Chicago, Stevie Wonder, and Cherub All in Area Concerts Tonight (Mon. 10/19/15)
1) Classic rock mainstay Chicago has remained vibrant and popular throughout the decades despite lead singer Peter Cetera leaving the band for a solo career in 1985, personnel changes, and a lack of latter-day chart successes. Why has Chicago remained so popular? The answer is in the music. Every musician is highly accomplished and the band’s big wall of sound brings it all together. Best known for its brassy horn section—which gives extra depth to hits like “25 or 6 to 4,” “Saturday in the Park,” “Just You and Me” “Beginnings,” and “If You Leave Me Now“—Chicago had a longer name at its start in 1967. The rockers called themselves Chicago Transit Authority but were forced to change it … by the Chicago Transit Authority. 7:30 p.m. Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Cultural District.
2) There are times when writing about music is really, really hard. One of them is when Stevie Wonder is coming to town and you can only pick a few of his songs to highlight in a preview. “Living for the City” (above) is an era-defining blast from the 1970s that has to be on the short list. Then you’ve got a tough choice between “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” and “I Was Made to Love Her.” It’d be bad luck to leave out “Superstition.” On a sweeter note, there’s “Isn’t She Lovely.” For historical context, you have to go ‘way back to when he was called “Little Stevie Wonder” and put in “Fingertips”—and, and—well, you can see the problem.
Life should be full of such problems. Stevie Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Judkins in 1950. He got the Wonder moniker in 1961 from a Motown producer who figured there was no better way to describe the 11-year-old prodigy. It’s been wonder after wonder since then, through a record-breaking 25 Grammy Awards plus much more. If you want to talk about generation-spanning appeal, Stevie Wonder has recorded a tribute to Duke Ellington (“Sir Duke”), performed with classical artists, and done hip-hop. And that’s all the Wonder we have room for, except to say his show is at Consol Energy Center. 8 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (MV)
3) If you like party beats and near-ludicrous lyrics detailing heartache and woe, CHERUB may be the electro-indie duo for you. Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber, who met at Middle Tennessee State University and are now based in Nashville, are the masterminds behind the music. Their single, “Doses and Mimosas,” is half kiss-off, half tribute to excess, and all body-moving. It comes off their second album, 2014’s Year of the Caprese. Fun fact: caprese is an Italian salad made with basil, tomatoes, and freshly sliced mozzarella. Fun observation: CHERUB may be foodies. The album cover of Year of the Caprese sees the duo dressed as chefs, and their extended plays follow a culinary motif, with names like Antipasto EP and Leftovers EP. They whip up a delectable live show, one which sees both dancing and audience sing-a-longs. They’ve been working on new music and, together with their new live band, have been showcasing it all this summer and fall. They play Mr. Smalls. Hippie Sabotage and Shooka open. 8 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)