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Review Tue Jul 14 2015

Bringing the Noise at Ruido Fest, 7/12


Café Tacuba

Early on Sunday afternoon, Argentinian-now-New Yorker Natalia Clavier was bantering with the crowd in English during her swanky soul/electro set when she tentatively asked, "Who here speaks Spanish?" The crowd erupted. She smiled. "Oh, all of you!" And she quickly switched to Spanish. Later on in the day nobody on stage was asking the crowd about language preferences or defaulting to English. Even acts singing in English were talking to the crowd in Spanish, though a couple threw in "thank you" alongside "muchas gracias." Play to the audience, right?


Callate Mark

On a crowded summer music festival slate it's difficult to carve out a niche. Ruido Fest's done it by culling acts that have always had a place in Chicago but haven't had a festival to call home. Some have been peppered into the summer festivals, but they've never been on one together. The audience for Latino alternative music has been running all over town to see their bands. Now they're in one place. And, oh boy, did that audience show up excited.


Kali Uchis


Triángulo de Amor Bizarro



Through the afternoon, acts impressed with high energy sets. Mexican new wave rockers Rey Pila and Buenos Aires punks Callate Mark both hooked crowds with catchy tunes and animated frontmen. In the case of the latter, well-placed covers added a little extra oomph - "One Way or Another" and "Ever Fallen in Love" in English and "Monkey Man" (Toots & the Maytals' version, not the Stones') in Spanish. María Daniela y su Sonido Lasser thumped through an electro/house set that got dancers riled up, especially with the suggestive "Baila Duro", while she paced the stage with ferocity. Spain's Triángulo de Amor Bizarro soaked the crowd in their fuzz coming out of the noise, shoegaze and post-punk they've been churning out for a decade. On the other end, Kali Uchis put in a short set of breezy Cali-pop tunes relying on her sweet voice and bouncy beats. And Chile's Astro overcame early technical issues to turn in a fun set sounding somewhat like a Latino MGMT.



For headliners, Ruido Fest didn't mess around and brought in two titans of Mexican rock music - Kinky and Café Tacuba. Both play Chicago regularly. Both inject a lot of regional Mexican music into their own songs. Kinky's penchant for anthemic songs lends itself well to revving up loud and enthusiastic crowds. Their electronic edge, plus the norteño angle, make them a dynamic live act. There are circle pits (even a dad with a kid on his shoulders in the pit!), singalongs and general good-natured rowdiness. It hardly comes together better than on their hit "Más" when everyone's dancing. (Also to note, this is one of the few "rock" festivals where the dancing in the crowd is good enough to be a real distraction from what's happening on the stage.)


Café Tacuba

When it comes to Café Tacuba, it's a whole different ball game. Their legions worship them. As soon as they stepped on stage, it was pandemonium. Mexican flags were waving in a sea of phones, if you could even get your arms up in the crush of the crowd. Girls were crying from excitement. And the band just smiled and took it in stride. Covering 20+ years of music in 90 minutes isn't easy, but they got to all eras of their rock/electronic/bolero/ska hybrid. From "Eres" to the Depeche Mode-influenced "Dejate Caer", which features popular choreography, to closing things out with the ballad "María", the fans were wild (trying to tear down the VIP area fence?) and adoring. All in all, a pretty good start to Ruido Fest and looking forward to more next year.

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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.

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Alarm Magazine
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