Show Type – Jukely
For Openers – Coyote Riot (kai-oat)
“In plaid instead of rhinestone and living in South [Chicago]”
You’ve gotta love a band with pedal steel guitar and a fiddle player in a trucker had and Cannibal Corpse t-shirt! Overall, this seven-piece bluegrass outfit from the south side of Chicago was pretty tight. Several of the musicians took turns at lead vocals and kept the house jumping. The pedal steel guitar player even took on double-duty as the hype man, exhorting the crowd to amp of the cheers and enticed with promises of free t-shirts “Where my XL people at”. They played with a lot of energy and I look forward to catching them out in Chicago again in the future.
Main Attraction – Steve ‘n’ Seagulls
“I don’t remember details but there were [Finnish] boys with banjos”
I’ll go on record and say the Steve ‘n’ Seagulls are the greatest Finnish-Bluegrass-Metal-Covers-Band working the circuit today. I first learned of them via their YouTube cover of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck and I was immediately hooked. Their arrangements are clever and pay all due respect to the originals while coming off as fresh and fun. While their stage get-ups are campy, the musicianship is serious. This was my second time catching the band at Beat Kitchen, and while the set-list hadn’t changed much it was still a joy to behold. Imagine the bagpipes from It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) rendered in accordion with banjo embellishments—fantastic. The setlist included GnR (You Could Be Mine), Iron Maiden (The Trooper), Dio (Holy Diver) and the aforementioned Thunderstruck. It’s amazing how many metal riffs lend themselves to banjo and mandolin! The place was packed (especially for a Monday night) with plenty of enthusiastic Steve ‘n’ fans, including many in garb similar to the band. An excellent time was had by all.
Would You See Them Again? Rating: Definitely (2nd time and counting)
Venue Notes: Beat Kitchen is an excellent example of the corner bar/music venue you can find all over Chicago (Elbow Room, Abbey Pub, Double Door, Hideout, Schuba’s…). While Schuba’s may be a bit more upscale, I like Beat Kitchen about the best because of its dedication to new and local music, all ages shows (I have a teenager), reasonable ticket and beer prices and live music almost every night. The music room is big enough to attract smaller national touring acts (I’ve even seen Frank Turner here) and features a decent PA. The bar up front features a great beer selection and very good bar food including pizza, burgers and fish tacos. If you are in the mood for an impromptu night of food and music, Beat Kitchen is highly recommended.