Bellows Make Fires Burn More Fiercely

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It's already been a big month for the network of songwriters who once graced the living room "stage" of Humboldt Studios, a house concert series organized by the founders of Them Damn Kids from 2004 to 2008. Earlier this month, Ryan Suzuka and Ty Maxon played by all accounts a hugely successful show at Schubas, and Them Damn Kids got booked at that same revered venue for this coming May.

And now, the same guy who Derelict Songs tributed in its very first blog, who once "gave away his tapes out of a brown paper bag after the show" at the A Zone back in '03 is getting some much deserved recognition.

Check it out-
on the front page of the music section in Time Out Chicago, Areif Sless-Kitain describes John Bellows' re-released debut Clean Your Clock as "sometimes-comic, sometimes-frantic," fusing "scraps of vintage garage, folk and psychedelia." Robert Manis, who started his own record label (Moniker Records) launching Bellows' record as its very first release, describes the music as "grunge, psych, this backwoods-country thing."

Myles Raymer of the Chicago Reader also took note in his own article about Manis, who here describes Bellows' live show as "very charismatic, vibrant, completely psychotic. He ripped his shirt off and somebody put a wooden chair on his head and he started hitting the back of the chair and sang this children's book story that he'd read his kids earlier in the day." For all of us who know John Bellows, we're not at all surprised by such behavior, but we remember how powerful his live performances consistently are. And this is a *folk* musician!

It's often been said that "success" in the music business involves something like 70% marketing (i.e. self-promotion via slick press kits and web sites, etc.). Here's to those who focused nearly all their energy the only place where it belongs- on the damn songs. Success can be found on your own terms.

But we all know that music and performances- particularly if John Bellows is involved- can never be described in words. Worldnetweb defines a bellows as "a mechanical device that blows a strong current of air; used to make a fire burn more fiercely or to sound a musical instrument." Yeah, that actually sounds pretty close- but those are just words. Check him out, live and in person. Can't make it this Tuesday? Try the next Tuesday. Or the one after that.

The Whistler
Tuesday, March 23 @ 9 PM

Empty Bottle
Tuesday, March 30 @ 9 PM

The Hungry Brain
Tuesday, April 6 @ 9 PM


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