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

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.

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

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 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 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. 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 and see for yourself.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Some current favorites...

Here are some of my current favorites in no particular order:
The Fareed Haque Group "Cosmic Hug" - Deep, trance-y jazz/world/fusion grooves from a world-class guitarist and his more-than-able band. Check out the cuts featuring Fareed on sitar-guitar.
The Mars Patrol - Acoustic duo from Scotland with cool, catchy, and emotional songs. They are just finishing up their first US tour and hopefully they made a bunch of new friends along the way. .
Blue Dogs - "Halos And Goodbys" Great roots/pop sort of outfit with a dead-on hit opening track "Whats Wrong With Love Songs".

Welcome to Scene And Heard!

Hi everyone. Welcome to the first installment of Scene and Heard, which is, of course, my blog, but is also the title of a new column I will be writing for . The column and the blog will meet and drift apart and will have no real bearing on each other, save for both being filled with my views, gripes, kudos, opinions, and blathering on about Chicago music and the music world at large. I have been a guitarist for 30 years and have been writing about and reviewing local and national musicians since 1997. You can see my work in print in the Illinois Entertainer ( and online at,, and . If you are interested in being reviewed/featured in Scene and Heard or have info about something to pass along, you can email me at Thanks for checking out this page and staying on the Scene!