In addition to the Wrens, the Belmont Arts and Music Festival featured a very impressive lineup of bands. It seems like every summer in Chicago has one or two of these street fests with concert schedules that stand out above the others, and this year, BAM was one of the best. I didn’t make it there on Saturday, when Bob Mould, Jason Isbell, Heartless Bastards and Drams were playing.
On Sunday, I showed up around 5:30, in time to see BRIGHTON MA, a fine new Chicago band that Matt Kerstein formed after leaving the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. Kerstein has a strong voice and some winning songs, ranging from Dylanesque folk rock to Bowieseque anthems. Read my story about Brighton MA for Pioneer Press. See my photos of Brighton MA.
Next up was SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN, a band with some very tuneful pop songs including “Oregon Girl.” I saw them do an acoustic set at SXSW, and they sounded even better plugged in this time. See my photos of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.
SAY HI TO YOUR MOM was another band that I saw on the day stage at SXSW this year. Funny thing is, one of the main things I remembered about Say Hi was that they had a teriffic drummer. Well, for their current tour, that drummer is gone, replaced by a drum machine. Their music was still fairly entertaining, a mix of techno pop and strummed electric guitar chords with a mix of male and female vox. There were songs about vampires and spaceships. I liked it, but I think I would have liked it better with the drummer. See my photos of Say Hi to Your Mom.
To read about the final act of the night, see my separate post about the Wrens.