Rapper Common will perform as part of the Sweet Home Chicago Telethon for COVID-19 relief on Saturday, May 16. // Associated Press

Sound check: Common joins charity telethon; Side Street’s Battle goes online

Common and Chicago join a lineup of hometown celebrities for this weekend’s charity telethon; Side Street Studio Arts opens submissions for a virtual Battle of the Bands; and more

Common, Chicago join charity telethon

The Chicago CEO COVID-19 Coalition, which unites local community and business leaders to collaborate on COVID-19 relief and aid projects, is hosting the Sweet Home Chicago Telethon this weekend to raise funds for a number of charities throughout the Chicago area. Hosted by TV’s Deon Cole (“black-ish,” “grown-ish”), the telethon — 5 p.m. Saturday, May 16, on NBC Sports Chicago and simulcast on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube — will feature performances by artists such as rapper Common and rock band Chicago, as well as appearances from Chicago celebrities and hometown athletes. For details, visit or donate at

Side Street’s virtual Battle

For the last six years, Tanner Melvin and Erin Rehberg have spent summers putting the local music scene in the spotlight with the annual Side Street Studio Arts Battle of the Bands. Artists and fans would gather weekly in the gallery to share some new tunes and vote on their favorites. The unpredictability of public gathering restrictions over the next few months has forced innovation for local musicians, and Melvin and Rehberg are recognizing that by moving the contest online. Starting Friday, May 29, they will post a song from each of two bands on the SSSA site ( and open up voting from fans and judges. Each weekly winner will earn a cash prize and move on to the final round, set for early August. Submissions opened this week at the SSSA site. Each entrant must submit two songs; 48 bands will be selected for the competition. See for rules and details. For details, call (847) 429-2276 or email

Elgin-area rock band New Nights won the 2019 Battle of the Bands at Side Street Studio Arts. This year, the studio’s summerlong contest moves online. // Courtesy of Adrian Medriano

Dinner with the Rialto

Joliet’s Rialto Square Theatre continues its Dinner & A Quarantine Concert series with Chicago-area rock musician Alex Hoffer. The free concert streams at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 21, on Rialto Square’s Facebook and YouTube pages. For a treat, the theater has partnered with Bella Cucina Catering for a dinner package that can be picked up before the show starts. Each $12 dinner includes a serving of Bella stuffed chicken, asiago pasta, salad, a roll and a dessert bar. Email your order and a pickup time to by Tuesday, May 19, to ensure service. A portion of the dinner proceeds will support the Rialto Square Theatre.

Prom it up with FitzGerald’s at home

FitzGerald’s Nightclub is catering to prom season this weekend with its popular Stay At Home Concert Series. The series, which features Ike Reilly at 8 p.m. Friday, May 15, will present DJ James Deia spinning dance tunes from the back of the truck to honor high school seniors who are missing out on prom festivities this month. RSVP for the free event, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at the Facebook event.

Tiny Kingdoms’ ‘DayDream’

We may be a month early, but summer’s first big anthem is rolling out Friday. Tiny Kingdoms, the alternative rock band from the Northwest suburbs and DuPage areas, is dropping the spirited single “DayDream,” a perfect song to sing along to while driving with the windows open. Hear the song and read our interview Friday at Chicago Sound Check.

• Brian Shamie is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor and local music junkie. Email him at, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter (@thatshamieguy) or Instagram (@chicagosoundcheck).

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