The Bodeans have been Midwest rock perennials since their 1983 when they broke out of Waukesha, Wisconsin and stole across the border and became a major part of the Chicago music community and ultimately a national success story with their break out 1985 debut LP, “Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams.”
Powered by a string of hits – “Good Things,” “You Don’t Get Much,” “Stay,” “American,” “All The World,” “Closer To Free” -- and seemingly endless energy, these 30-year regional music veterans will ring in yet another year this December 31st with guitars in hand on stage at The Copernicus Center (5216 West Lawrence Avenue) in Chicago at the official WXRT 93 FM New Year’s Eve Bash.
Opening the show will be The Westies, the new full on electric band project anchored by renown Chicago singer/songwriters Michael McDermott and Heather Horton, also featuring members John Pirruccelo, Mike Davidov, Robert Dickie and Dan Ingenthron. More info and tix at: www.copernicuscenter.org or (773) 777-8898.
Although there will be plenty of champagne drinking, dancing and reveling taking place all across Chicagoland in clubs, pubs and bars, here are a couple of options close to home to consider that sound like fun.
Front Porch Music (505 East Lincolnway) in Valparaiso – as much a social gathering place for local musicians as it is a school and retailer – once again offers a place for the “under 21 crowd” to ring in the new year.
“Our annual New Year's Eve Open Stage (8pm) will be hosted by Mami Matsuda, and yes it will be a pajama party again,” notes FPM owner Chad Clifford. “Come in your favorite pj's and slippers. There will be a toast with non-alcoholic champagne at midnight.” This event usually focuses on under 21 performers, many being students of the school. Artist sign-up starts at 7:30pm with a $4 (performer) and $5 (patron) cover. More: (219) 464-4700.
Those 21 and older might want to thaw out from the unseasonably cold winter the region has been having by “going tropical” at the “Cheeseburger in Paradise NYE Party” at St. Mary’s Hildebrandt Hall in Griffith featuring the classic rock party band, Mr. Funnyman. “This will be a fun evening,” said event promoter Garry Mang who encourages revelers wear beach attire like flowers shirts, sandals and shorts. “All the cheeseburgers you can eat, served until 11:30pm with a champagne toast and giant balloon drop ($20 advance/$25 at door).” Doors open at 7:30pm. A cash bar for margaritas and draft beer is available. More: (219) 712-6419.
• The news of Chicago radio personality Larry Lujack’s death after a long battle with cancer is of great sadness. Mr. Lujack’s biography – “Superjock” – was a major inspiration to me personally in pursuing my dream of becoming a radio “jock,” which has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of my ever-evolving career in the entertainment field. Thanks Larry for being the voice that kept me company while delivering The Times as a teenager in the 1970s and for unwittingly inspiring me to chase the microphone. If there’s a rock ‘n’ roll heaven…Ol’ Uncle Lar is there tossing a record on the turntable to keep St. Pete’s toe tappin’!
• Chicago-based rock duo THADDEUS PROJECT’s sixth career album, “Sweet Dreams,” is an 8-song set of original songs deserving attention. Although this writer has enjoyed earlier TP albums, this is TP’s best overall effort to date from the creative partnership of guitarists/composers TED PUTBRESS and GLENN FOLWARSKI.
Their flowing prog-rock meets folk-rock sound is accented perfectly with lead vocals by Folwarski that are reminiscent of vintage Cat Stevens with just a hint of the Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward.
Highlights are “Rain on the Roses,” “Ghost of Dawn” (featuring backing vocals from Tiffany Rafdahl), and the tasty classical guitar instrumental “Walk in the Breeze.” Hear the music at: www.thadeusproject.com
• Chicago virtuoso guitar shredder Michael Angelo Batio has released “Intermezzo” featuring all new original music featuring Batio’s signature style of mixed meters, great melodies, and strong arrangements, along with guest solos from many of his famous friends, including George Lynch, Michael Romeo, Jeff Loomis, Craig Goldy, Chris Poland, Joe Stump, Andrea Martongelli, Max Carlisle, and Annie Grunwald. More: www.angelo.com.
• Veteran Chicagoland musician Ralph Covert -- the star and namesake of the musical children’s project, Ralph’s World -- has announced the pilot episode of his new PBS-TV series “Ralph’s World: Time Machine Guitar” has just been released on DVD.
“Chicago's public television station, WTTW, will be our presenting station within the American Public Television distribution network for a Fall 2014 launch of the series,” said Covert of the first full season of the program. “The pilot was shot in Charlottesville, Virginina, but we will be shooting the series here in Chicago.” The new DVD and all Ralph's World CDs, DVDs, and books are available at: www.waterdogmusic.com/store. Times readers can see behind the scenes video of making “Ralph’s World: Time Machine Guitar” online at: www.timemachineguitar.com/430
• On December 27th, Lakeshore Public Radio’s locally-produced radio program “Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges” shines a spotlight on Chicago-rooted classic rockers STYX with a radio special featuring the band’s music and interviews with band members. The program airs at 6pm and again at 12am CST on 89.1FM and streamed live at: www.lakeshorepublicradio.org/radio.
A free public holiday music and light show happens outside of the Indiana Welcome Center building nightly through Sunday, January 5, with five presentations beginning 5 minutes after each hour from 5:05 to 9:05pm. The 15-minute light show is coordinated with holiday music played via 89.9 FM on their car radio. More: 219-989-7770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.