WBEZ | Music http://www.wbez.org/news/music Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Emanuel says no 'three-strike rule' over parks for Riot Fest http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/emanuel-says-no-three-strike-rule-over-parks-riot-fest-112064 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/riot fest flickr.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>It looks like Riot Fest has a new home in Chicago.</p><p>Aldermen involved in the back and forth over the music festival&rsquo;s location said that after three years in Humboldt Park, the punk and rock music festival will move this year a few miles away in Douglas Park.</p><p>Many Chicagoans were unhappy with the condition of the West Side park after last summer&rsquo;s festival. Alderman Roberto Maldonado (26) said residents of Humboldt Park and the surrounding neighborhoods have been complaining to him about the state of the grounds ever since concert-goers and organizers left.</p><p>&ldquo;Four Sundays ago...two of the diamonds were unusable for the opening games of the softball league,&rdquo; Maldonado said. &ldquo;The impact to the local economy, although it was substantial the first and second year, the third year it wasn&rsquo;t there.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>So for now, Riot Fest is taking its party elsewhere. In a statement, Riot Fest founder Michael Petryshyn said he met with Ald. George Cardenas (12) about using Douglas Park and was, &ldquo;ecstatic&rdquo; at the response he got from their new aldermanic partner.</p><p>&ldquo;We are so very excited to get to know our new neighbors and to work with them to hold an event that is beneficial to the community, local businesses and the resident,&rdquo; Petryshyn said. &ldquo;Essentially, everything we have brought to Humboldt Park over the last three years.&rdquo;</p><p>After Wednesday&rsquo;s City Council meeting, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he was pleased the festival chose to stay in the city, but issued a warning to organizers: Leave Douglas Park the way you find it.</p><p>&ldquo;They now know the people of Humboldt Park don&rsquo;t want them, I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s in their best interest to have a second park say &lsquo;We don&rsquo;t want you&rsquo; in Chicago,&rdquo; Emanuel told reporters. &ldquo;So they&rsquo;ve been put on notice to be a better citizen in holding this festival because if you go 0-for-2, we don&rsquo;t have a three-strike rule in the city of Chicago for you.&rdquo;</p><p>Ald. Cardenas said the Park District is set to put down a bond as insurance in the event Douglas Park sees some damage.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ political reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em>.</p></p> Wed, 20 May 2015 16:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/emanuel-says-no-three-strike-rule-over-parks-riot-fest-112064 Riot Fest moves to another park http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-05/riot-fest-moves-another-park-112060 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/riot%20fest%20logo.jpg" title="" /></div><p>And so, after three weeks of <a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/05/14/supporters-and-opponents-take-riot-fest-debate-to-park-district-board/">heated bickering</a> about how much Riot Fest damaged Humboldt Park over the last few summers and how much aggravation it caused for neighbors, <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/worth-the-trip/Riot-Fest-Announces-Move-to-Douglas-Park-for-2015-304380261.html">concert organizers have announced that they&rsquo;re moving to greener pastures in Douglas Park</a>, one block east and two and a half miles south.</p><p>Humboldt Park is the domain of Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26<sup>th</sup>), <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-04/news-festival-front-live-nation-buys-bonnaroo-more-corporate">who turned against the fest in late April after three years of supporting it</a>, and who held fast even after <a href="http://wgntv.com/2015/05/14/riot-fest-pledging-donation-to-keep-humboldt-park-beach-open/">promoters offered a $30,000 pay-off</a>&mdash;er, make that <em>generous donation</em>&mdash;for Humboldt Beach. Douglas Park is in the 12<sup>th</sup> ward, home turf of Ald. George Cardenas. &ldquo;We are so very excited to get to know our new neighbors and to work with them to hold an event that is beneficial to the community, local businesses, and the residents,&rdquo; Riot Fest founder Michael Petryshyn said, no doubt flashing a Cheshire Cat grin.</p><p>Veteran observers of Chicago politics&mdash;and isn&rsquo;t that all of us?&mdash;will be tempted see this as one ward getting greedy with a shakedown of the kids who just wanna enjoy their music and another stepping in to save the day by offering its public green space at a more reasonable price. Some of that may be true, though it ignores the fact that Riot Fest has grown from organic roots in the city&rsquo;s punk underground to become a very big business, with an aesthetic that&rsquo;s less D.I.Y. basement show than XRT mega-concert, and as many attendees parking their luxury SUVs in the &rsquo;hood as biking or taking CTA.</p><p>This columnist is inclined to think that Maldonado bucked considerable pressure from many fronts to side with residents whose real problem is encroaching gentrification rather than torn-up sod and rutted softball fields. But both of these readings miss the bigger picture. So what&rsquo;s really going on?</p><p>Starting in the last few years of the Daley administration but shifting into overdrive under Mayor Emanuel, the Park District has turned from humble keeper of our precious public lands to profit-obsessed peddler of the parks it&rsquo;s supposed to preserve. Lollapalooza now ties up Grant Park for half the summer, and one of its owners, Austin-based C3 Presents, just claimed a chunk of the spring as well with that much-hyped NFL draft extravaganza. Another Lolla owner, Live Nation, gobbled up what should have been a park on Northerly Island, landing a no-bid contract to build an ugly 30,000-seat concert shed. And residents lose much of the summer in Union Park to the Pitchfork Music Festival in July and the North Coast Music Festival in September.</p><p>Self-appointed parks advocates are all up in arms about losing a parking lot at Soldier Field to the Lucas Museum, but they roll over while the Park District rents these actual parks to big corporations. Why? They see green, too&mdash;and that&rsquo;s dollars, not bushes and trees. And hey, if you&rsquo;d like to claim another stretch of ball fields, jogging paths, and play lots for your big, profitable, very-private party, these folks would love to hear from you, too, provided you can put enough cash on their barrelhead.</p><p>Set aside if you must the idealistic notion that, as protestors chanted in Grant and Lincoln parks during the 1968 riots, &ldquo;Parks are for the people!&rdquo; Everything in Chicago is for sale, so can that nature-loving commie crap and get real.</p><p>Regular readers know that I&rsquo;m anti-festival for two reasons: Jerry-rigged sound systems, dusty ball fields with lousy sight lines, and overflowing Porta-Potties always will be inferior to the amenities at established concert venues. And the Old Country Buffet model of festival booking and strong-arm business practices like egregious radius clauses have considerable negative impact on the city&rsquo;s 365-days-a-year musical infrastructure.</p><p>The state of the current concert industry may be such that we can&rsquo;t do more than complain about the latter. But what about the former?</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Milwaukee_Summerfest_logo.gif" title="" /></div></div></div><p>From humble origins in 1968, Milwaukee Summerfest has grown to attract as many as a million people a year, with its title of &ldquo;the World&rsquo;s Largest Music Festival&rdquo; certified by Guinness World Records in 1999. Along the way, our neighboring lakefront city built the 75-acre Henry Maier Festival Park to house its big musical shindig, adding the centerpiece 23,000-seat Marcus Amphitheater in 1987.</p><p>Permanent concession stands sell quality vittles and oceans of Milwaukee&rsquo;s Finest, and people find relief in permanent restrooms. Permanent stages offer decent sound and sightlines, permanent parking lots and permanent public transit stops provide easy access, and the whole shebang is a permanent profit center for the city. Annual revenues for the last few years have averaged $35 million with ticket prices between $11 and $18, and Summerfest provides 2,200 seasonal jobs, many to Milwaukee teens.</p><p>This and other armchair urban planners frequently ask why Chicago isn&rsquo;t even considering a similar venue as home for its ever-increasing bounty of festivals&mdash;especially given the successful model of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-04-04/will-dave-matthews-save-far-south-side-84741">the Dave Matthews Band Caravan</a>, which brought life in 2012 to the potentially vibrant but now sorely neglected former lakefront location of U.S. Steel on the far South Side.</p><p>Yeah, sure, the city&rsquo;s credit rating is junk and it&rsquo;s hurtling toward bankruptcy. But the big corporations behind these fests could pay for the construction of a permanent site with increased amusement taxes, offering a better experience for concertgoers and thereby potentially increasing their profits while simultaneously keeping all of the other parks open and undamaged for everybody else and the neighborhoods free of marauding jerks driving in from the suburbs.</p><p>Is this really such an unrealistic pie-in-the-sky vision? Let us not forget that famous quote from the greatest urban planner of them all, the father of Grant Park, Daniel Burnham:</p><p>&ldquo;Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men&rsquo;s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die.&rdquo;</p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Wed, 20 May 2015 09:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-05/riot-fest-moves-another-park-112060 Remembering B.B. King's 'Live in Cook County Jail' http://www.wbez.org/news/music/remembering-bb-kings-live-cook-county-jail-112038 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" longdesc="The album cover for B.B. King's Live in Cook County Jail" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/BB-King-Jail.jpg" style="float: left;" title="" />B.B. King, who died late Thursday at the age of 89, was from Memphis by way of Mississippi. But Chicago played a special role in the blues guitarist&rsquo;s career.</p><p>He held countless concerts and recorded three seminal albums here including &ldquo;Live at the Regal Theater,&rdquo; &ldquo;Blues is King&rdquo; and the iconic &ldquo;Live in Cook County Jail.&rdquo;&nbsp; That album came from an unusual concert before a &#39;captive&#39; audience.</p><p>Recorded on a hot day in the fall of 1970, the setting was the yard at Cook County Jail. As King plugged in his famous guitar Lucille, around 2,000 inmates began cheering and jeering. The jeers weren&rsquo;t for King, but the Sheriff and Chief Judge at the time. This was back when Cook County was called &lsquo;the world&rsquo;s worst jail.&rsquo;</p><p>Winston Moore, the country&rsquo;s first African American warden, was brought in a couple years earlier to institute reforms. In his autobiography, King writes that it was Moore&rsquo;s idea for him to perform at the jail.</p><p>Ron Levy was an 18-year-old keyboardist touring with King&rsquo;s band then.</p><p>&ldquo;At first it was kind of exciting,&rdquo; remembered Levy. &ldquo;[But] once those iron doors slammed behind you it was like &lsquo;oh man.&rsquo; I had reservations about our decisions.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bbkingjail.jpg" title="B.B. King (with guitar) performs for the inmates of Cook County Jail in Chicago, Wednesday, March 9, 1972." /></div><p>However, once the music started, he said all their fears fell away. Levy said the band played lots of jails and prisons back then &mdash; for a good reason.</p><p>&ldquo;If anybody had the blues, it was those people incarcerated. And B.B. really felt compassion for these guys,&rdquo; said Levy. &ldquo;And let&rsquo;s face it, a lot of the people who are incarcerated, they were in his audience at one point or another.&rdquo;</p><p>When it was released the next year, &ldquo;Live in Cook County Jail&rdquo; topped the R&amp;B charts for three straight weeks. Rolling Stone magazine includes it in their list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.</p><p>But for Ron Levy, King&rsquo;s legacy isn&rsquo;t about record sales or charts.</p><p>&ldquo;People don&rsquo;t realize B.B. King was much more than just a musician and entertainer. He&rsquo;s a human being, a humanitarian. He cared,&rdquo; said Levy. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s one of the really good guys. There aren&rsquo;t&nbsp; many like him in history. He&rsquo;s not just the king of the blues. He&rsquo;s one of the kings of humanity.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ reporter Yolanda Perdomo on Twitter @yolandanews</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 15 May 2015 11:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/music/remembering-bb-kings-live-cook-county-jail-112038 My Morning Mumford, or is that Jacket and Sons? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-05/my-morning-mumford-or-jacket-and-sons-112036 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mumford-sons-wilder-mind.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 450px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mmj_the_waterfall_cover.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 450px;" title="" /></div></div><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t even know if I believe/Everything you&rsquo;re trying to say to me,&rdquo; that Don Henley for the new millennium Marcus Mumford croons on &ldquo;Believe&rdquo; from the third studio album with his sons. &ldquo;Believe, believe, believe, believe/Nobody knows for sure,&rdquo; Jim (or is that <em>Yim</em>?) James hollers more declaratively on &ldquo;Believe (Nobody Knows&rdquo;) from the latest by his Morning Jacket.</p><p>What exactly are these two jamokes affirming? Legions of devoted fans who devour this arena bombast might mumble about the power of love or some such. But these stadium-filling hucksters actually place their faith firmly in a winning get-rich formula, whereby the trappings of roots-rock&mdash;a little more toward the folk side with West London&rsquo;s Mumford and Sons, and marginally closer to the alt-country end of the spectrum for My Morning Jacket&mdash;are dumbed down for anthemic sing-alongs with hollow lyrics, plodding rhythms, great swelling climaxes designed for maximum musical uplift, and hey, would you like another seven-dollar beer from the Live Nation concession stand before the next tune? Whoo-whee, we&rsquo;re rocking out now; only thing better would be a U2, Springsteen, or Nickelback jam!</p><p>While Mumford and crew are fair game for hipsters&rsquo; scoffing, James and company maintain an inexplicable degree of critical respect. Maybe it&rsquo;s the Kentucky group&rsquo;s longevity (they&rsquo;re on album number seven and their climb to the top has been slower) or slightly greater ambition (this only is the first of two albums dropping this year, returning to more trademarked sounds after two discs of minor experimentation). Plus, James is a better singer. The growly Mumford is more obvious, hence a little more desperate and derivative; he and James both contributed to last year&rsquo;s miserable <em>Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes</em>, but the singing drummer is the one who&rsquo;s trying to further underscore the connection to dear ol&rsquo; Bob by plugging in, shifting from acoustic to electric on <em>Wilder Morning,</em> and ditching the banjo along the way.</p><p>No matter: To these ears, the distinctions barely are worth making. Authenticity is in the ear of the behearer, but neither group comes close on an entire album to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-05/alabama-shakes-will-not-be-pigeonholed-112022">the level of soul and passion one can hear in a single verse of My Morning Jacket&rsquo;s ATO labelmates the Alabama Shakes</a>, to say nothing of that band&rsquo;s broader and more fulfilling genre expansions. Instead, they offer lowest-common-denominator Bud-chugging festival swill, no more, no less, and if you have an urgent need for that, have at it. Me, I don&rsquo;t, but I&rsquo;ll actually give Mumford the slight edge, since at least they own up to their beliefs, blatantly confessing, &ldquo;F--- your dreams/Don&rsquo;t you pick at our seams/I&rsquo;ll turn into a monster for you / If you pay me enough.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Mumford and Sons, <em>Wilder Morning </em>(Glassnote)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the 4-star scale: 1 star</strong></p><p><strong>My Morning Jacket, <em>The Waterfall</em> (ATO/Capitol)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the 4-star scale: .5 stars</strong></p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Fri, 15 May 2015 09:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-05/my-morning-mumford-or-jacket-and-sons-112036 'King of the Blues' B.B. King dead at age 89 http://www.wbez.org/news/music/king-blues-bb-king-dead-age-89-112033 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bbking.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>LAS VEGAS (AP) &mdash;€” B.B. King, whose scorching guitar licks and heartfelt vocals made him the idol of generations of musicians and fans while earning him the nickname King of the Blues, died late Thursday at home in Las Vegas. He was 89.</p><p>His attorney, Brent Bryson, told The Associated Press that King died peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 p.m. PDT. He said funeral arrangements were underway.</p><p>Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg confirmed the death.</p><p>King&#39;s eldest surviving daughter Shirley King of the Chicago area said she was upset that she didn&#39;t have a chance to see her father before he died.</p><p>Although he had continued to perform well into his 80s, the 15-time Grammy winner suffered from diabetes and had been in declining health during the past year. He collapsed during a concert in Chicago last October, later blaming dehydration and exhaustion. He had been in hospice care at his Las Vegas home.</p><p>For most of a career spanning nearly 70 years, Riley B. King was not only the undisputed king of the blues but a mentor to scores of guitarists, who included Eric Clapton, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall and Keith Richards. He recorded more than 50 albums and toured the world well into his 80s, often performing 250 or more concerts a year.</p><p>King played a Gibson guitar he affectionately called Lucille with a style that included beautifully crafted single-string runs punctuated by loud chords, subtle vibratos and bent notes.</p><p>The result could bring chills to an audience, no more so than when King used it to full effect on his signature song, &quot;The Thrill is Gone.&quot; He would make his guitar shout and cry in anguish as he told the tale of forsaken love, then end with a guttural shouting of the final lines: &quot;Now that it&#39;s all over, all I can do is wish you well.&quot;</p><p>His style was unusual. King didn&#39;t like to sing and play at the same time, so he developed a call-and-response between him and Lucille.</p><p>&quot;Sometimes I just think that there are more things to be said, to make the audience understand what I&#39;m trying to do more,&quot; King told The Associated Press in 2006. &quot;When I&#39;m singing, I don&#39;t want you to just hear the melody. I want you to relive the story, because most of the songs have pretty good storytelling.&quot;</p><p>A preacher uncle taught him to play, and he honed his technique in abject poverty in the Mississippi Delta, the birthplace of the blues.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve always tried to defend the idea that the blues doesn&#39;t have to be sung by a person who comes from Mississippi, as I did,&quot; he said in the 1988 book &quot;Off the Record: An Oral History of Popular Music.&quot;</p><p>&quot;People all over the world have problems,&quot; he said. &quot;And as long as people have problems, the blues can never die.&quot;</p><p>Fellow travelers who took King up on that theory included Clapton, the British-born blues-rocker who collaborated with him on &quot;Riding With the King,&quot; a best-seller that won a Grammy in 2000 for best traditional blues album.</p><p>Singer Smokey Robinson praised the music legend.</p><p>&quot;The world has physically lost not only one of the greatest musical people ever but one of the greatest people ever. Enjoy your eternity,&quot; Robinson said.</p><p>Still, the Delta&#39;s influence was undeniable. King began picking cotton on tenant farms around Indianola, Mississippi, before he was a teenager, being paid as little as 35 cents for every 100 pounds, and was still working off sharecropping debts after he got out of the Army during World War Two.</p><p>&quot;He goes back far enough to remember the sound of field hollers and the cornerstone blues figures, like Charley Patton and Robert Johnson,&quot; ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons once told Rolling Stone magazine.</p><p>King got his start in radio with a gospel quartet in Mississippi, but soon moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where a job as a disc jockey at WDIA gave him access to a wide range of recordings. He studied the great blues and jazz guitarists, including Django Reinhardt and T-Bone Walker, and played live music a few minutes each day as the &quot;Beale Street Blues Boy,&quot; later shortened to B.B.</p><p>Through his broadcasts and live performances, he quickly built up a following in the black community, and recorded his first R&amp;B hit, &quot;Three O&#39;Clock Blues,&quot; in 1951.</p><p>He began to break through to white audiences, particularly young rock fans, in the 1960s with albums like &quot;Live at the Regal,&quot; which would later be declared a historic sound recording worthy of preservation by the Library of Congress&#39; National Recording Registry.</p><p>He further expanded his audience with a 1968 appearance at the Newport Folk Festival and when he opened shows for the Rolling Stones in 1969.</p><p>King was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and received the Songwriters Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush, gave a guitar to Pope John Paul II and had President Barack Obama sing along to his &quot;Sweet Home Chicago.&quot;</p><p>Other Grammys included best male rhythm &#39;n&#39; blues performance in 1971 for &quot;The Thrill Is Gone,&quot; best ethnic or traditional recording in 1982 for &quot;There Must Be a Better World Somewhere&quot; and best traditional blues recording or album several times. His final Grammy came in 2009 for best blues album for &quot;One Kind Favor.&quot;</p><p>Through it all, King modestly insisted he was simply maintaining a tradition.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m just one who carried the baton because it was started long before me,&quot; he told the AP in 2008.</p><p>Born Riley B. King on Sept. 16, 1925, on a tenant farm near Itta Bena, Mississippi, King was raised by his grandmother after his parents separated and his mother died. He worked as a sharecropper for five years in Kilmichael, an even smaller town, until his father found him and took him back to Indianola.</p><p>&quot;I was a regular hand when I was 7. I picked cotton. I drove tractors. Children grew up not thinking that this is what they must do. We thought this was the thing to do to help your family,&quot; he said.</p><p>When the weather was bad and he couldn&#39;t work in the cotton fields, he walked 10 miles to a one-room school before dropping out in the 10th grade.</p><p>After he broke through as a musician, it appeared King might never stop performing. When he wasn&#39;t recording, he toured the world relentlessly, playing 342 one-nighters in 1956. In 1989, he spent 300 days on the road. After he turned 80, he vowed he would cut back, and he did, somewhat, to about 100 shows a year.</p><p>He had 15 biological and adopted children. Family members say 11 survive.</p></p> Fri, 15 May 2015 07:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/music/king-blues-bb-king-dead-age-89-112033 Alabama Shakes will not be pigeonholed http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-05/alabama-shakes-will-not-be-pigeonholed-112022 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Alabam%20Shakes%20album%20cover.png" style="height: 450px; width: 450px;" title="" /></div><p>As powerhouse front woman Brittany Howard and her bandmates made abundantly clear <a href="http://soundopinions.org/show/333/#thealabamashakes">when they appeared on <em>Sound Opinions</em></a> supporting <em>Boys &amp; Girls</em>, their breakthrough 2012 debut, their embrace of bluesy roots-rock was less coldly calculated appropriation and nostalgic recreation than an organic channeling of the sounds surrounding them growing up in Athens, Alabama, as funneled through their entirely personal travails in the here and now; in no way was the defiance and desperation of Howard&rsquo;s famous howl of &ldquo;Bless my heart, bless my soul/Didn&rsquo;t think I&rsquo;d make it to 22 years old&rdquo; a put-on. Coupled with all of the usual sophomore-album hurdles, chief among them the lack of surprise that greeted that first blast of Howard&rsquo;s vocal power, the challenge for the group on <em>Sound &amp; Color </em>was to show us what else it had and where else it could go, maintaining its roots but expanding them without sounding forced or compromised&mdash;no easy feat, as evidenced by another soulful diva from across the pond, Adele.</p><p>&ldquo;Kaleidoscopic&rdquo; is the word that keeps popping up in reviews of the new album, and it&rsquo;s an appropriate one. As many of the soul and R&amp;B greats of the early &rsquo;60s expanded their sounds under the influence of the psychedelic explosion of &rsquo;67, the Alabama Shakes broaden their palette wildly with a bevy of electrifying guitar and bass sounds&mdash;this is where the Shakes prove that, like Blondie, they are a band&mdash;to say nothing of touches of vibraphone and orchestra. They reinterpret Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield much as D&rsquo;Angelo does, only rarely sounding retro or conservative, while veering as far afield as extended &rsquo;shroomed-out jamming (the fuzzed-drenched &ldquo;Gemini&rdquo;) and hardcore punk (the ferocious explosion of &ldquo;The Greatest&rdquo;). In fact, the album only lags when the band sounds too much like the group on <em>Boys &amp; Girls </em>(&ldquo;This Feeling&rdquo; or &ldquo;Shoegaze&rdquo;), but even then, we have Howard&rsquo;s vocals, which continue to be a marvel.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/t3Lu1WbImPE?list=PLBw2SgK2lDef7iUlHJocOOxoB76kie2cS" width="560"></iframe></p><p><strong>Alabama Shakes, <em>Sound &amp; Color </em>(Rough Trade)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the 4-star scale: 3.5 stars.</strong></p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Wed, 13 May 2015 09:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-05/alabama-shakes-will-not-be-pigeonholed-112022 This ain’t no ‘Parklife’ http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-05/ain%E2%80%99t-no-%E2%80%98parklife%E2%80%99-111982 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Blur%20cover.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 450px;" title="" /></div><p>Let&rsquo;s get this out of the way up top: No, there isn&rsquo;t a single track on <em>The Magic Whip</em>, the long-awaited reunion album from &rsquo;90s Britpop giants Blur, that comes anywhere close to being as unforgettable and indispensible as &ldquo;There&rsquo;s No Other Way,&rdquo; &ldquo;For Tomorrow,&rdquo; &ldquo;Girls &amp; Boys,&rdquo; &ldquo;Beetlebum,&rdquo; or &ldquo;Song 2.&rdquo; The boys are older now&mdash;aged 46 to 50&mdash;and they&rsquo;ve slowed down considerably in the tempo department; the album title, which refers to an Asian firecracker, is a bit of a misnomer. The jauntiness of old is what I miss most on this, their first new album in 12 years. But hey, show me any Gen X&rsquo;er anywhere who&rsquo;s as cocky and exuberant as he or she once was. I sure ain&rsquo;t.</p><p>That having been said, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate the return of what I&rsquo;ve long argued was one of the best if most underappreciated bands of the alternative era, right up there with Nirvana and My Bloody Valentine, and hands down the instant winner of that ridiculous, overhyped feud with Oasis (a fight I called as no contest in an essay featured in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Cage-Match-Rivalries-ebook/dp/B001EUTOD4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1430488468&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=rock+and+roll+cage+match">the 2008 book <em>Rock and Roll Cage Match</em></a>, and many times before that).</p><p>For starters, vocalist Damon Albarn, sonic wizard Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James, and drummer Dave Rowntree still have the courage to take huge artistic chances, starting with staking their reputation on making any new music at all at a time when so many of their peers simply are riding the nostalgia bandwagon, and continuing by producing a set that pulls off that rare trick of acknowledging their history while bravely moving forward and largely avoiding the dreaded stench of nostalgia. (There aren&rsquo;t many bands that have succeeded here, but let&rsquo;s not forget that prime among them are &rsquo;70s art-punks Wire, who were always bigger heroes and role models to these deft plunderers of the rock canon than more often-cited inspirations such as Syd Barrett or the Kinks.)</p><p>The most invigorating thing about these 12 tracks is that key players and auteurs Albarn and Coxon once again complement each other, bringing more than a decade&rsquo;s worth of individual musical obsessions and explorations back to a team effort that yields something else entirely. We hear plenty of Albarn&rsquo;s genre-blurring electronic experiments with Gorillaz, the world rhythms he collected during his curatorial globetrotting, and the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-04/damon-albarn-bares-his-soul-his-first-solo-album-110057">thoughtful introspection of his 2014 solo bow <em>Everyday Robots</em></a> (though thankfully none of the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-05/damon-albarn-lost-prog-bog-98768">prog pretensions of his 2012 rock opera <em>Dr. Dee</em></a>). And just as valuable is the always sophisticated sonic playfulness of Coxon, whose self-described &ldquo;sci-fi folk&rdquo; solo efforts didn&rsquo;t get nearly as much attention as his former and once-again mate&rsquo;s endeavors, but were often just as rewarding.</p><p>In fact, Coxon may have had to force the collaboration on the spiny Albarn: Most of the record started as jams during downtime in Hong Kong. The singer thought the sessions failed, but Coxon and veteran producer Stephen Street proved him wrong after careful honing and tinkering, and Albarn finished the tunes with his contributions. Fractured or not, this method worked, showing each off to his best advantage during the album&rsquo;s strongest moments, as well as reflecting the thrill of discovery all four children of Empire took in the mysterious East, just like those Victorian explorers back in the day.</p><p>Witness the haunting modern nightmares &ldquo;New World Towers&rdquo; or &ldquo;Pyongyang,&rdquo; the mature mod psychedelia of &ldquo;Got Out,&rdquo; the Major Tom lost in the cosmos ambience of &ldquo;Spaceman,&rdquo; and the insistent digital pulse of &ldquo;I Broadcast.&rdquo; Only when Blur tries hardest to be the Blur of old do things falter, as on the forced swagger of the opening &ldquo;Lonesome Street&rdquo; or the cloying sea chantey &ldquo;Ong Ong.&rdquo; Then there&rsquo;s the sing-song children&rsquo;s ditty &ldquo;Ice Cream Man,&rdquo; which is nearly as bad as Albarn&rsquo;s solo throwaway &ldquo;Mr. Tembo.&rdquo; The languid spaghetti Western soundtrack &ldquo;Mirrorball&rdquo; and the sorta sappy ballad &ldquo;My Terracotta Heart&rdquo; may just be filler, but at least they don&rsquo;t grate like the aforementioned.</p><p>So where does this leave us? Well, <em>The Magic Whip </em>is light years better than Blur&rsquo;s last Coxon-less album <em>Think Tank</em>, even if it&rsquo;s a big step down from <em>Modern Life is Rubbish</em> or <em>Parklife</em>. But given the stellar level of those accomplishments, that&rsquo;s still a heck of a compliment, and it&rsquo;s great to have the boys back. Woo-hoo!</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UQQObIQ63T0" width="560"></iframe></p><p><strong>Blur, <em>The Magic Whip </em>(Parlophone)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the four-star scale: 3 stars</strong></p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike></em></strong><strong><em>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Mon, 04 May 2015 08:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-05/ain%E2%80%99t-no-%E2%80%98parklife%E2%80%99-111982 News from the festival front: Live Nation buys Bonnaroo, more corporate consolidation http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-04/news-festival-front-live-nation-buys-bonnaroo-more-corporate <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/lollapalooza%202011.JPG" title="Fun times at the festivals (WBEZ file photo)" /></div><p>Catching up on a number of stories in recent days about the summer concert festival scene, the biggest news is <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexpham/2015/04/28/live-nation-bonnaroo-acquisition-further-consolidates-festival-business/">Live Nation&rsquo;s purchase of a controlling interest in Bonnaroo</a>, the massive jam-band soiree in Manchester, Tennessee.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2014-12/it%E2%80%99s-official-death-star-controls-walmart-lake-111279">Coming not long after the Death Star of the concert biz acquired a majority stake in Lollapalooza for a reported $125 million</a>&mdash;making Live Nation partners here with C3 Presents and silent co-owners William Morris Endeavor, the Hollywood talent agency run by Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s brother Ari&mdash;the move makes clear that the corporate concert monopoly intends to own the festival market throughout the U.S. as attendance continues to drop at conventional summer &ldquo;shed&rdquo; shows (like those at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park and the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island, both owned by Live Nation, which also happens to include Ari Emanuel on its board of directors).</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-03/lollapalooza-first-chicago-then-world-111660">Like some of the characters with C3</a>, Bonnaroo&rsquo;s founders <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-03/lollapalooza-first-chicago-then-world-111660">maintain in an interview with Billboard</a> that the fundamental character of their &ldquo;immersive&rdquo; musical party will not change. But Live Nation&rsquo;s oft-stated business strategy is all about treating its customers as a prime demographic targets for marketing (you may think you&rsquo;re at their fests for the music, but it&rsquo;s really for the advertising) and vertical integration (expect to see even more of the same headliners at all of its festivals). To say nothing of the blandness of its bookings and partnerships with mainstream concert giants (the company recently sent an email poll to customers on its mailing list asking about interest for Lady Gaga, U2, the Rolling Stones, Madonna, and Beyonce as headliners at future Lollapaloozas).</p><p>Meanwhile, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-lollapalooza-teen-drinking-study-met-20150427-story.html">a study by a team of doctors at Lurie Children&rsquo;s Hospital has shown a spike in visits to the emergency room from teenage girls with alcohol poisoning on the weekend of Lollapalooza</a>, evidence of another primary purpose of the concert: alcohol sales (if not binge drinking).</p><p>&ldquo;It was pretty crazy,&quot; one emergency room doctor said. &ldquo;Late at night, there was room after room of kids that came after Lollapalooza, that were brought by their friends and paramedics.&rdquo; Granted, the numbers are not astronomical. But this was just one hospital reporting. And every year, the actual number of arrests and incident reporters from police at Lollapalooza is close to zero, indicating that the city is cozy indeed with the concert promoters when it comes to admitting that anything bad at all happens in Grant Park during the cash-cow event.</p><p>Also worth noting: C3, which has a virtual lock on events in the park and is clearly our mayor&rsquo;s go-to out-of-town corporate events promoter, <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150409/BLOGS04/150409782/heres-what-the-nfl-draft-apalooza-will-look-like">also are the folks staging all of the hoopla for the NFL Draft activities</a> dominating the South Loop over the next four days. Don&rsquo;t expect many police reports from that, either.</p><p>Finally, things don&rsquo;t seem to be nearly as friendly or cozy between Riot Fest and some of the city officials from its surrounding neighborhood in Humboldt Park.</p><p><a href="http://www.redeyechicago.com/news/redeye-humboldt-park-riot-fest-damage-20150429-story.html">Red Eye today quotes Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) as flat-out saying, &ldquo;I don&#39;t support them coming back,&rdquo;</a> largely because of the extent of damages to the park after last year&rsquo;s concert and the amount of time it took for repairs, though Riot Fest as a spearhead of gentrification in the neighborhood also is an unstated concern.</p><p>Festival founder Michael Petryshyn has responded with a statement that, after a few perfunctory comments about &ldquo;shining a positive light on&nbsp;our culturally rich and magnetic neighborhood,&rdquo; seems to hint that the festival has more powerful friends than some pesky local alderman, who might want to prepare to be steamrolled.</p><p>&nbsp;&ldquo;Between the support we have received from&nbsp;the Mayor&rsquo;s office, congressmen, state legislatures, county commissioners and the many Alderman in having Riot Fest&rsquo;s permanent home in Humboldt Park,&rdquo; the statement concludes, &ldquo;we are completely confident that any and all future concerns from Alderman Maldonado will be handled in the fashion we know best: as good neighbors.&rdquo;</p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 08:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-04/news-festival-front-live-nation-buys-bonnaroo-more-corporate Local H’s ‘Hey, Killer’ is just that http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-04/local-h%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98hey-killer%E2%80%99-just-111889 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2015_04_new_local_h_press_photo.jpg" title="Local H: Scott Lucas and Ryan Harding (Katie Hovland)" /></div><p>From underground scrappers such as <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-03/rock-economics-paul-krugman-plus-ting-tings-sun-club-and-bully-111740">Bully</a> and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-03/soak-girlpool-remi-blossoms%E2%80%A6-and-frank-sinatra-111727">Girlpool</a> to that destined-for-stardom Aussie, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-04/courtney-barnett-voice-you-need-hear-111811">Courtney Barnett</a>, the story of SXSW 2015 was the wave of young new artists taking their cues from early &rsquo;90s alternative rock. At their best, these groups aren&rsquo;t retro-minded throwbacks any more than the strongest bands of the alt-era were. Remember, &ldquo;grunge&rdquo; was a word that Lester Bangs loved to throw around to describe beloved mid-&rsquo;60s proto-punks like the Count Five, the Seeds, and the Troggs three decades before Mudhoney (much less Nirvana) paired indelible pop melodies with the gloriously fuzzed-out crunch of Rat and Big Muff guitar pedals, splitting the difference between the best garage and the best metal.</p><p>This is a formula that Zion-reared, Chicago-based Scott Lucas has worked with Local H since 1990, through the heady days of a major-label deal with Island and a modern-rock radio hit with &ldquo;Bound for the Floor,&rdquo; through three drumming partners in his &ldquo;we did it long before the White Stripes&rdquo; two-man band (Joe Daniels, Brian St. Clair, and the heavy-hitter &ldquo;new guy&rdquo; Ryan Harding), and through a period where it&rsquo;s been all too easy to take him for granted Cheap Trick-style with a dismissive, &ldquo;Oh, they&rsquo;re still at it?&rdquo; And that&rsquo;s a horrible injustice, because Lucas never has failed to deliver a new batch of unforgettable basement-rawk anthems, which is as true of album number eight <em>Hey, Killer</em> as it was of earlier standouts such as <em>As Good as Dead</em> (1996), <em>Pack Up the Cats </em>(1998), and <em>Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? </em>(2004).</p><p>Produced by longtime collaborator Andy Gerber and recorded at his Million Yen Studios and Steve Albini&rsquo;s Electrical Audio, the new set lacks the conceptual conceit of <em>Twelve Angry Months </em>(2008&rsquo;s epic break-up album) or <em>Hallelujah! I&rsquo;m a Bum </em>(2012&rsquo;s rage against the one-percent) and simply gives us 11 winning tracks in 47 kick-ass minutes, with at least that many hooks. The songs don&rsquo;t suffer a whit for Lucas&rsquo; return to more obscurantist lyrical mode. What exactly is a &ldquo;Gig Bag Road&rdquo;? Who the heck is the title character of &ldquo;Leon and the Game of Skin,&rdquo; and what the heck is he playing at? Why is Lucas fending off the &ldquo;John the Baptist Blues&rdquo; and feeling a bit misanthropic these days?</p><p>I don&rsquo;t know and I don&rsquo;t care, not when I&rsquo;m so gleefully head-banging and singing along. And neither will you. The meaning of &ldquo;One of Us&rdquo; at least is clear enough: The musical community that honors these values is alive and well, and Local H has given us a welcome new soundtrack.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Sy6JNk17-wA" width="560"></iframe></p><p><em>See Local H play a Record Store Day performance at Reckless on Broadway at 4 p.m. Saturday and headline a 25<sup>th</sup> anniversary record-release party with reunited fellow travelers Figdish at Metro on Sunday night; <a href="https://www.etix.com/ticket/online/performanceSale.do?method=restoreToken&amp;method=restoreToken&amp;performance_id=8217427">tickets for the latter available here.</a></em></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LocalHalbumcover.png" title="" /></div><p><strong>Local H, </strong><em><strong>Hey, Killer</strong></em><strong> </strong><strong>(G&amp;P Records)</strong></p><p><strong>Rating on the 4-star scale: 3.5 stars.</strong></p><p><em><strong>Follow me on Twitter </strong></em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em><strong>, join me on </strong></em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em><strong>, and podcast or stream </strong></em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em><strong>.</strong></em></p></p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 10:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-04/local-h%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98hey-killer%E2%80%99-just-111889 CIMMfest kicks off this weekend http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-04/cimmfest-kicks-weekend-111838 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: right;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/greetings-ufo-postcard-cimmfest-7-2015-the-chicago-international-movies-and-music-festival-news.jpg" style="height: 436px; width: 640px;" title="" /></div></div><p>Getting underway with a launch party Thursday and then kicking into high gear Friday through Sunday, the 7<sup>th</sup> annual <a href="http://cimmfest.org/">Chicago International Movies &amp; Music Festival</a> once again features a promising roster of strong music films and live performances.</p><p>With events at several venues around town, from Wicker Park to Pilsen and from the Loop to Lakeview, the highlights of this year&rsquo;s CIMMfest include heroic avant-garde guitarist Marc Ribot live-scoring Josef von Sternberg&rsquo;s <em>The Docks of New York </em>(5 p.m. Sunday); the world premiere of John Anderson&rsquo;s labor-of-love documentary on one of Chicago&rsquo;s great drummers, <em>Sam Lay in Bluesland </em>(7 p.m. Saturday); the U.S. premiere of <em>Never Release My Fist</em>, a doc about the punk-rock scene in China (9 p.m. Sunday); Nick Hall&rsquo;s Joe Strummer film <em>I Need a Dodge! </em>(7:30 p.m. Sunday); Mark Shuman&rsquo;s <em>Morphine: Journey of Dreams </em>(7 p.m. Friday); a history of the world&rsquo;s most celebrated drum machine,<em> 808: The Movie</em> (9 p.m. Friday), and <em>Jaco!, </em>a filmic love letter to bassist Jaco Pastorius (6:15 p.m. Saturday).</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/roland_tr808.jpg" style="height: 342px; width: 640px;" title="The Roland TR-808: machine as movie star." /></div></div></div></div><p>Oh, and then there&rsquo;s my favorite pick, Joe Angio&rsquo;s new documentary <em>Revenge of the Mekons</em>, which screens at Logan Theatre at 6:45 p.m. on Friday, followed by a Q&amp;A with the director, Jon Langford, and Sally Timms, then moves onto the screen at the Music Box. I can think of no better homage to the greatest Welsh/U.K./Chicago country-punk political-activist band/commune ever (or, if you prefer, one of the plain best rock bands ever, period).</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Mekons.jpg" title="Really, now: Who doesn't love the Mekons?" /></div><p>Among the live-music highlights: a Thalia Hall gig by Lisa Fischer, the backing vocalist who stole the spotlight in <em>Twenty Feet from Stardom </em>(7 p.m. Saturday); a DJ gig by the legendary Hank Shocklee of Public Enemy&rsquo;s Bomb Squad production team (10 p.m. Friday at 1st Ward); Sierre Leone&#39;s Refugee All-Stars (9 p.m. Friday at Martyr&rsquo;s), and two of Chicago&rsquo;s best alt-era bands, the vibrant-as-ever Local H and the reunited Figdish (7 p.m. Sunday at Metro).</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Sam%20Lay%20SiegelSchwall1351.jpeg" style="height: 427px; width: 640px;" title="The great Sam Lay in action." /></div></div><p><a href="http://cimmfest.org/">The full schedule of events and information on tickets can be found here.</a></p><p><em>Follow me on Twitter </em><a href="https://twitter.com/JimDeRogatis"><strong><em><strike>@</strike>JimDeRogatis</em></strong></a><em>, join me on </em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jim-DeRo/254753087340"><strong><em>Facebook</em></strong></a><em>, and podcast or stream </em><a href="http://www.soundopinions.org/"><strong>Sound Opinions</strong></a><em>.</em></p></p> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 07:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2015-04/cimmfest-kicks-weekend-111838