Previews & Reviews

October 23, 2007

Seven Acres Band
Seven Acres
Seven Acres

Howard Glazer and the EL 34s
Brown Paper Bag
Random Chance RCD-23

“Blues had a baby, and they called it rock ‘n’ roll,” Muddy Waters once noted. Certainly the blues and R&B have been integral parts of creating first, rock ‘n’ roll, then rock, and have been a part of these genres’ history since the mid-1950s, responsible for the genesis of blues/ rock hybrids that have ranged from the sublime to the ripoff. Rock is heavily indebted to the blues, and contemporary blues also indebted to rock, as these two CDs show.

October 12, 2007

If you want a holiday that's a perfect fit for the performing arts, you want Halloween. The costuming, the surprises, the begging for candy -- it all fits. So, if you're looking for something to scare you this October, or something to make you laugh, here are two plays and a film you might be interested in.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Victorian cautionary tale of a man caught between his better nature and his repressed inward desires is getting a new treatment in the Monroe County Civic Theatre's production, as director Russell McGee lays some modern elements on top of the classic tale. "I've had a fascination with Jekyll and Hyde for a long time," McGee says.

September 25, 2007

Chief Schabuttie Gilliame
Snakes Crawls At Night
Random Chance RCB-17

Chief Schabuttie Gilliame is an African-born bluesman from the Phoenix, Arizona area who performed in Arizona and California. Born in Egypt in 1925, he first learned the blues in Arkansas and Louisiana before moving to Arizona in the mid-1970s. His deep-throated, gravelly bass vocals render him reminiscent of Howlin' Wolf, and the Chief is an accomplished, original blues songwriter as well.

September 11, 2007

If Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's had grown up and formed a band in the heart of the Midwest instead of New York, one could imagine that the resulting outfit would sound a lot like Cincinnati-based Heartless Bastards, who rocked Bloomington's own Bluebird on Sept. 6.

While the brazenly unapologetic name might make some a little hesitant, one listen to the trio's brand of bluesy, grungy, down-home rock 'n' roll and you can't get them out of your ears.

Kicking off a late show Thursday night, HB drew a decent crowd for still being relatively unknown and were definitely worth the three-hour wait (for this reviewer, at least). Coming off from a recent appearance at this year's Lollapalooza in Chicago and starting a tour of the Midwest, the band has a lot to look forward to, as evidenced by the hard-stomping show.

September 11, 2007

Random Chance Records is a small, high-quality blues and jazz record label based in New York City. It has some excellent, exciting issues, as these two reviews below indicate.

Jimmie Lee Robinson
Chicago Jump
Random Chance Records RCD14

Chicago Jump is composed of previously unreleased material from the late Jimmie Lee Robinson, Little Walter's long-time guitarist in the 1950s, that was recorded in November 1995 and February 1996. Coaxed out of retirement in the late 1980s by Scott Dirks, harpman with one of Chicago's leading blues bands, the Ice Cream Men, Robinson hadn't played regularly for over a decade. One of the last remaining traditional 1950s Chicago-style electric blues guitarists, Robinson soon re-established himself as a blues artist of note, playing festivals and recording his widely-acclaimed “comeback” album for Delmark, Lonely Traveler, that was released in 1994.

September 5, 2007

Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s, an Indianapolis-based indie rock/folk band, will perform at the Bluebird this Saturday, September 8, at 9 p.m. You can expect to hear songs from their debut album, The Dust of Retreat, and hope for previews from their forthcoming album.

The band’s Web site describes The Dust of Retreat as “a wintry sort of album, filled with stories and observations, made tastier with Jesse Lee's cello, Emily Watkins' rhodes piano and Hubert Glover's trumpet. Chris Fry played the drums and Casey Tennis played more drums and banged on things with mallets. Tyler Watkins played electric bass, usually without any shoes on his feet.”

These tactics seem to work well for the So and So’s, who’ve received overwhelmingly positive reviews from Billboard, The Indianapolis Star, and various websites for their debut album.

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