Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Please "Trust the Venue"
Andy Frasco and the U.N. this Friday

As Tom Ptak says in many of his introductions, "Trust the Venue!"  In our first show after our summer break, we invite you to come see Andy Frasco and the United Nations. This is Andy's first time here, and I have feeling it will not be his last. 5 pieces…  5 great musicians!

With Griffin House sold out in September and Slaid Cleaves almost sold out for October, this could be the only show we have tickets available for until November. We try not to host many summertime shows because they can be really hard to sell with all the summer activities going on. I just felt I could not let Andy pass through without having him play here. His show is this Friday. Very soon, school will start along with Friday night football.  Plus, taxes are due, so give yourself a break and join us. We have plenty of tickets available for this least for now.

As far as "trusting our venue," a dozen of the artists that have played here have appeared on the likes of Lettermen, Leno, Kimmel and Conan. Just the other day, I was reading the Wall Street Journal and there it was, a half page article on Slaid Cleaves and his new release. Some of these appearances by our artists came before they played here, and some came after. While they might not be able to sell out Soldier Field, many of them are national acts. Now Andy may not be a household name, but perhaps someday he will be. All I can promise is that you will have fun at this show!

We have done enough shows at this point that I could almost certainly fill the place just by doing repeats. But what fun would that be? I love taking a chance and mixing things up. Griffin House, who sells out our venue within a matter of days or hours every time he plays here, did not sell out his first show here (see more about Griffin in a related blog).

Please get your tickets right now by clicking the following link.
It could be our last available show until November!

Some other musical notes: 

  • We just booked Eilen Jewell with her highly acclaimed full band for Wednesday night, February 26th. She mixes the sultriness of a Pieta Brown and the heartfelt gramble of a Lucinda William with a splash of blues. She will be making the Midwest rounds with a stop at City Winery, Stoughton Opera House and here… nice company. We are honored to have her. On sale soon.
  • We are sorry to tell you the Willie Nile show is on hold for right now. Willie has something happening in Europe he could not pass up. We are currently working on a replacement date. More to come.
  • Sara Ptak, the niece of our emcee Tom, will be performing a recital at Saint Patrick’s Church on Sunday the 22nd at 7pm. I know there are some great voices and talent on both sides of Sara's family… but what happened to Tom?

Please read more about Sara in this next blog entry.


  1. In 1974 in a publication called Real Paper, Jon Landau wrote: “ And on a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time.”
    Of course the sentence that preceded that one is one of the most famous ever in Rock Criticism, “And I saw something else: I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”

    On August 16th 2013 at the Uptown I felt like how I imagine Jon Landau must have felt in 1974 as Andy Frasco and the UN tore the place to the ground in a scene that has never played out like that there before. Generally I don’t have a problem feeling young, but the music of Andy Frasco is designed to make you feel young, exhilarated, and happy to be alive. There was so much motion and commotion from the patrons that the floors of the Playlist Theater took an absolute beating.

    But this post is intended for those of you who gave consideration to going to the show but ultimately decided to do something else. I fully understand the mental phenomenon that plays out when trying to decide to make the time, effort, and commitment to go see any show, no matter where or when. I will generally see about 20 to 24 shows a year. For me, the Uptown is an automatic. I buy tickets to everything, and thereby I miss nothing (or very little due to travel). So at least locally, there is no dilemma, the decision has been made and the tickets purchased within minutes of the show going on sale.

    I know the experience of deliberation and consideration my intended reader. For even though last night was an automatic for me, prior to the show I found myself asking ‘Who is this guy?’ “Why have I never heard of him?’ How good can he be, if I have never heard of him?’ Walking into the room, I had low expectations. However my experience has been that when you least expect it, something special happens that you could not anticipate.

    So if you find yourself jumping back and forth between opting in or opting out, I would remind you that life is a participation sport. You must be present for that which you cannot anticipate.

    Ladies and Gentlemen the Andy Frasco show was lighting in a bottle. Truly magic.

    Gotta run. Gotta check out Andy Frasco’s web site and sign up for his email list.

    J. Burt

    1. My thoughts exactly, comment above said exactly how I felt about the show and this venue. I too try to make every show the Uptown has to offer. Ray, didn't see you there at this show but I want to thank you for making all shows possible.