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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, June 12

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Concert Fri Nov 16 2007

Concert Review: Baby Dee @ Hideout 11/15


Last night at the Hideout, New York-based musician Baby Dee performed wearing a silky blouse, checkerboard capris, argyle socks, work boots and insane, untamed curly hair that covered a full two thirds of her face. Both her appearance and music are completely unclassifiable, the former falling somewhere between masculine and feminine, the latter a mixture of tender cabaret, guttural indie chanson and non-sequitur cackling comedy routine. The result was a wildy entertaining and assertively authentic performance that ended with the audience not wanting to go home, even after midnight on a cold work night in Chicago.

Her Wikipedia entry defines her as a “transgender musician from Cleveland” and her label, Drag City, describes her as “the badly angelic, Shirley Temple obsessed, high riding cat that ruled the streets of lower Manhattan in the nineties.” Neither description is particularly helpful, especially since most of the audience was neither from Manhattan nor probably old enough to have really noticed the mid nineties. So, the next time she's in down, or the next time you're in NYC, do yourself a favor and see for yourself.

Without saying anything at first, Dee began the concert by tuning her harp and then walked across the stage to play a soulful, melancholy piece on the Hideout’s old, torn open saloon piano. With Dee at the controls and in the Hideout’s dive-ish, fully Christmas-lit back room it felt like the cabaret club from the film “Short Bus,” where societal reject characters meet to let loose and be themselves (minus the free sex and nudity).

Dee, for sure, is comfortable in her own skin and the set list meandered from soulful ballads to catchy syncopated ditties ranging in subject from albino bees to the world’s religions (Mormons, Presbyterians, and Lutherans, to be exact). She sings in a guttural style reminiscent of Tom Waits and in between practically every song she cracked the audience up with weird stories (she once told a Swedish audience that they were all practically albinos and they weren't amused) and regular pokes at her blushing band – a couple of young men, a guitarist and double bassist. They’re so good looking, she boasted, “we’re going to be on the cover of Out magazine in a couple of days!”

In the middle of the performance, after she had accidentally performed the finale, she hilariously dismissed her two accompanists and proceeded to the harp, which she played with a vigor you don’t see at the Drake Hotel (or probably anywhere else).

She played the harp so vigorously, in fact, that, she stopped to tune it once again.

“The D# string is out of tune!” a good-humored heckler yelled as she adjusted the knobs.

“That string is bad, so you’ll just have to get used to me as I am.”

Baby Dee’s next album, “Safe Inside the Day,” comes out January 28, 2008. For now, listen at Baby Dee's website is

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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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