Tuesday, October 2, 2012

#Music in #Chicago, Pandora Presents, World Music Festival and Gypsy Jazz Festival

I am hopelessly behind in sharing all the events, goings on and excitement I have had the chance to take part in. September is always like that though, I try to get every last bit of summer, sunshine and fun packed into every day. Then there is the fact that everyone else tries to push their events at this time of year to coincide with back to school, and you can't forget that its Hispanic Heritage Month which means even more fiestas and cultural events. It can get exhausting, and this weekend I just called it quits and chose to blow off everything, stay home and relax. 

Since so much has happened, and I am short on time, I am going to share the last three music events with you in one go! 

To start, I went to a Pandora Presents live concert for Theophilus London in Chicago. I have a lot to say about this event, concept, artist. But I guess I should start by saying that I really hope Pandora continues with this concert series and that they help more small bands/artists find the fans that want to hear them-- because I think what they have going is a good thing. 

That said, the Chicago concert sucked. Sorry, but it did, and half the people that walked out with us agreed. I feel bad because you know Pandora put a lot into this event. Jeep was a sponsor, they had a whole outside event space set up, street artists, they even brought in a food truck, the people working the event were super nice (that doesn't happen often) and it was by invite only. I was very excited for the event, new artist, new concert series, Tim Westergren, the founder of Pandora, was going to be there and then good music. What's not to love, right?

The problem. Mr. London. I left feeling bad for him, the venue, Pandora and the sleep I was missing.  See, that's how bad it was. Even after I sat through JLo's whole set I didn't regret the sleep I was missing at the end of the night. 

I spent more time counting how many times people fell on or off the stage, tracking the cute videographer around the club and noting how many people were bailing before we decided it was time to go ourselves. There was no way we were going to stay given London could hardly get through a song without a break and people were getting restless and angry, and drinking. Really hope Pandora continues to use the "tools" they have created to help more bands find pockets of fans on the map that they should be playing for.

Next up was the Chicago World Music Festival. I usually attend at least one or two shows from this event because there is always something interesting, something jazz and some Latin band that I have been wanting to see. Originally I did not think I was going to be around for it, so I didn't even check out the schedule. But then a wonderful thing happened and I was able to stay in town. Even better, I logged onto FB and saw that Canteca de Macao was coming to Chicago to perform in the festival. No way! 
The voice behind The Twitter

I honestly could not believe my luck because back in the spring Canteca de Macao was performing in Chicago and then at SXSW in Austin. I thought then that I would have 2 chances to catch them on stage, but I ended up missing both. As soon as I knew I could make it, I called the Old Town School of Folk Music only to be told that all the seats were reserved and got no answer from ICC because it was the weekend. Thought I was all out of luck again but I tweeted the event and my disappointment and this is what I got back.....

We made it to the concert, snagged seats and got to see a great performance. Love the new album, Nunca Es Tarde. It's so different from the Canteca de Macao that I first fell in love with, but a good different. I love bands that grow and improve their sound with every album. Nunca Es Tarde is a little more jazzy and a little more Latin, both things that I love, without losing any of that flamenco feel the group has always had. 
The very talented, Enrique
Honestly, I think the trumpet player, Enrique Rodriguez Paredes, makes all the difference in the sound. Not to discount the rest of the band, but that boy can play. I never appreciated brass until I fell in love with jazz, and I didn't fall in love with jazz till I moved to Madrid. Between this concert and the Gypsy Jazz Festival I am determined to move back to Madrid for a bit. The music scene is so different over there and I need some of that for a bit. Anywho, the two concerts, yes I went to both, were the highlight of the week/month/and a close second to the Enrique Iglesias concert.   

Finally, there was the Gypsy Jazz Festival with the two groups that I enjoy at the two places I normally go to when I need to hear good music. Alfonso Ponticelli and Andreas Kapsalis at Green Mill and Katerina's. I only made it out to Green Mill, even though I hate that there is never anywhere to sit or stand sometimes. 

All in all, a fantastic week of music. Missed out on a lot of sleep, but it was worth it.