Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger of Umphrey’s McGee will be showcasing some of their favorite holiday songs, along with some rare covers, and a handful of Umphrey’s originals on December 7th when they host their Annual Acoustic Holiday Show at the Park West in Chicago. This benefit will raise funds for The People’s Music School, the only music school in Chicago to offer free quality music education to children up until they graduate high school.
This exclusive event usually contains a handful of rarities and covers along with special guest sit-ins to help add to the magic of the night. Brendan and Jake have even welcomed the children’s choir on stage in the past to help boost the holiday atmosphere. “My favorite memory is doing “Happy Xmas” with a children’s choir.” Brendan Bayliss shared with me, ”I’ve wanted to play that song since I was old enough to remember it.”
And ultimately, this show is for the kids. The money raised at this year’s holiday show will be used to enroll kids in the People’s Music School. ”Our goal is to raise as much as we can in order to put as many kids in the school as possible,” explained event coordinator, Barry Brown. “The demand for enrollment always exceeds the funding available. So the more we raise and donate, the more kids there are that can get into the school.” In the past, Umphrey’s has helped raise enough funds to put at least 20 kids though the school’s music education program from the time they enroll until they graduate high school.
This will be the 11th year this annual charity event will taken place. Doors of the Park West will open early so attendees can participate in UM Holiday Garage Sale, where exclusive Umphrey’s merchandise will be available at steep discounts with part of the proceeds going to The People’s Music School. There will also be a raffle with prizes that include everything from restaurant gift cards to Summer Camp Music Festival tickets!
Tickets are currently on sale for the Annual Acoustic Holiday Show here and this event is guaranteed to sell out. They are currently accepting donations and raffle prizes so if you would like to contribute a prize or gift certificates, please email Barry Brown at UMcharityshow@gmail.com.
After all, it’s for the kids!
The Talking Heads‘ Stop Making Sense was a hugely successful concert film that redefined the live music experience in the 1980′s. While the movie was released almost 30 years ago, the show leaves an impression that will always feel contemporary. I remember watching the film over and over when I was a teenager, trying to figure out why I loved it so much. It wasn’t until I started writing this article that I finally saw Stop Making Sense as a piece of interactive artwork meant to feel more like a theatrical performance than a concert.
The film is structured like a story or a play with specific props and reactive characters. While the script of Stop Making Sense is made up of Talking Heads songs, the film’s purpose was not to showcase their music, but to incorporate it into what was happening on stage. More than almost any other band, The Talking Heads understood the visual element to their music.
Enter This Must Be The Band.
Formed in 2007, this young group of musicians only plays Talking Heads music. While they mostly stick to all request shows, in 2010 they finally decided to tackle Stop Making Sense. The goal of the performance is to replicate the concert movie note for note, scene for scene. While they try to limit the differences between their recreation and the film, a precise replication will never be achieved, nor should it.
On November 9th, for the fourth year in a row, TMBTB recreated Stop Making Sense in their home town of Chicago. The concert begins with Charlie Otto walking out onto an empty stage looking like a sales man, only he carries a boombox in his hand instead of a briefcase. In a convincing manner, informs us he has a tape he wants to play.
Otto then sells his pitch with the song, “Psycho Killer”.
This is the first time we are introduced to our main character’s neurosis. David Byrne, the original front man of the Talking Heads, is extremely hard to capture and over the years Otto has learned to nail this persona. At certain points in the song he seems to have no control over his body and a nervous energy forms as he awkwardly twitches across the stage. As an observer, you can’t help but connect with whatever it is that is so strange about him.
The scene evolves over the course of the next six songs. Equipment gets wheeled out, the crew sets the stage piece by piece, and the cast takes their places. Building the scene as the show progresses gradually increases the energy emitting from the stage. It is quite a process before the whole band is finally all there for the powerhouse hit ”Burning Down the House”. This evolution of the scene and deliberate emphasis on execution is much more obvious in real life when compared to the film. The fact that the stage production seems simple is very intentional and it showcases the avant garde elements of the show.
While watching this all unfold, I found myself extremely sensitive to what was happening on stage. Facial expressions, the way the band moves, and the way they interact with each other were more impressionable in the live setting than on film. Vocalists Kasey Foster and Trawny Newsome danced in sync with each other and with the rest of the band throughout the show. While this also takes place in the movie, watching the synchronicity in real life pulled together all the members on stage into a unit. By the time TMBTB slammed into “Life During Wartime”, the whole band and most of the audience was running in place. And, just like that, everyone in the room became invested in this performance.
Throughout Stop Making Sense, our main character neurotically controls how the show unfolds like the ringmaster of a circus. The show then feels like it’s losing control when he exits the stage for the Tom Tom Club’s ”Genius of Love”. A spotlight creates a larger than life shadow on the stage’s backdrop when he finally reenters the scene for the set’s next tune; “Girlfriend is Better”. As he emerges to the front of the stage, we notice his morphed silhouette is actually the result of a costume change into an oversize suit. This iconic large suit makes his head appear small and exaggerates his presence on stage.
Part of the reason TMBTB’s Stop Making Sense recreation is so successful is because it captures the art of the situation, the complexity of human interaction and a sensitivity to what is happening on stage. These things can not be duplicated from one performance to the next and they are very difficult to capture on film because camera angles and edits cut out a lot of these elements. When the show is recreated, tiny details of how each scene was put together stand out loud and clear.
While This Must Be The Band pays close attention to all these details, it is impossible to recreate the energy of a performance, no matter how many variables are controlled. This is not a bad thing, in fact, this is what makes Stop Making Sense a memorable performance worth experiencing over and over again.
Stop Making Sense Photos
Eliot Lipp has been on the top of my list of producers to always catch live ever since seeing him for the first time last year opening for Conspirator in Buffalo. It’s always an awesome feeling seeing someone for the first time and leaving jaw dropped. Since then I have seen him countless times, and each show has been its own unique experience. Eliot’s style is unlike any other, which makes him truly one of a kind.
Eliot’s smooth style has had venues across the world dancing their hearts our for over 8 years, and he’s bringing his unique beats to Chicago at the Aragon Ballroom opening for Pretty Lights on November 9th!
If you have never heard of Eliot Lipp, you are missing out! Check out this live clip:
I had the awesome opportunity to catch up with Eliot Lipp. Check out what he had to say!
Kyle – How did you start out producing?
Eliot - I gathered some hand-me-down gear from other producers, a sampler, a keyboard, drum machine etc…I pretty much taught myself how to make simple beats and then just kept progressing.
Kyle – I noticed you do a lot of stuff with your midi keyboard .. Do you improv at your shows?
Eliot - Yeah some songs have moments where I solo on the synth. I definitely don’t plan my sets out ahead of time, I like to play off the crowd’s energy so improv is important.
Kyle – You’re supporting Pretty Lights at the Aragon Theater in Chicago. What do you like best about playing larger venues?
Eliot - You get treated better at the bigger venues, sometimes it’s bad though because I’ll get spoiled after being on tour with PL or a bigger artist and then I go back to playing small clubs again and I’m like “where’s my spring water & organic kombucha”.
Kyle – How do you construct your set opening for someone such as Pretty Lights verse headlining your own show?
Eliot - I rehearse about 50 or so songs before I go out on tour so I have a large arsenal in the cue. Once I get on stage I start to decide what songs to begin with based on the vibe in the room and depending on the crowd’s response I’ll move the set in different directions.
Kyle – When did you sign with Pretty Lights music?
Eliot - A year & a half ago before Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake came out.
Kyle – You have a very unique sound. What are some of your biggest influences in your music?
Eliot – RJD2, The Alchemist, Mux Mool, Richie Hawtin, Daft Punk, Just Blaze, Jay Dilla, Flosstradamus, Kanye, Aphex Twin etc… I’ve been listening to lots of classical music this year too though, my favorite album lately is “The Four Seasons Recomposed by Max Richter”
Kyle – What is your favorite piece of equipment you use live?
Eliot - My Korg MS-20. It was the first analog synth I ever bought and it’s got an amazing tone.
Kyle – Do you often collaborate with other artists?
Eliot - Yes, I made a track with Wick-It last year, and me and Michal Menert made Gettin’ Money. And I have collabs with Mux Mool, Supervision and more coming up on my next album.
Kyle – You have been playing with a live band. What is your favorite part about that?
Eliot - Collaborating live, creating something completely unique at every show, improvising.
Kyle – How did the live band act come about?
Eliot - I met my drummer Cru Jones when he was playing in Michna’s live band a few years ago, and Nick Bockrath my guitarist has been on a bunch of bills with me in the past. I think stylistically the three of us really create a solid sonic palate.
Kyle – What is one of your all time favorite cities to play?
Eliot - Austin is probably #1, but I also love Minneapolis, Tacoma, San Francisco & Brooklyn.
Kyle – What are some activities you enjoy outside of the music world?
Eliot - I like Painting, and hiking, and eating.
Kyle – What’s your favorite food?
Eliot – Avacado!
Kyle – If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Eliot - It’d be fun to close down the golden gate bridge for a night and have a show there. Or maybe deep in the Olympic mountains, in the rainforest on a day that it doesn’t rain.
Kyle – Where do you see electronic music in 20 years?
Eliot – I think tablets, computers and midi controllers will be more fully realized as musical instruments. The “human” element in live compositions and performances will be much more advanced. I think what is now considered EDM will continue to evolve and fragment into new genres. The way we listen to music will evolve and we will become more accustomed the subtleties of sound texture. I think complex melodies will return to popular music and harmonies will replace the cheap sensation of giant sweeps and bass drops, songs will be guided more by their musicallity. Music is the universal language of raw human emotion, it’s how we understand each other culturally. Once a certain rhythm or melody has cultural relevance it can represent a new era & a new generation.
Kyle – What was your first gig like? Were you nervous?
Eliot - I was so nervous, it was in this warehouse on Chicago’s south side. I got physically sick because I was so freaked out.
Kyle – What’s your biggest advice for aspiring musicians?
Eliot - Be original, don’t lose your imagination.
If you are even on the fence about checking out the show on November 9th, or any Eliot Lipp show for that matter; do yourself a favor and go. You will not regret it! Check out other dates on Eliot Lipp’s current tour:
10/25 – The Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA
10/26 – New Earth Music Hall – Athens, GA
11/1 – Emo’s – Austin, TX
11/2 – Suwannee Hulaween – Live Oaks, FL
11/7 – Mojo’s – Columbia, MO
11/8 – 2720 Cheokee – St Louis, MO
11/9 – The Aragon Ballroom – Chicago, IL
11/29 – 1015 Folsom – San Fransisco, CA
12/4 – Shaka’s – Virginia Beach, VA
12/5 – The Camel – Richmond, VA
12/7 – The Park Bar – Detroit, MI
12/12 – Samana Lounge – Vail, CO
12/13 – Three20south – Breckenridge, CO
12/14 – Cervantes’ Other Side – Denver, CO
12/26 – Whiskey Jacques – Ketchum, ID
This is the story told by a girl who survived the Chicago Phish shows that took place in July of 2013.
I awoke Sunday morning feeling defeated. I sent a nasty text message to Sparkle Ass about her being a flake and it helped me feel a little better, but I couldn’t deny that this weekend was starting to kick my ass. Although my crash pad was convenient, I looked forward to sleeping in my comfy apartment in the middle of nowhere special.
This wasn’t fun anymore.
This weekend Phish will be taking over Chicago for a three night run at Northerly Island. With Saturday already sold out, Kuroda sporting a new light rig, and a completely revamped venue, this is bound to be a throwdown! But the party doesn’t stop there! Quite a few Summer Camp favorites are playing late night shows all around Chicago this weekend. Here’s a little heads up on some don’t-miss late nights for those of you heading to Phish….
Friday night the funk machine better known as Dumpstaphunk will be playing the House of Blues in Chicago. Their newest album, Dirty Word (available for pre-order), is about to drop at the end of the month, so this late night is guaranteed to get DIRTY!!! ”We are touring in support of the new Album, so people will definitely hear new material,” says drummer Nikki Glaspie. Not to mention that the HOB is one of the few venues in the Midwest to have a spring floor, which means you have no choice but to get down the minute the music starts and getting down is exactly what NOLA’s Dumpstaphunk is known for.
Chicago holds a special place in Dumpsta history. It was at the Mid back in 2011 that drummer, Nikki Glaspie, played her first show as an official member of Dumpstaphunk. In two short years she has brought the band to a whole other level. This late night will be a funky dance party through and through. What a great way to kick off the weekend!
If you are not familiar, Gamehenge was the setting of a musical masterpiece Trey Anastasio developed in college for his senior year project way back in 1987. It is basically the story of a man on a journey to get the goods. I won’t give away too much, but lets just say this album was the platform on which Phish was constructed. So in the same fashion that Phish grew into the beast it is today, Spread throws down some heavy improvisation in every song they play. They are guaranteed to split open the Hard Rock Cafe and we might even get a ”Wiiiillllllsoooon” tease thrown in the mix.
Finally, Summer Camp’s favorite late night act is doing what they do best by providing a Talking Heads dance party until the wee hours of the morning. This Must Be The Band will be playing Martyrs 7/20 and 7/21. Their first set on both Saturday and Sunday will be all request, where the loudest person in the crowd gets to choose what gets played next (so long as it’s Talking Heads music). The second set each night will be Speaking in Tongues, note by note. How neat is that?!
Needless to say, Summertime Chi is in full swing, SCampers! This weekend is going to be the type where the party just doesn’t stop…. So get out there and get your groove on!
Can you believe it’s almost here?! Getting ready for next weekend, let’s chat about a band you must see…
Maps & Atlases is based out of Chicago, and I had the opportunity to catch them this New Year’s Eve at Schubas in Lakeview. It was a blast. They even covered Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, and the place went nuts.
While being admittedly terrible at classifying music, I’d put them at folksy rock with a retro-vibe (seems legit, right?). Their latest album Beware and Be Grateful is a fantastic trip through soulful tunes mixed with upbeat dance grooves. Start with the song “Fever” and watch this beautiful video:
Maps & Atlases play Friday @ 7:00pm on the Campfire Stage. See you there!
Partial Setlist from 12/31/12 @ Schubas (It was News Years. For obvious reasons, I forgot to keep track after about 11pm : )
Old and Gray
- Remote & Dark Years
- Solid Ground
- Everybody Wants to Rule the World
There is nothing like the budding beauty of Chicago in the Spring and no more amazing of a place than Wrigleyville, home to the Chicago Cubs. Just round the corner from the home plate entrance to the renowned Wrigley Field is the go-to joint for Cubby fans year-round, aptly named the Cubby Bear. What better way to kick off the 2013 Scamp season with a lil’ pre-fest shindig than with a pre-jam with two members from one of Summer Camp’s headlining jam legends.
Ohhhh mama, that’s right! Jake Cinniger and Brendan Bayliss of Umphrey’s McGee are planning on tearing down the Cubsters house May 9th to make sure you Scampers have your game face on for 2013! And they won’t be alone in laying down the shiz and amping the Chi-town scene for what’s to come. They’ll have a little help from one of Chicago’s own, Zmick, a four piece prog rock band whose sound is dubbed ‘dungeon funk’! If you haven’t allowed your ears the hypnotic pleasure of taking in the multi-layered bass-laden grooves of these boys, then do yourself a favor– DO IT NOW!! (If you love UM, you’ll dig Zmick and I say this as a hardcore prog. rock bass head)
Just a little jammage to get us all toasty before the big party! Rock Balls!
I was more pumped for this show than I’ve been for a long time. It’s been several years since I last saw Terrapin Flyer and it takes me back to the college days when I first started really expanding my musical boundaries at places like the now closed Kinetic Playground. And what could enhance this grateful dead experience more than adding Mark Karan of Ratdog and Melvin Seals of the Jerry Garcia Band!
Another reason to be excited was the venue. I fondly remember Martyr’s for being home to a weekly cornmeal show while I was in college and was excited to be seeing one of my favorite members Wavy Dave!
I showed up to the sold out show about half way through the first set and the crowd was going absolutely nuts. Everyone dancing and singing, smiles on every face , and it was easy to see why! The sounds of the grateful dead filled the room as Mark Karan and Melvin Seals showed off everything they had learned and cultivated while touring with Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia.
The most memorable part of the show to me was Melvin Seals. The ease with which he seems to play the keys is unbelievable. Unbelievable music comes from what seems to be little to no effort. It literally looks like his arms and hands aren’t even moving sometimes! Unreal. The man is truly stands out in the show and adds a layer to the Dead’s music that could only have come from playing with Jerry for 15 years.
The members comprising Terrapin Flyer at this show were:
Wavy Dave Burlingame – Bass
Mark Karan – Lead Guitar
Melvin Seals – Hammond B3
JP Nowak – Drums
Doug Hagman – Rhythm Guitar
Set 1 –> Harder They Come, TLEO, Big River, Brother John, Waiting For A Miracle, Good Morning Lil Schoolgirl#, Dear Prudence#, Breadbox (# Kris Nowak on guitar)
Set 2 –> Shakedown@ > Thats What Love Will Make You Do@, Drove Ol Dixie Down, Highway 61, Tore Up, Lucky Ole Sun, Lovelight, OMSN (@ Janis Wallin on bass and Jim Farmer on drums)
E –> Sugaree
Inspiration takes many forms. What motivates one musician may tire and bore the next. While Lera Lynn and the Wood Brothers primary motivator surely is bringing heartfelt music to the masses, one thing they also share is a healthy obsession with whiskey. Whether the Lion’s Pride Rye helped whet the whistle of Ms. Lynn, or let’s Chris perform his interpretive dance moves any easier is for the audience to judge. However, a few things were laid on the line the day after Halloween when they played Chicago’s Lincoln Hall. Foremost, these performers formed for a 8 night tour in November a symbiotic relationship nary seen these days on a bill. They seemed to feed off the energy and genuine good nature which made what went down all that more special for those in attendance.
Lera Lynn set list: Happy Ever After, Comin’ Down,I’m Your Fool,Refrain,The Frey,Fly,You & Me Alone, Bobby, Baby, Standing on the Moon
Lera Lynn, the darling from Athens, GA can play her custom converted ’57 Kay acoustic like she sold a piece of her soul to a fiddle playing Beelzebub. Her slender frame hides a powerful voice that carried over the hushed crowd of four hundred respectful Chicagoan’s. There were no catcall’s, only appreciation for a throwback to a different era. One that is undoubtedly popular, but increasing removed from the radio scene which is a shame. June Carter, Patsy Cline, Lera Lynn? She is that talented and at the same time bashfully humble. She jested to the crowd what a treat it was to play with the Brothers Wood due to their unknowing grandeur and renown. Modest to a fault she sings about feelings larger than herself, but that have touched her profoundly in her short time on earth. The good one’s can pull a lyric from a simple chord much like a wizard in a Potter movie pulls a memory from the ear of a student at Hogwart’s.
Rocking back in forth in her high heeled boots and knee length dress she is comfortable engaging people and letting them see a glimpse. It could be the drinks ordered from her adoring fans sent stage side that loosens her lips, but she quickly finds a melody and like her journey to date elevates to echelons normally not expected to be heard from a potty mouthed bourbon drinking southerner. Yes, she curses like a sailor but where it could be thought crass on some for some reason it isn’t this night. The dichotomy in stage presence and song penmanship aside the women has a way about her and captures the ear and eye of all in the room as they gaze at a concoction of sassy sweet and sultry sounds. The name of her recent album “Have You Met Lera Lynn?” begs a worthy question. If not I suspect you will soon. Her cracked rear view mirror isn’t as omnipotent as Hootie’s, but her busted front windshield and tour with the Wood Brothers should make her a household name soon enough.
Wood Brothers set list: Sing About It, Up Above My Head, Atlas, Pay Attention, Twisted, Neon, Postcards From Hell, Spirit, Honey Jar, Fox On The Run, I Got Loaded, Mary Anna, One More Day, Glad, Down, Shoofly Pie. E: Luckiest Man, PYT (w/ Lera Lynn)
The Wood Brothers, Chris and Oliver, brought their soulful sibling harmonization as well as their shiutar player, Jano Rix, to the friendly confines of Lincoln Hall for the night. Although they now call New York and Atlanta their respective home these days their roots as well as instrumentation track back to growing up in Boulder. Bluesy folk goodness emanates from Chris’ upright bass as he tells the crowd that Chicago truly is his favorite town. There is Oliver jesting “there he goes”, but there’s an tone of honesty in his voice just like the music that makes even the most skeptical mind believe.
On “Postcards from Hell” lyrics tell of a bluesman who won’t flinch in the eye of temptation and plays his music for the necessities in life and sheer desire. The song epitomizes what I can only believe was a man the brothers came across in the travels and found in him a kindred spirit to which they could relate.
“You never heard a soul so pure and true
It’s flowin’ right out of his hands
He can sing sweet as a choir girl
Or he can sing a house on fire
I’ve seen him callin’ up the angels
And use a breeze for a telephone wire”
If the brothers are the personification of whiskey drinking angels then its the perfect juxtaposition to the openers “cursory” notes. Although you know its not as easy as it seems the chord progressions and time changes effortlessly synch perfectly like the brothers knew they were meant to travel the land spreading good music throughout.
If your faith is still undetermined then Oliver has some advice for you…give it “One More Day”. It’s during this ditty that he and Chris let loose during a solo portion and let the music take them as they take turns using their bass and guitar respectfully as dance partners. Chris straddles his upright as Oliver takes a solo and crouches down like the music is in his gut trying to get out and find a good home.
It’s clear that this is their congregation. During the encore they bring out a cover of ”Pretty Young Thing” performed aptly with the backing vocals of Lera Lynn complete with whiskey in tow. When these brothers were young they were prodigies in the company of mentors. Now that they are settling into life, but still young at heart, its apparent that like fine whiskey their music is getting better with age.
Okay, okay…so you missed the last few shows because you were tired and hungover from a long night of Apples to Apples and PBRs or you just couldn’t wrangle up the $100 and a few days off work to get your booty on the dance floor. We can’t make ‘em all that’s for sure. Luckily, rock gods and Summer Camp veterans Umphrey’s McGee has you covered. Always on the forefront of keeping you in tune (even when your snuggled up on the couch with a bag of Fritos and a cold one), Umphyrey’s McGee is known for their technological prowess in the music scene. From live-streaming to their infamous UmBowls where attendees can text in their favorite song to the band and hear it live mashed up into one of their progressive funk jams– these boys don’t skip a beat and keep their fans on their toes and in the game at all times.
So, if you couldn’t make it out to the Congress Theater in Chicago– no worries. Starting in just 10 short minutes, Umphrey’s McGee will be live-streaming the entire show complete with behind-the-scenes snapshots and interviews. So, click open a new tab, grab those pork rind and pour a glass of Chardonnay because this Sunday is about to melt your face! Couch tour starts NOW!