Having lived in the Chicago-area my whole life, I have been exposed to any and all kinds of live music. From my bloodied and trampled teens spent in Bush and KMFDM mosh-pits, to star-lit wine and cheese picnics spent listening to the symphony at Chicago’s Ravinia, I have sampled my share of artists around this fine musical-mecca.
But of all my Windy City musical adventures, there is one I will repeat. And repeat. Anyone and everyone who comes to Chicago MUST visit Lonie Walker at The Underground Wonderbar.
My good friend, Alisha, was the first to take me to this subterranean masterpiece, at its original location on Chicago’s Walton Street. While filming a special for the Travel Channel, she’d fallen in love with everything Lonie Walker, and insisted that we go.
And who wouldn’t love Lonie? Oozing a “comfort-in-her-own-skin” and an “unlike-any-other-you’ve-known”, Ms. Walker literally fostered and created every element of this Underground world. The band is quite literally her family; boys she adopted and raised to mirror and accentuate her musical talents. And they’re phenomenal people.
On the edge of my 757th loss of “The Boy”, I literally became enamored and teary at the “Bad Ass Company Band’s” mesmerizing spinning of Lonie’s lyrical masterpiece: “Change is Good”. When my best friend lost her husband to his cheating ways and manipulation, she joined Lonie in crying out “I’m in pain!” to the sounds of this song:
“You’re not my everything; You’re not my all. — I am. You sometimes make me sing, and sometimes not. Not at all.”
So, go. Request “Change is Good”. Play the tambourine. And get lost “Underground”.