Waco Brothers to bring edgy sound to Jeff Fest the weekend of Aug. 2-4
by BRIAN NADIG
The Chicago-based Waco Brothers will bring its edgy sound to the "Jeff Fest" arts and music festival, which will be held on Aug. 2 to 4 at Jefferson Memorial Park, 4822 N. Long Ave.
Northwest Side resident and band member Jon Langford, who sings and plays guitar, said that the group’s blend of country and punk results in "a fun rock and roll band."
The group, which has toured the world since being founded in the early 1990s, has made eight studio albums, including "Do You Think About Me?" "Great Chicago Fire," "To the Last Dead Cowboy," "Freedom and Weep" and "Going Down in History." Langford said that the band’s ‘Jeff Fest’ performance is its only Chicago festival appearance this summer.
"Do You Think About Me?" from the album of the same name is one of its most popular songs, while "Geronimo" served as background music during a "rather comical" sex scene, as described by Langford, in an episode of the HBO series "Sex in the City."
Before moving to Chicago in 1992, Langford performed in the British punk band the Mekons while living in Leeds, England, but even then he had a passion for country and western music.
"I always liked Johnny Cash. He was very big in Wales (where he grew up)," Langford said.
Langford said that once in Chicago he became more interested in performing country music and began to realize that country and punk were similar in how the music is played and how the lyrics are written. "(Both) are about real lives," he said.
In more recent years, some of the most popular country music can be compared to pop music, but that is not what the Waco Brothers play.
"We don’t do any sappy love songs," Langford said.
Langford continues to also perform with the Mekons, which are touring the United States this summer. Both the Waco Brothers and the Mekons are signed with the Chicago-based Bloodshot Records.
Langford said that he has had a fondness for Chicago since the Mekons first played here decades ago. The city was always welcoming, as band members stayed in friends’ homes and Chicagoans reminded him of those living in Leeds.
The Waco Brothers, whose members are Langford, Dean Schlabowske, Alan Doughty, Joseph Camarillo and Tracey Dear, are scheduled to hit the main stage at Jeff Fest at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3.
Also performing on Saturday are One Way Street at 2:15 p.m., the Queen Experience at 5:30 p.m. and Echoes of Pompeii (Pink Floyd tribute) at 7:30 p.m.
On Friday, Pearl Jam Tribute Chicago will perform at 6 p.m. and Kashmir (Led Zeppelin tribute) at 8 p.m., and on Sunday the Doors of Chicago will perform at 2:15 p.m., Who’s Who at 4:45 p.m. and Hot Rocks (Rolling Stones tribute) at 7 p.m.
Daily admission to the 3-day festival is $5.
Gates open at 5 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Children age 12 and youngerare free when accompanied by an adult. The festival is sponsored by the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce.
The festival also includes bouncy houses, pony and camel rides, beer tents, a food court and a community stage, featuring local bands. Some activities require a fee.
More information is available at chicagoevents.com/jefffest.