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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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Monday, October 2

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« DMB Caravan Saturday: In Which We Question the Future of This Musical Venue DMB Caravan Sunday: In Which We Finish Country, Strong »

Dave Matthews Band Caravan Mon Jul 11 2011

DMB Caravan Saturday: In Which I Attempt Physical Activity

I'll admit, I've never been the biggest Dave Matthews Band fan, but with a handful of not-to-be-missed artists (namely, The Flaming Lips covering Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety), I've been looking forward to the DMB Caravan more than any other music festival this summer. Still, I had my apprehensions.

Upon arriving Saturday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was the dirt. There wasn't any grass to be found, anywhere. Not that music festivals are known for their cleanliness, but large, sharp rocks scattered among the dirt made walking uncomfortable and sitting nearly impossible. The area directly in front of each stage was covered in wood chips, but if you wanted to relax further away from the stage, there were hardly any options, save a bench or two in the middle of the field.

The advantage DMB Caravan has over the other big summer music festivals in Chicago is space. I never had any issue whatsoever walking from one stage to the next in 10 minutes or less. The large festival grounds also afforded room for a plethora of non-music related activities, from the giant ferris wheel in the center of the festival to some sort of off-roading track at the side of the grounds.

Photos by Rory O'Connor

I had been invited by the good people over at Dos Equis to participate in a competition to find the "Most Interesting Blogger in the World". I had naïvely assumed the competition would consist of blogging about various events at the festival, so I arrived on Saturday prepped with my laptop, extra battery, camera, cords, the whole set-up. The actual competition? Log rolling. For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, log rolling consists of two people standing on opposite ends of a piece of wood, attempting to knock their opponent off by spinning the log.

Now, I have never been known for my physical prowess. I am the kid picked last in gym class. To top it all off, as I was not expecting any sort of physical activity this day, I was wearing a dress and flats. Needless to say I fell on my face. Several times. In front of many spectators. It is with utter shame that I share this video with you, the least embarrassing of my many falls:

After downing a Dos Equis to drown my sorrows over not being named the "Most Interesting Blogger in the World", I headed over to the South Works stage to catch sets from Liz Phair and Ben Folds. Liz Phair is an artist I listened to for a brief period in the 90's, but haven't followed her career since. It might have been the exhaustion or the hot sun beating down on me, but I was a bit bored by her set. And I wasn't alone, as my concert-going companions opted to take a nap on the wood chips rather than listen to her play.


I am fully aware of how unhip it makes me, but I love me some Ben Folds. Sure, he does the exact same hokey schtick at every show, but I still eat it up. And while he played almost every one of his usual crowd-pleaser songs, the set just didn't work here. See, the South Works stage also happened to be where the Dave Matthews Band would be playing later that night, and the majority of the crowd who were standing up front seemed to be simply staking their claim at a decent viewing spot for the headlining act, and couldn't care less about what was going on onstage.


Problem is, most of Ben Folds' set relies on audience participation, and Saturday afternoon this just wasn't going to happen. He tried to get the audience enthused with "Army" and "Not The Same", but after almost no response from the disinterested crowd, he ended up singing the audience participation portions himself. Granted, when you play a festival, you have to take into account that a good percentage of the crowd isn't going to be terribly familiar with your material. Still, I saw Ben play at Lollapalooza back in 2009 to an enthusiastic and participatory audience. I guess Dave Matthews Band fans and Ben Folds just don't mix.


After that total let-down, I headed over to the Lakeside Stage for Kid Cudi. At this point I was exhausted, sore, and covered head-to-toe in dirt, but luckily this ended up being the highlight of the night. For the first time that weekend, I saw people dancing, having a good time and actually enjoying the concert. The enthusiasm of the crowd can really make or break the concert-going experience, and the atmosphere between Ben Folds and Kid Cudi was like two different worlds. Unfortunately, I had to leave the show a bit early to catch my ride home, but judging from reports of nightmare commutes, I made the best decision. We left the festival with zero traffic and I made it all the way to my far north side apartment in less than 45 minutes.

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rocketgirl / July 15, 2011 4:39 AM

Have ya’ll heard of the artist Pete RG?! If not you’re definitely missing out on a great folk/Americana singer! His music reminds me of a mix between Andrew Bird and David Gray. You can get a FREE download of his song “Baby Steps” Let me know what you think!

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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

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  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
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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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