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Johnny B.
Reviews:
- June 20, 1997
- March 17, 1997

Buzz Kilman Reviews:
- December 16, 1995

CD Reviews:
- Piranha Man: Blowing Goats

Jonathon Brandmeier
Breakfast Broadcast

A Review

November 22, 1995

The Hyatt Regency

Chicago, IL

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
The Dude on the Right
Did you ever write a review that, well, just sucked. Well, I did. It was my original review for the Jonathon Brandmeier Breakfast Broadcast. I wrote it, I read it, and I said to myself, "Self, that sucked." So, nobody gets to read that one but me, you get this one, and it's about the Johnny B. Breakfast Broadcast that was held on Wednesday, November 22nd. Yep, that's right, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Johnny B., aka Jonathon Brandmeier, is a disc jockey, well, not really a disc jockey because he doesn't play much music, but I guess you could call him a radio personality in Chicago on a station called The Loop - that's 97.9 on your FM dial if you're in Chicago. He used to have the morning slot, then moved to afternoons (and sort of L.A.), and then moved back to mornings (thank you God - my prayers were answered - it's not that Kevin was bad, he just wasn't Johnny). Anywho. He brought his morning radio showgram as he calls it to a live breakfast broadcast at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago - a big ol' ballroom, with some couple of thousand of his closest listeners. I was lucky enough to get a ticket, and even bought a T-shirt to benefit the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation (it's a good cause - e-mail me if you want information on how to donate and I'll find out for you.).

Along with Johnny B. was his entire morning crew, Buzz Kilman, Robin (I have no idea how to spell her last name), Arti, engineers, and many of the people his fans have only been able to hear on the radio and have no proof they actually exist. Well, they do, I was there, and this is kinda who they were.

Leading off the show, even before Johnny B. came out, was a Pakistani named Piranha Man. He led off the morning (good Lord, I couldn't believe I actually made it up that early to take the drive to the show, although, that early there is absolutely no traffic on the road, but, I digress - sorry) with a Thanksgiving blessing which led the crowd into the ballroom.

Included in the group of people, acts, or slight lunatics if you will call them, was a dizzying array of people. There was the Happy Schnapps Combo - a polka band from Wisconsin with a song called "The Bears Still Suck." Although they might, the Bears that is, the band was still a blast as a polka band and I hope when I get married I can get them to play my reception because I'm sure my relatives will love them. There was also this guy called Mr. Impression. I think it's kinda impossible to describe this guy but to say he does a stand-up comedy act, well, based on a broom family. Relating radio to text isn't easy, but it's kinda like "This is Mr. Broooooommmmm. He's SSSSSSMMMMMOOOOOOOTTTHHHHHH!" He has an entire act based on brooms, but to the disappointment of the crowd, Mr. Impression just couldn't seem to pull it together for the masses this morning. It's too bad because I for one was looking forward to the entire broom act.

Moving right along was the eating contest between a 230 pound man from Wisconsin and a 450 pound man from Illinois. No holds barred, and a whole lot of hamburgers later, the Wisconsin guy, I believe his name is something like Peter Kapiski, won. Judged by the "Trust Her She's a Lawyer" dudette, I had to believe the ruling, and actually seeing the "Trust Her She's a Lawyer" dudette, I have to really find something I can do so she can represent me in court (Hubba, Hubba!). And the morning went on.

When Kenny Davis Jr. took the stage, Johnny introduced him as a Sammy Davis Jr. impersonator. Little did I know that this guy had a voice that would blow the house down. "I Gotta Be Me" and "The Candy Man" brought the crowd to a level higher than all of the beers they had drank (is drank a word?), had them singing along, and just, for no better way to put it, impressed me. But there was more - like the moving, well not maybe moving but interesting, well, maybe not really interesting, but she had the guts to do it, version of "Blue Moon" by the tallest lady in the world, Sandy Allen. Wow, she really was tall. 'Nuff said.

Then of course there was Lee Rocker and Big Blue (I think that's right). Lee Rocker is the slap bass dude from the Stray Cats and I will just say that he and his new band kick butt. It's too bad this alternative stuff with three chords (alright, that's a slam, hey, some of it is really good, but I love seeing musicians play instruments that in their truest form don't need an amp) takes over the airwaves when musical talent goes un-noticed. They even brought up the Black Lone Ranger (a blues dude) up on stage with Buzz Kilman on the harp for a moving blues tune. The Black Lone Ranger was great, and with a back-up band like he had maybe they all should go on tour.

But the morning wasn't over yet. There was still the King of TV Trivia and his medley to some of the greatest TV theme songs that, scary enough, had the crowd singing every word. And I won't forget the last act, or group as they might be, called 78 Cents. Why you may ask? Well, that's the amount of money they made singing their first day on the streets of Chicago.

Some observant person noticed that they, along with other street musicians, are actually really talented, and recorded an album called "Street Dreams." Anyway, these guys are great. Acapella, well, they had a tambourine, they had harmonies and melodies to show that talent can be found anywhere - even from those seemingly begging on the streets. Buy the CD, it's great and a surprise.

But, and those who listened are saying "Hey, Dude on the Right, what about the Coroner?" Well, they're right. Who brought the best response? Well, it was the Coroner from the Wizard of Oz. Yup, 80 years old plus, Meinheart Robby (alright - I probably mis-spelled the name) stole the show. Bringing a standing ovation, a little fireball of energy, this height challenged (I hate being politically correct) actor showed that class goes through the ages. Even when he proclaimed his saying "she is truly dead" on a dudette from the audience with nice hooters (hey, Johnny said it - not me), it showed something, although I'm not sure what.

In the end, Johnny B. showed that he still knows how to work his crowd. From serving coffee to moshing with the audience to the band Lithium (a Nirvana tribute band), he worked the morning for all it was worth. He kept a little spontaneity, a little stupidity, and a lot of class to a morning show that still remains fresh through the years.

Now you're saying to yourself, "There had to be something wrong?" Well, there were some technical glitches that probably should have been worked out the night before, and, alright, I did see Buzz steal a hamburger after the eating contest was done, but, I would say the only problem was that there was no entertainment for the crowd during the commercials on the radio. It was kinda like sitting at a football game during the national commercial break as you sit there waiting for the action to start again. With this, I guess my only suggestion to Johnny B. is to use his "house band" to fill in the gaps for the audience not listening on radio. I guess that's hard to explain, but I think you get the point.

Alright, that's getting a little too serious, kinda like the last review I wrote about this crazy thing in the morning. Let me say that the broadcast was great, and I'm glad Johnny B. is back in the mornings. I had fun, and judging from the number of beer bottles on the tables by 10:00 AM, I think most of the crowd did too. Hell, what better way to start a long weekend than by waking up way early in the morning, drinking before noon, and knowing that you don't have to go to work for four days. It was great.

In case you didn't guess by this long-winded article, Johnny B.'s Breakfast Broadcast gets TWO HUGEMOUNGOUS THUMBS UP from this reviewer. My real partner, well, he couldn't make it, but the other friend I took had fun too. The crowd loved it, Johnny B. still knows how to put on a show, and it was the day before Thanksgiving - what could be better?

A little different, a radio review, a little long, too bad, but until next time, Party Smart, and as always, Rellim Reeb, Rellim Reeb!!!!

 

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