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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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Thursday, February 9

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« Your Lollapalooza 2014 Party Guide How to Make the Most of Your Lollapalooza Weekend »

Concert Tue Jul 29 2014

Neon Marshmallow Provides 4-day Walk-free Alternative to Lolla


Missed out on tickets for Lollapalooza? Can't afford tickets for Lollapallooza? Pining for the good old days when Lolla hosted legitimately frightening acts like The Boredoms and Nick Cave and the Jesus Lizard? Don't like walking/daylight/the outdoors/Skrillex fans?

This Thursday through Sunday, The Burlington (3425 W. Fullerton Ave.) has your alternative as they host the 2014 Neon Marshmallow festival. With 16 acts for $30, you're unlikely to find a better jams-to-buxx ratio this weekend, with styles ranging from day-glo to funereal, garage-tastic to grave-shufflin'.

Weekend passes will be sold through Wednesday. They include access to all four days' worth of acts (four per night), an unreleased track by festival regulars Telecult Powers, and an hour of free select Stoli beverages each night. (Individual night tickets will be available at the doors as well.)

Below the jump, a night-by-night guide to everything.

Don't skip the inaugural night's events on Thursday because you assume it's some watery warm-up for completists. The night is bookended by two modern-day metal marauders, starting with a solo set by Locrian's André Foisy and ending with doom/drone unit Insect Ark (Dana Schechter of Angels of Light), who has been drawing raves from Rochester to Ragnarok in the music rags. Between them, Brett Nauke will build his synth edifices in the air, and Olivia Block will debut a new electronic composition. One of Chicago's greatest musical treasures, Block's precise, crisp, otherworldly electroacoustic compositions are best experienced live situation, and should absolutely not be missed.

Friday night switches the focus from solo acts to bands, sounds to songs, with Winter Bear providing luminous garage-pop action, Earring channeling some classic fuzz-psych, Today's Hits hushing it up and serenading their shoes, and Mines ending the night with a woozy, narcotic warble.

Saturday is the night of the Neon Marshmallow veterans. Chicago guitar wizard Ryley Walker performs in a rare full-band configuration; Telecult Powers have probably played more Neon Marshmallows than any other group, and with good reason...their incantory drones will timeshift you to strange, scary parts of your mind; Basic Cable bring it back to earth with their ass-punching sludge rock (inspirational song title: "I Drink Every Day"); and ending the night, the crypt-minded noise shockers Hair Police drag you into the depths. I can't stress this enough: Hair Police is must-not-miss experience. With each new record, they commit themselves more deeply to the depths of sonic despair, and as for live shows...well, let's just say the leave 0% back in the crematory when they move on. (Members include Rob Beatty, also of Three-Legged Race.)

Sunday is a brightly-colored day of hinky synth textures and sidestepped high-steppin' beats, with Headless Horse-Head's 8-bit chiptune iconography bathed in a wash of 1-bit feedback; Closet Heat (Samantha Glass & Golden Donna) doing...something (sorry, no info!); Alex Barnett putting beats into his somber synth melodies; and Dylan Ettinger trumping all aces by playing his last show ever. His own take on synth pop will make you sad, then happy, then sad again because you're hearing for the last time. But happy again because you got to hear it live while the rest of Chicago farted around waiting for Skrillex to push the "bass drop" button.

UPDATE: Here is the finalized lineup as of 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 30.

08:30pm Doors / Stoli Open Bar (1hr)
09:15pm Andre Foisy
10:00pm Olivia Block
11:00pm Brett Naucke
11:45pm Insect Ark (ex-Angels of Light)

08:30pm Doors / Stoli Open Bar (1hr)
09:30pm Winter Bear
10:15pm Earring
11:00pm Mines
11:45pm Today's Hits

08:30pm Doors / Stoli Open Bar (1hr)
09:30pm Basic Cable
10:10pm Ryley Walker
11:15pm Hair Police
12:00am Telecult Powers

08:30pm Doors / Stoli Open Bar (1hr)
09:15pm Headless Horse Head
10:00pm Closet Heat (Samantha Glass + Golden Donna)
10:45pm Alex Barnett
11:30pm Dylan Ettinger (final performance)

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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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