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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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Monday, March 27

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Review Thu Nov 07 2013

Review: Sparks @ Lincoln Hall, 11/6

Sparks may not be the household name that they could have or should have been. Over the last forty years, the Mael brothers have been all over the map between big hits, critical praise, some missteps and a little bad luck all while churning out an eclectic selection of pop music to a cultish audience. Their electronic angle has kept them progressive and their clever wordplay has always been rightly admired.

In 2013, the Mael brothers are on the road on their own -- Ron on keys and Russell with the microphone. They're playing 20+ songs ranging from the early days to one written specifically for this tour. The set's stripped down without a band, but that comes with its own benefits. Ron's musicianship shines on the altered arrangements of longtime favorites. Big glossy productions have a warmth and even a delicateness that sometimes gets lost on recordings. With the minimalist approach, Russell's impressive vocal range stands out more than ever. At 65, he's barely lost any ability to hit his terrific falsetto. And he still bops around the stage like he's 20 years younger. (Even the reserved Ron got a little dancing in for "No. 1 Song in Heaven" near the end.)

For an older and forgiving crowd who seemed delighted that Sparks even play live anymore, the brothers had a freedom to dig deep and get a little experimental, especially with a medley from 2009's The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman. At times, though, the duo seemed on cruise control. They've been doing this show for months and the performance was lively, but always in check. However, the music at the forefront was still pretty flawless and refreshing.

Sparks are at Lincoln Hall again tonight. The show is $30, 21+ and starts at 8pm -- and last night they were on stage right at 8, ending just after 9:30. (So you can still get over to Metro for Kavinsky and Simian Mobile Disco in plenty of time.)

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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

  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

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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...
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