Monthly Archives: April 2019

Beautiful Music – Tyler Ramsey at Schubas (April 22, 2019)

Tyler Ramsey has been a guitarist in Band of Horses since 2009. They formed in 2005. Tonight he is performing his solo work with a band consisting of a slide guitar player, a drummer, and a bassist (playing a brand new bass from Guitar Center).

Ramsey is a bit disheveled tonight. When talking about writing a song, he can’t remember when he wrote it. “Who cares anyway?” he says. The reason for his absentmindedness is that last night he slept on an air mattress in his van while camping in Turkey Run Sate Park in Indiana. He kept falling off the mattress and didn’t sleep very well. However, when he plays and sings, he enters the zone and there is no evidence of a lack of sleep. His beautiful music brings everyone into the zone with him with it’s sweet melodies and calming lyrics.

Today. He writes his music out in the woods by his home, outside of Asheville, North Carolina. And his music has that natural sound that gives one the calmness of nature. Towards the end of the set, he takes a minute to thank the opener, Matthew Fowler, who could be seen moving throughout the crowd taking pictures of the band playing.

Catch Tyler Ramsey on tour now!

Cost of a ticket: $15
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
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Quinn Delaney

 

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Absolutely Hilarious! Brad Williams at City Winery Chicago (April 20, 2019)

Brad Williams is a very funny guy. He is a dwarf, but he doesn’t let that stop him from doing anything. It also allows him to poke fun at others with disabilities. For example, he told a story about making fun of man in the audience who had no legs. It made the crowd uncomfortable, but the man was enjoying it immensely. He told Brad that he was currently going through a divorce. And that she really did take half of everything!
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He went on to tell the story of how he met his wife, who is a tall Asian. They met through an app where couples look for a third person. “I know”, he says, “a hot Asian woman who likes dwarfs and threesomes! I scored the jackpot!” He says it is very easy for them to find women to take home. When they approach girls, they say, wow, this completes two items on my bucket list! It’s a joy to hear him talk about this and he does it with style.
Before leaving the stage, he goes over a few rules for meeting him at the merch table. Firstly, you can kneel down or stand up, he doesn’t care. Secondly, don’t pat him on the head. Lastly, and he can’t believe he has to say this, don’t pick him up! He’s even funny when he is explaining rules!
See his standup special now on Netflix, The Degenerates.
Cost of a ticket: $20
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
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Quinn Delaney

So Fun! Carbon Leaf at City Winery (April 19, 2019)

Carbon Leaf are a very fun band to see live. Their songs are great sing to along with. Take “Life Less Ordinary”, which they play mid way through their set. “Live a life less ordinary, live a life extraordinary with me!” It’s a joyous tune that is so catchy.

The band is in a good mood tonight despite dealing with vehicle issues causing them to arrive to the venue with only an hour to set up. Also, even though they have been playing as a band since 1992, they still enjoy making music together. They formed the band back in Richmond, VA, the same city that Dave Matthews Band started in.

Another great song that they play is “Let Your Troubles Roll By”. “When all of your tears dry, let your troubles roll by!” sings the entire audience joyfully. The lead singer uses a tin whistle, which looks like a large recorder. This adds an Irish sound to their music that suits them well. He also plays a piccolo excellently.

Catch Carbon Leaf next in Chicago at the Chop Shop in Chicago!

Cost of a ticket: $30
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
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Quinn Delaney

Broadway Worthy! Porchlight Music Theatre Presents A Chorus Line at Ruth Page Center (Through May 31, 2019)

Twenty-four performers are auditioning to be in a chorus line. Only eight are needed for the show. After about ten minutes of dancing, six of the performers are dismissed. The remaining performers are asked by the director to talk about themselves and answer the following question: How did you get into dancing? Everyone has a deep story to tell.
Laura Savage is excellent as Cassie, the woman who had a relationship with the director. She expertly displays the awkwardness of the situation while pleading for a spot in the cast. Her chemistry is great with Richard Strimer, who plays the director. He is clearly conflicted over whether it’s a good idea to hire her.
Erika Evans is hilarious as Sheila, the woman with a very strong attitude. With just a look, she can get everyone laughing. Natalie Welch is superb as Val singing “Dance: Ten; Looks: Three”. “Tits and ass” she sings as she dances around the stage seductively! Also, Taylor Lane is delightful as Judy, always forgetting her number.
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The show is two hours long without an intermission. This puts the audience through a marathon, just like the performers auditioning. It really should have a break.
This dancing and acting in this production are fantastic all around. The choreography is excellent. The music is superb. It is truly Broadway worthy.
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Get tickets now for A Chorus Line through May 31st!
Cost of a ticket: $60
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Cambodian Rock Band at Victory Gardens Theatre (Through May 5, 2019)

A young rock band is making a new album in Cambodia. Instead of fleeing the country when it is eminent that the Khmer Rouge will be taking over, they decide to stay and play one last show. This turns out to be a major mistake when the Americans withdraw their forces and the Khmer Rouge takes over the airport. Their chance for escape is gone. Thirty years later, the daughter of one of the band members returns to Cambodia seeking justice for the prisoners of S21 and answers about her father’s history.

The play combines these dramatic scenes with live performances of music by Dengue Fever, an LA band that plays Cambodian 1960’s style rock fronted by a Cambodian pop star. The band is playing across the street on May 1st!
The actors in this productions are very talented. In addition to performing the dramatic scenes, they also play their instruments live and sing! Greg Watanbee’s range from a goofy father to the bass player to the prisoner is especially impressive. The rest of the cast consists of Rammel Chan, Eileen Doan, Christopher Thomas Pow, Peter Sipla, Aja Wiltshire, and Matthew C. Yee.
There are a few small things that could be improved. Firstly, not shining the concert lights directly into the audiences and blinding them. Secondly, after the extremely dramatic scene at the end, the band should play a slower sad song before playing the upbeat fun songs. Jumping straight to the happy song was a very abrupt transition, like in You Got Older. Playing a cover like, The Times They Are a Changing, which they do use at another point

King of the Yees, also written by Lauren Yee, is also about a daughter exploring the past of her father. Both plays combine humor and drama, though Cambodian Rock Band is much more intense.
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Get tickets now for Cambodian Rock Band through May 5th!
Cost of a ticket: $52
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
Quinn Delaney
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Excellent! Bunbury Theatre Presents Grace and Glorie at Henry Clay Theatre (Through April 28, 2019)

Grace is 90 years old and is living alone in her house on a mountain next to an apple orchard. Glorie is new to the area, having just moved from New York City with her husband. Glorie decides to volunteer with hospice while she looks for a new job.  It is through hospice that Glorie meets Grace. The goal of hospice is to care for patients in the final months of their life attending to their needs

These two women develop an  unexpected friendship. Through laughter and compassion, they realize they share a lot in common despite coming from such different backgrounds. Their light-hearted interactions evolve into very deep conversations about life and death.

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The acting in this production is excellent. Rena Cherry Brown is superb as Gracie, playing her as a stubborn old woman possessing the wisdom of age. She nails the characterization of having a hard exterior with a soft center. Katie Graviss Bechtler is great as Glorie. She truly seems like a NYC transplant, a bit lost in a country home in the mountains trying to find out what she wants to do next with her life. Together they make quite an odd couple that are a joy to watch for the full two acts.

Get tickets now for Grace and Glorie through April 28th!

Cost of a ticket: $23
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Review: Sweat at the Goodman Theatre (Extended Through April 21, 2019)

This is the story of three women and two men who are working at a factory in Reading, Pennsylvania. One of the women gets promoted and the other two become jealous. In the first scene, we see the two men being questioned independently by a police officer. We then flashback to before the incident where they all are all hanging out a bar complaining about work.
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Then one night, a bunch of the machines from the factory are removed. Everyone is worried about layoffs and the tension rises. Management offers everyone a huge pay cut to avoid layoffs and then the union goes on strike. The bartender is only one who remains calm. He wisely says, “When the well runs dry, it’s time to move on.”
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Mike Cherry (American Journalero) is fantastic as Jason, who has a bald head with a swastika tattooed on it in the present, but is just a normal worker in the flashbacks. Steve Casillas is also great as Oscar, the Latino who works at the bar and then crosses the picket line to work at the factory. Chaon Cross is hilarious as the drunk often spending the night in the bar. Lastly, Keith Kupferer (Support Group for Men) is superb as the wise bartender.
Cost of a ticket: $64 (Main Floor)
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
Get tickets now for Sweat through April 21st!
Quinn Delaney