Saturday, April 5, 2014
April 4, 2014 Lindi Ortega At The Old Town School of Folk Music (Concert #10)
I first saw Lindi Ortega when she opened for Social Distortion at The Vic a couple of years ago. I've been a fan ever since. I finally got to see her perform again tonight at the Old Town School of Folk Music. This is my first time at this venue. The show was held in the smaller Szold Hall...more on that later. On our way upstairs to Szold Hall we passed several rooms full of musicians either practicing or learning to play many different instruments. It was a pretty cool place to walk through. My friend Jim McDonnell and I grabbed dinner on Lincoln Avenue at Costello Sandwich & Sides. We both thought the food was pretty good. I had a horseradish roast beef sandwich with pretzels. It was tasty. Then we headed to the show. Szold Hall is a small room that reminded me of a library with a raised grandstand in it. The sound was good but it seemed a bit subdued to me for Lindi Ortega's style of music. Anyway, the opening act was Julia Klee. She also joked about how polite the room was and asked someone to throw a beer at her...no one did. She was another fantastic singer with a mix of slower songs and a few rave ups. I really enjoyed her set especially her explanations of the origins of her songs. The fiddle/violin player in her band was amazing. Sorry I do not remember his name. But his playing set the mood on several songs. Julia, like Lindi, has an amazing voice.
I took this picture from Julia's Facebook page. It was not taken at this show. I bought Julia's CD after her set. I thought it was pretty cool that she joined us in the room to watch Lindi's set.
It was great to see Lindi Ortega in such a small room. That said...it would have been more fun to see her in a place where you could sing-along and dance. It didn't take away from my enjoyment of listening to Miss Ortega perform her wonderful selection of songs along with covers she played as a tribute to those who have influenced her. She told funny stories, had a great stage presence and can really sing in my opinion. I have long admitted to being a lyrics first listener of music and she writes beautifully damaged lyrics. She does write a variety of songs but there is an underlying realism to her lyrics that maybe not everyone cares to hear. I loved it when she said she offered a song on Music Row in Nashville and it was roundly rejected. "I guess solo cups and blue jeans are more interesting" was her perfect diss of crappy country music choices. She should be famous not only as a performer but as a songwriter also. Her band was damn good especially the lead guitar player. He created all kinds of sounds with effects on his guitar and the drummer used brushes on several slower songs that created a special atmospheric sound that really enhanced the songs. Lindi covered Hank Williams and Johnny Cash (no surprises there) but she also "Lindified" a Band of Skulls song that I really enjoyed. Because she doesn't really have hit songs, it makes it hard as a fan to know what she might play from her albums. She actually asked fans to post requests on her Facebook page. After the show I was really surprised she didn't play several of her songs that I think are her best songs. Then again, maybe several others had similiar thoughts but different songs on their list. I really thought she would play "High", "Use Me", "Angels" and "Voodoo Mama". Still I am glad I saw her perform tonight and I am looking forward to seeing her again.
I took this from Lindi"s FB page. It was not from this show. After the show I did get a chance to say hello to the very talented Miss Ortega....
....and she signed her CD, "Little Red Boots" for me. So thank you Lindi and thanks to Jim for hanging out with me on a Friday night. We ended up have a few beers at a local bar in his neighborhood. I recognized the bar as soon as we walked in...back in 2010 I watched the Blackhawks clinch the conference championship against the San Jose Sharks in that same bar. Marko & I left the White Sox game early to watch the Blackhawks. That was the game Duncan Keith lost seven teeth and came back to finish the game. Jim & I left the bar with all our teeth tonight.