Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Thursday, April 18

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Preview: Shemekia Copeland @ City Winery 10/12 Contest: White Rabbits @ Lincoln Hall! »

Concert Fri Oct 12 2012

Keith Rowe: The Six Strings That Draw Blood

Keith Rowe plays guitar. He plays it on its back, on a table, using piles of raw materials (springs, bows, coins, credit cards, steel wool, wood strips) to resonate the strings. In 2012, this is hardly uncommon, but in 1966, when Cronos-like Ur-free improv group AMM recorded their debut, it was like saying you eat your dinner with a windshield wiper. Rowe's relentless push to the edges of abstract sound and telepathic improvisation (as well as that of his former AMM colleagues Eddie Prevost, Cornelius Cardew, and others) built a cottage industry of abstract improvisers who are serious, humorless, and often proprietary in their explorations. Not so a solo performance hosted by Lampo in 2001, he ended his set -- 45 minutes of enveloping, genuinely alien atmospheres -- he asked the crowed with a big grin whether anyone else wanted to "have a go" at playing his rig for a while. No one stepped up -- attempting our own rendition would have been like taking Yo Yo Ma's still-warm-from-use cello out of his hand and farting "Happy Birthday" into the resonators. (His selective use of shortwave radio during long, serious improvisations also helps to incorporate the outside world into an inherently isolationist art form.)

Following a second solo performance at Lampo in 2005, Rowe returns this Saturday with another Lampo performance, performing a composition titled "City Music," written for him by Chicago composer Frank Abbinanti. The performance takes place at the Renaissance Society in Hyde Park (5811 S. Ellis Ave, Cobb Hall 418). Admission is FREE, no RSVP required, and the performance begins at 8:00.

Here is an excellent clip that not only allows Rowe to show of hiss techniques, but also lets him speak about the genesis of his style.

GB store
GB store

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

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

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...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15