium Park - Jazz Fest

Aug 30 - Sept 1:
Hide Away Lakes Campground (Yorkville, IL) - Love Shine Festival-Rock vs Autism. For more information, visit

Union Park - North Coast Music Festival

Sept 1:
Empty Bottle - it's the Empty Bottle Friendly Family Block Party featuring music performances by Yakuza, Rabble Rabble, Pet Lions, Circles, Nude Intruder, and more

On Milwaukee Ave (between California and Fullerton) - get licked by the Top Shelf Lickers and inspired by Makeshift Prodigy while they rock the stage at Remix Chicago!

Livewire Lounge - rock with The Azoic, JILT and Flood Damage

Will Call Miami (Miami, FL) - it's the Labor Day Massacre! No cover. A pig roast and live music performances featuring Las Tias, Pocket of Lollipops, Pretty Girls and more

Sept 4:
Smartbar - Join the members of MACHINA for another fun time with DJ Scary Lady Sarah featuring guest DJs Jim Marcus and Jason Novak

Sept 5:
Subterranean - check out Moon sharing the stage with Polarizer, Huntsmen and Dead Parade. For tickets, visit

Hard Rock Cafe - rock the night away with Hero Monster Zero and 8090 along with Real Estate Fight.
All Ages / $7

Double Door - RAW Natural Born Artists Showcase: Translations - a music / fashion / art / comedy / film / multimedia.
$10 adv / $15 dos

Ultra Lounge - Jack Rabbit will be performing here

Breadbox (Brooklyn, NY) - it's Ladyfinger featuring a handpicked lineup of touring and local artists rockin' the stage in jazz, electronic and world music - Woof Woof, John Kurtz Band, Sky White Tiger and dancing the night to DJ set by Dan Wender.
FREE with rsvp http://www./

Sept 6 - 8:

The Den Theatre - attend Viewpointe(s): generating exposure for women dancemakers. This event will showcase five (5) talented women and their perspectives in movement.
$15 pre-sale / $20 at door
For more information and tickets, visit

Sept 6:
Double Door - check out Paper Thick Walls with Deanna Devore, American Wolf and Xoe Wise
$10 adv / $12 dos / 8:30p

House of Blues - rock with Lucky Boys Confusion featuring Adora and United Federation of Planets

The Burlington - Post Honeymoon's record release featuring We Are Hex and Bone & Bell

Elbo Room - check out Ben Burns and attend his vinyl release party

Molehill will be kicking off their Equinox Fall tour 2013 in Muncie, IN.
For more details, visit

Sept 7:
House of Blues - check out local band The Bellwether Syndicate opening for The Mission (UK). Tickets still available

Evanston Vineyard Church - celebrating the life and music of singer/songwriter Matt Ryd

The Forge (Blue Island, IL) - rock out with this metal lineup featuring Malas, Elbow Deep, Pale Horseman, Those Mother Fuckers, King Hyss and Violet Kill

The Aberdeen Tap (440 N. Aberdeen) - The Urban Pig Roast Chicago benefitting The Children's Advocacy Center and The Ferrer Foundation.
For more information and tickets, visit

Damen & Roscoe - rock with a pint of Guinness in one hand and oysters in the other at this year's Oyster Fest! check out The Future Laureates on stage (1:30p) opening for Tossers and Rusted Root
$7 suggest donation

Reggie's - check out D.O.A. with Voice of Addiction and Guilt By Association tearing of the stage

Sept 10:
Kaufman Center (NYC, NY) - it's time to pick sides again as Intelligence Squared debates resume on this day with this debate - The U.S. Drone Program Is Fatally Flawed featuring Ahmed Rashid and John Kael Weston FOR the motion and Admiral Dennis Blair (USN, ret) and General Norton Schwartz (USAF, ret) AGAINST the motion.
For tickets and more information, visit

Sept 11:
Ultra Lounge - Corrosive Musick presents Faderhead rockin' the stage

Double Door - Door No. 3 presents FABITAT: Groove featuring DJ Adam El (of 16 Candles /Berlin) during the night for west side's LGBTQ community and its supporters.

Sept 12:
SouthSide celebrates seven (7) fun years covering Chicago's local scene and more!

Schuba's Tavern - help Save The Clocktower rock the stage with Porcelain Raft

Underground Wonder Bar - get your funk/groove on with Room 11

Reggie's Music Joint - feel the night music featuring Magicks, Romance, Shard Style and Remington
$5 (or rsvp for FREE entry at

The Mutiny - Counterfeit I rocks the stage

Underground Wonder Bar - check out singer/songwriter Leah Druzinsky rockin' the stage

Sept 13 - 15:
Humboldt Park - Riot Fest and Carnival 2013!

Sept 13:
Cubby Bear - enjoy an evening of the arts while helping to benefit Children's Hunger featuring special acoustic performances by Stephen Francis (of Model Stranger), Karl Hafner (of Lucid Ground), Kezban and Leigh Evin McCullough with stand up comedy.
FREE with non-perishable item

Abbey Pub - rock out with Calm Like A Bomb (Rage Against The Machine tribute band)

Subterranean - I AM Dynamite rocks the stage here
All Ages

House of Blues (Chicago) - Blood On The Dance Floor will be bringing their "Bad Blood" tour to Chicago and legendary venue.

Sept 14:
Lakeview East Festival of the Arts

NiteCap - Catalano invades this Portage Park venue with guitar shredder Sony Lombardozzi (from Erie, PA) featuring local band Psycho Sister

Flagstone: Crafts and Cocktails (Geneva, IL) - Neil Diamond Phillips rocks the stage again

Six Flags Great America (Gurnee, IL) - attend Out In The Park ...a spectacular night of amusement, live music entertainment by Jess Godwin with Eli Lieb and Isaiah Grass and more to help benefit Chicago House. DJ Matthew Harvat will be spinning live.
$38 adv / free parking

House of Blues (Chicago) - rock with The Psychedelic Furs featuring The Technocolors

Sept 16:
Ye Olde Town Inn - Genus will be rockin' the stage with Apocrypha, Taken By The Sun and Vengeful Spirit

House of Blues - Q87.7 presents Super Happy Fun Club with Smallpools

Sept 18:
Livewire Lounge - Psyclon Nine brings its "Hellions of Hollywood" tour to Chicago

Subterranean - it's Archie Powell & The Exports appearing on stage!

Lincoln Hall - attend Justin's 99 Red Balloons Benefit concert featuring JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound

Wise Fool's Pub - it's the monthly Rouge! Electro Swing Night! party

Sept 19:
The Verve (Terre Haute, IN) - Model Stranger's "The Changing Score" tour kicks off here (with the tour ending on Oct 5 at Martyrs' for the official record release party).
For more information, visit

Ultra Lounge - Youth Code, Night Sins and Population featuring DJ Scary Lady Sarah performing live at this Logan Square venue

Sept 21:
Metro - join the other beautifully stylish creatures of the night at NOCTURNA with DJ Scary Lady Sarah as she spins your requested post-industrial, EDM, shoegaze and more until dawn.
18+ / $10

Grant Park (Upper Hutchinson Field) - Join Chicago's Mental Health Walk to raise awareness and fight stigma during the NAMI  Walks 5K
To register, visit or phone 312 - 563 - 0445

(Reggie's) Music Joint - The Socialists will be rockin' the stage here.
Kids can enter FREE with parents

Sept 24:
Township - The Grahams will be performing adventurous stories from their current release Riverman's Daughter to life.

Sept 25:
Bottom Lounge - Velvet Acid Christ will be rockin' live in Chicago!

Sept 26:
Goose Island Wrigleyville Brewpub - join Leigh Evin McCullough and others for Open Mic Night presented by swizzlesteve and Chicago Acoustic Underground

The Hideout Inn - attend the Julie Meckler record release show

Double Door - it's the Headliner's Ball featuring live performances by Helen Money, DJ Spooky and Jeremy Ellis

Sept 27 - 28:
Metro - Cold Waves II Festival featuring live performances by Prong, 16 Volt, The Clay People, Die Warzau and many more
Single Day General Admission $33 / Single Day VIP $125 (includes 2 tickets) / limited 2 Day passes ($56) left and on sale now

Sept 27 - 29:
Millennium Park - sample food and more at Chicago' Gourmet 2013 presented by Bon Appetit. For tickets and information, visit

Showplace Icon - Chicago International Social Change Film Fest. For more information and tickets, visit

Wicker Park/Bucktown area - Coyote 2013 (art festival and music)

Sept 27:
27 Live (Evanston, IL) - Do the "Time Warp" at The Rocky Horror Picture Show Live!

Sept 28:
Uncommon Ground (Clark St location) - check out singer/songwriter Aryk Crowder performing songs from his upcoming album
All Ages / $5

Penny Road Pub - Counterfeit I will be rockin' the stage here

Double Door - Soul Summit FREE Dance party with DJs Sloppy White, Dave Mata and Duke Grip featuring DJ Monk One (Wax Poetics, Brooklyn NY)
FREE / $10 VIP tix available

Soldier Field - AIDS Run & Walk Chicago
For more information and to register, visit

Rosy's Roadhouse - check out Lucky Boys Confusion rockin' the stage here

Bottom Lounge - Jonny Craig brings his " Souls On Fire" tour to this West Loop venue along with William Beckett, Kyle Lucas and Hearts & Hands

Sept 29:
DePaul University (Lincoln Park campus) - Chicago's We Love Yoga Festival
For more information, visit

Sept 30:
Brauerhouse - Burn of the Wicked: A Tribute to Iced Earth rocks Midwest Metal Anthem 2013

Until next time, support your local scene,

Sunday, August 25, 2013

23 Aug 13

Welcome to the ultimate Depeche Mode party, blogspot readers!

In honor of the UK electronic/rock band performing in Chicago, Berlin Nightclub hosted a free pre-concert party for Depeche Mode fans featuring the band's vast discography and videos all night long. And as added bonus - DJ and producer VoxBox performed a set of mashed up songs with live vocals. Fans like SouthSide got the extreme chance to hear (or re-live) favorite Depeche songs ...the hits such as Personal Jesus, Wrong, Freelove ...the classics - Everything Counts, Master and Servant, People Are People ...and the obscure rarities such as See You and more under one roof, blogspot readers. 

This was the nightspot for nonstop Depeche Mode videos of their live concert performances and band photos through the years while dancing underneath the dazzling lights with your fellow Depeche Mode fans. Speaking of the fans - the friendliest people SouthSide met throughout the night. Many of them have been fans of this UK band since the 80s. And if you were there, you might have caught this reviewer dancing to a few of her favorites like Dream On, Suffer Well, Never Let Me Down - to name a few. During the middle of the fun, blogspot readers, Chicago's own VoxBox rocked the dance floor with his special Depeche Mode mashup featuring live vocals during certain songs. This was when the nightclub truly came to life with people dancing to either remixed songs of Depeche's early years or recent stuff all the while random images of the band ran on the screens located around the bar. However, sadly, all good things had to come to end but Depeche Mode fans wanted more of their favorite band. This party concluded with a cool random mix of Depeche Mode songs like Heaven (of the band's current release Delta Machine) before ending on a high with Enjoy The Silence.

Noting this was SouthSide's first time at Berlin Nightclub, blogspot readers, this reviewer had a fun time inside one of Boystown hip places to dance and enjoy a few drinks. She liked the friendly and non-pretentious atmosphere to which she didn't feel the need to dress or dance to impress anyone except herself. It was nice meeting some of the regulars (gay and straight) who frequent this place  asking SouthSide if she was having a good time though it might have appeared she wasn't. Actually, she was merely mentally observing for this review. The Berlin (conveniently located near CTA's Belmont Red/Purple/Brown lines) may look small on the outside but there's plenty of room inside for you to mingle, dance and or watch the action around you, blogspot readers. There's also a mini stage area where you demonstrate your best dance moves to the crowd around. The real fun at Berlin doesn't start to well after 1a and you might face a line to enter if arriving at that particular time especially on Friday when DJ Greg Haus continued the fun until 4a with his Cosmix DJ set.

Be aware, blogspot readers, you must be 21 and older to enter.

For more information about upcoming events happening at Berlin Nightclub, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, August 23, 2013

21 Aug 13 - Electro Swing

The roaring twenties and thirties lives again ...with a millennial twist, blogspot readers!

Tonight, SouthSide took a break from the rock scene and had a fun-tastic time getting her swing on during Rouge! Chicago's Electro Swing deep within the heart of Lincoln Park at Wise Fools Pub. Happening every third Wednesday (of each month), this FREE event featured danceable swing music with an electro twist by resident DJs Lord Vourteque and Mr Automatic and sultry seduction of burlesque sideshow by the lovely yet mysterious Lady Lenux to tantalize the senses. Besides the music and sideshow, tonight's event also featured some relaxing massaging and random video clips of classic silent and talkie movies from the 20s and 30s shown around the bar. Speaking of the bar, Wise Fools Pub itself had the perfect decor and ambience for Electro Swing's monthly "meeting".

When attending Electro Swing, the first thing will come to mind is that you're stepping back into time when the gents dressed in coats and tails (or kilts) looking rather dapper in their spats and walking canes and hats while the dames dressed in their finest flapper dress and heels. Definitely think of attending a summertime party at Jay Gatsby's Long Island estate when you step through the entranceway of Wise Fools and see the fashionably dressed in their best vintage wear for a long night of Electro swinging. Everyone was in a festive mood tonight, blogspot readers, as many crowded the dance floor showing off a few moves here and there to remixed classic songs like Ella Fitzgerald's A-Tisket A-Tasket and It Don't Mean AThing throughout this event. Lord Vourteque and Mr Automatic provided a night of swing/ragtime music but with a slight twist - the electro sound which will get your toes tappin' to the rhythmic beat. 

The beauty about this event like another SouthSide attends (i.e. NOCTURNA) is that you don't have to feel the urge of "dressing to impress" anyone. She enjoyed the "come as you are" or be comfortable with what you're wearing atmosphere while observing those who decided to come to Electro Swing dressed in their vintage clothes. And it's a friendly atmosphere too. Everyone (must be 21+ to enter) is welcome to come and dance to the music, relax with friends or check out the random clips when movie making was its infancy, blogspot readers. Classic scenes like Fritz Lang's Metropolis to Warner Bros' The Roaring Twenties, Varsity Show and Gold Diggers of 1933 as well as familiar faces who were box office draw like James Cagney, Ginger Rogers, Bing Crosby, Dick Powell - to name a few. There was even a silent French film clips, a new reel featuring King George and Queen Elizabeth I and early Disney and Looney Toons cartoons.

In between the music and fun, the lovely Lady Lenux teased the attentive audience with her mysterious moves of seduction during her two acts of burlesque, blogspot readers, despite missing most of her first act. Featuring some assistance from Lord Vourteque, this artist charmed us with a little hip-shaking dance with him before seductively moving into her routine where she teased the mental and optical senses. Lady Lenux did have one amazing feat ...or SouthSide should say feet since it was her delicate toes expertly removing her thigh-high stockings while dangling upside down on a bar stool and swiveling the hips the electro music. Both times did the burlesque artist's act tease and excite leaving her audience wanting more, blogspot readers. Also there were two CD giveaways of Electro Swing Club vol. 1 Compilation (sorry, it's only available in UK not in the States yet) ...but you must sign up at Do312 site for the giveaways each month.  During the bewitching hour, Lord Vourteque debut a single he recently mastered to get the party moving again after the burlesque show.

SouthSide highly recommends attending the next Electro Swing in September.

Until next time, support your local scene,

15 Aug 13 - Havok

Metal up your night with SouthSide, blogspot readers!

Tonight's special On The Town adventure had this reviewer getting her metal on with the touring band HAVOK at Ultra Lounge. From Denver, Co, this band since its incarnation has opened for other bands like Forbidden, Anthrax and Death Angel and released two albums - Burn (2009) and Time Is Up (2011) as well as current release, Unnatural Selection. Recently the guys traveled to Montreal, Canada for the Heavy MTL Fest and Bogota, Columbia where they performed in front of an estimated crowd of 45,000 at the Rock Al Parque which also featured Cannibal Corpse and Symphony X. According to David Sanchez, front man and guitarist of the band, their experience in Columbia was "...surreal..." And we're barely touching the iceberg on HAVOK's rising achievements within the music scene thus far, blogspot readers, when SouthSide was granted an in depth interview with David about the band, its music and songwriting process and how much blood there might be during the show.

Describing the band as ", tight, heavy and groovy...", David explained to SouthSide that HAVOK likes to play fast in front of their fans making an effort to be tight and heavy in the music business for distribution. "I'm in it to win it," says HAVOK's front man while being very honest and blunt about the distribution part to SouthSide's question. When briefly touching on the band's Billboard and other achievements, he humbly stated " was surprising..." Quite so since the release of Unnatural Selection, they hit #154 on Billboard's top 200, #44 on Billboard Independent and #3 on Billboard Heatseeker and went from opening for other touring bands to now headlining their own tour. Yet, he and the band are taking their good fortune in stride despite noting in the eyes of the music industry, they're still little HAVOK. And what about groovy? Well, in a nutshell, blogspot readers, they simply just are. Even though only chatting with David during the interview, the other members of HAVOK were very down to earth and itching to get on stage to rock out the metalheads in attendance at tonight's show. Speaking of the show, SouthSide asked what could she expect from the band as they rock out the Ultra Lounge stage to which David responded "...[we] hope to send everyone home with a sore neck and lost voice from screaming..." also adding there would be "...lots of head banging ...performing some songs off the current album [Unnatural Selection] and some off the others..." She was told to expect the show to have high energy as well. "...we want to make sure everyone has a good time..." because HAVOK knows people didn't pay money to see four guys standing on stage. And having a good time, blogspot readers, means more than head banging. HAVOK wants you to get rowdy ...mosh ...stage dive (if allowed at the venue) ...rock out during their show.

Overall, HAVOK certainly didn't disappoint in the performance department, blogspot readers. The band did more than just rock everyone's faces off with fast, loud thrash metal music. There was thrilling shreds of guitar riffs, heart-pounding thunderous percussion rhythms and raw animalistic vocals that not only filled the venue part of Ultra Lounge but instantly delighted metal fans to respond accordingly as David expected they would. So beware, blogspot readers. If you're not one for wild pushing, shoving or moshing in front of the stage at a HAVOK performance, it's best you stand near the back and watch the action safely from there. During this show - there were tense moments when the fans were pretty wild. Also, be on the lookout for intense periods of flying long locks of hair swirling and swinging to and fro on stage by band members especially during the hard-hitting instrumental bridges when they  get thoroughly deep within the music. Yet, behind HAVOK's intense thrash metal sound, SouthSide heard the call for "thinking for ourselves" and revolution of "real" change within some of the band's songs for like It's True and Give Me Liberty ...or Give Me Death - two in which David highly suggests listening. "...people need to think for themselves..." quips HAVOK's front man adamantly, "...if the majority of the populous started thinking for themselves, things could change for the better..." David also told this reviewer that he didn't have to go far to find his lyrical inspiration because so much is happening in the news and world these days. "...lots of stuff happening in the world..." However compared to the other two album releases, Unnatural Selection boasts of a more collaborative effort amongst the band members but when it comes down to the composition and arrangement, blogspot readers,  he believes he's better lyricist than guitarist.

As a lyricist, David definitely moved the fans not only rock out along with the band but also did more to incite bouts of fist pumping and head banging from them, blogspot readers. His words did cause some react with rowdy responses of the "Hell yeah" here and there ...agreeing to the front man's point of views about society's need to "...wake up ...and getting their heads out of their asses..." during It's True and during Give Me Liberty (which was dedicated to those who give a flying fuck about what's going on) where his vocals vented such powerful anger and distaste for what's going on with this country today. Within his raw primal state, he encouraged everyone to wake up ...take notice ...get involved by stop turning a blind eye to what's going on around them. Yes, blogspot readers, thrash metal is the best place to get people politically involved and socially aware at the same time. With the electric fury dominating both songs to the point where you can definitely feel the intense riffs melting your face off and ripping the ears, SouthSide noticed many getting serious bouts of whiplash from all of the head banging action going near the front of the stage. This reviewer also suggests listening to Point Of No Return - primal vocals and expressive body language make great stage presence as well as help further your thrilling experience under HAVOK's hardcore electric wizardry and fierce metal sound and off their Time Is Up album, Scumbag In Disguise - where head banging to the max was the rage, blogspot readers, as David violently roars over the mic like a ferocious beast in heat since you are meant to feel every drip of his heated anger. Plus during this particular song, be on the lookout for heart-racing crescendo rises off the guitars and plenty of thunderous drum rhythms designed to keep your head in whiplash mode til the very end before rocking out to D.O.A. and Unnatural Selection. Any time is a good time to mosh during a HAVOK performance but one thing was for sure ...there would be a few stiff necks in the morning. And that, blogspot readers, was one of the band's goals for the night.

Briefly during the interview, this reviewer and David talked about using social media to help in band promotion. "...oversaturation can be a problem..." says David but added, "...when a band takes advantage [of it] in the right way, the sky's the limit..." And now for something more lighthearted - what's HAVOK dream concert lineup? Well, it would consist of opening for Metallica, Iron Maiden, Mr. Bungle and more with stand-up comedians in between acts. "...Why hasn't anyone done this?!" wonders David. Good question. It's very interesting concept, blogspot readers, especially since the poor comedian would be pelted with beer cans if the joke delivery falls flat. In parting, David and band would like to thank everyone who has come to the show ...bought a t-shirt or CD and/or told their friends about the band. "...thanks for supporting the show ...without you, we're nothing..."

SouthSide highly suggests feeding your metal monster with HAVOK at their next show at a city or venue near you. Be prepared for some heavy whiplash action, blood (didn't happen during their Chicago appearance) and intensely wild fan reaction in the mosh pits near the stage. This band will melt your faces off before leaving you with a very sore neck and no voice the next day. For more information, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,

Thursday, August 15, 2013

09 Aug 13

Someone shout "Amen", congregation!

Tonight, the good shepherd of funk, Pastor Funkpleez along with His Pulpit Players preached on the holiness of the funk sound get our souls jivin' to the smooth bass beat and electric rhythms at Elbo Room. To help everyone get down with their bad selves, there were performances by We Are The Sea, Brian Wheat Band and Rumors of War with local band Jesters.

Combining a hot rhythm section and dynamic vocals as well as an energetic sound is what Jesters brought the stage during their performance tonight, blogspot readers. From the moment they stepped on stage until the last note had died, each member of this band was rockin' hard especially in their costumes of the night - the band in white hazmat suits while Barbara was the sexy alien in her sassy skirt and boots. This isn't the first time the Jesters appeared on stage with some sort of eclectic costume. SouthSide remembers when they appeared on stage in matching band uniforms or even furry animal costumes (during one of the hottest nights in summer). Who knows what they will wear at their next show? Yet, do expect them to wear something fun that will certainly enhance your live show experience and excitement. Now ...back to the music, blogspot readers. Throughout the night, Jesters rocked with an energetic upbeat swing as well as fiery spunk and lots of rhythmic gas (provided by the horn section). There were plenty of toe-tappin' moments to get you groovin' along with the band even while slowing down the tempo just a bit to allow Barbara's vocals to shine under the spotlight. As the band's female lead on vocals, she adds sexiness and sultry attitude (especially when expressing it via her body language) besides wowing the audience with her soulfully dynamic voice. For example, during the cover of Joe Cocker's The Letter (" baby wrote me a letter..."), she upped the dynamic tone in her vocals to match the band's upbeat and rhythmic sound which rocked out their set more than their cover of Pat Benatar's Heartbreaker. It was valiant effort, blogspot readers, but this reviewer had to note that the 80s pop/rock sound doesn't really work well with the horns. Still with a band like the Jesters, it's all about the fun and making sure their audience has a great time rockin' with them. For when and where the Jesters will hold court at venue near you, visit

Now, blogspot readers, you're invited to join the congregation of funk featuring the good Pastor Funkpleez and his Pulpit Players as "services" began with some shout outs and band introduction during Pass the Funk. Soon afterward, Pastor and the band had the room swaying to the rhythmic downtempo beat that also had a slight upbeat swing to keep many in the groove while he "preached" about getting Somethin' From Nothin'. This reviewer immediately enjoyed the soothing, groovi-licious sound especially when the band jams during the instrumental bridge ...taking the audience nice and slow or fast and short with its funk flow. Yes, this band was all about the funk and much more. If you listen closely to what Pastor Funkpleez's preaching, there's a message to heard and learned within each song performed only if you're willing to listen. For example, in his ultra smooth voice, Pastor dispensed a bit of knowledge on us during the song Somebody Lied while keeping the basement lounge within the Pulpit Players' funk groove. This reviewer has heard Prince's hits and rarities done in many styles from acoustic to rock but never heard him covered by a funk/soul band like she did tonight, blogspot readers.

During this particular performance, Pastor Funkpleez took the upbeat pop version of Prince's Let's Go Crazy rendering it to sound slow within a downtempo funk beat that had an intense guitar riff work and groove. This wasn't the only time SouthSide along with the audience felt the sanctified intensity of this funk band's guitar groove. Listen to songs such as GoHigher and Bumpskool where Pastor Funkpleez will up the funkified music and tempo for a hula hooper and others to shake the hoop to the beat. However during this performance, this reviewer did notice something was missing - a female vocalist. It would have been nice if Cedric aka Pastor Funkpleez had a dynamic soul sister to add some depth and soul as well as some sexy spice to a couple of songs like GoHigher, Somebody Lied or Dance 4 Meh. A female vocalist who could help the Pastor spread the message to the congregation especially while he jams with the band, blogspot readers. And it seems SouthSide and the band are on the same wavelength with this suggestion since they're currently looking for a female vocalist for backup duties. Overall, this reviewer highly suggests getting sanctified by funk/soul/groove sound by this Pastor and his Pulpit Players when and where they hold "services" again at venue near you. For more information, you can find Pastor Funkpleez on Facebook or follow him on twitter at

Until next time, support your local scene,

Monday, August 12, 2013

02 Aug 13 - Honey Island Swamp Band

Cho! Co! (Cajun dialect for "Wow")

Does this band know how to bring the spirit of the bayou to us Yankees!  And if you weren't in the mood to party, then you were definitely at the wrong show, blogspot readers, because this band not only brought a taste of Nawlins with their music to town but also its energy, fun and excitement of the Big Easy for one night only. 

Whenever a band from Nawlins (New Orleans) tours Chicago, you know they're bringing that Canjun energy and spirit with them. This reviewer has seen it before when reviewing The Revivaliststs last year. Honey Island Swamp Band was no different, blogspot readers. In a nutshell, this band had the crowd inside Martyrs' rockin' to the sweet sounds of bayou within the Americana music from start to finish ...nonstop dancing and having a feel good, toe tappin' time that there were times SouthSide just had to stop writing and enjoy the music too. Currently on tour in support of the band's latest release Cane Sugar, Honey Island Swamp Band deliciously delighted their fans as well as this reviewer to a unique music combination known as bayou American. So what is "bayou Americana" you might ask? Well, cherie, it's a new blend of sound in which the members of Honey Island mix together a little smoky blues, a pinch of Southern rock, a dash hillbilly jamboree from the Appalachian region and a whole lot of that Nawlins vibe and feel. Add a bit of Canjun (and some crawfish gumbo) to spice things up  and volia - you have yourself one heck of performance to rock the night away. As SouthSide mentioned earlier, this band came to party, blogspot readers.

Hot is probably not the best of words to describe the atmosphere surrounding the Martyrs' venue, blogspot readers ...especially during an unseasonably cool August evening. Yet, things certainly got off to a steamy and then sweaty start when Honey Island Swamp Band took the stage and it didn't take long for this crowd to feel that toe-tappin' rhythm and upbeat swing. That's how fast Honey Island's music tends to grab your attention. Performing songs like Change My Ways (track 1) or Nerver Saw It Comin' (track 11), you might also get the feeling that songwriters/guitarists Chris Mule and Aaron Wilkinson probably had some sort of "religious" epihanny during the writing process of this album due to the nature of the other tracks featured in Cane Sugar. Somewhere along the way of life's journey, each one of us has had that "oh, yeah" moment. And having that spiritual awakening must have done this dual songwriter team some good, blogspot readers. Because whatever "divine" revelation Chris and Aaron had, it definitely brought out a touch of heartfelt humanity and expression within their vocals to which one (who has experienced what they did especially after Hurricane Katrina) could relate. To be honest, blogspot readers, it was refreshing to hear such emotions being dynamically featured in music so lively and energetic that you tend forget there's a human voice expressing a little remorse, regret and/or lesson learned like in Prodigal Son (track 7). 

Now, SouthSide received a copy of Honey Island Swamp Band's Cane Sugar before going to the show but didn't listen to the CD (or read the press releases) until afterwards thus giving the reviewer a chance to formerly introduce herself with the band, its music and fans within a live setting. And to be honest, blogspot readers, she doesn't know which she liked better - the live or recorded Honey Island Swamp Band but being fair - she highly recommends catching this band live while surrounding yourself with their fans. Something you definitely cannot re-create while listening to the CD. While observing the band interact with the fans and vice versa, she saw there certain moments where those around were having their own private "oh yeah" epihanny throughout the performance to songs like Just Another Fool (track 8) or Cast The First Stone (track 3). What really had this venue jumpin' and jivin' was when they performed the title track - Cane Sugar delighting many sweet tooths to kick up their heels. However, comparing to the recorded side of Honey Island, SouthSide enjoyed listening to the vast music arrangements that contributed to the band's bayou Americana sound from the additional vocals (by Gina and Evelyn) to the harmonica (featured in track 10 - Pills) and banjo (featured in track 5 the recorded version of Cane Sugar). Not saying the live performance of Cane Sugar wasn't up to par, blogspot readers. On the contrary. The CD version had more musical depth featuring that bayou vibe that's highlightig the Americana sound.

SouthSide hopes Honey Island Swamp Band makes a return trip again. Chicago could always use another night of that Nawlins spirit and fun ...especially during Mardi Gras.

For more information about Honey Island Swamp Band and where their tour takes them next, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 2013 - update

Hey, blogspot readers, check out these latest additions of shows and events to come SouthSide's attention.

Aug 10 & 11:
Elbo Room - Mystery Street Music Fest 2013

Aug 10:
Metro - dance til dawn with the other beautiful night creatures during this NOCTURNA edition. 
18+ / $10

ELB (Rockford, IL) - Brett Newski comes to this venue as part of his US tour before heading to South Africa. For other dates and cities near you in the US, visit

Aug 11:
NorthHalsted Market Days (Belmont stage) - The Handcuffs will be rockin' the stage at 3:30p

Aug 20:
Elbo Room - A Friend Called Fire will be headlining this lineup featuring Los Brazos and The King In Yellow

Aug 24:
Uncommon Ground (Clark St location) - Real Jane Martin performs
$5 / AA

SPACE (Evanston, IL) - Lake Street Dive's tour rolls into town at this suburban venue. For more tour details, visit

Aug: 25:
House of Blues - Honey & the 45s will be rockin' the stage opening for The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club

Uncommon Ground (Clark St location) - Mike Felten's album release "AKA Johnny Lunchbucket" show will feature Victor Sanders and Hannah Frank
$5 / AA

Aug 30:
Livewire Lounge - The Rutabega's Chicago's release show for new album "Brother the Lights Don't Work" will also feature performances by Jet W. Lee, Columbines and Withershins

Aug 31:
Elbo Room - come rock with Hazel and the Grimms Band opening for AutoMagik

Until next time, support your local scene,

01 Aug 13 - Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

An open letter to Hollywood...

Before SouthSide begins her review, let's get one thing clear - she didn't see the first Percy Jackson movie but was given a quick yet brief synopsis of what it entailed before attending the screening of its sequel.  Also, let it be known that she detests terrible, poorly scripted movies based on Greek mythology or legends and/or remakes (i.e. the remake of the 80's Clash Of The Titans). That being said, blogspot readers, SouthSide went to this movie screening without any high expectations that Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters would be a fairly decent sequel to its predecessor. 

Okay, you have permission to throw stones at this reviewer for pre-judging the movie before actually sitting inside the theatre (with 3-D glasses) to review it.

Given the "quality" of this year's so-called summer blockbusters (so far) only two have been highly recommended by SouthSide, btw, was a foreign film, blogspot readers.  Oh before, she forgets - must EVERYTHING be in 3D or REAL 3 D (what's the difference, can someone explain that to her?)?! She understands it's a cash cow these days but it's becoming so annoying and pas se these days.

Anyway, blogspot readers, you have come to read a review about Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters not hear a rant about the difference between 3D and REAL 3D ...then again, this review will start to feel like a rant once you have finished. Let SouthSide explain. 

This sequel to Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a dumbed down version written for today's millennial generation of the Greek myth about the famed Golden Fleece and its healing powers. Instead of Jason leading his crew of the Argonauts in the quest of finding the Golden Fleece, it's Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman), his demigod friends - Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), Grover (Brandon T. Jackson),  camp rival Clarisse (Leven Rambin) and baddie cousin Lucas/Luke (Jake Abel) and half brother Tyson (Douglas Smith) on the quest to find the Golden Fleece in order to do one or two things: (a) to save their Half Blood camp (a magical place where the children of the Gods train, live and etc) or (b) resurrected Kronos (Robert Knepper), a molten-rock looking Titan who was "murdered" long ago by his own children - Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. 

So why does Camp Half Blood (someone could have thought up a better name than that) need saving? Well, according to the voiceover by Polyphemus (Ron Perlman), 4 young children of Gods were trying to reach this place but only 3 made because young Thalia (the older version portrayed by Paloma Kwiatkowski) sacrificed her life to save the others and since she's Zeus' daughter, he turn her into a tree thus creating an unseen barrier protecting the other campers from outside predators (i.e. cyclops) and whatnot. After the camp is attacked by a mechanical Minotaur bull (who's bright idea was it that this thing should be spewing great balls of fire and/or having whirling razor saw blades for a PG movie?!), the campers discover the beloved tree that has been protecting them for so long is *gasp* *shock* *oh, the horror* poisoned! This sparks the the quest for the Golden Fleece given to the camp champion, Clarisse.

However there can't be a quest without an oracle prophecy for our hero, Percy Jackson to solve ...or this would be a rather short movie run time, blogspot readers. So after discovering he has a half brother (it seems if the God of Water mates with a nymph, you get a cyclopetic brother) and a prophecy about two children of Zeus (wait, SouthSide thought Poseidon was his father?! Where's Maury for the DNA results?) fighting over the Golden Fleece to either destroy or save the Olympians, our hero along with his friends and his brother whom he doesn't consider as his brother (just yet) also set off on the quest to find the Fleece located at the Sea of Monsters (aka Bermuda Triangle to us mortals) to stop their cousin Lucas (or Luke depending whichever name he responds to or uses throughout this movie - very confusing) from using it on Kronos to overthrow Zeus and others, blogspot readers.

It's amazing how Greek mythology wasn't this exciting and this adventurous when SouthSide was younger. And yes, she's being very sarcastic for good reason. Besides Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters being a poorly written re-telling of Jason and the Argonauts and the Gold Fleece, this sequel also read like a "woe is me" after school special because each Percy, Annabeth, Tyson and Clarisse learn a lesson at the end of this movie. You add baddie Lucas or Luke (whichever name you prefer) to the list since he learns one too. **Caution if you don't want to know - stop reading now and skip to the end.** Percy learns that he has the right to choose his own destiny, Annabeth learns she must not pre-judge another despite what happened in the past, Tyson learns to accept his one eye self and love who he is and finally, Clarisse learns that champion is not based on self endeavors but on teamwork. Also there's a whole lot of political correctness tossed about in this movie (i.e. it's wrong to call "dead confederate sailors who have given their lives to Hades" zombies but it seems they like that better than the long name) and even Lucas' dad Hermes (Nathan Fillion) has a moment learning that the mistakes made by a father in turn creates a vengeful son.

Sighs - as if this generation of kids need to learn lessons like these in a movie like this...

Sadly, blogspot readers, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters wastes the fine talents of Stanley Tucci (aka Caesar Flickerman of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire / Dr. Abraham Erskine of Captain America: The First Avenger) as the name-forgetting, "always getting water out of vintage wine bottles" camp director - Mr. D which is played as if he's a total dolt and Anthony Stewart Head (aka The Prime Minister in Little Britain / Rupert Giles of Buffy The Vampire Slayer series) as Chiron the Centaur, the camp's chemist/potions. It also has the Graeae witches (the 3 grey witches) starring Mary Birdsong, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Missi Pyle driving (of all things) a high-flying, speed-breaking taxi cab with their one eye adding a bit of comedic relief while giving Percy more details about the oracle prophecy. Speaking of comedy, blogspot readers, it horribly falls flat in this movie. Let SouthSide know if you have heard this one before "...Christians have a guy who can do this reverse (i.e. changing water into wine) there's a God!" Surprisingly, that (and others) drew a few laughs but sadly, not a huge "ha ha ha" from the audience.

Overall, what can SouthSide say or recommend about Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (which is based on the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan - 5 books in all, blogspot readers ...groans)? Nothing much except the ending does allude to a sequel (oh, joy). You can definitely see that most of the production cost went to the fx (special effects) department than developing a decent re-telling about the quest for the Golden Fleece. Her advice - stick to the books, kids! Save your money, parents! Or better yet, rent the 1963 movie - Jason and the Argonauts and the 1981 movie - Clash of the Titans (both featuring the late Ray Harryhausen's stop animation fx). Two great movies ...a bigger bang for your buck. Trust SouthSide, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters wasn't enjoyable ...even in 3D.

She hopes Hollywood generously paid Zeus well for the butchering of his myths and legends...

Until next time, support your local scene,

Sunday, August 4, 2013

01 Aug 13

Ah, the night is still young, blogspot readers, and this reviewer wasn't really ready to head home. After screening the new Percy Jackson movie, SouthSide randomly ran into her good friend, the mysterious (un)masked Flabby Hoffman taking a break from his latest edition of the Flabby Hoffman Cavalcade show at THE GRANDBAR (aka the former Betty's Blue Star Lounge).  It has been years since SouthSide stepped inside this West Town night spot and was quite surprised of its fresh new look. Gone were the booths, blue-painted walls and dive bar atmosphere with the sound system which made it very difficult to review bands. Instead this bar got a complete makeaover - red lighting to set the mood and atmosphere of its patrons' evening,  a hip bar scene that now fits the type of patrons they want to attract, an upgraded sound system, and standing bar tables as well as elongated booths (located in front of the sound/DJ booth) to relax with friends. Compared to this venue's former self, she was lovin' the new look, blogspot readers, which mostly definitely fit tonight's Flabby Hoffman audience attending the show. And this masked man certainly knows how to attract a modest crowd even on a Thursday night.

This Flabby Hoffman show featured a combination of local comics and musical acts including a performance by singer/songwriter James Moore who during his set performed a cool cover of Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl before continuing with more of his original songs. This reviewer enjoyed the pop-sounding falsetto in his vocal tone that at time became quite expressive whenever he highlighted the vivid pictureseque imagery inside the lyrics. This artist's soothing voice while amidst a rhythmic downtempo acoustic beat had a way of making his audience feel where his mindset was at the time of creating his songs. For example, listen to the closing song Gary Goose (a song written while attending college about pot smoking) allowed everyone to enter his vivid imagination while rockin' the stage with a slight upbeat acoustic swing. This particular song had a toe-tappin' rhythm that you could get into but listen carefully, blogspot readers, to pickup on the pot smoking references laced throughout the lyrics especially during the chorus. It was quite a tale James told which one could easily follow as he sung the song in a more natural vocal range than falsetto. This reviewer highly recommends checking out this singer/songwriter at his next show or you can listen to more of his music at

Until next time, support your local scene,