The Velvet Cadillacs
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The Velvet Cadillacs

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Rock

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Apr
26
The Velvet Cadillacs @ Red Line Tap

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Feb
02
The Velvet Cadillacs @ Phyllis' Musical Inn

None, Illinois, USA

None, Illinois, USA

Jul
27
The Velvet Cadillacs @ Edgebrook Fest

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

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Music

Press


The sights, the sounds, and the people of International Pop Overthrow - Chicago 2011.




Shortly after arriving at The Abbey Pub around 7:30 Saturday night, I went over to say hello to Founder and CEO David Bash and Executive Vice President Rina Bardfield of International Pop Overthrow and congratulate them on another great Chicago festival. Over the past 10 days, they had brought an amazing range of talent to the stages of The Red Line Tap and The Abbey Pub, and now it had come down to the 2011 finale. Bash confirmed that the April 23rd showcase was the first in IPO - Chicago history to be sold out.




With the line-up down to five bands (I have no idea of what happened to Johnny Monaco) the starting time for Saturday night’s opener, Waiflike was pushed back to about 8:15. The trio, comprised of founding member guitarist-vocalist Richard Neil Miller, drummer Lucas Frantom, and guest musician bassist Lennie Dietsch from Verbow, were dressed in black and played a hard-hitting type of catchy pop. Miller and Dietsch both seemed to be playing lead, which made for some powerful music.




There was a large crowd at The Abbey by this time, and the mood was genuinely festive. Several of the night’s musicians were already in the house, including members of The Valley Downs and Van Go. Brad Elvis and Chloe F. Orwell of The Handcuffs were hanging out, as well as members of Penthouse Sweets. An old friend of mine, Boris, came up to say hello. I hadn’t seen him since the days when we used to hang out at Harlows/Pips/Haywires (the club went by various names but basically kept the same format) on the southwest side back in the mid-1970s to early 1980s.




“They don’t sound like their name,” Boris noted, referring to Waiflike. I also ran into Althea Legaspi, my former editor at the Illinois Entertainer, who now writes for the Chicago Tribune, among other publications. She wrote the liner notes for Material Issue’s International Pop Overthrow 20th Anniversary Edition, and did an interview with bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko for radio station WBEZ.




Material re-Issue blasted through the unforgettable opening trio of girl songs from the International Pop Overthrow album (“Valerie Loves Me,” “Diane,” and “Renee Remains The Same”) before directly addressing the crowd. Phil Angotti wisely didn’t try to imitate the late Jim Ellison’s personality or dress like him; he was basically the same guy who had performed songs from his own CD on the previous night. He let the nattily dressed bassist Ted Ansani do most of the talking, and humbly waved off the occasional compliment Ansani paid him.





“We’ve got the whole album to do for you this evening,” Ansani said after the trio had played the romantic “This Letter.” The trio excelled on all 14 original tracks, as the audience sang along, clapped, and cheered. Angotti was impressive on guitar, and varied his vocal approach from the yelp of “Trouble” to the more subtle “Very First Lie.” The songs, like The Ramones-inspired title track, the joyous “Crazy,” and the abrasive “Chance Of A Lifetime,” have held up well over two decades.




Material re-Issue left the stage after playing “Li’l Christine,” the final track from International Pop Overthrow, but quickly returned for an encore, joined by guitarist Jay O’Rourke from another one of Chicago’s premier bands, The Insiders. They performed “Next Big Thing” from the Destination Universe album, plus “Goin’ Through Your Purse” and “Kim The Waitress” from Freak City Soundtrack. The band returned for yet another encore, with the song “Sixteen Tambourines,” and probably could have played all night as far as the audience was concerned.




“I’d hate to be the poor band following these guys,” Mike Galassini of The Valley Downs joked as he passed by me while everyone was still in the midst of Materialmania. As the next act up, he knew his band would be facing a major challenge. Then again, if The Valley Downs were shrinking violets, they wouldn’t haven’t gone to Liverpool to play an IPO gig at The Cavern Club. Moments later, Galassini received a Karate Kid type message of encouragement from his brother Lou, who would be playing bass for the evening’s final act, Van Go. Unfortunately, a good deal of the crowd had left immediately after the Material re-Issue set.




I saw guitarist Brent Seatter, a veteran of Thrift Store Halo and Kevin Lee’s band, in the crowd, along with his wife Pam. He told me that Thrift Store Halo was back in business and ready to release another CD, which is good news since their last effort, World Gone Mad, included a number of power pop gems.





The Valley Downs, led by vocalist Marianne Shimkus-Galassini and bassist-vocalist Mike Galassini, played songs from their Behemoth EP, along with some energetic new material like “Break My Heart” and “Last Days Of Summer.” Shimkus-Galassini, an engaging performer with a strong voice, frequently harmonized wit - Broken Hearted Toy, by Terry Flamm


Almost from the moment the 2011 International Pop Overthrow - Chicago schedule was announced, the bands slated for April 23rd were warning their friends on Facebook to buy tickets in advance. The reason for their concern was a Material re-Issue gig, set right in the heart of the six-band showcase. Veteran singer-guitarist Phil Angotti, joined by original members bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko, would be playing Material Issue’s legendary debut, International Pop Overthrow from start to finish.




It’s a safe bet promoter David Bash, who staged his first International Pop Overthrow in Los Angeles back in 1988, is thrilled to have International Pop Overthrow the album playing such an integral role in his traveling festival’s 10th anniversary visit to Chicago.




As expected, the April 23rd evening lineup at The Abbey Pub has sold out. But here’s some advice for anyone who does have tickets: Arrive early enough to see the bands performing before Material re-Issue, and check out the bands coming on afterward. One of the true joys of International Pop Overthrow the festival is the variety of talent Bash brings together for his showcases.




Singer/multi-instrumentalist Richard Neil Miller is by no means fragile in his Waiflike project, which finds him performing energetic, British Invasion inspired songs like “Sober Now” and “Dime Store Daisy.” In addition to catchy power pop, Waiflike also dabbles in more acoustic material like “Running In Place.”




Former Enuff Z’nuff singer-axeman Johhny Monaco carried on the tradition of that industrial-strength power pop band with the songs on his 2007 solo debut, Overrated. “Still Haven’t Called” and “LetsSetOurHeartsSelfDestruct” combine layered vocals and strong melodies within energetic arrangements, while “I Like You More” has a White Stripes whimsical feel.




It’s common to find a lot of musicians hanging out at International Pop Overthrow, supporting each other’s gigs and catching up with old friends. The WXRT-sponsored Material re-Issue show has been getting loads of media attention, which should mean even more musicians at the Abbey Pub. In my recent review of the International Pop Overthrow 20th Anniversary Edition for the Illinois Entertainer, I described the album as proving “the staying power of lead vocalist-guitarist Jim Ellison’s songwriting ability, and the memorable songs he created with bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko.” I also noted that, “Ellison pretty much concentrated on affairs of the heart, but approached the topic from various directions and filled his songs with believable characters whose emotions were readily recognizable.” Angotti will face a mammoth challenge in playing Ellison’s role onstage, but he’s a longtime friend of the band, as well as a gifted artist in his own right. It’s not likely anyone will come away from this show disappointed.




The Valley Downs, led by the husband wife team of singer Marianne Shimkus Galassini and bassist-vocalist Mike Galassini, have released two EPs of well-crafted indie rock. In my Broken Hearted Toy review of the band’s untitled second EP, I said, “the band continues to craft melodic songs that sound like tracks from a Bangles CD, or perhaps The Continental Drifters. There’s also a definite Beatles influence running through these four tracks.” The band has played several IPO gigs in Chicago and other cities.

The Velvet Cadillacs add a Warren Zevon type of dark humor to revved up songs like “Things I Plan To Do” and “Holiday Inn.” The guitars of CD Riviera and Karl Caprice Classic are always prominent, and Riviera’s raw vocals suit the frequently criminally-inclined lyrics.




While listening to the Van Go CD, The Long Lost Last Call in preparation for an upcoming BHT review, “Your Three Minutes Are Up” sounded strikingly familiar. Sure enough, that song had jumped out at me during a 2010 IPO Van Go performance. Led by vocalist-guitarist Dave Sippel, the band charged through a cover of Elvis Costello’s “Girl Talk,” as well as hard-hitting originals like “London Underground.”

- Broken Hearted Toy, by Terry Flamm


Almost from the moment the 2011 International Pop Overthrow - Chicago schedule was announced, the bands slated for April 23rd were warning their friends on Facebook to buy tickets in advance. The reason for their concern was a Material re-Issue gig, set right in the heart of the six-band showcase. Veteran singer-guitarist Phil Angotti, joined by original members bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko, would be playing Material Issue’s legendary debut, International Pop Overthrow from start to finish.




It’s a safe bet promoter David Bash, who staged his first International Pop Overthrow in Los Angeles back in 1988, is thrilled to have International Pop Overthrow the album playing such an integral role in his traveling festival’s 10th anniversary visit to Chicago.




As expected, the April 23rd evening lineup at The Abbey Pub has sold out. But here’s some advice for anyone who does have tickets: Arrive early enough to see the bands performing before Material re-Issue, and check out the bands coming on afterward. One of the true joys of International Pop Overthrow the festival is the variety of talent Bash brings together for his showcases.




Singer/multi-instrumentalist Richard Neil Miller is by no means fragile in his Waiflike project, which finds him performing energetic, British Invasion inspired songs like “Sober Now” and “Dime Store Daisy.” In addition to catchy power pop, Waiflike also dabbles in more acoustic material like “Running In Place.”




Former Enuff Z’nuff singer-axeman Johhny Monaco carried on the tradition of that industrial-strength power pop band with the songs on his 2007 solo debut, Overrated. “Still Haven’t Called” and “LetsSetOurHeartsSelfDestruct” combine layered vocals and strong melodies within energetic arrangements, while “I Like You More” has a White Stripes whimsical feel.




It’s common to find a lot of musicians hanging out at International Pop Overthrow, supporting each other’s gigs and catching up with old friends. The WXRT-sponsored Material re-Issue show has been getting loads of media attention, which should mean even more musicians at the Abbey Pub. In my recent review of the International Pop Overthrow 20th Anniversary Edition for the Illinois Entertainer, I described the album as proving “the staying power of lead vocalist-guitarist Jim Ellison’s songwriting ability, and the memorable songs he created with bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko.” I also noted that, “Ellison pretty much concentrated on affairs of the heart, but approached the topic from various directions and filled his songs with believable characters whose emotions were readily recognizable.” Angotti will face a mammoth challenge in playing Ellison’s role onstage, but he’s a longtime friend of the band, as well as a gifted artist in his own right. It’s not likely anyone will come away from this show disappointed.




The Valley Downs, led by the husband wife team of singer Marianne Shimkus Galassini and bassist-vocalist Mike Galassini, have released two EPs of well-crafted indie rock. In my Broken Hearted Toy review of the band’s untitled second EP, I said, “the band continues to craft melodic songs that sound like tracks from a Bangles CD, or perhaps The Continental Drifters. There’s also a definite Beatles influence running through these four tracks.” The band has played several IPO gigs in Chicago and other cities.

The Velvet Cadillacs add a Warren Zevon type of dark humor to revved up songs like “Things I Plan To Do” and “Holiday Inn.” The guitars of CD Riviera and Karl Caprice Classic are always prominent, and Riviera’s raw vocals suit the frequently criminally-inclined lyrics.




While listening to the Van Go CD, The Long Lost Last Call in preparation for an upcoming BHT review, “Your Three Minutes Are Up” sounded strikingly familiar. Sure enough, that song had jumped out at me during a 2010 IPO Van Go performance. Led by vocalist-guitarist Dave Sippel, the band charged through a cover of Elvis Costello’s “Girl Talk,” as well as hard-hitting originals like “London Underground.”

- Broken Hearted Toy, by Terry Flamm


Discography

Wish I Was Cool (EP) (Aug 2008)
Pretty Little Boxes (EP) (October 2011)

The Velvet Cadillacs music is available on iTunes, eTunes, Rhapsody, Napster and at Amazon.com.

Contact:
Dennis Wolff
denniswolffjr@yahoo.com
312-758-0230

Photos

Bio

The Velvet Cadillacs are a Chicago based band playing original rock and roll. Influenced by the Replacements, Cheap Trick, Johnny Cash, the Ramones, and similar bands, we are a mix of rock, country, power pop, and punk.

We released our EP "Wish I Was Cool" in August 2008 and "Pretty Little Boxes" in the Fall of 2011. We are a family friendly band and frequently play neighborhood festivals and other all ages venues, such as Six Flags Great America.

Past gigs include the Cubby Bear, The House of Blues, John Barleycorn (Schaumburg), International Pop Overthrow Festival 2011, 2010 and 2009, The Abbey Pub, Six Flags Great America, Elbo Room, Edgebrook Fest, Wildwood Music & Arts Festival, Naperville "Big Block" Party, North Park University, Penny Road Pub (South Barrington), The Brick, Birds Nest, Phyllis’ Musical Inn, Gallery Cabaret, Goodtimes Pub (Elmhurst), Flatlander’s (Lincolnshire), Rosie O’Briens, Big Horse Lounge, Underground Lounge, Bar Vertigo, Bevis Bar (Naperville), Hollywood Lounge, Memories Lounge, Fantasy Lounge, and The Flabby Hoffman Show (cable TV).

Our songs have also been featured in various media outlets, such as iRadio LA, LastFm, Underworld Mix Radio, Moozikzoo Best of Indie compilation, Pop Against Parkinsons, and the Music for Peace Initiative.