wwsp @ underground wonder bar 03.04.15What’s that famous line from Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall?” – “A relationship is like a shark, you know, it has to constantly move forward or it dies…”  The same could be said about a band. It’s got to continue to move forward, to grow, evolve, morph.

We debuted a pretty unique lineup last night at the Underground Wonder Bar. It’s a big, powerful sound. For the first time we had Chuck Wasserburg on resonator and baritone guitar, Doug Johnson on a 6-string fretless bass, Steve Rutstein on drums and Randy Farr on percussion.  A beast of a band!

Carla was in full Snow Bunny mode.  We ran through 14 songs, about 90 mins of music. We finished the set with our cover of The Doors “Soul Kitchen.” When two young women got in front of the stage and started dancing to the groove, well, it was the sweetest, coolest way bring the set to a close! – Jammer

photo by Matt Dinerstein

wwsp 9.24.14What can you say about the Underground Wonder Bar? A remarkable Chicago Music Mecca! Lonnie Walker and her Big Ass Company Band own the territory. Live music 365 nights a year – music until 4 A.M. every night!  It’s got the vibe and the mojo too. A “late night” oasis. We played our “sacrificial time-slot,” at 8 pm last night. It was a blast, the sound was “dialed-in.” After our set, someone said the sound was “lush and full.”  Yes. Cool. – Jammer

photo by Carla Hayden

Our show at Lonnie Walker’s Underground Wonder Bar over the weekend was electric, and exhilarating. A classic Jazz Lounge, a great place for music. Two levels, three stages. We played in the basement; a friendly and cozy room. A handful of friends came out to see us, but there was also a roomful of strangers. And the folks that came out were serious about having a good time, and serious about listening to live music.

It was a special show, we had Douglas Johnson of the Gunnelpumpers sitting in with us on Clevinger Bass. Doug is a virtuoso on the instrument, and in two rehearsals he really found a sweet spot in the sonic spectrum of the band. Doug plays the Clevinger with a bow and sometimes it sounds like a cello. He also has an array of effects pedals and I was reminded of some of John Cale’s sonic experiments; haunting drones and wild excursions with reverb, delay, and wah wah.

If  you know me, you know that energy is the thing. And the band is all about the group energy. Playing live, you bring that energy to a room, fill it with people, and suddenly you are creating this expanding vortex of creative vibration. When all the elements are there, it can be transcendent, and incandescent. It’s what we all feed on. It drives us and inspires us. Yes, and the music focuses and concentrates the energy, and it can light up everyone in the room.

We played two sets. We really had an opportunity to stretch out, and the band just smoked. Everyone really brought it. I am so proud of our little band. Of course, every band has a loose cannon, a wild card, a weak link. I think in our case, that would be me. I always have something going on: dropped pick, broken string, out of tune guitar, shorted-out guitar, loose cable, kicked cable… the list continues to expand. This time my little tube amp blew out. It just fizzled out after a few paltry notes on my electric guitar. But you know what? The band didn’t hesitate, they just seized the moment and vamped away on some moody little jam until I got it together on my acoustic guitar. Nothing could stop us, nothing could kill the vibe of the show. And that’s a very, very cool thing. – Jammer

photo by Karen O’brien