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  WINDY CITY TIMES

MUSIC ROUNDUP JC Brooks; Baathhaus; St. Lucia; Neon Trees
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Vern Hester
2015-07-01

This article shared 2642 times since Wed Jul 1, 2015
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With the explosive news of the ruling on marriage equality on the eve of Gay Pride Weekend in Chicago on June 26, the month turned out to be one of the gayest musically in recent history here.

The biggest event was queer icon Bette Midler's concert on June 18 at The United Center, her first full-fledged tour in a decade. ( See last week's online edition of Windy City Times for a review and images. ) Then there was the posting of the video of queer ally Miley Cyrus, trans rocker Laura Jane Grace and out icon Joan Jett covering The Replacements' "Androgynous" for Cyrus' LGBTQ charity The Happy Hippie, whose mission is "to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth and other vulnerable populations," according to the organization's website.

Unsurprisingly, there were many smaller events that took place here that were worthy of note for differing reasons.

On June 9, out vocalist JC Brooks hosted "The Revolution Will Not be Televised," at City Winery as part of the venue's series of wine tastings and music. This edition, which included Brooks backed by a full band for the first time, featured an evening of protest songs, with selections ranging from Joni Mitchell ( "Big Yellow Taxi" ) to The Cranberries ( "Zombie" ), with Brooks' composition "Savage September" included. Brooks wrote "Savage September" in response to the sudden uptick of LGBTQ teen suicides in the last two years.

On a far more theatrical and humorous note, art-rock gay boy band Baathhaus played a near sold-out show at The Empty Bottle with queer rapper Big Dipper on June 12, with both headliners supporting new recordings. With co-lead vocalist Patrick Andrews' headed to New York for grad school in the fall, there was a strong suggestion that this show may be the last for Baathhaus for some time. The band is headed for a national tour with its latest CD set to be released in the middle of July. Dipper opened the show with a number of eye-catching outfits while performing all of his new EP, Extra Good ( Jolly Records ), which includes "Vibin'" and "Wish You Would."

LGBTQ ally St. Lucia closed out Pridefest on June 21 ( his set came after the Windy City Times deadline ) with a performance that had the crowd dancing and screaming. After spending 2014 on an extended world tour, St. Lucia and his band are now recording the follow-up to their hit debut Because the Night ( Columbia Records ), and they previewed some of the new music to the enthusiastic crowd.

With Backlot Bash going on across town, it was only fitting that alt-pop band Neon Trees, fronted by out vocalist Tyler Glenn co-headlined The Old St. Pat's 31st annual World's Biggest Block Party on June 27 with alt-rockers Young the Giant in the new parking lot for the UIC Pavilion. Glenn kicked the one-day festival into high gear by ripping into the band's playlist ( "Sleeping With A Friend," "Love in the 21st Century" and a rowdy take on "Everybody Talks" ) while dancing non-stop and bopping the near sold out crowd with a dose of queer cheer.

After all the vocal pyrotechnics and dancing, Glenn quietly commented on the Supreme Court ruling by noting, "It took a lot of hard work to make it happen ... but this breakthrough shows that we can all conquer any problem, any barrier, with enough determination and love." Then the band tore into a valentine for this most Irish-Catholic youthful audience by closing its set with a rowdy cover of Dexys Midnight Runners hit "Come On Eileen" that left them dancing in the aisle.


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