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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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Tuesday, April 23

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Concert Mon Feb 27 2012

Review: White Mystery's Big Tour Sendoff @ the Empty Bottle, 2/26/12

[Photos and review by reader Luke Wilusz.]


Alex White and her younger brother, Francis, are known for their relentless touring as the local garage-punk duo White Mystery. It's not unusual for them to play several shows a week at venues all over the city. They bid an energetic farewell to their hometown Sunday night with an impressive show at The Empty Bottle to kick off an extensive tour of the U.S. and Canada, during which Alex said they would play in "every city in America" for a total of more than 70 shows.

Local psychedelic trio Dark Fog opened the show, entertaining the growing crowd with lengthy instrumental jams filled with spacey, warbling guitars and funky bass lines. They were followed by Boston dance-punk band Earthquake Party, who were on their first tour and played Chicago for the first time. Despite some technical difficulties with a faulty microphone, their keyboard-driven melodies, dual vocals and driving punk-rock riffs made for a good show.

White Mystery opened their set with their self-titled anthem. Brother and sister joined together in the chant of "We Are White Mystery" amid Alex's bluesy guitar riffs and Francis' steady, methodical drumming. They followed that up with "Powerglove" and "Blood & Venom," the songs flowing together into one continuous jam bridged by extended drum or guitar solos.


The energy between the two siblings was palpable. Francis often disappeared into a blur of drum sticks and fiery red hair while Alex jumped across the stage, throwing her head from side to side to the wails of her guitar. Not a song went by without a flurry of the siblings' massive, curly red hair flying to and fro in time with the music.

They really hit their stride about halfway through the set list during "Birthday." The back-and-forth vocal structure brought out the natural chemistry between the siblings, with Francis responding to Alex's verses with enthusiastic gems like "Boogie down in your birthday suit." It allowed them to riff off of each other and showcase just how dynamic of a duo they can be.

In between songs, Alex bantered good-naturedly with the audience, and it was hard to believe that the woman who had just belted out the "Born to be Wild"-esque chorus to "Smoke" or screamed "I just wanna be bad" during "Good Girl" was the same one who was curtsying and politely thanking the audience in a surprisingly innocent-sounding voice that's higher than her recordings would lead one to believe.

She displayed a more nuanced vocal range onstage than the echoing garage-punk shouts of the band's albums, often going from a soft croon to a high-pitched shriek within the same line. As the extended solos and instrumental interludes piled up and the band performed a slower, blues-styled cover of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode," it quickly became apparent that a White Mystery record, while still a great listening experience, is just a poor substitute for the spectacle of seeing them live.

-Luke Wilusz

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Miss Alex White / February 28, 2012 3:06 PM

Hey, thanks Gapers Block! Check out the whole White Mystery tour here

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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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