Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Chicago band Burnside & Hooker bringing powerful sound to Goose Island's Brewpub



By ERIC SCHELKOPF

Led by the powerful vocals of Rachel Bonacquisti, Chicago band Burnside & Hooker has injected a fresh sound into the local music scene through its intoxicating mix of folk, soul and indie pop/rock.

Burnside & Hooker will perform March 21 at Goose Island's Wrigleyville Brewpub, 3535 N. Clark St., Chicago. Honey & the 45s, Mystery Loves Company and The J.R. Miller Project are also part of the bill.

The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door, available by going to www.ticketriver.com. The show is part of Merch Madness, where one can get tickets for free with the purchase of band merchandise.

I had the chance to talk to guitarist Mike Vogus about the show and the band's current activities.


Q - Great to talk to you. Of course, the band is part of Merch Madness. What made you want to be part of this promotion? Do you have any favorite venues to play in Chicago?


There are quite a few reasons we wanted to play this show. We've always had a great experience working with Swizzle Steve. 

The first show we played as Burnside & Hooker was at Goose Island, so we have a good history with them. When they brought the idea of Merch Madness to us, we thought it was a great way to [offer] our fans something new and different.


Then we found out we'd be playing with Honey & The 45s and Mystery Loves Company; it was a no-brainer!

We have been fortunate to play most of the great venues in the city - Goose Island, Beat Kitchen, Schuba's, Lincoln Hall, Metro, House of Blues... any place where people show up is a great venue!

Q - Last year, you released your debut album, "Rail Yard Hymns." In sitting down to record the album, what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them? 


We had a few goals and I think we accomplished most of them. First and foremost, we wanted to have something to shop around the city for booking shows and getting radio play.

http://burnsideandhooker.bandcamp.com

Our sound is constantly evolving the longer we play together and the more we write together. I think the album captures the essence of who we are as a band. 

I think on our next recording, we'll try to capture more of the feeling of our live shows. We really didn't go for that this time around and I think that will be the goal for the next one.

Q - So what's the chemistry of the band like? Does each member have something unique to contribute to the band? Is six members a good size for the band? 


Similar to the music, our chemistry is constantly evolving, as well. We are definitely starting to hit our stride a bit, and it feels like with every practice, every show and every new song we write that we are getting better and tighter as a group. And the more we play together, each member continues to contribute more and more.

Each person definitely contributed unique elements to the album and to the live show. We all have unique backgrounds and influences, and when we pull that all together we get a very interesting sound and style. 




Rachel (vocals) has brought in a hefty dose of blues and jazz, Diana (viola, keys, vocals) is classically trained and plays in a metal cover band, Teddy (cello) is also classically trained and is in to the current indie scene, and Michael (drummer) used to be a rapper and loves hip hop. 

I grew up playing in alternative rock bands... so as you can see the styles are all over the map. But we feel that having all of the influences will keep our style interesting and unique and will appeal to a lot of people.

Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and where do you see yourself fitting into it?  


Personally, I love the Chicago music scene. There are so many interesting bands and people in this city.

We've made some great relationships in the scene, and we hope some of them like us! I've always felt that we would know we're successful when people in other bands in the city will say "Burnside & Hooker, yeah I've heard of those guys, they're good!"

Q -
What are the band's short-term and long-term goals?


Short-term, we are focusing on shows and festivals for the summer and we're targeting getting back in the studio towards the end of the year. Long-term, we just want to keep playing together and make music that has a positive impact on the Chicago scene.