The Boy from Oz is a jukebox musical based on the life of singer/songwriter Peter Allen featuring songs written by him. Just like his actual life, the musical is composed of very happy moments along with very sad ones. This keeps the audience on the edge of their seats as they don’t know what to expect next. Chris Logan as Peter Allen and Michelle Lauto give a terrific performances. It’s especially fun watching Chris have costume changes on stage as he narrates the transition from scene to scene. There is a tongue-in-cheek joke about this that has everyone laughing. They save the best for last with a fantastic full cast dance number for I Go To Rio. Catch their final performances tonight and tomorrow.
Local H is known for their blistering live shows and for pioneering the two-man band set-up — frontman Scott Lucas covers both guitar and bass through an extra pick up in his guitar and drummer Ryan Harding pounds out the rest of the sound. While they have earned praise in the past for their catalog of clever concept albums, Local H are forgoing a singular theme on their new album — Hey, Killer (out April 2015 on G&P Records) — turning out a non-stop blast of straight-up, hooky, guitar-heavy rock songs — each one catchier than the last.
Glass Lux is a New Wave / Electronica band out of Chicago featuring Alfonso Mayen on percussion and synth Emily Morse on vocals. Their live show is played as a trio.
“Good-time punks, Flesh Panthers unapologetically bust down your front door with their new album, N G C 2632. At first listen, the 12 tracks embody a New York Dolls’ draw and swagger that’s much more glam than what came across on the band’s previous releases. These tracks are fully-fleshed, leaving a heightened ringing in your ears and putting a relentless stomp in your boots.”
–Local Loop Press
“This is my band. I only had to pay them once!” says KT Tunstall as she points to her looping equipment. For each song of the night, she starts by recording a beat by hitting the base of her acoustic guitar. Then, she adds in other percussive instruments including a tambourine. Then, depending on the song, she plays an acoustic or electric guitar, or the piano. In between songs, she tells long stories about her life that lead smoothly into the songs. One such story is about the filming of the video for Invisible Empire where she describes it as her audition video for Game of Thrones.
The crowd is very excited to hear her play “Black Horse and The Cherry Tree”, her biggest radio hit. It sounds great in the very intimate seated venue that is City Winery that is ideal for her performance style. At the end of her set, she gets everyone to stand and dance for “Suddenly I See”. It’s a fantastic close to the second of her three straight sold out shows.
It’s impossible to not have a good time at a Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers concert. Their attitude and music are so upbeat, fun, and joyous. Performing Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love,” Nicki belts out the vocals so intensely that Grace Slick herself would have to be impressed. Nicki then talks about visiting North Ave beach before the show. “It’s like spring break down there! I love Chicago!” They close out their set with two of their best songs, Ravenous and Little Too Late.
When they return for their encore, none of the audience has left. As the band gathers around a single microphone, Nicki polls the crowd on who attended the “Fare Thee Well” Grateful Dead concerts at Soldier Field. She informs us she wishes she could have, but was recharging her batteries on the Muir Trail. In a tribute, they cover Jerry Garcia’s “Deal,” a song played by the Dead on many occasions. This band has definitely learned a lot from the music that came before them. Afterwards, as they play their final song of the night and the crowd’s energy remains high, it’s clear Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers has a bright future ahead of them and will continue coming to Chicago time and time again.
Rebelution knows how to get the party started. They open with Roots Reggae Music and instantly everyone begins swaying along and feeling the groove. Like the song says there’s “nothing like roots reggae music”. The dancing continues as they play favorites such as “Attention Span” and “Bright Side of Life”. One of the best aspects of a Rebelution show is the sense of community as strangers sing and dance together in their shared joy for the music.
The show is held at Northerly Island, which proves to be a great location. With the venue being off to the east of downtown Chicago, fans are treated to a great view of the skyline from the outdoor pavilion. It’s one of Chicago’s best venues and Rebelution is worthy of playing there. It’s an all-encompassing scene that will be the highlight of many fan’s summer.
Norm MacDonald is all about the love. He says he loves this moment, right now, standing on stage telling stories and jokes. Memories about the past are foggy and unreliable. Who knows what the future will hold. The audience is in full agreement as they laugh and cheer him along. Whenever a performer is enjoying himself on stage, it’s sure to be a great show.
Towards the end of the set, he gets the light indicating it’s time for him to wrap it up. He acknowledges it but doesn’t slow down so they give him the light again. He’s having a great time and would probably go all night long if they let him. He asks for permission to say two final jokes, even though he is past time. The crowd cheers and he gets the go ahead. The final joke is from his son. Roses are grey, violets are grey, everything is grey, because I’m a dog! It was a quirky close to a fabulous show at a great venue for live comedy, City Winery.
The Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park is packed with Broadway fans tonight. Many of the musicals that are showcased tonight are adaptations of other works. The cast of A Charlie Brown Christmas performs a medley of several songs from the movie making it feel like Christmas in August. The leading actress from Beautiful – The Carole King Musical sings (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and Beautiful. It makes the audience realize how theatrical and perfect for a musical her songs are. The lead performers from Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage perform “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life” and the crowd soaks it in. The cast from The Lion King do a fantastic performance of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”. The evening’s surprise finale is the cast of Book of Mormon performing You And Me (But Mostly Me)! It’s a splendid closing number to a magnificent night full of Broadway talent. Get tickets to these shows and more here!
Al Anderson, the lead guitarist, is the only original member from the Bob Marley and the Wailers days. Tonight, he is performing with the The Original Wailers at the Great American Lobster fest at Navy Pier in Chicago. Anderson is the main attraction as he shreds through Wailers classics such as I Shot the Sheriff, Stir it Up, and Buffalo Soldier. After the main set, Anderson returns for an encore. This talented performer proceeds to jam enthusiastically on his electric guitar and the audience is eating it up. The guitar jam leads to the band’s return to play Exodus. This is a perfect finish to a performance of rocking Jamaican reggae.
JOHNNYSWIM is a folk, soul, blues music duo consisting of Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez. I first came across JOHNNYSWIM when listenting to a Bon Iver station on Pandora Radio. Ever since then I have fallen in love with their music and their performance at SPACE Evanston on August 5th just furthered my admiration for them.
They opened their 16 song set with their song “Falling for Me”. During their set, they played much of their own songs but treated the crowd to a couple of covers and one of their new songs that will be on their next album, which is due out next year. If you want to take a look at their full set, check out setlist.fm. Amanda and Abner’s chemistry on stage is one of the main reasons they are such a great duo. If you didn’t know, the two are married and they are incredibly, nauseatingly (in a good way) cute together. Their rendition of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en rose”, the song they danced to at their wedding, was heart warming. Ugh, they’re the epitome of the hash tag epidemic #RelationshipGoals.
In addition to their chemistry, the two of them are so genuine and personable that it made the performance feel more intimate. SPACE Evanston is a venue that holds between 150-200 people, so the venue itself already felt very intimate. But with the stories and jokes they told, and their interaction with the crowd, the performance felt almost one-on-one. For their closing song, “Home”, they even went off stage, into the crowd, and encouraged everyone to sing along with them. I’ve never seen a performer do that before and it was very cool to see it.
Their performance was really great. Amanda and Abner are two performers that I would say sound even better live than on the track, which I feel is a rare occurrence these days. Their vocals are absolutely amazing and blew me away. If you haven’t heard of JOHNNYSWIM I encourage you to look them up. And If you have heard of them, but haven’t seen them live, get yourself to one of their concerts. It will be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.
“Being gay… it’s like … having a dream where she wishes she could be Marilyn Monroe. And she wakes up, and she realizes, she is Marilyn Monroe!” Great lines like this are common in this dance–pop musical, Stanley In The Name Of Love. The action ranges from fun and playful to dark and heartbreakingly intense. The expertlycrafted original music is a mix of showtunes, Queen, Britney Spears and modern dance pop. Also, at times, they break the fourth wall to the audience’s delight: “It’s not a play, it’s a musical.” “I hate musicals.” This is followed by a long stare at the crowd. It’s a wild roller-coaster ride of a show that is well worth the price of admission!