From our Chicago correspondent:
Just saw the phenomenal Thollem McDonas play at the awesome Pianoforte gallery in Chicago, with pianist Frank Abbinanti. Thollem McDonas plays all sorts of piano; his sound ranges from classical to experimental indie music, prog rock, death metal, it’s hard to explain, but it’s fantastic. I imagine fans of any classical to music like Sonic Youth and Don Caballero and Slayer would enjoy his playing. Frank Abbinati is also awesome though I can’t find any videos of his stuff on YouTube. His playing was amazing though kind of scary! My wife liked Frank Abbinati’s performance the best and I liked Thollem McDonas’ performance the best, so it was a great night all around. Check out these videos of Thollem McDonas playing. I bought two of his CDs last night which I haven’t listened to yet. I heard him first on the WNUR, Northwestern University, and lo and behold, I found out he was playing the same week in Chicago! He lives in the Bay Area and travels playing around a lot, so if you like any kind of music, make sure you see him, it’s quite a treat.
The piano show was put on by the Pianoforte Foundation, which puts on lots of piano shows in a variety of venues, and they have a piano showroom/store also in the building, as well as their performance studio where we saw the show.
The show was in the Fine Arts Building, a hidden treasure on Michigan Ave in the Loop in Chicago, just a few blocks from the park and the downtown library. It’s amazing; a whole building with tons of art galleries, music stores and performance spaces, and every second friday each month they have a killer open house kind of thing, where all these galleries etc put on shows and have wine and cheese and art openings. It’s like a dream, kind of a multi-level art opening/hotel/co-op/mall/party. You literally can walk up and down the stairs and there are art shows and openings on every floor with great art, nice people, wine and cheese, etc. Going up and down on the elevators you can look out onto each floor thinking, “Wow, that looks amazing, I’d better stop off on that floor later!”
Ah, their website blurb reads, “The Fine Arts Building in Chicago is a haven for artists. Established in 1885, it has become an all artists colony that promotes all the arts.” It’s an f’n arts colony! That is a great description. I kept thinking of the Happiness Hotel in the Muppets Movie, I’ll have to see if that is an apt comparison, I saw it so long ago.
A great night all around and quite a find. If you like music and art at all, you will probably enjoy visiting second fridays at the Fine Arts building!