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. 


Monday, December 6

Gapers Block

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

« Darren Hayman is Coming to Town (and You're About to Miss It) Run the Jewels are a Job Well Done at Double Door 08/02 »

Review Sun Aug 03 2014

Courtney Barnett Gets Gritty @ Schubas, 7/30

Schubas was packed to the brim on Wednesday evening, the first of official Lollapalooza aftershows, which led Courtney Barnett and Varsity to lend their talents to a wide-eyed audience, hungry for musical consumption, for performances that would not be forgotten.

Varsity emerged to kick the evening off with their fuzzy yet indulgent garage rock tunes. Energized and upbeat, the crowd moved and delighted in the musical offering that they brought to the table. Take a listen for yourself to their Soundcloud page, where you can purchase their music by naming your price. Their lead singer has a powerhouse voice reminiscent of Tennis, with perfect intonation amidst a blazing backdrop of sound. Playing songs off of their Thanks For Nothing EP, Varsity was able to warm up the crowd and showcase their emerging tunes for an eager audience.

The venue gradually filled and filled to capacity, until Courtney Barnett stepped onstage, wearing a simple t-shirt and jeans as fans in the audience awaited her musical genius to be on display before their eyes.

"This gig is much better," Barnett stated bluntly as she grinned, comparing the wall-to-wall packed Schubas setting to the outdoor landscape at Lollapalooza, where she played this past weekend. She could not be more accurate. As I stood in that space listening to music from her debut album, The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, Barnett's intimate storytelling is much better suited to a venue that is equally personal. As she jammed out or lulled the crowd to a hush with her mesmerizing electric guitar and vocal combinations, the intimacy with which Barnett approaches her performance lends an intimacy that can only be gathered by close connections.

Her music is gritty and upfront, but in a way that welcomes you in. She frequently engaged in comical banter with the audience, along with her guitarist, who told hilarious anecdotes such as telling the crowd about how the US has so many more television channels than Australia, and that they were able to watch Me, Myself & Irene that afternoon (a work of cinematic genius, no doubt). Barnett also called out couples in the audience who were there on dates, and told them they might not like the next song, as she played some of her lovelorn, hard-hitting tunes. Her charm lent itself to the performance, as she was able to move from a power-infused jam session to comedic banter, and back again.

She played a variety of hits, including "Ode to Odetta," "History Eraser," and "Avant Gardener." My favorite moments of the set occurred when she would stray from the recorded material and engage in lengthy jam sessions, filling Schubas with reverberating, pulsating sounds that reached to the corners of the space and engulfed the audience in another world of authentic sounds. Another shining moment occurred when she performed "Are You Looking After Yourself," which really illuminates her persona and beliefs in one ballad.

I don't need no 9 to 5 / Telling me that I'm alive. She crooned these words as she eschewed traditional societal beliefs and delved into discussing what the world believes one should be doing with their time. Are you eating / You sound so thin. She continues on as her voice drones out with the word thin, dropping the sound with a low guitar backing and all of the audience's watchful eyes on her, awaiting her next move. Barnett was able to completely captivate her audience by delving into her visionary material and keeping her devoted fans connected to her pure artistry. I don't think there was a better way to begin Lollapalooza weekend, and for all those who saw her on Saturday, I highly recommend a show at an indoor venue the second you have a chance.

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