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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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Thursday, October 28

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Blog Mon Mar 03 2008

State of the Encore

en·core [ŏn'kôr'] n. 1. A demand by an audience for an additional performance, usually expressed by applause.

There was a time not long ago when anyone who regularly attended concerts was treated to encores all of the time, whether they wanted one (or two) or not. Set lists were/are written with line breaks to indicate the end of a set and the beginning of a planned encore. (Let's not even get into the set lists crafted to note when a band banters with the crowd.) The definition became hazy as audiences foresaw encores when roadies would tweak gear in the dark. The thrill of spontaneity eroded as nearly every band would leave at least one good song for an inevitable encore. Although, the strategy famously backfired for Janis Joplin at the 1968 Stax/Volt Yuletide Thing when she kept "Piece of My Heart" and "Ball and Chain" for an encore that was thwarted by a lukewarm audience.

The raucous applause that should induce encores became tepid and the act was mechanical. But recently the encore has been given stingy treatment by some headlining acts. Over Wilco's five-night Riviera residency last month, Jeff Tweedy made some comments disparaging expected encores, such as "When we're done, we don't wanna come back." Once those shows ended, the house lights and a pop song would come on while everyone justifiably went bananas to show their appreciation and ask for one more. (This request was usually honored.) Around that same time, Super Furry Animals took a stonewalling approach at Metro by holding signs that read "Resist Phony Encores" and not returning to the stage. And these are bands putting on shows that'd warrant real encores from adoring crowds. So why does the latest flavor-of-the-month leave the one song that the blogs love until after the smoke break at the 40-minute point? It should be a privilege instead of a right to be asked to play more. If performers continue to spurn every encore, perhaps they will begin to mean something again when truly deserved by the artist and the audience.

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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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