Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 31, 2015 The Best Way To Celebrate Turning 50...By Going To 50 Concerts or How I Saw 223 Bands Play In 365 Days

Last year I decided to "celebrate" turning fifty by going to fifty shows. I actually created a few rules for myself and I stuck to them. A show could be any live music event...big or small...a festival or an open mic night. In order for a night out in a bar to count as a show...I had to stay for an entire set of music by that band. If I saw three bands play that would still count as one show. If I went to a music festival, each day counted as one show. Simple enough. I saw shows by myself and with friends. I thank all my friends that either invited me to see a show or went with me to a show. A special thank you to Patty Trakan for going to the most shows with me...even though she blew out her knee at Lollapalooza and was laid up for two months after surgery. I saw friends play at open mic nights. I saw some of my favorite bands and became a fan of bands I had never heard of before seeing them play. The first band I saw was The Howlin' Brothers from Nashville and the last band I saw was Wilco from Chicago. In between I saw shows in parks, theaters, shithole clubs, upscale places, a bowling alley, a converted hardware store turned art gallery, a zoo and all over my favorite music city, New Orleans. All those days of work on very little sleep were worth it to me because of all the great music I saw and all the incredible memories. I saw 223 different bands play from January 11th through December 9th. I saw 8 bands play twice last year. Here's the entire list...

1. Howling Brothers
2. Clusterpluck
3. Acoustic Anonymous
4. The Merry Ploughboys
5. Simon Flury
6. Clark Paterson
7. Eric Kyle Lyday
8. Dead Split Egos
9. Ryan Rumchaks
10. Old Fox Road
11. Sudden Suspension
12. Turbo Fruits x2
13. Hard Working Americans
14. Lucero
15. Dropkick Murphys x2
16. Adam Balcazar x2
17. Matt Hess
18. Gerry Hundt
19. The Crombies
20. The Drowning Men
21. Flogging Molly
22. Julia Klee
23. Lindi Ortega
24. Treme Brass Band
25. Preservation Hall Jazz Band
26. Caesar Brothers ft. Red Hawk Hunters Indians
27. Louisiana Shakers
28. The Big Easy Playboys
29. The New Birth Brass Band
30. Irma Thomas
31. Corey Ledet
32. PJ Morton
33. Flow Tribe
34. Alan Bailey (Jazzacadabra)
35. Marc Stone
36. Sweet Crude
37. Paul Sanchez & Minimum Rage
38. The Honey Island Swamp Band
39. Kermit Ruffins & The Barbeque Swingers
40. Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band
41. Yes Ma’am
42. Diablos Horns
43. PCDS Jazz Band
44. Leroy Jones’ Original Hurricane Brass Band
45. Camile Baudoin and the Living Rumors
46. Wild Turkey Washboard Band
47. Kid Merv & All That Jazz
48. Debauche
49. Fred Dupin's New Bumpers Jazz Band
50. Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band
51. Amanda Shaw
52. Onward Brass Band
53. Steve Pistorius & the Southern Syncopators
54. Lynn Drury
55. Russell Batiste & Friends
56. The Wild Tchoupitoulas
57. Jason Neville
58. The Dixie Cups
59. The All For One Brass Band
60. Egg Yolk Jubilee
61. Renard Poche Band
62. Rusty Metoyer and the Zydeco Krush
63. The Scorseses
64. Big Chief Bo Dollis Jr. & the Wild Magnolias.
65. Lost Bayou Ramblers
66. Idlewild String Confederation
67. Andrew Hall's Society Brass Band
68. Jerome Gatius New Orleans Big Four 
69. I'voire Spectacle
70. The Bucktown All-Stars
71. Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen
72. New Orleans Suspects x2
73.  Little Freddie King
74. The Iguanas
75. Raw Oyster Cult
76. Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers
77. Rockin' Dopsie & the Zydeco Twisters
78. Uptown Jazz Orchestra
79. Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue
80. Storyville Stompers Brass Band
81. Daughter
82. The National
83. Precious Blood
84. Andre Williams
85. Murder By Death
86. The Whigs
87. Sanctified Grumblers
88. Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys
89. Dawes
90. Conor Oberst
91. Don Felder
92. Foreigner
93. Styx
94. Playing For Change Band
95. Kevin Presbrey
96. The Wailers
97. Aloe Blacc
98. The Switchback Band
99. Cory Branan x2
100. Jarekus Singleton Band
101. Billy Jo Shaver 
102. The Bottle Rockets
103. Robbie Fulks
104. Shemekia Copeland
105. Roadkill Ghost Choir
106. The So So Glos
107. Kodaline
108. Lucius
109. J. Roddy Walston & The Business
110. Johnnyswim
111. Hozier
112. Interpol
113. Rudimental
114. Lorde
115. Royal Blood
116. The Kooks
117. Eminem
118. Rhianna
119. Jon Batiste and Stay Human Band
120. Benjamin Booker
121. Vance Joy
122. Parquet Courts
123. Desert Noises
124. Kate Nash
125. The Last Internationale
126. Fitz & The Tantrums x2
127. Smallpools
128. Spoon
129. Nas
130. Jenny Lewis x2
131. Outkast
132. The Kongos
133. Space Capone
134. Delta Rae
135. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
136. RAC
137. Cage The Elephant
138. Glen Hansard
139. Avett Brothers
140. Young The Giant
141. Kings of Leon
142. The Stooges Brass Band
143. Brother Joscephus & The Love Revolution
144. !Vamos!
145. Plague Vendor
146. Baby Baby
147. Stiff Little Fingers
148. Senses Fail
149. Failure
150. NOFX
151. Gogol Bordello
152. The Offspring
153. Jane’s Addiction
154. Rise Against
155. The Menzingers
156.  Survay Says!
157. Bouncing Souls
158. Team Spirit
159. The Whigs
160. Superchunk
161. Tiny Moving Parts
162. Naked Raygun
163. Lucero
164. Tegan & Sara
165. The Blue Meanies
166. The Cure
167. Social Distortion
168. Vintage Trouble x2
169. Against Me!
170. Gaslight Anthem
171. Don’t Kick Jimmy
172. Goldboot
173. Milky Chance
174. Ekoh
175. The Dancetronauts
176. Holy Ghost!
177. Vacationer
178. Sleeper Agent
179. Switchfoot
180. Neon Trees
181. Baauer
182. Catfish and the Bottlemen
183. Paper Route
184. OKGO
185. Misterwives
186. DJ Cassidy
187. The Roots
188. Lionel Richie
189. The Flaming Lips
190. The Orwells
191. Moksha
192. Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra
193. Mayer Hawthorne
194. Trampled By Turtles
195. A-Trak
196. St. Paul & The Broken Bones
197. Arctic Monkeys
198. St. Lucia
199. Foo Fighters
200. Brian Mundee
201. Andrew Ripp
202. John Hiatt
203. Environmental Encroachment
204. Art Alexakis
205. Eric Lambert
206. Bones Jugs N Harmony
207. Jaik Willis
208. Brice Clark
209. Chris Volek
210. David Ingram
211. Larry Day
212. Mark Biegel
213. Harry Claussen
214. Fragile Soul
215. Jeff Martin
216. Rene Garcia
217. Karac Von Thweatt
218. Carol Estes
219. Michael Stupar
220. Lou Shields
221. Rick Rizzo
222. Nicholas Tremulis 
223. Wilco

Here's a few items I collected from all those shows.
My 50 for 50 started with The Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival on January 11th at the Tonic Room on Halsted in Chicago.

The Howlin' Brothers a great band from Nashville.

Clusterpluck...they definitely won my favorite band name of the year. A talented and very entertaining group of musicians.

A sign on the wall at the Tonic Room.

Definitely a fun band to see live.
Thanks to Mike McDonnell and his girlfriend Kim for inviting me out to see this Irish band at Gaelic Park. At the time I had no idea I would be back at Gaelic Park 15 months later to DJ their wedding.
Todd Snider's new band rocked the Park West and I drank with a bunch of Swedes who drove down from Michigan for the show.

A young local punk band I saw in a bowling alley in Tinley Park.

I always tell people to support live music and I did all year long...not only by going to these shows but I bought a lot of CD's by bands I thought were really good. I loved the title to this one.

This is my talented songwriter friend Adam Balcazar at on open mic night at JJ Kelley's in Lansing. He was one of the acts I saw play twice last year...along with Turbo Fruits, Cory Branan, Dropkick Murphys, New Orleans Suspects, Fitz & The Tantrums, Jenny Lewis & Vintage Trouble. 
My collection of concert tickets. Wilco is one of my alltime favorite bands and they were amazing this night.

The always entertaining and very talented songwriter and storyteller, Todd Snider. Technically I saw him twice...once solo and once fronting the Hard Working Americans.

Another great live act...Chrissy went to this show with me because she loves this band too.

My 'little sister' Cindy invited me to this show. I really enjoyed The National even though I only knew a few songs.

One of the many festivals I went to last year...Riot Fest, Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival, CIMM Fest, Lollapalooza, French Quarter Festival, Life is Beautiful Festival & Lansing's Autumn Festival.

A great world music show for a charity by the same name.

One of the shows Patty went with me. Dawes played their set and then played as Conor's backing band.

A bitterly cold night that was warmed up by beers, friends and Irish music.

This show never happened thanks to an incredible rain storm that flooded Grant Park...I still have never seen Lucinda Williams perform live.

Another bitterly cold night and I had to walk across a ice filled Lincoln Park in the dark after the show. 

My friend Jim Sikaitis invited me to this show. Thanks Jim.

Another show that Patty Trakan went with me.

Since Jeff Tweedy & Lucinda Williams were rained out the day before, I bought a ticket to see The Wailers & Aloe Blacc. A great decision by me because both bands were amazing. I took the South Shore train for the first time in 30 years into the city. It added to my enjoyment of a wonderful summer day in Grant Park.

Christy and her cousin Lisa Stillman went to this show with me. 
A French Quarter Festival freebie handed out during their set.

Another really good and very talented band I saw at the Tonic Room for a record release party.

A decal they gave me for buying...

...their CD.

One of my favorite bands Dropkick Murphys turning me onto a new favorite band Lucero.

Clark Paterson playing the Tonic Room

A great little bar to see live music

They played their Do or Die album straight through to start the show...damn that was fun.

Love the old time marquee at the "Riv".

Another show Cindy invited me to join her and Mark. It was Art Alexakis solo this night. He handed out this card for a free download of the new Everclear song. And Cindy got him to sing Happy Birthday to me. He asked how old I was and when I told him 50. Art said, "Welcome to the club."

The Riot Fest map of the new location in Humboldt Park.

I saw a lot of their shows during the year so I thought I'd promote them.

This was a charity show for a local food bank. After the show Chrissy got me the setlist for a birthday present.

HWA Tour Poster...
...and set list.

Dead Split Egos playing in a bowling alley.

Jeffery Broussard

Kevin Presbrey played at Brookfield Zoo and put on a good show of cover songs and originals.

The poster for a pop punk show of very young bands. I was easily the oldest person at this show but wanted to see what passes for suburban punk these days...there was some hope for the future here. 

The Riot Fest map...

...and schedule.

Leftover Beer tickets because I forgot to bring them on Sunday.

Another band I saw at the Pop Punk show in Tinley Park.

The Chicago Theater Marquee 

Wilco at The Riv
Photo taken by Joshua Mellin from Timeout Chicago

Wilco Posters for their multi night Winterlude Concerts at the Riviera Theater. This one is for the night I went with Patty.

Photo taken by Joshua Mellin from Timeout Chicago

So that wraps up my 2014 Concert Challenge. It was fun.