Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 26, 2014 French Quarter Festival at Chicago's City Winery (Concert #23)

This was my first show at City Winery. They started the party outside with a small stage and some New Orleans food on the menu. Chicago's Sanctified Grumblers played first. They play mostly original songs in an old time style. They sounded great and since the courtyard at City Winery could easily have been a front porch of an old southern juke joint...their music was a great start to the show. 

Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys played some fine zydeco music that had some people dancing...

...and some people double fisting beers. I shouldn't make fun of Patty because she is the one who told me...

 ...that this would make a good picture...she was right.
The Sanctified Grumblers played another set outside...

...then the party moved inside as scheduled but it was perfect timing because the rain started falling about the same time. Zydeco music always leads to a party...lots of people were dancing in front of the stage or at their tables. Patty & I sat at the bar enjoying the party going on with a few craft beers and some petite cajun burgers, gumbo and bananas foster bread pudding.

The main act was the New Orleans Suspects who played their version of funk, jazz and blues mixed with rock and roll. It was a good way to spend a Memorial Day afternoon. Too bad the Blackhawks ruined the night by getting trounced 5-2 by the Kings. Oh well...enjoy the New Orleans Suspects video.

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 16, 2014 The Whigs at the Double Door (Concert #22) with the Silkaitis Brothers

When I decided to attempt to see fifty concerts this year, I was hoping that friends would either join me at shows or invite me to shows. So far both have happened and I could not be happier about that. I met the Silkaitis brothers while DJing in a bar over 10 years ago. Since then we have become friends and I dj'd both of their weddings. It is impossible to not enjoy a night out with them. 
Jim trying to get comfortable on the subway.

Pat relaxing on the way up to Wicker Park.
We had dinner and drinks at a bar on Milwaukee Ave. The food wasn't any good so I forgot the name of the place...Sorry. Then we had a wide selection of craft beers across the street at a place where the bartender plays music with vinyl records. She put the Beastie Boys "Check Your Head" album on for us.

Eventually we made it to the Double Door. This place hasn't changed one bit in 20 years. I always joke that you can judge how good a shithole music club is by the bathroom graffiti. This place has lined the walls with posters of past shows...definitely a great place to see a show.  

For the second time this year I saw the Turbo Fruits as an opening act. They play straight up rock and roll and sound pretty good.
We spent most of the night drinking by the bar in the back so I didn't get any good pictures but The Whigs put on a really good show. They sounded great and had the crowd singing along and sometimes even attempting to dance.
While Jim was entertaining the people around us, Pat & I were discussing how to describe The Whigs. He says they are a '90's band which does describe their sound. I called them a power pop band because many of their songs had a catchy groove. Pat hated that description because of the word pop. I tried to argue that power pop shouldn't be considered a negative description..Pat disagreed with the term but did agree the songs had a really good rhythm sound that made you want to dance.
I love bands with a sense of humor.  
After the show we headed out to get a late night snack....

....while these two were trying to decide where to go...

....I bought a couple of donuts. We decided to go the Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick owned Piece for some pizza but the kitchen was closed. So we grabbed a few slices at another place down the street. To quote Sublime "that's when things got out of control". Jim didn't want to take the subway back to the south side, so we grabbed a cab on North Avenue. The cabbie was either more shitfaced than us or he kept falling asleep because he was swerving the entire ride...on the Dan Ryan he had cars and a truck honking their horns at him. Honestly we were lucky to live through that cab ride. So I'll end by telling Jim...I love you like a brother but next time, we are taking the subway. Even in a shooting gallery city like Chicago, it would have been safer than that cab ride.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 3, 2014 Cousins, Hangovers, Bike Rides & CIMMFEST with Murder By Death (Concert #21)

We were completely booked last night at the Stink Dog Lodge. We had three guests upstairs, one on the living room couch and Chrissy & I in the downstairs bedroom. Most of us didn't get to bed until 3am. It was a rough morning but I managed to meet Chrissy's cousin Mark about 1:30pm in Valpo. Mark, his niece Anna and I went for a bike ride at the Indiana Dunes. We rode along Lakeshore Drive in Beverly Shores then rode along the Calumet Trail for a nice afternoon ride.

 Mark & Anna at Lake View Beach
While Anna & I walked down to the water...

...Mark relaxed on a bench.

The Calumet Trail was a little muddy in spots due to recent storms but it was passable. I had to cut the ride short because Chrissy & her cousin Lisa were waiting for me. We had plans for dinner and a show in the big city.

 After a tasty dinner at a cool little place on Logan Square called Reno. We headed to the Logan Square Auditorium for CIMMFEST, Chicago International Movies & Music Festival. Tonight's show was Bloodshot Records 20th Anniversary Showcase. This was the first time I have seen a show here. I am pretty sure this building used to be a school and the second floor auditorium looks like it was the gym. That said, it is a pretty cool place to see a show. The opening act was Precious Blood. I thought they were pretty good...
...this old lady sat along the sidewall and fell asleep on & off during all the bands.

Then R&B legend Andre Williams sang his version of dirty rhythm and blues...

...with a solid band behind him. I really enjoyed their set.

The funky soul and R&B reminded me of New Orleans music. 

Then a band I have been a fan of for the past 5 years rocked the stage with their mix of brooding ballads, rock 'n'roll and country, some might call it Americana music. Whatever it is, they do it really well.

Since Chrissy could barely stay awake we headed out around 12:30am while the band played on.

Here's Lisa enjoying Chicago's late night public transportation crowd. Once again thanks to everyone who partied yesterday for Jeff's birthday party at Marsha's house. And thanks to those that hung out with us was a fun weekend with family and friends.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 2, 2014 JW's Birthday Party

Tonight's birthday party for my brother in law, Jeffrey Walter was planned the day of his funeral. So it seemed appropriate that this little cutie was at the party...she was born the same day.

As usual my mother in law had food for a party five times the size of this one. She also had the same amount of alcohol...guess what was left after the party? Let's just say we all took home lots of food.

There were lots of smiles all night long as old friends and family shared a rare night together. 

And when a mom asked her son for a kiss...Mark replied in his usual manner...but eventually gave his mother a proper kiss.

There seemed to be a lot of tongue, smiles and laughter all night long.

Kimmie brought old photos of most of the people at the party and of course, her brother Jeff.

Here's Patty, she was concerned the Blackhawks might not win their playoff game.

Eventually the party moved to the basement where so many other parties have occurred for almost 50 years.

I am not sure what brought on the boob grabbing but it sure caused lots of laughter...

...and this great picture of Lisa. All joking aside, this group of friends and family filled that basement with the feeling of unconditional love that has endured over the years. And that love obviously has not diminished with the long periods of time between getting together. It really was a special night.

Lisa dancing with her daughter Anna.

Chrissy & Kimmie got the jukebox to work and the first song was Chuck Berry's "My Ding-A-Ling". Someone yelled, "It's Jeffrey's song!" and we all sang along and laughed.

 I am posting some pictures in color and black & white so everyone can download the one they liked better.

Amy & Eric relaxing while the party winds down.

This is the picture Chrissy gave everyone at the party.
Happy Birthday Brother. Rest in will be missed.