Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Thug Life Christmas Poem





T'was the night before Christmas and all through the Hood.
Everybody was buzzing, Everybody felt good.
So we hung our stockings on the chimney with care, 
hoping that the dope man would soon be near.
All of a sudden, we heard a knock at the door.
Someone yell Narc! And we all hit the floor
So I jumped out a window and ran for my life
I yelled at the coppers, "Kiss my ass and have a good night!"

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Judas Rising & Maiden Chicago Show Review.

                          The Soul of a Man's Birthday Bash.
                                  Happy Birthday Harold!

Fireproof, passionate and dangerous are just few words to describe the soul of my life-long friend Harold Thurber.Always calm, consistent and filled with a powerful fire that will warm anyone's heart with joy and laughter. Not everyone believes this, of course, and those who doubt me, are without wisdom. It is no accident that Harold has many friends and in private conversation, he'll tell you how he really thinks. With that in mind, we wish Harold a happy 47 years on this Earth.

Judas Rising 
Without delay, it was time to celebrate this birthday bash at Nighcaps  with two very powerful Metal acts, Judas Rising & Maiden Chicago. Frontman, Joe Martina kicked-off the night with all the classic Judas Priest songs such as "Jaw Breaker" and "Breaking The Law."  Packed with a solid a punch, other members include: Neven Trifunovich and  Briant Daniel (Lead Guitars) Kevin Cobleigh (Bass) and Scott Davidson (Drums).  The crowd was fierce at Nightcaps, wanting more heavy metal thunder!

Lead Vocalist, Bill Swanson. Maiden Chicago
Next, Maiden Chicago took the stage and launched their set with a brand new Iron Maiden Song. The room darkens, the sound flares and "If Eternity Should Fail" captivated this audience with an outstanding introduction. Lead vocalist, Bill Swanson is a true showman and can still hit those high octave notes each and every time. Steady galloping bass lines from Gary Ingram, two dueling guitarists Al Contreras & Mike Z and drummer Dan Driskill make up the rest of this five piece foundation. Other songs such as "Wasted Years," "Powerslave" and  "The Trooper" had most of these spectators thrashing and banging their heads, hungry for more Maiden! The time had come to conjure the Jester with one more song "Run To Hills."  This was indeed a good birthday celebration, filled with friends, food and more fun on this Saturday night.

Generally speaking, the night was full of amazing energy with incredible people. Judas Rising and Maiden Chicago gave folks that fatal mix of Metal with ringing in their ears from the amplifiers. But not for too long. The aftershock slowly wore off, and soon I found myself sitting at the computer writing up this review. As a result of all this madness, I will honestly say this has been the best live performance in 2015. Until then, UP THE IRONS!!





Saturday, November 7, 2015

Art Essay on Mertz & Sebanc



                              Rewarding Beauty In The Big Onion

54 Common Bricks
There is no mistake that Chicago has countless nicknames, and The Big Onion is one of them. Now in the land of journalism, reporters are trained to peel back the onion of truth. In this essay, the central idea is to compare and contrast two artists living or dead and explain their compositions, uncovering a deeper meaning.  Artists are everywhere. They are a Legion, soon to be erased by the sands of time just like the rest of society. Perhaps that is way Nancie King Mertz and Robert Sebanc practice their craft, knowing that life is very short and that creating something is the most powerful and deliberate act that a human being can achieve.
Nevertheless, all things begin with a dream and the key to one’s imagination can unlock many doors.  One door was opened on October 9, 2015 at the Locallective Gallery that displayed Robert Sebanc’s work titled: “Scoundrel.” Against a 72in x 72in charcoal black backdrop, several folks playing cards, a woman wearing a dark red dress and a small child sits in her lap. But before we go more into detail about this oil and pigment canvas let’s review Sebanc’s credentials as both artist and visionary.
 In “Liquor, Sausage, And Lies About Her Future,” a solo exhibition featuring Sebanc at the Locallective Gallery in Chicago, IL most of the works are dark in composition. For example, “It Might Just Be A Window” invokes some metric patterns, as the eye draws closer to the three small red dots on this piece. “The Boys” and “54 Bricks” are just few a captivating works, some using oil and pigment on canvass.     Born in Milwaukee Wisconsin, and now teaching as an Art Professor at Wright College, Sebanc began his career as an artist. He is best known for his works at Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Itri, located in Latina, Italy, along with countless contributions to various art galleries national and internationally. Holding a B.F.A and M.A.A.E from The Art Institute of Chicago and his MFA from the Lesley University College of Art and Design (Cambridge, MA) (Bio) Above all, there is no method nor inspiration to Sebanc’s artistic madness and during our interview he stated, “I don’t know if I was captivated at any one point, however my earliest memories (Sic) of doing art in some form or another. Growing up our house was a creative place to be, there were art supplies on hand at all times and my mother encouraged a creative environment.”
By the same token, “Scoundrel” touches on those emotions and family values that resembles a basement of a Chicago Bungalow. For a moment, I entered a daydream sequence, thinking about my grandmother’s house and sitting on my mother’s lap as a young boy. Card games such as Rummy and Bullshit were played with my aunts and uncles as they jibber-jabbered about work and politics in this blue-collar setting. Ah yes. The good old days when gas was .75 cents a gallon and when candy bars cost a quarter. But that was many years ago and today the value of life is more important with the moral principles as its true currency.  I awake from my daydream and say my goodbyes to Alexandra Wright (Director of operations) and to Mr. Sebanc.  
Lazy Sunday
Subsequently, Nancie King Mertz was gracious enough to open the second door, inviting me into her Gallery full of Chicago style paintings. It is always good etiquette to contact someone by phone and make an appointment before you show up unannounced. That is just down right rude, and very unprofessional. Anyway, the day was quite pleasant for being the first day in November. The sun was bright, excellent weather compared to that crappy Halloween yesterday. Boarding the 78 Montrose bus, child strollers and grocery carts clutter the passage way as folks hustle and bustle on and off the crowded transport unit.  I arrive at the Art De Triumph, introduce myself and walk around.
“Lazy Sunday” captures my attention first. This 24 x 28 pastel is a very masculine panting using a pure pigment with no oil stick form. The orange rusty color of the “L” train dominates this pictures that may in fact be Clark & Lake Streets. A blueish gray sky appears in the right-hand-corner and the eye is drawn toward the street with a taxi cab waited for a fare. “I took some photos of that area on a Sunday,” explained Mrs. Mertz. Ordinarily it is very congested, she adds to say.  Nancie King Mertz was born and raised in Central Illinois, where she began painting and selling her work. (Bio) Studying art and receiving her B.A. from the University of Illinois and obtaining a master’s degree in painting from Eastern Illinois University, Mertz is not looking back. In fact, this year she has traveled to nine states to paint on site for the Arizona to Albuquerque Exhibition that was featured in June of 2015.
Mertz’s professional affiliations include: Pastel Society of America, Oil Painters of America and the Philanthropic Council Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, just to name a few. No stranger to an abundance of accolades, Mertz has received Best in Show, (CPP), Award of Merit 2014-2015 (IAPS) and took home 5th place for the Bill Creevy Award in 2015.
“Lazy Sunday” is yet another award winning masterpiece, earning 5th place in the Joe Hing Lowe Memorial this year. The saturation of colors are warm and bright. Red brick buildings, silver skyscrapers and pale blue sky are wonderfully illustrated, as two pedestrians stroll pass two locked bicycles. You may ask yourself, “How does he know that these bikes are chained down? Well, as beautiful as Chicago may be, crime is yet another key factor. And if you are native to the concrete jungle, you will soon learn that if things are not locked or bolted down, some cowardly whore-beast on crack will steal your shit faster than a New York minute. That is 45 seconds to those who reside in The Jewel of the Midwest and should you approach these mean streets, use extreme caution when walking down them at night. Ah, but never mind that if you have a conceal and carry permit. The appetite for a Chicago lead salad is not a fine cuisine by anyone’s standards.

In this final analysis, both works by Sebanc and Mertz have captured my imagination. I have relinquished myself to their creations and absorbed the natural talents. The Universe has granted them a gift and my soul has been filled with joy. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Garbage

                                   Adoring Garbage at the Rivera. 
         Studio Cats, Security Rats & Sonic Defiance of Gothic Punk.





The Stratospheric rise to the top has been a long journey through the dark alleys of pain and hopelessness for Trip Hop Alternative Rock group, Garbage. What began as joke, soon would become reality at Smart Studios as music producer, Bryan David Vig (a.k.a.Butch Vig) had laid-down some experimental music tracks that lacked potential. With that in mind, Vig and his colleagues decided to name their group, Garbage. Before all that, Vig performed with Fire Town and later produced some tracks for Kill Dozer and TAD that lead to a passageway into the incinerator of fame. Heavy Metal had made a strong comeback, with bands such as Skid Row and Korn and Vig's musical career was looking grim. The world of Doc Martens and the flannel-clad of 90's Grunge music was about to become the Genesis of a new era. A 23-year old song writer, Kurt Cobain came knocking on the Smart Studio Doors in 1990 to produce an album that would single-handedly  launch the Grunge movement.
Shirley Manson

In the meantime, Shirley Manson had a brief love affair with  her boyfriend's band Good Bye Mr. McKenzie. and later joined a part time spotlight with Angelfish. Butch Vig was already known as "The Godfather of Grunge"  producing for heavy hitters such as Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and U2.  The time was now right to form Garbage with two other studio cats named Duke Erikson and Steve Marker. Exhausted from the Grunge monster they helped to create and watching MTV at a time when music videos were actually played on television. Lead guitarist, Steve Marker made a triumphant discovery, and knew that Shirley Manson would be hotter than a pistol for their new group, Garbage.
Making some calls, and flying Manson to the Midwest from her hometown Edinburgh, Scotland, Angelfish was cutted, gutted and fed to the rats, only to be consumed by this musical vortex.

In 1995, Garbage released their self titled debut that featured "Only Happy When It Rains" an obscure melody  that welcomes pain and misery. In an interview with Addicted to Noise, Marker stated, "It's really just us poking fun of ourselves. We're poking fun at the alteratroc angst, wearing your heart on your sleeve thing and at ourselves for writing such dark songs," he adds.  Other essential songs from Garbage include, Stupid Girl, Push It and I Think I'm Paranoid offer a range of Sci-Fi Pop due to the technical aspect of these musical productions. Gamers can enjoy  "Not Your Kind Of People" as players suit up for battle in Metal Gear Solid 5.   Fueling a wrath of dominance, Garbage recorded the theme song for the 1999 James Bond Movie "The World Is Not Enough" and has now sold over 17 millions copies worldwide during their career.

Armed with an arsenal of flashy dance beats, slick and polished guitar riffs and that bubblegum sound that fans adore, Garbage has returned to Chicago for their 20 Years Queer Tour. Members include: Shirley Manson (Lead Vocals) Steve Marker (Guitars) Duke Erikson (Guitars/Keyboards) and Butch Vig (Drums). Unlike these studio cats who have made a substantial impact on a sub-culture, one must be vaguely careful when discussing the nature of  business about the security rats that littered the Rivera. Most fans do not like being treated like small children and reprimanded  where to stand in this packed sold out venue. No sir, they are all adults that paid good money to see their super heroes at work and no Garbage fan should be bullied by the hired help! The lack of respect and Gestapo tactics will be addressed at another time in another publication. But never mind that. Let's get back on track to the tenacious sounds of Garbage. 


Duke Erikson
A white stage curtain flashed images during the shows introduction as spectators eagerly awaited more. Opening up their set with "Subhuman" this space age sound is accompanied with zany keyboards and heavy bottom bass grooves. Still unable to see Garbage behind what looks like a white bed sheet, a silhouette of performers and cheap strobe light effects to create more intensity. Finally, the shroud of illusion is revealed and the powerful stage lights draw you into a dynamic sense of feeling behind every note. "Girl Don't Come" is another song with that dirty grungy upbeat tempo we all know and love. This hard driven song had their fans hungry for more sonic assault as Manson sang the lyrics giving no sympathy to the foolish heart. During the middle of Garbage's set, Manson reached out to her fans and said, "Music comes in, fills you up and you fall in love."  The scarlet lights glow on stage and more fist-pumping tunes such as "You'll Never Get To Heaven"  played throughout the night at the Rivera.

Garbage 
Under those  circumstances, Garbage performed well that night,using a phenomenal light show and drop dead collaboration of music, power and raw emotions. Despite the venue's lack of planning and making the necessary provision for a sold out crowd, this was a concert worth attending. Again, Garbage fans do not need to be corralled like cattle, and placing  safety barriers throughout the venue would have been a better choice for club owner, Jerry Mickelson.  It's hard to have a good time when some rent-a-cop is demanding that you move, and there is no place to stand. Comparatively, most theaters in Chicago are familiar dealing with crowd control, allowing folks to enjoy a show with safety and comfort. However, the Rivera lacks a better understanding of maintaining a secure area without the hassle. With that said, more audiences can enjoy their concert experience and not worry about being tossed out into the street like Garbage for not obeying the rules. That is not cool by any standards and this type of abuse needs to end. A rat will do anything to survive and can suck the fun right out of your soul. Do not allow this to happen. Remember, the night belongs to you and not the Third Reich of justice. Until then, have fun and be safe!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Iron Maiden: The Book of Souls Review.

                                  A Book of Souls Inside a Wicked World


                                        The Writer Is The Engineer Of the Human Soul
                                                                                              -Joseph Stalin


Illustration by: Derek Riggs


There are  only a few of my constituents that know more about Heavy Metal music and, less that are more familiar with Iron Maiden.  Bill Swanson (Maiden Chicago) and Dane McCartney (Judas Beast) are perhaps two men that are on the same page as myself when the music roars for the Beast. But I will give the Devil no partisan support for His seven deadly sins, Let's keep that perfectly clear, because a time will come when you will have to face your inner demon, and cry out God's name to be saved from a living Hell. I should know. I've been there, and it's that fear that will keep the strongest of men humble.

In an advertising new age full of thieves, pimps and cell phone junkies, the sin of being a subnormal idol-servant will kill you faster than a speeding truck. The real challenge is to ride out this vicious storm of life and  embrace the music of Iron Maiden. Five years is a long time to wait for any recording artist no matter who is on tour. With Iron Maiden, "The Book of Souls"  has been the longest wait time between albums. Other releases such as "Powerslave" and "Seventh Son of the Seventh Son" offered galloping guitar riffs, along with superior lyrics. However, "The Book Of Souls" offers much more!
Lead Vocalist: Bruce Dickinson

At first, the listener is captivated  to a sound of darkness in Iron Maiden's first track titled: "If Eternity Should Fail." Each note evolves from a murky sludge of musical notes, to a higher evolution of existence. The lyrics have you locked into a transitional phase of wonder inferring to the soul of a man. Wow! This is what great song writing is all about. Next, the tempo picks-up a sequence of master storytelling and emotional lust. To obtain a better understanding of the human soul, one must study the works of  Dr. Duncan MacDougal. During the early 1900's at the Cullis Consumptive Home, Tuberculosis patients were weighed after they had passed away. Conclusive research showed that a human soul can be measured at approximately 21 grams. But let's move on, and skip the story of  Necropolis.

As many Iron Maiden fans may or may not know, Greek Mythology and famous novels have been the Genesis for creating such awesome songs such as "Flight of Icarus" and "Where Eagles Dare." There are now 140 songs totaling Iron Maiden's repertoire, and each opening riff shares a powerful message worthy of critical thinking.  For example, "Still Life" is the tale of Narcissus, a Greek God of mythology that was proud of his beauty. Prepossessing to a pool and unable to leave his own reflection, Narcissus drowned. "The Book of Souls" builds on that heritage and members for this sixteenth release include: Bruce Dickinson (Lead Vocals) Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Janick Gers (Lead Guitars) Steve Harris (Bass) and Nicko McBrain (Drums). Each of them have brilliantly engineered 92 minutes of pure Heavy Metal, making this their longest studio release with double disc adding to the legacy of madness.

Iron Maiden
With this in mind, we can examine Iron Maiden's second track titled: "Speed of Light" and music video concept. Traveling through a wormhole of 8, 16 and 32 bit gaming systems, Iron Maiden explores the last four decades looking back, drawing inspiration as Eddie moves into the future of different worlds. Indeed. There are many pleasing tracks to enjoy, yet "Tears of a Clown" commemorates the tragic suicide of the late comedian/ actor, Robbin Williams. Without the universal truth of food, shelter or love the pain is that Demon I mentioned earlier in this review. Handling adversity is how God shall place value on the human spirit, A soldier in God's Army is a heavy price for the mortal man, and no one said this will be an easy task to become a Trooper. History is another priceless commodity that can teach us that each day is a gift from a higher power in the universe.  "Empire of the Clouds" is the last track for "The Book Of Souls" and features Dickinson's piano skills. A glimpse into the past, the listener learns about Lord Thomson Airship, R101 that crashed into a water tower in France, killing forty-six passengers on a silver ghost of despair. Perhaps Samvel Yervinyan was playing the violin in this 18 minute somber melody. Fans my never know the answer to that, and many other questions about Iron Maiden.   Significantly, "The Book of Souls" will go down in the Heavy Metal archives as a powerful production and will be enjoyed for the years to come.  






At more than 90 minutes, it’s the lengthiest project Iron Maiden have ever attempted, and it concludes with the longest single track they’ve ever released. Still, The Book of Souls was largely created in the studio, and a sense of visceral engagement runs through the album. They experiment with non-standard tuning in “If Eternity Should Fail”; with free-form jamming during a striking solo segment featuring Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers on “The Red and the Black”; with melancholy ruminations on “Tears of a Clown”; and with a elegiac piano figure in the concluding “Empire of the Clouds.”

Read More: Iron Maiden, 'The Book of Souls': Album Review | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/iron-maiden-book-of-souls-review/?trackback=tsmclip
At more than 90 minutes, it’s the lengthiest project Iron Maiden have ever attempted, and it concludes with the longest single track they’ve ever released. Still, The Book of Souls was largely created in the studio, and a sense of visceral engagement runs through the album. They experiment with non-standard tuning in “If Eternity Should Fail”; with free-form jamming during a striking solo segment featuring Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers on “The Red and the Black”; with melancholy ruminations on “Tears of a Clown”; and with a elegiac piano figure in the concluding “Empire of the Clouds.”

Read More: Iron Maiden, 'The Book of Souls': Album Review | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/iron-maiden-book-of-souls-review/?trackback=tsmclip

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hard Rock Cafe Staff Talent Show Review





                      The Blood Moon Skies of Music.




Hard Rock Cafe Chicago
There was much taking place on this Sunday Autumn night in the Jewel of the Midwest. It was the last go-round for a 20-year old Ferris wheel at Navy Pier, a rare eclipse of a Super-moon that will not return until 2033 and the Hard Rock Cafe's Talent Show.  Most good stories begin with Three Blind Mice, Three Dog Night or the Three Musketeers.  Hosting this live event where the Three Zany Diablos,  Wallace, Stagg & Brian, whom organized a little party after work for friends and family to enjoy. For only a $5.00 cover charge, folks received an appetizer buffet, poetry readings and some heart felt music from all the staff that worked at the Hard Rock Cafe located in Chicago.
Stagg, Wallace & Brian

The room was filled with laughter as the blue lights glowed from the fog machine. and a White Stripes music video is playing on the flat screen televisions.  The video fades to black and Jared takes the stage with his acoustic set. Songs such as "The Wonder," Anchor and a song that helped transformed the Beatles from rock to pop with "Eleanor Rigby." Setting back, listening to the feel-good and sipping on my adult beverage, the mood was quite pleasant on this muggy end of summer night.

Jared & Brittany
Looking around the venue, I noticed some yummy pink cupcakes that were made by Cat Messer. "None for me," I said to my girlfriend. Beer and cupcakes don't mix. She went outside to light-up a smoke, as I jotted down some more notes in this intimate setting. Brittany Stead opened her heart with a song, mentioning her father's passing. "It has always been a dream to play on the Hard Rock stage," explained Stead. And with that said, she began to play "Over The Rainbow" for her spectators and dreams will come. However, one must fight for those dreams, and make them materialize, just as Brittany Stead did that evening.

The jokes, monologue and music kept going at the Hard Rock Cafe, and it was nice to be invited into their family only for a moment in time.  Allie was on stage next performing the Ah-Ha classic, "Take Me On."  Aside from all the fun that night, the hour was getting late. This was a school night for The Evil Genius, and getting my happy ass in class was now my top priority. In this final analysis, there are talented people all around. From busboys to bus driver, each of us have a special gift that can be shared for the betterment of humanity.




   

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Judas Beast Show Review

                                         Feeding The Inner Beast at Nightcaps!



The clock read 11:11 PM on this busy night of fun in Chicago, as north side locals celebrated, General Manager, Dave Carlson's birthday bash at Nightcaps. Maid of Mettle has just finished their set list, and Danny Romaine was busting my balls about the free T-shirt that I received for helping Judas Beast with their food drive. Greg & Kristina Gaardbo at Shockwaves Promotional Apparel were cool enough to donate these wicked shirts if folks brought five non-perishable food items to the show. There was an odd mix of people on this Saturday night that failed to help out with the cause, and I have abandoned all hope for any kindness or generosity from this cold, rigid crowd of Judas Beast fans.

I had suffered grievously in this place, many times for reasons we do not need to talk about right now. However, Carlson unloaded five football pizzas on the pool table for all to enjoy during Judas Beast's live performance. Aces High kicked off the night, looking at the clock again, I notice the time is 11:22 PM and this Rock Star guy is setting next to me, having a drink. He seemed pretty cool, and later I found out that this was David Jett Glass form a washed-up band in the 1980's. Not even an outlaw journalist can deny the fact, that the dream is over for Glass, and perhaps being a tambourine instructor would be a better career choice for this studio cat.

There was a time, not long ago, when I looked forward to covering local bands with utter excitement. Now, folks just see me as some rubber-head fool with nothing to say. Maybe it's just me? I have run out of things to say about the music industry, and the time has come to press forward with new ideas.
Judas Beast put on a fair show at Nightcaps and in this business, sound is the key element. Covering Iron Maiden's new release titled: "Speed of Light" lacked the energy by Judas Beast.  This was a tough audience at Nightcaps and from the looks of things, Judas Beast might make another appearance in two more years.  It took a lot of Guts to get on stage and play a new cover for the "Book of Souls" and I commend Judas Beast for their gallant efforts. Under these circumstances, the night was pretty cool. Dave Carlson & Sonya Mozingo have always been gracious hosts at the CAP and with that in mind, on behalf of all the Chicago Metal heads, we wish Dave Carlson good heath and a Happy Birthday! Cheers from Pelletier and may you feed your inner Beast!






  




Monday, August 17, 2015

57th Chicago Air & Water Show.



                        Tragedy & Diamonds in the Sky




The Evil Genius.
The problem with documenting history can daunting task when you learn that something awful happened, and it's your job to report the bad news. Sargent 1st Class Corey Hood logged over 200 successful jumps during his career as a Golden Knight before a mid-air collision on Saturday. News sources say that 32-year old Hood was unconscious and was unable to maneuver his emergency safety chute, plowing into a Downtown Condo at speeds up to 120 mph. Hood was pronounced dead just after four o'clock in the afternoon on Sunday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The Breitling Jet Team released flares to honor a fallen hero.

Photo By: Joe Donato. 
On a lighter note, the Chicago Air & Water Show has always conducted an extremely safe and conscientious way. Both Military and Civilian Air Teams take-off and land at Gary/ Chicago International Airport and fly over Lake Michigan in a safety fly zone approved by the FAA. Additionally, the event employs its own air traffic controller who oversees all the downtown air space during the show. So when a jet is flying over buildings, pilots are merely returning back to the flight path back to the airport.

Hosting the 57th Chicago Air & Water Show was no other then announcer, Herb Hunter. This marks Hunter's 28th year as MC to more then 1 million spectators at this years event.  Air teams such as, AeroShell, Firebirds Delta and Team Oracle offered thrills, excitement and breathtaking action at one of Chicago's favorite summertime events. New to this year's line-up is, the Breitling Jet Team
wowing the crowds with their L-39 Albatross jets that can reach speeds up to 565 mph. France has some serious firepower and Chicago welcomes them to the Windy City for the first time ever and is free to the public.

The U.S Navy Blue Angels
Next up the U.S. Navy Blue Angels fly overhead in a diamond formation, defying gravity and commanding respect with their F/A-18 Hornets. The Blue Angels are truly Rock Stars of the sky as they approached the magnificent skyline with Kick Start my Heart (Motley Crue) Who Do you Love ? (George Thorogood) and later rocking the beach with some Led Zeppelin. It was time to get the Lead out for these Blue Birds as these brave men soar with supersonic maneuvers reaching speeds of only 400 mph. Any faster,glass would burst from the Sonic-boom and a lot of people would be irate with the clean up cost.And who's going to flip the bill for that mess.

All things considered, the Chicago Air & Water Show is fun for all ages. It's time for family fun under the sun with out spending a ton of money. So grab the kids, fill your cooler with ice cream, pop and some snacks, relax and enjoy the good life being a Bum in the Sun. Until next time, stay safe and have a wonderful summer!






Photos By: Ken Kope

Monday, July 20, 2015

Vicious Circle & Cover Dogs

                    Live at The Cap, Celebrating Danny Romaine's 50th Birthday! 




The Moon is still in Cancer on this hot summer night in July and for most folks born under this zodiac sign, they will never relinquish a treasured object, and can remain hard on the outside. However, deep inside their hearts, they are soft gentle creatures. Why would I say such things?" you may ask. Well my Moon is Cancer and I know how these people think. Anyway  50-year old, Danny Romaine is one those crabby types that yearns for Heavy Metal Thunder to ease him into a pleasant mood. Sure, Cancer people can be quite moody. However, Chicago local bands such as Vicious Circle and Cover Dogs can put almost anyone into a happy place.

Vicious Circle: Rudy Guzman 
Nightcaps was blindsided and fatally paralyzed by the tenacious sounds of Vicious Circle. Once I arrived, some Mercyful Fate was blaring from speakers and fans were feeling that raw energy by lead frontman, Rudy Guzman  Other members include: Chris Tabor & Art Guzman (lead guitarist) Mick Lucid (bass) and drummer Kevin Tarpey from this progressive Heavy Metal group in Chicago. But things changed quickly, and now Danny Romaine was on stage in this "Hot Box" at the Cap, performing "Electric Eye" written by Judas Priest. Romaine's dark sunglasses and stocky build resembled that of a Black Panther Battle Tank ready for his Windy City War Cry. Yes sir, this guy can sing and Romaine ripped up that stage on this Saturday night.

Without delay, Cover Dogs was ready to rock "The Cap" and was one hot act to follow. The 90 degree temperature made this place feel like a brick oven, and so hot that you could probably bake a pizza on the floor. Cover Dogs offered up some good, in yer face rock-n-roll with song such as "Let it Rock, Let It Roll" "Shot Down In Flames" and "Shout at the Devil" just to name a few. Members for Cover Dogs are, Jeff  Hundrieser (Vocalist) Jon Dobbs & Nevin Trevic (lead guitarist) Kevin Cobleigh (bass) and drummer, Paul Bata. If you like super groups such as Queensryche, Guns n Roses and Motley Crue, then this group is definitely worth seeing.

Cover Dogs: Jeff Hundrieser & Jon Dobbs
Given these valid points in this article, and drinking with some good friends such as Van Halen Dave, Eddie Bak and Harold T. was indeed a killer night out. There were so many other friends I wanted to conversate but the thunder dome was to loud. And with in mind, I would like to give a Shout Out to:
Joe & Diana Incandella, Ana Marie Ippolito and John Griffith for their support in local music.
Of course, I didn't have to go home. However, I couldn't stay another minute in this sweat box at the Cap. More beer and blunts is want this outlaw journalist needed and my new quest began. Until the next time, Happy Birthday Danny!









Sunday, July 19, 2015

LAVA Rock



                             Show Review at the Pavilion Event Center

LAVA Rock
This has been a spectacular summer so far, and with all the outstanding talent to write about one can only imagine who will be featured this week for the Bad Americans. Our story begins with my dear friend Eddie Bak that was unable to attend the performance of LAVA Rock. Working the graveyard shift on Friday, Bak offers me two free tickets "Sure, I'll go to Northbrook and check these guys out," I said to myself. I took the tickets, and was off to Nickel City.

Next to Nickel City was the Pavilion Restaurant & Event Center that featured this Led Zeppelin tribute band. But it goes deeper than that folks. Let's examine the acronym for a moment, shall we? Led Zepplin, Aerosmith Van Halen and AC/DC Okay? Are you with me so far? Good. Let's move on and get this show review finished. The first order of business was to hunt down the bass player for a quick meet and greet. "My Mom and Dad got me into Led Zeppelin, explained bassist John Sullivan. We talked a little about AC/DC his 1970 Fender P Bass and "Thunderstruck."  With over 15 years of  bass playing experience Sullivan once played the drums. It was a brief conversation over some Chicken Wings as Sullivan waited for his Veggie Burger. "Good luck tonight," I said.  It's always good business to set down with one of the band members just before the show starts and from that point, I could tell that LAVA Rock was a great bunch guys.

Ordering some more food and drink, the curtain rises slowly and "Rock-n-Roll"  kicked-off the night. Members for this five piece ensemble include: Kerry Devine (Vocals) Gino Buonomici & Gerald Guzman (Lead Guitarist) and drummer, Robert Behnke. "Good Times, Bad Times" and "What is and Should Never Be" offered a solid performance as LAVA Rock played all the Zepplin classics on this Friday Night in July.  Devine's stage presence wooed the crowd with "The Ocean" as fans chanted along with the lyrics. "A Whole Lotta Love" and a killer drum solo performed by Behnke gave this group the cutting edge as they rocked the Pavilion Event Center.





The hour was getting late and I had a train to catch that would take me back to Chicago. Should I miss that Midnight express back home,there would be five hour walk back to my Castle. So, after LAVA Rock's first set was complete, it was time to go home. If you're a Led Zeppelin fan I urge you to grab a ticket and find that Black Dog inside the corner of your mind. With bigger venues slowly fading away, we'll start seeing more and more tributes like LAVA Rock in the future.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

One Way Street

                           

                         Club Belmont Family Fest Picnic 




Photo by: Yago Garcia. 14th Annual Family Picnic
Founding in 1922, Shriners Hospital for children has been a leading foundation battling diseases, disorders and poverty. Some folks might be familiar with Danny Thomas and his pledge to raise money for St. Jude's during the 1950's. With only $7.00 to his name, he placed the money in a church donation box and wondered how to cover the cost for the birth of his daughter. The power of prayer was answered and Thomas landed a small movie role that could pay 10 times the amount given to the church and the rest is history.
Club owner, John Kola is making history and has spearheaded a family fest that seeks donations that will provide education, research and better quality of life for children that are in need of medical care.
The mission for Shriner, Thomas and Kola has been implemented without regard to race, creed gender or disability. With a suggested $20.00 donation, children that have spinal cord injuries, cleft lip or a number orthopedic needs can receive the needed care with these contributions. At Club Belmont's picnic, everyone here was focused on the children with special needs and their families with love and hope in their hearts.


Scott Fricke
There was plenty of joy and happiness at Club Belmont's 14th annual family picnic this year. Pony rides, mini-golf and a Bouncy House where just some featured attractions for the kids. Adult activities included a Beer Truck, Barbecue, and live music performed by One Way Street. A bit of 70's Funk was played at Grove 10 in Schiller Woods on this hot and sunny afternoon. My notes are bit splotchy from the blood, sweat and beer form this social event.  However, cover songs from Off Broadway,  Megadeth and Offspring sounded pretty damn good. Other songs such as, "I Want You To Want Me" (Cheap Trick) "Possum Kingdom" (Toadies) and "Cumbersome" (Seven Mary Three) had everyone dancing and toe-tapping to shady summer beats.  Members of One Way Street include: Scott Fricke (Lead Vocals) Mark Cutro, Tom O'Connor (Lead Guitarist) Tony Galati (Bass) and Fred Braun (Drums). Oh, I almost failed to mention Kayla Fricke offering up lead/back-up vocals to this groups powerful performance.
One Way Street


In conclusion, it was good to see some old friends such as Will, Bernie Stalans and Yago Garcia. Members from High Alert showed up in support for Shriner's Hospital and the good will it brings to the lives of others in need. The greatest gift of all is a child's love. They make you feel taller, smarter, and your eyes brighter with hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
My point in this article is all about helping each other. Sure, Beer Trucks and live music is good, but when we work for the greater glory of God, all things are possible.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

High Alert.



                             Summer Fest Review at Joe E's in Chicago.

Okay. This horrible  rain needs to stop. Music lovers are having trouble relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors for the last three weeks with a soggy outcome.  I was drinking with Eddie Bak, when High Alert made the executive decision to relocate their band equipment from the beer garden to the small inside stage at Joe E's in Chicago, IL. As you may know, a little rain is no match for Heavy Metal Thunder and High Alert is living proof that the show must go on at all cost!


Mike Gaynor
There have been a few line-up changes during the winter months for High Alert, replacing lead vocalist, Vic Ryan with Mike Gaynor. and former bassist Raf Winterpacht with Will Heart.   Performing with Know Time 4 Pain, Gaynor thirst for Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest continued. Ultimately, hitting the high notes and covering some of the best music ever created is no easy feat in this arena. There is no room on stage for being second best and in Chicago we're all reaching for top spot to play.  However, Gaynor delivers the goods with a strong stage presence during each and every song.  
Will Heart & James Nobel

Next, we have new bassist Will Heart. Devils & Angels was short lived for Heart, and he mentioned "Sweet Leaf"  as awesome tune to play. "Another cool song is "Fairies Wear Boots," explains Heart.There are some challenges with the lead part for that song and it's always fun to play Geezer Butler stuff," he adds to say. Traveling all the way from Rockford, Heart has indeed earned himself a seat at the table for the Noble Order of Metal Bass Players. Other Members include, Brian Joseph Vinezeano, James Nobel (lead guitarist) and drummer Andrew Schreiner. It was time to rock the house on this small intimate stage. Drinks flowed heavy by two outstanding bartenders Erika & Danielle as the show kicked-off with Priest classic titled: "Electric Eye" The eye of the storm was fierce that Saturday night at Joe E's. Yet  Gaynor's showmanship was right on point and kept the crowd eager for more Metal. James Noble was holding his own position, offering some powerful back-up vocals to songs such as "Your Fucking Nightmare" and that well known Avenged Sevenfold classic, "Buried Alive."  


High Alert
On the surface High Alert may fit some social drawbacks and Heavy Metal stereotypes. In truth, This group has struggled building this five piece foudation. However, They are not looking back, and hopes for brighter future with a new line-up this summer. All things considered, there is a good chance that we'll be seeing more High Alert in the years to come. In due time, bigger and better shows will come for these guys. It's up to you to take action and spread the word and check out High Alert at their next show. Until then, Stay Metal!! 



      








Sunday, June 14, 2015

Chicago Blues Fest


                       


The Thrill Lives On!


32nd Annual Chicago Blues Fest
June is a great month for outdoor festivals. It is a time for backyard barbecues, plush green grass and warm sunshine. Ah yes, Summertime has arrived and so did the 32nd Annual Chicago Blues Festival, held in Grant Park.  Blues masters such as Sly Johnson, Scott Albert Johnson and Buddy Guy have hit the stage, practicing their craft in the Windy City.
In the world of Blues, I am not just some rabid fan that wants to hear Muddy Waters or Willie Dixon. No sir. I am a lifelong addict of Blues Music and Heavy Metal thunder.  I was addicted from the start, and the thirst for Blues pumps through my veins like those who enjoy pills and cheap whiskey trying to ease the pain.  Under those circumstances, there was no escape form the long and painful security line. Folks gave up their constitutional rights and allowed the Illinois Nazis to conduct Bomb searches in baby strollers. Ye Gods, Man. What has happened to this beautiful country we once lived? I am getting the Blues just thinking about Martial Law and that fear is the harvesting machine. But never mind that kinda talk. Let's move on, cover the Chicago Blues Fest without the Gestapo tactics and learn more about the sponsors and artists that made this an historical event in 2015.


Shawn Holt & The Tear Drops
For the most part, the sun was shining hot and bright once I entered the gated area.  Shawn Holt & The Tear Drops where up on the Budweiser Crossroads Stage playing all the blues classics.  Next it was time to see The Cash Box Kings performing on the Pepsi Front Porch Stage.  However, during all this great music, I was unable to capture any live shots from T.C.K. with my cameras and was too busy taking notes for this article.  That's what happens when you're having too much fun listening to some great music.  With this in mind, it was time for more beer. and time to hit the Petrillo Music Shell.

Buddy Guy
Headlining this years Blues Fest was no other than Blues legend Buddy Guy. A long and successful career in the early 1950's Buddy Guy began  playing with bands in the Red Sticks (Baton Rouge, LA). Leaving his blues in California and opened his own nightclub in Chicago, Buddy Guy has a rich history, jamming with Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson and Stevie Ray Vaughan. But seeing him live was a real treat to Blues fans in Grant Park. The Blues fell down like the rain that keep coming back that night. Yet, the lousy weather was no match for Buddy Guy as he played a 90 minute set for his adorning spectators. Nevertheless, most concert goers had a good time and did not have to go home. But at 11:00  pm they could not stay at the park after dark and it was time to disperse.     



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tomorrowland Movie Review

                                     Looking into Future World with Hope.



George Clooney, Brad Bird, Britt Robertonson, & Hugh Laurie.
In this Walt Disney motion picture, hope, magic and fantasy come to life as a young inventor (George Clooney) travels to the Worlds Fair. During his adventure, he meets a girl and becomes infatuated with her. Clooney's character, Frank Walker brings a makeshift Electrolux-hacked jet pack to a famous inventor played by Hugh Laurie and Walker is told to buzz-off.  Likewise, the whiz-kid listens to the older adult, and discovers a secret way into this future world.     

Photos by: Walt Disney Pictures
In contrast, the movie goer is taken back to 2015, and is introduced to Casey (Britt Robertson), teenage daughter of a NASA engineer soon to be laid-off. Cunning, cute and clever, Casey receives a nifty little pin, and with one touch she in a huge golden wheat field. Beyond the horizon, awaits Tomorrowland while young Casey embarks on her own journey.  Lies and secrets consume the plot in this Brad Bird movie with a Wizard of Oz backdrop that meets Star Wars. It's a good thing that Disney was able to hold the copyrights from George Lucas.  Otherwise, those pimps and hyenas in the courtroom would be bitching and squabbling over intellectual property.

The movie zips by rather quickly with convincing characters and good dialog. Special effects hold good pacing as future robots try to hunt down Frank and Casey. Sure, there may have been a few holes in Bird's storyline. However, it's a movie and critical thinking is not allowed when you are enjoying a good film like Tomorrowland.  Afterward, the viewer infers a fable about feeding their inner wolves of desire. We learn that there is a good and bad wolf in each of us, and that which ever one is fed more, will be come stronger.
Tomorrow Land

In this final analysis, jet packs soar, hope is regained and a message of  social responsibility is revealed. This movie paradox may teach all of us a little something in our lives, and that it's okay to be a dreamer. As Willy Wonka once stated, " We are the music makers, and we are the dreamer of dreams."   With that in mind, we should keep dreaming for a better tomorrow land.

   




Friday, May 8, 2015

The Blues Brothers







Elwood & Jake Blues
In “The Blues Brothers,” crime, comedy and chaos will be carried out by Jake and Elwood Blues.  Set in a Chicago backdrop, the two brothers are on a quest to bring “The Band” back together after discovering that Saint Hellen’s of the Blessed Shroud Orphanage will be forced to close its doors, due to unpaid taxes. Jake and Elwood Blues break down racial barriers by revisiting the era of blues in music in this 1980 film with help of Animal House director John Landis. “The Blues Brothers” reveals a connection between spiritualty, music and the greater good of God.
Based on two Saturday Night Live characters, played by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, viewers infer a symbol of hope as the lifeless gray iron gates open for Joliet Jake. Angels begin to sing as the light peeks more and more from the cold portal of incarceration to the warm light of freedom on his back.  The irony is the police car that recuses Jake to salvation. The golden sun is behind Jake Blues. He is greeted with love by his brother Elwood and now the director refers to the shining light as a metaphorical symbol of power, warmth and love.  According to Romans 7:8 “We know that the laws are spiritual and that sin we rule us as slaves.”  But what we do not know is that Jake is about to become free from sin once and for all.
Following The Blues Brothers to the south side of Chicago, they visit St. Hellen’s Orphanage and meet with The Penguin.  The nun’s real name is Sister Mary Stigmata and she is disturbed to lean that the Blues Brothers have become degenerates. After Sister Mary smashes a ruler over Elwood’s head she states, “You are such a disappointing pair and I prayed so hard for you.  It saddens and hurts me that the two young men whom I’ve raised to believe in the Ten Commandments have returned to me as two thieves with filthy mouths and bad attitudes.” Sister Mary heeds warning to The Blues Brothers and for them not to comeback until they redeem themselves.
Subsequently, Jake and Elwood travel to a church called the Triple Rock. Some negative reviews may scoff at the brilliance of this movie magic. For example, New York Times writer Janet Maslin, argues that there were too many movie extras and that this “hollowness” did not “come cheap” while making this $30 million motion picture. After reviewing the facts, the cost of this movie brought joy and laughter.  On the other hand, Raytheon Corp has invested over $150 million to develop the Patriot missile system. Once this War Drum rolls out, there will be the hollowness of greed and bombs do not make people laugh.  

Steven Spielburg as: Cook County Assessor (1980)
This motion picture uses the musicians in cameo roles and devotes itself otherwise to a conventional, poorly rendered plot. The whole movie supposedly hinges on Jake and Elwood Blues's efforts to raise money to pay taxes on a church orphanage. However, without those cameos by Frank Oz,Steven Speilburg, Chaka Khan, and Mr. T, they may never have been 1980’s icons in the first place.  For example, if we look at The Bodyguard (1992) starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston, Gary Kemp’s character Sy Spector portrayed himself as a seedy, envious manager. Kemp’s personae worked for this role and is a perfect example of casting smaller roles for a larger pictures. And what about the Cook County Treasurer’s  Department, Mr. Arthur T. Bourne, played by Stephen Spielberg? This powerful director who made Jaws performs a small role at the end of the film. Just like Jaws, the big shark (Spielberg) is saved for the end. Metaphorically we could say Stephen Spielberg was the shark that was brought out at the end of the movie to suggest the Big vs. Small factor in this film. 

Every character had point and the characters played their roles well. This was excellent storytelling, making the movie work!  For example, we learned about freedom’s light once Jake is released from prison. Next, is God’s light from Triple Rock. This type of light can only be seen in the hearts of those who believe in the higher power.  In contrast, in “Blues, Love and Politics,” Cornell West mentions the distinction between Blues and Jazz music as being childlike. With that same approach we should examine The Blues Brothers in the same childlike fashion. We know that cars can’t fly, blind people cannot use fire arms and vehicles definitely cannot fall apart after completing a mission.
The conflict starts once Elwood Blues sees his light in Park Ridge, Illinois. Everything is fine until Elwood Blues ignores the red traffic signal and the ripple effect begins. Brilliantly written, the red light is the last metaphor before the mission of God can continue. We learn that The Blues Mobile is a 1974 Dodge police car. According to Elwood, “It’s got cop tires, cop shocks and cop motor” (Blues).  However, looking at the engineering prospective for this unleaded fuel beast is a black and white 4-door sedan body type. Weight, 3600 pounds. Speed, zero to 60 in 15.7 seconds on a quarter mile race track.  The automobiles, staged accidents and onscreen destruction have been adapted from the silent Keystone Cop shorts.   (Newland) These screen car crashes kept the pacing and demonstrate the hand of God at work.  In real life, Jake and Elwood Blues would have died in these accidents.

In contrast, there are realistic attributes in this motion picture. Next we have Carry Fisher (an ex-girlfriend) trying to hunt Jake down and blow him away to kingdom come.   Let’s review the traffic stop located in Park Ridge (Nelson Funeral Home). Research shows this chase to be approximately 40 miles away. Calculations show that traveling at 120 mph down Interstate 294 would only take 3 minutes to reach the Harvey Mall.  This in theory is possible with no traffic or construction. Elwood demonstrates his superior skills as a driver. Next is the parking skills when they go see Mr. Fabulous who works at  the Schale Paul restaurant.  
Observing the cast for this 30 million dollar motion picture,   The resolution is easy to explain.  The band is paid and offered a recording contract w/ Pollygram Records, but let’s not spoil the ending just yet. The move goer sees that it all worked out and that mission was successful. In the long run, nothing is great than the power of God. Sure, this may have been just a movie. However, you do not need to be a Blues Brother to perform a miracle. The random acts of kindness can created a ripple effect of small blessing that will tune into miracle tsunami.

This motion picture is a great example of Big vs Small as the two blues musicians escape with hijinks with major conflict throughout the this film.  this was a fun movie to watch, with great music. They just do not make great pictures like this anymore. 







Monday, April 27, 2015

Spandau Ballet

Soul Boys of the Western World & Finale Tour


This British New Romantics group became a huge success during the 1980's with songs such as "True" & "Gold."   Topping the charts for over 500 weeks in the UK, Spandau Ballet is back on tour in the United States for Spandau's last go-around with new music for adoring fans. The group itself dates back to the whirlwind days of the late 1970's and is back on tour for one last dance.
A vibrant club sound that once was the backbone, the nerve center for a great mix of heavy bottom dance grooves, lives again at the House of Blues.  
Tony Hadley

The show kicked-off strong with "Soul Boy" in this standing room only crowd of 1300 spectators. Notably performed, was "Highly Strung"  as Spandau Ballet performed all the classics under the lavender stage lights that illuminated the House of Blues music hall. Members include: Tony Hadley (Lead Vocalist), Gary Kemp (Lead Guitarist) Steve Norman (Saxophone/ Percussion) Martin Kemp (Bassist) Toby Chapman (Keyboards) and John Keeble (Drummer). Spandau Ballet dedicated the next set-list to Steve Strange, whom recently passed away in March 2015. Strange was a well know singer and pioneer for the New Romatics movement. Furthermore, Strange managed the Blitz Club in Soho and central London. "We did not have any money back then, explained saxophone player, Steve Norman. During Norman's interview with the Telegraph, he added that Mr. Strange, aka Stephen John Harrington was a generous and caring human being with a massive heart."
Gary Kemp

With this intention, the music hall became a substantial heartbeat, as the room filled with a steady drum tempo by Keeble. Together, the crowd attempts to Free-Style-Step and completing Open Turns to "Reformation" in this sold-out venue.  Hadley may see you running in his dreams, but he will not see anyone trying to do the Moonwalk on this packed dance floor. Equally important, is the low vibrato that Hadley delivers after all these years. A classically trained music instructor could perhaps tell that Mr. Hadley still has the vocal pipes of a 30 year old singer.

Steve Noman
As the white hot spotlight glowed around Norman and his Brassy Sax with "I'll Fly For You." That smooth bass line continues along with harmonizing vocals that moved the audience in mind and spirit. If you took a deep breath and closed your eyes, one could feel the music of Spandau Ballet in the Soul. On-lookers danced that night away as Gary Kemp & Hadley went on stage to preform "Empty Spaces" and "Gold "unplugged, with a double neck custom guitar. Powder blue lights dimmed the stage as the duo sang each note with heartfelt passion. But who could forget those  "Soul Boys"  once they jammed out with a wild instrumental for about 20 minutes. Dancing stage lights that flickered to the beat of the bongos pumping the crowed more until Midnight.

All Photos by: The Evil Genius, Spandau Ballet 2015©
Ultimately, Spandau Ballet has never lost the bass thumping grooves, nor did they lose those power vocals that each possess. And as they closed the set out with Gold, Gary Kemp make a deep connection with his audience. Tony Hadley raised his martini class for one last Salut to good heath for his audience. A distinguished gentleman that would never stray from the New Romantics Movement. The eyes never lie and that Spandau Ballet may return in the near future.



 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Whiskey of the Dammed

Hardcore Hoe-down at the Hard Rock in Chicago.




Wow! This was an awesome night. We had just witnessed Whiskey of the Dammed preform at the Hard Rock Cafe in Chicago.  But first, let me tell you about Anthony Stagg. Who in the Hell is that guy, you may ask? Well, when you have a magazine editor covering the bar bill, it's good ettiquite to know the hired hands in this blue-collar town filled with white-collar crime.  Stagg's just received his two year employee pin at the Rock, and escorted Miss Gina and I at our reserved table. "Everything is on the house Mr. Pelletier," explained Stagg. Your magazine said to run a tab and not worry about a thing. "Great," I said. Just give us a few minutes and we'll be ready to order."


We ordered our drinks first, and began to talk about Maiden Chicago. Yeah, I like those guys, said Stagg. They're big-time and that music ain't easy to play."  "Well," I replied with a smile, the bass player is a friend mine and likes that Trooper beer. Stagg paused momentarily, taking our order. Yeah, I wasn't aware of the Trooper beer until that night Maiden Chicago played that night," he said. I told Anthony Stagg about Bill Swanson giving me a Trooper beer and ordered another Guinesss.

Ah- but that Maiden story was written years ago.  Now the time has come to cover Whiskey of the Dammed, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  A genre of  Celtic Rock, feel good music for the entire family. The show was full throttle in the beginning with a nice steady tempo and raw sound. Members of this Irish Nun flogging ensemble include: Eoin McCarthy (Guitar/ Vox) Matt Schuetz (bass) Brian Link (Accordion) and drummer, David Web. The never ending flow of toe tapping music, Guinness stout and moonshine madness consumed this drunken pirate. "RRRR, Mate, bring us more drink," I said, as the the night went on.

There were not fancy stage lights, no mosh pits and the crowd seemed a little subdued. Web's energy was eccentric as he banged away at two sliver beer kegs during one of the songs.  Schuetz offered a solid foundation as Link filled in the rest of these drunken sailor tunes. The mood was winding down as the stage lights dimmed.  The once fast and heavy Celtic rock, sound was now that of a quiet whisper and it was time to go home.

In any case, the bar bill was well over $200.00 and the party was over. I asked the Whiskey of the Damned if they had a set-list. "Nope," said Eoin. With that, I wished them a safe and successful tour.
If all goes well, Whiskey of the Dammed should be ending a summer tour in Murrieta, California, in late September. If you like Paddys' as much as I do, you'll dig this group for sure.