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Transmission
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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.

 

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Classical Tue Dec 02 2014

Pulling Strings: For Classical Music in Chicago, You Got a Guy - December 2014

By Elliot Mandel

If you see only one psychologically bizarre, and fantastically creepy opera this month, make it Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle at Thalia Hall.

Read this feature »

Blogroll

  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
BackStage
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
ChicagoMusic.org
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
CHIRP
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
Daytrotter
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Do312
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
Gridface
The Hood Internet
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Live Fix Blog
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Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pitchfork
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Songs:Illinois
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

  Venues:

Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
B.L.U.E.S
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Constellation
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
FitzGerald's
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Martyrs'
Mayne Stage
Metro
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Rosa's
Schubas
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Smartbar
Subterranean
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Township
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Atavistic
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Hozac
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


Events

Sat Dec 20 2014
I Fight Dragons @ Lincoln Hall

Sat Dec 20 2014
Soul Summit @ Double Door

Sat Dec 20 2014
We Carol Lot: Downwrite Holiday Show @ Metro

Sun Dec 21 2014
Do-It-Yourself Messiah @ Harris Theater

Sun Dec 21 2014
Bluegrass Jam @ Old Town School of Folk Music

Mon Dec 22 2014
Third Annual Woman Power Holiday Show @ Schubas

Mon Dec 22 2014
Jamaican Queens @ Hideout

Mon Dec 22 2014
Do-It-Yourself Messiah @ Harris Theater

Tue Dec 23 2014
Smith Westerns @ Lincoln Hall

Thu Dec 25 2014
Mr. Blotto's All Dead Show @ Cubby Bear

Fri Dec 26 2014
Redgrave @ Empty Bottle

Fri Dec 26 2014
Macabre Holiday of Horror @ Reggies

Fri Dec 26 2014
Al Scorch's Feast of Friendship @ Hideout

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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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