North Coast Festival Preview: Van Ghost

Preview 1 - North Coast‘s inaugural run boasts one of the most eclectic lineups (hip hop, electronica, jam bands, etc) of the summer festival circuit, in the coming days check back for bands/artists that simply cannot be missed.  Today we’re focusing on Chicago’s own Van Ghost.  Sounds like: Ryan Adams/Wilco/CSN; alt country / Americana.  Michael Berg, a veteran of the Chicago music industry, formed Van Ghost after much encouragement from friends and family to pick up his guitar and start writing and performing.  He assembled a collection of seasoned musicians to form Van Ghost and I’ve fallen for Berg and Jennifer Hartswick’s vocals.  Berg’s voice carries an honesty and conviction that is complimented by the force of Hartswick’s range.  They will be at the ‘Groupon: What’s A Music? Stage’ at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.  Below is a video of “On The Way Home (Live)” filmed at The Metro.  They’ll also be at Bottom Lounge on September 5 and their new release “The Domino Effect” (6 pack-EP) will be out soon.

Van Ghost Official Site

4th Annual Metal Mergence

Looking for an alternative to Pitchfork this Friday night? Check out the 4th annual Metal Mergence taking place this Friday, July 16, at Reggie’s (2109 South State).  The annual gathering focuses on local and emerging talents of all forms of metals with great networking opportunities for all. Confirmed labels and reps include: Dark Star Records, Mortal Music, Rebel Radio, Las Divas Promotions, Jen X, Pitch Black Productions and Chicago Metal Factory.  Bands and artists attending are encouraged to submit demos face-to-face with the movers and shakers in the industry.  There will also be a number of people from the illustration and packaging departments to help bring merch ideas to life.

You can catch live performances by: Viva La Muerte (Hot N Heavy Burlesque), Souls Demise, Lair of the Minotaur, Earthen Grave, Mindwarp Chamber, Falsefaced, Malas and First Jason.

Doors open at 8, 17+ (must have valid ID). For more information you can check out the official MYSPACE and FACEBOOK pages.

E>N>E: Berwyn Rocks 05/31 Recap

Still swooooooning and jamming to last night’s jams.

Capitulo 2 started things off with Cronos and Su Diario.  Hannibal Lecter showed up in the form of Aleks wearing a hot black mask while he played guitar.  I’m not going to lie, embarrassed to say, but I was distracted during their set and remembered to take a picture for this during the interview portion of the show.  I remember Cronos being a fast rocker and Su Diario starting off as a mellow-ballady type of song but speeding up toward the end. I suck, I know.


Capitulo 2 being interviewed by Hugo

Capitulo 2 being interviewed by Hugo



Next was Lily Schaffer and she had my full undivided attention.  The love child of Aimee Mann and a dictionary she was delightful performing Rubber Match, All He Wants and Trigger off her release Lemonade (available for purchase on her MySpace page).  Backed by a solid band she breezed through her set and left me curious to hear more.  I’ve been listening to her stuff on her MySpace page and have enjoyed it more with each listen.  Smart lyrics, catchy music = me likes!


Lily Shaffer

Lily Shaffer



Lastly, we had The Luna Blues Machine. I’m still swoooooning over these broads. How can you go wrong with a song called Sucia?!!  Fronted by the Cervantes sisters, Maritza and Belinda, and accompanied by John on bass and the drummer whose name no one seemed to be able to tell me, they were simply fantastic with their contagious energy and fun musical vibe (even when singing about Sucias.)  Solid, their second song was a reggae-tinged bluesey number and Pure Speculation was a bluesey rocker.  Singing in Spanish and English and easily jumping between the two in their songs they really have me all sorts of excited again about the local talent in this town.  They’re currently promoting their full length self-titled studio CD which was released in April of this year.  I bought the CD, you know that means I adore them if I’m willing to spend cash on it.  They’ll be at Sylvie’s on Irving this Friday and I’m hoping to be there to check them out.


The Cervantes Sisters: Belinda & Marita

The Cervantes Sisters: Belinda & Marita



Next week E>N>E Chicago Rocks will be taping at Reggie’s Rock Club.

B*Sides: Mandy Moore

I am a fan of Mandy Moore’s movies: Saved! and American Dreamz being guilty pleausures. I’ll admit I never really paid attention to her music and vaguely remember the cheesy late ’90s single Candy. Sorry Mandy, you’re adorable but musically I just never really followed you. That is until now. The first single for her upcoming 6th studio album, “Amanda Leigh” due out May 26 (yeah, SIXTH, i’m just as surprised) is called I Could Break Your Heart Any Day of the Week and it is surprisingly good. If this is what we can expect from a Mandy Moore album then sign me up.  Enjoy it below:

E>N>E Chicago Rocks Recap 05/03/09

This week’s taping of E>N>E: Chicago Rocks at Cobra Lounge was kicked off with Aaron Michael.  This prolific singer-songwriter and member of the Rail Rotors took the stage with the swagger of Johnny Cash dressed in denim and boots, bright red guitar ready to go and showed off with a three song set: Sweet Georgia, Hot Roddin’ Baby and Black Is Night.  No upcoming shows from what we can tell but promise to post any new dates when we get them.  Switching gears with La Brecha.  These rockers played a strong two-song set: Nada Perfecto and CongeladorCristian (vocals/guitar) El Meme (bass), Edgar (guitar) and Felix (drums) will be at Congress Theatre on May 16, 2009 and I suggest you check them out, you will not be disappointed and it doesn’t hurt that Cristian is cute. So go! Get your tickets! Go!!  Closing out the show was Benjamin Anaya + Los Extranos Unidos.  Playing a fusion of bossa, funk and preaching a message of unity and love Benjamin + Los Extranos jammed on Magic Pagole and Intermezzo, the perfect end to a warm breezy Sunday night.

That’s it for this week, next week E>N>E will be taping at Tiger O’Stylies in Berwyn from 6-8PM, come be a part of the crowd.  Check out Enchufate! for more info.

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