Chicago’s Best Rock and Roll: The Shams Band with Dan Price and Terrance J Haefner at The Tonic Room

It’s unusually warm for a late December night.  It won’t be a White Christmas this year.  Hence, it’s not surprising that the Tonic Room is hot tonight.  Terrance J Haefner (from Oak Park) is making it even hotter with his excellent rendition of Let’s Get It On (originally recorded by Marvin Gaye in 1973).  His entire set displayed excellent musicianship.

Next on the stage is Dan Price.  He plays a song that sounds very country with a good dose of reverb.  It’s hard to get a good view of the stage from the bar as the stage is no more than a foot above the ground.  So, the available view is of the lazily decorated bar.  There is a sign stating no “Wagon Wheel”, a song that had been over played in the past, but is no longer relevant.  There is also a sign warning that requesting “Free Bird” will result in ejection from the bar.  This is a fantastic rule. Figgy pudding is a special on the menu tonight, but nobody is ordering it.

At last, The Shams Band takes the stage.  Directly in front of the stage is a space where people step to dance shortly before retreating back into the crowd.  Behind this space is an elevated portion at the same height as the stage with a bench across the wall.  This area provides the best view in the bar.  Before long, it’s clear the lead guitarist knows what he is doing with a guitar.  His solos are definitely a major strength of this band which at times sounds like bluegrass version of The Rolling Stones.  Also a strength is the songwriting, as displayed in the catchy “The Des Plaines River”, during which most of the crowd sings along.  The entire band is singing along too.  Throughout the set it’s clear the band is having a great time, and the audience is along for the ride.  A live Shams Band Show is like a great house party, and you don’t want to miss it.

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