Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Friday, December 1

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Concert Mon May 02 2011

Neon Marshmallow Fest 2011 - Bright Lights, Snacks Made From Hooves

Neon Ball.jpg

Can it really have been a year already since the three-day Neon Marshmallow Festival last set fire to our ears and juiced our pain/pleasure receptors until our everyday life was just one big gray screen? Well, not quite. Last year's fest took place in late August; this year's event will be June 10-12, so it's more like 10 months. All the better!

This year's festival will be entirely more manageable for several reasons. One, it's three nights, with no daytime component (last year's noon - 3 a.m. trudge on Saturday was pretty brutal) and no two-stage system. Also, since it's at The Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western), all the action is centrally located. Here's the stage; just face in this direction and you'll be fine.

This year's event features a similarly well-rounded set of acts, with sonics ranging from sonorous/pretty to vengeful/remorseless, sometimes back to back. Something for everybody, but also nothing for everybody.

The name that's got everybody talking this year is a true legend, not just in "noise" circles, but in the history of all electronic music everywhere -- Morton Subotnick, creator of such timeless electronic works as The Wild Bull, Silver Apples of the Moon, The Key To Songs, Touch, Sidewinder, and A Sky of Cloudless Sulphur and early innovator on the Buchla synthesizer, will be performing on Sunday night. I don't care whether your taste in modern electronics leans toward Boards of Canada or Incapacitants, YOU OWE THIS MAN YOUR LIFE. Come thank him in person.

If genuflecting before the legends ain't your bag, perhaps there is something else here to entice you. For instance: the vicious, quick-cut noise of Sickness, distortion-pedal satori from The Rita, a lesson in primal frenzy from Sword Heaven, or Bill Orcutt's five-step plan to reduce a fully-functioning guitar to a pile of splinters. Rotating the coin to its opposite face, we find song-based ambient shimmer from Rene Hell, Dark-hued environmental despair from Khanate/Khlyst's James Plotkin, Emeralds spinoff Outer Space, dance-party trickster Leslie Keffer, Mike Shiflet's precise ear arousals, Oneohtrix Point Never's arcane cold-wave constructions, and the fugue-state synth meditations of Pulse Emitter. Each night also includes experimental film screenings and between-set DJing between sets.

Three-day passes costs $70, or you can buy single-day passes for $25. For all the info you require, go to the festival's website. Below the fold, you can check out the full daily lineup and a handful of clips from festival performers.

FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2011
Lucky Dragons
White Rainbow
Rene Hell
James Plotkin
Michael Zerang | Michael Colligan | Jim Baker Trio
Spiral Joy Band
film: Experimental 1/2 Hour

Oneohtrix Point Never
Bill Orcutt
Outer Space
Sword Heaven
Dylan Ettinger
Leslie Keffer
film: Selected animated works of Alice Cohen

SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2011
Morton Subotnick
The Rita
Pulse Emitter
Telecult Powers
Mike Shiflet
Sick Llama
Beau Wanzer
Tiger Hatchery
film: Selected works of Amy Ruhl

Morton Subotnick:


The Rita:

Sword Heaven:

Rene Hell:

Oneohtrix Point Never:

James Plotkin:

Bill Orcutt:

Mike Shiflet:

Outer Space:

Sick Llama:

Leslie Keffer:

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nicko / May 7, 2011 3:40 AM

i'm a weird dude, but even so.. this is all so strange to me.

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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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