Burlesque and Comedy: Kiss Kiss Cabaret at The Den Theatre (Through December 29, 2018)

On September 11th, Uptown Underground closed its doors due to a dispute with the landlord. Thus, Kiss Kiss Cabaret was forced on hiatus until it could find a new space. They have signed on to call The Den Theatre home until at least the end of the year.

The show is different every night and thus the experience is different each time. Tonight is hosted by MsPixy who is an amusing host. She introduces each performer with genuine enthusiasm and then afterwards joy is clearly visible in her reaction. She also sings “Cabaret” midway through the show to the audience’s delight.

There is just one comedy performance tonight. It is by Velma Claptrap. She sings a song that is like the 12 Days of Christmas, but about a pussy ‘cat’, double entendre intended. The crowd eats it up.

Tonight’s lineup of burlesque consists of Vivi Valens, Elle Rioux, Crème Yvette, Faye LaVerte, and Aurora Rocket. Here are the three highlights of the night:

Elle Rioux closes the first half dancing to “The Girl’s Attractive”. Her passion and dedication to the art of burlesque is reflected in her performance as each movement is perfectly crafted to align with the music. It’s an audience favorite!”

Faye LaVerte dances to “Son of a Preacher Man” in an ironic and devilishly delightful fashion.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photos by Kyle Bice

Aurora Rocket dances to “It’s My Party” in a very funny piece where she starts off very sad, but eventually cheers up!

They are finalizing some new group acts, choreographed specifically to take advantage of the Den Theater’s layout, that will debut this week! Also, at 7pm and 7:30pm, this is a rare opportunity to see burlesque before 10pm in Chicago.

Get tickets now for Kiss Kiss Cabaret through December 29th at the Den Theatre!

Cost of a ticket: $27
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Advertisements

Reggae Rock: Concrete Roots at Beat Kitchen (November 9, 2018)

In 2012, the Concrete Roots formed in Chicago. In 2016, they release their debut self-titled EP. All along, they have been playing live concerts throughout the Midwest. This has allowed them to really polish their sound and put on a strong live show. The sold out crowd at the Beat Kitchen ate up their reggae rock grooves.

The lead guitarist uses a talk box very effectively to add a sound not usually heard in reggae rock. It makes for great soloing. The band consists of Robert James on vocals and guitar, Toeknee Bilbrey on drums and dubs, Noel Valasquez on guitar, Rolan Valasquez on bass, and Jay Noga on keys.

In addition to playing songs from their debut EP, they played “Good Thing Going” by Sugar Minott and “No No No” by Dawn Penn. In both instances, they truly added their own unique spin to the songs.

 

The Concrete Roots are off to a great start and will surely continue to build their fan base in the Midwest and beyond.

Cost of a ticket: $20

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Long Jams – Keller Williams at City Winery (November 8, 2018)

Keller Williams is a goofy kind of guy. His song titles are evidence of this. “Doobie In My Pocket”, “Fat B”, and “Freaker By the Speaker” are just a few of them.  During his show, he mostly plays acoustic guitar, but he also uses a sample pad and he sits down at the piano a few times this night. A major part of his set is the long jams with the bassist. This improvised music draws the audience in and they are transfixed until the show ends, and as they suddenly realize that three hours have passed!

Cost of a ticket: $45

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Check out City Winery’s calendar for what’s next!

Quinn Delaney

A Living Legend: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons at the Auditorium Theatre (November 3, 2018)

At 84 years old, Frankie Valli is no spring chicken. But with his performance on Saturday, he sounds as great as ever. Especially impressive is his ability to still sing falsetto. However, the one thing he can’t do is rap. He demonstrated his rap skills while joking about what type of songs he should sing for his new album. Eventually, he decided to do covers of hits from the 60s, which was a good call. He sang “Spanish Harlem” by Ben E. King and “My Girl” by The Temptations.

As an intro to a song, he mentioned that he co-wrote the next song with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. The disco sound of the Bee Gees can definitely be heard in this song, “Grease”.

During “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, he lowered the microphone and let the audience take the lead. Everyone sang joyfully “I love you baby, and if it’s quite alright, I need you baby, to warm the lonely night.” Another highlight was “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)”. Truth be told, almost every song was a highlight. He has so many hit songs it’s hard to fathom. See one of his most recent setlists here.

The acoustics at the Auditorium continue to be outstanding. Even all the way up in the balcony, every word Valli sings is clearly audible. It’s also a beautiful view from up there.

The four backup singers were absolutely fantastic. Landon Beard, Todd Fournier, plus brothers Brandon and Brian Brigham provide solid harmonies all night along with exceptional solos. They are essential to the songs, which is why they are a favorite among acapella groups.

Cost of a ticket: $95

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

 

Catch Jersey Boys at the Auditorium Theatre in April 2019!

Quinn Delaney

Hilarious and Smart! First Floor Theatre Presents Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies at The Den Theatre (Through November 17, 2018)

Marquis was adopted very young and was raised by a white family in the suburbs of Baltimore. Tru was raised in the inner city. Upon meeting in a holding cell, Tru decides he needs to teach Marquis how to act black and he writes “Being Black for Dummies”. Marquis’s journey is both comical and full of insights on the black experience.

 

The story makes numerous references to the Wizard of Oz. Tru is very proud of his red sneakers, which he calls his Dorothy’s. Later on, Marquis taps his heels while wearing the shoes as “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” plays. There is also a comparison of the lyrics of 2Pac verse the writings of Nietzsche. There is also a possible connection to Fight Club. This play is worthy of all these connections as it weaves all these cultural references into such a smart and rich tale.

Hooded-2

The cast is fantastic. Jalen Gilbert is so smooth as Tru. He’s a great teacher of how to be black. Jayson Lee is excellent as Marquis, playing him as the reluctant student trying to figure out who he is. Casey Morris is hilarious as Hunter. The part when he finds the book and tries to be black is the best part of the night! Maggie Scrantom is so funny as Meadow, the selfie-loving girl with a huge crush on Hunter. Also, Caroline Hendricks is great as Clementine, swooning over Marquis.

Just like Peerless, First Floor Theatre knows how to do a high school comedy right! Get tickets now for Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies through November 17th!

Cost of a ticket: $25
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value!

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Pick of the Week! All Souls Jazz Fest featuring Kaeyra, Marbin, and Grażyna Auguścik at Chopin Theatre (November 5, 2018)

Here are our top three picks for the All Souls Jazz Fest:

Kaeyra

 

 

In 2016 Kaeyra got “honorably mentioned” on the blog of Postmodern Jukebox. This led to being able to record two videos with the band. She recorded a cover of “Time after Time” which currently has 2 million views. And her most recent video was “Nothing else Matters” which almost generated 18 million views. Stay on the lookout for her upcoming video where she covers “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. She has done a couple concerts with Postmodern Jukebox in Chicago, Warsaw, and Poznan.

See the YouTube Playlist here.

Marbin

 

Marbin is a progressive jazz-rock band based in Chicago, IL, with a unique story that stands out in today’s music world. With a do-it-yourself approach, Marbin started touring extensively in 2011, bringing their original instrumental music to every part of the United States. Through word of mouth, Marbin has gained tens of thousands of devoted fans all over the world, and has sold tens of thousands of albums.

Grażyna Auguścik

Singer, composer, arranger, and producer Grażyna Auguścik has won the praise and admiration of music critics, jazz enthusiasts and even non-jazz audiences with a singular voice that speaks a universal language. She is one of the most intriguing contemporary vocalists on today’s world jazz scene. Her elusive style challenges traditional definitions of jazz and shows a vocalist and musician without boundaries. Her unorthodox approach to rewriting classic works pays tribute to their authors and at the same time is an adventure into uncharted territory. Her original music gives a fresh taste of uncanny flavor.

See the PlaylistHQ page here.

Get tickets now for the All Souls Jazz Fest.

Quinn Delaney

 

So You Think You Can Dance Live 2018 at the Chicago Theatre (October 29, 2018)

Just like on the TV show, So You Think You Can Dance, the dances are flashy, energetic, and athletic. However, also like the show, the dances are very short. When you start getting into a dance after about a minute, it ends and the next song begins. It’s like eating a bunch of candy for dinner. It’s short and sweet, but it’s not a full meal. For the younger fans with shorter attention spans, this is just right. For adults looking for more depth, it won’t be found here.

Get tickets now for the rest of tour through December 9th.

Quinn Delaney