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Tuesday, January 31

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Concert Thu Dec 02 2010

Northpilot @ Cubby Bear, 12/4

NP2 small.jpg

Listening to Northpilot's song "Naked Before My Captors," you can feel the onset of another Chicago winter. Snowflakes practically swirl from the track's twinkling pianos as lead singer Travis Shaver metaphorically exposes parts of himself to the listener. Perhaps it's Michigan's brutal winters or Detroit's economic woes that echo through the urban angst of Northpilot's work. It's the sort of decay and dystopia that underlies the movie 8 Mile and BBC's 2009 documentary about the city. Originally from Michigan, friends Shaver and Mark Colwell discussed the band's history and Chicago's scene over hot tea at Lakeview's LooseLeaf Lounge Wednesday night.

As the founding members of Northpilot, Shaver and Colwell migrated to Chicago in early 2003 after college. Since then, they quickly added others to their collective. The band is now comprised of other fellow Michigan transplants, including Matthew Cragnolin on bass, Dan Julian on drums, Danielle Schnurer on keyboards and Justin Vittori on guitars and whistling. Just as they added members to the band, Northpilot has also been adding fans.

No strangers to getting the word out, Colwell and Shaver stumbled upon the chance to get a music video sponsored by 7-11 through a contest after Googling "battle of the bands." In the end, the band made a valiant effort, but ultimately did not win the contest. However, they did gain more friends. As musicians in the age of social media, they saw their Facebook fans swell from 400 to 1,200. Colwell, who studied advertising in college, works as an online marketer and researcher in River North. He handles much of the band's promotions, but it's still largely a team effort. "It's nice to offer fans a little more...we want to eventually build an internal community and focus our message to our fans," Shaver said, between sips of chamomile tea. Fans are important to the band, and the band is hyper-aware of what it might take to get to the next level — getting signed.

"I feel scattered," Shaver said. He expressed discontent about the fact that Chicago really hasn't been identified or found out to be the newest music scene for the malleable indie-pop genre.

"I think that there are a lot of good local bands in Chicago, and that there are particular scenes that are getting by and are getting a following. But, there's still very little industry interest. All the labels are looking at New York, and so the question becomes, can we get them to look here, or do we go to them," Colwell added.

Northpilot does its part for Chicago by touring the midwest in hopes of gaining this attention. If they can't find the scene, they just might make it themselves — or at least help. Shaver continued to share his concerns, "are people not looking at us, or are we not trying hard enough as a band?"

Northpilot is one of many Chicago bands trying to make our great city thrive as a music scene. You can see them live at the Cubby Bear in Wrigleyville at 9p.m. this Saturday night, December 4th. When asked why you should come out to see them play, Shave offered, "I'm pretty sure we plan not to wear pants this time...I think that's still the plan...and it's great music."

Northpilot plays the Cubby Bear on 12/4. Doors open at 8pm and they'll perform along with Faraday and Workout Music. 21+ Tickets are $5. The Cubby Bear is located at 1059 W. Addison St.

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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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