Friday, February 28, 2014

February 22, 2014 Hard Working Americans at Park West (Concert #5)

Up until tonight, all the shows have been a spur of the moment decision for me. I bought tickets for the Hard Working Americans when I first heard that Todd Snider was fronting a new band. I've been a huge fan of Mr. Snider ever since his first album, Songs For The Daily Planet back in 1994. It was clever songs like this one that got me hooked...

The Hard Working Americans released a CD of mostly cover songs last month. I've been listening to it non stop since then. I love bands that write and perform their own songs. But I also enjoy listening to bands cover songs by artists they love. Whenever I see a band perform, I look forward to a cover song or two just to see if I also like those songs. Anyway, I headed to the big city on another frigidly cold night to see HWA.
 Here's their video for the great Hayes Carll song, "Stomp & Holler".

I decided to have dinner at Stanley's Kitchen & Tap before the show.
It was in the bar that I met Sven and his friends from Traverse City. They came down for a weekend of music and drinking. He had seen Josh Ritter the night before at the Fourth Presbyterian Church. After talking music for awhile, they headed to the show and I enjoyed a really good shrimp po'boy with mac & cheese. Then I headed across the street to the Park West. I caught the opening act, Turbo Fruits from Nashville. They had a garage / rockabilly style that I really wanted to like but something kept me from really enjoying their set. That said, there were a few songs that I really liked. Like this one...

For those not familiar with Todd Snider, let me just say he loves his marijuana. And so do his fans because Chicago's no smoking laws were completely ignored by many people stand with us near the stage.
To be honest, there was a fog machine on stage but whenever the spotlights hit the crowd...there was usually smoke drifting up toward the stage too. Enough of that, this band was fantastic. The band sounded great. They mixed blues with rocking country and good old fashion rock n roll. I wasn't the only one who wished Todd's vocals were louder because several people kept asking them to turn up the vocal mic. Not surprisingly, I bumped into the guys from Michigan in the middle of the standing room section at center stage. We all agreed that they put on a great show with  quite a few amazing solos by Neal Casal on guitar and slide guitar. Todd Snider is always an  engaging entertainer as a solo act and tonight was no different. I also thought it was pretty cool how he left center stage for the solos so the spotlight could be on the other members of the band. If you enjoy talented musicians playing well written, thoughtful songs, some thought provoking, some just for should pick up their self titled CD.
I also recommend any or all of Todd Snider's solo music. He is an amazing songwriter and a fantastic storyteller. He also has a mellow fuck you attitude to his songs. What I mean by that is he very politely explains in a song why your way of thinking is's a perfect example...
....and another of my favorite Todd Snider songs for you to enjoy.

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