The blues don’t quit when Grant Park goes dark | Music Feature | Chicago Reader

Music » Music Feature

The blues don’t quit when Grant Park goes dark

Chicago’s blues clubs are in high gear all weekend—and some neighborhood spots are getting in on the action.

by

comment
Toronzo Cannon plays Friday at SPACE in Evanston as part of a tribute to Alligator Records. - CHRIS MONAGHAN
  • Chris Monaghan
  • Toronzo Cannon plays Friday at SPACE in Evanston as part of a tribute to Alligator Records.

The Blues Festival hasn't spawned as many satellite events around town this year as it has in years past, but for the most part that will just mean you won't have to skip five for every one you attend—there should still be lots of memorable moments. On Wednesday, June 8, Firecat Projects hosts a Blues Fest kickoff reception for the photo exhibit "Women of the Blues: Coast to Coast Collection," which opened May 27 and runs till June 18. The exhibit features more than 60 photographs of blueswomen, mostly shot in performance at venues in the U.S. and overseas; a percentage of the sales of prints and signed posters goes to the Koko Taylor Celebrity Aid Foundation and new affiliate Sisters of Royalty, which provides outreach, support, and networking for blueswomen. Photos from the exhibit will be displayed on the Jumbotron at Petrillo during evening events at Blues Fest.

This is always a big weekend for the city's blues clubs, of course, and a few shows merit special attention. SPACE in Evanston honors two of Chicago's most important blues labels: Thursday night's Delmark Blues Bash features club owner Dave Specter and his band with special guests including Jimmy Johnson and Omar Coleman, while Friday is dedicated to Alligator Records, with headliners Toronzo Cannon and Curtis Salgado. On Friday, Reggie's Rock Club hosts its annual Chicago Women in the Blues Festival, featuring Holle Thee Maxwell, Mz. Peachez, Liz Mandeville, Rambling Rose, and others; next door at the Music Joint is a "Chicago blues super session" with Jimmy Johnson, Jimmy Burns, Lurrie Bell, Bob Stroger, and more. On Saturday, Lazy Lester plays the Music Joint with Eddie Taylor Jr. and the Rockin' Johnny Band. Rosa's Lounge has shows booked all week and weekend, but Sunday's main attraction is especially noteworthy: Mighty Mo Rodgers, whose eclectic music and socially conscious, sometimes confrontational lyrics make him a uniquely important figure in contemporary blues.

Some neighborhood venues that don't advertise widely also deserve a mention. Hot City Lounge is again booking blues on Thursday nights, and longtime favorite Jo Jo Murray has reclaimed the gig. At the Water Hole on Thursday, a vocalist named Mississippi, who sings in the style of Howlin' Wolf, will hold forth. On Friday night, Mzz Reese with Joe B. & the Shotgun Band headline at Dr. J's Place. And a Saturday-night birthday party at the JLM Abundant Life Center, featuring Willie White, Westside Slick Rick, Mzz Reese, Theo Huff, and others, is open to the public (for a $15 cover).

B&B Madison Entertainment presents Little Harvey on Friday, Larry Taylor (son of famous guitarist Eddie Taylor) on Saturday, and soul-blues singer Willie White on Sunday. Friday and Sunday at the Odyssey East, vocalists Sydney Joe Qualls and New Orleans Beau are backed by the Source One Band, anchored by bassist Joe Pratt and featuring the esteemed Sir Walter Scott on guitar. (On Sunday, Pratt oversees the dedication of the Otis Clay VIP section, which will accommodate special parties and events.) Also on Sunday, lead guitarist "Killer" Ray Allison (former drummer for Muddy Waters, James Cotton, and Buddy Guy, among others) performs at For the Good Times Lounge. As always, call ahead to make sure the show is really happening.


WEDNESDAY8

Blues Fest kickoff reception for the exhibit "Women of the Blues"
7 PM, Firecat Projects, 2124 N. Damen, regular hours Mon-Sat 10 AM-4 PM, 773-342-5381, free, all ages


THURSDAY9

Jo Jo Murray
9:30 PM, Hot City Lounge, 7432 S. Racine, 773-224-9583, free, 21+

Mississippi
9 PM, the Water Hole, 1400 S. Western, 312-243-7988, free, 21+

Dave Specter with guests including Jimmy Johnson and Omar Coleman
8 PM, SPACE, 1245 Chicago, Evanston, 847-492-8860, $15-25, all ages


FRIDAY10

Toronzo Cannon, Curtis Salgado
10 PM, SPACE, 1245 Chicago, Evanston, 847-492-8860, $15-$25, all ages

Chicago blues super session with Jimmy Johnson, Jimmy Burns, Lurrie Bell, Bob Stroger, and others
7 PM, Reggie's Music Joint, 2105 S. State, 312-949-0120, $15, 21+

Chicago Women in the Blues Festival with Holle Thee Maxwell, Mz. Peachez, Liz Mandeville, Rambling Rose, and others
7 PM, Reggie's Rock Club, 2109 S. State, 312-949-0121, $15, $10 in advance, 17+

Little Harvey
9 PM, B&B Madison Entertainment, 4422 W. Madison, 773-398-3040, $10, 21+

Sydney Joe Qualls and New Orleans Beau with the Source One Band
9 PM, Odyssey East, 9942 S. Torrence, 773-530-7543, free, 21+

Mzz Reese with Joe B. & the Shotgun Band
9:30 PM, Dr. J's Place, 3241 W. Chicago, 773-836-2140, free, 21+


SATURDAY11

Lazy Lester, Eddie Taylor Jr., the Rockin' Johnny Band
9:30 PM, Reggie's Music Joint, 2105 S. State, 312-949-0120, $15, 21+

Larry Taylor
9 PM, B&B Madison Entertainment, 4422 W. Madison, 773-398-3040, $10, 21+

Willie White, Westside Slick Rick, Mzz Reese, Theo Huff, and others
8:30 PM, JLM Abundant Life Center, 2622 W. Jackson, ticket info 312-945-2503, venue 773-658-3679, $15, all ages


SUNDAY12

"Killer" Ray Allison
9:30 PM, For the Good Times Lounge, 5545 S. Damen, 773-498-3313, free, 21+

Mighty Mo Rodgers
9:30 PM, Rosa's Lounge, 3420 W. Armitage, 773-342-0452, $10-$15, 21+

Sydney Joe Qualls and New Orleans Beau with the Source One Band
8 PM, Odyssey East, 9942 S. Torrence, 773-530-7543, free, 21+

Willie White
9 PM, B&B Madison Entertainment, 4422 W. Madison, 773-398-3040, $10, 21+

Add a comment