I was very impressed to see openly gay contestants on the NBC's breakout talent-based competition The Voice. The more established counterpart American Idol has yet to see such a feat.
The LGBT hopefuls on The Voice are fiery Vicci Martinez, the seasoned Beverly McClellan, the bluesy Nakia and Tyler Robinson, who probably will be best known as the gay Mormon. The cast of The Voice will have a concert at The Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River, Rosemont, on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
This year I am underwhelmed with the line-up at Lollapalooza. There are only a couple of bands that interest me, like Deluka, The Cars, The Kills, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals and Fitz & the Tantrums. There are no openly LGBT-identifying acts on the card, as far as I know. Buzzworthy bands like The Hurts, Friend Slash Lover and Oh Land would be included if I had any say. Lollapalooza is taking place in Grant Park from Friday, Aug. 5-7. For tickets, schedules and details on the after-shows, please visit http:// www.lollapalooza.com .
Need an alternative to Lollapalooza? Sade will be at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison, for the same three consecutive nights, starting Friday, Aug. 5. Soul sensation John Legend will be opening.
Sade's R&B music is timeless, as heard on favorites "Smooth Operator," "Pearls" and "No Ordinary Love"; however, tours are seldom. Sade recently released the two-disc The Ultimate Collection. This retrospective boasts remixes of "Moon And the Sky" and "By Your Side," plus material from 2000's Lovers Rock and 2010's Soldier of Love, which are not on the previous hits package The Best of Sade. One of the prerequisite new songs, "Love Is Found," finds our seductress taking on an edgier role, as she did with the title track from Soldier of Love.
Recently I tried naming some songs that would fit nicely into the sleaze genre. The British DJ outfit Horse Meat Disco's third installment of its self-titled series favors sleaze with slow burning dance numbers from the '70s and '80s. However, also included here is one this summer's hottest club cuts, "Sweet Suburban Disco" by Billie Ray Martin. There are beloved divas on this double-disc compilation, as Martha Wash appears on Two Tons of Fun's "Just Us" and Sylvester's "Give It Up." The late Loleatta Holloway joins Salsoul Orchestra for "Seconds." The set's standouts are Rose Lauren's "American Love" and Yam Who?'s take on Shah-Lor's "I'm in Love." First Class's"Let No Man Put Asunder" should ring a bell, as it was sampled by many and can be heard on Moby's "Thousand," Kym Syms' crossover "Too Blind to See It" and "The Man Who Has Everything" by Pet Shop Boys. The refrain "it's not over" might be familiar, as Mary J. Blige covered this jam on her 1999 outing, Mary. These singers have soul, attitude and talentthree things sorely lacking from today's Auto-Tuned-dependent personalities. Horse Meat Disco III is out now via Strut.
While daydreaming, I would come up with a concert's worth of songs should I be the new lead singer for INXS. The material would include the hits like "Devil Inside" and "Disappear," but would focus mainly on material from 1992's underappreciated Welcome to Wherever You Are like "Beautiful Girl" and "Taste It." It's too bad I cannot sing.
The members of INXS sporadically worked with different frontmen after lead singer Michael Hutchence died in 1997. In 2005, J.D. Fortune won the reality competition Rock Star: INXS and provided lead vocals on the comeback album Switch. In memory of Hutchence, the Australian band has released Original Sin, which features guests tackling the group's hits such as Rob Thomas on the title cut and Tricky on "Meditate." Berlin will open for INXS at The Venue, 777 Casino Center, Hammond, Ind., on Friday, July 29.
Hutchence is pegged to be the topic of a Broadway musical, documentary and feature film. He famously dated Kylie Minogue and supermodel Helena Christensen. It still is debated whether his death was a suicide or a mishap with autoerotic asphyxiation.
Also coming to The Venue at The Horseshoe Casino is Dave Koz. On Friday, Aug. 5, the out saxophonist will be accompanied by percussionist Sheila E. and singer and multi-instrumentalist Bobby Caldwell. Koz just came out with the video for his version of "This Guy's in Love with You." The clip is like a Benetton ad, as couples harmoniously swoon over Koz performing in a town square. "This Guy's in Love with You" is from his 2010 album Hello Tomorrow. Expect for Koz to return to town with a holiday themed show later this year.
Another video to keep an eye out for is Logan Lynn's "Quickly As We Pass." Imagine forward-thinking Imogen Heap mentoring a DIY artist with the hipster sound stemming from Brooklyn. The end product would be "Quickly As We Pass." The track's video is very cleverly done with stills looking like cutouts then being turned into 3-D objects, as they are filmed from different angles. Also, there is footage of neighborhoods in the Windy City with many of the spots being instantly recognizable. Not only is the video well crafted, but the song itself is very catchy. Lynn is based in Chicago and is openly gay. "Quickly As We Pass" can be found on the album I Killed Tomorrow Yesterday.