RIVER NORTH — When Shreyas Shah, head of marketing at Untitled, was tasked with planning a promotional event for the River North restaurant in June, he knew the second he saw the date what the party's theme would be.
A self-described "huge Prince fan," the South Loop resident saw that this month's "tribute night" series fell on June 7, and "I already knew that was his birthday," he said. "I know quite a bit about Prince and his catalog and all that.
"When I was a kid, I heard 'Controversy' — I think I was like 5 when it came out — and I was just hooked," Shah said.
Lizzie Schiffman tells all Prince fans where to go to honor the performer's June birthday:
As it turns out, Untitled's General Manager, Jay Carter, was a huge fan, too.
"He actually knows the guys in the band" The Prince Experience, Shah said. "They are a tribute band for Prince, they cover basically his greatest hits. So we got them to come in and play, and before and after a DJ will spin a kind of tribute set about Prince's cataloguer."
Shah said he and Carter were "probably the two older guys on the team, so we have a lot of the same taste in music, a lot of funk and soul from the '80s," Shah said.
Response to the Prince theme has been great, Shah said, even among Untitled's younger staffers and patrons.
"Prince is like one of those uber icons that transcend kind of everything, you know?" he said. "He's such a big artist that there's people from every generation that like Prince."
The DJ set after "The Prince Experience" performs will include lesser-known tunes Prince was involved in creating.
"He wrote a lot of songs for a lot of people, he had a lot of proteges, so we'll feature that music as well," Shah said.
The tribute show starts at 8 p.m. June 7 and runs until 3 a.m. at 111 W. Kinzie St. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
Jim Beam cocktails will be on special at the event, and Shah said he wouldn't rule out the possibility of a new menu item for the occasion.
"I don't know if we have a signature cocktail worked up yet," he said, "but I'm sure we will, and I'm sure it will be purple."