Show Type – JBTV Taping
For Openers – None
“The Sound of Silence” -Simon and Garfunkel
Because this show was a taping at JBTV there was no opener. As a result, it’s always cool to hunt through the memorabilia in the reception area outside of the soundstage before the show begins. I always seem to find something I never noticed before. Tonight was no different. I noticed an award presented to JBTV by Virgin Records for helping promote their top releases in 1993. It was basically an oblong plaque that had various gold and platinum CD’s from the year mounted on it including Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream and Lenny Kravitz Are You Gonna Go My Way. What stood out is that the Lenny Kravitz disc, despite listing his name and album title, featured the artwork from Siamese Dream. What’s up with that?!?
Main Attraction – Robbie Fulks
“Yes we Can” -Barack Obama
It seemed fitting that on the same evening that President Obama was giving his farewell address a few miles away we were treated to a troubadour playing working man’s songs:
The poor’s no sacred song
Poor is a disease
Mr. Fulks was in fine voice in front of a receptive crowd, singing songs of hard times (Alabama at Night), lost love (The Wine Song), and new love (Aunt Peg’s New Old Man). Along the way he told stories that encompassed the themes of the songs and the recording of his new Grammy nominated Album (Upland Stories) while never talking down to the audience – ‘This next song is about… Well, it’s in English. You’ll figure it out’ – creating the shared experience that a live music performance should be.
Would You See Them Again? Rating: Definitely
Already planning a Monday night at The Hideout.
Venue Notes: JBTV is definitely a Chicago institution. They have been hosting and breaking new bands for more than 30 years. Unless you know it’s there, you’ll never find it. The only outward marking of its existence is a name and logo on the buzzer of a non-descript door along Grand Avenue in downtown Chicago. Once you find it and are granted access to the fourth floor space you are in for a treat. Upon entry you’ll find memorabilia (gold record plaques, signed posters, setlists…) from the 100’s of acts that have graced the stage early in their careers including notables like Green Day, Pearl Jam, Radiohead and the Smashing Pumpkins.
The soundstage/performance space is intimate and provides just about the best acoustics you will experience in any live venue. Performances tend to be short (4-10 songs/30-45 minutes) but the experience is like seeing the band play in your living room. Best of all, since this is TV studio, everything will be recorded in high-def so you don’t need to worry about capturing shakey-cam footage on your smartphone to remember the experience.
And did I mention every performance is free? If you either live or plan on being in Chicago, keep an eye on JBTV Music and RSVP for an upcoming show (and check out the vast archive past performances). Be ready for the show start a bit late as load-in and soundcheck can run over. Don’t worry, it’ll be worth the wait!