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Chicago comes to Chateau Ste. Michelle, Los Lonely Boys wail at Marymoor Park with Susan Tedeschi
Chicago comes to Chateau Ste. Michelle, Los Lonely Boys wail at Marymoor Park with Susan Tedeschi
by Lorelei Quenzer - SGN A&E Writer

Chicago

Friday-Saturday, August 25-26 - 7pm both nights

Chateau Ste. Michelle - Tix at www.ticketmaster.com / $49.50, $79.50

No, the title of Chicago's newest studio album, XXX, does not refer to porn. Nor does it refer to a plus-sized Hanes T-shirt. The horn-heavy band, which has been producing hits since the 1970s, has titled most of its albums since their original offering, Chicago Transit Authority, by number. My first purchase was back when I was still collecting an allowance: the power ballads "Hard to Say I'm Sorry," "Hard Habit To Break" and "You're the Inspiration" were the soundtrack of my junior high and high school dances.

But I'm really the second generation of Chicago fans. Back when I was a tot I had to listen to my parents music. I was four years old when "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is" came out, and I certainly didn't understand the lyrics to "25 or 6 to 4." I just remember being captivated by the brass, which was different from the jazz my dad usually played and the Beatles' my mom loved. Tight vocal harmonies with a bright R&B beat are Chicago's hallmark.

Now it's time for a third generation to enjoy the music of Chicago. XXX is the band's first studio release since 1995, and their first mainstream pop album since 1991's Twenty 1. It's possible that this is their best album since Peter Cetera left to pursue a solo career, back in 1985. You already know that they're sounding like their old selves - in a good way! - because their tour with Earth Wind and Fire sold out last summer across the country. As of this writing Saturday night's Chateau show is sold out, but if you hurry over to Woodinville you can still get your tickets for tonight's concert. - L. Quenzer

Pre-concert CD recommendation: Chicago XXX, featuring "Feel (Horn Section Mix)," "King of Might Have Been" and "Caroline."

Los Lonely Boys with Susan Tedeschi

Wednesday, August 30 - 7pm

Marymoor Park - Tickets at www.ticketmaster.com / $47.50 and $69.50

The music of Los Lonely Boys has been called everything from Tex-Mex to Roots Rock. I really don't care what you call it, as long as you agree that it kicks ass. Brothers Henry, JoJo and Ringo Garza, Jr. are from San Angelo, Texas, and their debut self-titled album spawned the hit "Heaven." (And yes, Ringo is his real name, and he is the drummer.)

The roots they're talking about are American traditions like country, conjunto and the blues, which you can hear in their rhythms, twang and energy. The Boys started playing backup for their father (another Ringo), who played the accordion-based "Texican" conjunto music with his brothers. When the father-sons team moved to Nashville in the 1990s the Boys emerged as a separate group; they recorded their debut at Willie Nelson's Pedernales recording studio, and it was picked up for international distribution by Epic Records.

The rest, as they say, is history: Los Lonely Boys won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 2005. Their sophomore album may be even better: they've upped the ante with more keyboards, horns and harmonies, and along with tighter arrangements and writing, I think I prefer the tracks from Sacred to their spectacular debut. Los Lonely Boys have invited blues guitarist and singer Susan Tedeschi to join them at Marymoor Park, and it will be really interesting to see them - I assume - play together on a few tracks. Her gritty vocals should complement their style, just as their harmonies and energy should complement hers. Enjoy one of the last outdoor concerts of the summer in style! - L. Quenzer

Pre-concert CD recommendation: Sacred featuring "My Way," "Texican Style" and "My Loneliness."

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