Emporium Arcade Bar in Wicker Park kicked off the Halloween weekend with two solid musical performances on Thursday, October 26. The night included sets from Chicago’s Xoe Wise Band and Panic Priest, both embracing the energy of the holiday with their individual dark takes on pop music.
If the four faces behind Chicago’s Namorado look familiar, you may have caught them onstage during their Urbana-Champaign college days as A Cool Hand. Although, now nearly two years into their new formation, the faces of lead guitarist/vocalist Mike Altergott, drummer Charlier McCarthy, guitarist/vocalist Jack Keating and bassist/vocalist Adam Howarter may be the only things to spark familiarity.
After moving to the city of Chicago, the four bandmates had a serious discussion about the evolution of their songs from standard indie rock to well-composed music built on guitar riffs and vocal harmonies. With a new EP in the works, set for release in early 2018, Altergott and Howarter gathered at their Avondale rehearsal space to share the ins and outs of their latest endeavors and what it’s like as a band maneuvering through the Chicago music scene.
It’s hard to pinpoint it, but there’s something about Emily Rose and Joe Zeph, the duo behind Zigtebra, that makes them impossible not to admire. They’ve spent the past four months traveling the United States; playing shows, writing songs and producing music videos, yet they bounce into Sip Coffee House with such energy and enthusiasm, you’d never know they’d only just returned to Chicago the day before.
Emily Rose falls onto the plush couch, coffee in hand, apologizing for her mere one-minute lateness as Joe Zeph takes a seat in the armchair across from her. They playfully banter, the admiration between each other evident as they recall their crazy endeavors of the last couple of weeks.
Imagine performing as a solo hip-hop artist, relying on nothing but vocals and backing tracks, when suddenly the show promoter announces the backing tracks have failed. At this point, there’s two options: walk on the show or recruit musicians from the night’s bill to back the performance.
Nearly six years ago when this situation happened to emcee Dhan Dee, he choose the latter; opting to share the stage with guitarist Chad Wynes and drummer Kyle Voivodas. Artistically, Dee had nothing in common with Wynes’ and Voivodas’ band. Dhan Dee was a poet, rapper and lyrist. Waynes and Voivodas were folk rock instrumentalist. Having never met or rehearsed, the three musicians took advantage of the serendipitous moment, having no idea it would lead to the creation of one of Chicago’s leading genre-mashing projects; Chicago Loud 9.
Ella Casazza is nothing short of energetic. The Chicago singer-songwriter bounces about her Bucktown home, preparing French press coffee in excitement for the completion of her first full-length album. With its catchy lines and pop melodies backed by her signature full band sound, Proof is everything fans love about Casazza. It’s sassy, organic and unapologetically authentic to the modern retro-ness of Elle.
Of course with a new album comes a variety of other projects for the young musician. In the upcoming months, Casazza has planned an extensive tour, new music videos and the formation of a songwriters’ circle. There seems like so much to do, but Casazza reminds herself to “just keep on keeping on”. At the end of the day, things may feel overwhelming and hectic, but that’s all part of this crazy life of music.
Wander the streets of Chicago on any given night and it’s never hard to find inspiring live music, especially sounds falling along the spectrum of funk, jazz and blues. This past Wednesday, August 3rd was no exception as three Chicago-based bands took the stage for an exhilarating night of funk at Emporium Arcade Bar in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.
The night’s festivities opened with Bifunkal, a two-piece group made up of drummer Hershyl Edwards and guitarist/vocalist Jesse Cryderman. The two played a solid mix of lyrical and instrumental tunes. While the vocals were decent, it was Cryderman’s catchy guitar riffs along with the impressive vox bass lines from Edwards that stole the set. For only two musicians, the band was able to project a full sound which was later emphasized by accompanying brass during a handful of tunes.