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.
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Sunday, December 10

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Review Sun Oct 25 2015

Review & Photos: Joanna Gruesome @ Schubas

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It wasn't surprising that six-piece headliners Joanna Gruesome possessed a kind of frantic energy in the first night of their tour. What was much more astonishing was how tight they were considering this. The band has also had a couple of lineup changes in their relatively short time together but seems to be stronger than ever in both their sound and stage presence. The fact that none of them rammed into one another on stage was a feat in and of itself!

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Genre-wise, Joanna Gruesome's sound is another enigmatic. They would probably be considered more punk if they weren't so twee and more twee if they weren't so punk. At times, they even had some hardcore elements with screaming vocals but the melodies always shined through. Not a dull second in their fast and furious 45-minute set!

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Hollow Mountain opened the night with a straight ahead almost classic rock sound. The three piece packed a nice punch, though, and instead of any guitar pedals, it was the vocals of Esther Kim that made it more interesting to hear as often it's a male singer that accompanies a trio like this. Bonus points to the Logan Square based band for referencing Dark Crystal and The Wizard of Oz

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King of Cats was a bit looser in comparison, though admittedly this was the first night of the tour and lead singer Max Levy expressed he had jet lag as well. He hails (at least originally) from Oxford and one might look amongst overgrown gardens, carparks, and microwave ovens if you wanted to get in touch with him. He also likes ice and working out, though not at a gym. Levy's vocals are the most unique trait of the music. It's not too unlike a male Joanna Newsom or just a more extreme version of John Darnielle. The anguished swoops and swoons definitely seemed to speak to an underlying feeling of vulnerability. Making it a little more engaging and a little less awkward, members of Joanna Gruesome served as Levy's backing band, adding keys, drums, bass, guitar and vocals.

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Four-piece NYC-based Aye Nako contained nostalgic nods to fuzzy guitar driven alternative rock with a nice pairing of male and female vocals. The band talked about aliens and comics and sang songs about Coney Island, making their 40-minute set an engaging one!

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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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