last night brady and i went to independent music world series finals (info here) and had a blast. great music, great crowd. great food and drinks, and if you haven’t been to the elbo room there’s nothing like it. it’s actually one of my favorite music venues in chicago. top three at least.

so brady and got ourselves on the VIP list (which was easy and free) and headed downstairs to see what was in store. the elbo room is a two level dive at the corner of lincoln and diversey. the main bar upstairs is more like a waiting room…not much to it. one small bar with some stools, a few booths, and usually a small local crowd.

from there you walk down a steep set of stairs into a dungeon-like basement typically full of the music-flavored people and a larger bar. the bartenders are always friendly, and the small stage has great sound and when i’m there, great bands. it’s definitely the place in chicago i’ve seen the most music that’s completely new to me, prior to walking in. which counts for a lot, because i’ve liked almost all of it.

some day i’ll recount the night i was treated to the band goat motor.

anyway back to last night, where we sat under a low ceiling with brady’s boss andre’ (check out his website and band if you get a chance) and couple of his friends and took in six bands of diverse sound and stage presence.

the two jazzbands, mark o’connor and pete rodriquez quartet had some really talented musicians, but got overshadowed by the stage presence of the other four bands.

rebel’s advocate was a hip hop act from iowa, of all places. one of the two lead men told us that like even he didn’t believe it.

az one was a cross between destiny’s child and swf if a cross between the two can be made. booty shorts, tight shirts, r&b sounds, and lets just say all the men in the room moved right up to the stage. they were sweethearts when we gave them props after the show.

lorenzo was a hard hitting rock band with an inyourface lead singer and a loud, loud sound. these guys had no idea they weren’t playing in front of sixty thousand people…their hair, clothes, attitudes, and groupies all looked pure rockstar.

and then there was dura hale, the eventual winner of the evening and my pick of the litter. apparently the act is only the one guy on vocals (judging from his webpage and album release clips), but from what i saw he needs to reevaluate. along with him was a full band, a record spinning dj who didn’t stop bouncing, and two backup singers. the backups had some serious pipes, kids. the sound was unique. the crowd went nuts. dura laid down rapped lyrics while the band and dj mixed up a cross between hip-hop and alternative rock, and the product was, well, obviously cool because the guy won the competition.

way to go judges. i like when i’m right.

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