Tuesday, September 2, 2014

29 Aug 14 - Cold Comfort & The Hot Sprockets

Well, blogspot readers, SouthSide began the week with some Scottish alternative blues (by touring artist Dave Arcari) and then ended the week with a mesh of blues, punk, country, and folk rock ...Irish style! Touring the states as part of  Atlantic Sound Music Festival, Dubliners Cold Comfort (Rob-vocals/guitar, Colm-drums, Joey-bass, and Eoin-guitar) and The Hot Sprockets (Wayne-vocals/guitar, Tim-guitar/vocals, Frankie-harmonica/vocals, Joe-bass/vocals and Andy-drums) made an extra special stop at Chicago performing two HOT shows at Elbo Room before heading to Kansas City for the weekend to perform at the Irish Festival there. They were supported by opening acts The Family Band (on Thursday night) and The Sharrows (on Friday night) from Madison, WI. SouthSide highly recommends blogspot readers  checking out the intense yet melodic progressive/psychedelic rock sound of The Sharrows (http://www.thesharrowsmusic.com) at their next performance. Throughout this band's set, she never felt such energy being pumped amidst the electrifying rhythms that surrounded her ears and soul. Even while taking the momentum down a bit, there was still vibrant bursts of music and melodic sound wafting around the basement lounge. And what a groovy sound it was too! Performing songs like "Yours and Mine", "Been There Before" and "Echo", this reviewer found herself tappin' in time to the beat ...sometimes even dancing along with The Sharrows whenever feeling inspired to by the powerful bursts of music. It was the perfect mood setter for summertime music listening, blogspot readers, as well as opening act for tonight's lineup.

What truly made this adventure even more special for this reviewer was she got the chance to hang out and meet the guys over dinner and drinks (at Gyros on the Spit) before rockin' out Elbo Room tonight ...besides asking the lads a few interview questions. Yep, nothing like being the ONLY woman amongst her pick of handsome men, blogspot readers!  First, they wanted to dispel the myth about Ireland and drinking ...not truth though claiming "...Irish are heavy drinkers ...something's in the water..." Uh huh ...okay ...for being known as the Emerald Isle, they don't dye the river green for St. Patrick's Day like Chicago's does before the annual parade.

Now, that's out of the way, SouthSide began her double exclusive interviews with Tim Cullen (who fancies wearing the sombrero) of The Hot Sprockets to get a better understanding about the band and its music among other things he told her. After describing their music as "...energetic ...raw ...power ...marmalade ...honey..." partially a recipe dubbed as "Joey Sauce", Tim went on to tell SouthSide the band likes "...to kick it live..." and they "...never keep two set lists the same..." for their performances, blogspot readers. The Hot Sprockets features not only just front man Wayne (dubbed as "12 inches" by Tim) on vocals but also three others (Frankie, Joe and Tim) in which Tim confided to this reviewer his opinion that Frankie has the best vocals out of them. Then he mentioned how American and Irish music fans are almost the same when it comes to attending live performances. He said the crowds back home tend to get (very) into the sessions unlike their English counterparts who tend to be more reserved at live shows. "...Irish crowds tend to get more agitated..." adding that for The Hot Sprockets, it's all about establishing a connection with their fans. When it comes to their music, blogspot readers, they enjoy a varied mix from five difference tastes that you'll definitely hear in songs like "Quarter Roam" (a bluesy number) ... a little rock and soul in "Soul Brother" ...a homage to "spaghetti" Western theme music in "El Toro" ...or how about some rockin' boggie to your woogie in "Boogie Woogie" - just to name a few that are prominently featured in the band's second album titled Brother Nature. "...we all like different [kinds] of music and sound like The Drifters, rap, R&B, The Kinks [Tim's favorite band], Bob Dylan..." but most of all, blogspot readers, they love soul music. And of course "...we love what we do..." As the interview came to a close, Tim wanted to tell everyone "...hi..." and that it's been amazing ...the kind you have to pinch yourself to make sure it's real. More importantly, he and the band wanted to thank everyone for helping them get to the states. "...if you see us, [come] talk to us ...have a drink with us..."

During their live performance, it was a musical journey, blogspot readers, because SouthSide had no clue where they would take her ears from one minute to the next. For example, opening with the folksy tune "Quarter Roam", they soon moved right into a fast blues rock number about a guy named Jim in "Bad Jim" that had once again electrified the stage with such raw sound. Music was literally exploding everywhere in your ears with harmonizing vocals on lyrics! Without breaking for a breath, it was Tim's turn to command lead vocals with his "Shake Me Off" in SouthSide's opinion the song was tailored made for a animated bloke like him. He had the hip action and wily dance moves to get you energized for more of The Hot Sprockets before bringing Wayne with his heartfelt voice on "Show Me The Weight" featuring Frankie wailing on the harp like a Chicago blues artist, blogspot readers. And this band certainly big on the blues influences too. In between the excitement and the music, this reviewer was getting exhausted from their constant switching from one genre to the next ...and they did it without losing any of the momentum felt around the basement lounge either. Tim was right about Frankie's voice. When he sang "Homeslice", the tune almost brought a few tears to her eyes more than when he's on the harmonica. If you really want to see how the Irish can electrify a stage during an instrumental jam, check out them while performing "Soul Brother" live. WOW ...that's all SouthSide can say about that. They really got down with the soul and blues combination. They could have jammed all night long on that one extended instrumental bridge if they wanted to. Oh, they also know roots and country rock too. As the headliner of the night, The Hot Sprockets were merely more than hot ...they were on fire. Having way too much fun on the Elbo Room stage rockin' it out on the second night of their two-day appearance in Chicago when ending their performance with Boogie Woogie.  Lots of that happening on and off stage, blogspot readers. Whew, what a show! SouthSide highly recommends checking out The Hot Sprockets at their next show but in the meantime, visit them at http://www.thehotsprockets.com.
Now, to SouthSide's left was Rob Walsh, front man of Cold Comfort who described his band's music of having no real set genre, blogspot readers. "...it starts off as folk and ends in punk..." So expect a band like Cold Comfort to jump everywhere in between when seeing them perform live. Oh a special note to Devo ...his heart was broken upon hearing Devo was in town performing the same night (Thursday) as he was. Also being a big Iggy Pop and The Stooges fan, this reviewer sadly broke his heart again when telling him that he missed their recent appearance in town ..but that's okay, he gets plenty more chances to see them in the UK than fans do stateside. He then went on to describe Cold Comfort's live performance to her as "...nice and slow with [some] folksy stuff ...bringing up the acoustic-based folk and country ...then it becomes electric country blues..." to which Tim and Rob both said "..it's like good sex..." Oops, SouthSide forgot to mention most of this interview had her laughing in stitches due to the sexual tone and nature of conversation. Rob added "...I'm wearing my best condom right now..." talking about the pair of pants he was wearing, blogspot readers. Tim chimed in with "...he's a sexy guitarist..." and "...always going to be sexy time with Cold Comfort and The Hot Sprockets in town..." Yep, it's going to be hot and cold ...or cold and hot - take your pick on that one. After the many laughs (and this reviewer unable to jot any notes on the pad), Rob resumed saying it's "...great to have any fans ...respect to those who come to the show ...follow you  ...get your music ...fans are what this [touring, etc] is all about...", blogspot readers. He also mentioned that fans should check out the following songs off their current release, Tainted Winds, "Love Pains", "When Love Grew Wild" ("...kinda folksy love song..." and "Aces Falling". Lastly before being served a quick dinner, Rob and Cold Comfort wanted fans to know the following "...thanks for [the] support and for coming out..." to which he hopes to know them more on a personal level.

"...let's have some fun..." ~ Rob of Cold Comfort

 After opening with an acoustic-toned song demonstrating how powerful as well as emotional his vocals can get, it was time to have some fun, blogspot readers, especially with this song dedicated to those who run the '9to5' race everyday called "Ratrace Blues" that electrified the stage before moving swiftly into "Satisfaction Lost" ...straight-up, hard hitting rock-n-roll. This reviewer enjoyed how Cold Comforts like The Hot Sprockets held nothing back when it comes to not only giving the fans their all but also putting on a hot thundering show. Vibrant blasts of energy especially when performing a hot bluesy rock number to which matched front man Rob's vocal style and stage presence. Don't be surprised if he's on his knees rockin' out to the music ...or jumping high in the air (with guitar in tow) ...or standing on the venue's monitors and equipment truly giving you the audience what you came for - a show, blogspot readers. Each moment spent observing this band was exciting that she sometimes felt she missed something because being too busy jotting down notes for this review. SouthSide's not forgetting the band behind the man and the music either. Wow - what a fit they are. Large man on the kit in the back, Colm, thundering and/or gently rumbling on the cymbals ...Joey and Eoin on bass and guitar also feeling that energizing pulse at times to up the excitement for the audience too. The highlight for SouthSide was the acoustic solo "Ghosts of Dublin" (dedicated to all of the homeless around the world where Rob alone on stage emotionally belted the heartfelt as well as his disdain for the government within the lyrics in the same breath. SouthSide was moved by such stanzas like "...when the rain falls ...it falls like razor blades..." If you really want to feel the rock sound from this Irish band, try "Save My Soul" (dubbed as a confession) to which you definitely will hear the explosiveness of their music since it doesn't slow down for one second with its heart-racing rhythms, blogspot readers. Cold Comfort also tapped into some of its American influence with a Bob Dylan-esque tune "High" dropped a nod to Chicago to the fans delight before ending with a bit of The Who influence in its jam. And for the punk fans in the audience, Cold Comfort didn't disappoint with their punk-rock bang of a conclusion ...leaving them wanting more. SouthSide highly recommends rockin' with this quaint Irish band at their next live performance, blogspot readers, but if you can't, visit them at http://www.soundcloud.com/cold-comfort.

Overall after seeing both bands in action, this was one of the hottest touring acts she has reviewed thus far. Atlantic Sound has it going on, blogspot readers.

Until next time, support your local scene,

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