Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's the '90s in Chicago Again This Week

Two great Chicago bands from the '90s are back and playing in town this week. The fantastic Poi Dog Pondering never really left (I do recall them "breaking up" but the leader Frank Orrall was back in business with a new lineup within a few months) but the Freddy Jones Band was definitely gone, as their Wikipedia entry states. Both are fun bands with Poi Dog being the musical outlet for Orrall's world beat sensibilities and Freddy Jones fitting in somewhere on the poppish end of the jam band side of the rock world.

Both bands will be back in what for those bands are prototypical venues. Poi Dog will perform with Abra Moore at the Metro (Clark St. just north of Wrigley Field) Wednesday and Friday nights. Freddy Jones will play Martyrs' (Lincoln Ave. due west of Wrigley Field) Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. The Freddy Jones shows are sold out but this is Chicago; meaning if you want to go and you can throw the dough, you are in. The Metro is a fantastic little theater (capacity of about 1000 including a few hundred seats upstairs) that Poi Dog played quite often including notable New Year's Eve shows from the late '80s through the mid '90s. Martyrs' is a small bar venue with good sight lines that probably holds less than 200 people. Freddy Jones surely played Martyrs' back in the day but I remember seeing them upstairs at the now defunct Wrigleyside on Clark St. just south of Wrigley. One of the numerous attractions of the Wrigleyside was that Cindy Crawford occasionally hung out there when she visited friends in the neighborhood, she also claimed it as a college bar from her days at Northwestern, seven miles north. The guys from Freddy Jones lived in Wrigleyville at the time and are all pretty good guys as is Frank Orvall. For what it's worth Poi Dog, Freddy Jones and Abra Moore are all on my iPod.

I do not know if Poi Dog still performing with the House-O-Matic dance group shown in this video:

Here is some recent video of Daydream by Freddy Jones:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey it's Simon from the Freddy Jones band... just read your blog. This is the first time that we've played Martyr's and we had a blast... our venues in the early days were Otis' Wriglyside and then in about 93 we moved into the Vic. Oh and I NEVER saw Cindy Crawford at Wriglyside, if I did she wouldn't be married to that looser bar owner she's with now. ;-)

11:39 AM  
Blogger El Rider said...

Hey Simon,
I am surprised that you never played Martyr's at some point back then and I had forgotten about Otis', that brings back some memories. Yeh, I sat next to Cindy Crawford at the bar one night, it can actually make a guy look pretty good when he is able to pay attention to the woman he is with while he is sitting next to a super model. It seemed that she just wanted to be a normal person.

I always liked the Wrigleyside, although the owner struck me as a real screw-up and his girlfriend was the one running things, now there I go with the bar owners. A friend who had lived in Wrigleyville for years moved to Miami so we all thought that the upstairs at Wrigleyside would be a great spot for a going-away party. I went over to schedule a Saturday night, then I stopped in the night before to confirm that we had the upstairs room. When i got there on Saturday evening the place was dark and there was a scrawled note taped to the door giving the employees a phone number to call for their checks. They never opened again.

I wasn't able to see you guys last weekend but I heard that the shows were great. Maybe next time I'll be able to make it. Good luck with the future.

7:17 PM  

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