THE CHICAGO SUMMER OF ROCK: The Metro Opens The Doors To
New Sounds

CHICAGO, IL – If I keep on talking about the old days I am going to implode…. Ah the long nights, the senseless Detroit nights talking about the same bands. I already tipped over once, I think they call it depression…. And as I write this I am reading about a Bruce Springsteen Tribute Band as the sun goes down in another beautiful Saturday afternoon……

Then, I catch the news about Deer Tick – an explosive new sound from RHODE ISLAND – and some other great vibrations shooting off another rising band called The Moons in the UK – and I smile to myself. I just might make it after all. Catching the new acts was always tricky. Back in the old days you had to stay up late on Sunday nights and catch MTV after the regular programming hours to see what was hip and happening. We would get some insight from IRS Records, “The Cutting Edge” and then you can try to grab the latest from Canadian radio at 4 in the morning. You had to be tenacious too man. Today you have to have those same type of mad skills. Patience above all is the most important virtue. There is a good chance you will never hear what is happening on the radio.

The set list on Detroit is …. Well…. Hilarious. I just heard some tracks from the Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam and these were the same songs that were on the 1993 rotation. If this keeps up I am going to seriously slip away into infinite madness.

But enough of all that….. Onto the bands…..

DEER TICK – They have been around since 2004 – and hail from Providence. They got a loud jangly presence and have something very familiar about them. I can almost hear Paul Westerberg in there but isn’t he almost everywhere? There is a honest, driving beat and a deep jarring sensibility that grabs your soul and shakes it. The video is great too with all of the hoopla and fireworks. Kudos to the prop department and the visuals really compliment what’s happening on the video.
Forget hearing these guys on the radio. You will have to do your own searching on the web and hopefully catch them at the Metro in Chicago for an upcoming gig. There will be some catchy guitar songs in there that will remind you some B grade country band… only this is good. I do believe this is also good for the soul because after they get done shaking it to pieces they take the time to put it all back together and again. And that’s nice.

Deer Tick - Main Street   Deer Tick - Long Time

THE MOONS – UK The Brits have a whole collection of signatures in their speech, songwriting, and segues… Brilliant as they say and I say, and you’ll say too. In the track, “Jennifer Sits Alone” you will hear a bit of Lennon, and visually you will swear that these guys stole their hair from the Kinks and Oasis. These guys have the accents that all great British bands have but the look is still distinctly their own. Its complete too and you can hear that in other renditions of the, “Jennifer” track and I could have sworn I heard a bit of XTC in there. To the best of my knowledge these guys haven’t toured America yet but I am sure if they did they would hit the Metro … at least once.

On the track, “Double Vision Love” they steal more than The Kinks rolling lyrical tongue. I can almost see a bit of Roy Orbison coming through visually with the dark sun glasses. The guitar parts throw me back to the 60’s and almost borders on kitsch but then that break…. Is the originality that I have been searching for. The Moons deliver it and then throw you back deliberately into that soulful sound. The whole package is unique and refreshing and much needed.

The Moons - Jennifer Sits Alone   The Moons - Double Vision Love

SPOON – These guys hail from Austin, Texas and have been around since 1993. They have been popping in and off the commercial mainstream since early 2000’s. Spoon appeared on, “Conan O’Brien” and have been featured on KCRW, “Morning Becomes Eclectic” program. This is a cleaned up synth band and has been celebrated by Brian Eno as a “Rock and Roll Band”. There are some incredible moments in their musical construction and you can hear bits of Joy Division and other times the musical references are more carefully hidden. The deliberate musical accents in here between the chorus and solos are well put together. Every track is hypnotic and invites the ear for more introspection. As one YouTuber wrote, “It is so refreshing to have a band like Spoon come along…..”.

SPOON - Got Nuffin   SPOON - The Way We Get By

THE BAMBOOS – Are you up for some Australian funk? Oh good mercy I need that tropical drink… it is going to be a long night I can tell. I will need a cab ride too after because I am going to get lost into these sounds as I should. Sometimes the soul starves for something deeper than the Stone Temple Pilots. This is like jumping into the deep end of the pool and radio playlists be damned…. This is what real musical exploration is all about. It doesn’t quite feel so safe and there is a very good chance you could be alienated by your closest friends for even listening to this band. 

“Medicine Man” definitely puts you out of your immediate comfort zone but man listen to that chorus…. And not to mention the wind up. Thank you Australia for taking us out of the expected.

The driving sounds of, “I Got Burned” cranks things up past the norm. You got that soulful sound that appears familiar. The vocals are controlled by someone with experience. I am reminded of my return to soul when I first saw Vintage Trouble. These guys are craftsman and they are delivering a high quality product. The secret is in the subtlety of the slow moving but timely horn section. The guitars in the solo are at a perfect pitch that deliver true communication and rise above the base line and vocals.

The Bamboos - Medicine Man   The Bamboos - Midnight

GROUPLOVE – They have been around since 2011. This band has gotten a lot of love by selling 1,000,000 singles in America and in Australia. They were featured on a Coca Cola commercial and on a Glee episode. For you comedy fans out there you heard this track in the new, “Three Stooges” movie a couple years back. Its instant happiness. This is good for the ears. The sad songs are also refreshing to the ears with the vocals going up, over the top and all over and yet giving the music definition.
“Itchin’ on a Photograph” was picked up in a NASCAR promotion which has opened up this band to a whole new audience. Their sound is IMMENSE and bold and demands to be listened to. Once you hear it then it becomes difficult to stop. You need more… and you can get more… this summer at the Metro.


THE BUDOS BAND – Another YouTuber writes, “This music punches today's radio $%#^ dead in the face like Starsky and Hutch. So glad that talented musicians are still making great tunes.”

You got a bunch of tight musicians here, a wicked horn section and a sax player who knows his place. Everything here is well timed and constructed and delivered with precision. There is a lot to love here. This is all instrumental and the Budos Band has been delivering this sound since 2005. They hail from Staten Island, NY and have appeared in every continent so far except Antarctica which is probably a good thing since they might tend to melt the whole thing down. Their music has been included in some pretty sneaky places like video games such as the MLB for Playstation and on HBO shows.

The Budos Band - Crimson Skies   The Budos Band - Black Venom

ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN – They are back… but did they ever really go away? Well they did briefly and lead man Ian McCulloch was replaced for one album by Noel Burke. Hardcore fans will never admit that but I liked the brief change. Mac as he is known, did some solo work and then returned back to the band that made him famous for the triumphant, “Evergreen” album and the rest is history. The new album, “Meterorites” picks up where the band has treaded before but in a new fresh way. The psychedelic sound, with intense creativity, brooding lyrics, and heavy introverted views on the world and everyone in it. 

Fans swear that this new material picks up on some of Ian’s solo work, and the bands side projects including Electrafixion which isn’t a bad thing at all. Echo and the Bunnymen has survived throughout the recent decades without much airplay on even alterative stations. There are only a couple of songs that make it on the air and that’s usually only on retro hours. That is a shame. EATB has a wide range of songs in their catalog and they range on emotion and intensity. They put on a fantastic show and are always accompanied with an elaborate stage decked out with fog machines and lights.

Echo / Bunnymen - Market Town   Echo / Bunnymen - Black Venom

Chicago Summer of Rock at The Metro with The Budos Band, Echo and the Bunnymen, Grouplove, Deer Tick and The Bamboos


REM in 1987 and the Birth of Alternative Radio in Ann Arbor, Michigan - Crisler Arena >>>>


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