By: John 'Nunu' Zomot
Michael McDermott is looking to spread the vibes his hometown audiences have given him for 20 years to audiences everywhere.
So he used Chicago's City Winery as a beachhead, launching a tour in support of Out From Under (out on April 27th) with a pair of shows that also had the support of hometown rock radio WXRT.
His style exemplifies classic rock songwriting and bandcraft in an era where fans need to seek it out more than ever.
Switching up between acoustic and electric guitars, and pairing the six-string focussed sound with complementary melodies on fiddle and saxophone, the emphasis is always on the song, and he's got a whole new batch of them in the setlist, including the title track from the forthcoming release.
As much of a draw as McDermott is, violinist (and his wife) Heather Horton provides a lot of the showmanship in the band as well -- commanding ears (and eyes) in many of the new tunes, as well as the classics.
And yes, for a band that wears its influences on its sleeve, a cover tune is certainly on the menu. In this video, they run through a rocking, roadhouse arrangement of Dylan's "Highway 61".
But in the end, this tour kickoff was a celebration of McDermott's musical vision and enduring legacy as an artist. The band is currently on tour in Europe but returns to the States for more in May, June, and July, including a few more area appearances.
The stage setlist:
The final two songs of the encore:
Full Gallery - click for full size images