Thursday, October 27, 2022

Australian band Eliza & The Delusionals will headline show Saturday at Subterranean in Chicago

Photo by Luke Henery


Australian indie rock band Eliza & The Delusionals was on tour with Silversun Pickups in March 2020 when the tour was unexpectedly derailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than two years later, the band is back on the road with Silversun Pickups performing songs from its debut album, “Now And Then,” released earlier this year. Eliza & The Delusionals also is headlining several shows, including a show Saturday at Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave., Chicago.

Sunday Cruise also is on the bill. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the show starts at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $15, available at

I had the chance to talk to frontwoman Eliza Klatt about the tour.


Q – Great talking to you. I understand that you were on tour with Silversun Pickups in March 2020 when COVID-19 unfortunately halted the tour. What is it like performing in front of live audiences again?

We feel really lucky and grateful to be back on the road with our friends Silversun Pickups. The shows have been so much fun and the crowds have been really lovely.

Q – Did you use the time off the road to write more? Did you work on songs for your debut album "Now And Then" while you were off the road?

Yes, usually. It can be really difficult to jump between touring and writing headspaces sometimes, so we generally use our breaks and downtime to work on new music.

We started working on some of the songs from "Now And Then" during our tour break in 2020 when we were in Los Angeles, but once we had to come home, we didn't really have any other option but to write music and work on the debut record. It's bittersweet really.

Q – What were your goals for “Now And Then” and do you think you accomplished them? Is there a meaning behind the album's title?

I guess we didn't really have any goals, we just wanted to write an album that we loved and felt really proud of, which I think we did. The whole concept behind the record was a perspective on nostalgia, reflecting on growing up and how life is now compared to back then.

Q – The single "Save Me" off the album has connected well with people. Did you expect the song to do so well? Why do you think it is connecting so well with people?

I always felt like "Save Me" was going to connect with people. I think it's because I personally felt a strong connection with it.

It was also one of our favourites from the demos when we were putting the album tracks together. I think if people can find themselves or their situation in a song, they'll make a strong connection with it.

Q – You covered "Motion Sickness" by Phoebe Bridgers. What made you want to cover the song and what do you think you bring to the song?

It's one of my favourite songs, and the first song that introduced me to Phoebe Bridgers. The song is just really beautiful, it's one that we wish we wrote to be honest, so I think that's why it was an easy choice for our Triple J's "Like A Version" cover.

We really felt like we wanted to make it a bit more band-y I guess, and we wanted to elevate the bridge with the guitar dynamics and the vocals.

Q – Would you consider her an influence? Who are some artists that you really admire?

Yes, for sure. She's an incredible musician and songwriter. Her lyrics are unmatched!

Between the four of us in the band, our tastes are wildly different, but for me personally, I love bands like Coldplay, Paramore and Radiohead, to name a few.

Q – I am sure you have had your music described in many ways. How would you describe your music?

This is always an interesting question. I always say indie pop rock when someone asks, but genre is such a weird thing that we use to categorize music. I feel like indie and pop can mean a million styles of music to people,  ha ha.

Q – Do you have any dream collaborations?

For sure, so many. Phoebe Bridgers or Coldplay would be amazing to collaborate with,  I'm sure.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Chicago area singer-songwriter Nora O'Connor talks about new solo album, performs sold out show at SPACE


In many ways, the pandemic helped Chicago area singer-songwriter Nora O’Connor rediscover her own voice.

O’Connor recently released her third solo album, “My Heart,” her first solo album since her 2004 album “Til the Dawn.” Three of her fellow members from Chicago vocal supergroup the Flat Five join her on the album – Casey McDonough on vocals, bass and acoustic guitar; Scott Ligon on organ, Wurlitzer and guitars (Casey and Scott are also current members of NRBQ) and Alex Hall on drums, percussion, piano, Wurlitzer, mellotron, vibes and vocals.

O’Connor performed at SPACE in Evanston on Oct. 22 as part of a CD release party. The show was sold out.

I had the chance to talk to her about the new record.

Q – I actually saw you and Casey perform at The Venue in Aurora in August during the first night of the Americana Music Fest. That was a great night.

You played at least one of your new songs, “Outta Space,” at the show, which is a song that I love. To me, it has such a haunting melody that sticks in your head.


Of course, you live in Evanston, where the venue SPACE is located. Is the song’s title a reference to SPACE in any way?

No, not at all. I wrote the song early in the pandemic, so I think the reason it might be haunting is because we were all in a bit of a mood back then. It was weird and kind of scary.

It’s kind of about our friends who are birdwatchers. The song is about being up in your head and not being grounded and how when you’re up there, you’re going to miss the birds, you’re going to miss stopping and smelling the roses.

It's kind of about watching the birds and being in the moment versus just being out to lunch and you're out of space.

Q – That makes sense because when the pandemic started, we all had different thoughts in our heads and we kind of got caught in whatever what was in our head at the time.

Yeah. And I also got some bird feeders and started bird watching in my own backyard.

Q – I understand that this album was kind of born out of the pandemic, that you could only perform outdoors.

Yeah, I was playing these outdoor shows in people’s backyards and I just kind of realized that I needed more original songs if I want to play these solo shows.

So I decided to write a batch of songs and they felt good. And I just went and kept going with the process of recording and releasing, just to have that whole experience of creating and producing and playing and singing.

It’s fun stuff, man. It’s fun stuff.

Q – Is there a meaning behind naming the album “My Heart”? Do you view these as heartfelt songs?

I think so. When I was writing these songs, I was just trying to trust myself and get over myself at the same time.

Some of the songs do talk about my heart. There’s actually a song called “My Heart.”

When we recorded that song, it was a really fun experience. In the morning, it was a song on an acoustic guitar and at the end of the day, it was a total piano pop song.

I didn’t see that coming. The song just took on a life of its own in the studio and it was just a really fabulous experience.

Q – As far as working with Casey and the other members of the Flat Five, why do you enjoy working with them?

Well, no one’s better than Casey, so there’s that. And Casey and I were playing a lot of duo shows.

When we started playing out again but only being able to do outdoor shows, Casey and I put together a half dozen songs and started doing these duo shows. And then I started bringing in my new songs into the duo shows.

Honestly, no one plays bass better than Casey and he was kind enough to come into the studio and record. And we recorded at Alex Hall’s studio. He knows my voice and he knows what microphones to use on my voice.

I love working with him. And I couldn’t resist asking Scott to play a little bit.

Q – And you also have Steve Dawson on the album.

We’ve known each other, my gosh, since the mid-‘90s. I took his songwriting class and I really respect him as a songwriter.

Q – You’re such an in demand singer/musician. You’ve performed with pretty much everybody, including the great Mavis Staples. Did you ever think that you would be such an in demand musician? And why do you think so many people like working with you and what do you get from working with people like Mavis?

Well, she’s the queen. I’ve been doing this for a really long time. I’m in my 50s and I’ve been playing out since I was in my early 20s.

Over time, I just kind of found my niche of kind of being an auxiliary member of different bands, like coming into the studio and singing harmony and doing backup singing and playing acoustic guitar,

I guess word just kind of got around. The Chicago music community is very rich and vibrant. We sing on each other’s records.

That kind of morphed into touring with different bands. Word of mouth is a nice favor the more I get it.

Q – Your parents are from Ireland. Did they have a lot to do with your musical upbringing?

My dad is a really great singer and we always had Irish music playing in the house. Something was always on the record player.

Q – Have they gotten to see your perform?

They live in Palos Hills and they do come out. It’s nice, they’re local, so they come see me when I’m playing whenever they can.

Q – Do you have any dream collaborations?

I do. I’d like to make some music with The Decemberists and I would like to make more music with Kelly Hogan. We have this side project called Lady Parts, but we’ve only had three or four shows.

I feel I have a notebook somewhere with a list of people I want to collaborate with.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Robert Fripp and his manager David Singleton to bring 'An Evening of Conversation' to City Winery in Chicago Sunday


Having worked together for more than 30 years, it is fair to say musician Robert Fripp and record producer David Singleton know a lot about each other both musically and personally.

Since last month, Fripp and Singleton have been touring the county as part of a speaking tour affectionally dubbed “That Awful Man And His Manager.” The tour will wind up Sunday at the City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show will start at 8 p.m. Tickets range in price from $62 to $95, available at

Singleton established the DGM record label with Fripp in 1993 and has managed King Crimson since 2018. He is also King Crimson’s producer and author of “The Vicar Chronicles.”

I had the chance to interview Singleton about the tour.

Q – Of course the Chicago date is the last date of the tour. How has the tour being going? Have any of the questions surprised you?

It’s gone very well. The audiences have been slightly smaller than certainly the promoters expected, but probably the quality of the questions have been much higher than we might have expected.

We've had people quite regularly seeking practical answers, such as a guitarist or a songwriter. Some people are also wanting to know Robert’s stories, like what was it like to work with David Bowie or Brian Eno or many of the other people he collaborated with.

Q – I saw a video from your stop at the City Winery in New York City on Sept. 23 and there was a question from the audience about time signatures and Robert had the audience clapping to demonstrate how time signatures work. So that seems like that was not only informative, but also fun.

The idea is that they are entertaining as well so hopefully they are entertaining evenings and also informative. It’s a mixture of both.

Q – What was your idea in wanting to do this in the first place?

Well, it grew out of something we used to do before King Crimson concerts. Before the King Crimson concerts, I used to come out an hour before speaking to people who paid extra for early access.

I would play them snippets from the archives and show them how things worked behind the scenes in creating the albums. As it grew, Robert used to come out for about 10 minutes at the start to introduce me.

At the time, he was frustrated because people kept on wanting to ask him questions and because he was about to play a King Crimson show, he couldn’t really pay proper attention to answer the questions of people.

Q – Speaking of King Crimson, I see that DGM Ltd this month is launching the documentary “In the Court of the Crimson King, King Crimson at 50,” which is directed by Toby Amies.

We’re doing a big streamed video on demand launch from London on Oct. 22. There will be a screening in London and Robert will be there. He’ll be doing a live introduction, we’ll be showing the movie and then doing questions and answers afterwards.

There will be some theatrical screenings, but we don’t know when they will be yet.

Q – Why was it important to get this documentary out there and what do you think people will get out of it?

Well, there’s never been a King Crimson documentary and with the 50th anniversary, which was 2019, we felt that would be an appropriate time to do a review of King Crimson and present King Crimson to a wider audience.

We commissioned the movie I think in late 2017 or early 2018 so it would be out in time for 2019. The movie took much longer to make than anybody expected.

It took four years to make so it didn’t come out for the 50th anniversary. In some ways, the movie went further than we expected.

It’s a movie about musicians and their search for perfection and why music matters. It’s probably a movie that is interesting to anyone who is interested in music, whether you’re a King Crimson lover or not.

Q – Why do you think you hit it off so well with Robert Fripp and why do you continue to like to work with him?

Philosophically, we possibly both share common aims. I think we both have a belief that the music has to come first.

It’s just been one of those partnerships where we share a common sensibility and therefore things work very well.

The tour is being billed as “That Awful Man And His Manager.” Robert does indeed have a reputation as being an awful man.

But actually in a sense, I’ve never met that awful man. Robert’s reputation is because if he has to choose, he will choose to do whatever is right for the music first.

If something needs changing for the music to be be right, he is willing to change it, which obviously can annoy people. Some people may think that he’s being nasty to them.

He’s simply saying that we’ve got to get the music right.