- 'Cosmos' is back with new host for new generation
- Eight is Enough: Gentleman's Rule, minus two, ready for new tour and PBS TV special
- OFFBEAT: Local theater director reminds 'Johnny Cash' is a 'local boy'
- Nudist Colonies local and from afar looking for younger skin and new members
- IN TUNE: A wonderful concert for families
RSSLocal Scene By Tom Lounges
Lounges looks at the latest projects of local musicians and bands and lets people know about upcoming musical events.
The third annual “Mike Ratley Memorial Rock & Roll Benefit Concert” named for longtime Highland resident and regional musician Mike Ratley happens at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1400 South Broad Street, Griffith, IN on Saturday (March 8) from 6 pm to midnight. All ages are welcome.
Mike Ratley played drums in a variety of Northwest Indiana club bands over the years. He was a member of The Alley Cats when he died at age 52 in November of 2011 of complications due to diabetes. Friends remember him as a devoted family man, an accomplished musician and avid fisherman.
“His death made us all realize how fleeting life can be and how much our friends enrich our lives on a daily basis,” explained his wife Rita Ratley in a written statement. “In an effort to keep Mike’s spirit alive, we decided to sponsor a fund raiser in his honor to raise money for diabetes related charities that has now become an annual event. As music was a lifelong passion of Mike’s, we knew the event would feature music provided by friends and acquaintances, giving us all a positive occasion to remember our fallen colleague and not wait until the ‘next funeral’ to meet again.”
In recent years, Derek St. Holmes had been a key component of the “Voices of Rock” national tour that united famous singers behind famous radio hits; and rightfully so, since it was St. Holmes’ indelible voice that powered Ted Nugent’s biggest hits.
That legendary voice will be unleashed on Sunday at Chicago Street Theatre as promoter Paul Braun pulls a real rabbit out of the hat with this latest installment of his “One Night Jam” concert series.
“I've always had the notion of doing a concert with Derek in the back of my mind, but never thought it would work since we're not set up for an electric rock band, certainly not one like Derek's,” said Braun. “As it turns out, Derek enjoys the challenge of playing his hits acoustically. He’d been told about our unplugged series and was willing to work with me to make something happen. Coincidentally, he was free on March 2, so the show I thought would never happen is actually happening.”
The South Side’s most eclectic music club -- FitzGerald’s at 6615 W. Roosevelt in
Berwyn -- continues to celebrate its 33rd anniversary by bringing two favorite artists back for consecutive nights of great music hot enough to melt away all memories of recent snow storms and frigid weather.
The Marcia Ball Band will fire up the venue’s “20th Annual Jambalaya Cook-Off” first on March 3. Next up is C. J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band to give Fat Tuesday on March 4 a true Louisiana flavor.
Northwest Indiana author and songwriter Ken Churilla is among the Chicagoland celebrities dancing their way closer to a cancer cure next month as Arthur Murray Presents “The Dancing with Chicago Celebrities - Pink Carpet Premiere” ninth annual charity ball to fight against breast cancer. The all-star 7pm event happens March 7 at Hyatt Regency Chicago (151 E. Wacker Drive).
Net proceeds benefit the Northwestern Memorial Foundation, directed to an innovative research effort focused on a breast cancer vaccine trial, and Imerman Angels, a non-profit group helping provide 1-on-1 support among cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers.
Among those stepping out on the ballroom floor is Highland, Indiana native/resident Ken Churilla, a long time local/national music journalist this columnist once mentored, who is also a songwriter by night and the Director of Marketing for Balmoral Park by day.
This Sunday afternoon at 3pm, a story that began 58 years ago with a Christmas gift that changed the life of a young boy will come to life in the very city where it all began, as “The Signal: A Rhapsody” is presented on stage at The Gary Aquatorium on the lakefront of Gary’s Marquette Park.
That young boy was Henry Farag whose sleepy eyes opened wide when he un-wrapped an old-fashioned crystal radio on a frigid Christmas morning in 1956.
“The Signal: A Rhapsody” is a live family-friendly musical presentation featuring the legendary groups The Soul Stirrers (the backing group for Chicago R&B icon Sam Cooke) and The Spaniels (famous for one of the most radio-played oldies of all time, “Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight”), along with Farag’s own doo-wop revivalist group, Stormy Weather. Tickets are $10.
Love ‘em or loath ‘em, The Beatles forever changed the pop music and culture when a flight from London to New York City brought them to American soil on February 9, 1964 for their first U.S. television appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
“There will never be another Beatles,” said Chad Clifford of regional band, The Crawpuppies, whose sound is owes much to The Beatles. “The fragmented, disposable structure of the music business, radio and media today has made another Beatles impossible. When there were only a few network channels and a few major radio stations, a group like the Beatles could have an impact. It was popular music’s ‘perfect storm’ we will never see again.”
Storm is a perfect word for it. “Beatlemania” as it came to be called hit American shores like a hurricane 50 years ago this month when four lovable Liverpudlians – John, Paul, George and Ringo -- in matching suits and sporting mop top haircuts enticed 73 million people to tune in CBS-TV to watch “The Ed Sullivan Show.” That’s 12 million more than had watched Elvis Presley’s first performance on the same program just 8 years earlier.
Today’s column is about a skinny kid from Berwyn, Illinois who has mined a considerable amount of precious metal over the years, both gold and platinum. Not with a pick-ax, but rather with a pen, a notepad and a piano.
Jim Peterik’s walls are full of gold and platinum albums and there is even a Grammy Award to underscore the songwriting skills he has mastered over the decades since his teenage girlfriend (now wife) Karen inspired him to scribble down some words on paper about how he felt he was being used as a private taxi.
Once put to music and with the help of one of the most instantly recognized horn parts in rock history, those scribbled words became the first number one single of Peterik’s career as recorded by his band, The Ides of March, who this year celebrate their 50th anniversary together.
One can hope party rock band The Crawpuppies busts out some Village People and leads the capacity crowd in a rousing “YMCA” cheer on Saturday at the County Line Apple Orchard in Hobart.
The popular Hoosier quartet along with Chicago’s Mr. Blotto band will be pumping out tunes while brew masters pump out savory craft beers at “Brews in the Barn,” benefitting Hobart YMCA’s annual “Changing Lives” campaign, which helps offset child care, membership expenses and program fees for less fortunate residents.
“We have DJ Tonycue from 5 to 7pm spinning vinyl. The Crawpuppies take the stage at 7pm and Mr. Blotto ends the night with a 3-hour set starting at 9pm,” explained Scott Mockler, Vice President of the Board of Director for the Hobart YMCA.
“It’s just four friends out having fun,” said regional rocker Jack Adams when contacted about a Northwest Indiana gig on Saturday that has Facebook buzzing. The reunion by his mid-1990s band – Monkey Cocktail – is “just a chance to play some old songs with old friends. It’s a night for nostalgia.”
One thing always bankable in regards to local rock ‘n’ roll, is Adams delivers a strong performance every time he steps on stage and the lights go up. He has the kind of personality that demands attention and stands out in any room with any crowd. Ask this columnist sometime about my first meeting with a then teenage Adams who heckled me from the audience at a high school event I hosted. Ahhhh…nostalgia indeed…but I digress.
Adams rose to local fame right out of high school in the mid-1980s as vocalist and rhythm guitarist for region glam-rock group Sgt. Roxx, where his natural showmanship made him an instant crowd pleaser and club favorite.
The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll’s music, memory and legacy will be remembered for the 27 consecutive year by those who knew him, those inspired by him and those who will never forget him or the impact Elvis Presley made on pop culture.
Northwest Indiana concert promoter Omar Farag has once again teamed up an amazing collective of performers to cover all the eras of Presley’s career – from Elvis’ early Hillbilly Cat-era, to the chart-topping ‘50s and early ‘60s period (including the movie years), to his black leather return to glory in 1968, and the triumphant Las Vegas years of the early 1970s.
“We close the birthday show with Elvis of the early 1970s, when he was in good health and at his best as a performer,” said Shawn Klush, who wraps up the multi-artist concert while sporting Presley’s trademark white jumpsuit and tossing out some well-time karate moves during tunes like “Polk Salad Annie,” “Burnin’ Love,” “American Trilogy” and “If I Can Dream.” (www.shawnklush.net)
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