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Thursday, September 16

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Transmission

Interview Fri Aug 31 2012

Chicago's Up-And-Coming: Interview with Cold Blue Kid

Atmospheric. Hauntingly mesmerizing. These fresh, layered indie rock sounds from up-and-coming Chicago band Cold Blue Kid can be found on both albums they've recorded, from their self-titled debut released in 2010, to the more cultivated Mimic, released in February of this past year. I got a chance to chat with frontman Alex Longoria about Cold Blue Kid's history, namesake, and what the future holds for the dynamic group.

Cold Blue Kid's music has a unique, innovative sound, but also one that is also grounded in stability. The dreamy, fuzzy backdrops combined with darker rock elements and experimentation with different instruments leads to the culmination of a soothing soundtrack featuring all that is good in the world of indie folk rock. Songs range from introspective, comprised of languid beats, to summery, synth-induced rock.

"I'm always writing music. I feel like I have journals, and journals, because I always wrote. Maybe they are not full songs, but I went back and took these abstract obscure words and put them together," Longoria stated of his song-writing method.

Continue reading this entry »

Sarah Brooks

Video Fri Aug 31 2012

Kill'em Already

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix of Liturgy performed Shellac's "Prayer to God" a cappella in the latest of A.V. Club's "Undercover" cover song series.

Andrew Huff

Classical Thu Aug 30 2012

Pulling Strings: For classical music in Chicago, you got a guy - September 2012

By Elliot Mandel

Music is like drugs — really, it's science — and if you're like me, you're itching for concert season to start up again. Luckily, it's September and your options are plentiful. Head to Millennium Park for one last outdoor hurrah, or have the elevator operator take you to the eighth floor of the Fine Arts Building. A woman on the Lawrence bus once told me "Bach is better than Xanax," and who am I to argue?

Continue reading this entry »

Elliot Mandel

Event Wed Aug 29 2012

Dwyane Wade Proves Chicago Has Talent

For Chicago native and NBA superstar Dwyane Wade, all kids deserve a "shot" -- a chance to show their artistry -- and through the Wade's World Foundation's D. Wade's Chicago Has Talent, his annual youth showcase, they showed it in a huge way. "This is our fifth year with Chicago Has Talent and every year the talent gets better and better," said Wade.

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Front: Dwyane Wade; back row, l to r: David Silbaugh (judge), Lil Rel (host), Tika Sumpter (host) & Billy Dec (judge).

For hundreds of kids, the showcase, held last weekend at the Chicago Theater as part of "Wade's World Weekend," was a welcome escape from the day-to-day ills that lately have plagued the city's youth. "Chicago Has Talent is a no-brainer for us to do; it's our way of answering the violence," said Tragil Wade, the foundation's executive director. "What we decided to do is to create a platform for all our creative babies out there."

Continue reading this entry »

LaShawn Williams / Comments (2)

Review Tue Aug 28 2012

Review: Lindsey Buckingham @ Chicago's City Winery (and a Look at the New Venue)

City Winery Chicago exterior -credit John Zomot.jpg
Chicago's City Winery (photo by John Zomot, courtesy of City Winery)

The Chicago outpost of New York's City Winery has sort of been slowly rolling out the welcome mat over the past three weeks with a flurry of soft-opening and press events, a week's worth of Lewis Black shows, and a few musical acts to break in the venue. Last night, the second of two sold-out shows by legendary guitarist Lindsey Buckingham provided a great opportunity to really see how the new venue is settling into Chicago's musical landscape.

First, the venue itself. Chicago's iteration of City Winery represents the "2.0" version of New York's City Winery, the creation of Michael Dorf, founder and long-time CEO of legendary jazz and rock venue The Knitting Factory. Building on the success of the New York outpost, Dorf brought the concept to Chicago, where it has been fully realized in a very heavily re-purposed warehouse space on Randolph Street, just west of that area's burgeoning restaurant zone. Intended to be something of a one-stop shop for your nightlife needs, City Winery incorporates a large restaurant, several informal lounge areas, various spaces that are intended to serve as flexible private areas, and a functioning winery that will soon take its first delivery of grapes and begin serving its own house wines early next year. Attached to the attractive public spaces is a roughly 300-seat well designed "listening room" that will feature mostly musical acts, booked by Old Town School alum Colleen Miller. While the restaurant, lounge, and winery spaces are perfectly nice, it is the venue that makes City Winery unique in Chicago, and in this way, it is less filling a niche in a town with an already vibrant musical scene, than finding its own way.

Continue reading this entry »

Dan Snedigar

North Coast Music Festival Tue Aug 28 2012

Best Bets for the North Coast Music Festival

It's back again: North Coast Music Festival, one of our favorite festivals of the summer. In fact, it's one of the last until we're engulfed in cold weather once again. If you've got tickets to "summer's last stand" this weekend you'll want to make sure you do it right and find exactly what you're looking for amidst the heavy hitting lineup. We've got some recommendations on how to do just that:

Best chance of getting onstage: Girl Talk

It's a known fact that Girl Talk puts on the kind of show that feels more like one big,
communal dance party. Greg Gillis--the man behind the mashup moniker--doesn't like to
feel left out. In addition to toilet paper guns and confetti, a mob of dancers--handpicked
from the crowd--is also a part of nearly every Girl Talk show. Keep yours eyes and ears
out before his headlining slot as his onstage dance mob is often selected throughout the day leading up to the set. It's been a couple years since Gillis dropped All Day so--if you don't wind up lucky enough to join him onstage--you can still be hopeful for some new cuts. Gotye vs. Chief Kief, anyone?
- Katie Karpowicz

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Katie Karpowicz

Review Mon Aug 27 2012

Review: Gotye, Missy Higgins @ Charter One Pavilion, 8/24

It was an all-Australian cast on Northerly Island Friday night. Openers Jonti and Missy Higgins paved the way for radio darling Gotye and his band on a night filled with moonlight and lake breezes. Just a few days into his second North American tour of 2012, the crowds amassing were part curiosity seekers and part bargain hunters who'd scored a deal on tickets through Groupon. Attention spans were diminished, to be sure, but while there may have been some "concert tourism" going on in the stands, there was nothing but earnest professionalism coming from the stage.

Sound crafter Jonti opened up the night right on time with loops and sonic spins from an array of (perhaps homemade?) equipment on the stage. A lone figure in the fading light of the sunset, he didn't conjure much attention from the post-work crowd who'd snugged in close to the stage for prime spots. The second opener, Missy Higgins, fared much better with the crowd, which at least had some experience with her music. The stage lights were just warming up when Missy hit the stage and for three or four songs, her band seemed lost in a half-glow of stage lights that seemed an afterthought. By the end of her set, however, both the lighting and the crowd had warmed up to this wee singer. Backed by a band filled with fine harmonizing singers, and some great bass playing from fellow Aussie, Butterfly Boucher (who the local camera guys seemed to find very interesting, indeed), Missy did an all-around solid job of weaving through her hits and her new album. I wanted her songs to be a little harder, a little more in-your-face with emotion, but I don't think that's really Missy's style. She was sweet and charming and perfectly sing-a-long-able. I think her best qualities were likely lost on a crowd set against the backdrop of a Great Lake, and she'd do better in smaller venues with more wood paneling and hushed ambiance. Still, Missy did a fine job making the crowd her new best friends, and kept everyone fixated on the stage, wondering what was still to come from the headliner who followed her.

After what seemed like an eternity of focusing each individual light by the band's obviously perfectionist light designer, the main attraction finally took the stage. When I'd spoken with Gotye earlier, he remarked that the band was bringing redesigned visual accompaniment with them on tour. Having never seen the show, I expected some lighting swirls and maybe a few scrims. What I was confronted with, however, was much much more than that. Gotye's live show is an auditory and visual assault on the senses. Each song is paired with a perfectly synced music video of sorts, displayed on a large screen running the length and width of the back of the stage. Ranging from nightmarish cartoons, to ink swirls in tanks of water, each song comes with its own visual narration to pair with the words and music performed on stage. It reminded me of the very best of MTV before the network went all reality show, all the time. The utter synchronicity of the images with the live performances was an accomplishment in itself, but the fact that these visuals seemed to add a deeper quality to the narrative, even to songs that didn't have lyrics, was a treat for everyone in attendance.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Review Sat Aug 25 2012

Review: Sam Moore @ City Winery, 8/24

Sam Moore came to fame in the legendary Atlantic/Stax duo Sam & Dave with Dave Prater in the early 1960s. They had a slew of R&B and soul hits. His solo career has had its peaks and valleys. It hasn't quite reached the highs that Sam & Dave did, but he's picked up numerous accolades and kept his voice in very good shape. At Friday's show at City Winery, the 76-year old showcased that pure tenor by flying through his hits and a handful of covers. Getting the ball rolling was a long "Hold On, I'm Comin'" that began with his backup singers singing "Hold on, Sam's coming." Following that was the duet version of Eddie Floyd's "Knock on Wood" and Allen Touissant's "Get Out of My Life, Woman" that Moore playfully directed to a lady in the front.

Before Friday, the only time I'd seen footage of Sam Moore had been via the Stax/Volt European tour videos (here). I'm realistic enough to know that he's not the same as he was 45 years ago, but through the first half-hour he barely moved when not singing. That changed later on as he interacted with the crowd more. There were calls and responses. There were conversations with people in the front. The man is charming. Ray Charles' "I've Got News For You" and Ann Peebles' "I Can't Stand the Rain", especially the latter, got some excitement rolling through the crowd. Then a cover of Billy Preston's "You Are So Beautiful" brought things down a notch and also displayed the drawback of City Winery as a music venue. There are some people who go specifically to hear music. But like any music venue that serves meals, there're others who want to eat, converse and have music in the background. These crowds obviously do not get along. So a quieter song opens the door for shushers. And that's not fun for anyone. (Although, everything else about City Winery is really nice. Sightlines are clear; even the pillar in the music room doesn't block anyone's view. The sound is terrific.)

Once the tempo jumped up, the mood in the room improved. A rousing "I Thank You" led into "Soul Man" to get a majority of the crowd to stand from their comfortable seats. To close out the night, Moore's wife, Joyce, walked on stage to ask demand that he play "Sweet Home Chicago." At first, he seemed surprised at the request, but fulfilled it. Midway through, he joked with someone up front about singing with him. When a woman with real pipes busted through to join him on stage, Moore was stunned by her bluesy voice. (I suspected she was a ringer. So did the people next to me.) She improvised a little before giving the show back to the star who wrapped it up neatly. Coming in under an hour, the set was a little short, but people got what they wanted.

James Ziegenfus / Comments (4)

Preview Fri Aug 24 2012

Preview: Ray LaMontagne @ The Chicago Theatre

Are you a fan of folk music? Do you enjoy listening to crooning singer-songwriters who sport hearty beards? If so, it's likely that you're no stranger to Ray LaMontagne's tunes. Whether you listened to his debut album, Trouble, sang along to "You Are the Best Thing" one too many times (I am guilty of this one), or checked out his solo material featuring the Pariah Dogs, Ray LaMontagne's versatile, timeless music is one that can speak to all ages for years to come with its universal quality.

With his four albums and dynamic material ranging from bluesy "Three More Days," to solemn "Be Here Now," to country twang-induced "Beg Steal or Borrow," LaMontagne's music spans many musical styles naturally. You can hear Ray LaMontagne this November at a special solo acoustic show at The Chicago Theatre. This venue will be the perfect spot to showcase his music with its stellar acoustics, and LaMontagne's raspy, booming voice will be a perfect fit. If you're new to his music, preview his folk style below as you take a listen to "Empty":

Ray LaMontagne will play an acoustic solo show at the Chicago Theatre on Friday, November 30, 2012. The show begins at 8pm. Tickets range from $49.50 to $69.50 for reserved seating, and will go on sale Saturday, August 25 at 10am. The Chicago Theatre is located at 175 North State Street, (312)462-6300.

Sarah Brooks

Video Tue Aug 21 2012

The Grid: LAMPO

"LAMPO" is the ninth installment of our short film series, The Grid. These documentaries are posted throughout Gapers Block and compiled in their own multimedia feature section.


Since 1997, LAMPO has presented experimental music and intermedia events to adventurous Chicago audiences. Find out about upcoming shows at lampo.org, and hear more about LAMPO from Director Andrew Fenchel on WBEZ.

About The Grid

This video is part of a series profiling Chicago businesses, subcultures and landscapes. These short, lyrical documentaries aspire to be art cinema, ethnographies, and experiments in form. Producer Ben Kolak's directorial debut, Scrappers, scrappersmovie.com, won Best Documentary at the Chicago Underground Film Festival and made Roger Ebert's list of top documentaries for 2010. Sound recordist and editor Alex Inglizian does sound for LAMPO and is chief engineer at Experimental Sound Studio. Graphic Designer Akemi Hong is a recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's graduate program in Visual Communication Design.

The Grid is funded in part by the Chicago Instructional Technology Foundation Digital Media Production Fund.

Transmission

Interview Mon Aug 20 2012

Interview: Gotye Talks About Songwriting, Record Shops, and His Live Show

If you've been steering clear of Saturday Night Live, your radio, your friend's radio, cars with their windows open, You Tube, or just about everyone's iPod, I could see how you've avoided hearing the song "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Belgian-born, and now Austrailia-based singer/songwriter Gotye. It happens. Take a moment and watch the much-parodied and remixed video for the song, below:

Gotye's sample-heavy music is catchy, and instantly likable — filled with intriguing sonic diversions that head all over the musical stratosphere. In advance of his show at the Charter One Pavilion on August 24, I was lucky enough to get him on the phone in Australia for a quick chat, in which he opened up about the odd likability of the breakup story in his hit single, his songwriting process, how he likes to discover new tunes, and more.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Review Sat Aug 18 2012

Review: The Very Best @ Lincoln Hall, 8/17

"Africa is the future," stated t-shirt worn by The Very Best Malawian vocalist Esau Mwamwaya. After listening to last night's performance by The Very Best, duo Mwamwaya and London producer Johan Hugo, this statement translated for African dance pop music may very well be true, as Lincoln Hall packed a fun, energized set of acts for concertgoers on Friday night.

The first opener of the evening, Chicago native rapper Kid Static, sauntered onstage, hovered over the microphone and announced that he had literally just traveled to Lincoln Hall after de-boarding a plane. As his opening song began, I was honestly a bit nervous as he was still lingering around the microphone with little movement, but this rapidly changed gears. Kid Static amped up his set, packed with intricate rap numbers comprised of a deliberate flow and catchy hooks. He would frequently interact with the crowd, by hopping offstage and walking through the audience, never missing a beat. At one point he even walked to the back of the crowd, out the door to Lincoln Hall's bar area, and back around through the other side, never letting the song get off track. Kid Static's "World Goes Round" became a highlight of the set for audience members, which began with a lush string intro and developed into an interesting sample for the track. His set was a fun way to start the night off for some great music ahead.

Continue reading this entry »

Sarah Brooks

Video Thu Aug 16 2012

Video Premiere: "I'm Pregnant" by Ami Saraiya & The Outcome

If you're wondering what accordions and animated chalk animals have in common, they're both alive and well in the latest video showcasing the wistful, cabaret sounds of Ami Saraiya & The Outcome. The song, "I'm Pregnant," off of the band's latest album, Soundproof Box, made its debut at their show last night at Lincoln Hall, but we're very pleased to be the first to bring it to you online. It's a pleasant way to daydream yourself through a rainy Thursday, don't you think?

Anne Holub

Venue Wed Aug 15 2012

The Future of Cal's Bar is Uncertain

Cal's LiquorsA bombshell dropped in an offhand comment from one of the organizers of the Neutron Bomb reading series: Cal's Bar is in danger of closing later this year.

"I can't say yes, and I can't say no," said co-owner Cal Feirstein. He said that the building at 400 S. Wells St. is under contract to be sold by the bank that has owned the property since the 1980s, and the future of the bar won't be known until the new owner takes control. "There's nothing for sure," co-owner Fred Feirstein said. "So for now it's the status quo."

The South Loop bar and liquor store has long been a favorite of the punk scene as well as the city's bike messengers. Cal's has served as an important stage for punk and experimental music, making space for bands that are just starting out or not able to find a venue elsewhere. Gapers Block's The Grid documentary series visited Cal's in 2011.

Congress Conducts El at Cal's from The Grid on Vimeo.

Photo by Jasmine Davila

Andrew Huff / Comments (2)

Concert Tue Aug 14 2012

Opera for the Masses

By Robert O'Connor

Opera is not the most accessible or popular art form, which is too bad, since its creators intended it to appeal to everyone. Its power is lost on most audiences since it is usually in a language they don't know, and tickets for just one concert at the Lyric Opera can cost as much as $200.

The American Chamber Opera, based in Chicago, is trying to change that, with productions in English of popular operas for a much lower price. It started its season last weekend with a performance of Mozart's opera Don Giovanni.

The ACO performs the opera in the Sanctuary of the Chicago Temple Building, without a set or props. They use the space effectively, with characters walking down the aisle, entering in the back and hiding under the front pew.

Continue reading this entry »

Transmission

Review Mon Aug 13 2012

The Smallest, Craziest Weekend Fest You Didn't Go To

By Timothy A. Schuler

The sun was still high and traffic on Western Avenue still thick, yet the Empty Bottle was filling up, octogenarians clumping around the few tall tables, millennials ordering pints of Green Line from the cash-only bar. By 4:50pm, when 98.7s WFMT's Relevant Tones program went live from the stage, the venue was nearing the capacity of a Friday night punk show.

Despite the club's 20 years bringing noteworthy bands to Ukrainian Village, this was the first live radio broadcast from the Empty Bottle, though it'll be a surprise if this doesn't plant a seed or two in the heads of other Chicago producers. The Thirsty Ear Festival, hosted by Relevant Tones' Seth Boustead, a Chicago composer and founder of education and advocacy group Access Contemporary Music (ACM), was, judging by the performances and the crowd's response and Boustead's own admission at the close of the show, a huge success. Which means the organizers' goal of making it an annual affair is most likely guaranteed.

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As this city does so well, Thirsty Ear was really a celebration of Chicago. A person connecting the dots of Chicago's classical scene would quickly make an intricate web, and that was evident on Saturday. Not only were performers local, but so were many of the featured composers. Everything the Chicago Q Ensemble played was written by a Chicagoan. The Maverick Ensemble's Jason Raynovich slipped an original into the program, as did Boustead actually. Clarinetist James Falzone's set was a single, self-authored composed improvisation (more on that paradox in a minute). And the finale — the Boustead piece — also celebrated contemporary Chicago through visual art. "Three for Zhou B." is a three-part rumination on a trio of paintings done by Bridgeport artists Shan Zuo and DaHuang Zhou.

Continue reading this entry »

Transmission / Comments (2)

Review Fri Aug 10 2012

Review: Rufus Wainwright @ Vic, 8/8

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Rufus Wainwright (photos by Cody Davis)

Midway through Wednesday's show at the Vic, Rufus Wainwright said that he'd spent the afternoon watching documentaries about Vivien Leigh when he was forced inside by the afternoon's rain showers. Prior to the next song, he mentioned watching videos of Gene Tierney on Youtube. Following that, he talked about Liza Minnelli's dismissal of his Judy Garland covers... before performing "The Man Who Got Away." If all that talk about gay icons is what drives Rufus Wainwright to be the performer he was last night, people seeing him later on this tour should flood his inbox with Marlene Dietrich clips.

During a nearly 2-hour performance, Wainwright's tenor voice was in top-notch condition and his band sounded very strong. A dazzling "April Fools" came up early, followed by "Song of You" that prompted him to note that it was a "good point of the show to find out how the rest of the set will go." Based on the crowd's reaction, the answer would have to be "quite well." Even though Wainwright's latest album, the Mark Ronson-produced Out of the Game, is a step back to pop music after a few years dabbling in other interests, old songs didn't necessarily take on new arrangements. And new ones didn't exactly have the Ronson touch either. The ones that'd work in a lounge still sounded swanky and those with some muscle didn't lose a beat. The band shuffled between each genre effortlessly and their leader's showmanship led the way. However, after a rocking "The One You Love", the set unfortunately hit a snag when Wainwright turned things over for a few songs from the upcoming Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You film featuring his mother's music. Now, Teddy Thompson and Krystle Warren are both nice talents (and Kate McGarrigle's music is a treat), but it was a Rufus Wainwright show and his departure from the stage was a cue for everyone to use phones for five minutes.

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Rufus Wainwright (photos by Cody Davis)

But the show quickly got back on track with his return. His flamboyance picked up. The audience came alive. Strangely, a take on his father's "One Man Guy" drew one of the largest recognition applauses of the night. "The Art Teacher" and "Going to a Town" followed to build terrific momentum. Before the latter, Wainwright remarked on the "fabulous job" that Mitt Romney's doing. During the encore, opener Adam Cohen walked out for an inevitable duet of one of his father's songs. Wainwright, who's covered the elder Cohen plenty, declared that he's sick of "Hallelujah" and opted instead for "Chelsea Hotel No. 2." As a big fan of Leonard Cohen, I'm not about to heap praise upon it, but it definitely had its moments and Wainwright's cadence offered an interesting take. (The son soured me immediately during his opening set, but he was tolerable in this role.) A rousing "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" closed out the encore, but the crowd's enthusiasm brought Wainwright out for "Poses" and he delivered remarkably on his own at the piano.

James Ziegenfus

Preview Thu Aug 09 2012

Preview: Thirsty Ear Festival @ Empty Bottle, 8/11

By Timothy A. Schuler

If a person camped out at the Empty Bottle for seven nights straight, they'd almost be guaranteed to see seven shows that shared nothing but the same small, corner stage. It's a venue known for its eclectic taste and a bent toward the fiercely independent, and yet on Saturday it will open its doors for an event that will be somewhat of an outlier to its already fantastically peppered scatter-plot and will make Empty Bottle history.

TheThirstyEar.jpg

The Thirsty Ear Festival, from 5pm to 7pm on Saturday, will be a showcase of contemporary classical music, featuring four Chicago-based groups, including the MAVerick Ensemble, James Falzone, Palomar, and the Chicago Q Ensemble. Organized by Seth Boustead, the executive director of Chicago non-profit Access Contemporary Music and host of WFMT 98.7 FM's Relevant Tones program, the "festival" will also be the first concert ever broadcast live from the Bottle.

Continue reading this entry »

Transmission

Video Thu Aug 09 2012

A 13-Year-Old Rapper Shocks the City with "Get Smoked"

Lil Mouse is a 13-year-old rapper from the Wild 100s. He's already recorded several videos, the first when he was still 12. His latest track, "Get Smoked," has attracted attention for its glorification of popping pills, selling drugs, having sex, shooting people and other activities not usually associated with barely teenaged kids.

In the Sun-Times, Mary Mitchell asks where the outrage is over a child producing gangsta rap. She includes a quote from Che "Rhymefest" Smith, whose first single came out when he was 20.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff / Comments (4)

Concert Wed Aug 08 2012

The Lumineers Announce Chicago Concert

Compelling. Heartfelt. Timeless. Folk music heaven. Those are just a few of the terms that come to mind when I listen to one of my favorite new albums of the year, self-titled debut from emerging folk group The Lumineers. If you haven't heard their music yet, you sure will soon; their single "Ho Hey" is beginning to take airways by storm, as fans are becoming captivated by their refreshing folk sound.

The story of the group's formation began as two men, Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites, experienced grief at the loss of a mutual companion, Jeremiah's brother, Josh Fraites. They played music together to wrestle with their pain, and after doing a stint of shows in New York City, they packed up everything they had and took off for Denver. After discovering multi-instrumentalist Neyla Pekarek via a Craigslist ad to join their group, The Lumineers were formed. From playing at a local open mic night at the Meadowlark, to playing through their own self-booked tour, The Lumineers gathered fans from across the country with their charming folk revival style.

Continue reading this entry »

Sarah Brooks

Concert Tue Aug 07 2012

Review/Photos: Garbage @ Cabaret Metro 8/07/12

Gapers N Top.jpg

After seeing Garbage play last night, it's pretty doubtful that anyone in her/his right mind could claim that Shirley Manson isn't on top of her game. She owned the stage with a strong female assertiveness and her distinctive voice coupled with her rock moves and didn't even seem tired after playing a set that lasted over ninety minutes.

Continue reading this entry »

Kirstie Shanley / Comments (2)

Lollapalooza Tue Aug 07 2012

Lollapalooza: Day Three Recap

Kaskade
Photo by Will Rice, courtesy of Lollapalooza


The last day of Lollapalooza crept up on me, even with the dehydration, sore feet and sunburn. I spent the last day trying to fit in as much of the festival that I had previously missed as possible. Video games in the Playstation Lounge. Crazy dance party in the air conditioned Sony Tent. Grilled cheese on a stick in the Farmer's Market. The line-up on Sunday had more acts I wanted to catch than any other day but there's also loads of non-musical stuff to enjoy around Grant Park over the weekend, so I made sure to take in as much of the festival as possible to get the most out of my Lolla experience.

Continue reading this entry »

Stephanie Griffin

Lollapalooza Mon Aug 06 2012

Getting Popped the Question at Lollapalooza

Music lovers often find each other, it seems. Chicagoan Stefani Klayman got a surprise when her boyfriend brought her on stage Friday during the Yellow Ostrich set at Lollapalooza and proposed. They got the whole thing on the webcast, too. Spoiler: she said yes. Congrats!

Anne Holub

Lollapalooza Sun Aug 05 2012

Lollapalooza: Day Two Recap

Best of the Fest
Photo by Jack Edinger, courtesy of Lollapalooza


I caught several fantastic performances at Saturday's Lollapalooza, but the day will be remembered for the giant storm that swept the festival and led to the complete evacuation of Grant Park. Festival-goers were instructed to take shelter in three underground parking garages, but everyone ended up flooding all the nearby bars and Starbucks instead. A little over two hours later, the storm passed and we were allowed back in. There were mud people everywhere, but I'm not sure which fields actually contained mud because everywhere I went, the ground was somehow still somewhat dry -- a little squishy but not to the point where my feet were even slightly sinking into the ground.

As we filtered back into the festival, everyone shared stories of their evacuation experience. Who were you seeing when the announcement was made? Where did you go? I attempted to get into a couple daytime Lollapalooza parties going on at the Hard Rock and Angels & Kings, but both were obviously filled to capacity. Most people were just wandering the streets aimlessly until they found a Starbucks or other fast food restaurant that wasn't jam-packed. I ended up at a friend's hotel room at the Marriott Courtyard until we received word that we could get back into the festival to finally start enjoying some music.

Continue reading this entry »

Stephanie Griffin

Lollapalooza Sat Aug 04 2012

Lollapalooza: Day One Recap

Zedd
Photo by Will Rice, courtesy of Lollapalooza


Lollapalooza weekend always sneaks up on me, but here we are at the beginning of August. The weekend of sweat, bruises, lobster corndogs, and fantastic music is upon us. For some reason I had forgotten how many bands I had been stoked to check out on Friday's schedule, which left me running from stage to stage with few breaks. It was worth it. Friday offered many musical highs and hardly any lows, and my legs aren't even sore yet. Not a bad start to the weekend.

Continue reading this entry »

Stephanie Griffin

Lollapalooza Fri Aug 03 2012

Pre-Gaming Lollapalooza with Boyd Tinsley

To kick off Lollapalooza weekend, Boyd Tinsley (who you might recognize from his two decades with Dave Matthews Band) stopped by Rockit River North to celebrate the release of his new film, Faces in the Mirror (which debuts August 30, 2012 at snagfilms.com). Boyd has also released a t-shirt line in conjunction with the film with designer Jason Franklin of Sportiqe, which was debuted at the party. I sat down with Boyd to chat about his upcoming film, t-shirt line, and the Dave Matthews Band.


Stephanie Griffin

Lollapalooza Fri Aug 03 2012

Lollapalooza 2012: Festival Preview

lollapalooza_stageclash2012.jpgYou've got a lot to choose from this weekend at Lollapalooza. Here's our Transmission staff's picks for some of the best sets to catch (or skip) at the festival this weekend. And don't forget to keep an eye here later on for reviews from Grant Park.

Friday, August 3, 2012

2:15pm-3pm - The War on Drugs vs. Dr. Dog vs. The Black Angels
Maybe Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love, but two Philly bands at Lollapalooza will be battling for your attention as the festival gets its momentum started in the early afternoon on Friday. The War on Drugs with their keyboards, harmonicas, and earnest drumming (served with a side of Springsteen comparisons) and Dr. Dog, with their (for the most part) happy-go-lucky DIY lo-fi recording prowess, will perhaps be happy to split the difference of mellower rockers in attendance. Afterall, they'll be up against the neo-psych rock of Austin's Black Angels in the same time-slot Friday afternoon. The Black Angels' gritty fuzz is so thick and syrupy, you'd think you were drinking hot motor oil, not water, as the sun beats down on that free bandana you just tied around your head. Basically, here's how it breaks down: if you're toting your own hula hoop, head for Dr. Dog. If you'd rather pogo around and do some head bobs with alternating fist pumps, head over to The War on Drugs' set. But if you wanna see how that first taste of rock tastes after you've thrown your tie in the trash, kicked off your shoes in the grass, and nodded knowingly at some band new best friends, then by all means, head over to The Black Angels and let them blow your hair back a bit.
-Anne Holub

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Lollapalooza Thu Aug 02 2012

Preview: Lollapalooza 2012 - Sunday Highlights

lollapalooza_stageclash2012.jpgInto the final stretch at Lollapalooza, and now you really don't want to waste a moment. Here's our best take on what to catch, and what to skip in favor of a bathroom break, on Sunday.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

3:30-4:15pm - The Walkmen vs. Dum Dum Girls
The late afternoon is often a difficult time for me to choose between festival acts; I consistently think to myself, is there an act I'm clamoring to see, or would I rather just sit this hour out and cool off in the shade before the evening's headliners? These two acts, however, are forces that should be paid the attention that they are due, even if it is during that awkward late afternoon stretch. The Walkmen are no strangers to Lollapalooza; heck, you might have even, like me, seen them two years ago during their first Lollapalooza appearance. Though I promise you, you won't feel like you're watching the same set this time around; The Walkmen have developed their style immensely since their last Lolla appearance. Each of the group's albums have displayed the band as consistently honing in on their sound, refining and updating their style each time. Their latest album released this year, Heaven, is a glimmering indie rock gem, an emerging cornerstone of The Walkmen's musical catalogue, and will be a great addition to The Walkmen's second Lollapalooza set.

For Dum Dum Girls, this will be their very first Lollapalooza appearance. This group emits an infectious '60s pop vibe, which will send audience members into a toe-tapping frenzy with their sunny, lo-fi beats. For me, this choice is an easy one; The Walkmen have a beautiful sound, but one that is much better suited for an open, cavernous venue in which each soft sound can be amplified for a hushed, watchful audience. I'd much rather put on my dancing shoes and listen to Dum Dum Girls, who will get the crowd moving and energized for the last night of the festival's reign.
-Sarah Brooks

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Interview Wed Aug 01 2012

Concert for a Cause: Interview with Nelarusky's Lauren McClusky

Each year, Lollapalooza's pre-shows seem to gain more and more buildup; which of Lolla's prized acts will be featured at a more intimate setting before the festival begins? This year, Lollapalooza pre-shows sold out in mere minutes, seemingly becoming more in demand than ever before. Young entrepreneur Lauren McClusky has forged her own path for her fledgling benefit concert turned Lollapalooza pre-show, known as Nelarusky, which this year features headliner Alabama Shakes, as it has transformed into a powerful benefit concert event positively impacting the Chicago music scene, and the world beyond.

Lauren McClusky has traversed the music scene well over early on in her career; after working in publicity, at venues, and in planning Nelarusky year after year, McClusky has distinguished Nelarusky as a strong annual music event. The term "Nelarusky" itself is a combination of the letters in Lauren McClusky's name, after a squabble with McDonald's left the original event name "McFest" back in the dust.

"We were trying to come up with a new name and one of the volunteers shouted it out. It kind of just stuck, because people thought having a name like that would stand out a little more than something else," McClusky stated.

Not only has Nelarusky grown immensely over its six year run, but it also provides music while making a difference; proceeds from the concert go directly towards the Special Olympics charity. McClusky stated that Special Olympics has been a special organization in the hearts of her family, as they traveled over the U.S. and different parts of the world volunteering for the cause. Therefore, there was no question in her mind when choosing the charity to be the beneficiary of the concert's success.

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Sarah Brooks

Lollapalooza Wed Aug 01 2012

Preview: Lollapalooza 2012 - Saturday Highlights

lollapalooza_stageclash2012.jpgIt's day two at Lollapalooza before you can blink an eye. Don't live with regrets, just move onward into the weekend with some loose plan of attack. To help you out, the Transmission staff has culled together our picks for the most head-scratching sets scheduled for the festival. Here's our take on Saturday's most conflicted sets.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


1:30-2:15pm - JEFF the Brotherhood vs. Bear in Heaven
If you want to start off your Saturday with body slamming and headbanging, head on over to the Playstation stage for JEFF the Brotherhood. This garage rock-inspired guitar/drums duo of actual brothers knows how to rock hard. If you need something a little more mellow so early in the afternoon (or, let's face it, morning for most of us), prog rock/electro group Bear in Heaven will fit the bill over at the Sony Stage. Having caught live sets from both bands, I can say Bear in Heaven and JEFF The Brotherhood are perfect opposites — Bear in Heaven's studio work far exceeds their live performance and JEFF the Brotherhood is exceedingly more enjoyable live than on record. Your best bet is to catch JEFF the Brotherhood and save Bear in Heaven to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.
-Stephanie Griffin

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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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