Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Its Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas w/Aimee Mann

Posted by xneverwherex on December 7, 2015

Aimee Mann & Ted Leo Holiday Show
w/Special Guests Liz Phair, Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick
Bimbo’s 365 Club

In a random twist of events, I ended up at Bimbo’s last night for the Aimee Mann, Ted Leo Holiday show. Let’s just say that there might be hope for Tinder, really. The guy was from Chicago, so obviously he’s already got cool points because thats where Liz Phair is from and well it’s Chicago, and he’s obviously got great taste in music. I had always wanted to go to this show, but just never bought tickets and it seems it usually sells out. All I know is that it’s fully worth the money and next year (assuming it’s happening again), I’m all over it.

I had seen Ted Leo quite a bit in NYC but not on a tour like this and I had missed The Both (his and Aimee Mann’s collaboration). It was a really great set consisting of some really bizarre Christmas tunes and just some great stories. Apparently Ted was running for office in the North Pole as FrosTED the snowman (costume too) (term limits came into effect), and as Aimee mentioned – another white guy running for office and he had a platform/campaign with an awesome poster. Him and Aimee have great chemistry on stage and just feed off of each other.

Holiday Show w/Aimee Mann, Ted Leo

Holiday Show w/Aimee Mann, Ted Leo

With so many great guests coming together (hello Liz Phair) it was an awesome experience. She came out early in the set to perform “Supernova” along with Aimee and Ted. It sounded as great as ever and maybe better with the addition of the two of them. I did really enjoy the holiday songs that Aimee and Ted performed with Aimee’s lovely voice on “Winter Wonderland” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas“. Perhaps the best of the night was Jonathan Coulton‘s help on a new rendition of “Superstar” from Jesus Christ Superstar – with new lyrics “Jesus Claus” “Santa Christ” it was blasphemous and hilarious and so worth seeing.

I’m not sure the show got better than the moment that Aimee came out to sing “Save Me” which was haunting and beautiful as ever. So much pure, raw, emotion. Ted helped out with guitars and vocals and missed the 2nd half of the song as he got so enrapt with Aimee’s vocals and just listened in and forgot to sing. It was *that* special. Plus, she even did the “original” version of “Voices Carry” from Til Tuesday. Apparently, the original version is not what we ever heard on the radio which was about trying to get presents from her step-dad. But, apparently it didnt go well with radio peeps with lyrics like “Hush hush / He’s your dad now / This is Gary”. I think this song will be forever tainted in my head with these new lyrics.

Aimee and Ted clearly have a wicked sense of humour and really play off of each other well. And John Roderick – and a song about Atari 2600 called “2600” was pure awesome. Lots of talk about Atari vs ColecoVision and other ancient video games. It clearly wasn’t necessarily a show for the young hipster crowd, as even my date didn’t even recognize Til Tuesday. Also, there was a great rendition of “You’re A Mean One Mr Grinch” which really showcased Aimee’s beautiful vocals.

In their 2 hour set, it seemed so much happened and was learned. Aimee was once married to Santa Claus (he had no time for her), Ted Leo learned the elections were not happening, he also has a dad who cries mysteriously when some Christmas donkey song is played (report back NYC when he brings his dad on stage for this), Jonathan Coulton (who was initially dressed as Santa Claus) is really Jesus, and the lovely Liz Phair goes all out for decorating the tree so much that you can’t even find her family. What can be better than a night spent like that, hearing lovely stories and laughing a lot and bringing in the holiday spirit.


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Dont F$^k With My Money

Posted by xneverwherex on December 31, 2011

Penguin Prison
Gemini Club
Mercury Lounge

So my last show of 2011 was a cross between a really fun show and also a really obnoxious show. It was like all the frat boys and every single hipster around the 21 year age mark, showed up. If I never heard “that whats Im talking about” again at a show, Id be *very* happy!

Penguin Prison never disappoints. While he is technically a one-man artist, he does play with a full band. But its definitely his show. He wastes no time with engaging the crowd and by the time the first song has started he’s working up a frenzy dancing in the middle of the crowd. Everyone crowds around him trying to snap pics, while the band continues to play.

Penguin Prison

He starts with “Golden Train” that is beat-synth-heavy and his very high vocal range. It works to get the show starting. Not coming on too strong, but giving people a slow(ish) groove to start the dancing. Soon enough hes back on stage, guitar in hand, and is playing “The Worse It Gets”. The crowd gets into it by the time the chorus comes and he dances on stage.

He keeps the tempo building in the show, building up the groove in each progressive song. The crowd is non-stop dancing. Its fun booty-shaking music. “Dont Fuck With My Money” is when it really begins to get even more dance-y. The song, which sounds like it should have been around in the 80s (Jackson years), must be one of the catchiest songs of the year. As Penguin Prison takes to the floor again, hes playing right in front of me, a coy smile on his lips. Hes completely charming and its hard not to get swept up in the entire act.

By the time the show is near closing, he busts out an even more catchy song. If you werent dancing before, there is no way you werent when this song comes on. It feels like Chic came alive and by now the 70s and 80s are in full force. Its as if New Edition, Prince and all those bands came together to create this song. Its brilliance!

The two openers were very different bands. The second band Vacationer was from the lovely state of Hawaii. The guys were the most chill, cute guys ever. Their music was pretty catchy in a chill-wave/relaxed sorta way. They definitely would have fit great on a set with Best Coast or plenty of bands like that. Their music didnt quite fit with the upbeat dance heaviness of the other two. Would still easily recommend checking them out.

Chicago is home to some of the best dance-y bands. Gemini Club is yet another reminiscent of Hey Champ and Flosstradamus (no surprise that they remix each others songs). As I was coming from a work party, I missed part of their set. So disappointing as they were easily by far one of the best bands that I came across in 2011. With pounding dance beats, and a darkish dance-y sound, they sounded incredible. Surprisingly not many people were there, but those of us who were totally were engaged and loving it. “Mary’s Day” is fun, catchy and oh so danceable. One band that Ill be looking for more of during the next year.

Happy New Year! Stay safe! And till next year. With hopefully lots more great shows!

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Sunburns and hockey….

Posted by xneverwherex on May 12, 2009

Yes – Im almost positive these 2 things go together. If only because I am suffering from a sunburn and I just finished watching a hockey game.

First things first. After day 1 of running/walking, I thought I better keep it going. I figured day 2 would be a much shorter version and less strenuous. Ill admit my legs were a bit sore and oh the hamstrings. Lets not talk about them. So I started out running down 2 avenues and over to 54th. And then on and off till about 68th. Ill admit it was turning into more walking, but I figure best to start slow. So it was a gorgeous day, well mostly a windy day. And the sun was barely out. Obviously it was out more than I thought since little did I realize I got sunburned 😦 Nothing that aloe cant fix. Anyway, the walk through Riverside Park (or Im guessing thats what it is) was just gorgeous. Roads that wind up and down as the river path is currently under construction. Its just gorgeous along the river and there were so many people out. I did notice as I got towards the 80’s/90’s there werent as many people as around the 60’s. And so I kept walking and walking and next thing I knew – I was staring at a sign to say 106th street.

Yowzers! So naturally, I had to make my way back down. At this point I had one goal in mind. Dont stop for anything. Just get home ASAP. 7 miles later, a bit red and I did it! Who knows what will come of this exercise/walking/running thing but Im kinda hoping that maybe it will go somewhere.

I honestly wanted to walk home tonight, but it was so cold outside and I just couldnt. Today was probably a bit less than a mile, but at least I am still doing it and havent given up.

And lets talk some hockey! BLACKHAWKS BABY! CHICAGO! This is just awesome. My boys of Toews, Kane, Sharp, Khabibulin, Versteeg, etc. came through! Conference finals. Not since 1995 have they been there. Ive missed them here, since Ive lost faith in my Kings!

No concerts till Saturday. Im deprived.

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