March Madness in Chicago

This month is an absolute knock out for live shows in Chicago. Here's a list of what we are checking out (and what we've already been to). Allen Stone at Lincoln Hall, March 5 Allen Stone brought his jaw-dropping vocals to the pristine Lincoln Hall in early March. Stef, Jonny Hats, and I all made it out and were blown away by his performance. Stef is going to write up a review so I'll leave it to her to tell the rest.

Robert Glasper Experiment w/ Bilal at Double Door, March 10 I've been loving Black Radio, the new Robert Glasper Experiment record. It's a who's who of neo-soul and hip hop with guest appearances by Lupe Fiasco, Erykah Badu, Lalah Hathaway, Mos Def, and more. He brought his quartet, featuring heavyweights Derrick Hodge (Maxwell) on bass and Casry Benjamin on reeds, to the Double Door on Friday. Chris and I checked out their improvisation-heavy set with a sold out crowd. Their set was a departure from the pop focus of the record, besides the tunes that Bilal sang. It was impressive to witness such incredible musicianship, but Chris and I wished that Bilal sang more of the set. Most of the tunes followed a familiar path of  "play the head and everyone take a solo." Overall I enjoyed the show and I'm definitely going to pick up Black Radio on vinyl.

And here's what coming up the rest of the month:

Bashiri Asad at Morseland, March 16 We first met Bashiri in 2009 in Indianapolis. We'll be doing a few shows with him in May and can't wait. Great soulful vocals that remind me of Luther.

Orgone at Schubas, March 16 I'm always singing the praises of the amazing band from LA. Go to their show and just try not to dance. Orgone is out on the road this spring supporting Galactic on a number of dates (not at Schubas, obviously).

Soul Summit presents DeRobert & The Half-Truths at Double Door, March 16 The mighty DeRobert & The Half-Truths, starring our good friend Dee Adams, return to Chicago after tearing the Double Door down with Black Joe Lewis on NYE 2011. Expect more of the same on Friday. Dee is the reincarnation of Donny Hathaway. Seriously. Dee and the boys from Nashville will also open for us at our Chicago release show on May 12 at Lincoln Hall (tickets here).

If that's not reason enough to go to this show, Soul Summit DJs will be spinning all night and it's absolutely free. Awesome. I'm going to make all of these shows on 3/16. What a night of music!

Fiona Apple at Lincoln Hall, March 18-19 (SOLD OUT) My little bro burned a copy of When The Pawn... for me and I was hooked. Fiona and Jon Brion made some magical records together. This is a great chance to see Fiona at an intimate club. Frankly it's hard to believe that she's playing at Lincoln Hall. I'm sure she could sell out the Riv or Vic easily.

The Bo Keys at SPACE, March 22 Scott Bomar's The Bo Keys are a soul band comprised of legends: Howard Grimes (drums) and Archie Turner (organ) from Al Green's Hi Rhythm section; Skip Pitts (guitar) of "Shaft" wah-wah fame; Ben Cauley (trumpet) from The Bar Kays. Scott Bomar is no slouch either--he's been making records in Memphis for years and has worked with legends like Al Green. Scott did the soundtrack for Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan. Plus he recorded our first 45, "7 to 10." Check out this great video of The Bo Keys and Otis Clay:

What a month! Hope to see everyone at some of these shows.

- Brendan