Thursday, September 23, 2010
Peter Stampfel - The Hideout - Chicago, Illinois - Saturday, September 18, 2010
Yeah, that photo above pretty much says it all, but I'll add some words of my own anyway.
It's been awhile since I had back-to-back weekends of great concerts. First, the Strawbs on Friday, September 10, and last Saturday, multi-instrumentalist Peter Stampfel from the Holy Modal Rounders, who performed at Chicago's best dive bar for live music, the Hideout. 2010 will go down as a memorable year for me in terms of being fortunate enough to see several of my favorite musicians in person.
Things started extremely auspiciously when, on our way inside, my friend Steve and I came upon Stampfel, his wife, his daughter Zoe, and the promoter getting...ahem...ready for the show in a secluded part of the Hideout's parking lot. We were invited to take part in the activity in which they were engaged whereupon I seized the opportunity to talk with Peter for a bit about his blues and folk music influences. We discussed the merits of Charlie Patton, Skip James, and Frank Hutchison before being reminded by his entourage that he had a performance to do. I always take great pleasure in making connections with artists who are themselves fans of some of the same obscure musicians that I enjoy.
The show was absolutely brilliant, and the passion with which Stampfel performed was amazingly palpable. Sure, there was the occasional mistake, and he played guitar, banjo, and violin with equal parts genius and incompetence. But there was no denying that the set was both thoroughly inspired and inspirational. Daughter Zoe contributed on hand drum and backing vocals as well as keeping things grounded when her father was in danger of drifting off into the musical stratosphere. I can't remember every number that they did, but I do recall hearing Rounders classics such as "Euphoria" and "Bad Boy" in addition to newer material like "White Man's World" and "Dook of the Beatniks." They even did a cover version of the Curtis Mayfield-penned "Mama Didn't Lie" (a hit for Jan Bradley in 1963) for good measure.
I went to this show not knowing quite what to expect and came away with an even greater appreciation and respect for Peter Stampfel and his music. If he comes to your town to do a concert, don't miss the opportunity to see him.