Genre-bending group SomeKindaWonderful broke out in a big way this summer after the band's self-titled debut album spawned the Top 20 hit single “Reverse” and its video directed by Marc Klasfeld (Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers) became an Internet hit.
“We’re a spectacle, like a circus. It's just real entertainment,” said vocalist Jordy Towers of the tour that brings them Sunday to Chicago’s House of Blues. "We’re not just dudes standing there with guitars and singing. It’s a real show. It’s a soulful circus. We’re a grunge-soul band, we’re grimy and dirty and in your face but we’re beautiful. Expect the unexpected.”
On the topic of things unexpected, the quick success of that first single seems to have taken Towers and his band mates - Matt Gibson (guitar), Ben Schigel (drums), Justin Andres (bass/keys) and Sarah Dryer (vocals/percussion) – by surprise. “I don’t think anyone’s ever written a song backwards before,” he said of writing ‘Reverse.’ “It was the first song we wrote together as a band, the night we met. That was the song we wrote and we didn’t even know each other. We met in the bar writing that song. It kind of set the tone for us. Before we even thought of putting out a single or doing anything, that was our song.”
The success of “Reverse” and the first album has put SomeKindaWonderful in the fast lane as they share the current leg of their U.S. tour with the bands New Politics and Bad Suns.
“I am my best self with these guys and this music. It’s been like therapy for me I guess, which is kind of cliché to say, but it really has,” concluded Towers. “It’s like - ‘We got this.’ It just feels really great and liberating.” More: somekindawonderful.com.
• Now that the “The Soundtrack of Summer” tour with Foreigner and Don Felder has concluded, STYX is doing a series of solo dates with one of those performances Dec. 5 at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond. More: styxworld.com.
• Front Porch Music in Valparaiso (505 E. Lincolnway) welcomes folk singer Anne Hills to the region for an all ages 8 p.m. coffee-clutch concert on Friday. Tickets: $15. More: (219) 464-4700 or frontporchmusic.com.
Hills is one of the better known voices of the contemporary folk music scene having received awards and recognition for her live performances and her solo and collaborative recording projects with artists like folk legend Tom Paxton, who personally ranks Hills as one of his favorite songwriters. More: annehills.com.
• Local singer/songwriter Josh Holmes has wrapped up work on his latest album of original tunes - “Thinking Out Loud” - and is gearing up for a big release concert on Nov. 26 at the Lake County Fairgrounds Industrial Building to celebrate. Watch for more on Josh in this column once I wrap my ears around the new songs and chat with the long time region music man. Until then: joshholmes.net.
• Although a native New York rocker still based in the Big Apple, Willie Nile has become a regional favorite through frequent visits to NW Indiana venues like Front Porch and Memorial Opera House. Nile’s new album, “If I Was a River,” came out this week and is rather out of character for the fiery guitar rocker with 10 tracks of piano ballads.
“I’ve wanted to do an album of piano songs for some time,” said Nile. “I’ve got drawers full of songs of all kinds, but these piano songs are close to my heart, and it felt like it was the right time to let them out. I love the simplicity of just sitting at a piano and singing a song and I first started out in music playing the piano. Sometimes less is more, and this just seemed like one of those times. Doing this album was liberating.” More: willienile.com
• Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens will guest Tuesday at 6 p.m. on 89.1FM-Lakeshore Public Radio’s “Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges.” The former garbage man turned rocker who founded the New Jersey-based group in 1980 will chat about the group’s career, share stories behind some of their songs and about what fans can expect to see and hear when The Smithereens perform a 7:30 p.m. concert at Memorial Opera House on Nov. 22. Tickets: $45. More: (219) 548-9137.
Looking ahead – the radio show’s long-distance call-in guest on Nov. 25 will be Roger Taylor, drummer of the classic rock group Queen followed on Dec. 2 by a live in-studio performance from Chicago songwriter/recording artist, Al Rose.
Stream the “Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges” radio show live in real time each week at: lakeshorepublicradio.org/radio.
• Thanks to everyone who came out to the opening of my entertainment memorabilia exhibit last Friday at the Lake County Library Main Branch (1919 W. 81st Avenue/U.S. 30) in Merrillville.
Due to the strong advance response and the large turnout, the event was moved from the intimate Lawrence A. Acheff Gallery to the library’s main floor. Most of the exhibit will remain on loan at the branch through the remainder of November. Thanks to the library staff for all their hard work on this event. More: (219) 769-3541.