Category Archives: suckling pigs

Must be the season of the Famous Orchestra

burden-yellow-fenceO dutiful and faithful followers of this space, ’tis the season for a whole slew of upcoming shows with The Viper and His Famous Orchestra in Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, and — just to throw a curveball in there — Jacksonville, Illinois. Here’s the rundown, so mark your calendars now.

Friday, December 13, 2013 (8:00-10:30 p.m.)
The Underground Wonder Bar
710 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654 | (312) 266-7761

This will be our first show in Chicago since we played at LeRoy Bach’s place in July, 2010. It’s a early show, and we only collect a cover charge from those who specifically say they are there to see us at the door. So be sure to mention us by name, early and often.

Saturday, January 11, 2013
Sousaphenia 3 @ Martyrs’
3855 N. Lincoln, Chicago, IL  | (773) 404-9494

We’ll be one of four brass-intensive bands playing at this now-legendary festival in its third year. The other bands are Environmental Encroachment, Bassel & The Supernaturals, and the 4 Star Brass Band.

Joining the Famous Orchestra will be our brother-in-brass Jerry Shelato on a Sousaphone that wraps ALL the way around!

Saturday, January 25, 2013 (10:00 p.m. – Midnight, after which we let it all hang down)
Uncommon Ground on Devon
1401 West Devon Ave., Chicago, IL, 60660 | (773) 465-9801

Opening will be Jack & Ace (featuring Braid’s own Bob Nanna, who I think is Jack. Or maybe Ace. Or Steve, or Gary.)

Friday, January 31, 2013
Sugar Maple
441 E Lincoln Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207 | (414) 481-2393

You hear that, y’all? Mil-wau-KEE.

Sunday, Feburary 16, 2014 (4:00-5:00 p.m.)
Music Under the DomeJacksonville Public Library
201 W. College Ave. | Jacksonville, IL 62650 | 217-243-5435

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra have got a fever hotter than a pepper sprout. And the only cure is… more Jacksonville!

Bonus points will be awarded to anyone who comes to each and every one of these shows.

For those about to plan really far ahead… we salute you!

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra have got a fever hotter than a pepper sprout. And the only cure is…  Jacksonville!

If you’re going to be in Morgan County, Illinois (west of Springfield) in February 2014, mark your calendar now. We just set up a show for Sunday Feb. 16, 2014 at the Jacksonville Public Library as part of their “Music Under the Dome” series. (Check out the series brochure here.)

Showtime is at 4:00 p.m. and seating is limited, if free: so get there early. Well, not too early, because the library is only open on Sundays for these shows. So get there right on time. Please?

Jacksonville Public Library
201 W. College Ave.
Jacksonville, IL 62650

Announcing Viper shows for Fall 2011

Great day in the morning!  The Viper AND His Famous Orchestra will be tearing up large swaths of the Illinois cosmopolis and hinterland over the next few months.

Here’s what we know about so far:

PRF Auktoberfyst 2011
Saturday, October 1, 4:00 p.m.
Klas’ Restaurant, Cicero, IL
…or say you’ll be there on Facebook.

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra are the first band of an all-day program on the last day of a three-day festival. My friend Faiz (who helped set up the show, and will be rocking there as well) says that Klas’ is a very cool place to play — an old Czech restaurant that he describes as like “playing inside a cuckoo clock.” Let’s polka!

Third Annual Champaign-Urbana Folk & Roots Festival
Saturday, November 5, 11:30 p.m.
The Iron Post, Urbana, IL

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra stay up LATE for this one (I’d forgotten there was an 11:30 in the p.m., too) to bring you all the music that’s fit to folk. I’ll also be doing a songwriting workshop earlier in the day, called “How to Steal a Song,” about which I’ll have more to announce as the time draws near.

Prairie Breezes Mini-Concerts for Kids
Friday, December 16, 4:15 p.m.
The Urbana Free Library, Urbana, IL

Burdened with four strings and the truth, The Viper brings his ukulele and his Famous Orchestra to the Urbana Free Library for an interactive show of kid-tested, grown-up-approved music and mayhem. Learn to play The Viper way on washtubs, suitcases, and other repurposed household materials, and sing along as the 4-piece Orchestra performs a unique blend of street-corner jazz, meeting-hall folk, and front-porch country.



Date announced for Pygmalion Festival

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra will play at the 2010 Pygmalion Festival in Champaign, Illinois on Saturday, September 25.

Going head-to-head in a competition for your affections with Roky Erickson with Okkervil River (playing at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the same time), yours trulies will playing the beer garden at Mike ‘N Molly’s, with Zach May and The Maps opening at 7:00 p.m. and The Viper and His Famous Orchestra going on at 8:00. There’s an $8 cover for the show, though if you already have a full Pygmalion Festival pass it is, of course, free.* Because other shows are booked into the venue after we go home, we have a strict ending time of 9:15.

We’re excited to be playing again in Champaign, we’re excited about Zach May and the Maps, and we’re — well, we’re just plain excitable boys all around.

And if you can’t make it Champaign on the 25th, then you’ll want to check out Viper alum Edward Burch in Chicago that same night at the Subterranean club (2011 W. North Ave.). In a benefit for the Jay Bennett Foundation — “A special night of playing the early songs and celebrating the release of Kicking At The Perfumed AirEdward Burch and the Staunch Characters will play with special guests Steve Frisbie, David Vandervelde, and (members of) Dolly Varden. Show starts at 7:00 p.m. and tickets are $10.00 .

*NOTE ON PYGMALION. Advance tickets are available through the Krannert Center. Full festival passes cost $65. You can find the full schedule through Smile Politely (and now it looks like the Pygmalion site also has the schedule up).

The Viper hits Champaign, July 10 & 11

The Viper will be playing his first full shows with His Famous Orchestra since last November, with two shows this weekend in Champaign, IL.

Saturday, July 10, The Viper and His Famous Orchestra will be playing at Mike N’ Molly’s in support of a solo/mixed set by Edward Burch, on hand to celebrate the launch of an album of new Jay Bennett material that Edward helped complete. Kicking at the Perfumed Air will be available for a free download beginning the same day as this show beginning July 10 from The show will start at approximately 11:00 p.m. following the festivities of the Champaign Music Festival (with which we are not officially affiliated – we are doing our own wildcat celebrating of Champaign’s 150th Anniversary). And the show is free. So come for the Hum and stay for the Viping. (click here for the Facebook event page)

Sunday, July 11, The Viper and His Famous Orchestra will also be doing two kid-friendly sets at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum in Champaign. The music will start at 1:30; and the meat of the music sandwich will be a build-your-own-instrument instructional session with The Viper and His Famous Orchestra. One lucky child will go home with a freshly put-together washtub bass. (click here for the Facebook event page)

Also worth noting is the fact that Edward Burch will be doing a series of afternoon in-store appearances in the area, including Laurie’s Planet of Sound in Chicago on Sunday, July 4; Exile on Main Street in Champaign on Saturday, July 10; and Euclid Records in St. Louis on Sunday, July 11.

Here’s a taste – here’s a scratch track I recorded for the other members of the Orchestra to use for practicing this week. It’s a party in the U.S.A. – from St. Louis, to Chicago, to Savoy, to Madison, to Palatine, to Milwaukee.

click here to download mp3