CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
Photo Gallery: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes at Concord Music Hall on April 13, 2017
CHICAGO – With the temperature outside at a cool 60 degrees, it was a perfect night to throw on an old punk-rock shirt and take in the band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. The neon sign of the Concord Music Hall flickered against the Chicago skyline. Once inside, the crowd of the all-ages show stood shoulder to shoulder as the venue temperature heated up – anticipating a band with more than 20 years of classic-rock history.
They didn’t disappoint the saturated and boisterous crowd. Frontman Spike Slawson – wearing a shimmery gold jacket – led an onslaught of high-energy, devil-may-care cover tunes that brought attitude, style and substance to the songs that ranged from show tunes to Motown. Fans sang along and crowd surfed as the band performed punk covers of songs including “Sweet Caroline,” “Who Put the Bomp,” “I Believe I Can Fly,” “Jolene” and other favorites. The rest of the band, who wore retro 1950s-style jackets, kept the energy high, fun-loving and rocking through the night.
There was one notable absence. The band mate nicknamed “Fat Mike” apparently lost so much weight that he disappeared (at least for this performance). While I was reviewing my concert photos, an inebriated die-hard informed me of his disappointment. He had attended the concert to specifically see Mike perform and said it was not the same without his vocals. The punk-rock pedigree of Jay Bentley (from Bad Religion) took Mike’s place and the crowd seemed to be accepting of the replacement. I thought Jay did an incredible job filling Mike’s large pants as he entertained the crowd and kept it fun. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes conquered the night.
Photography and review by: Jeff Doles
Published by: Adam Fendelman, Publisher, HollywoodChicago.com