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Performances

Jonas Friddle & The Majority

Jonas Friddle & The Majority

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Friday, July 1
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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Jonas Friddle & The Majority is an Indie Folk Rock band out of Chicago, IL. The eight piece band makes a big sound with a line up of banjo, horns, strings, drums, keys, bass and electric guitar.  Friddle’s banjo driven compositions have received Song of the Year from The John Lennon Songwriting Competition, First Place in the Great American Song Contest and a nomination for Album of the Year in the Independent Music Awards. The band boasts strong ties to Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music and draws its sound from the deep well of American Roots music.

Their sound is at once huge and intimate…Their enthusiasm is infectious. I was grinning like an idiot and bouncing along before I realized what was happening to me.
– Erica Elam, The Chicago Reader

Scythian

Scythian

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Friday, July 1
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm

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Dubbed by The Washington Post as “DC’s most energetic and eclectic band” Scythian (sith-ee-yin) belts out a high-energy, adrenaline-peddling, interactive brand of music with one goal in mind; to get people on their feet and dancing. These classically trained musicians are natural showmen who seamlessly blend kicked-up Celtic, folk and world music, and deliver it with a punk-rock sensibility. Combine this with the driving rhythm of a jazz percussionist, and you’ve got the ingredients for a show you won’t soon forget.

 In a single song, they transport an audience across the globe with the alluring and dramatic strains of gypsy fiddles, the bounce of a Celtic reel, and then cross back over the border to pick up a klezmer hook and some good old-fashioned bluegrass licks.  Scythian are alchemists in their use of crowd participation. As The Washington Post states, their results are always the same: “…the band’s enthusiasm is contagious, and shows seem to end with everyone dancing, jumping around or hoisting glasses.”

AfroZep

AfroZep

Saturday, July 2
2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

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Originally formed in Chicago, the members of AfroZep now live spread throughout the country. The core members, who also perform as psychedelic rock trio KAVA, collide with the countries top Rock, Jazz and African musicians to perform a set of Led Zeppelin songs. Some tunes are straight mash-ups of Fela Kuti and Zeppelin, others are Zep tunes but set to original grooves based off the music of artists such as Tinariwen, Thomas Mapfumo and Franco and others are stripped down Zeppelin arrangements injected with the pulse of traditional African drumming.

Jenny Rockis

Jenny Rockis

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Saturday, July 2
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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Jenny Rockis is an award winning singer/songwriter whose vocal style has been compared to the power and soul of Janis Joplin, Melissa Etheridge and John Fogerty.  Her heartache inspired songwriting is “a musical punch in the face” whether rocking an acoustic show on guitar or grooving full band from behind the drum kit. Raw intensity and passion ooze from her lips and fingertips for an addicting explosion of sound in your face and in your speakers!  

“You’ve got soul!” – Lin Brehmer, DJ, 93 WXRT Radio Chicago

“A musical punch in the face!”  Steve Davern, Founder – Chicago Johnny Cash Festival

“When I heard the vocals of Jenny, I was instantly on board…she had the best vocals of the night…”  Peter S. Sakas, Rock Chicago Magazine

97 Nine

97 Nine

Saturday, July 2
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm

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97Nine (ninety-seven nine) is the premier classic rock cover band in the Midwest. This supergroup came to fruition when guitarist extraordinaire Dave Uhrich was joined by Mark O’Dette, Michael Bragg and Jeff Barker, and the foursome began rocking audiences with the most memorable anthems from the 80’s 90’s and today. Having all grown up listening to Chicago’s Loop 97.9FM rock radio, these guys take the stage each night and truly re-create that once visceral experience we all had with the music of an unmistakable era. Boasting countless years of experience honing their craft, these four brothers-in-arms command any stage with their unmatched energy and skill.

97Nine play classic arena rock like no other band can play, with that infectious energy and passion you grew up loving so much. We dare you not to pump your fist.

The Rocketboys

The Rocketboys

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Sunday, July 3
2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

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The Rocketboys’ sound reflects the Texas landscape from which they hail: vast, yet sparse, desolate, yet rich and abundant. Familiar lyrical themes of romance and love are often eschewed in favor of songs of brotherhood, family, life, and death in the band’s dynamic musical array, from guitar- and keyboard-rich anthems to gentle, ethereal whispers.

Hit TV shows “Glee,” “One Tree Hill,” “Private Practice,” “Elementary,” and many others have channeled the band’s thematic energy. Reviews often highlight the band’s parity to textural acts such as Band of Horses and Death Cab for Cutie while retaining the mass appeal of Coldplay, The Verve and Keane.

No strangers to the road (the band will perform its 700th show this year), The Rocketboys continually criss-cross the country including a stint opening for and backing Thrice-frontman Dustin Kensrue.

The Rocketboys released its latest recording project and debut on Black Magnetic Records, the “Left | Right” EP, on January 6th, 2015. It was recorded in Los Angeles, CA at Sunset Sound Studios with multi-grammy winning producer, Joe Chicarelli (Manchester Orchestra, The Strokes, The Shins).

Brooke & The Nice Things

Brooke & The Nice Things

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Sunday, July 3
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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Brooke & the Nice Things are too young to be old school; however, their influences undoubtedly reflect the Golden Era of Rhythm and Blues.

The band’s sound takes cues from Memphis and Muscle Shoals–between the lazy rolling of the river and the steady chugging of a southbound train. The feel lives between Chicago and Detroit–lively city streets and the pumping of factory machinery.

 The hustle and bustle is music. A sound that moves people. A feeling that creates community and speaks to people. 

 

The NuBlu Band

The NuBlu Band

Sunday, July 3
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm

Voo Davis

Voo Davis

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Monday, July 4
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

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Born in Anniston, Alabama, Brian “Voo” Davis’ moved with his family to Chicago while still a child. That transition helped embed his Alabama clay roots musical foundation with some Chicago juke joint flash. The resulting sound mix permeates throughout his overdriven acoustic slide guitar playing style. Touring with former Koko Taylor guitarist and Blues Music Award-winner Eddie King, Davis learned to travel the blues circuit and sharpen his craft alongside one of the best. Critics began to take notice, too: Illinois Entertainer hailed Davis’ vocals as “built for the blues;” while iTunes called him “one of those rarities who takes his music to the same ol’ hangouts but finds something new and revelatory in the experience;” and Goldmine Magazine summarized its review by describing his music as a “Hendrix/Buddy Guy/RL Burnside combo of blues-rock chops.”

Adam Ezra Group

Adam Ezra Group

Monday, July 4
4:30 pm – 7:00 pm

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A TRUE FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH MUSICALLY, PERSONALLY AND SOCIALLY,

THE ADAM EZRA GROUP IS MORE THAN JUST A ROOTS ROCK BAND-

THEY ARE A MOVEMENT

WINNER OF THE 2016 NEW ENGLAND MUSIC AWARDS

Song of the Year, “Let Your Hair Down”

Trippin’ Billies

Trippin’ Billies

Monday, July 4
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

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The nation’s most renowned Dave Matthews tribute band
Touring the U.S. for close to twenty years

“This is not just another Dave Matthews cover band. This is THE tribute band.

If you enjoy Dave Matthews, this is the band for you…as close as you can get to the real thing.”

NWI 2010

Nicholas Barron

Nicholas Barron

Wednesday, July 6
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Morry Sochat & The Special 20s

Morry Sochat & The Special 20s

Wednesday, July 6
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

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Morry Sochat and The Special 20s are bringing a fresh sound to the Chicago Blues scene.  They mix classic Chicago blues with Swing, and Vintage Rock N’ Roll for a great new sound.  The band has just celebrated their 10 year anniversary in 2015 and released the 4th full length album.  

Brian Allison

Brian Allison

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Thursday, July 7
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

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Brian Allison is a singer/songwriter from Chicago and is a culmination of vast musical influences to create an experience that is equal parts unique, fresh, and accessible to all listeners. Drawing from acts like James Bay, John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Allman Brothers, The Beatles, and many others.

Matt Hires

Matt Hires

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Thursday, July 7
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Samadhi Vibe

Samadhi Vibe

Friday, July 8
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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Samadhi Vibe is a Chicago band that knows how to get people offa that thang and dance ’till we all feel betta.

The “Samadhi Vibe” sound expresses that the nature of Rock and Roll embodies genres of all kinds and always subject to a perpetual cycle of interpretation. Samadhi Vibe combines and interprets the genres of Rock, Funk, Soul, and many more.

The 7 piece band plays a high energy show that rides on funky horns, soulful rhythms, and improv. Singer, Jim Hurtenbach fronts the band with songwriters/guitarists Danny Dancel and Eric Billittier as they play a constantly growing repertoire of originals and funky covers.

Freekbass

Freekbass

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Friday, July 8
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm

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The new Freekbass album, CINCINNATI, is a culmination of all projects Freekbass has worked on in the last few years. The album was released on Ropeadope at the end of 2015. From the funk of his own touring band, The Bump Assembly, to the electrofunk of side project, Headtronics with DJ Logic, Steve Molitz and keyboard genius Bernie Worrell, to the funk schooling from friend and mentor funk legend Bootsy Collins (another Cincinnati citizen), Freekbass once again teamed up with Producer Duane Lundy who produced his last album, “Everybody’s Feelin’ Real.”

Living in Cincinnati exposed Freekbass to genres of music he may have missed otherwise. While most kids were listening to Nirvana and Green Day, he connected with the bottom-heavy sounds coming out of the boom boxes like Zapp and Midnight Star. While working in a music shop to pay off­ his fi‑rst electric bass he had in lay-away, he began to study the classics of Larry Graham, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, Parliament, and Bootsy, with a bass in one hand and an MPC2000 in the other.

Going into 2015, Freek had a lot of things on the table. He released his album, “Everybody’s Feelin’ Real,” produced by Duane Lundy (Joe Pug, Dawn Landes, Sunday Valley/Sturgill Simpson) and included P-Funk/Rubberband keyboardist Razor Sharp Johnson, horn man Skerik, and Trey Anastasio Band vocalist/trumpet, Jennifer Hartswick. He was also a part of that year’s London Bass Guitar Show in the UK, giving a master class and performing, plus extensive touring with his mainstay funk group, “Freekbass & The Bump Assembly,” which also includes Big Bamn on drums and Jason Burgard on saxophones and horns.

Freekbass says, “with the last album, producer Duane and I were just starting to know each other. On this album we have since worked on many projects together and thus have a strong feel and vision where we want the music to go. Plus, I had taken some time off­ from touring with my own band before starting the last album. With this one, we have been hitting it pretty hard on the road as a band, so we were used to playing together. Plus, we spent a lot of time on writing songs and pre-production before we even got in the studio. With all of the touring leading up to the recording, I feel more con‑dent as a player, singer, and songwriter than I have in a long time.”

Common Center

Common Center

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Saturday, July 9
2:00pm-4:30pm

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Common Center is a group of individuals from Covington, Kentucky that gather to form a collection of sonic exploration. Their all-original material arises from a vast array of influences morphing together to create a unique sound previously unheard, but longed for, by the ear. They combine powerfully upbeat as well as tranquil themes with mystic, other-world intertwining melodic elements from instrumental and vocal harmonies.

They value the power of lyrically-driven song writing just as much as the importance of well-crafted, unique live performances, opening for national acts such as Toubab Krewe, The Revivalists, and Twiddle. Common Center is more than just a band; it is an ever-open, vibrant community of positive energy that reverberates from its fans just as much as it does from the musicians.

Writing, rehearsing, and playing shows every week, Common Center has their eyes set on the future. On November 21st, 2015, they released their debut album, Gypsy River, to much success. They are always working on creating new ever-evolving material, as well as building a loyal, loving family.

The Mosquitos

The Mosquitos

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Saturday, July 9
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Mr. Blotto

Mr. Blotto

Saturday, July 9
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm
Aon Summer Fireworks at 10:15pm

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Mr. Blotto was born in Chicago as an off-night vehicle for musicians who loved each other’s playing but were in different bands at the time. The only rule was that they would only play what they absolutely loved to play. That philosophy continues to this day and has led Mr. Blotto into unique musical situations.

Mr. Blotto takes the Jam band asthetic into areas unfamiliar to the standard Jam Scene. They have been known to cover entire albums by Led Zepplin and The Who as well as perform entire shows of Country and Reggae. Artists as diverse as the Grateful Dead, the Flaming Lips, Willie Nelson and The Velvet Underground have seen their material interpreted by Mr. Blotto in the 2400+ shows the band has performed in the last 20 years.

Mr. Blotto draws from a 300+ songlist. It starts from the band’s Original Material, which is drawn from 5 released and 2 as-yet unreleased CD’s as well as a wealth of unrecorded songs. Mr. Blotto builds its sets on these 100 or so Original songs and peppers the rest of the sets with material from sources as varied as Dancehall, Reggae and Outlaw Country with some Chicago Blues thrown in for good measure. Setlists vary depending on the setting, but rely primarily on the Original Material, with no two shows being the same.

“Barlow Shanghai”, the 5th and latest CD was released in 2006 and saw the band in collaboration with John Perry Barlow (lyricist to the Grateful Dead).

MER’s Music Showcase

MER’s Music Showcase

Sunday, July 10
2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

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MER invites Chicago’s finest artists to partake in a “songwriters in the round” session. This stripped

down format gives front men/women a chance to step back from their bands and deliver their stories

and music as they were originally contrived. Catch this unique vibe and enjoy the sincere delivery of

Chicago’s most dedicated songwriters!

SONGWRITERS

MER featuring Jason Vinluan | www.facebook.com/merplay

Brother John Kattke

Brother John Kattke

Sunday, July 10
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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Brother John Kattke has toured and recorded with numerous Chicago blues artists including Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Koko Taylor, and Otis Rush. The band he leads features an eclectic repertoire, diverse vocalists and multi-instrumentalists, a rhythm section with a strong traditional groove, and a tight horn section.

 

Brother John has been a resident musician at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago for 25 years.  He has played with Eric Clapton, Steve Miller, the Black Crowes, and acquired ringing endorsements from many other musicians of renown. For example: Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant had seen John play with Otis Rush at the Jazz Café in London. When Plant and Kattke met in person at the United Center in Chicago, Plant told Kattke: “You play a mean guitar!” George Benson came to the jam session that Kattke hosts at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago. After hearing the opening set that John played with his band, Benson told him: “You’re fearless! I thought I was fearless! You’re fearless!”

Dylan Hankey

Dylan Hankey

Wednesday, July 13
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

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Dylan Hankey is a Chicago based singer/songwriter. He is constantly learning new material for his House Residency at Irish Eyes (Lincoln Park) as well as creating his own music. Covering nearly every genre with his original music and cover repertoire, there’s bound to be something to get your feet tappin’ and your mouth chattin’!

16 Candles

16 Candles

Wednesday, July 13
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Aon Summer Fireworks at 9:30pm

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Established in 2003. 16 Candles makes it their personal duty and pleasure to bring all the great 80’s songs you love to life in full force. Their attention to detail and commitment to entertainment captivates audiences and inspires new ways of dancing and thinking (not to mention drinking). The members are 5 fun-loving guys with a simple love for the music of years gone by and a mission to fuse nostalgia and style to create a sight/sound spectacular unlike any other.

Nate Holley

Nate Holley

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Thursday, July 14
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

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Nathan Holley is a versatile musical talent out of central Illinois, now based in Saugatuck MI,

and regularly touring in Illinios, Indiana, Michigan and Florida. Mixing acoustic jams with his

looping magic is a sight you have to witness to understand, and even then you are hard pressed

to explain it in a way that does it justice. Nate brings great musicianship and vocal power to both

his original music and his unique covers.

Nate’s goal as a musician is to capture his listener from the first note to make sound that won’t

leave the audience where it found them. For him, music is the one thing that not only takes us

deep within, but also far, far away leaving behind the trouble and turmoil that everyday living

can bring.

Too White Crew

Too White Crew

Thursday, July 14
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

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Alright STOP. Collaborate an’ LIS-en. Remember when hip hop Talked About Sex? When you could Bust a Move, Shake the Rump, do the Humpty and no one was poppin’ caps? When Bell Biv Devoe called all y’all tricks “Poison” and warned all the fellas to “never trust a big butt & a smiiiiiiile”? We do Too. We’ll drink up all the Hennessey you got on yo’ shelf, so just let us introduce ourselves…

There is simply no band anywhere like the Too White Crew. It is a tribute to the golden era of hip hop, featuring all-live music (no tracks) from a six piece band, accompanied by choreographed “Fly Girl” dancers. It’s a party band – it’s a show – it’s art – it’s madness on stage — all packaged in an unprecedented way. TWC has opened for countless hip hop & pop legends and is the only band in the past decade to perform at the Playboy Mansion. Too White Crew’s nationally-touring show is also one of the top-requested festival acts.

 

http://www.toowhitecrew.com/about/

TWC is not responsible for injuries sustained from grown ups trying to do the worm, the running man or the Roger Rabbit. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Babe-alon 5

Babe-alon 5

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Friday, July 15
5:30pm – 8:00pm

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Do you like The Andrews Sisters? How about The Mills Brothers? Les Paul and Mary Ford perhaps??
Do you also like to laugh too long, too strong? Then you’ll probably find us mighty swell. 
Babe-alon 5 is a vocal trio with Kasey Foster#2, Kiley Moore#1, and Tara Smith#3. Pianu Reeves on keys. 
Guest musicians and artists always seem to be happening through town when we play. 
Babe-alon 5 has what you want.
We’re your beeswax.

Starfall Orchestra

Starfall Orchestra

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Friday, July 15
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm

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Low Spark

Low Spark

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Saturday, July 16
2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

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Low Spark, a relentlessly grooving musical force based out of Chicago, IL. Drawing from a wide range of influences, they deliver a contemporary fusion of sound characterized by melodic hooks, deep funk tones and extended high-energy solos. Known for their collaborative spirit and electrifying live performances, Low Spark is breaking boundaries as a highly original, progressive act.

Low Spark’s debut album, “Cascade” (Out April 15th!!), sonically defines the bands versatility and good natured musical spirit. They continue to tour while holding down the Thursday residency at Chicago’s live music mecca, Alive One.

In the past they have shared bills with the likes of Bernie Worrell Orchestra, Robert Walter, The Main Squeeze, TAUK, New Sound Underground, Marcus Rezak, Chris Bullock, Blackalicious, Monophonics, Euforchestra, SKERIK, Gene Ween and many others.

Magic Lightnin’ Boys

Magic Lightnin’ Boys

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Saturday, July 16
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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Ohio swamp rock masters The Magic Lightnin’ Boys have released their self-titled debut album through Bottled Lightnin’ Records. The band will release their full length sophomore album titled “Stealin’ Thunder” on May 6th.

The first album is a seven song affair focusing on hope and positivity and crosses several musical boundaries, including blues, R&B, soul, rock, funk and a touch of gospel.  “We just got in a room and jammed,”says guitarist, Brian Tarter. “We were digging what we were coming up with and there were no limitations on what would be on the record.  This is straight from the heart music.”
Produced by the band themselves and Dave Cornett and recorded at 3rd Street Music in Hamilton, OH, the record kicks off with the bluesy rocker “Mindfunk” before launching into the soulful strains of “Sucker Punch,” featuring some cutting edge guitar work from Tarter and “Broken Dream,” which opens with a punchy bassline from Richie Lee.  As “Gone” kicks in you can feel the tormented vocal performance from Casey Gomez cut through you like a hot knife through butter.  “Devil’s Lettuce” features some fantastic interplay between bassist, Lee and drummer Kurt Lipphardt while “Couples Skate” has a mesmerizing Gospel feel to it.  Rounding out the album, “Stones Throw” has the dirtiest backbeat this side of Stevie Ray Vaughn, courtesy, once again of Lee and Lipphardt.
“Each song that we have shared has created a life of its own packed with genuine, raw emotion,” tells Gomez. “We aren’t trying to follow trends or copy the next big thing. We are trying to tell a real story the only way we know how.”
The Magic Lightnin’ Boys will support the release with select dates throughout the United States.

Dr. Bombay

Dr. Bombay

Saturday, July 16
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm

Best of the Bitter Jester Battle of the Bands

Best of the Bitter Jester Battle of the Bands

Sunday, July 17
2:00 pm – 8 pm

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Today’s Lineup

Double Identity

FUTURE STUFF

Say I’m Pull

Clear Confusion

Elise and the Police

After an intense month-long music competition, Caroline & The Priority, a pop-soul group from Highland Park and Huntley, IL, rose to the top to claim Grand Champion status in the 11th annual Bitter Jester Battle of the Bands (BOTB) Finale at Wolter’s Field in Highland Park preceding the City’s 4th of July fireworks celebration in front of more than 2,500 people. More than $37,000 in combined donated cash and prizes was awarded to the bands, with some raffled off to the audience in support of Bitter Jester Foundation for the Arts.

The judges selected two Finalists from among the eight Semi-Finalists to each play one song and battle it out for the top spot before the audience crowned the winner with their cheers and applause on the official Bluegrass Restaurant Decibel Meter. Audiophila, a heavy rock band from Elkhorn and Lake Geneva, WI, took home the Runner-Up title and FUTURE STUFF, an Americana/pop/blues band from Madison, WI and Carpentersville, IL was named Honorable Mention Band.

The following Semi-Finalists also fought to earn their top spots:

  • Alabaster: a psychedelic/jam/blues/rock band from McHenry County, IL 
  • Clear Confusion: an acoustic rock band from Downer’s Grove, IL
  • Elise and the Police: an alternative/indie rock band from Arlington Heights and Skokie, IL 
  • Not Now, Son: a rock/blues group from New Trier High School and Wilmette, IL, and
  • Say I’m Pull: a one-man band featuring his own genre of electronic/acoustic/alternative/synth/pop/jazz fusion from Highland Park, IL. 

Performances by Showcase bands Double Identity, a pop/rock group from La Grange, IL, and Graphic, an alternative/rock band from Lake Forest, IL kicked-off the event.

Regardless, the top eight bands and two showcase bands are indeed all winners, having the opportunity of a lifetime to play Navy Pier’s Miller Lite Beer Garden from 2-8 p.m. on Sunday July 17 & 24, 2016.  Billed as the ‘Best of the Best’, these talented young musicians will be reaping their well-earned Navy Pier prize when they hit the stage, gaining further exposure and added confidence. 

“This summer, as part of our Fifth Third Bank Centennial Celebration, we’re offering enhanced arts and cultural programming for guests of all backgrounds. We’re excited to welcome these talented young people, the best of the best Bitter Jester Battle of the Bands winners, to entertain families who love live music in our Miller Lite Beer Garden,” said Jennifer Kramer, Director of Special Events for Navy Pier. “Throughout our 100 year history, Navy Pier has helped launch the careers of many talented musicians. We hope these bands can use this opportunity to further their own dreams.” 

Mank n Sass

Mank n Sass

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Wednesday, July 20
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

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Jared Manker (Mank) and Sara Siders (Sass) team up for an acoustic funk/blues duo sure to steal hearts and blow minds.

Chicago Funk Mafia

Chicago Funk Mafia

Wednesday, July 20
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The Oh Yeahs

The Oh Yeahs

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Thursday, July 21
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

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The Oh Yeahs, are an acoustic group featuring three of Chicago’s top vocalists and multi-instrumentalists: Leslie Beukelman, Allison Orobia, and Sarah Marie Young. Each of these women has a diverse musical background, but they all have one thing in common: they love to make music and sing together, and it shows. ‘The Oh Yeahs’ sing and play a collection of music including original compositions, current pop hits, showcasing their signature sound of folky three-part harmonies, and classics by artists such as Johnny Cash, the Beatles, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash!

Erin Harpe & The Delta Swingers

Erin Harpe & The Delta Swingers

Thursday, July 21
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

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Charismatic singer and guitarist Erin Harpe, along with her band the Delta Swingers, have become favorites around New England, with a growing fan base around the world. Their unique brand of dance music is rooted in vintage 1930’s Mississippi delta blues, then shaken and stirred with other genres like soul, funk, and reggae, evoking a wild southern juke joint where the whiskey and gin are flowing and everybody’s dancing.

Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers features Erin on vocals and lead guitar, backed by Jim Countryman on bass, Bob Nisi on drums and vocal harmonies, and Matt Charles on harmonica. Their critically acclaimed debut album “LOVE WHIP BLUES” (VizzTone) has been very well received, getting 4 stars in DownBeat Magazine, and airplay around the world including SeriusXM’s Bluesville!

Kalo

Kalo

New to the Miller Lite Beer Garden
Friday, July 22
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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KALO plays frequently throughout the Heartland and is working on a third studio album. Bat-Or’s unique history lends to a distinctive sound that’s beguiled audiences from Oklahoma City to New York, Austin to Mississippi, and many places in between. And with McKinney on bass rounding out the rhythm section, the sound is genre bending and infectious.

Lovewhip

Lovewhip

Friday, July 22
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm

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Lovewhip is a dance band that jams, and people love it. Playing a party-starting mix of psychedelic rock, dance-pop, and world music, the energy and presence of Lovewhip’s live shows is infectious, sexy, fun and over-the-top. The Jamaica Plain, MA based group whip up infectious original songs for those who love shaking their booty on the dancefloor. “Lovewhip may be our answer to Prince, except it’s a funky, electro-jam with a female guitar-slinging mastermind!” says Cheap Thrills Boston. Combining the best of world and reggae dance rhythms with 80’s synth, the band’s sound is topped off by singer/guitarist Empress Erin’s soaring psychedelic rock guitar, creating an “irresistible party soundtrack” that fans love! Think Talking Heads, Gwen Stefani and LCD Soundsystem all rolled into one.

Lovewhip has released four critically acclaimed studio albums (Love Electric, Virtual Booty Machine, Bouncehall, and Whip It Baby!) and one live album (Live Booty Pop). Their latest album, Love Electric, is a futuristic dance party complete with unicorns, icebots, intrigue, and rock’n’roll! Each song on the album is chock full of catchy hooks, mixing dancehall reggae with disco, pop and rock. The album was produced by Jake Zavracky (producer/composer, of the bands Cyanide Valentine and Quick Fix), and recorded in Boston and Brooklyn. “It all comes together like a Kraftwerk cover band hanging out with Fischerspooner on a DEVO appreciation night at the hottest dance club in town.”

 

The Right Now

The Right Now

Saturday, July 23
2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

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There are only so many times you can take back that cheating lover or accept excuses from a lazy scrub. It’s easier said than done, but one soul band is taking a stand. The Right Now isn’t going to take it anymore. The Right Now is fed up. And on their second record, The Right Now Gets Over You.

The challenging title is a reality check, but delivered with a smile from singer Stefanie Berecz. “It’s just a representation of the stories in the songs. Nearly every track has a cheating character, or someone who’s had enough of their lover. It’s a mixed bag of empowerment and regret.” Gets Over You continues the “it’s complicated” theme of 2010’s Carry Me Home, although this outing shows Berecz in a darker, seedier role.

Recorded in a cathartic, week-long session in Los Angeles with producer Sergio Rios (Orgone), Gets Over You takes the Chicago septet’s soulful sound to the warm, crackling world of analog tape and vintage instruments. Berecz’s voice, often compared to those of Chaka Kahn and Joss Stone, takes center stage. The band shines with raw, gritty performances and elegant arrangements that are the result of countless hours of performing, rehearsing, and traveling together.

Berecz’s emotionally-charged vocal performance has been the band’s calling card at over 200 shows in the past two years. The Right Now’s electrifying live show  has earned them a reputation as “dynamic, complex, hip and just downright fun” (Gapers Block).

The past two years saw immense growth for The Right Now, including a sold-out release party at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall; tour dates throughout the Midwest, East, and South; festival appearances at SXSW, North Coast Festival, and Summerfest; and opening stints for George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic, John Legend, Fitz & The Tantrums, Bettye Lavette, Otis Clay, Orgone, Kings Go Forth, The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker, The Jayhawks, Soulive, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Ryan Shaw, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Escort, Chali 2na of Jurassic 5, The Bo Keys, Tortured Soul, Bernie Worrell Orchestra, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Dan Dyer, and Jamie Lidell. USA Today, MP3.com, MySpace Music, and eMusic.com have featured the band as a favorite, and live TV appearances (WGN) put the Chicago act on the national stage. Placements in 90210 and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and promos for Gilly Hicks and other national retailers also broadened the band’s appeal. In 2014 their song “He Used To Be” was placed in the multi-million selling video game Watch Dogs.

“It takes a man to admit that it’s over,” Berecz confidently croons on “Half As Much.” “But if you can’t, I can do it for sure.” While Stefanie Berecz may have gotten over the man in this song, audiences won’t be getting over her any time soon.

Best of the Bitter Jester Battle of the Bands

Best of the Bitter Jester Battle of the Bands

Sunday, July 24
2:00 pm – 8:00 pm

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Today’s Lineup

Audiophilia

Not Now, Son

Alabaster

After an intense month-long music competition, Caroline & The Priority, a pop-soul group from Highland Park and Huntley, IL, rose to the top to claim Grand Champion status in the 11th annual Bitter Jester Battle of the Bands (BOTB) Finale at Wolter’s Field in Highland Park preceding the City’s 4th of July fireworks celebration in front of more than 2,500 people. More than $37,000 in combined donated cash and prizes was awarded to the bands, with some raffled off to the audience in support of Bitter Jester Foundation for the Arts.

The judges selected two Finalists from among the eight Semi-Finalists to each play one song and battle it out for the top spot before the audience crowned the winner with their cheers and applause on the official Bluegrass Restaurant Decibel Meter. Audiophila, a heavy rock band from Elkhorn and Lake Geneva, WI, took home the Runner-Up title and FUTURE STUFF, an Americana/pop/blues band from Madison, WI and Carpentersville, IL was named Honorable Mention Band.

The following Semi-Finalists also fought to earn their top spots:

  • Alabaster: a psychedelic/jam/blues/rock band from McHenry County, IL 
  • Clear Confusion: an acoustic rock band from Downer’s Grove, IL
  • Elise and the Police: an alternative/indie rock band from Arlington Heights and Skokie, IL 
  • Not Now, Son: a rock/blues group from New Trier High School and Wilmette, IL, and
  • Say I’m Pull: a one-man band featuring his own genre of electronic/acoustic/alternative/synth/pop/jazz fusion from Highland Park, IL. 

Performances by Showcase bands Double Identity, a pop/rock group from La Grange, IL, and Graphic, an alternative/rock band from Lake Forest, IL kicked-off the event.

Regardless, the top eight bands and two showcase bands are indeed all winners, having the opportunity of a lifetime to play Navy Pier’s Miller Lite Beer Garden from 2-8 p.m. on Sunday July 17 & 24, 2016.  Billed as the ‘Best of the Best’, these talented young musicians will be reaping their well-earned Navy Pier prize when they hit the stage, gaining further exposure and added confidence. 

“This summer, as part of our Fifth Third Bank Centennial Celebration, we’re offering enhanced arts and cultural programming for guests of all backgrounds. We’re excited to welcome these talented young people, the best of the best Bitter Jester Battle of the Bands winners, to entertain families who love live music in our Miller Lite Beer Garden,” said Jennifer Kramer, Director of Special Events for Navy Pier. “Throughout our 100 year history, Navy Pier has helped launch the careers of many talented musicians. We hope these bands can use this opportunity to further their own dreams.” 

Jimmy Nick – Solo

Jimmy Nick – Solo

Wednesday, July 27
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

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Jimmy Nick is an old fashioned, guitar-slinging blues prodigy who was developing his chops in famous Chicago clubs when he was only sixteen. His experience playing at these Chicago venues – Buddy Guy’s Legends,The Kingston Mines, Rosa’s Lounge, and B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted – combined with his boundless energy and stage presence, has established him as a force that is taking the Chicago club and blues scene by storm!

Morry Sochat & The Special 20s

Morry Sochat & The Special 20s

Wednesday, July 27
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

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Morry Sochat and The Special 20s are bringing a fresh sound to the Chicago Blues scene.  They mix classic Chicago blues with Swing, and Vintage Rock N’ Roll for a great new sound.  The band has just celebrated their 10 year anniversary in 2015 and released the 4th full length album.  

Chris Corsale

Chris Corsale

New to Miller Lite Beer Garden
Thursday, July 28
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

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Since 2011 Chris has jumped back into songwriting, and brought decades of experience to bear on songs that are thoughtful, fun, endearing, dirty, or any combination thereof. He perform his songs solo (recently opening for Lisa Loeb in Chicago), and with The Chris Corsale Band. 

Stache!

Stache!

Thursday, July 28
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

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Stache! uses a creative blend of song arrangement and skilled musicianship to bring a unique twist to everything from today’s pop hits to the 80s rock anthems you’ve been loving for years. Stache recreates current radio hits without the use of backing tracks, and mixes them into a setlist filled with perennial rock and dance favorites from across the radio dial. As a result, Stache can bring a catered blend of music that’s perfect for your venue, festival, or private event.

It’s music you love, like you’ve never heard before.

Rendition

Rendition

Friday, July 29
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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RENDITION; (music), singing a version of a song.

People always say that they love the fact that we don’t try to copy or mimic other bands. We take a song and we make it our own, hence the name RENDITION. Mixed with a high energy stage show and an extensive song list, RENDITION appeals to a wide range of audiences. From Alternative to Dance, Country to Rock or Classic to Rap, RENDITION does it all. If you have not seen them yet, you are in for an amazing event!

Wild Adriatic

Wild Adriatic

Friday, July 29
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm

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Calling to mind the soulful, dynamic sounds of 70s giants such as Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie, and Free’s early years, Wild Adriatic has won early acclaim from places such as Rolling Stone, USA Today, Relix and Guitar World. The band, touring out of Saratoga Springs NY, played 175 live dates in over 10 countries in 2014 alone and is on track to match that in 2015.

The debut album Big Suspicious was released in January 2014 and WA has since stayed on the road in support of the effort. From playing Bonnaroo to headlining blues festivals in Connecticut for 10,000 people to a five week headlining European tour to serving as direct support for an impressive list of rock and roll royalty including Grand Funk Railroad, Robert Randolph, Blues Traveler, Deer Tick, MuteMath, and many more… Wild Adriatic is a high energy, riffy power trio to rival any you’ve seen before. The band has built a strong following off of a relentless tour schedule and a powerhouse live show, making noteworthy appearances at festivals like SXSW, moe.down, Gathering of the Vibes, Summer Camp, and CMJ.

Early 2015 saw the band consistently on the road across the US, ending their winter with a 6 week residency in Austin, TX leading up to SXSW, in addition to being featured in a theatrical commercial for Dolby Laboratories. All ramping up to the release of “Never Enough,” Wild Adriatic’s third EP/CD release. The 5 song disc features the new single “Strange Persuasions” and saw it’s release on March 17th at this year’s SXSW Festival. From there the band picked back up on with their hard-touring schedule, making stops at Bonnaroo, Summer Camp, and beyond.

Breezy Rodio

Breezy Rodio

Saturday, July 30
2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

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Some people are born with music in the soul. Breezy Rodio is an up-and-coming Bluesman. His understanding of music coupled with his impressive guitar skills allows him to create a truly unique sound. Breezy began building an audience quickly playing with local bands in New York. Within a year, he decided it was time to go for broke. He moved to Chicago intending to take his career to the next level. It was a major risk that has paid off. There, Breezy became close friends with Guy King, who became his mentor and heavily influenced his style. Breezy has been noticed by legendary Bluesmen such as Buddy Guy, Billy Branch, Lurrie Bell, Linsey Alexander, Carl Weathersby and many more.

Breezy’s musical style has evolved over the years but has still maintained a classic sound. Influenced by Blues Legends such as Albert King, Ray Charles, B.B. King, T. Bone Walker, Albert Collins, Earl Hooker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Robert Johnson, Breezy’s music is a cheerful nod to the past with a sly wink to the future. Ever industrious, Breezy formed his own Blues band. He is constantly booking gigs at Chicago’s hottest Blues Clubs including, House of Blues, Buddy Guy’s Legends, Rosa’s Lounge, and B.L.U.E.S. He recently completed a tour across Europe and South America, introducing his talent to broad new audiences. He has also been playing the Chicago Blues Festival for several years. Breezy collaborates with some of the Blues Genre’s finest performers.

Crane Wives

Crane Wives

Saturday, July 30
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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The Crane Wives are a home grown indie-folk outfit from Grand Rapids, Michigan. They utilize three-part vocal harmonies, eclectic instrumentation, and a passion for song-craft to create organic music that is both accessible and innovative. Each live show features contagious energy as well as original music that ranges from whisper quiet ballads to danceable grooves.

The band formed in late August of 2010 and has released three full-length albums, “Safe Ship, Harbored” (2011), “The Fool In HerWedding Gown” (2012), and “Coyote Stories” (2015) with a fourth album “Foxlore” Due out April 2nd, 2016.

Rod Tuffcurls & The Bench Press

Rod Tuffcurls & The Bench Press

Saturday, July 30
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm

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“Rod Tuffcurls and The Bench Press is like the cover band that’s never seen a cover band.” – Said a smart, observant man.

Rod Tuffcurls and The Bench Press is an exciting cover band from Chicago, entertaining crowds at clubs, festivals, weddings, and other events all across the Midwest since 2008.  Their unique song repertoire include hits ranging from Hall & Oates to Taylor Swift, Queen to The Beatles, and Wilson Phillips to Elton John!  You may even hear some of our off-the-wall choices from Les Miserables, The Golden Girls, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and classic Disney movies!

Rod Tuffcurls and The Bench Press combine excellent musicianship, bone-crushing 3-part vocal harmonies, and a contagious stage energy that will keep you dancing!

Marvin “Maestro” Band

Marvin “Maestro” Band

Sunday, July 31
2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Dirk Quinn Band

Dirk Quinn Band

Sunday, July 31
5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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Dirk Quinn is the guitarist for a high energy funk/jazz band based out of Philadelphia that travels extensively throughout the US and Canada. Utilizing over a decade of steady performing, Quinn has developed a unique and progressive style – one that appeals to a wide variety of music listeners with fans ranging from the jam band hippies to the jazz snobs. Initially attracted to the guitar as a teenager after being introduced to classic rock giants such as Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, Quinn’s thirst for the unique and bizarre soon had him jamming along to the more radical and daring Mahavishnu Orchestra and the humorous, bass-laden noise of Primus. Playing virtually non-stop with countless musical projects afforded him ample opportunity to hone his chops. It wouldn’t be long before the refining of his own artistic message coupled with a fresh, new outlook and a deeper musical/life philosophy opened up to him the world of jazz. Miles, Coltrane, Monk and Brubeck along with the more contemporary sounds of Bela Fleck, John Scofield, Ahmad Jamal and Jaco Pastorius began heavily influencing his musical direction. Liberated by the idea of free improvisation, he was finally able to realize and focus his musical vision. In 2007 Quinn made his long-awaited recording debut releasing his self-titled CD – “Dirk Quinn”. Working the club and coffee house circuit, Quinn became increasingly in demand, play­ing as many as three gigs a day while getting the occasional call to share a bill with musical legends such as Soulive, Lettuce, The New Mastersounds, Umphrey’s McGee, Steve Kimock, Bernie Worrell, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Keller Williams, Garaj Mahal, Booker T, Jimmy Bruno, Dumpstaphunk, Kofi Burbridge (Derek Trucks Band), Marco Benevento, and Zach Deputy – each performance steadily garnering more recognition for Quinn, who believes in winning fans one by one on the merit of the music. “QuinnTet”, his sophomore CD release, features “thoughtful, original melodies flowing seamlessly over groove-heavy rhythms; intricate song structures giving way to strongly expressive, organic improvisations.” Drawing inspiration from every musical genre, his solo acoustic sound has been compared to the guitar “pyrotechnics” of Keller Williams and Michael Hedges, while his full band compositions bear resemblances that range from the honest, urban funk of Soulive to the brave experimentation of Medeski, Martin and Wood. Surrounding himself with a group of extremely talented and like-minded musicians, Quinn has been playing shows across North America while receiving an ever increasing amount of media attention. His music has now been featured on over 100+ radio stations worldwide and gets daily internet airplay on sites such as Spotify and Pandora. Notable spins include the “Pick of the Day” on WXPN in Philadelphia as well as on the nationally syndicated “Keller’s Cellar” broadcast hosted by Keller Williams. The Dirk Quinn Band released “Live at Home” in January of 2012. Featuring tracks recorded over 5 different shows in and around their hometown of Philadelphia, the new CD runs the gamut, from beautiful and delicate movements to evil dissonance, from intricate and thought provoking melodies to hard driving funk, and is a fantastic representation of the group’s live show experience. The band’s infectious energy and musical interplay routinely attract listeners that are admittedly more accustomed to lyric-based music. With great melodic sensibilities, rhythmic experimentation and an accessible modern edge, the Dirk Quinn Band is jazz/funk improvisation at its most exciting!

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