Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears Photo

Black Joe Lewis (far right) and The Honeybears (everyone else): An Austin band resuscitating '60s era rhythm and blues.

In the right hands, antiquated art forms will always endure. See: stationery stores, vinyl shops, Polaroid camera apps, Tim Duncan’s bank shot.

Add rockers Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears to that list of purveyors of polished, modern of antiques. Lewis and his high-stepping horn section hail from Austin and seem jettisoned from an era where “rhythm and blues” meant playing rock n’ soul instead of crooning over samples. Any music critic with a sense of history has compared the group to James Brown and Wilson Pickett. That might seem like lofty praise for a band most people haven’t heard of, but hey, if the glittery cape fits…

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears concert t-shirt

One of our favorite concert t's of all time.

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears will be playing Wicker Park’s Double Door on April 2nd, and while we don’t really do guarantees at Man Up Chicago, we have considerable confidence that this will be one of the funnest shows to hit the city in 2011. We’ve seen them before and we were won over the second the horn section kicked in while Joe Lewis playfully sang about adultery-caused eviction in a song called “Get Yo Shit.” Yes, Lewis’ lyrics are as straightforward as his song titles, so don’t search for any hidden meaning in his newest jam “Booty City.” Just enjoy it, dance happier and harder than you do during a wedding band’s watered down version of “Shout”, and feel free to dial a friend and yell, “Chuck. Chuck. It’s Marvin — your cousin, Marvin BERRY. You know that new sound you’re looking for? Well, listen to this.”

As fun as that might sound, we still feel as if we’re underselling Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears. In a city where blues clubs still draw a crowd and there’s a sculpture of the Blues Brothers in a major airport, Joe Lewis and his crew are a group that blues-loving Chicagoans should truly appreciate. Listen to their funk stomping single Sugarfoot in the video below, order your tickets, and appreciate that ’60s era rhythm and blues ended up in the proper hands of a 21st-century band.


Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears @ The Double Door * 1572 N. Milwaukee.
When: April 2nd.
Tickets: Currently on sale.
Price: $15 – 18.