The Second City: Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting) [Review]

[Editor’s Note: Thanks to one of our readers, grievingguy, we realized we misspelled Tim Baltz’s name with “Blatz”. We have since corrected ourselves in the piece. Our apologies to Mr. Baltz for confusing him with Tim Blatz, the superhero-secret agent with the license to kill. We promise it won’t happen again. ;-) ]

For those who are unfamiliar with Chicago’s The Second City, here is what you must know: it’s hilarious.  Founded in 1959, it opened its doors as a comedic cabaret that focused on a brand of comedy based in improvisation and sketches.  Due to its originality, it quickly grew in popularity, as did the list of comedic geniuses who started there.  Today, The Second City has its original theater and an additional E.T.C. Theater in Chicago, a theater in Toronto, a touring company, and training centers in Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles.  Their list of alumni includes John Belushi, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Gilda Radner, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler… you get the idea.  It is the premiere spot for comedy, and as a result, my first stop in Chicago.

Photo by Alexa Dooseman.

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tUnE-yArDs – 4/26/11 – Great American Music Hall [Review]

Merrill Garbus stepped on stage at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall, looking like a hybrid between a jazz lounge singer and exotic jungle bird, in a long black gown complete with fluorescent feathered sleeves and her trademark face-paint. The woman behind the highly buzzed and grammatically irritating tUnE-yArDs, Garbus, who is now based out of Oakland, beamed at selling out a prominent venue in the area she calls home, keeping a permanent grin affixed to her face throughout the evening’s performance.

Photo by Ashley Jordan Gordon.

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Cut//Copy – 4/17/11 – San Francisco [Review]

I was a bit skeptical going into see Cut Copy at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on April 17th. With the group’s electro-meets-rock sound, I wasn’t sure if the Australian group’s electronic-intensive style would translate well to the stage. I’ve seen some acts fill their songs with pre-programmed beats and ethereal synth overtones and fall flat when performing because the members of the group rely too heavily on a backing track or sample they’re playing against. Luckily, Cut Copy managed to prove itself as a band that’s more than capable of pulling off its characteristically polished and well produced sound.

The New York-based dance punk band Holy Ghost! opened up the show and helped set the tone for the remainder of the evening. With ties to the seminal independent label DFA Records, Holy Ghost! has been receiving a good amount of buzz ever since it first started releasing singles in 2009. The group’s debut LP, released earlier this year, is an energized recording and has helped establish the band as a premier disco-influenced synth-pop act. The group’s stage show only further bolstered the band’s standing.

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