Attention music lovers! HOT STOVE COOL MUSIC : Celebrating Music, Baseball and Giving Back — A Benefit Show for the Foundation To Be Named Later at Metro is a week away.
For months I have been fielding questions. Who’s playing? Who’s the surprise guest? Will Cubs be there? Will the World Series Trophy be there? Does Theo Epstein really play an instrument? Is Ryan Dempster as nice as he seems?
And during the course of those months I have been compelled to confess, dunno, dunno, always, definitely, yes and yes.
With the concert coming at us full force on Friday, June 2nd, many things I did not know, I know now. Some things we never know until the night of the concert. In 2015 we did not know Eddie Vedder would commandeer the stage for an hour and finish with half the Cubs roster on stage.
In 2016, Liz Phair was the headliner
and Eddie Vedder was the surprise guest again.
I do know that the Metro is a lightning rod for visiting musicians so it is always fair to say, don’t be surprised by surprises.
The World Series Trophy? V.I.P. tickets will provide you with a chance to sidle up next to The World Series Trophy for a picture.
The Chicago rock band Twin Peaks will headline. They first met as Chicago high school students and have emerged as a powerful guitar-driven ensemble that evoke the pluck of T. Rex and the sonic nastiness of The Rolling Stones. They killed it at a sold out XRT Holiday Concert last December. Long before I knew they would be involved in this year’s concert I had adopted their song “Keep It Together” as the theme song for Len and Lin, a feature where I get to talk to Len Kasper on the air Mondays and Fridays.
A song XRT listeners will recognize is this chestnut.
But more than who’s playing and who might show up, the Chicago version of this party has raised money for Chicago Children’s Choir, Garfield Park Baseball, The Base, Jackie Robinson West, Hope Academy, Intonation Music, BAM Youth Guidance, Urban Warriors YMCA, and City Year Chicago.
Here’s how the rest of the epic evening will shake out.
6-7:30pm VIP Pre-Party with free cocktails and free food in a convivial atmosphere with a chance to meet and greet the Trophy as well as many of the performers.
7:30 Doors Open. The first performers will be the Chicago Children’s Choir, who are beneficiaries of The Foundation To Be Named Later and are awesome.
And then a cavalcade of great musicians from Chicago and Boston including the rock and roll battle royale between the Chicago and the Boston All-Stars.
The Chicago All-Stars led by Theo Epstein and Len Kasper include Jason Narducy (Split Single, Bob Mould), Dag Juhlin and Max Crawford (Poi Dog Pondering), Kelly Hogan and Nora O’Connor (The Flat Five), Scott Lucas (Local H), Freda Love Smith (Blake Babies, The Mysteries of Life), Jake Smith (The Mysteries of Life), Daxx Nielsen (Cheap Trick), Gerald Dowd (just about every band ever), Jennifer Hall, Scott Stevenson, and two of my oldest friends, Matt Spiegel and Curt Morrison of Tributosaurus. Jimmy Chamberlain has been there every year, but he’s not sure he can answer the bell this year.
The Boston All-Stars led by Baseball Hall of Fame writer Peter Gammons with Bernie Williams on guitar (Yes. That Bernie Williams), Phil Aiken (Buffalo Tom), Ed Valauskas (Juliana Hatfield), singer-songwriter Will Dailey, Chris Cote (The Upper Crust), Paul Ahlstrand on sax, Dean Falcone and others.