Monthly Archives: September 2021

Review: American Mariachi at the Goodman Theatre (Through October 24, 2021)

A young woman decides that she wants to form an all female mariachi band in order to play her grandmother’s favorite song. It was on a one of a kind record that was just broken. It is the 1970s, so creating an all female mariachi is unheard of. Her father is against the idea, so they must hide it from him. One of the band member’s husband is opposed, so they must hide it from him as well. The more obstacles they discover, the more they realize how revolutionary this idea is.

While this play is presented in English, the characters do also speak Spanish at times. So, it may help to brush up. Here are a few phrases that are used:

Hablame – Speak to me

Dondé estás? – Where are you?

Tía – Aunt  

All of the actors did not know how to play their instruments when they started. This is true of the characters they play also. This is a cool incarnation of life imitating art.

This play fits right in at the Goodman. It is a family friendly show with a good mix of comedy and drama.

Photo by Liz Lauren

Get tickets now for American Mariachi though October 24.

Cost of a ticket: $50 and up

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price +

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother



Beautiful! Rufus Wainwright and Jose Gonzalez at The Chicago Theatre (September 24, 2021)

Like many other tours, this one was supposed to take place last year. According to Rufus, it was going to be with a ten piece band, big sets, and big lights. He says they’ll do the bigger shows in a few years. He is so charismatic as he addresses the crowd. For this tour, they have a 5 piece band. There is a guitarist, drummer, bassist, pianist, and Rufus on vocals.

For tonight’s set, he plays very heavily from his latest album, Unfollow The Rules. They play one of the best songs from this album, “Damsel In Distress”. “Will you forever be a damsel in distress?” sings Wainwright. He has such a fantastic voice. An audience member was overheard saying, “I’d listen to him sing the phone book!”

He is often asked, “what is your favorite song?” He says it is the title track from his 2001 album, “Poses”. It is a beautiful song for which he sits down at the piano and plays it solo. The singing and the piano playing perfectly complement each other.  

Jose Gonzalez was also excellent. See our review of his headlining show at The Chicago theatre in March of 2019 here.

See the full setlist here.

Cost of a ticket: $60 and up

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

A Great Celebration – 311 with Iration and Iya Terra at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island (September 10, 2021)

311 was formed in Omaha, Nebraska by singer/guitarist Nick Hexum, singer S.A. Martinez, guitarist Tim Mahoney, drummer Chad Sexton and bassist P-Nut. The band now resides in Los Angeles, California.

311 mix rock, reggae, hip-hop and funk into their own unique sound. After years of consistent touring, 311 have developed a reputation as one of the most entertaining & dynamic live bands in the U.S.

In 2017, they released their 12th studio album MOSAIC (BMG) with its unique album cover–which is made up of nearly 10,000 photos submitted by fans.  Even the image of the 5 band members on the cover is made up of tiny fan photos–to solidify the concept of band and fans as one. Fans can view a high-resolution pan & zoom mosaic of the cover image now at

“This cover captures the spirit of the collective nature that is 311–band and fans together to form something greater than the sum of its parts.” says Nick Hexum (singer/guitarist). Chad Sexton (drums) adds, “We have a very symbiotic relationship with our fans that see us on tour year after year.  We wanted to have an album title that would describe our fan base, our band & our music. And to tie all of this into a concept that could be presented in the album artwork as well.”

Here is the setlist for the show along with the Spotify tracks:

In 2019, they released their latest album, Voyager. They played “What The?” from this album. “Smokin’ that good weed. Getting high, we are stoners” they sing. This is a big moment as this is their first show in Chicago since cannabis was legalized on January 1, 2020. It’s great to finally celebrate this achievement along with celebrating the return of live music after the long pandemic shutdown.

Quinn Delaney

Party Music! Shwayze at Beat Kitchen (September 8, 2021)

Shwayze created a new style of rap with his musical partner, Cisco Adler. It is a sun and fun filled style completely different from the NY or Detroit style. And tonight, he brings this party music to Chicago’s Beat Kitchen. Early on, he plays “Drunk Off Your Love” and everyone dances and sings along. “Feeling tipsy when your lips against me and I can’t control myself!”

A little later he sings the massive hit, “Corona And Lime”. “Baby, will you be my Corona and lime? And I will be your main squeeze.” His lyrics are perfect for joyously singing along.

Shwayze is in a party mode as he asks the bartender for another bottle of vodka, because he is all out after pouring it into the mouths of fans in the front row. Fans go ahead and start to buy him shots. He goes on to take about 3 shots throughout his set . One fan ups the ante and hands him a weed vape mid song. He takes a puff and then carries it around with him until the next break in the song when he can take another puff. Then, he hands it back to him.

Later on, he sings “Buzzin”, from his 2013 self titled album. “She was buzzin’ all over me like she fell in love” sings along everyone as they sway to the beat.

He closes with “Love is Overrated”. “I just want to fuck tonight, love is overrated. I don’t want to take my time, cause that get’s complicated.” It’s very impressive how he can command a room and create such a great vibe with just a microphone and a DJ behind him.

Catch Shwayze on tour now!

Cost of a ticket: $20
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Electric Jam Rock with Soul! Robert Randolph & The Family Band at City Winery Chicago (September 1, 2021)

“I need more love everyday of my life!” sings Robert Randolph. With these words on top of an incredibly funky bass line accompanied by Randolph shredding on the steel pedal guitar, it’s impossible to not to start dancing. It’s such a great uplifting song.

During a long jam, of which there are many, Robert gets up and switches instruments with the guitarist. Then, the bassist switches instruments with the drummer. More switching of instruments continues. This is all done without stopping the song. It’s a very cool moment that really adds to the intimate jam atmosphere.

It really is a family band. The bassist Danyel Morgan and drummer Marcus Randolph are his cousins. The backup vocalist is his sister, Lenesha Randolph. Also, Brett Andrew Haas plays the guitar.

For the encore, as they play, the entire room is singing “Got my mojo workin, but it just won’t work on you” as the band covers this Muddy Waters classic. They close the night with “Ain’t Nothing Wrong with That”, which is a great rocker to close out the night. They are truly a great live band.

Also see our review of The Word featuring Robert Randolph here.

Cost of a ticket: $55

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price+

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Next Performances by Participating Companies of Chicago Dancers United’s Dance for Life at Millenium Park (August 26, 2021)

Dance for Life is a fantastic event that brings together the best Chicago dance companies and the best dance audience. The proceeds go to the Dancers’ Fund, which provides financial assistance to dance community professionals in their time of need due to a medical issue. It’s a celebration of the dance community and its ability to care for its own.

This year had a much different feel than those in the past. Firstly, it took place in the Pritzker Pavilion instead of Auditorium Theatre. The larger space gave it a much more expansive feel. Secondly, this was the first performance for most of the companies since the pandemic began. You could see the excitement on the dancers’ faces in finally being able to perform again.

Here is a list of the next performance by the dance companies that participated in this year’s Dance for Life.

Giordano Dance Chicago

59th Season Fall Series: Illuminate

October 22nd and 23rd

Harris Theatre

DanceWorks Chicago


September 24th

Live on Zoom

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago



November 18, 19, 20, + 21, 2021

The Joffrey Ballet

Home: a Celebration

October 13–24, 2021

Lyric Opera House

8/26/21 6:26:48 PM — Chicago, IL, USA 2021 Dance For Life © Basis Technology 2021

South Chicago Dance Theatre


Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival

Ruth Page Center for the Arts

October 8th and 9th

The following groups have not yet announced any future performances:

Movement Revolution Dance Crew

PARA.MAR Dance Theatre

Trinity Irish Dance Company

8/26/21 7:20:45 PM — Chicago, IL, USA 2021 Dance For Life © Basis Technology 2021

Visceral Dance Company

Quinn Delaney