You’ve proven incapable of handling the most meager tasks when left to your own devices. Independent study? FAIL! This weekend, you will see Ronnie Montrose, Jeff The Brotherhood, hit FitzGerald’s American Music Festival, and then drive to Iowa for the 80/35 Festival, too. Get going!
For a long time, Ronnie Montrose must have wondered what he’d done and to whom he’d done it. A veteran guitarist for Van Morrison and Edgar Winter, he formed his own band, Montrose, and struck out on his own. Together with producer Ted Templeman, they basically laid the foundation for American hard rock and pop metal. The band’s debut album spawned the iconic “Rock Candy,” among other fist-pumping hits, and the album eventually went platinum. But it couldn’t break into the Billboard 100. In the middle of the second album’s tour, the frontman he plucked from obscurity, Sammy Hagar, left. Templeman would use a similar blueprint to astounding success with the first Van Halen album. Down the road, Hagar would join Van Halen. WTF?! Montrose has never seemed to care, or at least he doesn’t show it. He’s happy to play “Rock Candy” with whoever shows up. And that makes for great shows. (Saturday@Penny Road Pub in South Barrington Hills with Evil Olive and Lynch.)
Though it was difficult to tell what brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall might do next with Jeff The Brotherhood, a somewhat spazzy take on Live Cream seemed to suit them well. As a guitar/drums duo and facing the attendant prejudice, the pair have surprisingly kept White Stripes/Black Keys comparisons at bay while still pushing edgy, fuzzed-out lo-fi gut rock. Their latest album, We Are The Champions (Infinity Cat), surprisingly brings humor to the fore — a risky venture as they gain notoriety. Opener “Hey Friend” borrows some thematics from “Stacey’s Mom,” and the album has trouble shaking it. Remnants of their scorching unpredictability remain, but for the time being they’ll have to do with an uncomfortable mix of fans at shows. (Saturday@Lincoln Hall with Fucked Up.)
FitzGerald’s annual party can be discombobulating for first-timers, akin to accidentally entering an adult bookstore: Look at all this stuff! While the smartest thing for us to do would be to hand you the schedule and shove you in one direction, will mention a smattering of the big acts (Marcia Ball, John Dee Graham, Joe Pug, Reckless Kelly, Bottle Rockets, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Tributosaurus become The Meters/Nevilles), though it’s imperative we remind you to eat all the creole and cajun you can possibly afford. (Friday through Sunday@FitzGerald’s in Berwyn.)
Need to get to Des Moines’ 80/35 Music Festival? Just head west on I-80 until you hit . . . you guessed it. The upstart fiesta has grown in statue during its brief life, and now hosts such top-tier indie headliners as Girl Talk, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Of Montreal, Galactic, Edward Sharpe, Titus Andronicus, Okkervil River, Handsome Furs, and Blackalicious. A Chicago contingent will arrive, as well, with Gold Motel and The Giving Tree Band fresh off their Taste appearances. (Friday & Saturday@Western Gateway Park in Des Moines, Iowa.)
– Steve Forstneger
About the Author: