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Tuesday, March 5

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Review Fri Mar 23 2012

Review: A Place To Bury Strangers @ Empty Bottle, 3/21/12

[This review and photos come to us from reader Rachel Angres.]


After an abbreviated performance by DJ Brady, The Big Sleep, a Brooklyn based noise-psych band, opened the show Wednesday night at The Empty Bottle. The crowd trickled in as local group APTEKA played a short but lively set. Within 20 minutes, the entire venue was packed. People shoved each other to get to the front and catch a glimpse of A Place To Bury Strangers members setting up for their performance. "I love their pedals. I want to take them apart and create something even more crazy with them," said an audience member, motioning towards the homemade creations splayed along the stage floor.

A Place To Bury Strangers' lead singer and guitarist, Oliver Ackermann, sang with a calm and buzzing tenor. He dragged the neck and body of his off-white, rusted guitar across the ceiling and dropped it down to the floor. One of Ackermann's signature techniques is to experiment with the instruments while on stage. In one instance, he placed the guitar directly in front of the floor amp, creating aching and abrasive feedback. The bassist, Dion Lunadon, sang eloquently and shredded it on the bass. Lunadon was by far the hit of the evening — with fog and fluorescents flickering, his frame luminous and stoic. His fingers frantically manipulated the strings with fervent perfection.


Jay Space, the newest member and current drummer of the band, played loudly, crashing symbols and stomping on the kick drum with sheer aggression. He flickered in and out of the spotlight, and the audience caught glimpses of long strands of his black hair saturating his face with sweat.

At certain times throughout the set, Ackermann would retreat from the microphone and while strumming he would just watch the audience. It seemed as if he was trying to nonchalantly scan the room for an overall feel of the mood — maybe so he could exert the same amount of energy on stage. Intentions aside, it was near comical to watch him watch the crowd, a small smirk curling upon his face.

This subtle interaction with the crowd became very intimate at times. And it became apparent that Ackermann not only knew the material all too well, but also made a point to acknowledge what was happening all around him and engage himself in the atmosphere.

Photographers leaned in as close as they could, to get a glimpse of what Ackernmann was doing when the fog lifted and the lights dimmed. From any perspective it was hard to say what exactly he was up to, while he squatted in the corner with his back towards the audience, switching around wires and turning knobs maniacally like some mad scientist.
The set was energetic from start to finish. A Place To Bury Strangers played for nearly an hour without even a breather in between songs. And in their finale they all walked offstage abruptly as the reverb echoed in the ringing ears of a smitten audience.

Walking out of the venue was like the popping in your ears on an airplane ride, sighing deeply with gratitude for the release of tension. Everyone chatting outside screamed a bit at first, not fully aware that they were suffering from temporary deafness; all side effects can be given credit to A Place To Bury Strangers wall of sound battle with the audience...which in the end they ultimately won.

This atypical Wednesday night at Empty Bottle was nothing less than a challenge to conquer the limitations of sound.

-Rachel Angres

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Manny / March 23, 2012 3:56 PM

All I gotta say is cringe balls.

wall of sound / March 29, 2012 2:41 AM

rachel do you even know that oliver builds his own pedals and has a company that he owns and he produces some of the best pedal ever to put on the market commenting on the way people look more than the music its self is shite oliver has made pedas for the edge,trent rez,and others ..come on do some research yo

Rachel / March 31, 2012 1:32 PM

Yes to wall of sound comment

I am aware of Oliver's work

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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.

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  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
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Oh My Rockness
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Theft Liable to Prosecution
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