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Flickerstick loves Chicago and the city loves it right back, according to the band's lead singer and founding member, Brandin Lea.

"Chicago is always the very best for us," said Lea when asked what cities outside of their native Texas treats members best.

"The Metro and the Double Door shows in Chicago stand out to me. And I really enjoyed Manchester in the U.K. Those would be my two favorite cities to play."

Though not exactly a household name, Flickerstick may set off a few small bells in one's head. Especially if one is a frequent watcher of the VH1 music television channel.

This Denton, Texas-based rock group -- formed in the mid-1990s by high school friends Brandin Lea (lead singer/guitarist) and Cory Kreig (guitarist/keyboardist) -- got their 15 minutes of national fame promised by Andy Warhol in 2000, after winning a VH1 talent/reality series called, "Bands On The Run."

Rounding out the VH1 version of the modern rock group were drummer Dominic Weir, guitarist/vocalist Rex James Ewing and bassist Fletcher Lea (Brandin's brother). Weir and Kreig have been replaced by drummer Todd Harwell and guitarist Tim Locke, respectively.

"I had a nonblood uncle, a veteran of the Vietnam War, and when Fletcher and I were little, he turned us on to Hendrix, the Beatles, the Stones and the whole '60s kind of scene," said Lea of how he came to chase the dream of rock 'n' roll stardom. "I just always wanted to play in a band after that, since I was about 10."

After beating out several thousand bands and receiving millions of called-in votes from VH1 viewers, Flickerstick landed a recording contract with Epic Records which re-mixed, re-mastered and re-released "Welcoming Home the Astronauts," an album the group had self-financed and self-released two years earlier.

The reissued album, which included two newly recorded bonus tracks, debuted at No. 2 on the "Billboard Heatseekers" chart and garnered favorable CD reviews in major trade publications. But despite such a respectable start, disappointing sales prompted Epic to unceremoniously drop the band from its roster just a year later.

Back in the indie rock world again, the determined members continued to tour hard and release product, while forging ahead.

A live concert CD ("Causing A Catastrophe") came out in 2002, followed a year later by the EP/DVD combo project, "To Madagascar and Back."

Those releases were designed to help keep the band's name alive and generate revenue while Flickerstick continued to tour, thank to sponsorships from Jagermeister and Camel Cigarettes.

The group's official sophomore album, "Tarantula," was recorded in Chicago with producer Keith Cleversly (Flaming Lips, Hum) and released in 2004 on the Dallas-based Idol Records.

Flickerstick's nonstop touring since winning "Bands On the Run," has made them quite a polished and popular live act, as evidenced on their new (released April 3) concert album, "Live From Atlanta!"

The 12-track CD was recorded during a two-day, fan-invited recording weekend in September 2006 at Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta, Ga. (a facility used by everyone from Elton John to Outkast) in front of 150 fans each night.

"Live From Atlanta!" features six new, never-before-heard tracks recorded live during those sessions, plus one nonlive studio track that has been released to radio as the new Flickerstick single, "Helicopter." As a bonus, the band included three CD-ROM video tracks on the disc for the new single "Helicopter," and for the older fan favorites, "Beautiful" and "Coke."


"Flickerstick" with Calhoun, July Fourth and The Year After

When: Doors open at 7:30 p.m., showtime at 8:30 p.m. today

Where: The Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Cost: $14 general admission (21 and older)

FYI: (773) 489-3160