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Wednesday, April 17

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Concert Tue Oct 04 2011

Astronautalis Surprises -- Even Himself

Astronautalis is on a roll, and boy, is he riding it. The Minneapolis-based MC/vocalist's performance on Saturday at Schubas brought a packed room, much to his own amazement. He repeated his thanks throughout the night, clearly astounded. "I expected maybe 50 people to show up tonight, to be honest," he said at one point. "And we had more than 100 tickets sold in presale. You guys are incredible."

It's Astronautalis' rabid fan base that's providing that wave of success. His new album, This Is Our Science, arrived with noticeable fanfare, largely due to bloggers and word of mouth. There's nothing like the devoted. Astronautalis' songs are often unwieldy mouthfuls, linguistically crafty and referencing everything from Joni Mitchell to making out in a hallway to the Battle of Trenton. So it was rather impressive that his fans seemed to know every goddamn word to his songs, singing along, eagerly providing every whoa and ooh. The name "King Charlemagne" doesn't just roll off the tongue, you know. The crowd's excitement was palpable, and so was Astro's -- and when everyone's that revved up, you know it's gonna get good.

Astronautalis is an unlikely-looking MC. Blonde, big blue eyes, and dressed in jeans and a button-up shirt, he reminded me of the North Dakotan farm boys I grew up with. But that incongruity was forgotten as he tore through old favorites like the party stomper "Trouble Hunters" and the intense "Mr. Wondersmith and His Sons." Backed by a super-solid band, his voice grew increasingly worn and gravel-edged as the night wore on, making tracks from his new album, such as the rough-around-the-edges ballad "Measure the Globe" and the soaring single "Contrails," sound all the more poignant.

I'd be remiss if I also didn't mention one of the evening's openers, a fellow performing under the moniker Ant'lrd. After mentioning he's only lived in Chicago for three weeks, and armed only with a programming gear and a drum kit, he began one of the most intriguing sets I've seen from an opening band in a long while. Bringing together head-bobbing beats with densely layered haziness a la My Bloody Valentine, Ant'lrd is definitely one to keep an eye on.

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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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