Roe Conn’s LIVE Music Friday (03/22/19): Axe and the Hatchetmen

Roe Conn

(L-R)Hunter Olshefke, 17, Warren high school; Logan Lake, 16, Warren high school; Richard Roeper (back); Timmy Wilcox, 15, Main South High School (front); Phil Pistone, 16, Main South High School (back); Quinn Dolan, 17, Warren High School (front); Salvatore Defilippis, 16, Warren high school (back); Axel Ellis, guitar and lead vocal. Lakes community high school (front); Kenny Olzewski, 16, Warren High School (back); and Anna Davlantes.
(Photo JCarlin)

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Axe and the Hatchetmen join Roe & Anna for another edition of ‘Live Music Friday.’

“Ax and the Hatchetmen was formed in April of 2018 after the “core four” found each other. Initially, the band consisted of Axel (then 15) lead guitar/vocals, Sal (then 16) guitar, Logan (then 16) drums, and Hunter (then 16) bass. Even though they went to two different schools, it was quickly learned the four had a connection and shared a passion for the same styles of music. They played their first gig after two short weeks from their first practice together in Axel’s garage. They had put together a 45-minute set, including an original that Axel had previously written but had to teach the parts to the other three.

They amazed everyone in attendance. Realizing they had something special, Axel recruited a horn section from a third and different school, consisting of Phil (then 15) trumpet, Timmy (then 14) trombone, and Kevin (then 15) saxophone. They competed as a 7 piece band at the Bitter Jester Music Festival in June 2018, and moved on to the final competition as a wildcard band, performing in the finals on the 4th of July. Due to other obligations, Kevin couldn’t continue with the band. However, they pressed on, playing several venues, bars, and summer festivals before performing at the Windy City Blues Festival in September 2018. At this performance, they were selected by the Windy City Blues Society to represent Chicago as the youth showcase band at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis (Jan. 2019).

In October 2018, Ax and the Hatchetmen competed in the Rock ‘N Roulette Battle of the Bands at Evanston Rocks. They were selected as the winning band following a 6-week competition among all adult bands. They continued playing various venues and events, including for Mario Tricoci and his staff at their corporate holiday party in December 2018. Recognizing they needed to round out the horn section, in January, they brought in Quinn (17 at the time) to fill the saxophone they had lost.

In January 2019, Ax and the Hatchetmen took Memphis by storm! Kenny (16) who had practiced with the band for months prior, joined the band officially in Memphis, bringing another soulful guitar to the group. That weekend, they played at Hard Rock Cafe, Blues City Cafe, and B.B. Kings all in one day, making it clear to everyone on Beale Street that the blues are alive and well in the youth of Chicago. While they specialize in the blues, Ax and the Hatchetmen play a vast array of music as well, including jazz, classic rock, rockabilly, and indie. They have a couple of originals and continue to work on more.”

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