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, February 29

Gapers Block

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

« Review: Christopher Owens @ Lincoln Hall 1/15 Review/Photos: Tomorrow Never Knows - Chelsea Wolfe, The Amazing, King Dude & Sabers @ Schubas Tavern 1/19/13 »

Review Sat Jan 19 2013

Review: The Walkmen & Father John Misty @ the Vic, 1/18


The Walkmen (All photos by Sara Pieper)

Have you ever stood next to someone at a show who jabbered on and on about how big a fan they were of the next band and then continued talking into that band's set as if they were, say, your deadbeat uncle's Steve Miller cover band? That's sort of how it felt on the first platform at the Vic on Friday for Father John Misty and the Walkmen. Luckily, though, the Walkmen are better than some of the chatterboxes who adore them. They bring an air of professionalism to a forum that sometimes lacks it. They dress to impress, always play at a high level and respect audiences with humility. (To the last point, at the end of the show, singer Hamilton Leithauser jumped from the stage and made his way through the crowd. As someone next to me helped him over a railing, he asked no one in particular, "Everything sound ok? Good show tonight?")



A decade into the Walkmen's career has found them older, wiser and still churning out quality. But now it's a different sort of quality. Hearing songs from their aggressive debut Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone aside those from the relatively calm Lisbon and Heaven can be somewhat jarring. The music is still intricate, complex and moving; the subject matter has toned down. Just judging from the adorable photo of the guys with their kids, it's clear that they don't need to write songs like "The Rat" anymore. It actually makes you wonder what goes through their heads when they play it every night. Oddly enough, on Friday, they pulled more from 2010's Lisbon than their most recent album. And they sprinkled in a lot of old favorites, too. In the past I've thought the Walkmen's weakness as a live band was unbalanced tempo shifts in how set lists played out. The arcs sounded all wrong in my head. (And I know I'm not the only one.) But at the Vic I heard the order for what it is - showing the growth of the band from who they were to who they've become. Sure, Leithauser still belts out with his dynamic voice and the band's impeccable, but you don't get from a one-two punch like "We've Been Had" and "The Rat" to closing with "We Can't Be Beat" and "Heaven" without revealing the path. And they did it magnificently.


Father John Misty

Josh Tillman's Father John Misty has a strange and delightful stage persona. Tillman's casual and doesn't seem to take himself too seriously - hands in pockets, chin strokes, silly rock star poses, etc. Sometimes he looks like singing is about the 4th-most important thing on his mind. But he does it with such panache that he gets away with appearing as if performing is a chore. If nothing else, it's a great facade. On Friday he was joined by a full band that allowed him to concentrate on singing and a little guitaring. (When I'd seen him before, it was just him solo with an acoustic guitar.) Through a set that had more than a few moments reminiscent of Gram Parsons or his stint with Fleet Foxes, FJM rolled through most of the Fear Fun album. Anecdotes between songs were amusing and self-deprecating. The songs themselves were layered and well-executed. Closing with the single that's shone brightest for him, "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings", Tillman and the band veered from their folky/Americana/pop to build glitchy beeps and feedback into a climax leading back into the last verse just as it seemed to be going on too long.


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