Local band Weekend Vinyl played Evanston SPACE on Chicago Avenue on April 30, with the Bono Brothers Band starting them off.
The opening group included Jim and Rob Bonaccorsi, Alvino Bennett, Dave Mason, Tom Albanese, and Danny Chaimson, professionals who have with such bands as OAR (Of a Revolution). They played about an hour and a quarter of very heavy, very loud blues-rock, among them a Stevie Ray Vaughn tune and “Let the Good Times Roll,” which the full-house audience appeared to enjoy a great deal. The band clearly enjoyed the gig. Unfortunately the all-out volume, perhaps due more to a faulty mix than to the playing itself – especially of the very heavy-on-the-drums-and-bass understructure – drowned out the harmonica and stole some of what sounded – when audible – to be some interesting, somewhat jazzy, keyboards. The acoustics at SPACE are excellent; this volume, even for a band in this genre, was unnecessary.
Forty-five minutes to an hour of this band would have been fine, and would have allowed headlining band Weekend Vinyl to get into their stride while the audience still had some eardrums. Their start at 9:40 gave audience members a lot of bang for their bucks with the earlier band, but it was a bit too much of too loud.
Weekend Vinyl was a lot of fun. The retro-sound “alternative pop” band is made up of Mike McLaughlin, lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Jim O’Donnell, lead guitar and backing vocals, Dave Matsko, bass and backing vocals, and Mark Feary, drums and percussion. They have all played music professionally, their website (http://www.weekendvinyl.com/) says,
and came together when St. Athanasius (aka St. A’s, where their kids have gone to school), expressed a need for some fundraising talent.
Mr. McLaughlin says on the same website that in their music “you can hear the jangle of the ‘80s with hints of REM, the db’s and Let’s Active, mixed with the elemental Brit-approach of The Smiths, Echo and The Bunnymen and, of course, Elvis Costello.” Other parallels were also readily distinguishable. Most notable of these is the solo, post-Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry, in the song “Too Big, Too Frail,”
for example, and perhaps Nick Lowe, in “I’ll Take a Leap.” “Easy Chair” – the name of their just-released CD as well – has an element reminiscent of the contemporary band “The Spoons.” All their songs are original, written by Mr. McLaughlin. Allhave a solid core of unique sound in both music and lyrics. He joked at the SPACE concert, “It’s all about songwriting – and you’ve gotta have a nice suit!”
Some period ‘80s lighting effects were produced with SPACE’s very nice equipment: Flowers and simple patterns in blues, yellows and reds played over the audience and behind the band; Mr. McLaughlin’s bright-white suit stood out; and members of the band had some on-the-way-to-smooth ‘80s moves while playing, all adding to the fun.
Despite the transitional disjunct of sounds and volume between the Bono Brothers Band and Weekend Vinyl, the audience managed to get it together and relish them both.
Weekend Vinyl celebrated the release of their CD Saturday night. A review of the CD and more in-depth intro to the band will appear in the monthly column “Evanston R & B” in the not-too-distant future.