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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, October 21

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Concert Thu Feb 15 2007

Concert Review: Midlake, St. Vincent @ Schubas, 2/14

On this Valentine's Day, Texas was, indeed, the reason. A double shot of sold out Texas-based pop graced the wooden stage at Schubas last night . Opener Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, who expects a full-length out on Beggar's Banquet this spring, exhibited the true anachronism of the phrase "one-man band." Taking her mighty Epiphone in hand and, coupled with a few stints at the keys and an ingenius use of an amp pickup run through a bass equilizer to serve as a "stomp" kick drum, Clark asserted the power of the rock side of feminine subjectivity all by herself. Taking cue from Tori Amos in subject matter and Ani DiFranco in guitar attack made Clark's set the perfect anti-Valentine atmosphere as its subject matter covered mulitple songs about murder and relationship trouble. The loud to soft dynamics of "Now, Now" were perhaps the most abrasive, showcasing Clark's guitar playing as she scattered notes all across the fretboard and used a second, muted mic for call and response that conjured up aural memories of AM static or old phonograph magic. Subdued, tongue-in-cheek "Marry Me John" followed traditional piano-based pop a la Carole King but still kept its jilted approach as the song's narrator implored the matrimonially hesitant John to follow Holy couple Mary and Jospeh's example but "without the kid." Closer "Paris is Burning" served as a stirring anti-war anthem and ended the set on a contemplative note and revealed Clark's kinship with Joanna Newsom in vocal range.

After a brief interval, Denton TX's finest quietly took the gear-strewn stage armed only with their trusty beards and the panther mask featured so prominetly in the artwork from last year's genius LP The Trials of Van Occupanther.

Neither failed to disappoint. With perfectly timed-to-the-music film clips projected behind them, made up of their own home videos as well as 19th-century period pieces, Midlake bathed the crowd with the warm, somber sounds of their five-part harmonies and '70s AM radio pop exploits. Fan favorite "Roscoe" appeared second in the set list and drove home its nostalgic message via black and white child labor footage and cogent band cohesion. While lead singer Tim Smith's vocals struggled a bit on the song, a few songs later he revealed he, and most of the band, were getting over an illness. This became clear as the set progressed and Smith's face took on a fever-breaking intensity that never let up. The songmanship, however, was never affected and, despite the sickness, the band's musical chops shone. Both "Bandits" and "Young Bride" lived up to their recorded origins, and Bamnan and Slivercork's "Balloon Maker" served as a refreshing change of pace from the Van Occupanther dominated set. One new song made an appearance also, giving Smith and main keyboardist Eric Nichelson a chance to bang out a piano duet while bassist Paul Alexander and drummer McKenzie Smith washed over them with low-end groove. A dynamic version of "Head Home" finished the regular set and, despite the sickness, they graciously gave the applauding crowd two more, ending with an impassioned "Branches" the lyrics to which, no doubt, rang more true last night for Smith than ever before: "It's hard for me, but I'm trying." Luckily for those who were there, Midlake succeeded as well.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  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

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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