The Dead Weather, Chicago

The Dead Weather – Jack White on Drums, Alison Mosshart on vocals, Jack Lawrence on Bass and Dean Fertita on guitar – just finished up a two-night gig in Chicago at the Vic Theatre. Apparently, this is going down as one of the best shows of the year. Unfortunately, I can’t offer a personal review because I couldn’t attend. However, thanks to the magic of the Interwebs and YouTuber JakeIsHere93, I can offer some outstanding live video of Tuesday’s show.

After watching these videos, this goes down as my first big regrettable miss this year. Seriously, is there anything Jack White can’t do? Enjoy, and check out JakeIsHere93 on YouTube for more.

Hang You From the Heavens


60 Feet Tall – Tuesday’s opening song.


All Points West Sure-Fire Show Stealers

All Points West is set to begin in two days with an impressive lineup. Much like Lollapalooza this year, there is an equally — if not more impressive cast of smaller acts. When that happens it usually results in a barrage of show-stealing performances. We’ve picked out a few below with that potential so, if you’re attending, put these acts on your lineup card.

Friday, July 31, 7:30 pm
Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The synthesizer hasn’t been cool since the 80’s. Until the Yeah Yeah Yeahs came along. YYY singer Karen O. is an entertainer – from the funky style to the bombastic stage presence – she’s mesmerizing. The music can be poppy one minute and hyper-aggressive the next. There’s a reason YYY were chosen to replace the massively entertaining Beastie Boys at Lollapalooza this year.

Other candidates: The National is riding a wave of good performances, and the Heartless Bastards just keep getting better – one of our picks for Friday’s Lollapalooza lineup.


Saturday, Aug.1, 1:10 pm
White Rabbits

Do a search on YouTube and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single bad comment about this band. They’ve found a way to take pop music spanning the past three decades and weave it into something groovy without sounding cheesy. The White Rabbits are going places.

Other candidates: Another potential show thief on Saturday is St. Vincent and look out for The Cool Kids – a Chicago rap duo quickly moving up in the hip-hop world.


Sunday, Aug. 2, 8:20 pm
The Black Keys

If you’re a Sound Citizen regular, you knew this was coming. What can I say that I haven’t already said? How about I just quote a recent Rolling Stone article by J. Edwardy Keyes:  “The Ohio blues duo have little use for grand gestures or big refrains: this is filthy music, chords as raw as fingernails bitten to the quick. They’ve effortlessly shaken the White Stripes comparisons that dogged them early in their career, instead crafting something darker and dingier. Call it punk-blues: primal music that howls and stomps, the perfect release after a greuling weekend outdoors.

Below is some video from a concert four Sound Citizens attended in Cleveland.

Other candidates: Watch out for Silversun Pickups, and Ghostland Observatory will not disappoint – it’s literally impossible.


Enjoy the fest, and please share your experiences with us by sending an email to

Lollapalooza Friday Picks by Video

Lollapalooza is two short weeks away. Friday’s lineup is solid and there are some difficult choices to make. But we’ve managed to settle on our schedule for the day. Below are some videos from each artist we’ve picked; some live and some studio work. Out of Friday’s entire lineup, I’m most interested in seeing The Decemberists if, for no other reason, to hear their new album played live. They seem to be really growing into their sound and that’s pretty exciting. But I’m also really looking forward to Heartless Bastards, Fleet Foxes and Heartless Bastards.

Here they are the Sound Citizen picks, in order of their scheduled appearances for Friday, August 7.

The Henry Clay People, 11:30 a.m. Relatively raw but their solid, steady sound does it for me.


Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, 1:00 p.m. One of our favorite concerts this year. Don’t miss this one.


The Gaslight Anthem, 2:00 p.m. They draw comparisons to Bruce Springsteen (they’re from Jersey too) but mainly seeing them because I’m not yet sold on White Lies, playing a different stage.


Heartless Bastards, 3:00 p.m. Loving this straightforward rock sound. They were touring with Dan Auerbach — a big endorsement in my book. Along with this video is another great one here.


STS9, 4:00 p.m. Don’t know anything about them and I’ve never seen them. But I’m definitely intrigued.


Fleet Foxes, 5:00 p.m. There’s something about this band; kind of a throwback to the 60’s folk/trippy scene, Neil Young, Beatles… interesting. Below is one breakout hit, here’s another.


The Decemberists, 6:00 p.m. As mentioned previously, this one has “show stealer” written all over it.


Andrew Bird, 7:00 p.m. The Chicago boy returns. Big Bird fan, excited to see him for the first time.


Kings of Leon, 8:15 p.m. Maybe the radio has overplayed them, but Kings of Leon put on a great and powerful performance.


Coming soon – our Saturday picks!

Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears Shake Chicago

joelewisOn Saturday night, Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears unleashed their ultra-groovy sound on a largely unsuspecting Chicago crowd. It took all of about 30 seconds for that crowd to stop staring and start dancing. Suddenly, the North Side of Chicago was awash in a new blues, with some funk tossed in for good measure.

“Chicago’s always good man,” Lewis told us after the show. “Out of all the three major cities, Chicago is number one.” There’s little doubt that Chicago doesn’t feel the same way about Lewis and The Honeybears after an inspired performance.

Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears are a relatively “new” band, but their music comes from a place of old souls. Lewis evokes the likes of Otis Redding and James Brown; one of his influences, along with Lightnin’ Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf and Eazy-E. While purists might scoff at those comparisons (likely they haven’t seen him live yet) consider this: James Brown scored his first R&B #1 hit “Try Me” when he was just 25 years old. Redding became a legend before his tragic death at age 26.

Another influence on Lewis is a man by the name of Little Joe Washington, whom Lewis talks about in our interview with him (see video below). Essentially, Washington is a street musician with paying gigs from time to time. And it’s that street-wise sensibility, improvisational flair and live-in-the-moment attitude that permeates Lewis’ music and lyrics.

Back in the day (just a few years ago) Lewis was working in a pawn shop. After seeing a number of hocked guitars come over the counter, he finally picked one up. “I got the guitar and just tried to learn it,” says Lewis. “My neighbors had a band. They didn’t have to work, all they had to do was play music. I thought; dude I gotta get in on that! I just tried to learn as much as I could. That’s how I really started performing … I hated my day job.”

Thank goodness for bad day jobs.

Below is a video from Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears’ performance at Chicago’s Folk and Roots Festival, including a few different songs and interview footage of both Joe Lewis and keyboardist Ian Varley. Tour dates are below the video – go see them.


Jul 17 2009 6:00P Latitude Festival Southwold, Suffolk, London
Jul 18 2009 8:00P Lovebox Festival London
Jul 21 2009 8:00P Jazz Cafe London, London and South East
Jul 23 2009 8:00P Valkhof Affaire Nijmegen, Gelderland
Jul 24 2009 8:00P Sala Heineken Madrid, Spain
Jul 25 2009 8:00P San Sebastian Jazz Festival San Sebastian, Guipúzcoa
Aug 7 2009 4:00P Lollapalooza, Vitamin Water Stage Chicago, Illinois
Aug 8 2009 2:00P San Jose Jazz Festival, Main Stage San Jose, California
Aug 8 2009 7:00P San Jose Jazz Festival, Blues Stage San Jose, California
Aug 22 2009 4:00P CD101 Summerfest, LC Pavilion Columbus, Ohio
Aug 26 2009 8:00P Bluebird Theater Denver, Colorado
Aug 27 2009 7:00P Salt Lake City Arts, Twilight Series Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug 29 2009 8:00P Street Scene San Diego, California
Aug 31 2009 8:00P Troubadour Los Angeles, California
Sep 3 2009 10:00A The Depot Humboldt State Univ. Arcata, California
Sep 4 2009 8:00P Mississippi Studios Portland, Oregon
Sep 6 2009 8:00P Media Club Vancouver, British Columbia
Sep 7 2009 8:00P Bumbershoot – Mural Seattle, Washington
Oct 14 2009 8:00P ACL Festival Austin, Texas

Stream The Dead Weather’s New Album, Horehound

(Dead Weather tour dates included) Just a quick note here:  The Dead Weather, Jack White’s latest band, has released their debut album, Horehound, and it can be streamed in its entirety through iLike. The band features Jack White on drums (and occasional guitar and vocals), Alison Mosshart of The Kills, Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs and Dean Fertita.

Mosshart’s influence is strong in this band – not just her voice, but her overall style lends a very straight-forward rock feel. “Treat Me Like Your Mother” shows the versatility of the band, where you hear some electronica and even a little rock-hip-hop in there. “Rocking Horse” has a dusty, outlaw feel to it and “3 Birds” has an early 60’s spy movie theme going.

Overall, The Dead Weather are no White Stripes or Raconteurs, but it’s certainly interesting and worth a spin. Jack White is missed on the guitar but I guess we have other options for that. Maybe in his next band he’ll play two guitars. Or maybe the band after that.

Stream The Dead Weather’s Horehound.

Also, check out their YouTube channel for some videos. Tour dates are below.


07.13.2009 9:30 Club Washington, DC
07.14.2009 9:30 Club Washington, DC
07.16.2009 Terminal 5 New York, NY
07.17.2009 Terminal 5 New York, NY
07.18.2009 House of Blues Boston, MA
07.19.2009 Ottawa Blues Festival (Rogers Stage) Ottawa, Canada
07.21.2009 Olympia De Montreal Montreal, Canada
07.22.2009 Kool Haus, Toronto Canada
07.24.2009 The Fillmore Detroit, MI
07.25.2009 The LC Pavilion Columbus, OH
07.27.2009 First Avenue Minneapolis, MN
07.28.2009 Vic Theatre Chicago, IL
07.29.2009 Vic Theatre Chicago, IL
07.30.2009 War Memorial Auditorium Nashville, TN
08.17.2009 Ogden Theatre Denver, CO
08.18.2009 The Depot Salt Lake City, UT
08.20.2009 Paramount Theatre Seattle, WA
08.21.2009 Commodore Ballroom Vancouver, Canada
08.22.2009 Commodore Ballroom Vancouver, Canada
08.23.2009 Roseland Theater Portland, OR
08.25.2009 Wiltern Theatre Los Angeles, CA

Folk and Roots Festival Can’t Miss Shows

Old Town School’s Chicago Folk and Roots Festival is right around the corner. Every year, the two-day event hosts an eclectic mix of music – you’ll always find something interesting and, most of the time, it’s bands you’ve never heard of. That’s a good thing. This year is no different.

Below are our picks of five performances not to miss this year. If you read Sound Citizen with any regularity, you might recognize one or two of them. If not, you’ll find a few links and a couple of videos here to get familiar.

Held on July 11-12 in spacious Welles Park on Chicago’s northwest side, an $8 donation ($4 for kids) will get you in where, over both days, more than a dozen bands will play. You can also find performance by Old Town School’s student groups and a kids tent with music activities and more. There are also learning opportunities – from dance lessons to open jam sessions, so bring your instrument.

For $8, the Chicago Folk and Roots Festival is a downright bargain. Be there. We will be.

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears – 8:30 pm, Saturday, July 11

This is a band quickly on the rise. We wrote about them before, so check out Black Joe Lewis is on Tour.

HoneyHoney – 7:00 pm, Saturday, July 11

Honey Honey is comprised of Suzanne Santo and Ben Jaffe, two very talented musicians from Venice, California. Santo’s voice is crisp but sultry and bluesy, and complemented wonderfully by rolling rhythms provided by Jaffe. The style is simple, catchy and played with precision. Below is their video for Little Toy Gun, directed by Kiefer Sutherland. You might also like this version of “Sugarcane” played in what looks like a subway station.


Karsh Kale – 8:30 pm, Sunday, July 12

While growing up in New York, Karsh Kale (pronounced Kursh Kah-lay) has fully embraced his Indian heritage through a mastery of percussion. What you’ll hear on Sunday is a mix of this traditional drumming style, with a little techno. Together, it’s a unique sound that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble – 4:55 pm, Sunday, July 12

Maybe my New Orleans upbringing put these guys on the list but this guy is talented, as is his band. And who doesn’t love a little Zydeco every now and then? The forecast is in the 80’s, so you might just feel a little of the bayou during what’s sure to be an energizing performance from a New Orleans original. Laisser les bons temps rouler!


Midwest Fiddle Championship – 12:55 pm, Saturday, July 11

No folk festival would be complete without some dueling fiddles. That’s exactly what you’ll find here, as five artists compete for $1,200 in prize money. The event is sponsored by the Fiddle Club of the World, Chicago Chapter.

Enjoy the festival, and leave a comment if you have any other suggestions! Visit the official website for more details and full schedules of performances and activities.