Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, April 24

Gapers Block

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dce / July 22, 2003 1:05 PM

More intimate performances at bars like the Hideout, The Beat Kitchen, and the Double Door are my favorite. I don't usually plan to see a given concert, I just show up at the door and see what happens.

Naz Hensley / July 22, 2003 1:18 PM

More often than not, I always enjoy shows at the Empty Bottle. The Fireside has it's charms as well. Like Dave, smaller intimate venues are best. Now when I step into the Metro I feel like it's huge. Too many good shows and too many good bands in the city to see. Guaranteed good times.

Marc / July 22, 2003 1:18 PM

I like Fireside for music - but there's something better on the tip of my brain. It will come later.

Worst place for music in the city? Metro anytime there's anyone even remotely popular there. Too hot, too crowded. Add to that running the frat-tastic gauntlet of N. Clark and you've got somewhere I avoid like the plague.

Marc / July 22, 2003 1:19 PM

Hideout - that's what I was thinking. Thank you :D

stephen / July 22, 2003 1:34 PM

Metro can be ok, but indeed during sold-out shows its nuts. I like the Vic a lot, it has a nice sense of intimacy and can still bring in artists like Coldplay and Massive Attack, even. Hideout is great, especially for Devil in a Woodpile, and Empty Bottle is always a good time. On the swank side sometimes the Park West can be fun, but only when they turn on that huge disco ball. Plus they'll have David Sylvian one night then DJ Shadow the next.

amyc / July 22, 2003 1:41 PM

I, too, like the smaller joints -- Empty Bottle being the place I've been to the most, although their ventilation system is something shitty. (Can't wait for that no-smokin' deal to take effect!) Schubas also has its charms. Best place I've ever seen a show in town though is the Old Town School's performance space -- cozy, clean, intimate, wonderful acoustics. Saw the Magnetic Fields there in 2000. I wish more bands I like played there.

Andrew / July 22, 2003 1:42 PM

I don't see shows there very often, but I like Schuba's. The room isn't big (seems to be a theme here) so you're always able to see the band.

I saw Andrew Bird at the Old Town School of Folk Music recently -- that's a *surprisingly* nice venue.

stephen / July 22, 2003 1:45 PM

As far as upcoming shows go, I'd go with Bright Eyes at the Abbey on 7/30, Cat Power on 8/8 at the Park West, Dieselboy at the Metro 8/2, Felix Da Housecat on 8/23 at Vision, Joao Gilberto at Ravinia on 7/29, Grandaddy at the HOB on 8/3, Billy Idol on 8/26 at the HOB (come on!) Kid Koala (!) at the Abbey Pub 10/11, Ted Leo 9/17 at Schubas, Les Nubians at the HOB on 8/10, Perfect Circle on 8/10 at the Metro, Psychedelic Furs at the Finkl factory 8/16 (?) and the Radiohead show at Alpine Valley on 8/23. There's also Throwing Muses at the Abbey on 8/9. Who this will consist of I don't know. But I will still pay to see Kristin, she's somethin. If there's interest in Hall and Oates and David Lee Roth, that's out there too. Go nuts, people.

Craig / July 22, 2003 2:24 PM

Opinions (as a DC transplant): The Empty Bottle has the most consistent output of quality shows in my book. Just saw RJD2, and hope to see OUTHUD this weekend. Too bad its a pain in the ass to get there and the ventilation sucks. (Reminds me of the Black Cat in DC) The Fireside is a hole, I dislike that place greatly. Schubas is really nice, clean, good food next door. Subterranean has a nice set up and great location, but barely any shows of note go thru. Metro is a large corporate club with expensive drinks-- every city has at least one of those. (The 930 Club is DC's equiv. of Metro) Hideout was great the one time I went-- very low key, awesome couch, cheap drinks, but a friend of mine that works there said they are scheduling less shows since the night club crackdown... Abbey Pub is a nice enough place-- good acts & affordable drinks, but it gets hot and smokey quick and a bit of a pain to get to. Going to see Matt Pond PA is a few weeks there. HOB?- ...more like House of Boobs. Yeah, that was lame. Nevin's Live in Evanston is actually a pretty decent little venue-- Guided By Voices played there (!) I couldnt get tickets though... As far as rock venues go, that's all my opinions for one year of living here.

RC / July 22, 2003 3:37 PM

Craig, I agree. *The Abbey Pub* is a great place, but for its location. Not too small, not enormous. Cheap drinks, a kitchen (though I've never eaten there) and an attached bar that has Sportscenter going all the time--a good escape.

The Fireside lost its charm when I was 17.

There and the *Petrillo Shell*, of course. The *Checkerboard* was great before it closed. I don't know if it still exists, but there was a place called *Rosa's Lounge* at 3450 or so West Armitage that has great live blues/jazz. 5150 W. North has good jazz and blues, too.

Also, I like any place that's so small and unknown that only I know about it, and where I don't have to associate with plebians/cattle who aren't as enlightened as I am about sub-pop music. Wait, no, that sounds stupid, doesn't it? Nevermind.

Ooh, Felix Da Housecat is coming. Mmm.

Andrew / July 22, 2003 3:48 PM

Rosa's is still going strong. Definitely a good place for non-tourist blues (although they're filtering over that way now, too. Let'em get their cars stolen, I say.)

Joe / July 22, 2003 4:47 PM

My favorite concerts are my own gigs. Mind you, they're not necessarily my favorite music all the time, but I like being on the other side of the stage when I can.

Best place to see acoustic/folky stuff is either Schubas or Uncommon Ground. I like them both, and go to both regularly. They are both small, but both excellent rooms.

My favorite place to go regularly is the late, late concert and jam session every Tuesday at the Apartment Lounge on 75th St. Von Freeman leads it, as he has on and off for longer than any (okay, most) of us has been alive. Von's quartet plays from 10 til midnightish, then the "horses" (that is, the rest of us) go up and play til 3 AM. Sometimes it's really incredible, but it's always at least worthwhile.

If you want to go some time, let me know. I go almost every week.

I'm upset I missed Cinematic Orchestra at the Abbey last month.

brian / July 22, 2003 6:19 PM

You know, I don't like going to shows much. I usually find the random band deplorable, the whole thing hot and smokey, and while I love music, most live shows just aren't my thing.

I like electronic music more, but have had a hard time finding clubs where one can chill. I'm not into the Rush Street-get-dolled-up-cuz-i'm-going-clubbin' scene.

Did catch a great show at Schuba's on Saturday. But I will never go to the Fireside or the Lion's Den again.

Chris "Boomer" Berman / July 22, 2003 6:54 PM

My favorite venue is a small place (of course) called "The Dive Bar". My favorite band "The Hipsters" are playing there later this month. My favorite drink they serve is Haterade and I'll probably get there on my friend's boat (a friend that i just met this summer, of course). The opening band is "The Wanksta's". The crowd seems to only consist of metrosexuals who are now having their round table discussions regarding the new Harry Potter books.

Great place, you should check it out!

heather / July 22, 2003 8:04 PM

I'm with you, brian - live music ain't my bag. unless there's enough light for me to read by...

alicia / July 22, 2003 9:49 PM

i like outdoors shows, especially when it is nice out; can't wait for the upcoming radiohead show in wisconsin.

brian, dannys usually has good live electronic music on monday nights. no one gets dolled up and it's always dark but it can get pretty crowded so go early to grab a seat on one of the comfy couches in the back.

Naz Hensley / July 23, 2003 8:35 AM

I second Danny's. I've been on the past two Monday's, a nice place indeed. May quickly become a regular Monday night thing.

tasha. / July 23, 2003 9:14 AM

As far as shows, I'm looking forward to seeing the Paladins on 8/8 at FitzGerald's (I'd like the venue a whole lot more if it was accessible by public transit instead of forcing us to drive and thus drink Cokes all night) and Eleni Mandell at Gunther Murphy's on 8/20. Never been there, so it'll be a new experience.

sr / July 23, 2003 9:35 AM

I'm too broke to go to shows these days. And since I moved here two years ago, I've probably played more shows than I've seen. But I'm not in any bands anymore. *sigh* Gone are the days of rockin' eight days a week. So, since I have to be choosy, I'm waiting for Deerhoof to come to town in August. Oh, and the Hideout is my favorite place to see a show, hands down.

kegz / July 23, 2003 10:41 AM

Schuba's atmosphere suits me pretty well. I also like the balcony at the Vic. Standing is overrated. Abbey Pub is booking some good shows, but you leave there feeling dragged through an ashtray.

I'm looking forward to Built to Spill (Metro), The Polyphonic Spree (Empty Bottle), Beulah (Abbey Pub) and The Libertines (Empty Bottle). Thanks for the tip above on Matt Pond PA, I didn't know about that show.

miss ellen / July 23, 2003 10:57 AM

I like Abbey Pub, and out of the way places like Logan Square Auditorium for small shows. Nothing beats a good show on the lakefront, though.

As far as "best concert venue", I'd have to give it to the Chicago Theatre; if you haven't seen a show there, it's a must, but don't expect alot of dancing space. It's more about the aesthetics and acoustics in that place.

And, gotta give it to our neighborly Alpine Valley up in WI for the ultimate summer show vibe. Fresh off of Phish this past weekend, I can't wait to get back up there for Radiohead in a few weeks. I got myself a great little short-cut, too ;)

Live music, that's my bag, baby.

lacey / July 23, 2003 11:41 AM

Ellen! I am so glad you mentioned the Chicago Theater. Of all the venues in the city it's the most beautiful, in my opinion. And it's the polar opposite of the Metro, which is where I usually go to see shows.

I have been pretty uninspired by live music lately, but the Ted Leo show at Schubas will be good. I've seen him live twice (once @ the Metro, once in Brooklyn) and he is insane. His live performances put his recorded music to shame.

Kevin / July 23, 2003 12:07 PM

Glad someone finally mentioned Fitzgerald's. For old bastards like me, it's nice change of pace and I get to see a veritable "who's who" of americana/roots/country music (Dale Watson and Jimmy Dale Gilmore come immediately to mind). We have played almost all the venues mentioned and from a performance perspective, Old Town takes care of it's performers like no other and I think this translates to a good show. Some venues have sound men who show up drunk, could give a fuck how you sound and basically work against you rather than for you. This can make or break a performance in some instances. My list of top clubs for ambience and performance:

Old Town
Abby Pub

And believe it or not, back in the mid 80's, Kingston Mines was an awesome venue to see legends and their "hanger-on'ers". Since they knocked down all the walls and turned into the Blue Disneyland, I haven't bothered to step foot in that place.

Reards / July 23, 2003 12:49 PM

Anybody every see an act at Betty's Blue Star? I don't know anything about bluegrass type music but have heard some sounds i have liked over the last year or so. I have checked The Reader and the like to find some acts that may be cool, but i hardly even know what I am looking Anybody know of any spots that feature this type/style?

miss ellen / July 23, 2003 1:21 PM

The Boulevard Cafe used to have a Wednesday night Bluegrass session with Cornmeal, a local band. They've started moving away from big music, but some stuff will remain, such as the Sunday night Dead jams. I honestly don't know if they're keeping the Bluegrass night, but that is a decent place to catch some music. It's a bar / restaurant, but has a small stage for a band to set up in front.

Miranda / July 23, 2003 1:46 PM

The Old Town School of Folk Music has a really great concert venue - not a bad seat in the house, big enough to hold a crowd, but still feels intimate.

Audrey / July 24, 2003 9:59 AM

I miss Lounge Ax. But the best venue in the city is the Chicago Theater.

A lex, x, x / July 24, 2003 10:56 AM

Interpol at the Riv in September. I just ♥ Carlos D. Yes, I have said this everywhere ad nauseum.

Also, local favorites Ashtray Boy are coming back Sunday, August 10th at Empty Bottle. First time in Chicago in a LOOOOONG time. Randall Lee and the gang are back from a spell in Australia and Canada. Can't wait for that one.

Some of my favorite places to see shows are the Riv, Metro, Double Door and anywhere small. Small is very big with me.

stephen / July 24, 2003 11:16 AM

ah yes, the interpol show..Carlos has a striking resemblance to Crispin Glover, actually..they were the first band I've ever seen that smoked the entire show. I've seen bands try, but thats an accomplishment. Seriously tho, that should be super fun.

brian / July 24, 2003 11:50 AM

My first Chicago Theater experience was Barry Manilow. Whatta show, lemme tell you, whatta show.

Thanks for the tip alicia - I'll definitely check out Monday's at Danny's.

(Funny, I actually live around the corner from a club and have only been once. Cafe Lura on Milwaukee is groovy inside, but since I never know what's going on there, I don't go. Same for the Mambo club)

Jeff / July 25, 2003 12:34 AM

GBV! GBV! GBV! 8/15. Hells yeah.

LD / August 9, 2003 1:34 AM

The Old Town School of Folk Music. Fabulous concerts in an intimate setting. Free latin music on Wed. nites.

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