Tag Archives: Chicago

The Big Toy show is a Coming!

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Hey there folks it’s been awhile and I took a break. Wanted to let you about a really cool thing coming up this week.  This weekend it’s the annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair!!! It’s this Saturday and Sunday November 21 and 22.  All the new toys for the upcoming holiday season AND lots of cool games as well.  BE sure to check it out! We’ve gone the last two years and my kids have had a really great time. Plus if your interested they have a STAR WARS LUNCH.  Hang with some storm trooper and get some vittles.  It’s a fun time if you can make it to Navy Pier this weekend.  Coming up are my top ten kindie music CD’s of the year.

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Botanical Pooches!

Poochamungas-The Poochamungas have been quiet since winter but they have exited hibernation and headed to a show  July 15th at the Chicago Botanic Garden! It’ll be one of the few chances to catch one of Chicago’s most dynamic kindie rock bands this year. If you  are or aren’t a member of the Garden ( I suggest membership as they are a great organization) all the shows are free. Not only do mister gthey have the Dancing Sprouts series on Wednesdays they have music nightly Monday – Thursday! Getting live music at a place as cool as the Botanic Gardens  is like getting pie with Ice Cream, bacon with a grilled cheese, a free train ride and getting to drive the train! It’s that awesome. A few bands that I know Laura Dohertywho will be playing include Miss Jamie, ScribbleMonster, Mister G, Future Hits (just jammed at their CD release party!),Laura Doherty, Mr. Singer and the Sharp Cookies and Zak Morgan.  There is a variety of music styles here to entertain the whole family. Do yourself a favor and head over to the Chicago Botanic Garden on a Wednesday night it’s gonna be a great time! All shows start at 5:30pm. See you there!Mr singer

Something caught my ear. Future Hits

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It’s funny when life comes full circle.  Last year the first time I heard of a band called Future Hits is when they were co-billing with Little Miss Ann at the Hideout.  I was unable to attend that show and around that same time I found out that there was a music teacher in my kids school teaching songwriting. Imagine my surprise when I found out they were in fact the same person.  Matt Baron.  I discovered this at my kids school when they were hosting a parents night.  We had a nice conversation about the school, networking and music in general. I then ran into Matt again at KindieComm which was a great time (Thanks again Kathy and Robert!). There I acquired a copy of the new CD Today is Forever which is really quite good, bilingual and like nothing else in the kindie world. I would describe it as Bryn Ferry meets The Cure with hints of Elvis Costello. It’s full of moods and pianos and heavy drum beats and bass with electric guitars twanging about. It’s a whole lot of rocking fun.  Then all the songs repeat in Spanish.  So not only do the kids get super cool songs they get a bilingual experience as well.  We tend to play either the English half or the Spanish Half. That’s up to you. Future Hits has a album you should get. Go buy this CD and support an independent artist today!

Jim Steinkraus. Thanks for being a Poochamungas

 

 

 

Norwood Park Fall Festival 2014. L to R: John Joyce, Don Zaloudek, Anna Fermin, Jim Steinkraus, Frank Izzo, Rich Rankin. photo by Betty Boduch

Norwood Park Fall Festival 2014. L to R: John Joyce, Don Zaloudek, Anna Fermin, Jim Steinkraus, Frank Izzo, Rich Rankin. photo by Betty Boduch

Last summer because of music I had the opportunity to play at Lollapalooza with a bunch of great Chicago musicians on the Kidzapalooza stage.  One of the fine folks who played keyboards is a great guy by the name of Rich Rankin. He was backing all the Chicago Kindie Musicians at this event and is a regular member of Laura Doherty’s band and produces her CD’s. When we were at the rehearsal he says to me “You know Jim Steinkraus.”  Jim is the first alternate guitarist for the Poochamungas recommended to the band by bassist Don Zaloudek.  Pete is our regular guitarist but because of life he can’t make some gigs so I call Jim who is awesome. Always has a smile and a story to tell. A gracious man who is fun to be around and enjoys playing. Rich then told me he got into music because of Jim Steinkraus and what a great guy he is and how they are related.  So later that year, at another gig, my keyboard player Alton is unavailable due to life.  I make a call to Rich who agrees to fill in.  It also happens that Pete is also unavailable so the call goes out to Jim.  Wouldn’t you know it that at rehearsal we find out that this is the first time these two guys are playing on stage together! There was a lot of laughing and a good time had by all both at the rehearsal and the gig.   Music had brought us full circle once again. Which is why most of us play. The social interactive aspect of creating something good together for a moment and then it’s gone. Never to be duplicated.  Jim created many of those good moments in his life. He is a man never to be duplicated. Jim Steinkraus passed away yesterday to the shock of the many people who loved him. The evil that is cancer took another one of the good ones much too soon.  I remain grateful to the fact that in Jim’s lifetime I got to share the music.  Jim was an amazing person and he will be missed. Thanks for taking a moment to play with us Poochamungas. It will be cherished. God Bless.

What are the odds?

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What do Keb Mo and I have in common?  We  both think Midwest Buy and Sell is one of the coolest guitar stores in the world.  This postage stamp of a store is filled with guitars, amps and assorted other music equipment. If  your’re driving  by looking for it at 6019 W. Irving. A few doors west of Austin Avenue don’t blink, cause you’ll miss it!  What was once a pawn store is now one of the coolest music places around.  I have bought  guitars, amps, monitors, etc. at great savings thanks to Wayne and his staff.  It’s a no pressure place when purchasing an instrument and they never try to “sell” you.  So you ask how I came by the fact that Keb Mo is a fan of Midwest Buy and Sell.  Last Monday I happened to be in said store (buying guitar strings) when Wayne and a customer were talking about how Keb Mo hadn’t stopped by the store in awhile and how he used to always stop when he was in town.  As I was working the upcoming Keb Mo show I informed them Keb Mo was going to be in town on Saturday.  There was a bit more conversation and I thought nothing of it till I went with Missy (Keb Mo’s tour manager) to pick up Keb Mo at the mall.  Upon picking up Keb I informed him how of the conversation I had earlier in the week. He mentioned he liked the store and asked how far it was. I said “20 minutes”. After a brief discussion with Missy he said “Let’s go!” with a big smile on his face.  Which totally made my week.  How often do you get to drive one of your favorite artists to your favorite guitar store?  First time in my life that 20150131_145726happened.  Do yourself a favor.  Go listen to Keb Mo ‘s new album cause it’s really good and then go buy it! Don’t forget to visit Midwest Buy and Sell either and tell them I sent ya!

Chicago Toy and Game Show or lots of COOL STUFF TO PLAY WITH!

ChiTagLogo_Hi_ResThis weekend is the 10th annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair!  We went last year and what a great time we had (thanks to The Rock Father for getting us invited). Two dads and two kids got to check out the latest and greatest in toys coming out.  Not only do you get to play with the toys many times you get to meet the inventors as well.  The kids were pretty much totally rocked the whole thing and we got to enjoy the blogger breakfast as well.  If you have a chance head on over to Navy Pier this weekend as it is open to the public. This Saturday, November 22 from 10am-6pm and Sunday, November 23 from 10am-5pm. A great time for the whole family! $10 adults, $5 kids and under  3 attends free.

Lollapalooza Recap of Awesome

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WOW!  What a weekend and I have only just recovered.  I actually got to play at Lollapalooza! What an amazing time I had.  Playing on stage with such talented people as Ralph Covert, Little Miss Ann, Mr. Singer, Jeanie B! and of course  Laura Doherty (who put the whole thing together) was such a great experience! Thanks to Laura’s band (Rich, Andy, Mike, Rob and Cat) for making me sound so good.   Many thanks to Tor Hyams for having us perform it was really fantastic!  I also got to jam on harp with Brady Rymer.  Truly a privilege as he is one of the finest entertainers around. Plus his wife Bridgett gave me their extra artist wristband and I was able to attend Saturday and Sunday with my daughter. Win Win!!!  Oh yeah!  There were all sorts of other bands performing and I wish I had been able to see more but the whole weekend felt like you could never catch it all so just enjoy the moment. There were some great moments.

Glen Hansard banana song

Portugal the Man, Ryan Beatty and Glen Hansard on the Kidzapalooza stage.  Short sets of really great music with the artists a mere 10 feet away.  Glen did a acoustic set with Adventure Sandwich coming on for Banana Man which was amazing.  Portugal the Man absolutely killed it and Ryan Beatty truly can sing and his two man band (electric guitar, drums) brought it.  Best stage to see an artist.  If you’re at Lolla next year visiting this stage and The The Grove are a must!

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Kidzapalooza village has so much to do for the kids if you bring them.  Temporary tattoos, Drum circles, art projects, etc!  The list goes on. One of the best areas of the festival.

Free Ice Cream in the Artist Lounge from Jeni’s on 3404 N Southport Ave.  Unbelievably good!

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When the daughter and I were walking  in the Artist Village Saturday there was a young platinum blonde woman wearing a spandex leopard outfit.  When we went to see Grouplove later the same woman was rocking on stage with this amazing band! We are totally fans.  My daughter insists I buy some of their CD’s very soon!

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The many folks I met riding on Golf carts (which is the official way to travel around for artists due to the size of the event) including a man named Rory. We had a nice conversation about where he’s from in Ireland (I have family there in County Mayo),  the guy he’s playing with named Hozier (he’s the drummer) and the fact he was flying out right after the show back to Ireland.  We caught the last 30 minutes. They were great!

Jeff Bogle of Out With The Kids is a big fan of the Avett Brothers and now I know why. Brilliant set.

 

Cage dancing girls

Cage the Elephant rocked the schnizzle out of their set with a group of girls dancing in the mud.

Eric Schnabel recommended Benjamin Booker and that man can play guitar.  He should be careful as to where he throws guitar parts after the smashing part… Ouch!

John Wicks of Fitz and the Tantrums and his family couldn’t have been nicer. In fact so many artists, fans and staff were just plain nice.  Whether letting my daughter move up for a better view or taking a photo for us it was refreshing to see courtesy and politeness as the norm.

Rianna coming out to sing with M&M.  The audience was electrified!

The always gracious Rymer family.  Seriously go buy a Brady Rymer CD. They’re pure joy.

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Hanging for two days with my daughter at the premiere music festival in Chicago.

Many thanks to my wife who let me go for three days to listen and play music.  It was very much appreciated. Go listen and support an artist today!