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Wednesday, December 11

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Review Tue Jul 12 2011

Review: Sundowner @ Bottom Lounge


Photo by Katie Karpowicz

In 2007 local label Red Scare digitally released Four One Five Two, a twelve-track debut from artist Sundowner. Four One Five Two was full of acoustic tracks ranging from whimsical jaunts to self-deprecating wallows, but the most notable element of this release was the voice that accompanied the music. The man behind this album was Chris McCaughan, guitarist and co-frontman of Chicago punk favorites The Lawrence Arms.

On Saturday, more than four years later, Sundowner aka McCaughan celebrated the vinyl release of Four One Five Two with a show in the intimate upstairs bar area of the Bottom Lounge.

Despite the relaxed atmosphere of the show--a gathering of Chicago punk fans and friends--McCaughan's set was still teeming with professionalism. While the show celebrated Sundowner's debut LP, there were still plenty of cuts from his follow-up album, 2010's We Chase the Waves, and even a couple Lawrence Arms' tracks--namely "The Revisionist" and "Fireflies"--worked into McCaughan's setlist. The songs were played in rapid-fire succession, eliminating almost all between-song banter. However, this pace wasn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, when your songs are as poetic and personal as some of Sundowner's hard-hitting tracks like the painfully wry "Mouth of a Tiger" or the somber croon of "In the Flicker" there's not much else to say.


Photo by Katie Karpowicz

About halfway through his set, after belting out the quirky minute and 36 second jam "Baseball's Sad Lexicon," McCaughan wrapped up the acoustic part of his set and--much to the audience's pleasure--plugged in an electric guitar to finish out the night with. McCaughan, who's been long regarded as the more polished voice in comparison to his Lawrence Arms co-vocalist Brendan Kelly, let his rich vocals drift out over the coarse distortion of his Les Paul, creating a hauntingly good time for reverent listeners. It was truly a treat for anyone expecting to hear the same acoustic versions of songs like "Midsummer Classic" and "What Beadie Said" that appear on Sundowner's records.

Sundowner delivered a fantastic set in both quality and quantity. The set lasted well over an hour, starting around 11pm and continuing into the new day. That duration seems even more impressive when considering only a handful of Sundowner's songs surpass the three-minute mark. The abundant setlist combined with McCaughan's flawless recreation of his solo productions made the late night trek out to West Loop more than worth it.

Vinyl copies of Four One Five Two will be available for sale on Red Scare's site on August 9.

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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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