Friday, October 07, 2005

Road Report #1

Hey everybody!
I am happy to report that my first tour with Paris Delane's Tye Dye Skye was a success. We did five shows with nationally touring band Luce (www.luceband.com) in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Ann Arbor, Chicago, and St. Louis. It was a lot of fun and a great first road experience for the new band. We had great shows in Pittsburgh and Ann Arbor, and an extra good night playing for the hometown crowd at Martyrs' in Chicago. Thanks to everybody who came out to Martyrs' to hang out with us. More dates will be announced soon, both in town and on the road, so keep checking www.parisdelane.com for all the latest. Hope to see you all at a show soon and don't forget to pick up a copy of our CD "The Learning Tree" when you get there. Peace.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I know I've been a bit slow with the updates.....

Hey everybody! Yes, I know I have been a bit slow with the updates these past few weeks. My only excuse is that I have been tied up in a good cause, in fact, the best cause: making a record. I spent the last couple months working on former Sonia Dada vocalist Paris Delane's debut solo CD. The band is called Paris Delane and Tye Dye Skye and the album is called "The Learning Tree". I have been playing guitar with Paris since April of this year and things are going really well. The record sounds tremendous, the people involved are great, and, in a month, we are going out on our first tour together. You can keep up to date with the band at www.parisdelane.com . I promise I will get back to covering local/national/cool-in-general music ASAP, although you might get a road report or two thrown in just for fun. Also, thanks go out to the Illinois Entertainer for giving your humble author and this little blog a plug in the File section this month. Way Cool. Anyway, off I go. Watch this space. Peace.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Benefit for Vince Falcone of Khaos Theory

Date: Saturday, August 6th Place: Penny Road Pub 28W705 Penny Rd., Barrington Tel: (847)428-0562 OVER 21 - $10.00 Donation at the Door "Who's says the Chicago scene shows no support?!? Local rockers come to the aid of their own. Vince Falcone, drummer of Chicago's very own, Khaos Theory, was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer in 1999. In remission, up until now, the cancer has returned. Now, his fellow local rockers, have joined together and will share the stage, all in one night, to help lend a hand. All proceeds of this fundraiser will go directly to Vince and his family to help ease the financial burden. We encourage you to come out, have fun and show 'em what local support is really about!" Bands Performing: Lucid Ground NDX Super Mercado Veilside DitchWater Something Strange Khaos Theory Church of the Furious BeneathMe Societys Own Insane Culture Lifelike Violence Panic 12:52 Street Brats Code Blue 9mm Twin Wrecks the Memory Session Six

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Taste of Chicago - A Riot Waiting To Happen?

I attended the Taste Of Chicago this past Saturday with my girlfriend in hopes of catching the Santana/Los Lonely Boys concert happening there, as I am a fan of both bands. Now, I have avoided the Taste for the past 24 years, as I normally don’t feel the need to fight a million people just to get a slice of pizza. This year, however, I gave in and was hoping to spend a pleasant day at the lakefront with the future Mrs. Mike, get some sunshine, and generally take in all that is summer in Chicago, which I succeeded in doing, for the most part. The main problem I had with the event was the totally uncontrolled crowd scene in the seating/lawn area of the Petrillo Bandshell. Conditions were allowed to exist that could have led to another of the crowd disasters that have occurred in recent years here in Chicago (E2) and elsewhere (Rhode Island nightclub fire).

Walking through the food portion of the Taste was crowded, but do-able. There were tons of people, but everyone was moving along and seemingly enjoying him or herself. The problems began to appear once we tried to venture into the actual concert area. As we entered, people coming out of the seating area were warning others “Don’t go in there” and “Good luck getting through”. We should have heeded their advice. The paved footpath that leads through the concert grounds was completely blocked by two directions of foot traffic colliding with the line of people waiting for seats in the pavilion and by many other people just standing there as if the only walkway through the event was their private campground. The result was an absolutely insane, shoulder-to-shoulder crowd scene that was impossible to go through and was several hundred yards long. We fought through it all the way across the lawn in the vain hopes that we would be able to get out the other side. Unfortunately, the City fathers, in their infinite wisdom, chose to not have an exit on the far side, at least not one we could see. Instead, the path horse-shoed around and led to the back of the lawn. By the time we discovered this fact, others were discovering it, too, and were just as unhappy as we were. People were beginning to yell at the path-blockers to get moving and were clearly getting agitated. I began to entertain thoughts that this could get ugly real quick, as the crowd was meeting an impassible barrier and had nowhere to go. Finally, a couple girls in front of us broke off the path and started walking across the picnic/lawn area, through people’s blankets and lawn chairs, to escape. I grabbed my GF by the hand and followed, and proceeded to snake through strangers’ personal space until we could get to a clear spot on the path around the other side, past the traffic jam.

My question to the Taste planners and city government in general is this – Why was such a potentially dangerous situation like this allowed to exist? Why was there no attempt at organizing and controlling what went on inside the concert area? All it would have taken was one fight, shoving match, or short temper to set the whole thing ablaze. Don’t forget about emergency services, either. If someone had needed medical assistance or an ambulance, they would have died before any emergency personnel could have made it in to help them. It’s not like there weren’t enough police and other workers there. The problem was that they all seemed to be on the perimeter of the event, as if they did not even want to enter the crowd. In light of the many problems and deaths associated with festival seating going back many years (anyone remember The Who tragedy in Cincinnati where, I believe, 11 people died?) and the E2 and Rhode Island incidents where many folks died because adequate exits were not available when trouble erupted, the crowd scene at the Santana show was unfathomably negligent and could have resulted in a large number of deaths and/or injuries. Now, I am no stranger to crowds. I have attended rock concerts since the Poplar Creek days of the early 1980’s, lived many years in crowded city neighborhoods and attended their festivals, and felt secure in most entertainment environments I have found myself in. I am just amazed that the City let such a potential powder keg like this knowingly go on. The funny part of it is that, on the other side of Michigan Ave., a blues trio was playing on the street and people were stopping to watch. I saw a uniformed policeman directing people to not stand in the middle of the sidewalk, so that it remained clear. There were maybe 40 people there, total. Why wasn’t any of that concern shown for the hundreds of thousands of people inside the Taste itself?

The concert/nightclub business has come under fire in recent years due to practices that did not always have their patrons’ best interest in mind. Concert promoters have faced major increases in insurance and security costs as a result of incidents that have occurred where people have been injured or died. It is hard to believe that after all of this, the City and whatever promoters were involved have learned nothing and are still willing to put at risk the very people who foot the bill for events like this in the first place. Someone in charge of the Taste was on TV the night of the Fourth saying that the Santana show was one of the highest attendance days for Taste in history. Were it not for the cool heads of my Chicago citizens (much love) and a little bit of luck, Saturday, July 2, 2005 could have gone down in history as one of the biggest, preventable tragedies in Chicago history. Imagine if the temperature had been in the 90’s, like it had been all week, and tempers had been a little shorter. Feel safe thinking about that? Do you think the City really cares if you live or die? I know that they don’t. I, for one, will never attend another Taste concert. I value my own life, even if the City of Chicago doesn’t.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Godwafer..... No, really.

Godwafer….. No, really.

Original music is a funny thing, if you think about it. Most so-called original bands can be easily put into any number of pre-existing categories, being more similar to their genre-mates than they are different. Most bands are still doing variations on the same 50-year-old rock and roll script, whether they know it or not. Now and then, however, you run into an individual band that puts a spin on original rock and roll that you just can’t remember ever seeing before, and, as you stand there watching them through a glaze of too many drinks and a mile of Marlboros, you become a fan. Such was my experience with Godwafer at the Abbey Pub on May 21, 2005. I can say honestly that I have never seen such a band. Their sound is rock and funk-based, with a healthy dose of Zappa-esque out-there-ness in the lyrical department. They perform dressed in biblical/religious costumes (the men in long hair, beards, and robes, the females as an angel and a devil) which they walk into the bar wearing. Their show is dramatic, theatrical, and thought out and involves bullhorns, visual aides, and songs with titles like “Stinky, Sloppy, Sweaty, Stupid Drunk”, “Smurf Without A Mom”, and “I Get High”. Through it all, they cling tightly to their concept and stand and deliver, and that is what makes it work. They are completely committed to their version of rock as theater and, as a result, were one of the most memorable and entertaining bands I have seen in many a moon. Their show is probably not for the musically or politically conservative out there, but anyone who actually remembers what rock and roll is all about should do just fine. For pictures and more info, go to http://www.bandfile.net/godwafer/.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Mike - April 2005. All pictures by Beth Shandles. Posted by Hello


Mike - Artsy Posted by Hello


Mike - April 2005 Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Music For Young Moderns

Since this is my space to use as I see fit, I am going to give shouts and praise to artists in the Chicago/Midwest scene that I feel are deserving, whether they have a new album release or not. Consider this a permanent ‘Best Of” kind of thing. Anyway, here we go.

Braam – Their debut CD, “Gravity And The Right To Fly”, was the best local CD I ever got to review a couple years back. As a result, Braam is permanently on my radar. Imagine a combo of Neil Young and The Eagles and you start to get an idea of what they sound like. Taking their name from the three Braam brothers in the lineup, the band has been a positive presence in the Chicago music arena, spreading great tunes and intelligent lyrics everywhere they go. These guys do actually have a new release available, “Madelaine”, that continues this tradition. Highly recommended. www.braammusic.com.


The Honeybees – The Honeybees are a way gone rockabilly band that features two female vocalists harmonizing like the Everly Sisters on every tune. They are one of the more interesting roots acts in the city, and one of the few trying to do anything to expand the old sounds. Their CD “The Bee Sides” is a great, twangy listen for folks like me who enjoy such things. Check them out at www.rockabilly.net/honeybees.

Willy Porter – Wisconsin boy Willy Porter may quite possibly be the best solo acoustic artist playing today. Dig if you will a picture of someone with the lyrical ability of John Hiatt or Bruce Springsteen combined with the guitar chops of Leo Kottke and you will begin to see the light. His last release, “High Wire Live”, is his definitive statement, recorded live and alone on stage. He is a fearless performer and has the kind of ability that cannot be denied. Go to www.willyporter.com to see for yourself.

Bucky Halker – Bucky Halker is a fine and gifted writer of American songs as well as a walking library of the historical music of the American working class. He is equal parts poet, teacher, guitar picker, and left-leaning agitator. Catch him solo or with his band The Complete Unknowns. See www.buckyhalker.com for more.

Urban Djin – Urban Djin is the singing-est singing cowboy in all of Chicago. He has a great, authentic feel for all things hillbilly and is always a pleasure to see live. He does a solo thing as well as a full band show in various venues around town, including a pretty regular Thursday at the Smoke Daddy on Division Street. His is also one of the more unique characters you will meet as you mix and mingle through the local music community. www.urbandjin.com reveals all.

The Joe Moss Band – Joe Moss is one of the best young blues players on the street today. He is schooled in the old ways but not bound by them. His sound is classic and current at once and his guitar style is eclectic, jazz-influenced at times, and distinctive. One listen to his CD “Monster Love” will give you the picture. Go to www.joemossband.com and see for yourself.