April 19, 2009

Move on up: Eccentric Soul, live in Chicago for one bright night

chicago-april-2009-333Can ya hit it ten times?

–Syl Johnson (video/via)

The Park West is a veritable old Chicago theatre that’s been hosting events in classy style since the 1920s. A few Saturdays ago, I walked in under that mirror ball for the first time to see the Eccentric Soul Revue, curated by Chicago’s own Numero Group.


Recently named the best label in Chicago, I wholeheartedly believe that the Numero Group is one of the most clever and exciting labels releasing music right now. The handful of guys behind the releases operate out of a basement office, digging through their own (extensive) personal collections and hitting the road to track down the stories and sounds of forgotten music that still deserves to be heard.

They reissue sub-genres, niche sounds, and should-been-stars through series like the Eccentric Soul compilations, the scalding Cult Cargo line, and rich Local Customs releases.

the merch booth offerings!

The show they curated on April 4th was one of the most authentic and fun concerts that I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. Numero pulled together a soulful lineup of legends from Chicago’s Twinight label (The Notations, Renaldo Domino, The Kaldirons, Nate Evans, and the legendary Syl Johnson) — some of whom hadn’t played a live show in thirty years.

As I stood there in the front row alongside my photog friend Natalie, we delighted in the the dusted-off shiny shoes, the matching blue suits (maybe with a button replaced here and there), the choreographed moves, and the gold belt-buckles emblazoned with first names. I want one:


The music from each group was tight and shimmering (backed by JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound), sets loaded with original classics like “Is It Because I’m Black,” “Not Too Cool To Cry,” and “Brotherman,” as well as covers like “Different Strokes” and the final hurrah with all the artists on-stage for Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up.” The sold-out crowd in attendance was a wonderfully eclectic blend of Pitchfork-reading indie kids and older folks who probably saw all these groups the original time around.






Every act brought their A-game, their yowls and grunts, their thrusts and slides (oh, how Syl brought the thrusts, about a foot and a half from my face). I found myself thinking as I stood there how very lucky we were to be seeing this slice of history revived in brilliant technicolor, and wishing Numero could find a way to bring their show on the road.

All my pictures are here. Oh what a NIGHT.

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  • [...] Heather of the I Am Fuel, You Are Friends blog, which is my favorite music blogs. She wrote up a review of the show which renders anything I could say about the night redundant, and also included some [...]

    » Sock It To Me! Wings For Wheels: The website and blog for Dave Lifton and the Wings For Wheels Podcast. — April 20, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

  • Wow. This can’t help but give me some pangs of real jealousy. I like history with my music and, from the photos alone, it’s not so much history in the making as it is … well, history being re-made. Again. Did you take alla those excellent photos as well? Nice work, Renaldo.

    Dainon — April 21, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  • thanks, D. I think the 7th one down (of Nate Evans) is my favorite. It was so fun to attend, and fun to shoot. I wish you coulda come. It was truly amazing.

    browneheather — April 21, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  • I’m jealous! W.

    W — May 3, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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