Having completed three shows in 5 weeks, the band had to be pooped at the conclusion of the Mayfair Field show on August 3rd. This show had a lot of crazy external weather things going on well before the band started to set up at 5 PM that day.
The weather was absolutely bizarre. I suspect that the bands very own Tom Skilling (Jimmy Cavanaugh) stayed up all night studying barometric pressure, wind charts, the farmer’s almanac, and the theory of rain (thegeoroom.co.zw/climatology/rainfall-formation-theories/). Monday and Tuesday were warm cloudless days, and Wednesday started off that way, and then depending if you stood in your back yard or front, it was monsooning (I believe that is a made up word, but you get the picture) on one side and sunny on the other.
When the band began carrying the equipment to the stage, the clouds would alternately clear, and then drizzle. Forcing the band to start and stop setting up, start and then cover the equipment with tarps and garbage bags. Did I mention it was humid as a Florida gator swamp (img-aws.ehowcdn.com/700x/cdn.onlyinyourstate.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/20160319-132629-largejpg-700x394.jpg?). Doing the best, he could with the equipment he had, Nick Madsen tried to get the sound right. But as this reporter is learning, this is an elusive and challenging art. The Mayfair stage was set up on some planks and bricks in the outfield of the East Field, so there is no shell to really base the sound against. The drizzle, the humidity and the gremlins that apparently follow the band around to these outdoor shows were affecting lots of things, but Nick and the band soldiered on giving it the old college try.
Hats off to both Lisa Strzelecki and Danny Dunn (open.spotify.com/artist/7muPMJKYfmShWtkfVEXZh2) on lead vocals. These outdoor shows are not easy between the heat and finicky monitors, but they dug in and blasted through 20 songs. The gremlins were particularly angry with the idiot bassist as his normally trusty wireless system failed him. He could not wander about, scaring the patrons with his bare feet. Instead, he was tethered to be near his amp and mic. As a result of this stress, moronically, he had to be reminded to introduce Lisa because he simply forgot.
The purple Gatorade award goes to Ron “Rolly Tolly” Townsend, who frighteningly drummed so hard in the heat, he lost 1/3 of his body weight. Carrying the percussion around, setting them up, breaking them down, unloading and resetting up in the rehearsal space is a pain in the keister. Rob Blair, super roadie, was again there to help Ron, but it is still a challenging task.
The band dusted off a few cuts they had not played in a while. Dishwalla’s “Counting Blue Cars” and Harvey Danger’s “Flag Pole Sitta” were back for the show. For only the second time, the band got to blast out the Scorps’ cover of Soft Cell’s, “Tainted Love.” Scorpions’ version is quite a different feel than the camp of Soft Cell.
Jimmy Cavanaugh debuted a “Mad Max” shirt he got on Etsy in front of his hometown crowd. Sadly Aldo wore a hat, concealing his rock star hair. Once again, many people in the audience were in fact related to Mr. Cavanaugh. Quite frankly, at the conclusion of the Mayfair show, the 12th in band history, I am starting to believe there could be a town or a province which could be densely populated by people only of Cavanaugh descent! Thank goodness they show up to these events and that they reproduce at such a high rate!
The band got in a 90 minute set in front of a really receptive, fun and large crowd at Kiwanis park in B as part of the Summer Concert Series for the Brookfield Park District . This reporter can confirm that it was freakin’ hot! Rob the bass player was quoted as saying, “We are not going to comment on it being warm, but we are concerned the drummer will spontaneously combust!” Poor Ronnie drummed through it like a trooper. Perhaps it was his aerodynamic haircut that inspired his brave performance?
It was a weird night for several reasons. Because of the humidity, rain and perhaps the invisible gremlins hiding amongst us, mics suddenly would go out, weird buzzing noises haunted Richie and a very small amount of rain fell on the crowd seemingly from a cloudless sky for a few minutes. The crowd was kind and patient as the band and Rick Kroll from RAK sound battled through it.
There was a lot of folks singing back at the stage and 707’s “I Could Be Good For You.” Also getting a decent sing along and reception, were “Jump” (VH), Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and Chicago’s (actually Berwyn’ very own) Ides of March song – “Vehicle.”
During the first several songs a mosh pit of 5 to 7 little kids aging in ranges of 4 to maybe 8 took over the center area in front of the stage. In one of the best moments of the night, during "Jump", the undeniable Richie LaFaire, attempted to get person after person to give him a vocal on his microphone. Person one, refused, person two made a face - no vocals, third person gave him the "hand of no." The fourth person looked to be an elderly man who might have fallen asleep before Richie finally got the fifth person to give him a "JUMP!” Well done Mr. LaFaire.
Any of you that have attended biPOLARbear shows in the past must notice that Jim Cavanaugh carefully pieces together the clothes he wears for each performance. The band was unaware that he was actually going to be dressed in costume as the construction worker for famed disco group, The Village People.
Til next time,
Zippy will be back for the next show report, this is Rob (Bob, Bobby, Boober, Boobster, Bobert, Ellen’s Roadie, Hey Asshol*), the idiot bassist and I wanted to write about the experience of playing at Tailgaters bar and grill in Bolingbrook.
To be a bit selfish here, Tailgaters has been an important place to me for a long time. For probably a dozen years or more, the bar sponsored the 12” softball team I played on for 31 of it’s 32 years of existence (Cool It Ringo stopped playing as of this year, 2022, It began in 1989. Yes, the name of the team was Cool It Ringo, and if you really want to know the genesis of the team’s name, just ask me). Additionally, over the years with either Jimmy Cavanaugh, my brother Jimmy Smola or fraternity brother Dave Kaczorowski I have seen killer national acts play at Tailgaters. Uriah Heep, Stryper, Local H, Geoff Tate (formerly of Queensryche) and Dio’s Disciples have all graced the stage of that cool ass place. I can now say, so did BiPolar Bear!!! What a trip.
This was the most fun I have ever had playing with the band! And pretty much whether it is full band practice, mini practice with Jimmy and the blue tooth speaker, or a show, I have too much fun. Tailgaters is an awesome place. Food is amazing, the staff is very friendly and the bar/restaurant/stage inside is awesome. Two professional sound and light people work for the bar and they are crazy good. Starr Lee and Glenn Curtis are absolutely brilliant, they can even make me sound competent!!
We had a ridiculous amount of snafus trying to secure an opening band…. I think the final count was four or five bands that said they would play, then (much like lovers practicing the rhythm method) they pulled out! So… BiPolar Bear opened for BiPolar Bear.
The band ripped thru two 18 song sets! We debuted three new ones, Eddie Money’s “Shakin’”, a Scorpions’ laced version of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” and Halestorm’s anthem, “Here’s to Us.” I get goosebumps several times a show. When Richie belts out Shinedown’s “Second Chance,” when I hear Ronnie do the double kick in Vehicle, When Aldo (and Dave before him) starts shredding in “Purple Rain” and I can now add Lisa’s performance of that Halestorm song to the list. Before we played it, she gave an impassioned dedication to her older brother James, who battled Parkinson’s disease and recently passed away. Her heartfelt intro and then her emotional performance brought me to tears. It is a great song and she killed it!!!!
The band is a little leery of my effusive praise of them, but I can not express how much fun it is to play with these people!!!! On top of it, to be playing at a place like this with one of my dearest friends on the planet (Mr. BiPolar Bear himself), Jimmy Cavanaugh, is a lot of joy to process. I am still on an adrenaline high as I write this on Wednesday evening/Thursday morning.
The show was even more special for me because I had six fraternity brothers there, several dear friends, my son and wife. What a trip, playing on that stage, with that sound, with the awesome humans in bipolar bear in that place! Finally, during “Switching to Glide/This Beat Goes On” after I had 4 other patrons doing the pogo with me (tying the record of Pub 78 second time), my wife came up to me while I was playing, and motor boated (www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=motorboating) me!!! My God, can it get any better?
Rob (Zippy will be back next time).
Bi Polar Bear got the chance to play Pub 78 for a second time on May 21st. Once again, the crowd was awesome and most of them probably related to Jim Cavanaugh. Thank God he is from a large Irish Catholic family or no one might show up. He has a built in audience – nephews over there, cousins on that side, in laws on another etc, etc, etc.
Rik Kroll, from Rak sound came out well before the show and set up the sound, something that had been an issue the last time the band played the Pub. Between his prep work and a great job by Kevin Cavanaugh on the board at the show, the sound was much improved.
This was the very first show for Aldo Kliene, who had been working individually and with the band since Dave Gonzalez’s exit after the Salerno’s show on 2/26/2022. It was a fine debut as Aldo cranked through both sets and scorched the stage near him with his bluesy tone and approach. The band worked through two sets including the second time playing “She’s a Beauty” by the Tubes, “Uninvited” by Alanis Morrisette and “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson. Two new ones snuck in, as “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers replaced the Partridge Family thing in the beginning mash up and 707’s “I Could be Good for You both debuted. Jimmy introduced the Bay City Roller opener as “one of the most awful songs ever recorded” and if you listen to it, the sound production is just as awful. Once again, Richie and Lisa were breaking microphones with their powerful deliveries and Rolly Tolly had an awesome night behind the kit. Ellen and Rolly also were really crisp on some of the background vocals they delivered. Ellen was awesome on “Uninvited.”
Behind the band, Trish (Jimmy’s sister-in-law) and Jimmy presented a 23 minute movie that looped in the background. I can not describe it, but if there was a title I could offer, maybe it would be, “Nut shots, unfortunate events and other really oddly funny things.”
Bi Polar Bear is never gonna tell you they are the greatest band out there; so many great musicians are playing brilliantly all over the Chicagoland and suburban area. They will testify that they have a great freakin’ time playing and are ridiculously fortunate to have such great support from their friends and family (and a lot of people with the surname of Cavanaugh) to come out to the shows.
On a final note, the idiot bassist conformed to the health code and instead of playing barefoot, which is the preferred method, he debuted some sweet toe socks, that he reported felt good, but also did not violate any standard restaurant procedures.
Til next time, thanks for reading
The following observations do not reflect the views or opinions of any of the band members nor the collective philosophy of Bipolar Bear as a band. The following are the musings of Zippy McWiggy, who may in fact be yet another of the whacky bass player’s voices that live in his head.
What a crazy night! Salerno’s was packed, and it looked like the band was pretty on its game. Lisa and Richie were blasting out the tunes from deep inside of their privates. Ellen’s keyboards were on point, and her backing vocals were awesome. Rolly Tolly was bringing the thunder and making bizarre faces every time he did some of his thunderous fills. Jimmy was smooth in his weird skeleton outfit and with Dave, the guitars were really good.
That band looks like it has fun. Lots of laughs and smiles and that obnoxious bass player, what a goof. It has come to this reporter’s attention that a controversy is a foot. In fact, the feet of the 4 stringer has caused quite a stir. Patrons, shocked and appalled at the unpedicured toe digits, to the establishment banning the bare feet at any future shows because of silly health codes, have in fact caused the man to order toe socks for any future shows. It appears if he cannot be truly barefoot at these venues, he is going to be close to it.
Finally, Dave “Evad” Gonzalez played his last show with the band. That is a hard thing to contemplate. As he ripped his solos all night with a ferocity and sincerity, I sensed the rest of the players were soaking his playing in, holding on just a little tighter to the enjoyment he has provided during their almost three years of practices and 9 months of shows together. That kid is a special. Ronnie Townsend has often been quoted as saying, “Dave has no idea how good he is.” His modesty seems impossible given his talent, but it is sincere. He is a brilliant guitar player who can play nearly anything by ear. Every member of the band will tell you, he is a better person, just a very sweet, humble and nice gentleman.
Seeing Dave pass the torch with Aldo Kleine, as the two shared the stage to trade solos during ZZ Top’s LaGrange, was a surreal, sad, but cool moment. Jimmy C broke the news to the folks at the show before gracefully leaving the stage to let the two have at it. That and when the idiot bass player cut his foot were my two favorite moments of the show!
Till next time…
Here is the BiPolar Blog.
if you are looking for information on the Bear, you will find it here on this website. Thanks for the support. The blog will be an area where we will post observations about the gigs and hopefully have some fun in this space. Thanks to all for the support.
See you out there.
Zippy McWiggy (2/2/2022)