Whether or not you’re a music junkie, the opportunity to see Grant Park transformed into a playground for party-goers is entertainment in itself. The third annual GALApalooza event is only one week away, giving guests an exclusive sneak preview of the Lollapalooza event grounds in a VIP fashion.
Outdoor lounge seating, cocktails and creative nibbles – you just might forget there’s actually a concert to watch. Lollapalooza artist Vampire Weekend and Chicago sensation Hey Champ will take the stage, in addition to performances by Park District Kids and DJ White Shadow.
Friends coming in to town for the music filled extravaganza? The James Hotel is offering a special overnight package on August 6 which includes two general admission tickets to GALApalooza, overnight accommodations in a king guestroom, and valet parking at The James. Rates start at $579. For more info or to book a room, visit www.jameshotels.com.
GALApalooza takes place on Thursday August 6th at 6 p.m. at the Petrillo Band Shell in Grant Park. Lounge experiences are available at the $2,500, $5,000 and $10,000 level and single tickets are available for $150. For more information or to make reservations, call Alison Krzys, Director of Communications for Parkways Foundation at 312.742.4807 or visit www.parkways.org.
Since 2005, Lollapalooza and GALApalooza have raised over $4 million dollars for Parkways, which directly impacted Chicago’s neighborhood parks.
JenChicago, NBC Chicago Street Team
If you are any kind of a night owl, like I am, you are looking for something great to do on any given night of the week. Well, we’ve got you covered for Tuesday. Fatt Finger is a great band playing at The Joynt every Tuesday night starting at 10! The perform originals and covers from many genres of rock. Come out for drink specials and a classic rockin’ good time! I’ll see you on the dance floor! (No cover.)
Looking for a great time of live music and rock and roll on a Tuesday night? Well, look no further than The Joynt featuring Fatt Finger! This 6-piece band plays both originals and covers from a variety of rock genres AND they are just a good group of guys. They play from their heart and put on a great show! Bring your friends and come dance the night away to hits ranging from Black Crowes to Tom Petty to Sublime! I’ll be there and hope to see you!
Here’s a quick little “taste” of Fatt Finger at The Joynt last week.
Want to know more? This is a “Meet the Band” video. I get the guys to chat with me a bit without the instruments. I always find it so interesting to talk to musicians.
“Nothing matters but the weekend. From a Tuesday point of view.”
If you found yourself humming the tune as you read the words, then you’re familiar with “This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ To Glide” by The Kings. Possibly, you have heard that song every Friday for the past two decades – many radio stations STILL play it religiously to kick off the weekend. And rightly so. It may have been a one-hit wonder, but it’s one of the most sustainable one-hit wonders ever. It totally encapsulates the feeling of…well, the weekend!
Check out the backstory of what lead up to that hit song from Mister Zero, songwriter/guitarist for The Kings, in Cara’s Basement.
The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival rolled into the the First Midwest Bank Amplitheatrer in Tinley Park yesterday. It was a metal-head’s dream concert with bands like Slipnot, Dragonforce, Mastodon, Machine Head, Five Finger Death Punch, Walls Of Jericho, & Airbourne part of the line-up. My favorite band that played at Mayhem Fest was Chicago’s own Disturbed.
Talk about a hometown success story. Disturbed has sold over 10-million albums worldwide. They are currently enjoying mass success with their aptly titled “Indestructible” album, their third in a row to debut at number one. That’s no small feat. Only six other rock bands have released three #1 albums in a row: Van Halen, Pearl Jam, U2, Dave Matthews Band, Staind and Metallica.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Disturbed lead singer David Draiman a few hours before they hit the stage. Wow. Such an intelligent man. The full interview will be featured on a future episode of my podcast Cara’s Basement. But you can hear a good chunk of it right now, including him describing how Disturbed layed the ground work for their success a dozen years ago in Chicago, on The Chicago Music Guide website.
My Boys is a comedy airing on TBS created by Northwestern alum Betsy Thomas. Since My Boys is set in Chicago you’ll catch plenty of references to many Chicago landmarks including the Art Institute, Billy Goat Tavern, The Hideout and Guthrie’s Tavern. It’s about Sun-Times sportswriter P.J. Franklin (surprised they didn’t make the last name “Clarke” as in another Chicago landmark) and her “boys” including one radio DJ who works at a rock station that suddenly changes formats…something I can totally identify with! I spent a few years happily rockin’ at Chicago’s Rock 103.5 spinning bands like Metallica and Anthrax, then suddenly one day it flipped to ”Jammin’ Oldies”. Ugh.Bad memory. And I digress.
If you come to Martini Park tomorrow evening you’ll get to meet and mingle with cast members Michael Bunin, Reid Scott, and Kyle Howard as you enjoy complimentary appetizers andwin cool prizes from My Boys and WTMX. You’ll watch the new episode on the big screen while sipping specialty martinis. Great way to spend a Thursday night in Chicago!
Earlier this month Megadeth’s monster metal Gigantour came to Chicago for a visit to the Aragon Ballroom. This year’s ticket included High on Fire, Job for a Cowboy, Children of Bodom, In Flames, and was topped off by a lengthy set from Megadeth. Gigantour 2008 brought a manageable quantity of bands which gave fans more time to settle in and enjoy as opposed to previous festival style years.
The evening went by fast with little down time between sets and even less interaction from the performers. Perhaps the distant and to the schedule theme of the night was brought on by the Aragon’s giant looming stage or the spacious barricade penning fans far from the bands. The 2006 tour at the Congress Theatre proved to have a more unified feel with a low stage and smaller pit allowing some eye contact and keeping the possibility of throwing a hand in the air to be greeted by a metal hero an option.
Although the distance in the air was unsettling, the bands were on there A game when delivering the goods. High on Fire brought some dirty rock and roll in the vein of Motörhead to get the early birds rolling, while In Flames delivered near perfection to a crowd who expected nothing less. Aside from a string tasting Alexi Laiho, a dread whipping Anders Fridén, and a really cool winged flying v covered in blood splatter (courtesy of Dave Mustaine), there just was not much action going on. The music sounded great, but next year bring this one back to the small stage so we can feel Gigantour and not just hear it.
(Type “Maureen Vana” into the search bar at the top of this page to see my past concert photography and reviews)
Two great new cd’s from some familiar artists have just come out over the past couple of weeks. Whitesnake has come back with a triumphant return after their last CD release more than 11 years ago with Brand-New material entitled ‘Good To Be Bad’. The first pressing of this release has a free bonus CD of an amazingly performed live concert. This CD is everything you would want from the masters of ‘Pump You Up’ music. Also, Def Leppard has come out with a new disc of all new material called ‘Songs From The Sparkle Lounge’. Included in this packaging is the novelty idea of enclosing four guitar picks. What a cool deal! If you’ve enjoyed the mighty Lep’s work from the past, or if you’re in the mood to listen to something upbeat and rockin’, you’ll be sure to enjoy this latest effort. These CD’s are hot.
Seems like the only way to get your hands on the latest music other than downloading online is to go to a Target or Best Buy (where I purchased these two). The days of the old record stores are pretty much gone because of the downloading/burning generation and just a general slowdown of record sales. That’s really a shame, because in an indie store you can have your own ‘virtual tailor-made music shopper’ to help keep you in the loop on what’s new out there. Not so at a Best Buy. Record sales in Europe haven’t decreased as much as it has in the U.S., and Europe seems to have more of a Rock N Roll appetite than we do. Whitesnake CD sales in Europe all over the board were in the Top 10 in its first week of sales. In the U.S., Whitesnake barely made the Top 50. Is this a reason why the Eruo is kicking the pants out of the U.S. dollar so badly? Maybe we need to add a little more Rock N Roll to our diet!
Other notable artists that are coming out with new material this year will be Motley Crue, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Journey, and Alice Cooper. I just purchased new cd’s from Dokken, White Lion, and Asia. I feel like I’m in a time warp back in 1988 not 2008! Go out and get these new releases from some of your old favorites. You won’t believe how much fun it is!
Apocalyptica brought Chicago an evening of hair tossing metal complete with matching skull thrones, a clear acrylic drum set, and…. four cellos. The band who gained notoriety with their string renditions of Metallica songs has long moved on from a cover band to an original force. The group has worked with a variety of guest artists including Dave Lombardo (Slayer) and Ville Valo (HIM) and is currently on tour with their sixth studio album, Worlds Collide.
The group played primarily new material from the recent US release including tracks “Grace”, “Ion”, and “Last Hope”. Other original material included “Bittersweet”, “Betrayal/Forgiveness”, and covers of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”, “Seek and Destroy”, and “Nothing Else Matters”. A combination of the band’s energy and humor made the hour and fifteen minute set slip by leaving us all wanting more. Apocalyptica played two encores for the craving fans and left the stage with a bow and hi-fives to the crowd.
Sunday evening was an exciting break to get a dose of metal with something a little different from the guitar ruling genre. Apocalypica’s mix of classical beauty with the speed and edge of hard riffs transformed on stage to an experience unlike hearing them on CD. After witnessing these Finnish rockers live I can strongly say, yes, I would like some distortion with my cello please.
I lost my father to cancer. I know far too many relatives and friends diagnosed with cancer. While it’s no long the “c” word whispered secretly, cancer affects a staggering amount of people and it’s imperative to raise money to help find a cure.
This Sunday night I’ll be the emcee of a night of music benefiting the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The Chicago Music Guide presents Live Life is at Joe’s Bar in Chicago. Come experience live music from Paris Delane’s Tye Dye Skye, Jennifer Peterson Band, Ellen Rosner, Tracylynn & 55 South, Gina Gonzalez, White Buffalo Is Born and Twin Ray (Desiree Irwin). Doors open at 5:30, the live music begins at 6:30pm. Tickets are only $20 plus there is an awesome silent auction. You can bid on autographed items from Bon Jovi, Counting Crowes, John Hiatt, Steve Vai and more – CLICK HERE for the full list.
I had an enlightening conversation with Paris Delane on my podcast Cara’s Basement. He’s passionate about his involvement with this cause – in fact, he radiates passion about life. His adoration for his mother is especially touching as we approach Mothers Day. Listen:
(Type my name in the search bar to see/hear more of my posts including interviews with The Bravery, Lovehammers, Triumph’s Rik Emmett, Shooting Star, Mike Tafoya comedian Lee Camp &more)
Last week My Chemical Romance paid a visit to Chicago for two back to back dates at the Congress Theatre on Thursday and Friday night. Fans were treated to a more intimate setting to view the successful rockers that have been packing arenas with their hit album “The Black Parade”. MCR headlined the shows with a lengthy set along side openers Billy Talent and Drive By.
“Beyond the Permafrost” is the best parts of thrashing guitars, melodic riffs, speeding bass drums, and a dash of Viking force stirred up into twelve tracks. This is Skeletonwitch’s second full length album and only title on their discography still in print (CD and black vinyl). The 12″ blue vinyl pictured below is an unlikely find, but well worth tracking down.
Both CD and vinyl feature artwork by John Dyer Baizley and were released on Prosthetic Records. You can pick up a copy of the CD from the Prosthetic Records Store and on black vinyl at Robotic Empire Online. The band is currently on tour and will be playing at the House of Blues Chicago with Hate Eternal and Soilent Green on April 23. Give them a listen on Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/skeletonwitch and come out to the show to toast a mug of ale or lovingly smash into your fellow bearded metal brother (or non-bearded sister) in the pit.
Track Picks: “Within My Blood”, “Beyond the Permafrost”
It’s not often enough when living legends come to town to perform in Chicago. Ace Frehley, original lead guitar player for KISS, stormed through town last night with a blistering display of his guitar-hero solos, poses, and ALL the Rock Star attitude at the House of Blues. The likes of Eddie Van Halen, Dimebag Darrel (RIP), and Pearl Jam have all named ‘Mr. Excitement’ as a major influence in picking up a guitar. Wearing shades, fronting his own hot band, and arriving on stage around 10:30 pm, Ace’s set list consisted of five solo songs and 10 KISS songs including ‘Cold Gin’, ‘Love Gun’, and ‘Duece’.
KISS, without a doubt, is THE most exciting live entertainment musical experience you can ever see performed. Don’t just take my word for it. They actually hire Olympic trainers to get themselves in world-class shape in order to provide the boundless energy they display on their world tours. There is a reason a KISS Army over a million strong exists all around the world. (Do not miss KISS the next time they decide to tour the States.)
Slideshow: Concert and KISS PicsDue to issues in the past, KISS replaced Ace with gun-slinger, Tommy Thayer. A lot of the die-hard fans have not been happy with that move. To me, this performance almost seemed like an audition to get back into KISS. The guitar virtuoso went for it, not with his trademark smoking guitar with fireworks shooting out of it, but with his ‘In Your Face’ Hard Rock & Roll assault fueled by hunger and power which seemed to emanate from the streets of New York City. My favorite Ace song, ‘New York Groove’ had the words changed to ‘Back in the Chi-ca-go Goove’, and after just returning from many, many recent travels, I now feel back in the Chicago Groove. Thank you, Ace!
Type “Soldinger” in the Search bar at the top of this page to view Ben’s previous blogs on topics such as the state of Blues music in Chicago and much more.
New Partnership! Nude Hippo has been a player in the Chicago media scene for more than 10 years. Now the brand and the personalities are an exclusive part of the NBC Chicago Street Team. Watch Nude Hippo videos on this blog and on the brand new nbcchicago.com Emmy Winners!