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. 


Tuesday, January 31

Gapers Block

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

« Alvvays Bring Sunshine Vibes to Schubas, 11/17 Rock Riffs and Indie Moods: Brad Sawicki and Bryan Kveton at Stars Align »

Tomorrow Never Knows Mon Jan 19 2015

Family Crest Wrapped up TNK Festival at Schubas Sunday Night


"It's like speed dating. You have no idea who we are but just smile and pretend you're enjoying it. It'll be over soon," Bryan Simpson of The Whistles and the Bells told the crowd at Schubas Sunday night. The openers for Sunday night's TNK headliner The Family Crest were self deprecating and delightful, a far cry from the cringe-worthiness of speed dating. The group created a unique brand of bluegrass/folk/rock with a diverse set of instruments (a good warm up for the orchestral Family Crest), including a range of strings -- guitar, mandolin, banjo, and stand up bass. Simpson's voice is both sharp and haunting - an appropriate conduit for the group's songs which deal with rather heavy themes including questions of belief and faith.

If I was impressed with the range of instruments before, it was nothing compared to seeing Family Crest squeeze themselves onstage. The seven piece group (I didn't even know you could fit seven people on Schubas' stage, let alone seven people with instruments, although the group clearly does okay in small spaces, as evidenced by their excellent tiny desk concert) took to the stage with a guitar, a bass, drums, a flute, a trombone a violin and a cello. You know it's going to be a good show when there are more than three stringed instruments onstage -- especially when they're bowed.

The very well dressed orchestral indie group (a lot of suspenders, hats and ties onstage -- they're a very dapper band) whipped the Schubas crowd into a state of high energy. Liam McCormick can belt it out for sure, but with the wall of sound being created by the range of instruments around him, the sound becomes downright awe-inspiring. Moving in crashing waves of crescendos, I couldn't help but imagine their music visually as a roiling body of turbulent water -- mesmerizing, powerful and dangerous -- especially on "beneath the brine" which the group played early on in the set. Yet even with the dramatic music being created onstage, the band still manages to keep the feel of the show light. Part of this for sure is the band's charmingly humble stage presence. Flutist Laura Bergmann told the crowd, "This is our third time in Chicago, and we can't believe that we're headlining a festival for a couple hundred people at Schubas." My bet is next time they come through Chicago they'll be playing for a couple hundred more than the lucky ones that caught them at Schubas.

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