The Tim Stop Trio (www.timstoptrio.com) played Market, a trendy new tri-level restaurant/bar that opened May 1st. The restaurant at 1113 W. Randolph is the brainchild of White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams and partner of Mod Construction, and features a 2,500 outdoor garden seating area, an inner dining area with 20 flat screen TVs, and an upstairs roof garden, which is where Tim Stopulus and his Trio held forth on July 22, 2009.
The restaurant offers American cuisine, some served in unique ways. The popcorn shrimp appetizer is served in a look-alike popcorn box, and you can order cotton candy for dessert. The ribs were great, although the side dishes for the ribs (Peruvian corn; gack) were not. I had a girl from Columbia and a girl from El Salvador with me this night, and none of us recognized the Peruvian corn as anything even remotely like “corn.” It tasted mealy, like lima beans. On the bright side, the build-your-own pizza was very good. Waitress Brittany worked very hard to get our table done by the time the band started at 9 p.m. She cannot be faulted.
As mentioned in online reviews, it is noisy inside, so, if the weather is nice, try for the outdoor garden seating or the tables in front of the establishment. [A layer of acoustic ceiling tile might help.] When I called in the afternoon to try to make reservations for four people at 7 p.m. on a Wednesday night, whoever answered the phone said they did not take reservations, which, later, turned out to be incorrect. That person also did not know if there was any entertainment that evening. In fact, after arrival, when we asked our server about the band, she had to seek out a manager to find out that, yes, the Tim Stop Trio and a second entertainer, Chris Buehrle, a very good one-man band, would be playing that night on the rooftop. I had been told on the phone that no food was served on the rooftop but that patrons were welcome to bring a drink to the roof. This last bit of information turned out to be totally incorrect. When I attempted to take a full Diet Coke (in a glass) and a half-full Mojita (excellent) to the roof, a large bouncer outside the elevator refused to allow me (us) to take drinks from the ground floor to the roof, unless the drinks were in a plastic container. The bar said it had run out of plastic entertainers. A four-story walk upstairs was the solution (doors to the roof in front), which was not a bad idea as the elevator may be the slowest elevator in the city of Chicago. (I’ve experienced an elevator this slow once before, but it was in Paris on L’Isle de la Cite and appeared to be at least 75 years old.)
The group is touring behind this released statement: “With all these questions swirling around about Obama’s Economic Stimulus Package and its effectiveness, we, the Tim Stop Trio, decided that maybe it’s time we did our part in boosting the economy. Sometimes, you can’t wait for your elected officials to do the right thing.
In that spirit, the Tim Stop Trio has been proud to announce a series of live free shows across the Midwest, beginning in Iowa City at the Piano Lounge on Wednesday, July 15 and continuing on to the Voodoo Lounge in Cedar Falls, Iowa on July 16 and July 17. On Saturday, July 18, the group performed at Headliners in Ames, Iowa, before moving on to Chicago for the rooftop show at Market on Wednesday, July 22nd.
Said the release, “We are tired of hearing about people missing concerts due to lack of funds. Live music is not a luxury, my friends; it’s a necessity. Like food, clean water, and SUV’s. We’ve left you no excuse. It’s time to set things right in America, and it starts here.” Brave words! And clever ones.
Group members Seville Lillie (always excellent) on keyboards, Tim Stopulus on guitar and vocals and Justin Hooke on percussion delivered enjoyable background music to a full house. It was difficult to understand the patter in between songs, however. The songs were great, but the talking was hard to hear or understand, if you could hear it.
Among those in the audience were all age groups, enjoying the excellent mojitas and a variety of other signature drinks. The crowd seemed largely to be an affluent group, attired in casual to dressy clothing and it was very much a place to meet and greet.
The songs were often original compositions by group leader Tim Stopulus, a Wake Forest graduate, who said, “Our whole goal right now is to just play as much as possible and make the best music we possibly can.” Later in the evening, a very weird band played on Jimmy Kimmel’s television show. The Tim Stop Trio (especially when the full band is involved) was at least ten times better than the strange guy in the Mohawk with the silver crap on his right cheek who sang in a voice an octave higher than Michael Jackson in his youth on live TV later that night. (Jimmy Kimmel scouts: listen up!)
The group was moving on to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Mo’s Irish Pub for the weekend of July 24 and July 25 saying: “Remember, these are all free shows. In fact, we went to take it one step further. As many of you know, my last name is Stopulus. We cut off the last half of that name (‘ulos’) because nobody could spell it. Well, this week, we’re bringing it back, and we’re dropping the ‘Stop.’ After all, we want you to go see music, not stop. And since we are doing this in the name of the economy, we will be known as the Economic Timulos Package for the remainder of the tour.”
As the group says, “If you love freedom, cone see the Economic Timulos Package in the next few weeks. It’s going to be awesome. And you can take that to the bank.”
You can read up on the band at www.timstoptrio.com and on http://www.facebook.com/timstoptrio. As we walked away…listening, in the distance, to the strains the Beatles “I Saw Her Standing There”, one of the few covers of the night (along with ‘If I Ruled the World,” we all remarked on a totally pleasant and enjoyable musical evening, with a fantastic view of the city from the rooftop venue.