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, April 21

Gapers Block

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

« Album Review/CD Release Show: Dreamend - So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite Bands Under Cover »

Concert Tue Aug 10 2010

Note to self: Be More Elastic (this Friday)

The venue Elastic Arts Foundation (2830 North Milwaukee, above Friendship Chinese Restaurant) is one of those hidden-in-plain sight gems that doesn't always get the recognition it deserves. Largely catering to jazz and free improv music, their schedule sometimes seems to slip under the radar. Did you know, for example, that as I type this, I just found out that The Vandermark 5 is playing there tonight? I didn't, until just five minutes ago. Damn!! How do you like that?

This Friday starting at 9:00, however, Elastic will be hosting a not-miss event, and one for which I've had ample warning, which I'm now passing on to you, my dear friends. Audio colors both light and dark, instruments electronic and metallic, tones that are either clean as a drink out of Lake Titicaca or filthy as a drink out of Lake Michigan; all these and more shall be yours if you only get your ass up off that sofa.

Touring acts Take Up Serpents and Nerfbau are the focus of the evening. I knew the name Take Up Serpents from somewhere, but couldn't place it at first. A little birdy finally flew into my window and gave me the missing piece of the puzzle (thanks, buddy!). Take Up Serpents opened up 2009's Matchitehew Festival, a couple of hunched, masked alchemists spread out on the floor, doing their metallic incantations for the handful of people that actually come out to shows while it's still daylight out. My only thought at the time was that their amplifiers didn't seem to be coming through in the clutch for them, but a listen to the MP3 of the band's performance the next night on WLUW tells the full story. Alone in their chambers, the tinkling cymbal crashes and scutchy, crackling transmissions set a charming scene -- the inside of a non-descript cabin creaking and rattling while the world collapses outside.

Nerfbau, on the other hand, don't take their apocalypse so somberly, and sound more like a giant purple electronic kazoo rampaging a stop-motion animated version of the MIT Electronics Lab circa 1953. You like Rick Potts? You like Solid Eye? There you go. Shambling one step, lockstep the next, all encased in a lickable asbestos candy shell, it's all supercomputers and Dada from here on out. What's it sound like? It sounds like this.

Karl Paloucek is another story entirely. A charter member of the Midwest's finest industrial band of all time, Boy Dirt Car, as well as its modern incarnation Fuckface, Karl knows his machinery. He shackles a piano, some metal, and, most intriguingly, a series of sewing machines together into a sick three-legged tango. Those who saw it the first time declared it the Best Thing Ever of the week. If you missed it then, you ought not to now.

Warming up in the bullpen and ready to round the bases are analogue electronics trio Green Pasture Happiness and the ever-dependable Vertonen. $7 at the door, abandon all hope, and all that rot.

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