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Posts Tagged ‘Brian H. Battle’

Cara CarriveauCara “Cara’s Basement” Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

Longtime rockers in Chicago have a stong admiration for The Boyzz. They were local boys (pun intended) who hit it big and were the epitome of blue collar straight-up rock & roll. “Too Wild To Tame” is still such a cool song! Original guitarist Mike Tafoya is still rocking these days – in fact, next Tuesday you can experience his fret-work. Details coming in a moment, but first, the backstory:

When I first started up my podcast Cara’s Basement last year, The Boyzz founder/guitarist Mike Tafoya was eager toMike Tafoya appear as a guest. I thought it was quite cool of him considering my podcast was so new, but he was happy to get the exposure for his current band Tafoya’s Lost Boyzz. We had a whole lot of fun recording that interview. Ever try Big Butt Beer? We did – listen here:

www.carasbasement.com

I recently talked with Mike Tafoya again for The Chicago Music Guide Mike Tafoya and Cara Carriveauabout a very unique music project he’s involved with in Chicago, mixing up rock & roll and house music. “Rock The House” is the third Tuesday of every month at Chicago’s world famous Dark Room. The next show is coming up this Tuesday, April 15 – so finish your taxes and come get your groove on with Tafoyas Lost Boyzz and Screamin’ Rachel Cain! Find out more here:

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Brian Battle NBC5 Street Team (video)

I’ve never actually asked a performer directly if snapping at poetry is world’s longest-running false cliché — it very well might be. I hope so… I’ve never ever learned how to snap. Thankfully, my inability to perform simple motor skills did not ruin the weekend.

The non-profit Young Chicago Authors organization held their annual Louder Than a Bomb Chicago Teen Poetry Slam, and the crowd was all screams, claps, laughter, cheers and occationally, when a crap judge (like me) gave a low score, chants of “LISTEN TO THE POEM!!!”.

“Listen To The Poem”, I quickly learned, is a sort of a LTaB mantra the kids relish to holler out at lowly judges. Hey… it’s better than flat-out booing. And, as the slam MC’s would continually remind us, it’s not about the points… it’s about the poems. Regardless of what was written on my little dry-erase board, the poems were inspiring.

A few years ago my pal dragged me to Louder Than A Bomb finals (at The Metro that year), and the raw talent and collective energy of the show was infectious. So, when the slam came back ‘round this year, it took slightly less dragging to get me to help out. Eventually (and God knows why) I wound up in the front with a little clipboard, one of five judges ready to rate a “bout” — praying I’d be able to recognize a good poem if and when I heard it.

The opposite occurred. I was so blown away by these kids and their fearless self-expression, exuberance, rhythm and rhyme scheme. I was like, the entire bouts’ proud mother — clapping too long and too loud for everybody who had the guts to take the Columbia stage.

With the semi’s completed earlier this week at The Hothouse, all that’s left is the Cream of the Crop: Teams from all around greater Chicago verbally jousting it out at the Illinois Institute of Technology campus (3201 S. State) tomorrow (Sat 3/10) at 8pm. I HIGHLY recommend checking out the bouts… if only for the sheer energy and lack of snapping.

In the meantime, check out Chicago Public Radio for soundbites from last year’s winners

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Brian Battle NBC5 Street Team (video)

A random weekend night landed me in a hilariously long line outside one of my favorite spots: The Hideout. The bar is aptly named; hidden in an industrial area of town near North Ave and Elston. With a stellar entertainment reputation (comedy, poetry, music, etc), great low-key vibe, (and on this night in particular) a ridiculous line that stretched out the door and down the block — I guess it’s not that hard to find.


(Images taken From http://www.RodGab.com)

My pal Kate had tipped me off to a free early show hosted by WXRT — Mexico-via-Dublin’s Rodrigo y Gabriela. Hell, before I even saw them I relished saying their names in a thick, fake, Latin accent: “Rrrrrrrrrrodereeego EEEEEE Gabreyyyayla.”

Within 15min or so, the crowd thinned out and we were about to do the same ’till the kindly Hideout staff let us in, so long as we promised to stay at the front bar. All of us promised and about half of us complied.

Being a good kid I took a seat at the front bar, ordered a nice round of Old Styles, and took it all in: The bar aglow with homemade paper snowflakes and Christmas lights, the mixed-bag crowd, and the gorgeous acoustic onslaught that was filtering in from the crowded room behind us.

Rodrigo Sanchez would occasionally drop into complicated fretwork while the capacity crowd remained absolutely silent. At other times the sound assault was so dynamic you’d think there was more than just two acoustic guitars on stage. Part of that sound is Gabriela Quintero’s percussive style — occasionally punishing her guitar strings, creating rhythms strums and using the hollow body of her guitar as a substitute drum.

The combined effect of the duo was overwhelming–a full sound that belied the two dexterous and mild-mannered performers on stage. The show ended (after a superb rendition of Stairway… NOT kidding), and Gabriela graciously thanked the crowd. A few minutes later, (after a much-appreciated appearance by that Nomadic Tamale Guy) the pair waived goodbye to a handful of onlookers and hopped into a waiting cab.

*Unabridged Rambling, Pictures, Grammatical Errors & Previous Blogs Here*

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Brian Battle NBC5 Street Team (video)

“If you don’t know by now… ask somebody else!” frontman Scott Masson exultantly sings to a home-team crowd. The line seems like a rallying chorus for his band, Office, and rightly so. For well over a year now the talented and peppy rock outfit was the worst-kept secret in Chicago. A group that, apparently, was only a mystery to A&R types. Yeah, everyone at The Double Door on this mild Friday in December knew by now — including James Iha, Smashing Pumpkins’ guitarist and Office’s new best friend. The bash thrown at the Wicker Park club Ohm after the set was heralded as a label-signing party, as Iha nabbed Office for his own Scratchie record label.

The show was great, and more than made up for a quick stop-off at Debonair Social Club: An oddly hollow space occupied by film projections of androgynous twenty-somethings, plus a Fat Joe look-alike standing atop a booth seat. Eye candy… notsomuch.

So we hightailed it to the Double Door, just missing Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (a legit band I must mention if only for their name), and walked in just as Mannequin Men took the stage and efficiently rocked the place.


My lame cellphone attempts to capture (L to R) Tom Smith, Scott Masson and Jessica Gonyea.

Office took the stage next, projecting the kind of confidence and enthusiasm that creates a magnetic live show. Regaled in a Santa cap and a god-awful sweater, Masson delivered snide commentary and sing-along choruses. Lead guitar Tom Smith switched between jerky Cars-like chords and playful Guitar Hero posturing while bassist Alissa Noonan battled illness to pump out bouncy basslines and bop around shoeless. Team cheerleader and universal rock-crush Jessica Gonyea switched from keyboard to tambourine to cowbell and played most of the show jumping up and down to a beat played exuberantly by drummer Erica Corniel.

Office called Mannequin Men and SSLYBY back on stage for a joyously amateur rendition of John Lennon’s Happy Christmas before crowds emptied out onto North Ave. The night for me ended with some cheap drinks at Estelle’s (a fairly unremarkable bar which manages to get LINES outside it), and a half-serious razzing at Western & Armitage’s Green Eye for rocking a tie on a Friday night. Pshaw.

*Unabridged Rambling, Pictures, Grammatical Errors & Previous Blogs Here*

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Hot Chip, Cool Bar

Brian Battle NBC5 Street Team (video)

Remember the time when people said “synthesizer” instead of keyboards? Incidentally, it was also when fashionable gals were wearing like, tights under skirts, and um, leg-warmers. Well, my nostalgia-prone friend, for better or for worse, that time is back.

When Hot Chip (nay “Hawt Chip”) took the stage at The Metro earlier this month, four-fifths of them took their stations behind a wall-o-synths. Shaking the venue’s collective booty as much as 5 pasty Brits can shake an equally pasty crowd. For the encore they banged out a riotous version of “Over and Over” and a few days later someone reminded me I screamed “SYNTH GODDDS!” Yeah. I’m that guy.

Afterwards, while my friend was busy slurring tequila infused come-ons at Smartbar, we ducked into the most tolerable bar in Wrigleyville: The Gingerman Tavern. The mix-matched chairs, tables and billiard balls complement it’s equally eclectic clientele. That said, if anyone knows of a better Wrigleyville bar, I’d like to hear it, drink there, and then tell you why you’re wrong.

*More Awesomeness (words) Here*

photos by Pegs. Thanks Pegs.

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Brian Battle, NBC5 Street Team

Fri 11/10
Metro 10pm
Hot Chip
London’s Hot Chip is a frontrunner in the dancing-crazy-is-the-new-standing-still rock category. Equal parts digital and organic, the most immediate comparison is with DFA labelmates LCD Soundsystem but while the latter can come off disaffectedly NYC, Hot Chip’s modus operandi is definitely “Get Those Asses Moving”. It’s pop, it’s funk, it’s electronic and it’s just plain fun. Shy Child and Born Ruffians open. (Song Streaming here)

Sat 11/11 12pm to 5pm
SOUTH UNION ARTS MARKET (1352 S. UNION in Chicago)
Do you feel holiday mall shopping sucks the “cool” right out of you. Well, my crafty, “indie”, closet Gilmore Girls fans – I have a solution. Check out the hipper-than-thou S.U.A. Market, which, although still pre-Thanksgiving, is spinning this as a Holiday sales event. Grrrrr. Local vendors will sell a variety of handmade items: clothing, journals, photography, poster art, paper goods and more. Plus some ‘lil sweets sold by TipsyCake. Musical accompaniment by Heligoats, Octagon Island, WE/OR/ME.

Wed 11/15 – 9pm
Subterranean
NORFOLK & WESTERN
Norfolk & Western, the pseudonym of singer/songwriter Adam Selzer, has roped in his amour, Rachel Blumberg (former Decemberists’ drummer), and a handful of other musicians in order to craft intricate, literate arrangements that may rival that of Blumberg’s previous Portland-based “collective”. Chicago-based Darling open.
FREE N&W MP3 here.

Sun 11/19
Beat Kitchen
Bishop Allen
Former Bostonites now Brooklynites, Bishop Allen knows their way around a pop song. Lyrics are clever and sincere, and their sound incorporates early Talking Heads, catchy hooks, sing-songy vocals, Brit-invasion guitar and even a bit of urban twang. 2003’s under-the-radar pop gem Charm School put them on the map, and in the meantime they’ve stayed busy releasing an EP each month this year with what seems like a sure-fire hit on each one. Lots of free tunes on their homepage.

Tue 11/21, 5pm
Val’s Halla Records, Oak Park (239 Harrison St)
Val’s Halla Records Movie Night
This Tuesday, like every Tuesday, is Val’s Halla movie night. The renowned record shop has recently relocated elsewhere in Oak Park to a place that can fit like… more than eight people. Crate dive for some discount vinyl, grab some free promo stickers, and enjoy some music videos and music-themed films. Crank it up to 11.

Fri 11/24, Sat 11/25
Logan Square Auditorium
Andrew Bird
A homecoming of sorts for this original Chicago-bred talent. Logan Square Auditorium hosts a two-night stint for Andrew Bird, known for putting on enthralling and inventive concert performances. Bird’s sets are lush with layered sounds of percussion, orchestral flourishes, his talents on multiple instruments especially the violin, and yes, even his hypnotic whistling skills. All this is complimented by Bird’s penchant for quirky endearing lyricism. His whimsical sound draws easy comparisons to Sufjan Stevens, Rufus Wainwright and Jeff Buckley. There won’t be snacks.

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Brian Battle NBC5 Street Team

They could’ve named this show “The Bands With Unnecessary Names” Tour ’06. New York-cum-Philly “indie” success story Clap Your Hands Say Yeah headlined, along with Australia’s Architecture in Helsinki and Brooklyn-based Takka Takka.

Sandwiched between the two NY rock bands were the delightful Architecture in Helsinki. The eclectic group dressed the part–six members (an abridged touring lineup) took the stage looking like a mishmash of high school sterotypes… spaz, jock, hippie, Cure fan, etc, etc. Shirking the deliberately childish sounds of their first release, Fingers Crossed, AiH’s entire set was blissful, endearing and downright danceable.

Swapping vocal duties and instruments between nearly every song, the band bounced through newer material and brand-new stuff, smooshing genres and song structures as they went. The abrupt endings and mid-song tempo changes which make their albums a peculiar experience created an exhilarating live show — keeping the audience guessing… and clapping… and jumping around a bit.

The extended segue into a funk-friendly “Do the Whirlwind” got people bouncing, while the delightfully quirky Jamie Mildren (right) stole the show belting out her vocals on “Wishbone” – the hap-hap-happiest pop gem you may ever hear.

Clad in a well-loved Ryne Sandberg jersey (a move Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch has pulled in Chicago before), singer Cameron Bird delivered his so-called Love Ballad From The Outback, “Maybe You Can Owe Me” with the equal parts whimsy and sincerity.

Before it could get too cute though, Bird got back to groovin’ — hitting the drum machine and rocking out with such abandon that the instrument was knocked hard to the floor. Overall, the new stuff sounds great, one sounding an awful lot like Rusted Root (ha, in a good way) and the whole set giving off a exuberant twee-meets-Stop Making Sense rumpus. *Full Review Here*

Architecture in Helsinki – “Do The Whirlwind (Metronomy Mix)”

(Photos by Pegs. Thanks Pegs.)

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