Monthly Archives: May 2010

Sound Citizen Radio 11: Hideout, Kitchen, Hall

Welcome to another edition of Sound Citizen Radio. This week we celebrate three of our favorite Chicago music venues in The Hideout, Beat Kitchen and Lincoln Hall.

The past two weeks on we reviewed Local Natives, interviewed and reviewed Clem Snide and made some Austin City Limits recommendations. Check them out after listening to the podcast!


This week’s lineup:

Jonny Rumble, “BRZRKR”
June 25, Beat Kitchen, Chicago

Visqueen, “Jimmy vs. James”
May 31, The Hideout, Chicago

Gold Motel, “We’re on the Run”
June 11, Lincoln Hall

Clem Snide: Concert Review, Exclusive Interview

I’d say it was about five years ago when I first heard Clem Snide. It was on a former girlfriend’s iPod. Well, she’s long gone but Clem Snide remains. However, it didn’t always look that way — I thought I lost them both.

Clem Snide went through a significant rough patch and eventually broke up. But they got back together (they say the first one never sticks, you know?) So now they are touring on a new record, Meat of Life.

We spoke prior to the show with a rabid Clem Snide fan — he traveled to Chicago explicitly to see the band and, apparently, to razz me about the Cubs (he’s a Cardinal fan — if you want to haze him, he’s the one in the white shirt in the front row seen in the video). Anyway, Meat of Life isn’t his favorite Clem Snide record. He’s having a hard time warming up to it because it’s so different than their earlier work.

I have to agree, on the “different” part.

I guess that’s to be expected when a band goes through sweeping changes, especially the front man. Eef Barzelay has gone through several challenges between earlier records and Meat of Life. Some good — like starting a family — and some not so good, like losing his mother. In all, such events will change anyone. And, as an artist, it’s impossible to separate oneself from the art produced.

It’s good to hear Clem Snide again. Meat of Life will come as a surprise to some fans but that’s not a bad thing. We had a great time at the show. Eef sounded good and the band was great. I felt like they might still be working out a few kinks with the new material, but the tour is just getting started and you can be sure they will be in full stride down the stretch. Oh, and pay close attention to Ben Martin on drums — dude is a beast.

Below you will find some video from the show. The song is “Denise” and after that you’ll see our interview with Eef. Below that is another interview with Ben Martin. And finally, you’ll find current tour dates at the bottom.


May 20 2010 8:00P Humboldt Brews ARCATA, CA
May 21 2010 8:00P Bottom Of The Hill SAN FRANCISCO, CA
May 22 2010 8:00P Spaceland LOS ANGELES, CA
May 23 2010 8:00P PLUSH TUCSON, AZ
May 25 2010 8:00P Mohawk AUSTIN, TX
May 26 2010 8:00P Doublewide DALLAS, TX
May 27 2010 8:00P Hi Tone MEMPHIS, TN
Jul 14 2010 8:00P Cosmic Charlie’s Lexington-Fayette, KY
Jul 15 2010 8:00P Club Cafe Pittsburgh, PA
Jul 16 2010 9:00P City Winery New York, New York
Jul 17 2010 8:00P Middle East Restaurant & Nightclub Cambridge, MA
Jul 18 2010 8:00P Iron Horse Music Hall Northampton, MA
Jul 20 2010 8:00P IOTA Club & Cafe Arlington, VA
Jul 21 2010 8:00P Grey Eagle Tavern & Music Hall Asheville, NC
Jul 22 2010 8:00P The Earl Atlanta, GA

Austin City Limits 2010 Lineup Announced

It’s that time again, and Austin City Limits has announced its 2010 lineup.

First impressions? Like most music festivals these days, I’m finding the most value in the so-called second- and third-tier acts. Although I would very much like to see Flaming Lips (as they bagged Memphis in May) and Spoon. Well, I guess The Strokes, too.

As far as the rest, there are some genuine gems — The Black Keys, Broken Bells, The National, Local Natives, Band of Horses, The Soft Pack and more. The list of ACL’s 2010 performers is below. We’ve taken the liberty to highlight some recommendations, and in the case of those bands we’ve reviewed, discussed or played on Sound Citizen Radio, you’ll find a link to our coverage.

It’s tough to pick the best day to attend, if you can’t make all three. But so far, I’m leaning toward Sunday with Flaming Lips, Band of Horses, The National, The Morning Benders, Dawes and several others. Plus, The Eagles are kind of legendary.

Friday, Oct. 8 Saturday, Oct. 9 Sunday, Oct. 10
Phish Muse The Eagles
The Strokes M.I.A Flaming Lips
Spoon LCD Soundsystem Norah Jones
Vampire Weekend Monsters of Folk Band of Horses
Sonic Youth Deadmau5 The National
The Black Keys Gogol Bordello Robert Earl Keen
Broken Bells Pat Green Yeasayer
Slightly Stoopid Matt and Kim Rebelution
Beach House The xx Portugal. The Man
The Sword The Temper Trap Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Girls Local Natives Devendra Banhart and the Grogs
Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses Gaslight Anthem Gayngs
Blues Traveler Lucero Richard Thompson
The Soft Pack Pete Yorn Martin Sexton
Amos Lee Ozomatli Midlake
Robert Randolph & The Family Band Manchester Orchestra Foals
Miike Snow The Almighty Defenders Switchfoot
Mountain Goats Bear in Heaven Cage the Elephant
JJ Grey & Mofro Mayer Hawthorne The Morning Benders
Angus & Julia Stone Kinky Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Hockey David Bazan Henry Clay People
Asleep at the Wheel The Very Best Blind Pilot
Nortec Collective Beats Antique Dawes
GIVERS Two Door Cinema Club The Constellations
Band of Heathens Lissie T. Bird and the Breaks
Charlie Mars The Dough Rollers Frank Turner
Sarah Harmer Basia Bulat The Relatives
Chief Balmorhea MyNameIsJohnMichael
Those Darlins Dan Black SPEAK
Carolyn Wonderland The Jane Shermans Maxim Ludwig
Kings Go Forth Caitlin Rose Ashley Cleveland & Kenny Greenberg
The Ettes Run With Bulls Buddy & The Straight Way Travelers
Qbeta Heavenly Voices Ruby Jane Smith
The Kicks Jones Family Singers  
Two Tons of Steel    
Gospel Stars    
Wesley Bray & The Disciples of Joy    

Local Natives Concert Review and Tour Dates

(VIDEO INCLUDED) Schuba’s is one of those venues where you can often see a band on their way to the top. The list is long and littered with famous bands that were just breaking out when they made their stop at Schuba’s and often, they never find their way back because they just get too popular for such a small (albeit storied) venue. Such is the case with Local Natives.

We were turned on to Local Natives about six months ago and, ever since, it’s been heavy in the rotation. They have these sweeping songs that, when you hear the first few notes, you can’t imagine that it’s going to end in well-choreographed chaos just a few minutes later. The hooks are quite simple but the way they are put together is anything but. These musicians are talented and shift with the utmost ease between epic songs and arrangements, stopping only to tune their guitars and occasionally switch instruments.

Then there are the harmonies. It’s really what makes Local Natives special. They somehow found talented musicians who also vocalize in perfect harmony. There can be as many as four of them singing together at once — it doens’t sound forced and it’s not overwhelming. I wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, I wouldn’t change a thing about this band or that night’s performance. It comes in easily as one of the best concerts of 2010.

You will notice in the video below some of the crowd reaction. It seemed that the crowd knew every loop and lyric to every song — no kidding. I even turned to one of the Citizens in attendance if they thought some of the crowd sing-alongs were being piped in. I don’t think so, but it was kind of stunning to hear such participation. You can get a sense of it with their performance of “Airplanes” in the video below. And if you want to hear even more of it, check out this performance of “Sun Hands.” The video is shaky, considering its producer was pretty excited at the time (understandably so). If you want to skip right to the chanting crowd, it’s starts at about the 3:30 mark.

Below the video are Local Natives’ remaining 2010 tour dates. You’ll notice a handful of sold out dates … jump on this tour when they hit your town.

May 18 2010 8:00P The Mill Iowa City, IA
May 19 2010 8:00P Mojo’s Columbia, MO
May 21 2010 8:00P SOLD OUT Larimer Lounge Denver, CO
May 22 2010 8:00P Kilby Court Salt Lake City, UT
May 25 2010 8:00P Empyrean Spokane, WA
May 26 2010 8:00P Neurolux Boise, ID
May 27 2010 8:00P Mississippi Studios Portland, Oregon
May 28 2010 8:00P The Venue Vancouver, British Co, CA
May 30 2010 8:00P Sasquatch! Quincy, WA
Jun 2 2010 8:00P SOLD OUT* Rickshaw Stop San Francisco, CA
Jun 3 2010 8:00P SOLD OUT Bottom of the Hill San Francisco, CA
Jun 4 2010 8:00P SOLD OUT Troubadour Los Angeles, CA
Jun 5 2010 8:00P SOLD OUT* Bootleg Theater Los Angeles, CA
Jun 10 2010 8:00P Bonnaroo Manchester, TN
Jun 13 2010 2:00P ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL Isle Of Wight, UK
Jun 15 2010 8:00P Shepherds Bush Empire London, UK
Jun 17 2010 8:00P Vera Groningen, NL
Jun 18 2010 8:00P Southside Tuttlingen, DE
Jun 19 2010 8:00P Hurricane Scheebel, DE
Jun 23 2010 8:00P Melweg Amsterdam, NL
Jun 24 2010 8:00P Glastonbury Old Queen’s Head Glastonbury, GB
Jun 25 2010 2:00P Glastonbury Festival Glastonbury, UK
Jun 27 2010 2:00P Solidays Festival Paris, FR
Jun 29 2010 8:00P Ravenna Hana Bi Ravenna, IT
Jun 30 2010 8:00P Ancona Mole Vanvitelliana Ancona, IT
Jul 2 2010 8:00P Beauregard Festival Herouville Saint Clair, FR
Jul 4 2010 8:00P Roskilde Festival Roskilde, DK
Jul 11 2010 8:00P Oxygen Festival Punchestown Racecourse, IE
Jul 18 2010 3:00P Pitchfork Festival Chicago, Illinois, US
Aug 5 2010 8:00P The Middle East Boston, Massachuse, US
Aug 6 2010 8:00P The First Unitarian Church Sanctuary Philadelphia, PA
Aug 7 2010 2:00P The Beach @ Governors Island New York City, NY
Aug 11 2010 8:00P Pantiero Festival Cannes, FR
Aug 12 2010 8:00P Haldern Festival Haldern, DE
Aug 13 2010 8:00P Way Out West Festival Gothenburg, SE
Aug 14 2010 8:00P Oya Festival Oslo, NO

Sound Citizen Radio 10-4, Good Buddies

Time for more Sound Citizen Radio! Once again we’ve outdone ourselves with not three, but FOUR great songs from FOUR great bands (at the bottom of this post.)

We’ve had a great couple of weeks here, including a trip down to Memphis for the Beale St. Music Festival. You can read about Memphis in May right here.

This week a few of us are headed to see a new favorite in Local Natives and an old soul in Clem Snide. You can hear Clem Snide on Sound Citizen Radio 9.

Thanks for listening and if you like what you hear, go ahead and share it with your Facebook friends by clicking the thumbs up at top left. As always, please send any suggestions, thoughts or music for an upcoming episode to

This week’s lineup:

Besnard Lakes, Montreal, Canada. “Albatross”
Pritzker Pavillion, Millenium Park, Chicago (FREE), May 24

Dexateens, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. “Down Low”
Schubas, Chicago, May 20

Love of Everything, Chicago. “It Feels So Good to Be Alive”
Empty Bottle, Chicago, CORRECTION: May 18

Morning Benders (playing with Broken Bells), San Francisco/New York. “Excuses”
The Vic, Chicago, May 31

Memphis in Mud, 2010

It was on a whim that I decided to take a trip to Memphis. A quick email from a friend got me thinking about it, so I had a look at the lineup for the Beale St. Music Festival and, it looked pretty good. Widespread Panic, Flaming Lips, Alice in Chains, Band of Horses … Hall and Oates. I’m in.

Watching the weather forecasts for Memphis that weekend told me that it was going to be wet. Thunderstorms were predicted all weekend. Then, I learned that Flaming Lips canceled. A real bummer, and more was to come.

It came as no surprise that upon arrival on Friday early evening, it was raining. No matter, we made the trip downtown (poncho in the pocket) and walked our way toward Widespread Panic’s set. It wasn’t long before it became very clear that I wasn’t at Lollapalooza. Why? Because a 16-ounce can of Budweiser was $4! For another $3, I got a Pronto Pup – a corn dog with mustard applied with a paintbrush. So there you go — $7 and I’m fed and watered. And so is the lawn. It’s getting muddy.

Widespread was good — I’m not terribly familiar with their latest stuff, but seeing them brought me back to college and countless hours blasting “Ain’t Life Grand” while sitting on the lawn drinking even cheaper beer. This set is also where I met Carl Wolf.

Me: “What’s that in your backpack?”

Carl: “You know what it is.”

Me: “A light saber?”

Carl: “That’s right.”

Nice guy, that Carl Wolf. And a big Widespread fan. Eventually, me and a couple of other Sound Citizens made it home, but not before stopping off at one of the most interesting bars I’ve ever been to. More on that later.

Saturday started rough. I choked down some chicken wings at The Flying Saucer while we waited out some of the rain. After letting up a bit, we made it back to Tom Lee Park in time to catch Drive-by Truckers. Good set, you can see some of it in the video at the bottom. We also featured them on Sound Citizen Radio 7.

The real treat was seeing Jerry Lee Lewis. A true living legend, I was kind of shocked to learn that he was even still playing. But he is, and he sounded great. Sure, he might not have the same pep that he used to, but who can blame him? He can still tickle the ivories, though. And that’s what it’s all about anyway. That, and his band was fantastic.

Here’s something nice about the festival – you can leave and come back. So, we went to catch the Blackhawks game for a bit. Sat down and before our pulled pork nachos even arrived, the Hawks were getting trampled. It was awful. And sitting right next to us were two stock brokers from Vancouver, in town for a conference. Thankfully, they were as nice as I’ve imagined Canadians to be, so it wasn’t an issue. They even tried to console us a bit. “It’s going to be a long series, you know?” said one of them. And it was. For them.

Back to Tom Lee Park. It’s turning into a mud pit. The kind where it threatens to suck the shoes right off your feet. The plan is to see Hall and Oates (yes, Hall still rocks the mullet and Oates the small afro and ‘stache) then Alice in Chains. The wind is picking up. After “Man Eater” and “Family Man” (I think) the sound shuts down. It appeared Hall and Oates broke Memphis in May. A guy comes on stage and tells us, “Show’s over for tonight. Everyone must evacuate the park.” Hall tells everyone he’s sorry and the tornado siren starts blasting. No Alice in Chains.

So, we make the trek with everyone else, then head to Earnestine and Hazel’s, the aforementioned bar. This place is something else. It’s a former whore house. It has a grill right there next to the bar that serves “soul burgers.” The jukebox only turns one way and is loaded with great blues and soul. Upstairs is dotted with the old working girls’ rooms, peeling paint and all, where people hang out and drink. And, there’s another bar up there with a gentleman who’s been serving up booze for 20 years or more. He’s old-school with the hat, vest and broad smile to match. I can’t remember his name but I do remember this — he had a small glass bottle with a cork in it tucked in his vest with some kind of alcohol that he was all too happy to serve us. I felt like I was time traveling (before the unnamed shot). In fact, I’m not sure he was even real. Every photo I tried to take and everyone else tried to take didn’t turn out. Weird. I have no idea what the shot was … but it woke me up before knocking me down. It was time to go. So we hailed a cab (Memphis has the friendliest cab drivers ever) and headed home for some laser pizza. If you don’t know what that is, ask me.

After getting over the disappointment of an early cancellation the night before, we headed back out. We hit up Central BBQ on the recommendation of our host and the fine gentleman who sat next to me on the trip down to Memphis. Holy smokes — that’s some amazing BBQ. Maybe the best ribs I’ve ever had.

Next, a stop at Sun Records. Hallowed ground around here. It’s where Elvis got his start, along with Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison.

We learn that Alison Krauss and John Hiatt can’t get out of Nashville due to the severe flooding. Two more casualties. But this day is about one Band of Horses. First, we take in Booker T & the MG’s. Good stuff and a nice, leisurely way to start the evening. Walking around the park is getting difficult. The mud is thick, and it stinks. You know those galoshes that all the women are wearing these days, with the whimsical patterns and such? They’re everywhere. Whoever decided to paint little ducks and flowers on rubber boots must be rolling in money.

But I digress. Band of Horses takes the stage and, to my surprise, it’s not a packed house. But they rock. Once it started, you can see that people who have never heard them before realize there’s something special here. And the fans … well, it’s just perfect. They played a great set, mixing songs from their new album with some of their best “classics.” Lead singer Ben Bridwell sounds as good as he ever has. Band of Horses is one of those bands that actually sounds better live than recorded. I love when that’s the case. At the end of the show, Bridwell brings out this enormous, wooden guitar. Not sure why, but he’s jamming on it, somehow. There’s some digital element to it where the pickups would be. Then, at the end of the song, he pours lighter fluid on it and sets it ablaze, Hendrix-style. Can’t wait to see them again.

Finally, we decide it’s about time to wrap it up. But first, let’s see 3 Doors Down, and maybe they’ll play that Geico commercial song. You know the one, where the cave men are bowling … “One time … Let me be myself!” So, after almost losing my shoes again, we wait. Someone takes the stage, and announces that two separate private jets have failed to deliver the band. That’s it. Festival over. Oh well. Let’s go get a Southern Comfort daquiri.

Below is some video from the festival. Like a moron, I forgot my camera on Sunday. But thanks to YouTube, I dug up some Band of Horses taken by others. Enjoy.