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Review Sun Sep 20 2015

UB40 Brought Us Back at Concord Music Hall


It's always interesting to me what kind of a crowd a throwback group is going to draw. Is it going to be the original fans or their kids? Are tickets going to be $20 or $200? Is this band even still making new music?

The answer to those questions for reggae band UB40, the British reggae/pop band formed in the 70's that brought us "Red Reeeed Wiiiiiiiiiine."

1) It was a combination - the ages of crowd members ranged from 20's to 50's.
2) Tickets were $40.
3) Yes indeed. The band's last album was released a mere 2 years ago.

The night however didn't start with UB40. It started with a dj whose identity shall remain a mystery because he never introduced himself and he wasn't on the event listing. A word of advice to music venues - there are a lot of fun surprises in life. Surprise birthday cake? Awesome. Surprise raise? Amazing. Surprise free beverage on your Starbucks card? The best.

A surprise dj set that lasts 2 hours before the band comes on? Not so much in my book.
I was in the minority on this one though -- the crowd, young and old, was getting down to the mystery dj, who brought us reggae favorites like Bob Marley's "Everything's Going to be Alright" to warm us up for the night's attraction.

Finally our anonymous dj left and UB40 took to the stage. They came out in pieces -- the backing band consisting of a trumpet, saxophone, guitar, trombone, keyboard and drums took to the stage first and jammed out for a couple of minutes. The group sounded strong and was in sync with each other, literally and figuratively, as they all stepped and swayed with each other in time to the rhythm. This current tour for UB40 features original members Astro, Ali Campbell and Mickey Virtue, and the crowd made plenty of noise when they took to the stage.

The band started things off with Al Green cover "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)" and moved into "Homely Girl" before switching off lead vocals to Astro who told the crowd that they were going to give the crowd what they wanted, the hits new and old. The group did a good job keeping things interesting, mixing up the lead singers and going into the back catalog to keep the crowd engaged. While some bands seem to eschew this as pandering (the one and only time I saw Bob Dylan I didn't recognize a single song he played. Although to be fair that might've also been because he was unintelligible) UB40 seems to get it. You gotta give the people what they want.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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