Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This week: MOBfest

Chicago's annual MOBfest, set for June 18, 19 and 20, will once again bring a variety of local and national indie acts to the attention of record execs and the A&R community. The fest features a long list of live performances over its three-day run at venues such as Cubby Bear, Metro and Uncommon Ground. In addition, it includes a day devoted to music industry panels designed for networking and discussing music business trends set for June 20 at Elbo Room.

With past performances by bands such as The Killers, Disturbed, Kill Hannah and The Redwalls under its belt, MOBfest 2009 could provide the opportunity to check out some of rock's future heavyweights before they become household names.

Below is a small selection of some of the Chicago acts lined up to play the fest. For the full schedule and a list of panelists, visit myspace.com/mobfest.

Select local bands to play MOBfest 2009:

Incredible Shrinking Boy - (June 18, Fiesta Cantina, 10 p.m.) - With their songs appearing on popular TV shows such as MTV's "The Real World" and "Cribs," this local quartet has already attracted a great deal of attention. Lead by singer-songwriter Paul Taneja, the group's music is catchy, straightforward pop-rock with emotionally-charged lyrics, adding up to a formula fit for widespread appeal. For more information, check out my recent Q&A with Taneja.

Calvin Marty & the Sunken Ships - (June 18, Fiesta Cantina, 11 p.m.) - Self-described as playing "the loudest quiet music you've ever heard," these locals have put their unique stamp on folk rock. With memorable melodies, compelling lyrics and violin flourishes, Marty and his band have swiftly gathered fans since forming in 2007. They recently released a six-song EP titled The Dead Sea.

Band Called Catch - (June 18, Elbo Room, 11 p.m.) - Earlier this year Chicago Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis summed up this acoustic rock troupe as follows: Lighthearted, good-humored acoustic rock is a surprisingly dangerous genre to mess with: It's all too easy to sail off the edge into shtick. Thankfully, despite the silly name, there's more Violent Femmes in the form of undeniably strong pop songwriting and genuinely witty lyrics with Band Called Catch than there is shameless shucking and jiving a la, say, the Barenaked Ladies. Along with their MOBfest set, the band is gearing up to release a new EP titled This.

Par Avion - (June 19, Fiesta Cantina, 10 p.m.) - This band hails from LaGrange Park and plays super-charged electro rock.

Snowsera - (June 19, Fiesta Cantina, 12 a.m.) - Armed with a sound that could appeal to both indie rock and pop punk fans, Snowsera are poised to reach an audience far beyond Chicago. Describing themselves as incorporating "power drumming reminiscent of Dave Grohl playing on Ringo’s kit; a grooving bass that marries Michael Jackson and Nirvana; guitar lines that fuse British strumming with American riffs; forceful vocals that transcend traditional safe ranges with lyrical themes that are at once relatable and thought-provoking" the band have released two EPs so far. For a full review of their latest, Fictions, click here.

Dick Prall - (June 19, Goose Island, 12:45 a.m.) - Iowa-born, Chicago-based singer-songwriter Dick Prall specializes in indie pop that's at once clever, thoughtful and charming, with an adoration of classic acts such as Elvis Costello, The Beatles and Jayhawks put to good use.

I Fight Dragons (June 20, Elbo Room, 9 p.m.) - While relatively new to the scene, this Nintendo-infused pop troupe has already scored an impressive amount of attention both in and out of the Windy City with their catchy tunes and high energy live shows that make use of Nintendo Power Pads, controllers and other devices of 8-bit nostalgia. In April, the band won the Metromix "Rock 'n' Vote 2009" contest, which pitted many of Chicago's most notable indie acts against one another for the chance to win gigs at the newly-opened LaSalle Power Company. Click here for a review of their debut EP, Cool Is Just a Number.

The Ivorys - (June 20, McDunna's, 11 p.m.) - Harnessing a love of gritty classic rock and 70s punk, this "power trio" delivers driving rock and roll at its purest. Their self-titled EP is catchy, straightforward and fit for rocking out, and their imminent follow-up is sure to follow suit.

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