Monthly Archives: May 2018

Spotify Playlist for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Summer Series at Harris Theatre (June 7-10, 2018)

Here is the Spotify playlists for for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Summer Series at Harris Theatre (June 7-10, 2018). It features a wide ranging score from Dean Martin to mambo to techno to traditional Israeli music. It also includes Ravel’s Bolero, which was also used in Alvin Ailey’s spring performance last year. Also of note is “Hava Nagila” by Dick Dale, which sounds very similar to Dale’s song, “Miserlou”, made famous by the dancing scene in Pulp Fiction.

“Isa Nori” by Maxim Waratt.

“Train” by Goldfrapp.

“Fur Alina” by Arvo Pärt, lyrics by Charles Bukowski and vocals by Bobby Jene Smith.

“Stones Start Spinning” by David Darling.

“Mabruk Wo Arisna” by Ali Hassan Kuban. Arab Folk Music by Habib Alla Jamal and Khader Shama.

“Bolero” by Maurice Ravel, arranged by Isao Tomita.

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen & EY Harburg, adapted by Marusha.

“Hooray for Hollywood (cha cha)” by Don Swan and His Orchestra, written by John. H Mercer and Richard E. Whiting.

“Sway” by Dean Martin, written by P.B. Ruiz & N. Gimbel.

“Hava Nagila” by Dick Dale.

“Echad Mi Yodea” by Ohad Naharin and Tractor’s Revenge.

“Na Tum Jano Na hum” by Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai.

“Wahed” by Chronomad.

“You’re Welcome” by The Beach Boys,” written by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks,

“Pictures” by Ohad Fishoff and Maxim Waratt

The program will feature two works by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, Minus 16 and Deca Dance.

Get tickets now for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Summer Series from June 7th to 10th!

Quinn Delaney

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Also, see our review of Hubbard Street Dance : An Evening of Alejandro Cerrudo from the spring here.

 

Rambunctious! King Tuff at Lincoln Hall (May 25, 2018)

Even as the cold breeze passed through the sparsely packed Lincoln Hall concert hall, I could feel a certain electricity brewing. The look of friendly faces in the crowd, the loose Friday night atmosphere, and the cathartic performances of both Sasami and Cut Worms cultivated quite an anticipation for the main act. Luckily enough for the audience and I, this anticipation was met with a very satisfying and polished act of gratification.

King Tuff provided the audience with electrifying guitar riffs, hard hitting percussion, and even some witty stage banter. They thrived on their eclecticism all night as evidenced by lead singer Kyle Thomas’ dazzling checkerboard suit. The startling contrast of “The Other” and “Raindrop Blue” made for a great opening to the performance. One moment with these guys you will be gloomily tapping your foot to a somber vocal driven ballad, the next you will be thrust into a  dirty bass out groove. This exercise, in contrast, was also present in the transition from the tracks “Pyscho Star” to “Ultraviolet”. The light and bouncy drum and keyboard interplay on “Psycho Star” make for a perfect dancing environment whereas “Ultraviolet” is more of a fuzzed out, head-banging rock track. And even though King Tuff desire to fulfill a plethora of niches, they still manage to maintain their own identity.

Whether it is the soaring vocals on “Never Ending Sunshine” or the rambunctious space horn solo on “Infinite Mile”, King Tuff never fails to sound like themselves. They have officially established themselves as a great band and now they’re just having fun with it.

Griffin Boyle

 

Fantastic! John Waite at City Winery (May 24, 2018)

John Waite has been making music since 1976 when he formed the Babys in London. He starts his set with a song from that era, “Midnight Rendezvous”. In 1981, the group disbanded and he released the album Ignition as a solo artist the following year. For the second song of the night, he plays “Change” from that album.

His second solo album, No Brakes (1984), produced his most famous song, “Missing You”, of which he does an acoustic version tonight. He introduces the song by saying it took him only 50 minutes to write and it changed his life.  It’s a giant sing-a-long and the entire audience is all smiles.

In 1989, he formed Bad English and they released “When I See You Smile”, which is also part of tonight’s set. It’s a real career retrospective that all goes together very smoothly.  In 2017, he released Wooden Heart, Volume 2, which features “Downtown”. He tells us this song is about walking around downtown Manhattan and seeing the places his friends and former lovers used to live.

He plays two covers tonight. “All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan and “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. While these are both great songs, they seem out of place in his set and he doesn’t give any context for them.

Throughout the night, he is very conversational with the audience. This includes a long exchange with a guy who got up to use the restroom while he was talking. He also calls out the server for not giving him drinks. This stage banter makes the show feel more intimate and definitely adds to the fantastic performance.

See the full setlist here.

Quinn Delaney

Award Worthy! To Catch a Fish at TimeLine Theatre Company (Through July 1, 2018)

Based on a true events, this is the story of a young man who starts working for a couple of shady characters who have set up a pop up shop. Initially, he is just handing out flyers, but then they ask him to tell people they are also buying guns. The young man is eager to please them and he does just as he is told. He tells his cousin about his new job who becomes very concerned, just like the audience.

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Geno Walker’s performance as the young man is outstanding. If this were a movie, it would be Oscar worthy. It’s very difficult to portray a mentally disabled person, and he does it expertly. He is surrounded by an excellent cast including Al’Jaleel McGhee (Breach)  as his cousin, who tries to protect him the best he can. Linda Bright Clay (Breach) is fantastic as the constantly worrying grandmother.  Also, Tiffany Addison plays the young man’s girlfriend so real. Lastly, AnJi White, Stephen Walker (The White Road), and Jay Worthington play the shady characters who keep their intentions well hidden.

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The ending of this play is very soft. After such dramatic performances, it deserves a stronger ending. At the very least, they should have a narrator state what ends up happening to the young man. Tonight’s performance included an excellent talk back, which provided the answer to this question and many more. However, most audiences wouldn’t have this chance. After seeing the play, rethink about the title. After all, it’s not really about fishing.

Get tickets now for To Catch A Fish through July 1!

Quinn Delaney

Blues Rock! Ana Popović at City Winery (May 22, 2018)

Ana Popović is on tour promoting her latest album, Trilogy. It’s three albums worth of music featuring Joe Banamassa, Robert Randolph, and many more. Tonight she shows why those are her peers with her virtuostic guitar playing.

A highlight of her set is “Johnnie Ray”. It is a fantastic blues song that really showcases her vocal talent as well as her guitar skills. She also plays a few great covers tonight. One of them is “Fencewalk” by Mandrill. She tells the crowd that they are a 70s funk band out of New York. The song is truly rocking and very funky. She also plays “New Coat Of Paint” by Tom Waits.

Fans of the performance should definitely not miss Chicago Blues Fest next month!

See her past setlists here.

Quinn Delaney

Music Lovers! Daryl Hall and John Oates with Train and Kandace Springs at the United Center (May 18, 2017)

Before the show begins, they are playing videos of Live From Daryl’s House. Both Kandace Springs and Patrick Monahan of Train, the two openers tonight, have appeared as guests. On the show, the guest plays some of their songs, at least one of Daryl’s songs, and a cover or two. During tonight’s performance, Daryl brings out Monahan to sing a few songs. They sing a song they wrote together for this tour, “Philly Forget Me Not”. Sometimes when older bands write new songs, it doesn’t match their old ones, but this is not the case with this new single. It sounds fresh and lively. It fits right in with the rest of their tracks. Pat also sings “Wait for Me” and “Calling All Angels.” It’s just like a mini version of Live From Daryl’s House!

Just like on his show, Daryl Hall is having a fantastic time on stage. After one tune on the piano he says, “I love playing that song”! It’s clear that he is a true lover of music. He enjoys jamming with friends and performing on stage, even in “a big club”, as he refers to the United Center.

Hall & Oates songs are still very common in popular culture. They played “Private Eyes” towards the end of the show. Psych did a cover of this tune as a promo for Season 4.  Also, to close out the night, they play “You Make My Dreams” come true. This song was just used at the end of Ready Player One, the new Spielberg film. It will be exciting to see what is next for Daryl Hall and John Oates. Their story is surely not complete.

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See the full setlist here.

Quinn Delaney

Tense Environment! Shattered Globe Theatre Presents How to Use a Knife at Theatre Wit (Through June 9th)

George is the brand new head chef and he intends to change the way things work in the kitchen. He leads with strict rules and high expectations. When either of these are broken, he responds with yelling frequent profanity. The dishwasher usually responds with silence, but one night he opens up and befriends the chef. They go on to share their dark histories and attempt to help each other get past them.

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This cast does an excellent job. Peter DeFaira (Six Corners) plays Chef George as a tough, strict, and mostly unlikable boss. His good side only comes out when he is teaching the dishwasher, played by Anthony Irons, how to cook. Irons expertly plays his role as reserved and mysterious and as someone who could have dark secrets.

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Dennis Garcia and Victor Marana play the Guatemalan cooks. They have a great chemistry together as they joke while they work, often in Spanish. Brush up on your Spanish curse words before the show. All together, this production does an excellent job recreating the tense environment in the kitchen of a restaurant comprised of people from all walks of life.

Get tickets now for How to Use a Knife through June 9th!

Quinn Delaney

Delightful! Having Our Say at the Goodman Theatre (Through June 10th, 2018)

The Delany sisters were born in 1889 and 1891 in North Carolina. When they were in their 20s, they moved to New York City to pursue education and careers. This story takes place in 1993 when they are 101 and 103 years old. They went on to live until they were 104 and 109. The play is based on their book of the same name, that became a New York Times bestseller. It’s part history lesson from a first person perspective about life as a woman and as a negro (their preferred term) in America. They touch on women getting the right to vote, Jim Crow laws, the civil rights movement, and much more.

The acting is fantastic. Marie Thomas is delightful as Sadie. She is so caring and it makes perfect sense her character was a teacher. Ella Joyce is excellent as Bessie. She’s the feisty one who always has an opinion on everything and she plays the role strongly. When asked about the secret to a long life, she replies with glee “Never getting married!” Also, their chemistry together is fantastic as they argue with each other like real sisters.

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Get tickets now for Having Our Say through June 10th!

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Quinn Delaney

1920s Classy and Funny! Kokandy Productions Presents Grand Hotel at Theatre Wit (Through May 27, 2018)

In 1928, Vicky Baum wrote Menchen im Hotel (People in a Hotel). In 1932, it was turned into a feature film. Then, many years later, in 1989, it premiered on Broadway and won five Tonys. And now, in 2018, it premieres at the Theatre Wit in Chicago.

The year is 1928 and the stock market is booming. “Grand Hotel, music constantly playing” they sing in the opening number. And this is true, as the band plays for the entire show on a white grand piano, violin, and drums.  In fact, they are already playing as the audience enters the theatre. This hotel is at the center of a full ensemble of characters played by an excellent cast.

Michelle Jasso is great as the famous ballerina on her second farewell tour. She expertly plays her lack of motivation to perform until she meets the Baron Feliz Von Gaigern, played by Erik Dohner, whose youth gives her refreshed energy. Dohner plays his role smoothly displaying his reluctance to be a thief. After all, “There is nothing more useless on this planet than a nobleman without any money!”

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Leryn Turlington is excellent as Flaemmchen, the typist who is looking to be much more than that in life. She is willing to do almost anything to get to Hollywood, which she is told is “just a train ride away from Boston”. Jonathan Schwart is hilarious as Otto, the bookman looking for life and adventure before his illness kills him. He is able to display his fascination with the luxury of the hotel with his acting. It’s just like this production, which is both classy and funny!

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Get tickets now for Grand Hotel through May 27!

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Great Good Fine Ok and Half The Animal at House of Blues (May 11, 2018)

Half the Animal opens the night with their brand of arena style rock. It’s easy to imagine them playing “Babylon” at a huge festival, like Lollapalooza, with the crowd going nuts. It’s simple, yet powerful- a great sign of well written song. “Bad Bad Love” is another excellent song that sounds great live. They have a great stage presence too. They only had 30 minutes on stage, but it was enough to leave a strong impression. This band is off to an excellent start.

“Most cities only have one good venue. You guys are so lucky in Chicago” says the lead singer of Great Good Fine Ok.  And he’s right, Chicago is a great hub for live music. Tonight, they bring their style of electronic dance pop from New York City to the House of Blues. This band brings the party with a beat that gets everyone moving.

At the perfect moment in the set, the keyboard player brings out a keytar and plays a solo that has the crowd jumping for joy.  It’s a pure rock and roll moment. The visuals at the show are outstanding. The lead singer is wearing a sparkling green jacket and he throws out glow sticks. This exciting visual is accompanied by the keyboard player who has a fanny pack full of small flashing lights which he throws into the crowd over the course of their set. If you are looking for a fun and energetic band to dance the night away, Great Good Fine Ok is the band for you.

Quinn Delaney