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. 


Sunday, May 19

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Event Fri Apr 25 2014

Musicians, Global Citizens Make a Difference at The Vic


Photo by Ryan Gall, courtesy of The Global Poverty Project

Recording artists and activism aligned at The Vic, 3145 N Sheffield Ave, last night, for Global Citizen Nights; an event driven by the efforts of the Global Poverty Project to raise awareness of, and end extreme poverty by 2030. Neo-soul singer/songwriter, Aloe Blacc, was headliner to the evening, led by performances from Johnnyswim and The Main Squeeze.

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Ricardo Villarreal

Preview Tue Jan 07 2014

Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival Warms Up Your Chicago Winter


The Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival is back for its fifth year, with 17 shows over three weeks at four different venues across the city. The performances run from Jan. 10 to Feb. 1 at Concord Music Hall, City Winery, SPACE and Tonic Room. We've got a few favorite sets to let you know about, but see below for a full line-up to plan your CBB experience.

Bluegrass composer and mandolinist David Grisman returns for his third year at the wintertime roots festival for two sold-out performances with David Grisman JazzFolk Trio at City Winery. Blues vocalist Shemekia Copeland also performs twice, with The Lucky 3 Blues Band on Jan. 17 and Frank Bang and the Secret Stash the following night, at Evanston's SPACE.

Five-piece bluegrass band Greensky Bluegrass will play at the city's newest venue, Concord Music Hall, which quickly became the go-to place to host concerts in Logan Square after the Congress Theater was shut down. Rusted Root, the dynamic band that is best known for "Send Me on My Way," will also perform there for one of the final shows of the festival.

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Brianna Kelly

Preview Thu Feb 14 2013

Preview: The 2nd Annual Hideout Harmonica Hoedown @ The Hideout 2/17

harmonicahoedown.jpgThere are so many ways to describe Chicago using the "descriptor + town" formula, that it's almost a pointless cliche to even try. Chicago is a blues town, it's a jazz town, it's a comedy town, it's an anything town. We get it. But get specific enough, and things start to get a little more interesting. Did it occur to anyone, for example, that Chicago is also a thriving harmonica town?

Well, it is, and there's a concert this Sunday at The Hideout to help you understand why.

The Hideout presents its second annual Harmonica Hoedown concert this Sunday, featuring performances from Chicago-area harpists Joe Filisko, James Conway, Bob Kessler, and special guests.

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Marc Fishman / Comments (1)

Blues Thu Apr 05 2012

Happy 97th Birthday, Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters would have turned 97 on April 4. In 1974, the very first episode of "Soundstage" on PBS featured a "blues summit," featuring Muddy joined by an all-star band: Willie Dixon, Koko Taylor, Dr. John, Buddy Miles, Junior Wells, Nick Gravenites, Johnny Winter and Mike Bloomfield (as well as an uncredited Pinetop Perkins). Here it is in its entirety.

Andrew Huff

Feature Thu Jun 10 2010

Keeping the Blues Alive: The State of Chicago Blues

[This article was submitted by freelance writer Emi Peters.]

With the 27th annual Chicago Blues Festival kicking off Friday, and Eric Clapton's sold-out Crossroads Guitar Festival right around the corner, it's important to take a look at how much one of Chicago's top tourist attractions has changed since the musical genre's heyday in the 1950s and '60s. The Chicago blues sound is equal parts electric and soulful. It has inspired countless numbers of musicians and gave birth to rock 'n' roll. The blues is one of the purest forms of American music, and Chicago became the place to turn it on its head and make the blues its own.

Some 60 odd years ago, it was pretty customary to be able to drive through Chicago's South and West sides and see an immense number of blues clubs and juke joints, such as the Flamingo Lounge, Gatewood's Tavern and The Flame Club. Inside, one could find patrons dancing and singing along to some of the rawest, grittiest and sweatiest music the city has ever known. Smoke-filled, dimly lit rooms overcome with loud electric guitar and soulful crooning could carry on until the wee hours of the morning. Chicago blues wasn't just another sub-genre of music, though -- it was also very much a release for African Americans looking to escape the hardships and discrimination encountered in daily life.

Today, the number of blues clubs in the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of the South and West Sides has dwindled significantly. Many of the establishments that once played host to iconic blues men and women such as Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Junior Wells and Koko Taylor now cease to exist, as well as the aforementioned legends that frequented them.

Junior Wells.jpg
Junior Wells c. mid-1960s (photo by Raeburn Flerlage courtesy Delmark Records)

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Transmission / Comments (1)

Album Wed Mar 03 2010

The Blacks In Sickness and Health


The Blacks (photo courtesy of their Myspace page)
In Sickness and Health is The Blacks' first album since their breakup a decade ago and their subsequent reunion after a performance at the Hideout's Block Party last fall. It is a six song EP, and is being released in digital format only on March 9, with an accompanying record-release show this Saturday, March 6 at Schubas.

Much tamer than their previous work, In Sickness and Health reflects the wisdom (and perhaps exhaustion) of mature musicians. Many of the punk rock riffs have been replaced by steady Americana strums, but the freshness is still there. This is music for people who don't want anything fancy--who love the blues and "real" country music but wish they weren't quite so darn sad. Make sure to check out the show this weekend and then let us know if they've still got the raw energy they used to.

Kelly Reaves

Blues Mon Dec 14 2009

The Soul of Bronzeville Lives On

The DuSable Museum's exhibit, The Soul of Bronzeville: The Regal, Club DeLisa and The Blues has been so popular, they've decided to keep it up for a little (or maybe a lot) longer.

The show focuses on the Blues, exemplifying and paying tribute to Bronzeville's musical legend, taking viewers on a tour of what most of us are too young to remember. Rare artifacts include an original booth from the legendary Checkerboard Lounge, original 1928 blueprints from the Regal Theater and Howlin' Wolf's original guitar.

As far as I can tell, the show will be up indefinitely. Don't take my word for it, though. Get down there now and check it out while you still can. Visit the DuSable Museum's website for more information.

Kelly Reaves

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.

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  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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