The band SWEETIE honor ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ with performance


Caleb Johnson

SWEETIE, a Chicago band, peformed original songs and covers at “Rocky Horror Picture Show” pre-show on Oct. 28 at the Egyptian Theatre. (Caleb Johnson | Northern Star)

By Caleb Johnson, Lifestyle Writer

Large crowds gathered in sweet anticipation as Chicago band SWEETIE rocked out Friday night at the Egyptian Theatre for the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” pre-show. 

The band is a trio composed of Birdy Vee, singer and guitarist, Joe Pennington on drums and Sweet Johnny Marble on bass. 

“I didn’t know there was going to be a band playing before Rocky but I’m glad I came early. They’re really great, like just like really good music I can jam out to,” said Kylie Miskel, a Chicago resident.

The band played 11 songs during their set. According to Vee, she writes all the music and what songs they play vary depending on the venue, usually a mix of original music and covers scattered in. 

For “Rocky Horror Picture Show,”, Pennington suggested “Bulletproof” by LaRoux and of course in honor of Rocky, Vee picked “Science Fiction Double Feature,” the opening song. 

SWEETIE was started by Pennington and Vee. According to Vee, they had played a lot together in the past and in DeKalb. One day three years ago at a party Vee said Pennington approached her and asked if they wanted to make a band. She agreed as she felt the timing was right, and thus SWEETIE was born.  

Marble said he had known Vee for around 15 years but stopped playing for a while. Then recently at a 4th of July party, he reconnected with Vee and after talking for a bit he ended up joining in August, making the duo a trio. 

Marble also said his name was inspired by Mink Stole’s character, Connie Marble from John Waters’ 1972 cult classic, “Pink Flamingos.” 

The band identifies with the punk scene and finds “Rocky Horror” to be iconic.  

“It’s kind of just like influenced so much of the punk scene and the music scene. It just changed pop culture in a weird, intense way,” Vee said. 

Marble described how nostalgic and meaningful “Rocky Horror” was to him. His dad insisted that John should like “Rocky Horror” because of Marble’s interest in rock and roll.  He looked back on that memory fondly and thought it was so funny. 

“My dad is watching TV, my mom, she’s a musician, she’s playing a gig right? And he’s like John check this out, so he calls me into the TV room. I’m like what’s this?” Marble said “And he goes it’s ‘Rocky Horror,’ you ever seen this? And I’m like dad, I’m 8.” 

For Pennington, “Rocky Horror” first came up while in the punk community, drawing many parallels.  

“Rocky Horror seems to be the same thing, you know. Sort of just stemmed out of a bunch of people just being freaks and geeks, you know?” Pennington said.

There were also several booths in the lobby where people could buy band merchandise, prop kits for the Rocky Horror showing and a booth with information on Youth Outlook, an organization that provides services for LGBTQ+ youth.