Barrence Whitfield and the Woggles bring the scream and shout to Chicago | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Barrence Whitfield and the Woggles bring the scream and shout to Chicago 

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click to enlarge Barrence Whitfield

Barrence Whitfield

courtesy the artist

During the garage-rock boom of the 90s and 00s, the Woggles made frequent visits to Chicago from their Atlanta home base. Though their stepped-up twist beats and occasional choreography drew comparisons to the Fleshtones, it was clear that the quartet were mapping out their own path. As the millennium has progressed, the Woggles have been slightly less visible in these parts, but they haven’t slowed their step at all. Their most recent album, Tally Ho!, was released last year on the Wicked Cool label, and lead singer Mighty Manfred DJs on the Underground Garage radio channel via Sirius XM.

Tonight’s show also features Barrence Whitfield & the Savages, a Boston group that’s been keeping the spirit of black 1950s rockers including Little Richard, Esquerita, and Kid Thomas alive since 1984, when they released their self-titled debut album on Mamou. Though Barrence and company flew a little under the radar for while, they never truly disappeared, and since signing with Bloodshot in 2013 they’ve entered a sort of renaissance period, with a sound more multifaceted than ever before. While Whitfield’s Little Richard-inspired screamin’ remains intact, recent albums (including their Bloodshot debut, 2013’s Dig Thy Savage Soul, as well as 2015’s Under the Savage Sky and this year’s Soul Flowers of Titan) have touched on garage, hinted at soul, and dished out enough bop to please the rockabilly set. While the Woggles and Barrence Whitfield’s Savages stand the test on record, they both need to be experienced live to get the full effect of their grit. None of these guys are shrinking violets onstage, and after their first songs, the audience likely won’t be either.   v

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