As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 


Sunday, October 21

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Sparks Are Gonna Fly Can Music Relieve a Hangover? »

Concert Fri Jun 19 2009

Review: AA Bondy & Holly Miranda @ Schubas 6/18/09


I've walked in and out of Schubas on many nights over the changing seasons and years. On each of these uniquely beautiful nights I walked out feeling like I'd experienced something special. I've seen some great shows at some great clubs, but I don't have this particular association with any others. Last night I walked in to see AA Bondy and Holly Miranda. It was again a uniquely beautiful night, and I walked out knowing I'd experienced something special.

Holly Miranda and her band — guitarist Tim Mislock and violinist Marques Toliver — took to the stage around 9pm. They dove into a cappella harmonies that had the perfect tranquilizing effect, for those who may have forgotten to partake in the transition from day to night. It wasn't long before the various musical layers and textures drifted into the room. Miranda and Co. played all the songs from her new Sleep On Fire EP, as well as some new and old material, including songs from her other band, The Jealous Girlfriends. It was an intoxicating set to say the least. The words enchanting and mystical came to mind quickly, and repeatedly throughout it.

As I stood there watching them perform, I became aware of my inability to be doing much else. There was a sense of sweltering heat, but also the relief of a calming mist. The calm was that of Miranda's simple, organic song structures, that seemed to travel in synch with the distant waves of slow-moving seas. The heat was something else all together. It was something that emanated from her impassioned voice. She released it at times in a sultry croon, and at other times in a semi-schizophrenic swarm of melody. It was as harsh and cutting as it was soft and soothing.


It was shortly after 10pm when AA Bondy made his way to the stage. The hour and some change that followed can best be described as a waltz between the rising and setting sun. Bondy is an exceptional musician with an ardent voice. His lyrics are poetic in the same way that nature is poetic. He sings with a certain degree of pain shadowing his face. I say a certain degree because along with this pain is a strong sense of release and relief.

Playing a fair mix of songs from his forthcoming album, When the Devil's Loose, and from his 2007 release, American Hearts, Bondy's performance was as astonishing as they come. He stood onstage alone, but immediately became one with the audience. His songs lean toward the heavyhearted, but in-between it all he's simply hilarious. This notion of laughter amid sadness is something to be cherished. What good is one without the other?


The highlight of the set came when Bondy left the stage to play his final three songs of the evening — "Killed Myself When I Was Young," "World Without End" and "American Hearts" — standing on the floor with the audience. He was joined by Miranda's violinist, Marques Toliver, and the rest of the room in song. As the songs progressed, we sang louder. These are the moments that eclipse all else. This is the haunting intimacy that will leave you with chills and staring in wonder.

Bondy carries in his voice the curious spirit of youth, but also the strained melody of an old dog that has been out wandering the world in the rain. He's keen to the silent beauty found in sadness, and he brings it to life just enough to not kill it. He writes songs that move like cool breezes on lonely highways in the middle of nowhere, dancing through starlight and across sobered faces. This is music that breathes to fill the small, darkened rooms of America at night.


GB store
GB store

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

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

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...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15