If you have never heard of Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, I would highly recommend to check them out! They are not only playing the blues but living the blues. Their live shows are full of energy, joy and electrifying sound. They are performing everywhere around the USA and worldwide, but I have seen them in their hometown Chicago at Buddy Guy’s Legends. It was a night full of smiles, great music and fun! I really hope to see them again!
A very talented young musician Quinn Sullivan usually joins his mentor Buddy Guy on stage at Legends during Buddy’s residency in January, this year wasn’t an exception! Also Quinn was playing his own set, opening for Buddy. It’s a great pleasure to see him performing, he is a great blues guitar player, but he also tries to mix different music styles, improvising and always developing his skills. Quinn is 19 years old, but he has already shared the stage with Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Joe Bonamassa and opened for B.B. King. It seems that he is playing guitar all the time, on and off stage, which makes him a great professional! Quinn definitely enjoys playing for the audience, and the audience definitely enjoys seeing him play, listening to his music.
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. I think it is necessary to leave all famous tourist places and see different ethnic and cultural corners of the city. The architecture, restaurants, museums of every neighborhood are different. I was lucky to explore the city with my friend and my photography mentor Paul Natkin who knows all the greatest places in Chicago! Many thanks to Paul for all the amazing moments and for making that trip unforgettable!
Chicago is known as a home of the blues. So many places here are connected with the blues history. For example, you can visit Muddy Waters house where he lived and played blues from 1954 to 1974. Actually it is only possible to see the house from outside not entering the building. That Red X on the house means that building is unsafe to enter. It is really sad and disappointing that the house of an international music icon was just left to deteriorate. But hopefully someone can buy this historical house and turn it to a museum dedicated to Muddy Waters great heritage.
Pilsen neighborhood is one of the most recognizable and well known places in the city of Chicago. It is easy to find a piece of public art adorning a façade in nearly every block. The neighborhood looks very colorful but what is more important, every piece of art has its own deep meaning mostly connected with serious political or ethnic problems.
Here is mural which impressed me the most. It is honoring an aspiring musician and an artist Jeff Macdonaldo Jr. who was killed at the age of 19 as a victim of mistaken identity. He had never been in a gang, he was just getting back from his barber and someone opened a fire. The mural was his friends’ idea, he was an inspiration for them and did many good things so they wanted to give back to his family, helping his parents to get through the worst times. The mural dedicated to peace and tolerance, and called Safe places. It looks really beautiful. World could be a much better place if people have more opportunities to develop their art skills instead of hating each other for some unknown reasons.
There is also a great museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen neighborhood. It is responsible for presenting exhibitions of artistic, cultural and educational value, which demonstrates the unique depth of Mexican art and history. It was really amazing to see many kids visiting museum with their parents. Art is a bridge between communities and it helps to expand minds, which is really necessary for the world we are living in nowadays.
The DuSable Museum of African American history is dedicated to study and conversation of African American history and culture. It is one of the oldest museums dedicated to this topic in the United States. It was founded in 1961 and has been expanding ever since. The museum has a collection of more than15’000 artifacts, books, photographs, paintings, art objects and memorabilia. DuSable museum became a large part of black social activism, hosting festivals, political and community events.
The exhibitions there are really great and very informative. Actually some parts of exhibitions dedicated to slavery and further segregation horrified me. Of course, everyone knows those terrible moments and events in the American history but seeing all those pictures and artefacts was still very difficult. I can never understand how it is possible to divide people by the color of their skin or their nationality. The saddest part of all this is to realize that we still face the same problems nowadays. The technologies are developing every day, but seems that some people’s minds just stuck with their stereotypes forever.
The museum is surrounded by very beautiful park where we met a group of nice kids who were just running around and enjoying nice summer day. We also met some of their parents and a teacher who told us that those kids were studying history and other subjects by exploring art objects, paintings etc which made the studying process much more interesting. It is great that some organizations are volunteering to help kids to get better future, enter good colleges etc. And it was really heartwarming to see black and white kids playing together not knowing anything about those stupid stereotypes. Hope they will be smart enough to overcome all stereotypes in the future.
I also tried Southern-style soul food for the first time which was really delicious! Pearl’s Place is located in Bronzeville and offers a unique experience combining tasty home-style food with the great service. With photographs of African American jazz legends covering the walls inside and outside the restaurant, you are reminded of Bronzeville’s complex and powerful history.
The Museum of Science and Industry was another great and interesting experience! The main mission of the museum is to build public understanding of science, show how science impacts our society and inspire everyone to think critically about world around us. Exhibitions that cover many important topics are very spectacular and interesting for adults and kids.
Chicago is a great city and it is easy to find something that you enjoy there. If you are interested in photography, “The Photographer’s Curator: Hugh Edwards at the Art Institute of Chicago” exhibition is a must see. It is really an amazing experience which makes you understand what the real outstanding photography is. The exhibition is bringing together nearly 200 photographs by more than 70 artists whose works are held in the permanent collection. Some pictures from the collection are available here: http://media.artic.edu/edwards/.
Here are some more pictures (http://robertnatkin.net/) which are really mind blowing and should be presented on any exhibition dedicated to photography and history. It is easy to spend all day looking at those pictures, which are different from each other, but all of them are really beautiful, meaningful and very inspiring!
The Rolling Stones exhibition at Navy Pier in Chicago is a great experience for every Rolling Stones fan or every fan of music history overall. When you enter the exhibition, there is “All access with Paul Natkin” gallery, which features amazing shots of the band taken by the greatest and legendary photographer. The photo exhibition is going along with video interview with Paul about his relationship and touring with Stones (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_X2Kj3rU6kY&sns=em). It is absolutely worth seeing this video. Paul can tell so many stories about the times touring with Stones, some hilarious moments, even details of stage design and many more. I was honored and lucky to have a guided tour by Paul which made the exhibition more interesting and valuable to me.
Exhibitionismdoes not lack for content. It includes a great collection of music, vintage guitars, rare instruments and lyric books, photography, stage designs, personal diaries and letters, fashion items.
It’s an incredible journey to the Rolling Stones world beginning with their early days living in a one-bedroom flat in Edith Grove which was recreated as a part of exhibition. This flat looks hilarious, it is impossible to find any place without unwashed dished or empty bottles. But there was an impressive collection of classic blues LPs instead. I think it is a great idea to show us their way of living at those times.
What follows are sound mixing boards and the recreation of their studio with an amazing amount of guitars and other musical instruments.
Of course, it is impossible to miss different variations and installations connected with one of the most iconic band’s logos in the history of rock music. This “Tongue and lips” logo could be found almost everywhere through the exhibition but there was also a section explaining its original design.
Other artworks include original paintings by Andy Warhol.
The Rolling Stones were one of the pioneers of the spectacular live shows, so their stage designs were really mind blowing. It was very interesting to see scale models of the stages and a video explaining the main concepts behind them and realize how much work had been done to make shows so spectacular.
The collection of stage wear and costumes is very impressive and contains iconic stage outfits from the beginning of their careers to nowadays.
The exhibition culminates in a backstage recreation and great 3D live recording of Satisfaction which makes you feel attending the Rolling Stones concert!
Buddy Guy’s Birthday Bash was a really great sold out event which took place at Buddy’s club in Chicago.
The Legend turned 81 young, but he is still touring all year, traveling all over the world, recording new music and his live performances are the greatest I have ever seen.
When Buddy is around, the place is filled with smiles, happiness and great vibes!
Many great musicians were playing that night, Marty Sammon and his band played an amazing show, everyone at the club absolutely enjoyed it, actually Marty was playing pretty much the whole night, filling the venue with real blues!
The rising star Quinn Sullivan was jamming with great guitarist Carmen Venderberg.
Then another young and super talented guitar player Leilani Kilgore appeared on stage with Earl Slick.
Jamiah Rodgers took the stage with a solo performance. It was really amazing to be surrounded by so many talented musicians, who absolutely enjoy what they are doing.
The show was continued by the two absolutely great musicians Toronzo Cannon and Kate Moss.
Gary Clark Jr. came to Chicago to celebrate Buddy’s Birthday too but unfortunately he didn’t play that night.
Buddy usually doesn’t play during his Birthday celebrations but this time he appeared on stage. The audience immediately began to dance and sing along!
Overall it was an awesome night of Blues! Buddy is still keeping blues alive, he is an inspiration to so many great musicians!
The Magpie Salute was formed by Rich Robinson in 2016, the band also features 9 other great musicians: former Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford and bassist Sven Pipien, John Hogg on vocals, Argentinian guitarist Nico Bereciartua, drummer Joe Magistro, Matt Slocum on keys and backing singers Charity White, Adrien Reju, Katrine Ottosen. This combination of 10 piece band produces the high standard music and all of them sound really amazing together.
I saw their show at the legendary club in Chicago called Metro, where they played 2 nights, each of which was sold out. The band was playing more than 2 hours, and seems that they didn’t want to stop! They have limitless ability to deliver a totally different setlist, which is mind blowing. The audience was thrilled to recognize the next song they would hear. Actually people were really enjoying the show, singing along, dancing and supporting the band. I think it is the main measure of success. This is understandable, the band loves and respect their audience, playing long hours of high quality music.
It was amazing to see so many phenomenal musicians on one stage. Their music can’t be defined as one particular style, it is a combination of rock, blues and soul which makes their sound so unique. They were playing not only new Magpie Salute songs, but also Black Crowes and Led Zeppelin covers, the set was divided into acoustic and electric parts.
It is absolutely worth seeing them not only for Black Crowes fans, but for everyone who love great music of different styles! The Magpie Salute is a salute to the great music!