Monday, October 26, 2009

John Farrell and Model Stranger - Cullen's Pub - Oak Lawn, IL - 2009-10-24

Cullen's Pub in Oak Lawn saw an excellent night of music by Chicago's very own John Farrell and Model Stranger. The evening kicked off around 9pm with John Farrell taking the stage first with his band. Most of the material covered was from his excellent EP, In Passing, as well as some covers. I'd say the highlight of his set, for me at least, was an excellent electric version of his EP's closer, "Longest Day, Shortest Night." The song on record is a moody, atmospheric, goose bump inducing piece driven by piano and John Farrell's pain crippled and helpless voice. Live, the song takes on a new face with more energy yet the same vibe and the same goose bumps. The song is about a lost love one (you can read about the inspiration for all of his songs on In Passing at his website) and when he sings the lyric "But autumn can’t cure summer blues, So sick of breakin bad news" I want to collapse. To close the night out John and his boys played a wonderful version of The Beatle's "Get Back" that had the entire bar on their feet going wild. John Farrell has been playing and writing music for years now and is proving himself to be a very real force. He has a magnetic personality that bleeds genuineness and breeds kindness, think The Flaming Lips Wayne Coyne without all the hair. Get on the John Farrell band wagon, I firmly believe he is going to be something special.

Check out John Farrell's debut EP, In Passing. It is streaming on his site here as well as on the sidebar of The Steam Engine. He has a Radiohead pay-what-it's-worth-to-you system setup, check it out.

John Farrell Band Camp

(Model Stranger with John Farrell, John is sans instrument)

The next band up was Model Stranger. I saw them about a month and a half ago in Schaumberg, IL and they performed as a 5 piece. Saturday night though, the band took the stage as a 3 piece and I have to say that in Model Stranger's case, less is more. The 3 piece consists of front man Stephen Francis on vocals & guitar, Kevin James on bass & vocals and new comer Brad Elliott hittin' the skins. They have a full length EP, Shaky Coma and their more recently released EP, A Boy & His Crown. While I am only familiar with their marvelous EP the Shaky Coma material translates well live and is not "bathroom break" material, I'll be grabbing that album very soon. BUT ANYWAYS, the evenings highlights for me revolved around their EP songs "Morning Paper" and "Sound the Sirens." Their MySpace and Blog both have these songs streaming and available for purchase. While their entire EP is good (and I would say even better live) I'd start with the instantly likable "Morning Paper." Stephen Francis really lets his guitar skill shine on "Sound the Sirens," as you can see in this video from a show in Indianapolis.

His guitar playing skills really blew me away though on Saturday night. The raging solo's in their cover of the Jimi Hendrix (yes, that Jimi Hendrix) song "Manic Depression" were technical, true to the original and dead nuts on. The energy they create on stage is surprising for a 3 piece but they really got the bar pumping. The 3 of them are tight group of young musicians hungry for exposure. They have technical prowess and front man Stephen Francis appears to be progressing into a unique and passionate song writer that is inspired by more than just love and heartbreak. It's refreshing and exciting and I cannot wait to see what they do next. They will be hitting the studio over the next few months to record another full length LP, keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime head over to their MySpace or Blog to check out their material.

Model Stranger MySpace
Model Stranger Blog
Model Stranger Band Camp

Andrew Coate - Collaborate Management


Anonymous said...

That is a great blog. Keep it up!