Saturday, September 20

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Review Wed Sep 17 2014

Shabazz Palaces Experiments with Lincoln Hall

20140914_000519(1).jpgExperimental hip hop has on the rise recently; bringing influxes of strange and often thought to be counterintuitive elements into the hip hop world with great results. The experimentation with beats and flows has been reaching an tremendous peak over the last few years, with Shabazz Palaces being very close to the top. The group, consisting of Ishmael Butler and Tendai Maraire, meshes incredibly dense verses while reaching out for more obscure sounds from a number of genres including jazz, funk, and tribal music. The combination is at times off-putting, making more artistic hip hop than the usual party anthems. Shabazz Palaces fights their way through the norm and emerges with a complexity that few are capable of achieving. They put this complexity on full display at Lincoln Hall this past weekend.

Chicago's own Chandeliers set the tone for the night with their entrancing electronic sound. The songs they played had an impressive depth, layering both synthetic sounds and a live drum into the set. I wouldn't be surprised if a rapper repurposed Chandelier's compositions as beats they have an inherent hip hop quality, blurring the edge between the more ambient moments and the bass intense sections in their tracks. The trio, Chris Kalis, Harry Brenner, and Scott McGaughey, performed in a facing one another in what looked like a trance. Projected above them were equally absorbing visuals, reminding me of an endless tracking VHS copy of the stargate scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was easy to just let go and groove along with the band as they embodied the epitome of a late night vibe.

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Julian Ramirez / Comments (1)

Classical Wed Sep 17 2014

New Music for Solo Cello: Ian Maksin Returns to Chicago

Cellist Ian Maksin returns to Chicago this Saturday night for an album-release concert at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., at 8pm. The Russian-born cellist has moved beyond classical repertoire (which he plays beautifully) to embrace more unusual territory for solo cello. Maksin's forthcoming album, "Soul Companion," includes his own compositions that touch on jazz and folk influences. The album also features commissioned works by Chicago composers Ilya Levinson and Seth Boustead. More than just a live version of the album, this concert includes an eclectic lineup of guest artists, including members of the flamenco ensemble Las Guitarras de EspaƱa, Indian veena player Saraswathi Ranganathan, and the Joffrey Ballet's Lucas Segovia. Tickets are $20 for the general public, $18 for OTSFM members.

Elliot Mandel / Comments (0)

Riot Fest Tue Sep 16 2014

Riot Fest 2014: Day 3

Blue Meanies 1.jpg
Blue Meanies by Katie Hovland

This year's Riot Fest was an amalgam of sights, sounds, and even weather conditions. From a brutal freezing rain that left sopping muddy grounds, to a blazing sun shining down without a cloud in the sky, this 10th anniversary celebration was definitely bringing all of the elements out for its many, many attendees. Luckily, the musical offerings were absolutely top-notch as we got to watch sets from emerging hopefuls complemented by powerhouse performances by legendary rockers in an incredible environment. As the festival grounds shifted and became bigger and better, so did the experience, as we were invited to watch the festival grow together, and we look forward to where it will be taken in the next 10 years.
Sarah Brooks

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Justin Freeman / Comments (1)

Riot Fest Sun Sep 14 2014

Riot Fest 2014: Day 2

Television by Katie Hovland

After Friday's rain, the situation at Humboldt Park remained incredibly muddy. Once again, this is not Riot Fest's fault as they certainly don't control the weather, but overwhelming patches of mud and deep puddles of collected rainwater were everywhere, making navigation a continued difficulty. Certain parts of the park appeared so bad, they seemed to be fenced off and quarantined. I found myself feeling kinda bad for the promoters of Riot Fest about the massive scope of damage -- the weather and the presences of thousands of concert goers had caused the park a lot of damage, and they're on the hook for park repairs. I've never seen damage this bad. I remember covering North Coast last year and it stormed so hard, they had to postpone opening the gates. It was pretty muddy but nowhere near as bad as what I've seen at Riot Fest this year. Large portions of what was once grass simply no longer exist and have been replaced with mud so thick, it snapped the heel of one of my boots off. It sucks, man. It's a bad hand to have been dealt. Thankfully the mud didn't prevent us from catching some pretty rad bands.
Justin Freeman

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Justin Freeman / Comments (1)

Riot Fest Sat Sep 13 2014

Riot Fest 2014: Day 1

One of the first thing you notice about Riot Fest is how large the festival has become. The second thing is the mud, but we'll get to that soon enough. During the previous two years, the festival took place in the smaller southern portion of Humboldt Park. Before that for the better part of a decade, it was scattered around town with shows happening at various clubs around the city. This year is Riot Fest's tenth anniversary and they've decided to go big in response.

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Justin Freeman / Comments (0)

Review Fri Sep 12 2014

Jad Fair and Danielson Showed Schubas Their Solid Gold Heart

There is rarely a year where Jad Fair isn't a prolific and mesmerizing artist. 2014 is no different, seeing how he has released a new Half Japanese album Overjoyed and was named Joyful Noise Recordings' "Artist in Residence", which has Fair collaborating with four different artists to release four full length albums throughout the year. The most recent release, Solid Gold Heart, was made in conjunction with Daniel Smith of Danielson and the incredible Kramer. The album itself is a product only this grouping could make. It's a big and energetic display of pop songs at their most entertaining. They came to Schubas earlier this week to share the album with the Chicago crowd.

casey scott.jpgThe show started with Scott Ligon and Casey McDonough, members of the long running NRBQ. They both are great musicians with a wonderful handle on their instruments, which included a kazoo Ligon pulled out for a song or two. That being said, it was a bit surprising when they noted it was McDonough's first time playing the upright bass in public. There was no indication in his performance which was virtually flawless. The songs were a mix of NRBQ songs ad covers from a variety of artists including The Delmore Brothers and Roy Orbison. They even asked for a request, which came in the form of "Walk Right Back", originally recorded by The Everly Brothers, whose songs were covered quite a few times. "Bottom Buck", a song Ligon wrote with his brother in mind, was a nice bright spot of the set, which ended with a compassionate rendition of "Don't Blame Me". The duo garnered the approval of the audience and Jad Fair, who sat off to the side tapping his foot and applauding along with crowd.

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Julian Ramirez / Comments (0)

Preview Tue Sep 09 2014

Califone and S. Carey Return to Lincoln Hall

califone scarey.jpgCalifone is a wonder of a band. They have managed to create music that finds itself progressively experimenting with the past; creating a large collection of songs that are as new as they are familiar. It's a modern Americana that Califone plays, one filled with the resonances you'd expect but brought to light in a fascinating way. Tim Rutili, the band's constant visage, combines his meditative lyrics with soundscapes that have ranged from synthesized sounds to organic hums. The band's latest album Stitches favors the latter, featuring more natural acoustics amidst the ever evolving structures of his songs. Rutili has guided the band's sound for over 15 years, never ceasing to find new ways of improving on his never ending experimentation.

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Julian Ramirez / Comments (0)

Hideout Block Party Mon Sep 08 2014

Your Guide to Hideout Block Party & Onion A.V. Fest: Day 2 in Review

Gapers Crowd1.jpg
Photos by Kirstie Shanley

Sunny, cloudless skies that melted into a serene evening. Each musical act emerging as dynamic as the one that preceded. As all good things must come to an end, the 18th annual Hideout Block Party & Onion A.V. Fest has come to a close. Day two brought about a scene of bright skies, in stark contrast to the day that preceded it, a limitless crowd, and a diverse blend of musical acts that truly showcase what a glorious hub for music Chicago has become and will continue to be.

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Sarah Brooks / Comments (0)

Hideout Block Party Sat Sep 06 2014

Your Guide to Hideout Block Party & Onion A.V. Fest: Day 1 in Review


The 18th annual Hideout Block Party & Onion A.V. Fest has graced the city with its presence once again. This revered, lovable festival continues to bring with it excellent tunes, an emphasis on everything local, and a fantastic atmosphere year after year. Despite the apocalyptic weather conditions yesterday evening, a suitably large crowd was gradually accrued as concertgoers seemed happy as ever to be enjoying this year's stellar crop of musical offerings.

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Sarah Brooks / Comments (0)

Riot Fest Fri Sep 05 2014

Riot Fest Announces Daily Schedules and Pussy Riot Panel Information

Today was a busy day for the folks at Riot Fest. First, they announced the daily schedules which can be found here. Then, they announced further details about the Pussy Riot discussion panel.

Let's talk about Pussy Riot and their panel first. The big news is that Henry Rollins will be moderating it. The panel itself looks like it will be a discussion examining the relationship between art and politics. Can art be used as a viable agent of social change? These are the things the panel will seek to discover.

The full panel is: Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina of Pussy Riot; Greg Graffin of Bad Religion; Tim McIlrath of Rise Against; Marcelle Karp, one of the founders of Bust Magazine; and Michael A. Petryshyn, founder of Riot Fest. The discussion will be moderated by Henry Rollins of Black Flag.

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Justin Freeman / Comments (0)

Classical Thu Sep 04 2014

Pulling Strings: For classical music in Chicago, you got a guy - September 2014

It's gonna be a great season.

Collaborative Works Festival
The Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (CAIC) presents its annual Collaborative Works Festival: four days of vocal chamber music in some of the city's most comfortable and intimate venues. The 2014 festival explores the personal and musical relationships between Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms with a lineup of some of the nation's best voices. The opening and closing concerts feature soprano Susanna Phillips, mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor, tenor Nicholas Phan, and baritone Joshua Hopkins accompanied by Myra Huang. Renowned mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung gives a solo recital of works by Brahms, R. Schumann, Manuel De Falla, Edward Elgar, and Joseph Marx. Tickets and venue info available at September 11-14. Poetry Foundation, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium at Harold Washington Library, Pianoforte, Logan Center for the Arts.

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Elliot Mandel / Comments (0)

Review Tue Sep 02 2014

North Coast: Day Three


Sunday was a rather chill day at North Coast. I started things off by catching some of Wild Belle, an indie band heavily influenced by Lee "Scratch" Perry and his stylings of reggae with pop sensibilities.

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Justin Freeman / Comments (0)

Hideout Block Party Tue Sep 02 2014

A Hideout Block Party How-To


My favorite Chicago music festival of the year is swiftly approaching, bringing with it high-caliber acts that are sure to please a happy crowd of sweater-wearing music lovers (yes, it is supposed to be oddly chilly this weekend, to my elation). If it's your first trip to the glorious Hideout Block Party & Onion A.V. Fest, you're in for a lovely weekend full of outstanding tunes, local fare and a heightened appreciation for the beautiful city of Chicago. Here's a handy Hideout how-to guide for all of the whos, wheres and whats to ensure that you have a seamless festival weekend.

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Sarah Brooks / Comments (3)

Interview Mon Sep 01 2014

Beyond and Back with John Doe

Doe1 - photo credit Autumn De WIlde.jpeg
John Doe. Photo credit: Autumn De Wilde.

This week the band X, who rose to punk rock fame in LA in the late '70s, will be performing their first four records (Los Angeles, Wild Gift, More Fun in the New World, and Under the Big Black Sun) at the City Winery. I spoke to X co-founder John Doe as he and his fellow band members wrapped up the New York leg of their tour.

X was influenced by country and blues from the '40s. The amount of time that's passed between the era of the music that influenced X and when X began performing is about the same amount of time that's passed between when X started and now. Is there a detachment from playing your own work over time, or do you feel more connected to it?

Well, you lose the immediate connection, but it becomes so engrained to how you play and the way you play, and it's always evolving.

Does it ever feel like you're playing a cover of your own song?

Hah, on a really bad night maybe.

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J.H. Palmer / Comments (0)

North Coast Music Festival Sun Aug 31 2014

North Coast: Day Two

SCS_5917-20140830-Future Islands_16.jpg

I started the second day of North Coast with Future Islands, who I soon discovered are kinda captivating. I really didn't know much about them. I knew the name, I've heard a few random singles that I've enjoyed, and was about it. It was that in mind that I went to see them not quite knowing what to expect.

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Justin Freeman / Comments (0)

Classical Thu Sep 04 2014

Pulling Strings: For classical music in Chicago, you got a guy - September 2014

By Elliot Mandel

It's gonna be a great season.

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  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records


Sat Sep 20 2014
Elbo Room 25th Anniversary

Sat Sep 20 2014
312 Urban Block Party

Sat Sep 20 2014
World Music Festival

Sat Sep 20 2014
City Made Festival

Sun Sep 21 2014
World Music Festival

Sun Sep 21 2014
AAHH! Fest @ Union Park

Tue Sep 23 2014
DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist @ HOB

Tue Sep 23 2014
White Mystery @ MCA

Tue Sep 23 2014
David Bowie Is @ MCA

Thu Sep 25 2014
Cold Waves III Kickoff Party @ Cobra Lounge

Thu Sep 25 2014
The Doubleclicks & The Nerdalogues @ Public House Theatre

Fri Sep 26 2014
Sebadoh @ Lincoln Hall

Fri Sep 26 2014
Cold Waves III @ Metro

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