Monthly Archives: September 2018

Much More than a Solo Show: We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time at the Goodman Theatre (Through October 21, 2018)

David Cale is growing up in Luton, 30 miles northwest of London. At the time, it had the highest crime rate in the country. He builds an bird hospital that eventually expands into an aviary in the backyard and begins breeding birds. It’s a great place to escape to when his parents are fighting. Their volatile relationship is the catalyst for most of the dramatic events that unfold. The story starts out a bit slow, but eventually actions take place that draw the audience in and has them on the edge of their seats.


Cale is accompanied by a full band on stage consisting of piano, viola, harp, cello, trumpet, and clarinet. The band is excellent and plays great music. Cale, on the other hand, has his strength in storytelling and less so in singing, but he does alright.  Lighting is used very well to highlight one member of the band during a solo or hide the band completely when they are not playing. This has the effect of really focusing attention on Cale. Also, objects are lowered down from the ceiling and pulled back at times. So, even though this is technically a one man show, many other people are involved in the performance creating a bigger experience than just one person could.


Get tickets now for We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time through October 21st!

Also check out the New Stage Festival happening now through October 7th!

Quinn Delaney

Exceptional! Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival at Ruth Page Center for the Arts (September 22, 2018)

The Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival takes place over two weekends at the end of September at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. 16 dance groups perform during the festival. Here is a selection of the best performances from the first weekend.

Jessica Miller Tomlinson Choreography – Speak to Me Only with Your Eyes

It’s ambitious to choose Led Zeppelin songs for a dance performance. Jessica Miller Tomlinson’s company is up to the task as the dancing matches the beauty of the music. First is Friends as a couple joyfully plays along with each other. More great dancing follows while Black Country Woman plays. Finally, a couple does a version of ballroom dancing with a modern twist during The Rain Song.

Theresa Bautista – I am a Pretty Girl

This is a piece with a message. It’s about a pretty girl who gets harassed everywhere she goes. A spoken word poem plays as Bautista dances out the strong emotions described.


Eric Mullis – Sherman’s Neckties

A dancer appears on stage in silence. Suddenly, a man plays a very bizarre and strange sound from behind the audience. It’s unexpected and causes many to jump in their seats. The odd sounds continue and several people laugh at the noises being created by a saxophone. At the same time, the dancer is making unique movements across the stage. It’s definitely the most memorable performance of the night.


Giordano II – Late Night Tales

Giordano II by Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth

Giordano Dance Company consistently puts on fantastic performances. This one is no exception as it is filled with skillful dancing and expert choreography by Joshua Blake Carter. See our many reviews of this exceptional company .


RE|dance group – The Biggest Wail From The Bottom Of My Heart

Just like their previous show, , this one is full of joy. The dancers move in synergy as they alternate lifting one another with delight. They bound around the stage with glee as the audience wishes they could go up on stage and join in the fun. It is a fantastic way to end the show as everyone leaves with a smile on their face.

Get tickets now for the last weekend of Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival!

Cost of a ticket: $25
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value!

New Rating Scale:
Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Hudson Taylor opening for Hozier at the Riviera Theatre (September 21, 2018)

Despite waiting in a line that was two blocks long, the crowd is in good spirits as Hudson Taylor takes the stage. The band is full of energy and enthusiasm as they launch into their set.  It’s contagious and the crowd quickly gets into their music. Harry and Alfie Hudson-Taylor, the lead singers, are brothers from Dublin, Ireland. Alfie is especially energetic while playing the tambourine and singing his heart out.


They have put together a great band for this tour that really shines. Each time a new member gets a solo, the crowd cheers. The band consists of Tadhg Walsh Peel on violin and mandolin, Oisin Walsh Peelo on piano and whistle, Holly Hudson Taylor on vocals, Jonny Colgan on percussion, and Ronan Sherlock on bass. After this great performance, it’s clear they will be back to headline their own show!

Hozier also rocked the house. See our previous review of them here.

Cost of a ticket: $50

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!

New Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother


Quinn Delaney

Storytelling and Singing: John Popper of Blues Traveler at City Winery (September 18, 2018)

15 minutes after 8, John Popper comes up on stage. He is joined by Ben Wilson on piano. To start off the night, they play “Cara Let The Moon”. It’s a beautiful song that is perfect for the setup of a duet. Popper’s vocal skills are on full display and everyone has a good view at the City Winery, a very intimate venue.

Later on, he tells a story about the first time they heard their song on the radio. The band was touring in a van and they heard the song start to play. Only, it wasn’t their recording! It was a Coors commercial that had stolen their song. “And I can’t tell you what happened next,” smirks Popper as the audience laughs. He goes on to play the song they stole, “But Anyway”.

In between songs, an audience member yells out, “What is your favorite Bobby Sheehan memory?” Sheehan was the founding Blues Traveler bassist who died from an overdose in 1999. After thinking out loud for a bit, Popper shares it was Bobby’s ability to be so observant that he seemed to be psychic in his ability to notice the smallest things.

Toward,the end of the night, Popper says “I forgot to prostitute myself!” He goes on to mention his book, Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I’m Not Supposed to Tell. It’s very appropriate that he is promoting a book rather than an album as he talks just about as much as he sings tonight.


To close out the set, John sings “It doesn’t matter what I say, as long as I sing with inflection.”  It’s the start of “Hook”, and everyone shows a smile on their face. The harmonica solo on this track is legendary. Also, the fast-paced singing is quite the feat.

Quinn Delaney

Review: Shattered Globe Theatre Presents Crime and Punishment at Theatre Wit (Through October 20, 2018)

Crime and Punishment was first published in 1866 by Fyodor Dostoevksy. It has been adapted in film many times, including an Australian version in 2015. Chris Hannan adapted the novel for the stage in 2013, and now in the fall of 2018, this version premieres at Theater Wit.


Rodion Raskolnikov formulates a plan to murder a pawnbroker. He believes that he can use the money much better than she can and that the ends justify the means in his utilitarian philosophy. Often, he wears a large black leather jacket identical to another jacket worn by another actor playing his guilty conscience. Also, Raskolnikov plays a dangerous cat and mouse game with the police investigating the murder who suspect him but can’t seem to prove it.

Drew Schad is excellent as Raskolnikov directly addressing the audience with his inner struggle trying to justify his actions. The rest of the cast is solid, often portraying multiple characters that he encounters in St. Petersburg. In addition, the original music by Christopher Kriz really sets the mood.


Get tickets now for Crime and Punishment through October 20th.

Cost of a ticket: $40

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

New Rating Scale:

Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother


Quinn Delaney

Charming – Madison Cunningham opening for Punch Brothers at the Symphony Center (September 7, 2018)

Madison Cunningham is a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. She says she has a love/hate relationship with the city. “You may not recognize the local references in this next song” she warns. During the song, she mentions taking the 5, and she comments mid song “There it is!”. This self-comment throws her off and then she flubs the next lyrics. However, she quickly recovers with style. It’s a charming display that wins over the audience.

To set up her closing song, she says she wrote it for her fiancé. The crowd responds, “awwww”. She goes on to sing “Something to Believe In”. It’s a beautiful song that sounds absolutely excellent in the acoustically grand Symphony Center. Her vocal talent and guitar chops point to a bright future for this young artist.

Quinn Delaney

Consistent – 311 with The Offspring and Gym Class Heroes at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island (September 6, 2018)

311 was formed in Omaha, Nebraska by singer/guitarist Nick Hexum, singer S.A. Martinez, guitarist Tim Mahoney, drummer Chad Sexton and bassist P-Nut. The band now resides in Los Angeles, California.

311 mix rock, reggae, hip-hop and funk into their own unique sound. After years of consistent touring, 311 have developed a reputation as one of the most entertaining & dynamic live bands in the U.S.

Last year, they released their 12th studio album MOSAIC (BMG) with its unique album cover–which is made up of nearly 10,000 photos submitted by fans.  Even the image of the 5 band members on the cover is made up of tiny fan photos–to solidify the concept of band and fans as one. Fans can view a high-resolution pan & zoom mosaic of the cover image now at


“This cover captures the spirit of the collective nature that is 311–band and fans together to form something greater than the sum of its parts.” says Nick Hexum (singer/guitarist). Chad Sexton (drums) adds, “We have a very symbiotic relationship with our fans that see us on tour year after year.  We wanted to have an album title that would describe our fan base, our band & our music. And to tie all of this into a concept that could be presented in the album artwork as well.”

Quinn Delaney

Cost of a ticket: $60
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!

New Rating Scale:
Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother