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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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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.

Seye was next to emerge for the second set of the evening. London-based Seye Adelekan serenaded the audience with his sweet, captivating ballads featuring merely his voice and the hushed rhythms provided by his electric guitar. Standing under a lone spotlight, Seye's endearing performance kept the audience's attention throughout the set, and no doubt gained many new fans. His set ranged from more emotional tunes, to the whimsical, Vampire Weekend-esque sound of song "Joann." His comical banter quickly eased the crowd and made us all feel as if Seye was one of our close friends, returning from time away and picking up from where we had left off. Smiles could be seen all around Lincoln Hall, easily attributed to Seye's carefree, light musical catalog.

After the last of the evening's stage changes, The Very Best took the stage. I had never really listened to their music before extensively, but I had heard great things about their unique style and energy that they bring to their performances. After seeing them on Friday night, I understand the strong hype they are receiving. The Very Best's opening notes pulsing from the speakers transformed Lincoln Hall from a relaxed environment to a dancehall party scene. I literally don't think that one person in that audience didn't at least sway to the infectious beats emanating from the stage, with many more individuals dancing wildly throughout the set. Their first song began with an atmospheric opening, emulating the noises one would hear if sitting outside on a summer night. This then evolved into thumping beats with sprinklings of bongo drum sounds in the mix. Seye joined them on stage for most of the set, and remixed one of his own songs with the electronic dance backing of The Very Best, which got the crowd jumping around to the beat. The energy in the crowd was joyful, which I think could be partially attributed to the fact that Esau Mwamwaya was smiling for literally the entire duration of the set. Mwamwaya and Johan Hugo displayed why their music is growing in popularity consistently. Their beats are lively. Their style is eccentric. Their music depicts the result of the blending of two distinct musical styles, coming together to form something that is cutting-edge and enchanting. The show left me with a smiling face and sore dancing feet, the sign that this group is definitely doing something right, and I'm thinking their music will be sticking around for quite a while.

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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

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  & 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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