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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Saturday, December 2

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Review Mon Mar 05 2007

Show Review: The Narrator @ The Hideout, Sat. March 3rd

Growing pains don't just refer to the shenanigans of Kirk Cameron and Alan Thicke in the mid-'80s or about that time you woke up at age 9 with terrible affliction in your legs. Though both of these may be relevant, more likely the term describes the struggles to move through life events that's part and parcel of this oh so modern age. Chicago's very own The Narrator are weathering through some growing pains of their own: guitarist & vocalist Jesse Woghin, co-founder of Flameshovel Records, now plays bass for Chin Up Chin Up as well as his Narrator duties, and current drummer Kevin Vlack is brand new, filling in for former drummer Nate Heneghan who left the band last year. Saturday night's show at The Hideout also marked just the second time the band had performed live in almost six months so I was interested to see how these growing pains would transfer to the stage.

I expected to hear songs off of forthcoming LP All That to the Wall and I wasn't disappointed. Kudos to the band for opening with ballsy cover "All the Tired Horses," a bold choice in that it A) originates on Dylan's loathsome Self-Portrait, B) begins with a capella vocals, and C) makes the intimate environs of the Hideout seem even more formidable. Unfortunately, the crowd didn't seem ready for the relaxed, jam-y feel of "All the Tired Horses" and this no doubt threw the band off a bit as follow-up song "Son of the Son of the Kiss of Death," the excellent opener off of All That to the Wall, suffered. Tech difficulties from an old synth and a botched intro by the guitarists caused an awkward restart, and there was a definite moment of frustration onstage. However, what separates good bands from great ones is the ability to recover from flubs and mistakes without falling apart, and The Narrator recovered nicely and, luckily for the audience, in good rockin' form. Like friends Oxford Collapse, The Narrator know how to translate proto-emo hooks and party punk dynamics from record sequencing to enthralling stage performance. The anthemic chorus of Semitic rocker "SurfJew" was a highlight, as well as the layered harmonies of "Start Parking." Harnessing energy is what The Narrator are best at - whenever Woghin was hammering on the high-end of the fretboard, or guitarist Sam Axelrod and bassist James Barron were pounding out rhythmic accompaniments or drummer Vlack was teaching the crash cymbal a lesson, the energy was definitely explosive. "Breaking the Turtle" was the culmination of this progression - waves of guitar hooks intertwining with driving disco to rimshot kitwork, all smothered by straining three-part vocal shout outs. Whatever growing pains were evidenced at the beginning of the set were certainly exorcised by the close and, with SXSW stage time coming up at the end of the month, there's no doubt the buzz will only get bigger for The Narrator.

Look for All That To the Wall out on Flameshovel Records on May 15th. Get a taste here.

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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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