“The Secret History of Chicago Music” comic strip by Steve Krakow, aka Plastic Crimewave, has started presenting concerts showcasing the city’s overlooked musical acts. The latest edition was on Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Hideout.
Andre Williams was originally scheduled to appear, but when he fell ill, Syl Johnson was the last-minute substitute. So the lineup ended up featuring two great soul singers, Syl Johnson and Renaldo Domino, both of whom have had their music reissued in recent years by Chicago’s esteemed archival label the Numero Group. And both were backed on Saturday night by Expo 76, who played several songs of their own, too — well, several of the fun covers of rock oldies that they specialize in, anyway.
Expo 76 (featuring Dag Juhlin) served its role well as the house band for the night. Domino was suave and soulful. Johnson showed off his Grammy nominee medallion and played his best-known songs, letting loose on some bluesy guitar solos. The highlight was a long, impassioned take on his anthem, “Is It Because I’m Black?”