Mr. Blotto

Saturday, May. 25 | 8:00pm ET (7:00pm CT)


Chicago’s premiere jam band Mr. Blotto returns to The Acorn.

About the Artists:

Mr. Blotto started in 1991 as an off-night musical vehicle for members of other local acts around the Chicago area. In response to repeated fan requests for tapes of shows and the surprise popularity of a series of bootlegs, Mr. Blotto released its debut album entitled “Parking Karma” in August 1992. As the band’s popularity grew, they added another member to play keyboards, specifically the Hammond B-3 Organ. In July 1994, the band released their second album entitled “Bad Hair Day.” With local radio play, they began headlining larger clubs and theaters on consecutive nights. And with the introduction of tapers, the music spread to a larger audience around the nation. The band’s third album entitled “Ancient Face” was released in July 1998.

In 1999, Mark Hague joined the band on lead guitar, and the band continued to tour relentlessly. Mr. Blotto released the “Bootleg” and “Just Did It” series of live albums from these tours. October 2001 brought the release of “Cabbages and Kings.” Paul Emmett described the album as “a delectable collection of the band’s latest song writing efforts… that can stand up to, if not blow away, most efforts put out by similar bands on a national level.”

“Clocking in at a hearty 73:57, it is full of the music that Blotto fans have come to crave. Its release was heralded on WXRT’s Local Anesthetic with host Richard Milne remarking that it was the band’s best release yet and that anyone who had not yet seen the band needed to make a point to do so.”Publicity Whore Magazine

2004 saw the band release “Bad Hair Decade,” which are live versions of the songs from the “Bad Hair Day” album and a few studio remakes as well. See what 10 years can bring.

“While relatively unknown outside of the Windy City, the blokes from Mr. Blotto have been playing rootsy good-times music for quite some time now. This release (a follow up to the band’s 1994 Bad Hair Day) features more recently recorded live versions of a heap of longstanding originals by these venerable Chicago jamsters. Let it be noted that Blotto can play your favorite Phish, Widepread Panic, Dead, Traffic covers with scads of soul and proficiency. But in addition to being able to rock the time-tested jukebox stuff, the Blotto kitchen serves up its own tasty fare, and that’s precisely what’s on the Bad Hair Day menu. From the groove-heavy shuffling of ‘Dirty Woman’ to the almost radio-friendly and hooky ‘Kiss Me in the Morning,’ the group evokes the gravelly vocal stylings of Widespread Panic, the bluesy southern guitar strains of the Allman Brothers, the clear as crystal licks of Captain Trips Garcia and mucho more, all the while bearing the unique stamp of pure clean Blotto. Add rollicking gospel-inflected numbers like ‘Rock Me in Your Arms’ and ‘Standing in the House,’ and you’ve got one hell of a well-rounded outfit more than capable of putting down the appropriate soundtrack for a fun night out.” – Nick Hutchinson, Associated Content

In 2005, the band introduced a new drummer, Tony Dellumo. The band continued it’s hectic regional touring schedule whilst expanding it’s horizons with shows in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota and more. The last show of the year on New Year’s Eve saw the final full-time performance by David “B3” Allen with the band. Much to the delight of the fans, David continues to make cameo appearances from time to time.

Steve Ball joined in 2006 on Hammond B3, vocals and keys. In October 2006, the band released it’s critically acclaimed fifth studio album entitled “Barlow Shanghai,” which was written in collaboration with John Perry Barlow (lyricist for the Grateful Dead).

John Metzger of The Music Box wrote “Performing in neighborhood bars can be a thankless job, but for the past 16 years, Mr. Blotto consistently has won over audiences throughout the greater Chicago area by mixing original tunes with an astoundingly lengthy list of cover songs in order to create a sterling soundtrack for a night on the town. Had it opted to tour the country, the ensemble likely would be better known outside the region, particularly within the circles that typically are frequented by jam band addicts. By its own choice, the group humbly has opted to balance family life with career aspirations, thus remaining firmly planted within the Windy City. Its latest effort Barlow Shanghai, however, just might be the thing that forces the band’s members to leave the cozy confines of their homes. Simply put, with the help of former Grateful Dead lyricist John Barlow, Mr. Blotto has made its biggest statement to date, one which ought to inject a bit of perspective into the improvisational rock scene.

Throughout ‘Barlow Shanghai,’ Mr. Blotto effectively uses the many touchstones of its repertoire as a foundation for seamlessly blurring the line between past and present, and the result is that it brings together multiple generations via its journey across the vast landscape of rock ’n‘ roll’s rich heritage. Evangeline, for example, may be deeply indebted to both Ray Charles and Billy Joel, but it also is touched by the southern blues of the Allman Brothers Band as well as by the sort of spiraling, space-born gleams of light that Jerry Garcia once shot across the heavens. Elsewhere, Mr. Blotto fuels That’s What I Said by slamming Phish’s Down with Disease into the heady, guitar-driven blissfulness of moe., while Organ Grinder laces Blues Traveler’s driving funk with the spiritual essence of the Grateful Dead. Granted, Barlow Shanghai isn’t a groundbreaking affair, nor is it the type of outing that will send a series of seismic shockwaves rolling through the blogosphere. Nevertheless, the maturity of Mr. Blotto’s approach has produced a smartly conceived endeavor that succeeds in ways that most of the efforts concocted by those currently working the jam band and indie rock oeuvres don’t.”


RESERVED SEATING DONATION option includes a $25 tax-deductible donation to The Acorn and guarantees you a seat with optimal sightlines. $25 Donation per ticket holder in your group.

Turn your show experience into a memorable stay! The Loft at The Acorn offers a spacious, industrial-chic apartment above The Acorn theater. Click here for photos and rental information.


Box Office open at 4pm ET
Starts 8:00pm, doors open 7:00pm

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