Marcy Playground
HomeInterviewsReviewsLinksAbout UsContact


Marcy Playground

New City YMCA, Chicago, IL

September 10, 2004


It almost didn't happen. A few days before Marcy Playground was supposed to play in Chicago, the band posted a cancellation message on their website that their drummer, Gonz, was stuck in Florida dealing with the multiple hurricanes. Luckily, someone convinced the rest of the band to make the trip. The audience was treated to a very special three - piece acoustic set.


Marcy Playground


Taking a seat, the lead singer, John Wozniak, opened the show with 2 solos - 'Opium' and 'Cherub Rock' (Smashing Pumpkins). He mentioned to the crowd that, in the 10 years the band has been performing, they had never played live without a drummer. He was a bit concerned that it might be "a little bit boring."  Wozniak couldn't have been more wrong. The keyboardist, Jon Dryden, and bassist, Dylan Keefe, joined Wozniak on stage to complete the picture. They played a number of songs from the new album, 'MP3,' as well as a few classics, such as 'Pigeon Farm' and 'St. Joe on the School bus,' which probably wouldn't have made the set list had it been the full rock show.


John Wozniak


Both Dryden and Keefe seemed as if they were enjoying this new format as much as the audience was. Keefe had a hard time sitting the entire time and had to get up a few times to bust out the jams, with a secret smile plastered on his face the entire time. At a certain point realizing that their acoustic "experiment" was a success, Wozniak jokingly asked, "Why have we been wasting our time with a drummer?" He added that he'd be firing Gonz "just as soon as he gets his phone service back!"


Having some extra time after finishing their planned set, Wozniak was kind enough to indulge some of the requested songs. Being well - versed in song request timing, my sister and I asked for 'Ballad of Aslan' and were granted our request. During the song, Wozniak commented that, "this is where some shredding takes place, some tremolos and virtuosos." Pleasing the crowd even more, Wozniak ended the song with a few lines from 'Trogdor,' a song by Strong Bad (a very popular cartoon character). While it would have been great to hear the full band sound, I think it goes to show just how well constructed the songs are to be so full-bodied in this scaled back format. I trust that this is a concert that Marcy Playground fans will remember for a long time to come, with others kicking themselves for missing such a unique experience.


To find out more information about Marcy Playground, visit their website at