Friday, December 26, 2014

19 Dec 14

 "...we missed the shit out of you..." ~ Karl of Lucid Ground

They brought the band back together ...on a mission to help support a good cause.

No, this isn't the opening premise to the original Blue Brothers movie which featured Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Carrie Fisher, John Candy, Cab Calloway, James Brown and more, blogspot readers. This is the opening premise to the return of local favorites - Lucid Ground who returned to the stage for a very special one-night only performance at Wrigleyville's famous Cubby Bear. The mission of night was to collect canned food for The Greater Chicago Food Depository, a nonprofit organization that helps feed needy families in the Chicago area. Yet, what made this performance special was the band inviting a few friends to perform acoustically on stage with them ...friends like Model Stranger with a comedy act to get the night off to great start.

SouthSide has heard this local band in all of its amplified glory before leaving the spotlights and the stage over two years ago but never acoustically, blogspot readers. And tonight, the five original members - Karl (front man), Jeff (guitar), Luis (guitar), Brian (bass) and Leonard (drums) were in rare form performing a long set of their hit singles, B-sides and covers ..even a new song (a hint perhaps this wasn't a one time appearance) stripped down as an acoustic band. Plus for a band that haven't performed together in two years, in this reviewer's opinion, it didn't sound as if they were ever apart.

As an acoustic band, Lucid Ground still rocked, blogspot readers, with all of the dramatic heartfelt emotions and intense guitar rhythms from memorably song titles like Empty Table, Count The Miles, Dissolve and many more. And though it may have a rare treat for the band, it must have felt the same way for the many fans who crowded the tables at this unique show. It's been a long while hearing Karl belt out the emotions during a song like Shaken Crown or pour out his heart during the chorus of All To You. Lucid Ground's front man - Karl could still get fans applauding and cheering with his raspy "everyday man" vocal style on lyrics, blgospot readers, in a way that touches deep within your soul. She has said it once before ...there aren't too many front man who aren't afraid to dive in and wear their emotions on stage. Karl is one of them especially when covering the iconic Led Zeppelin song "Hey Hey What Can I Do". 

Yet, let's not forget the band behind the man, blogspot readers. From SouthSide's point of view, Lucid Ground member not only enjoyed returning to the stage as a band but once again  brought back their infamous upbeat or downtempo rhythms or that special Leonard drumming (with some wind chimes during certain songs but no stripping at the kit) style though acoustically. With the songs performed non-amplified, the music sounded refreshing and more dramatic (especially when adding a bit of keyboard rhythms to a few songs by Thomas Miller of Rocket Cathedral) that you could sometimes feel the power of the lyrics and music combined ...which instantly brings out the raw feelings from Lucid Ground to your ears. Their rock alternative has a way of making you touch the depths of your emotions without even knowing it when rockin' to the music, blogspot readers.
It was indeed an emotional homecoming for everyone involved.

Will Lucid Ground rise and perform somewhere on stage again? Who knows, blogspot readers, who knows...

In the meantime, you can visit Lucid Ground at or "like" the band page on Facebook.





Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

18 Dec 14 - George Winston

Eine kleine Nachtmusik, blogspot readers...

Before taking a much deserved break for the holidays, SouthSide spent the most wondrous evening basking amidst the melodious rhythms featured prominently in her favorite seasonal time of the year by an artist she has admired for a long time. Recently, this reviewer's fan girl geekness was in full force when she had the extreme opportunity to attend solo pianist George Winston's sold-out performance at Old Town School of Folk Music. And it wasn't just attending the performance that had her so excited, blogspot readers. She was privied to her own private mini concert with the maestro (during soundcheck) before performing in front of a packed house. She was able to sit and observe his fingering movements he expressed the love and joy for the music he would be performing later for everyone. Though it was only soundcheck, listening to him warm-up before the show ...well, blogspot readers, it's difficult for this reviewer to describe. You simply had to be there in her shoes when observing the maestro practicing.
For SouthSide, that was definitely the highlight of her evening despite there were many others throughout the two-set performance in which George Winston featured classical to contemporary piano jazz compositions spotlighting a winter theme.

What made this particular performance truly special - George was donating 100% of all proceeds from his merch sales (from posters to CDs and DVDs of The Snowman) to Northwest Compass, Inc.'s food pantry. According to Program Specialist Rick Fecht, the food connection distributes (approximately) 1,000 pounds of food ...not a week or month but every single day to homeless and needy families who live in the Nortwest area of Cook County. Yet it doesn't matter where or which county you live because if you need food, Northwest Compass is there help provide immediate food support. Rick told Old Town School of Folk Music patrons examples of the people in which their donation would be helping like one person who traveled twenty-three miles for the food pantry ...or the time an affluent young man who was touched after meeting a homeless person who uses the food pantry on a daily basis. Northwest Compass not only provides food but also other services such as Hardship Intervention & Referral Program, Career Coaching, Child Assistance Program, Helping Hands Program, and so much more. For more information about Northwest Compass and its many programs, visit

Performing only two seasonal piano compositions when he tours, George Winston graced the stage with a winter-theme performance, blogspot readers, which featured music by Vince Guaraldi, The Doors and Fats Waller as well as some of his original compositions like "Colors" and "Moon" (from his 1980 Autumn album) and "Carol Of The Bells" (from his 1982 December album). This performance also included a few moments of George performing on acoustic guitar (Leonard Kwan's "Sassy") and harmonica (featuring a selection from his 2012 Harmonica Solos album). Each musical composition held something more than just mere notes ...allegro or staccato tempos. It was music magic as each told a different tale of winter ...bursting to life with vivid picturesque images that immediately popped into the audience's heads, blogspot readers. All SouthSide had to do was simply close her eyes and she could (for example) picture the moon rise over a snowy horizon ...or feel like a kid again upon hearing the first set of notes to Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving theme and "Christmas Is Coming"/"Christmastime Is Here". Hidden within each note that George played, there was a sense of piano romanticism surrounding the entire venue from start to finish. 

Feeling the music was mind-blowing
In a nutshell, it's simply a breathtaking experience, blogspot readers.
For example, when George performed the popular Vince Guaradli classics "Christmas Is Coming"/"Christmastime Is Here", this reviewer not only felt excited like her younger self that the holiday was a week away but could now appreciate this artist's take on a very popular modern jazz composition since he would add his own spin here and there ...still keeping the original in tact. To say it left her in awe would be gross understatement, blogspot readers. She was mesmerized by the notes and rhythms even though already knowing them so well ...yet with George Winston at the keys, it was like rediscovering Vince Guaradli's music all over again. Or when he performed "Moon", SouthSide could feel the frosty winter nights coming to life amidst the haunting pale light of the moon glowing over the powdery-white snow. Or the moment when she was moved to tears when he played Larry Young's "The Cradle" that was dedicated to all Moms everywhere, blogspot readers. This particular piece's haunting melody was played with love a mother cradling her child in her arms. There were also moments when George had you dancing in your seats for example when performing Fats Waller's "piano stride" (a style of music made very popular when jazz was new between the 20s and 40s) inspired piece simply titled "Dog and Cat" with the Dog part played on the left hand. This fun jazz piece had the audience immersed in the upbeat ragtime tempo meanwhile his "Carol Of The Bells (with a bit of Cloudburst)" had the auditorium sounding like Westminster Abbey and its bells ringing on Christmas morn.

If you're a fan of George Winston and his music, this reviewer highly recommends attending a live performance while he's currently on tour. Be warned - he changes his set list for each performance what SouthSide has listed in this review may not be the same songs he performs at a venue near you.

For those new to George Winston and his music, she highly recommends checking out his Seasons collection as well as The Velveteen Rabbit and The Snowman to start. Then gravitate to his guitar compositions like Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes. 

To The Doors fans, SouthSide highly recommends check out George's Night Divides the Day album which includes his piano renditions of Riders On The Storm (wow - it will blow you away) and The Crystal Ship definitely haven't lived until you hear him turn The Lizard King into haunting piano/rock compositions, blogspot readers.

For more information about George Winston and his music, visit

Until next time, support your local scene,

Sunday, December 21, 2014

14 Dec 14 - The Red Paintings

***SouthSide would like to extend her sincerest condolences to front man/guitarist Trash McSweeney and his family at this time of sorrow***

Tonight, it's live art and music ...actually alien geisha creative art with human canvases to be exact coming together amidst a revolution that won't be coming, blogspot readers.

SouthSide was extremely excited to see her friend The Red Paintings once again rockin' stage at Bottom Lounge along with New Year's Day and The Birthday Massacre as part of their You're One of Them US Tour.

Perforeming songs off the band's debut album The Revolution Is Never Coming, The Red Paintings opened the lineup with a rockin' alien bang with songs like "Dead Children", "Wasps" and "You're Not One of Them". However, fans who packed the venue were deeply saddened to learn of the recent passing of Trash's sister in which you could clearly see how this sudden tragedy was effecting the front man, blogspot readers. It was a tough call yet necessary to end the performance prematurely than expected. Still, it was a fantastic show featuring one of the best cover versions of "Mad World" from Donny Darko which was lovingly dedicated to his sister. It was her favorite song to dance with him and band on stage. What a hauntingly intense cover.

SouthSide was suppose to interview Trash after the show but out of respect she decided against it. She hopes The Red Paintings make a return appearance back to Chicago at a later time. This band always entertain with a unique art show and rock performance.

For more information about The Red Paintings, visit the band at


the finished painting of the night dedicated to Trash's sister

Until next time, support your local scene,

13 Dec 14 - MiPi

"...No one likes being told what to do..." ~ Myrrick

Tonight, it's dark experimental rock ...sexual therapy and a workout at Chicago's Wrigleyville area. 

No, blogspot readers, it's not the latest music crazed rockin' SouthSide's night around town's part of the lineup that recently rocked Metro's iconic stage featuring live performances by MiPi and Workout Music along with Sex Therapy. 

To be honest, blogspot readers, this reviewer didn't know what to expect from a band known only as Music Illuminare Populus Ingenium or MiPi for short after accepting the invite to attend tonight's show. Perhaps if she had listened the band's music before attending their opening set at Metro, maybe she wouldn't have been surprised with an shock and awe expression on her face. Then again, SouthSide enjoys being shocked and awed when reviewing new bands for the first time. What MiPi offered the audience an odd combo of rock, strange ambience amidst the semi-darkness, sound fx and poetic lyrics that sometimes embodies the essence of The Door's Jim Morrison from front man/guitarist, Myrrick. That's why this reviewer highly recommends checking out this local band that wraps you withing its dark and experimental music-visual performance.

Coupled with random video images (on a screen behind the band), SouthSide was immediately mesmerized by the thundering grit and the electric twang which had the main floor of Metro vibin' to the strange melodic beat, blogspot readers. There's a hint of serious intensity while MiPi performed during their opening set yet the band did have a way of making their time on stage quite fun with unexpected antics ...which sometimes includes you as a willing participant in the show. There were some moments when the show itself can be classified as immature but SouthSide got the feeling it's what Myrrick and the band don't want you to take everything you see and hear so seriously. It's cool being a little childish, blogspot readers. What really sets MiPi apart, in SouthSide's opinion, from others she has reviewed this year is the chaos that comes with the band's music.

Don't think of that last statement in a negative way, blogspot readers. The chaotic rhythms and chords definitely kept this reviewer on her toes throughout their opening set. It was nice not knowing where Myrrick was taking her musically ...or which direction they would take within their songs with the many odd riff and chord changes that intricately gave the impression we the audience were in for one cosmic ride. Front man Myrrick Liontonia was the magical pied piper ...jumping around on as well as off stage ...hypnotizing the audience (especially those closest to the stage) with swirl of his Jesus-like locks and fierce energy (while trouncing around the main floor amongst the audience). He was simply one of those front men that you have to sometimes stop writing and simply watch as he draws the audience closer within MiPi's sound. The music wonderfully embraces this front man's vocal style thus giving each song performed its own composition oddity and more ..even when ending with a bunch of messy chords that made no kind of sense to this reviewer's ears except MiPi.

In a nutshell, blogspot readers, MiPi is one of those bands you have to see performed live especially if you like the unexpected predictability of intense weirdness floating within your music ...rock oddity locked inside the band's dark experimental sound.

Yep definitely something insanely weird is going on and it's called MiPi, blogspot readers.

For more information about MiPi, visit and "like" them at


Until next time, support your local scene,