What better way to start off the week than with a good dose of rock n roll courtesy of Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul.
After taking 20-30 years to bring out their sixth album, Soulfire, it’s almost as if Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul can’t get enough of us, visiting the Chicago area for the second time in a little over a year. This time around they have a whopping 28-date tour scheduled throughout the country, taking it to every state where teachers have been striking or thinking about striking. The Soulfire Teacher Solidarity Tour 2018 is free to teachers and a guest, so if you are an educator make sure you check this out.
As well as the concert each night, Little Steven and his TeachRock staff will be hosting free professional development workshops before the show, with the idea to engage educators with techniques and content that they can use to inspire students, even those who have never picked up an instrument.
As always, Little Steven looked every bit the “Rock Star” and, unlike some who try too hard to carry that image off, he has the chops and time-served to back it up. His career in music goes way beyond his work with Bruce Springsteen and being an integral part of the E Street Band. The setlist on this tour is a clear demonstration of how substantive his catalog of musical work is. Along with all of his solo work, the set is peppered with reminders of his time as writer and/or producer for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes in the form of “Love on the Wrong Side of Town” and “Some Things Just Don’t Change”.
Despite being the “name” and the frontman of this tour, one thing is clear from the moment the band take to the stage – this show is not just about him. The 15-piece band that he brings on the road are each given their moment to shine. During “Blues is my Business” in particular, the majority of the band step forward to take their time front and center. Guitarist Marc Ribler, in particular, stood out throughout the show as he traded licks with the main man.
As you would expect from a Little Steven show, the night was packed to the brim with honest-to-goodness rock n roll with some soul and reggae thrown in the spice things up. Throughout the show, the rock n roll groove had most of the audience on their feet dancing along. It has to be said that, along with the music, the crowd at a Little Steven show will certainly be encouraged to get up and dance simply by observing the infectious energy of the three backing vocalists at stage left who dance their way through the set. The quality of the voices match the quality of the dance moves, meaning that these truly are some of the most mesmerizing backing vocalists you will ever see.
Little Steven said early on that he doesn’t “know of any spiritual nourishment like getting out and listening to live music” and never could a truer word be said. At shows like these, the politics are left at the door, along with life’s worries. All that matters are the people and music in that room at that time. At a Little Steven show, it’s a room that contains some fantastically talented musicians cranking out rock and roll and an audience who look like they’re having the time of their life.
Whether it be with the Disciples of Soul or the E Street Band, it’s fair to say that Little Steven will always be made to feel at home on any Chicago stage.
This tour continues on until mid-December so you’ve still got time to bag yourself a tickets\, and if you are a teacher, don’t forget to check out the workshop too.