Filtering by Tag: Lonie Walsker's Underground Wonder Bar

Where has the summer gone???

Wowza!!! The last 3 months have just blurrrrrred right by!

Our monthly stand at Lonie Walker's Underground Wonderbar continues to be a BLAST.  Our show at Chicago's best street fest - Glenwood Ave. Arts Festival - was a hoot and a half.  Our friend Zach (School of Rock, Mad Hornet, The Reunion) filled in on keys, as Andrew has been teaching up a storm all summer long.  Jon has established his own firm, lawyering it up... ...let him know if you need anything litigated.  Sarah has been in and out of Chicago a few times now, still touring with Sugar Still, but she'll be back for the September show at Lonie's.  (Sept 7)  Cheryl had a major promotion at Shure Microphones, and has filled up her singing calendar with an all female BeeGee's tribute act, among other projects.  Keith continues to rock out with the youngin's at School of Rock Chicago.  And what about Barrett you ask?  Well, he's been a traveling man as the keyboardist for Wifee and the Huzzband - Wisconsin's premiere 10 piece horn band.  They just booked a 3 week tour for the fall, so he'll continue to be in and out of Chicagoland himself.

In other news, SuperHero Audio continues work on the Barrett's Hidden Agenda record.  Final tracking will be done over the next month, with mixing and artwork/layout to follow.  The last few sessions were Sarah layering fiddle on Jon Roger's newest track, "Walkin' with the Devil," and Barrett's tune written from depths of drunken stupor while falling in love in New Orleans, "Whiskey Makes Me Think of You."

As we shift gears into the fall, we look forward to gigging more, and adding to the catalog with new Jon tunes, Sarah tunes, a track written for Cheryl, and batch of Barrett jams.

Stretching it out on a snowy Wednesday

Torrential winds and snow came down all afternoon, but my show time the snow stopped and had been plowed.  It was actually warm enough for us chicagoans to stand outside comfortably.  None-the-less, I-65 had been shuttered for the day, and fill-in-fiddler Lucia was stranded (safely at a friends house) in Indiana.  Last we checked, on social media, Sarah was in Taos at 'yet another brewery' ripping it up with her partner in crime as 'Sugar Still.'  Fiddler or not, the BHA show goes on.

As we were asked to strike it up for soundcheck, Andrew came in and flung us into a two chord vamp jam.  It was so nice to have good sound, not have to work hard at it, never chasing the songs, and clearly entertaining all.  Few friends filtered in during the first set, more during the second.  Those that came early for Lonie's late nite were obviously into what we were laying down.  The turn in weather earlier in the day made it's mark... was just going to be a thin evening.  Small but mighty the cheers came, leading us into the next song, extending solos, and pushing the jam sections of songs into new places.

Jon really opened up "Catch Afire" for Barrett to go on with the slide and e-bow combo, getting comments later from fans about how it brought them back to the Pink Floyd Pompeii show.  Cheryl brought the house down, as always, on her rock n roll numbers.  Interplay between Andrew Jon and Barrett became a round robin of sorts on extended solo sections, and at some points Keith jumped into the mix.  "Down South in New Orleans" was quite the rhythm sections prowess in vibe.

The comfort and ease in which the band has taken to playing at Lonie Walker's Underground Wonder Bar lead to freedom in the music not heard since the Lincoln Square Lanes shows.  Refreshing to hear it all stretched out on a winter's snowy Wednesday evening.

Lonie's on a friday night...

Caught the solo act's last song, grand piano pushing out chords and stellar vocals.  (Nothing but covers, paying tribute to her favorites.)  Followed by an awesome goodtime dance band.  Rockin' out the beats and getting the butts to shake... ...mostly covers, paying tributes to the lead singer's favs.  They closed super strong with an original, introducing every member of the group.  The crowd encouraged 'one more song' and they bust into a Billie Jean cover that had all the right parts being played, but the jam wasn't in it.  They left the stage in turmoil for the sound guy to work out for us.  Let's just say i'm continually amazed at this band, Barrett's Hidden Agenda, in this case it was the ability to overcome.  To hurry up and wait, to be patient, kind professionals, and once given the green light - to BRING IT.  "Blood in the River" shook the room.  The bobbing heads, the stomping feet, the hands clapping all in the gravel time that is the bed in the track raised the band up for the rest of the set.  We pushed the boundaries in Jon Rogers' cut "Catch Afire," and anytime Andrew Doney gets to play a grand piano is well, grand! Cheryl's feature cuts where just downright awesome.  Her vocal prowess and stage presence can be such a needed anchor for the group.

After we finished, Lonie was getting her Big Baddass Band to sound check.  She did her thing, and came back down while sound was being dialed in on the other instruments.  

"I can't believe you guys, Barrett.  You did your full set without monitors?!? The vocals were so well blended, in pitch, and the band was so freakin' TIGHT."  She said to me.  I think she was more excited then i was over our set.  She is such an appreciator and facilitator of art as a whole.  She knows the craftmanship that goes into each song, let alone the effort and time it takes to put it all into one set.

Most of us hung out into the wee hours of the morning listening to Lonie and Co. jam it out.  From jazz to NOLA funk, that band's got it.  Lot of inspiration and perspiration in each tune they play, and it all seems so effortless.

Can't wait to bring BHA back to Lonie's for a couple of sets, hopefully regularly.  Keep ya posted.

a weekend full...

...of chipping at the bit.  Fixed up the studio space a bunch, rewired some of the racks, chipped away at the mixing of "Woman Ain't Happy" and "Dopamine."  Most importantly, filled up on some quality family time, and the bonus of shoveling! Also, made the trek into Wisconsin and back, near Lake Winnabego for a Wifee and The Huzzband rehearsal.  Been playing keys with them basically since the summer, and we've got a bunch of shows lined up this holiday weekend, and into the holiday season, capping off with a New Years Eve show in Sturgeon Bay, WI at Stone Harbor.

More importantly for you BHA fans - we've booked another show!  This will be the first friday of the year.

Friday, January 8th, 2016 at 8pm

Barrett's Hidden Agenda

LIVE! at

Lonie Walker's Underground Wonder Bar

710 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

Mark your calendar!

Ahh! The Weekend!

Full of relaxation, and productivity!  I spent most of the time either sleeping or catching up on my stories - when i wasn't mixing and laying down tracks for the record.  Many an hour spent on Jon Roger's track, "Woman Ain't Happy."  The mix is really coming along, layering the percussion and the vocals in is a beautiful yet tedious process.  

I capped the weedkend off at Lonie Walker's Underground Wonder Bar.  I was roped into performing by the amazingly gifted Katie Kaden, a fellow teacher at School of Rock Chicago.  I was initally told it's more of a jam and open mic, but it turned out to be Lonie's passionate side project - Local Talent Search.  I performed Jimmy Reed's classic, "Baby, What You Want Me to Do?" which had been BHA's standard opener/soundcheck for quite sometime.  I swiched to piano for a rendtion of "Down South in New Orleans," back to guitar for a solo take on "Sawblade," the Tense UP! (EP) closer.

I was suprirsed and impressed with both the talent pool, the attentive and sizable audience, and the care that Katie and Lonie take in this program.  Though it's a competition, it felt more communal and supportive.  Other performs were interested in my story, my song, and my work as an engineer.  I guess we're all looking for clues in this adventure called life.

In the end I was one of two winners selected to perform in the final Nov. 29th.  Not sure my gigging schedule will allow, as I've been added as the fulltime keyboard player to Wifee and The Huzzband!


All contents property of Barrett's Hidden Agenda (BHA LLC), All photos by Phil Stosur