On the night of February 3rd, two Chicago rock bands — Jonny Rumble and The Kickback — led the way in escaping from the Great Blizzard of 2011. It was an unexpected journey filled with pain, pleasure, humor and vulnerability. This is a three-part open letter to the bands telling you the story of how it all happened.
Dear Members of The Kickback,
First, I want to thank you for telling us why you love playing live. It was a pleasure seeing you perform at the Hideout. You succeeded in taken my mind off the terrible weather and the horrible blizzard that buried Chicago.
I especially enjoyed your song about someone breaking into your car and violating you. That song (the name escapes me) was one of my favorite moments of the night because it was raw, palpable and told a wonderfully complex and genuinely emotive story of anger, loss and redemption.
As captured in the video below, I loved how lead singer Billy Yost, vulnerably prefaced the new track “Ma Pa” by sharing that his parents had just filed for divorce and they he was now a child of a broken home.
And like the other fans around me who collectively sighed and emphatically awed in unison, I too could relate. And by choosing to share such personal information with us, you took the performance to a very deep and intimate level.
From that moment on, the show reminded me of our Bonnie Raitt experiment, where we explored grief, joy and community in the live music experience.
Ever since that moment, I’ve wished and hoped more performers knew how to express themselves so openly and honestly during a concert, without making it awkward or taking away from the show.
Besides the lyrical storytelling of the songs, I really dug and got lost in watching your rhythm section of Danny Yost (drums) and Zachariah Verdoorn (bass) as they coalesced and drove the set forward. The collective whole was soulful, explosive, joyful and sophisticated.
At several points during the show, I felt like I was watching and listening to a swift, melodic and furious freight train that sped up and slowed down at all the right stops along the way. It was quite a ride!
Oh, and it was very insightful to see how you guys mysteriously appeared as the opening band Winter Sounds to prepare for your set. Didn’t expect that at all. And I wonder if you’ve done that before, or if that musical side project has influenced your forthcoming EP Mea Culpa.
Dear Members of Jonny Rumble,
Your show was a dreamy and festive carnival of rock too. Your music allowed me to escape as you triumphantly turned the anguish and absurdity of the blizzard into an entertaining commentary sideshow that melded deftly with your groovy, punchy and psychedelic tunes.
Your new tune “Cox Road” was a trip to say the least. And kudos on your cover of “I Want You So Bad,” and props for co-opting it as your personal soundtrack for unforgettable Snowmageddon of 2011. I’m sure the Beatles would most certainly approve. The video below is short and sweet, but rest assured the memory of the moment lives on in all who experienced it live.
Dear Live Music Fans,
If you haven’t seen The Kickback or Jonny Rumble before, do yourself a favor and make time do so and click on those links to enjoy their music and read two great interviews with the bands.
Like us, I think you’ll have a very fun time a forthcoming concert. And if all their shows are as good as these were, nasty winter blizzards don’t stand a chance against the power of live music in Chicago.
On a quick side note, the videos where shot with the new Sony Bloggie Touch, which we’ll be reviewing for you in a future post later this month.
Were you at this Hideout show? Did you have a memorable concert during the Great Blizzard of 2011? Tell us your story in the comments below.
Check out more photos from the show on Colleen’s Flickr site.