Green Music Fest

Green Music Fest

JD McPherson, Lucero, July Talk, The Appleseed Cast, Jay Som, Erika Wennerstrom, Forth Wanderers, Shannen Moser

Saturday, June 10th, 2017 - Sunday, June 11th, 2017

2:00 pm

Green Music Fest

Chicago, IL

$10 Suggested Donation

Tickets at the Door

This event is all ages

Green Music Fest
Green Music Fest
Green Music Fest continues its mission, making sure Wicker Park gets its party on while leading by example to consider our environmental impact. The 9th annual festival will again feature a people-powered bicycle stage, ecologically-crafted brews by Lagunitas and all you need to learn about leading a sustainable lifestyle. Green Music Fest takes place this year on Saturday, June 10th through Sunday, June 11th on Damen Ave between North and Schiller. Admission is $10 suggested donation, and hours of operation are from noon to 10pm both days.
JD McPherson
JD McPherson
Let the Good Times Roll

You could mistake JD McPherson for a revivalist, given how few other contemporary artists are likely to assert, as he boldly does, that “’Keep a Knockin’ by Little Richard is the best record ever made. It’s so insanely visceral, you feel like it’s going to explode your speakers. If I’m listening to that in the car, I find myself having to brake suddenly. I can listen to that and it makes me feel like I’m 20 feet tall. And the feeling of joy I get from that record is always going to be the real push behind trying to make music.”

But in a very real sense, McPherson is much more a pioneer than roots resuscitator. He’s knocking at the door of something that arguably hasn’t yet been accomplished—a spirited, almost spiritual hybrid that brings the forgotten lessons from the earliest days of rock & roll into a future that has room for the modernities of studio technique and 21st century singer/songwriter idiosyncrasies that Richard Penniman would not recognize. Let the Good Times Roll, his second album, is a stranger, and more personal affair than its Fats Domino-redolent title might at first suggest, but the name isn’t exactly ironic, either. If you, too, brake for pleasure, you’ll screech to a halt at the enrapturing sound of these Good Times.

His first album, 2012’s Signs & Signifiers, was hailed as “an utterly irresistible, slicked-back triumph” by Mojo and “a rockin’, bluesy, forward-thinking gold mine that subtly breaks the conventions of most vintage rock projects” by All Music Guide. The Washington Post wrote that, “he and his bandmates are great musicians taking ownership of a sound, not just mimicking one.” That same review remarked upon how, “the album sounds as if the band is in the same room with the listener.” But for the follow-up, McPherson wanted to maintain that raw power while also capturing the more mysterious side of the records he loves. To that slightly spookier end, he enlisted as a collaborator Mark Neill, known for his work as a producer and engineer with versed-in-the-past acts going back to the Paladins in the 1980s, but, most recently, for recording The Black Keys and Dan Auerbach—a friend of McPherson’s who co-wrote the new album’s “Bridge Builder.”

Talking up one of the freshly minted tunes, “Bridge Builder,” McPherson describes it as being “the psychedelic Coasters.” That no such thing really existed prior to this album doesn’t deter him. “This is something I actually talked about with Mark at the beginning of the record: ‘I want to make a ‘50s psychedelic record!’”

Neill was up to meeting that seemingly oxymoronic challenge. “It’s still a rock & roll record, but the borders are expanding a little bit,” McPherson explains. “With some of the writing that came out this time, it became apparent the songs weren’t going to lend themselves well to our usual process. So as we sought out a producer, we took aim for a slightly wider—I guess hi-fi is the word—sound, and got more experimental. Mark Neill certainly has all the tools in his hardware shop with which to produce any range of sounds from vintage Capitol Records stuff on up to…gosh, we listened to so much David Bowie making this record. We’d play Primal Scream’s Screamadelica to listen to how they suddenly started making dance records, and then Mark would play us Marilyn McCoo singing ‘Marry Me, Bill’ over and over again, I guess trying to re-wire our brains.”

Amid this flurry of possible influences, a few production approaches stuck. “I find that the records that I like to listen to over and over again are the ones that have those strange engineering choices, or weird sounds. I was very attracted to the idea of using plate reverb. So whereas the first record was really informed by New Orleans rhythm and blues, where everything was very dry and up-front, I really was listening more this time to a ton of Link Wray, and the Allen Toussaint-produced Irma Thomas stuff, and all the early ‘60s rock & roll that is saturated in plate reverb.”

McPherson certainly doesn’t begrudge the attention that Signs & Signifiers unexpectedly brought him. “If it hadn’t been for the ‘North Side Gal’ video, this probably never would have caught on,” he says, recalling the fame he found on YouTube even before Rounder picked up his indie release. “That’s how we found our label and found our management. I was still teaching school, and here I am with got this video that’s like a million hits. I’m like, what? I had no plans to quit my job. Luckily, I lost it.” A middle school art department’s loss was Rounder’s and the rock world’s gain.

It’d been a while in coming. “I started getting obsessed with this stuff when I was in high school,” McPherson says. “There wasn’t much to do where I grew up in rural southeast Oklahoma, where I lived on a 160-acre cattle ranch.” When he discovered early rock & roll and R&B, “it was like finding a treasure no one else knew about. Nobody around me had any interest whatsoever in Little Richard except for me and my friend. Once we started listening to Jerry Lee Lewis, and to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, which was the best thing you could ever find, everything started to change. I’ve got a videotape of us playing at a pool hall in the early ‘90s in Talihina, Oklahoma, and it’s cowboys and criminals and people that are cooking meth up in the hills standing around playing pool, and here we are with our greaser uniforms on, playing Buddy Holly’s ‘Rockin’ Around with Ollie Vee’ followed by ‘Clampdown’ by the Clash, and all these people are really confused. Those were happy times.”

The covers and the grease got dropped along the way to adulthood, of course, even though he knows what he does now is likely to wind up with some inaccurate revival tags. “There’s never going to be a point where I’m not going to hear the word ‘rockabilly’,” he says with a laugh and a sigh, “even though it’s not anthropologically correct, because it’s separate from rhythm & blues and rock & roll. Not being able to be perceived as how you sort of define what you’re doing is frustrating, but you just have to understand that not everybody is a nerd about this stuff. What it comes down to is that you can’t expect for people to listen if you’re not doing something personal. I mean, you can’t just do covers of Johnny Burnette Trio songs, because that idea has already been expressed, and it was actually moved past pretty quickly. Rock & roll music changed really quickly when it started becoming ubiquitous youth music and the President’s sister started doing the Twist. Yet there’s something intrinsically valuable about a lot of those ideas that haven’t fully been explored yet. And you take everything you love about it and write personal music and hope it translates into its own thing. I always hear ‘Man, bringing this stuff back is really important,’ but I have goal to bring rock & roll back in some reactionary way to battle something else. I want it to just kind of nudge it into its own little place alongside what’s happening now.”

Since the debut album came out, McPherson has played for a lot of those aforementioned genre nerds who pick up on every single influence. But he and his band have also opened for acts ranging from Bob Seger (getting a standing ovation at an arena in Detroit, the headliner’s hometown) to the Dave Matthews Band to Nick Lowe to Eric Church (who sought him out to write some songs together). For a Halloween night 2014 show at the Forum in L.A., super-fan Josh Homme, one of McPherson’s biggest supporters, handpicked him to open for Queens of the Stone Age. These may not all seem like natural pairings, but the music is primal and melodic enough that, after a few minutes, it never fails to make sense even to audiences with the least of expectations and musical educations.

“Man, people may not even know it, but they all like that stuff,” McPherson declares. “I’ve seen it happen over and over again. You’re in a record store where they’re playing some weird underground amorphous electronic record that has no configurable beat per minute, and then they put on a Sam Cooke record, and everybody is just like ‘Ohhh’— like a weight lifted. All kinds of music are interesting, but man, there’s something about the 1/4/5, 12-bar blues form that’s just hard-wired into American brains. And I shouldn’t say just American brains, because this stuff is still really huge in Europe, too. Everybody likes rock & roll. They just either won’t admit it or don’t know it yet,” he laughs, unshakable in his faith that the whole world is or will be on a roll.
Lucero
Lucero
You could say we were one of the lucky ones, starting this band in April of '98 without a clue as to what we were doing. We were getting tired of the steady punk rock and metal diet and we wanted to try our hand at country songs, or do our best Tom Waits/Pogues impersonation.

The trick there was that we couldn't really play our instruments! I had never played guitar before and Ben Nichols (lead singer, guitar) had only played bass in other bands. Finding Roy Berry (drummer) and John C. Stubblefield (bassist) solidified the line up and being hidden away in Memphis allowed us to woodshed, experiment with different sounds and create one that was ours alone.

Eventually we got out of town, and playing 250 shows year not only made us tight as a band but as a family as well. We are still one of the few bands out there with the original line up from almost the beginning, and it shows.

Picking up Rick Steff on keys allowed us to expand the sound and grow musically. Being able to play whatever we could think up in our heads and having the music we loved and grew up on motivate and inspire us to try new things and take chances. We realized that if you added some horns to Ben's lyrics that it took it to the next step, from sad bastard country rock to soul and R&B and we realized we were a Memphis band and came by it honest. We have always brought Memphis with us wherever we went and this just proved it.

We came out screaming on 1372 Overton Park. Big sound, bigger horns – like a kid with a new toy we put them on everything and loved it! This record was a marked departure from the previous sound and announcement of way things we're gonna be now!

While 1372 Overton Park was written and the horns added after the fact, Women & Work was written with the horns in mind so it was a little less gung ho and was starting to settle in nicely. Women & Work is one of the best modern Southern rock records in my opinion and the song "On My Way Downtown" has almost surpassed "Tears Don't Matter Much" as the crowd favorite... almost!

This brings us to the new record. All A Man Should Do contains some of the most resonant lyrics Ben Nichols has ever written, lyrics that read like chapters from his life on the duality of relationships, getting older, finding where you want to be in this world, and musically we are broadening our sound. Working with producer Ted Hutt for a third time at the famous Ardent Studios, we felt comfortable enough to take some chances with a palette of new tones that sound understated yet powerful, bringing life to the stories behind the lyrics without overshadowing them.

It's also the first time we've ever put a cover song on a record, with a full band version of big star's "I Fell in Love with a Girl", and having Jody from Big Star sing back–up vocals makes it that more special and amazing. This is a Memphis record in the greatest sense and a perfect finish to the three–part love letter to a city that brought us up and made us what we are today.

"I was 15 years old in 1989. This record sounds like the record I wanted to make when I was 15. It just took 25 years of mistakes to get it done." — Ben Nichols

"Having Big Star actually sing on your cover of a Big Star song that you're recording at Ardent Studios – it doesn't get much more exciting than that." — Ben Nichols
July Talk
July Talk
Upon returning to Toronto from a final European tour with his band, Peter Dreimanis sat in a candlelit bar paying little attention to the beat-up acoustic guitar being passed from patron to patron around him; that was until it found its home in the hands of Leah Fay. He sat listening, dumfounded, realizing heʼd met his match. Clearheaded the next day, he started his search for the stranger from the bar with whom he seemingly shared a soul. He found her; they founded July Talk.
After linking up with Ian Docherty, Josh Warburton and Danny Miles, the band created a signature sound that is not easy to pigeonhole. Imagine Tom Waits and Amy Millan shouting whiskey-soaked lullabies while backed by the members of Crazy Horse and youʼd have a good start. Striking a frenzied balance between Americana and dance-floor-filling indie-rock, July Talkʻs Beauty and the Beast aesthetic burns a little going down, but is sure to warm your belly and have you coming back for more.
After a year of relentless touring with the likes of Billy Talent, Matt Mays, Arkells, Sam Roberts and Besnard Lakes to name a few, their live show has gained a reputation as one of the most high energy, magnetic shows in the country. After a national American tour in the summer of 2013, they went into the studio to polish off a release slated for October 15th. Not only will they continue their ruthless touring schedule in North America around this release, they plan to head across to Europe in the new year.
The Appleseed Cast
The Appleseed Cast
The Appleseed Cast is a band from Lawrence, KS. They formed in 1997, and released the first album in 1998. They have since released seven albums, including Illumination Ritual in April of 2013.
Jay Som
Jay Som
On her first proper album as Jay Som, Melina Duterte, 22, solidifies her rep as a self-made force of sonic splendor and emotional might. If last year's aptly named Turn Into compilation showcased a fuzz-loving artist in flux—chronicling her mission to master bedroom recording—then the rising Oakland star's latest, Everybody Works, is the LP equivalent of mission accomplished.

Duterte is as DIY as ever—writing, recording, playing, and producing every sound beyond a few backing vocals—but she takes us places we never could have imagined, wedding lo-fi rock to hi-fi home orchestration, and weaving evocative autobiographical poetry into energetic punk, electrified folk, and dreamy alt-funk.

And while Duterte's early stuff found her bucking against life's lows, Everybody Works is about turning that angst into fuel for forging ahead. "Last time I was angry at the world," she says. "This is a note to myself: everybody's trying their best on their own set of problems and goals. We're all working for something."

Everybody Works was made in three furious, caffeinated weeks in October. She came home from the road, moved into a new apartment, set up her bedroom studio (with room for a bed this time) and dove in. Duterte even ditched most of her demos, writing half the LP on the spot and making lushly composed pieces like "Lipstick Stains" all the more impressive. While the guitar-grinding Jay Som we first fell in love with still reigns on shoegazey shredders like "1 Billion Dogs" and in the melodic distortions of "Take It," we also get the sublimely spacious synth-pop beauty of "Remain," and the luxe, proggy funk of "One More Time, Please."

Duterte's production approach was inspired by the complexity of Tame Impala, the simplicity of Yo La Tengo, and the messiness of Pixies. "Also, I was listening to a lot of Carly Rae Jepsen to be quite honest," she says. "Her E•MO•TION album actually inspired a lot of the sounds on Everybody Works."

There's story in the sounds—even in the fact that Duterte's voice is more present than before. As for the lyrics, our host leaves the meaning to us. So if we can interpret, there's a bit about the aspirational and fleeting nature of love in the opener, and the oddity of turning your art into job on the titular track. There's even one tune, "The Bus Song," that seems to be written as a dialog between two kids, although it plays like vintage Broken Social Scene and likely has more to do with yearning for things out of reach.

While there's no obvious politics here, Duterte says witnessing the challenges facing women, people of color, and the queer community lit a fire. And when you reach the end of Everybody Works, "For Light," you'll find a mantra suitable for anyone trying, as Duterte says, "to find your peace even it it's not perfect." As her trusty trumpet blows, she sings: "I'll be right on time, open blinds for light, won't forget to climb."
Erika Wennerstrom
Erika Wennerstrom
Rock musician from Dayton, Ohio.
Forth Wanderers
Forth Wanderers
Forth Wanderers are five friends from Montclair, New Jersey. Together they make some of the most powerfully intimate and emotive indie-rock music you’re likely to hear. Comprised of singer Ava Trilling, guitarists Ben Guterl and Duke Greene, bassist Noah Schifrin and drummer Zach Lorelli, despite all being under the age of 21, the group have been prolifically forging musical creations from the bedrooms of their Garden State township since 2013. Forth Wanderers have been building a loyal fanbase plucked from disparate scenes, drawing comparisons from everyone from Built To Spill and Pavement to Mac Demarco and Weezer.
Shannen Moser
Shannen Moser
Hailing from Berks County Pennsylvania, Shannen Moser grew up steeped in folk and country music. Influenced by the historically rich area, stretching farmland, and local folkers, Shannen credits the area with giving her the tools to write the music she does today. Her selftaught guitar plucking style and confessional lyricism are evocative of the area she grew up in.
She vividly recalls her first encounter with folk music in her dad’s old truck, playing “Be here in the Morning” by Townes Van Zandt. Since then her love for songwriting has continued to grow.

In 2014 Shannen moved to Philadelphia to pursue her music more earnestly. Her latest recording, the debut LP “Oh My Heart” was released in January this year and has taken her from small bedroom recordings to a more expansive sound. Mostly recorded in a barn in Earlville, New York by Eric Muth, the record moves forward sonically while preserving the sincerity of
her earlier work and showcasing Moser’s folk and country influences. The record was later finished in Philadelphia at the Knife Lair, a new studio project headed by Eric Muth and Wyatt
Oberholzer. Accompanied by cello from Julia Peters, keys by Joe Evers, and guitar and auxiliary by Muth, Shannen’s band has helped her solo acoustic project evolve into a fuller sounding project. “Oh My Heart” moves beyond the sketchbooks of Shannen’s earlier work and proves an arrival for both her and her band.
Venue Information:
Green Music Fest
1600 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL