RSSLocal Scene By Tom Lounges
Lounges looks at the latest projects of local musicians and bands and lets people know about upcoming musical events.
Free live blues music returns to Munster this summer several years after the popular but costly annual “Munster Blues Fest” held at the Town Hall Municipal Complex on Ridge Road came to an end.
Though not a multi-day event like its predecessor, tonight’s “Bluesin’ Into Summer” 7 p.m. concert at the beautiful Centennial Park Entertainment Stage is a free to the public, all ages event. A beer garden is available to those 21 and older and folks are welcome to bring blankets, folding chairs, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages along as they enjoy open air live blues performances by guitarist/vocalist Billy King, The Chicago Kingsnakes and The Wayne Baker Brooks Band.
Wayne Baker Brooks is an international recording and touring artist and also a son of Chicago blues icon, Lonnie Brooks, a veteran show-stopper who had performed on the Town Hall steps during the original Munster Blues Fest years.
On May 29, Midwest music icon, Marvin Junior died of complications from longtime kidney and heart ailments. He was 77.
For over a half century Junior’s baritone voice was the cornerstone of The Dells, the hit-making rhythm-and-blues vocal group from Harvey, Ill. formed in the early 1950s when its members were students at Thornton Township High School. The group honed their famous harmonies by singing under the local highway overpass.
The Dells found international success and were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 after recording over two dozen albums and enjoying a string of radio hits including “Oh What A Night,” “Stay In My Corner,” “I Touched A Dream,” “Give Your Baby a Standing Ovation,” and others. Junior was co-author of the #1 hit “Oh What A Night.”
In the many years of doing this column, I have written on all styles of music, but had never focused my attention on the genre of “scum pop.”
The flattering term was recently coined by region quintet Shilo who headline a multi-band 9 p.m. show tonight at The Beat Kitchen (2100 West Belmont) in Chicago. Open to a 17 and older audience, the bill also features the bands More Gorgeous, Departures and The Flips. Cost: $10.
“People kept calling us things we didn't feel we were, and we'd rather box ourselves in than let someone else do it,” explained guitarist/vocalist Alex Reindl on the “scum pop” tag which the band feels encompasses the folk, pop, punk and grunge elements found on Shilo’s two full length Shilo CDs – 2011’s “All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers” and the new “Mrs.”
From the ashes of his last group 3 Peace, veteran bassist Mike Vetromila has risen like a phoenix with a new project. Staying with the trio format, Vetromila has assembled The Hot Rod Heathens with drummer Patrick Mulloy (ex-Purple Rose Gang) and guitarist/trumpeter/vocalist Jordan Gross (ex-Biscuit & The Mix and The Big Dog Mercer Band).
“We’re doing what we call ‘rock and roll-a-billy blues’, which is a blend of each members’ individual background -- rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, country and blues,” explained Vetromila.
“I come from a background of rockabilly and doo-wop styles, which has greatly influenced the new band’s sound,” he continued. “Jordan has a powerful blues background but along with B.B. King, Jordan was also greatly influenced by rockabilly guitarist Brian Setzer (of Stray Cats fame). Patrick brings a country/roots rock influence to The Hot Rod Heathens and had been the original drummer for Three Peace. He had left the line up early on because he had to relocate for a job. Now that he’s back in Northwest Indiana, it’s great to be playing with Patrick again,” said Vetromila of his Heathens rhythm partner. “The three of us together have created a pretty unique sound and set list.”
Northwest Indiana's music community lost another beloved member of its ranks May 4, when veteran music maker Jack Adams Sr., 75, of Highland, passed away.
Adams was known as “Sidewalk" to his childhood friends from East Chicago and as "Big Jack" to those in the local music scene where he played drums for more than 30 years as a member of two popular dance hall bands, The Carpetbaggers and A Little Night Music. Adams’ love of music and his passion for playing was passed on to his son, Jack Adams Jr., formerly the lead vocalist and guitarist with the region rock groups Sgt. Roxx and Monkey Cocktail. The younger Adams presently sings and plays guitar with area rock band Boys Are Mean (B.A.M.).
While I am sure everyone that knew him will have a special memory, what I will most remember about Big Jack Adams was his big smile, good humor, and upbeat greetings. “Tommy Lounges! How’s things?”, he’d say in a way that conveyed he really wanted to know and honestly cared. Such a greeting was often followed by chats about music, about family and about why I should take up golfing. You see aside from being passionate about music, Adams was passionate about golf. He owned and operated The Golf Locker for many years in Highland’s Sir James Court, in the very same storefront once home to Highland Records where I had worked in the days of my youth.
Have you ever heard of Snarky Puppy? Neither had I until earlier this week.
Thanks to an email from region resident Denise Lynch, a loyal reader of “The Local Scene” column each week in The Times, I recently turned on to this instrumental ensemble whose jazz, funk, R&B and rock hybrid sound is lightly seasoned with a variety of world music grooves with the flavors of Brazil, Puerto Rico, Africa and the Middle East.
Formed in 2005 by jazz students from the University of North Texas and currently based in New York, Snarky Puppy has a region connection in percussionist and original member Nate Werth, who credits his being a professional musician to having supportive parents, the positive influence of older brother Nick Werth, and many great teachers along the way.
The world lost two icons of folk music last week, starting April 22 when news broke of guitarist/vocalist Richie Havens, who with a strum on his guitar in the farm field in upstate New York, kicked off a history-making musical weekend as the opening act of Woodstock died of a heart attack. He was 72. Havens frequently performed at Chicago’s revered Old Town School of Folk Music before standing room only audiences. He will be missed.
Closer to home and certainly closer to the heart of the Chicagoland music community, came word on April 26 of the death of “the godfather of Chicago folk music,” Earl J.J. Pionke. Pionke, 80, the owner of the legendary Earl Of Old Town folk club died following a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Pionke was an important figure in the folk music scene of Chicago’s Old Town district in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Although the Earl of Old Town at 1615 North Wells Street, closed its doors more than 30 years ago, for decades it was a launch pad for the careers of countless folk singer/songwriters. It’s became one of the nation’s most famous folk music venues, a place all the big names in folk music came to play.
Northwest Indiana’s Bad Cadillac has been rocking every Sunday night for the past several months at Goodfellas Bar & Grill in Cedar Lake, but this Sunday will be an extra special night for the nearly two-year-old quintet and their fan base.
On Sunday, Goodfellas - 11200 West 129th Ave. – (219) 374-6700 – is the site for the official CD Release Party for Bad Cadillac’s long awaited debut album, “Dance the Night Away,” recorded over the winter months at The Spot Studio in Schneider with producer John Huber.
“We’ve had a busy year recording and playing and making music,” reported keyboardist Bill Hayden. The first video for their lead single, “Fade to Rust,” has gotten more than 100,000 views in the short time since being uploaded to the Internet, according to Hayden.
It is with sadness I report the passing of longtime drummer Anthony “Tony” Nicoletto, 65, of Valparaiso. Tony was a well respected and well known member of the regional music community for many years.
I first met Tony when he was doing artist management and regional concert promoting. Over the years, I came to learn a lot about the music business from my discussions with him. Tony’s knowledge of musical artists, especially those from the 1960s was so keen I would often in the early days of my writing, call upon him to reference my articles pertaining to that era. Tony came to my aid with his knowledge as recently as late last year, when I was preparing to guest on a radio program and wanted to double check some details about bands from the ‘60s “Garage Rock” era.
Nicoletto had a great ear for talent and was passionate about music. He advised and mentored many young Northwest Indiana talents; even aiding a few in getting their original music heard by record companies.
When Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert died last week at the age of 70, this columnist immediately flashed back when my job included sharing downtown film screenings with Ebert, his then rival/partner Gene Siskel, and other media folks. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, along with covering popular music, my writing output included film features and reviews for this newspaper and other publications.
As a single parent at the time, my daughter Sarah would sometimes tag along for screenings of PG-rated children’s films. At the preview screening of 1990’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” as the lights rose at the conclusion Ebert spied five-year-old Sarah and called out.
“Excuse me, would you mind telling me what you thought of the movie?” he softly asked. I will never forget the sight of Sarah sitting with the famous media icon and expressing her feelings about the four masked heroes in a half-shell (Leonardo was her favorite!), the kindly rat Master Splinter, evil mastermind Shredder and his Foot Soldier minions. What a classic Kodak moment and me without a camera.
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