Category Archives: Concert Reviews

Exceptional! A R I Z O N A at the House of Blues Chicago (June 12, 2019)

The House of Blues Chicago is packed to the brim tonight for a sold out show by A R I Z O N A. This band’s indie dance pop style gets everyone dancing and singing along on songs such as “I Was Wrong”.

It’s clear that A R I Z O N A is having a blast on stage. The lead singer, Zach, repeatedly says how happy he is to be on tour with his best friends. He croons how much he loves the crowds in Chicago and introduces the next song by saying “Even though we don’t know exactly when we will be back in Chicago, not a single day goes by when you don’t cross my mind!”

While the lead singer is talking to the audience, he is interrupted by a member of the crew with a shot of tequila. “This is the kind of thing that happens when you are on tour with your best friends! At least it isn’t Malort!”

Before the next song, Zach reminisces about the bands origins in New Jersey. They were planning to quit music when they decided to just record some songs for fun. The band planned to post it on Soundcloud, get a few likes, and then move on! Then he says, “If you aren’t having fun with the people you love, you are wasting your life!”

Cost of a ticket: $35

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value –

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

 

Quinn Delaney

 

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A Beautiful Piece of Art! Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Series at Harris Theatre (Through June 9, 2019)

Terrain aka The Loss of Place

Choreographer: Brian Brooks

Loss of Place

Terrain explores earthly landscapes through dance. It includes rolling hills, bumbling streams, and a tornado flying over them. It’s a very fluid performance with all the dancers wearing white and moving as one unit.

A Picture of You Falling

Choreographer: Crystal Pite

Crystal Pite's A Picture of you Falling

12/6/17 7:40:26 PM — Chicago, IL, USA Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s winter season tech of Crystal Pite’s “A Picture of you falling.” © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

This piece features two dancers repeatedly falling. Over electronic music, a voice narrates the fall: knees, hip, elbow, shoulder, head. The narration is reminiscent of Stranger Than Fiction. In both cases, the spoken words describe the action exactly as it is happening in a calm female voice.

The excellent music composition for this work is by Owen Belton. It’s a very unique piece that is truly a work of art.

The Other You

Choreographer: Crystal Pite

A man interacts with his mirror image. At first his mirror just follows his every move, but then they struggle for control. It’s an internal struggle explored through dance.

Crystal Pite's The Other You

12/6/17 9:04:28 PM — Chicago, IL, USA Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s winter season tech of Crystal Pite’s “The Other You.” © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

This piece also features music by Owen Belton along with “Moonlight Sonata”, aka Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 27 No 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven.

 

Out of your Mind

Choreographer: Alejandro Cerrudo

A monologue by the philosopher, Alan Watts, is played while the dancers perform. Later on, the song “It Starts Now” by Blond:ish plays, which also contains Alan Watts speaking. The philosophical nature of the words matches quite nicely with the artistic movements of the dancers and the music to create a beautiful piece of art exploring dreams and consciousness.

Get tickets now for the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Series through Sunday!

Cost of a ticket: $70 and up
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Fantastic Voice! My Brightest Diamond featuring Tunde Olaniran at Lincoln Hall (May 9, 2019)

Shara Nova features prominently on the 2009 Decemberists album, Hazards of Love. Her powerful voice is a major highlight of the rock opera. She also toured with the band following the release. Fans of this performance were then lead to her main project, My Brightest Diamond. On June 30, 2014, she was scheduled to play at Millennium Park with White Mystery. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled last minute due to lightening.

 
Nova has very supportive fans who continually shout “I love you” and “You rock!” It adds to the very intimate atmosphere at Lincoln Hall. It’s a great place for one of her most beautiful songs, “Another Chance”.  “If I get another chance at love, I will call you my sweet thing.” The crowd is enchanted by her fantastic voice on this song.

She invites the opener, Tunde Olaniran, onstage to sing a song. It’s such a joyful celebration of life and music watching them perform together.

Catch My Brightest Diamond on tour now!
Cost of a ticket: $20
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
Quinn Delaney

Quite Funny! Nancy and Beth (Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt) featuring Nick Offerman at City Winery Chicago (May 6, 2019)

Nick Offerman (Mullally’s husband) walks onto the stage and is met with a loud applause. He starts off by saying something like “In these dark times, when we need 17 varieties of Oreos, Nancy and Beth provide much needed relief.” Megan Mullally’s microphone was already live, and she could be heard laughing before she entered the stage with her musical partner, Stephanie Hunt.

outro_nancyandbeth_mobile.jpg

Later on, Nick returns to the stage to introduce the band members. He picks a type of sausage to describe each person. He kneels down at last to introduce Megan. Her sausage is… the banger. The crowd erupts in laughter!

The best song of the night is “I Don’t Love Her” by Gucci Mane. It’s hilarious to hear this graphic song performed by this band. The second best one is “Saved” by LaVern Baker. Midway into the song, Nick enters the stage playing a giant drum. He truly is the highlight of the night.

Catch Nancy and Beth on tour now!

Cost of a ticket: $45
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price +
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

See their setlists here.

 

Review: The Children at Steppenwolf (Through June 9, 2019)

Three nuclear engineers are dealing with the aftermath of a disaster at a nuclear plant. Hazel and Robin have been together for 38 years and have four children. They decided to move further away from the plant. Rose dated Robin before Hazel and has been having an affair with him. She has just returned from America after having living there for many decades.


The ads for this show and the title are a bit misleading. There aren’t any scenes at the nuclear plant and they never wear gas masks. Also, there aren’t any children in the play. They are only spoken about. The story is actually about these three engineers and their relationships to each other and how they will respond to this disaster. It’s a roller coaster of emotions as they struggle with their decisions.

The Children_7

Ora Jones (Familiar, The Roommate) is excellent as Rose, who has a very big proposal for the couple. Janet Ulrich Brooks (Native Gardens, Pipeline) is great as Hazel, who is very suspicious of Rose. Lastly, Yasen Peyankov (A Doll’s House, Part 2) is superb as Robin, who is holding on to many secrets. All together they make a great cast who play off each other very well.

the-children_5.jpg

The set, designed by Chelsea M. Warren, is fantastic. It’s a house cut in half on the edge of a cliff, which gives the production a sense of impending disaster. The sound design by Andre Pluess also adds to creating this dangerous atmosphere.

The Children_9

Get tickets now for The Children through June 9th!

Cost of a ticket: $70
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price +
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

A Natural Performer! Parker Bossley opening for Alice Merton at Bottom Lounge (April 26, 2019)

It’s never easy being the opener. You have to go out and play for a crowd just waiting for you to finish so the headliner can come on. However, Parker Bossley is up to the challenge. Armed with some great songs, a guitar, his drummer, and a laptop, he manages to win over the crowd.

“The next song is called Chemicals, which I am sure some of you are on” he says. He then launches into a very well constructed song “We take the chemicals until they don’t work anymore.” It sounds great in the intimate space of the Bottom Lounge. He also plays “Lifted”, a very upbeat song that displays his natural performer talent and his songwriting.

He proved tonight that he is worthy of being on the same stage as Alice Merton and his future looks promising.

Catch Parker Bossley on tour now!

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

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