IN THE DARK with Julio Bonfante

It's now 2021, and concert venues have been silent for months. The echoes of cheering fans and loud amplifiers are all that remain in our memories of these once-packed halls.

We're doing what we can to change that. Back in December, we took over a historic Chicago hall, and invited several area musicians to rip it up on stage. No rules- just an empty venue, a camera crew, and the spotlight.

FRET12 proudly presents, the seventh episode of IN THE DARK, at Pilsen's Thalia Hall featuring Julio Bonfante – lead guitarist of the up-and-coming band Cali Jewls, from Chicago IL.

Hailing from Chicago, IL, Julio Bonfante began playing guitar at age 17. His love of the instrument began when a family friend (who was also a guitarist) came to stay with his family, and brought all of his guitar gear along. Julio remembers being fascinated and inspired by the gear, and the sounds that could be made. After being taught three basic barre chords, Julio was determined to learn how to play. "I spent countless hours teaching myself because I wanted to play just like him."

This lifelong pursuit of guitar eventually led him to playing live on stage at Chicago's legendary House of Blues, which is Julio's favorite gig he's played to date! Julio currently is at work making new music with his band Cali Jewls, and uses a wonderful mix of vintage and modern gear to create the smooth sounds you hear in his music.

His main guitar of choice is his Fender Special Edition Classic Series 60s Stratocaster. This guitar is finished in the classic Daphne Blue color and has a rosewood fretboard, and is plugged into a Fender '68 Custom Deluxe Reverb 22W 1x12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp. This combo is loaded with a Celestion G12V-70 Black. 

If you are digging on the smooth tones and riffs in his performance at Thalia, then you'll love the synth-laden indie pop tunes he writes with his band; check them out at the links below. Julio still loves the feeling his guitar gives him the most, telling us:

JULIO BONFANTE // INSTAGRAM

CALI JEWLS // INSTAGRAM // TWITTER // FACEBOOK


IN THE DARK Full Series

Read more

A Half-Dozen NTS Episodes, Hand-Picked by FRET12

A Half-Dozen NTS Episodes, Hand-Picked by FRET12

OMG it’s an OMEC Teleport!

OMG it’s an OMEC Teleport!

Rest in Peace to one of the all-time greats - Henry Goldrich, gear purveyor to the rock gods

Rest in Peace to one of the all-time greats - Henry Goldrich, gear purveyor to the rock gods