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, December 10

Gapers Block

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Contest Mon Oct 19 2015

We're Giving Away Two Tickets To Zedd + Dillon Francis On 10/29 @ UIC Pavilion


This should be a fun little prelude to Halloween. There's no one better than Zedd at giving EDM a heart, and no one better than Dillon Francis at giving it a goofy smile. I was in Europe when I first saw his absurd "Get Low" music video, and it's been stuck in my head intermittently ever since.

Both DJs (along with opener Alex Metric) are set to bring the rave at UIC Pavilion on October 29th, and Transmission was lucky enough to score a pair of tickets--which means one of YOU will be lucky enough to score a pair of tickets! To have a chance to win, you must comment on this post before Friday at 11:59 PM with the name and a detailed description of the next viral dance craze, because the Whip and Nae Nae are getting hella old.

Best suggestion wins the tickets (and we expect you to pull off the move at the show).

Zach Blumenfeld / Comments (4)

Contest Wed Sep 30 2015

Want To See Mucca Pazza?

Our favorite indie punk rock marching band group here at Gapers Block, Mucca Pazza, will be playing a show at the Metro on October 10, and we've got a pair of tickets to give away! Our friends over at CHIRP will be moving their online station to radio on 107.1 FM, and as a benefit, Mucca Pazza will be putting on a show alongside other standout acts. CHIRP Radio has remained solely volunteer-driven since its advent five years ago, broadcasting music from 6am through midnight daily from its North Center studio. In focusing on a diverse array of musical offerings, CHIRP also works to introduce us to local up-and-comers, cementing its status as an important arts fixture within the community.


To enter, comment below (make sure to use your email!) with your favorite Chicago artist (besides Mucca Pazza, of course). Winners will be announced Thursday, October 1, at 2 p.m have now been chosen. Happy entering!

Mucca Pazza will play the Metro on Saturday, October 10. This all ages show is $21 in advance, and $23 at the door, with the show beginning at 6:30pm. Mucca Pazza will be joined by support acts Brother Starrace, Jennifer Hall, and Spaces of Disappearance. The Metro is located at 3730 N. Clark St., (773) 549-0203.

Sarah Brooks / Comments (5)

Pitchfork Music Festival Mon Jun 15 2015

Our Favorite Lines from Pitchfork Artists (Plus, a Contest!)

This summer's Pitchfork Music Festival is a mere five weeks away and we're pretty excited here at Gapers Block. To celebrate the coming musical smorgasbord we've compiled a list of ten lyrical gems from artists who will be performing at Union Park this year (and a little something special for our readers):

1. "Don't try me I'm not a free sample"
Shamir - "On the Regular"


Honestly this whole list could've easily been populated with Shamir lyrics - the young up and comer has some of the catchiest, smartest, funniest lyrics I've ever heard - but this one by far takes the cake. It's the perfect response to anybody getting on your nerves, although it loses something in delivery in the absence of Shamir's plus size personality. Catch the 20-year-old Nevada native on Saturday morning.

Continue reading this entry »

Celeste Mallama / Comments (6)

Contest Thu Mar 05 2015

Win Tickets to Rock Out with the Tossers this Weekend

It's not quite St. Pat's but you can still get your Erin go Bragh on this Saturday, March 7, at the Metro (3730 N. Clark St.) with local favorites, The Tossers. Southsiders by birth, the band makes it's annual pilgrimage to Wrigleyville this weekend with an action-packed night of music and general Irish-themed musical merriment. Seriously, if you can't get to a pub in Ireland this year, this is the next best thing (even if you're not too sure about that pennywhistle, just go along for your own sake). No green beer, no pinching, just old fashioned good times.

But that's not all! We've got two pairs of tickets to giveaway. Just email us at with the subject line "Tossers!" and we'll pick two winners at random at 3pm today. Must be 18+.

Here's a great Tossers tune, complete with some classic Chicago scenes. It also happens to be the title track of their latest album from 2013.

The Tossers play the Metro on Saturday, March 7. Kevin Flynn and the Avondale Ramblers and Continental open. Tickets are $18 (adv) $20 (day of). Doors open at 8pm, music starts at 9pm. 18+

Anne Holub

Contest Wed Oct 29 2014

Preview: Pianos Become the Teeth at Beat Kitchen Nov. 1

photo credit: Evan Dell

I really wanted to see Pianos Become the Teeth when they were in town for Riot Fest. I remember discovering their album "The Lack Long After" a few years ago and spending a few months obsessed with it. It was at a time when I found myself craving something new but similar to bands such Thrice, Silverstein, Boysetsfire, and most of the bands that were all about.

Continue reading this entry »

Justin Freeman

Contest Mon Aug 11 2014

Contest: The Ballroom Thieves Perform at SPACE This Wednesday!

Although they hail from Boston, folk trio The Ballroom Thieves exude soulfulness from the Delta south. Martin Earley strums his guitar with feverish finesse as Devin Mauch rattles away with his diverse percussion with Calin Peters' filling out the band's sound with the tender rhythm of her cello; all the while weaving their voices together in wonderful harmonies. The band manages to imbibe a hearty sense of rock into their music and still maintaining a gentle sincerity. Their songs are personal and earnest about their themes, whether it is the anguish of defining oneself in "Coward's Son" or delving into bad relationships by way of metaphor in "Vampires".

The Ballroom Thieves will be playing at Evanston SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, this Wednesday, August 13, at 7:30pm. They will be joined by Humming House, a collection of musicians who've gather influences from Americana, bluegrass and traditional Irish music.

Tickets for this sure to be fantastic show are just $10, but you also have a chance to win a pair of tickets! Just email us at with the subject line "Ballroom!" and we'll pick a lucky winner at random. Email by 5pm today! [Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Joseluis!]

Julian Ramirez

Contest Thu Jul 17 2014

Contest: See Ben Watt at Old Town School Friday!

Ben Watt, the "everything but" part of Everything But the Girl, as well as a DJ, producer and author, is on a solo tour right now in support of his new album, Hendra -- his first since 1983's North Marine Drive. He's playing at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., this Friday, July 18, at 8pm. Bernard Butler, formerly of Suede, joins him. Tickets are $30, or $28 for Old Town School members.

We've got a pair of tickets to give away, along with a signed lithograph of the cover art for Watt's new memoir, Romany & Tom. To enter, email with the subject line "Ben Watt" and include your name and phone number. We'll draw a winner at 4pm. UPDATE: We have our winner! Congratulations to Yolanda!

Andrew Huff

Contest Mon Jul 14 2014

Last Chance Pitchfork Giveaway!

pitchfork2014.jpgJust days to go to the Pitchfork Music Festival and the forecast is pointing towards awesome. We're busy writing previews for the artists playing and picking out comfortable shoes. But while we're ramping up for 3 days in the fields of Union Park we don't want to do it alone — we want to take you along! (Well, 2 of you, at least.) For those of you who wait till the last minute, we have 2 3-day passes to give away, and we're doing it today, so get your fingers ready.

To enter, leave a comment (with a valid email address) below, with a quick description of your ideal Pitchfork day. What sets do you want to see? What else do you want to eat/wear/do? What are you most looking forward to experiencing if you're picked as the winner? Enter by 5pm today, Monday, July 14 and we'll comb through and pick 2 winners tonight. [Update: We've emailed our 2 winners! Thanks to everyone who entered!]

Pitchfork Kid_9333302498_m.jpg

Pitchfork 2013 (photo by Joshua Mellin)

Anne Holub / Comments (29)

Contest Tue Jul 01 2014

A Pre-Pitchfork Interview with Twin Peaks (and Contest, Too!)

pitchfork music festival 2014Pitchfork Music Festival is swiftly approaching. With stellar acts across the board, you can't go wrong with which musical acts you see throughout the fest's reign. Sunday's tickets have now sold out, with other individual days sure to follow suit. To get you prepped for your festival music choices, we got the chance to speak with one of Pitchfork's local acts, Chicago's own Twin Peaks. With their energized rock'n'roll riffs and haze-infused sound, they will easily draw a great crowd during their festival set. I asked guitarist and singer, Clay Frankel, for some insight into their signature sound and their unique identity as a band.

The sound of Twin Peaks is so unique and full of wisdom beyond your years. Where do you draw your inspiration from when writing and creating your music?

All sorts'a things. Women mostly. You might think it sounds wise because of its good-natured honesty, which is rare in music today. But that's funny, though. Wise, ha ha.

Continue reading this entry »

Sarah Brooks / Comments (42)

Contest Tue Jun 03 2014

Contest: Kelis @ Park West!

Kelis and the Neptunes were pretty synonymous for a while. Then there was "Milkshake." There's also that whole thing where she's wildly more popular overseas than here. But through her career, Kelis has just kicked out the jams no matter who she's paired up with, whether Dallas Austin or Raphael Saadiq or any of numerous notable producers. On her latest album, the singer who's gotten club hits out of R&B, soul, house and hip-hop teams up with TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek for an R&B and funk-heavy effort that puts a new spin on some of the things she's done in the past. And her recent shows have been a terrific showcase of her entire career.

Gapers Block's giving a pair of tickets to see Kelis next Monday at Park West. Write to with "JERK RIBS" in the subject line for a chance to win. Update: And we have a winner. Enjoy the show, Tracy.

Kelis headlines Park West on Monday, the 9th. Son Little opens at 8PM. The show's 18+ and $20. Park West is at 322 W Armitage.

James Ziegenfus

Pitchfork Music Festival Wed May 14 2014

Odes to Pitchfork Music Festival (and Your Chance to Win!)

pitchfork2014.jpgSome say that poetry is music. We'd like to add that an experience as unique and magical as a 3-day music festival in the middle of Chicago is something best captured in a poem. Better yet, a hiaku. That's right, we're daring you to create haikus about the Pitchfork Music Festival. Just write your most poignant thoughts down in a 5/7/5 syllable haiku in the comments below (Be sure to include a valid email address!) and we'll pick 2 winners to receive a 3-day pass to this year's fest!

Haikus must be entered in comments below by 3pm Friday, 5/16. We'll notify winners by email. Write as many haikus as you like! [Update! We've notified our 2 winners by email! Thanks for all the amazing entries!]

Need inspiration? Here are a few to inspire you, by Transmission writer Mike Bellis:

Would you like to see
Pitchfork's summer jubilee
All three days, for FREE?

Gapers has your back;
A way to watch Slowdive and
Neutral Milk attack

Send us some haikus
On some of Pitchfork's who's who's
And we'll cure your blues

Five, seven and five
Rhyming's swell, if you can jive
If not, well, that's cool.

How could you delay?
Grimes and St Vincent await --
Write us now, today!

Anne Holub / Comments (80)

Contest Mon Apr 28 2014

Get Down and Celebrate 20 Years with Bloodshot on Saturday

It seems like just yesterday we were touting Bloodshot Records' latest milestone, and here they are hitting another one. This weekend, the venerable Chicago music label celebrates their 20th year with a musical showcase that should be on your social calendar. Featuring no less than Murder by Death, Andre Williams, Danny Black from the Blacks and Nora O'Connor.

If you're already sold on this shin-dig, we're delighted to be graced with a couple pairs of tickets to the show! We'll be choosing 2 winners at random today at 3pm. To get your hat in the ring, email us at with the subject line "Bloodshot!". You must be 18+ to go to this show (and win this contest). [Update: We have our winners! Congrats to Dmitry and Marian!]

If you're unfamiliar with this gang, here's a breakdown:

Murder By Death offers not the angry metal you might expect from their name, but instead, orchestral indie tunes that make you smile.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Pitchfork Music Festival Mon Apr 07 2014

Miss Your Chance for P4K Fest Three-Day Passes? Have No Fear, Gapers Block is Here!

Pitchfork Music Festival 2013_9333292274_m.jpg

Ptichfork Music Festival 2013 (Photo by Joshua Mellin)

As you may have seen, three-day passes to this summer's Pitchfork Music Festival are now sold out. But fear not, Grimes fans! Luckily for you, Gapers Block has a few passes available to what many of us here consider to be one of the best all-around festival experiences you can find.

Similar to our Pitchfork giveaways of years past, we're asking readers to leave a comment below this article with a few of their favorite memories from festivals of previous Pitchfork fests (or, if you've yet to see the Union Park festival in all its midsummer glory, give us a memory or personal story about one of this year's artists.) A winner will be chosen from among the comments section of this article — but you must comment by Tuesday morning at 11am. Good luck!

[Update: We've picked our winner! Congrats to Joy, who posted at 3:18pm Monday afternoon, and whose love for truly old-school lovelorn CD-R mixtapes and Beck softened our hearts. Joy, please email us your full name and mailing address at so we can get you your 3-day pass! Congrats and thanks for everyone for the great comments!]

Mike Bellis / Comments (48)

Contest Mon Nov 25 2013

Contest! Lissie @ Park West on Friday!

Rock Island's Lissie (now based out of California) burst out with 2010's Catching a Tiger, which found her progressing from a folk background into more pop influences. On this year's Back to Forever, she sounds in the neighborhood of Haim, but with an Americana tilt. The album has slick production and Lissie comfortably tackles everything from learning from failed loves to the politics of coal. There's a little Neko Case in there and her voice echoes Stevie Nicks, too. Clearly, Lissie has some good pedigree. Gapers Block's giving away tickets to Friday's show at Park West. Write to with "Further Away" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: We have a winner. Enjoy the show, Maggie.]

Lissie headlines Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave. on Friday, the 29th. Chicago's Purple Apple opens. It's an all ages show, and the doors open at 6:30pm. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door.

James Ziegenfus / Comments (1)

Contest Sun Nov 10 2013

Contest: Pelican @ Bottom Lounge 11/13


Local post-metal quartet, Pelican, creates music that is darkly beautiful. Wordless in it's execution, their instrumentation creates vast compositions that examine emotions ranging from anxiety to cathartical.

Check out a stream of their single, "Deny the Absolute."

We're giving away a free pair of tickets to see them as they celebrate the recent release of their excellent new album, Forever Becoming this Wednesday night at Bottom Lounge. Email us at with the subject line "Pelican" and we'll pick a winner by 5pm Monday to go to the show with a friend. Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Thomas!

In addition, Pelican have linked up with the somewhat local (right over the border in Munster, Indiana) perpetual favorites 3 Floyds to create a new limited edition beer that will be on tap throughout the night. Immutable Dusk, a Black IPA, is the latest collaboration between the metal band and the highly metal influenced craft brewery. I've yet to try it myself, but it seems like it should be similar to beers such as Stone's Arrogant Bastard, which is to say it should be a unapologetically dark beer which commands your attention. This seems appropriate since Pelican's music is often the same.

Pelican perform Wednesday, November 13th, at Bottom Lounge (1375 W. Lake Street.) This is a 17+ show. Enabler, Anatomy of Habit, and Bongripper all open. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.

Justin Freeman

Concert Tue Sep 17 2013

Contest: The Weekend @ Empty Bottle, 9/20


The Weekend (not The Weeknd, the R&B singer of the somewhat same name) are disciples of bands such as Joy Division, Sonic Youth, and My Bloody Valentine. They make aggressively loud experimental post-punk, and they do it rather well. Their latest album Jinx is a cathartic love letter full of atmospheric sonic brutalism and manic paranoia to the bands they clearly admire.

Listen to their blistering single "Mirror" below.

We're giving you the chance to check them out for free. Email us at with the subject line "The Weekend" and we'll pick a winner by 5pm today to go to the show with a friend. [Update: We have a winner! Congrats to John!]

The Weekend play at the Empty Bottle this Friday, September 20th, opening for local noise rockers, Disappears, as they celebrate the release of their new album Era (a show we just previewed). Outside World kicks the night off. Tickets are $12 adv/$14 door. You must be 21+ to attend.

Justin Freeman

Contest Wed Jul 10 2013

Contest: Win a Pair of Pitchfork Festival Three Day Passes in the Gapers Block Music Scavenger Hunt


You've got the rest of this week and next to hydrate, buy some comfortable shoes and some high SPF before heading out to Pitchfork Festival next weekend in Union Park. Three day passes have been sold out for a few weeks, but you can still buy single day passes for $50 each day here.

We at Gapers Block are no stranger to procrastination, and so we're sure a few of you kept meaning to get a pass, letting it slip your mind until it was too late. Or maybe you've had to budget this festival season, picking and choosing only select festivals to attend this year. And some of us are just flat out broke. Whatever the reason, if you haven't got ahold of a pass yet, there is still time for Gapers Block to hook up a few more lucky readers. We'll have a three day pass to give away at our Hot Dog Cook Off at Schubas this weekend. If you aren't a fan of tubular meat (for shame!) you can enter to win a pair of three day passes by participating in the Gapers Block Music Scavenger Hunt!

The scavenger hunt will take you around the city to some of our favorite Chicago music moments and landmarks. You have until now to Sunday at 7pm to play along. Want to explore the city a bit and throw your hat in the ring to win two weekend passes? Check out the rules and scavenger hunt clues after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Lisa White / Comments (9)

Contest Wed Jun 05 2013

Didn't Grab a Pitchfork Festival Three-Day Pass Before They Sold Out? We're Here to Help!


Did you grab your Pitchfork Festival three-day pass? If not, you snooze you lose folks. On Monday the festival announced that they have officially sold out of three-day passes. Can't say we didn't warn you though! Single day tickets are still available for $50 each, and you can purchase them here.

Kicking yourself over not buying a full weekend pass in time? Well have no fear all you procrastinators out there. We've got a three-day pass for one lucky Gapers Block reader today. So breathe a sigh of relief and shoot an email over to with the subject line "Pitchfork Procrastinator" and you might be relaxing at the festival next month in Union Park. Make sure to get your email in by 4pm today, and at that time we'll pick a random winner. And remember next year to grab those passes early! [Update: Thanks to everyone who emailed in entries. We've notified our winner! Congrats to Brain B.]

If the diverse and stellar line-up of everyone from Bjork to Solange to R. Kelly to Lil B doesn't have you excited all ready, one of the newest additions to the festival (in the form of a beverage no less) might pique your interest. Goose Island is returning after a two year break to become the beverage of choice next month, and they are bringing some interesting brews specifically for the festival. Including a beer called Run the Jewels, a collaboration with rappers Killer Mike and El-P, named after their own new joint music project. So you can literally swig their beer while watching them perform at Pitchfork Festival, which I highly advise since their joint tour last year was one of my personal favorite shows of 2012. For more info on the other interesting beer selections being offered this year, check out this piece about it from the Chicago Tribune.

Pitchfork Festival is July 19-21st in Union Park. Three-day passes are sold out, but you can still purchase individual tickets at $50/day.

Lisa White

Contest Fri May 31 2013

Contest: The Uncluded @ Old Town School

The Uncluded at Old Town School of Folk MusicCan a duo be a supergroup? If so, The Uncluded fit the bill. Like an indie version of the Judgment Night soundtrack, rapper Aesop Rock teams up with indie-folk darling Kimya Dawson for an odd but endearing mix of their respective styles.

The Uncluded headline the Old Town School of Folk Music next Saturday, June 8, with Hamell On Trial opening. Tickets are $20 ($18 for members) and are on sale now. But hey, we've got two pairs to give away right now! Enter to win by emailing with the subject line "Delicate Cycle" by 5pm today. UPDATE: We have our winners! Congrats to Kristin and Brian!

Andrew Huff

Contest Fri Apr 05 2013

Contest: Jamie Lidell @ Lincoln Hall, 4/6


I first witnessed the one man wizardry of Jamie Lidell when he played Pitchfork Festival in 2007. Dressed like a shaman of funk in a kimono and headdress made of metallic streamers, he curated live a chopped up blend of soul, funk, and electronic. It was bizarre at first, then instantly mesmerizing and addictive. I bought his album the next day.

Much has stayed the same since that day, as he continues to toe the line between a soul, funk, and electronic artist. Whether crooning with a backing band or mixing behind machines, Lidell is an electrifying performer, constantly moving and making sure the audience understands the main objective of his music is to move. And with his recent self-titled album he continues this tried and true method, crafting one of my favorite albums released so far this year. It's an album that makes you yearn for a disco ball and a dance floor with tracks like "What a Shame" and "You Naked." He perfectly channels Morris Day and the Time style funk on "You Know My Name," thumping out a bass beat and Prince style guitar lick that makes you want to two step whether you know how or not.

Lidell is stopping in Chicago on his tour to promote the album tomorrow night at Lincoln Hall. The show is unfortunately sold out, but we've got a pair of tickets to give away to one lucky reader. Just email us at with the subject line "I'm Selfish" (another great track off the new album) and you and a friend could spend Saturday night on the dance floor at Lincoln Hall. We'll pick a winner by 3pm today. Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Nina!

Check back next week here on Gapers Block with an interview with Jamie and our thoughts on his show Saturday night.

Jamie Lidell headlines Lincoln Hall Saturday April 6th, with Empress of and Ludwig Persik. The show is sold out, 21+ and starts at 10pm.

Lisa White

Pitchfork Music Festival Thu Mar 28 2013

Share Your Memories and Win a Pitchfork Festival 2013 3-Day Pass


Sleigh Bells Crowd Surf by George Aye

As the sun peeks out, temperatures rise, and Chicago begins to thaw out from the winter, we're reminded that our favorite time of the year is around the corner; summer festival season.

One of our busiest weekends is Pitchfork Festival, which is personally a favorite in my book. It has always been to me the perfect size, the perfect mix of new and old artist to check out, and a great relaxing weekend to enjoy quality music with friends.

We've had a lot of great memories at Pitchfork Festival, and we want to make sure our readers make even more come July 19th. We've got a three-day pass to give away today, and all you have to do is leave a comment below with your favorite memory from the festival (make sure to provide your correct email address so we can contact you.) If you win, you could be lounging as our guest this year in Union Park. We'll pick a winner from the comments at 5pm today, and contact them via email, so get cracking! [Update! Thanks for all of these amazing entries. We've contacted our winner. Congrats to Andrew!]

Need some inspiration? My own personal top five memories are after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Lisa White / Comments (61)

Contest Mon Mar 18 2013

Preview and a Contest: Las Guitarras de España @ City Winery, 3/21


Las Guitarras de España (Photo from

Chicago's pan-Hispanic music and dance collective, Las Guitarras de España, performs at City Winery this Thursday with special guests Los Hombres Perdidos.

Continue reading this entry »

Marc Fishman

Contest Mon Mar 04 2013

Contest: Field Report @ SPACE, 3/5

Field Report, though newer to the music scene, is not a fledgling group. Its members have all been submerged within the music world long before their self-titled album debut was released this past year. Deyarmond Edison was lead singer Chris Porterfield's first musical endeavor, formed with four other musicians, one of which was Justin Vernon. The group released one album, Silent Signs, in 2005, and the following year, Porterfield decided to stay behind as the group relocated to North Carolina. Deyarmond Edison eventually split into three folk crooner outfits: Bon Iver, Megafaun, and Field Report.

Porterfield remained in Wisconsin before the onset of his own group occurred, writing songs and honing in on his folk sound. Backed by a five-piece band, he began playing shows around the Wisconsin area until he had formed Field Report, an anagram of his first and last name. With Bob Dylan's croon, the sensibility of The Avett Brothers, and the storytelling lyricism of troubadours Neil Young and Simon and Garfunkel, Field Report presents us with sweet folk ballads to warm our bodies and souls up in these lulling winter months. Take a listen for yourself below, and you also will get the chance to hear Porterfield and company for yourself this Tuesday evening at SPACE in Evanston.

Fans who'd like to check out the show for free (along with a friend), just email us at with the subject line "Porterfield" to be in the running to win a pair of tickets. We'll pick a winner by 3pm today.

Field Report plays SPACE on Tuesday, March 5. The show starts at 7:30pm, and tickets are $10 for general admission and $18 for reserved table seating. SPACE is located at 1245 Chicago Avenue, Evanston (847) 492-8860.

Sarah Brooks

Contest Thu Jan 31 2013

Contest: The Right Now @ Martyrs, 2/2

The Right Now are no strangers to the (web)pages of Gapers Block. These spunky funk, R&B and jazz-playing locals have released a stellar sophomore album last year and have pleased us with their live shows in the past.

Most recently, The Right Now teamed up with NYC label Deep&Disco to remix of one of the most soulful tracks off their newest album, "Call Girl." The name already suggests that this track has a significant amount of seductive sauciness, but the disco-influenced remixes really notches it up there as one of those songs that you just have to shake it to. Have a listen to one of the mixes below and purchase the "12 here.

Now we're giving you the chance to check them out first hand. They'll be headlining Martyrs this weekend on Saturday, February 2. Yes, there's plenty of space to dance away the mid-winter blues and we assure you the music will be on point so, really, you have no excuse not to go -- especially if you're not footing the bill. Gapers Block is giving away a pair of tickets to the show. Just email us at with the subject line "Right Now!" and we'll pick a winner by 5pm today to go with a friend to the show. [Update: We have a winner! Congrats to William!]

Katie Karpowicz

Contest Wed Jan 16 2013

Contest: Jessie Ware @ Lincoln Hall!

Jessie Ware's Devotion is a striking debut album from a London talent. It doesn't crush ears immediately, but it burrows in brains. It's a subtle approach to the modern R&B and soul that finds its way onto the pop charts. There's not a lot of flash, but it's emotive and enthralling. "Wildest Moments" is a dazzling showcase for her voice; elegant and energizing, with an abundance of confidence. That aesthetic carries on through the album that draws from R&B, soul, electronic and even drum'n'bass. It sounds like Ware could belt it out at any moment, but she generally keeps her voice reined in, which makes the very few moments when she cuts loose even more affecting. Sunday marks Jessie Ware's first show in Chicago. Gapers Block is giving away a pair of tickets to see her. Write to with "Wildest Moments" in the subject line by 5pm Wednesday for a chance to win. [Update: We have a winner. Enjoy the show, Bruno! Thanks for writing in, everyone.]

Jessie Ware headlines Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., on Sunday, the 20th, as part of Tomorrow Never Knows. On And On, Mister Lies and Kriz Baronia (formerly Bald Eagle) will also be performing. The show's 18+, $15 and starts at 9pm.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Wed Oct 31 2012

The Hood Internet Heads to the Metro 11/2 (and a contest)

You're used to hearing their most excellent mashups, but with an actual album to celebrate, it's a true reason to get your booty to the dance floor for some Hood Internet action this week. The Hood Internet hits the Metro on Friday night as their (rescheduled) album release party for FEAT finally gets underway. They'll be joined by My Gold Mask, Psalm One, Oscillator Bug, and BBU (who'll be giving their final performance!).

Here's a fresh video for "More Fun," from the album FEAT, featuring Psalm One and Tobacco:

Head to the show for free with a friend when you win a pair of tickets to the show, courtesy of the Metro! Just email us at with the subject line "Feat" and we'll randomly select a winner at noon on Friday.

Tickets to Friday's show are $15 (if you had tickets to the original show date, September 20, 2012, bring them along -- all tickets for the previous date will be honored). Doors open at 8pm. 18+ The Metro is located at 3730 N. Clark St.

Anne Holub

Preview Mon Oct 15 2012

Preview & Contest: Heartless Bastards @ Metro

A band that manages to create a unique sound to become all its own, and continues to follow consistently album after album, is a true force to be reckoned with.

Heartless Bastards, who originally hail from Cincinnati, are one of these bands. Their rock 'n' roll sound is very dynamic, incorporating many different elements, from indie, to blues, to country.

They are often times compared to the Black Keys. In fact, Patrick Carney's promotion of Heartless Bastards' demo helped them get signed to Fat Possum Records in 2004.

Lead singer and guitarist Erika Wennerstrom is reminiscent of a female Bob Dylan. Her distinct voice is raspy and full of emotion. She also writes songs for the band, many of which are about love and loss.

The band has been gaining a lot of momentum throughout the past several years. They have garnered more recognition from music critics and more coverage on late night talk shows, including The Late Show with David Letterman. Most recently, they have harnessed a lot of energy from their most recent full-length studio album, Arrow, the band's first release with Partisan Records.

According to the Heartless Bastards' website, it boasts their "latest and greatest line-up" since their humble beginning as a garage band. The original drummer, Dave Colvin, and bassist, Jesse Ebaugh, returned to the roster for the band's third album, Mountain. The most recent addition is a second guitarist, Mark Nathan, who considerably enhances their live sound.

Heartless Bastards will return to Chicago to play a show at the Metro on Monday, Oct. 22 at 9pm with Futurebirds and Dana Falconberry. Tickets are $17 in advance, $19 day-of. But Gapers Block has a pair of tickets to give away. To enter for your chance to win, email by Friday, Oct. 19 at noon. Please include your full name and phone number in the body, and put "Heartless" as the subject line. We'll select one winner at random from the entries received. [Update: We have our winner! Congrats to Bob!]

Continue reading this entry »

Brianna Kelly / Comments (1)

Contest Mon Oct 15 2012

Contest: Kopecky Family Band @ SPACE

There is sweetness and a touch of innocence in the Kopecky Family Band's music. But there's also enough of a wild streak in them to appease those who like their indie-rock infused with doses of rambunctious Americana. The Nashville band's on the road ahead of their self-released debut album, Kids Raising Kids (out 10/23). One of the album's strengths is how singers Kelsey Kopecky and Gabe Simon (so, yeah, they're not actually related) handle vocals, whether it's in their harmonies or when one drops off to let the other shine. They may still be kids, but they certainly know how to write songs that work for them. Their Disaster EP is proof enough that they were on the right track two years ago. Serious touring in the meantime has only bolstered their position and made them a better live band. Gapers Block is giving away a pair of tickets to Thursday's show at SPACE. Write to with "Disaster" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: And we have a winner. Scott's going to the show! Thanks for reading and writing in, everyone.]

Kopecky Family Band headlines SPACE on Thursday, the 18th. Jon Drake & the Shakes and Colorfeels open. The show starts at 7:30PM. It's $10 in advance, $12 at the door or $18 for a reserved table. SPACE is at 1245 Chicago Avenue in Evanston.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Fri Oct 12 2012

Contest: White Rabbits @ Lincoln Hall!

Throughout White Rabbits' career, their detractors have often said, "If I wanted to hear that sound, I'd just listen to Spoon." On their latest album, Milk Famous, the Brooklyn band seems sick of the comparisons. They veer in a different direction. The punchy indie-rock that they've lived on is still present, but it's not overwhelming. Songs like "Hold It to the Fire" and "Heavy Metal" dial things down a notch yet are still complex and satisfying. On the other side of the coin is "Temporary" that's dominated by its quick pace and sudden changes. Where White Rabbits' strength lies, though, is in their performances. The six-man band has a frenetic nature as each member moves from instrument to instrument, sometimes even mid-song. It's almost like each person in the band is saying to themselves "I have one chance to play [instrument] tonight; I might as well make it good." And more often than not, they certainly do. Gapers Block is giving a pair of tickets to see White Rabbits on Wednesday, the 17th. Write to with "Milk Famous" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: Whoa, hold up, folks. We have a winner. Congrats, Peter. Thanks for reading, everyone.]

White Rabbits headlines Lincoln Hall on Wednesday, the 17th. Chicago's Save the Clocktower, whose new Through the Glass album is a really fun listen, opens the show. It's $15, 21+ and starts at 9PM. Lincoln Hall's at 2424 N Lincoln.

James Ziegenfus

Concert Wed Oct 10 2012

Trey Anastasio Hits Chicago Solo (Plus, a Contest)


Chicago-area Phish phans may still be coming down off from what was widely heralded as their best tour in at least a decade, but for devotees of the jam juggernauts, there is no respite in the month of October. For followers of the band and frontman Trey Anastasio the next couple of weeks should prove productive, to say the least.

First, local landmark and former hole-in-the-wall dive Tuman's is one of eight locations chosen nationally to host a listening party for the debut of lead guitarist and singer Anastasio's solo album Traveler, which drops October 16th. In addition to an ATO records supported listening opportunity, fans will be able to take in an optional parking-lot-food-inspired tasting menu served up by head chef, and noted local Phish enthusiast, Jim Day.

Second, a mere three days after the release of the album on October 16th, Anastasio brings the circus to town for a solo show at the historic Chicago Theatre. Attendees can expect a show heavy with tracks off the new album, which ventures further into modern pop than many of Anastasio's previous efforts.

Continue reading this entry »

Dan Snedigar

Contest Wed Jul 11 2012

Contest: 3-Day Passes to Pitchfork Music Festival 2012

p4k12.jpgMissed out on three-day passes to Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend? Fest sponsor Badoo has hooked us up with two tickets to this weekend's Pitchfork Music Festival and we're giving them away to one lucky winner.

Just email with your name and the subject line "Badoo Pitchfork" by noon Thursday, July 12. We'll pick a random entry, and that person will have two three-day passes waiting for them at will-call when the festival starts on Friday, July 13 at 3pm. UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations to Darren P.!

Additionally, anyone who already has tickets and registers as a member of the site will have exclusive access to the Badoo lounge at the festival, where they'll be giving away free water bottles, sunglasses, tshirts and more. Concertgoers can beat the heat on plush white couches and watch the show from the tent's live stage feed, cool off with fans and misters, and get photos taking in a free photo booth.

Andrew Huff

Contest Thu Jun 28 2012

Contest: See the Hives And Get Some Vinyl


We already told you the reasons why you should "Go Right Ahead" and see The Hives at The Vic Saturday night, June 30, but now we're giving one lucky reader a free pass, plus so much more. One lucky reader will win a pair of tickets to the show, plus a copy of the band's new album Lex Hives on 180 gram vinyl, plus a Hives 4-set pin pack and (oh, what the hell) some stickers. Just email us at with the subject line "Lex Hives" and we'll select a winner at noon on Friday. You must be 18+ to attend this show. [Update: We have our winner! Congrats to Othy!]

Anne Holub

Contest Fri Jun 22 2012

Contest: Audra Mae @ Schubas

audra.jpg There're countless female singers who strap on a guitar, write a few catchy tunes and get one of them in the background of a network television program or Hollywood movie. But there's a streak of wildness in Audra Mae's uptempo Americana that's separated her far enough from the pack that she's not just another pleasant but forgettable voice. With her excellent backing band, the Almighty Sound, Mae's latest album delivers on the glints of promises in her music over the last few years. It's full-steam ahead for this Oklahoman who's been honing her craft in Los Angeles. (Fans of Sarah Borges who've been looking for more twang need to check out Audra Mae.)

Audra Mae opens for Cory Branan at Schubas on Tuesday, the 26th. Briar Rabbit opens the show at 8PM. It's 21+ and $10. Schubas is at the corner of Belmont & Southport. Gapers Block's giving away a pair of tickets to this show. Write to with "Audra" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: And we have a winner. Thanks for writing in, folks.]

James Ziegenfus

Contest Tue Jun 05 2012

Ticket Giveaway: The Metropia Experience


The Metropia Experience is a new music and arts festival running this Thursday and Friday, June 7-8, in the Atrium Events space at 4325 N. Ravenswood Ave. The festival features an eclectic mix of mostly local musicians and artists, with a few regional acts thrown in for good measure.

Thursday's lineup includes Dinger, Marina City, Dozens, The Bears of Blue River, R.O.E., Lucky Dutch, Milano, The Pirates, Famous Like You, Take the Day, Santah and J. Crist. On Friday, the Kelsey Montanez Band, Nina Ferraro, Kirby Kaiser, Fathom Blue, Jana G., Shadow the Machine Angel, Jaded!, Ramsen, Cold Blue Kid, Tim Million, Veilside, Tiny Fireflies, Shuteye and The Night Survives perform. Doors open at 2pm each day -- which seems a little early for a weekday show, but who am I to judge?

Single-day tickets are $65 (students can get in for just $27), two-day passes are $110, and are available online or at the door. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Bully Police Squad and WLUW.

But if you hurry, you don't have to pay that at all. We have 12 pairs of one-day tickets to give away! Just email with the subject line "Metropia." We'll draw names from the entries received at noon Wednesday.

Andrew Huff

Contest Fri Jun 01 2012

Contest: The Bears of Blue River Album Art Design

The Bears of Blue River, folksy Chicago band, have just returned from touring, and released their latest album, Dames, in 2011. Their sound is light, fun, and refreshing, perfect for a sunny Chicago day. They're in the process of creating their next album, and they've taken an innovative approach to its concept. The Bears of Blue River have decided to let their fans create the design for the album art, and the winner of this contest could be you! Take a listen to one of their songs, "Blue Ribbon," below to get inspired:

The contest prize features some pretty nifty items, including number 1 of a 250-set hand-numbered pink vinyl, a framed copy of the winning artwork, and a personal shout out to you in the album liner notes to say thanks. Beyond the prizes for the winner, the band wanted to make sure that everyone who submitted an entry felt their gratitude; each person that enters the contest will also be recognized in the album liner notes. Pretty cool, right?

Contest entries can be sent in the form of photographs, paintings, illustrations and digital artwork, so there's plenty of room for variety and creativity within your design. Send your finished product to The Bears of Blue River by June 30 for consideration via email or standard mail at the contest's website, where you can find further details and specifications for your entry.

Sarah Brooks

Contest Mon May 14 2012

Contest: We Are Serenades @ Empty Bottle!

It sounds like summer when you're listening to We Are Serenades. The Swedish band's sugary indie-pop is infectious and doesn't let up through the debut, Criminal Heaven. Considering the band is a side project to the Shout Out Louds and Laakso, it's not terribly surprising that they'd have moments of brilliance all over their record. And while they can sometimes sound like a different band from song to song as they run the gamut of poppy indie genres, there are no real weak spots. Of course, with their pedigree, it's no surprise that the uptempo tracks are the strongest, especially "Birds", which relies on lush strings and hypnotic percussion when you manage to get your ears off of the harmonies.

We Are Serenades headline the Empty Bottle on Wednesday, the 16th. Chicago's Northpilot and Dozens open at 9:30PM. The show's 21+ and $12. Gapers Block's giving away a pair of tickets. Write to with "Criminal Heaven" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: And we have a winner. Big ups to Elizabeth who'll be enjoying We Are Serenades on Wednesday. Thanks for writing in, everyone.] The Empty Bottle's at 1035 N Western.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Wed May 09 2012

Contest: The Right Now Record Release Show @ Lincoln Hall

In case you missed Gapers Block's review of The Right Now's latest album, we loved it. In case you haven't had the chance to check out the album, filled with more sassy Motown flavor than you can shake a stick out, you'll get your chance this Saturday, May 12, when the band celebrates its record release at Lincoln Hall.

Gets Over You, this Chicago band's sophomore effort, takes the blues-y, jazzy, R&B-filled sounds of The Right Now's sounds one step further, pitting them as serious contenders against other genre buddies like fellow locals JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound. After weeks of being on tour in support of the new disc, The Right Now is finally coming home and throwing a party in their well deserved honor Satuday night and you could be on the guest list. The Right Now is giving away two tickets to their show. Just email with the subject line "Right Now!" and you and a friend could be headed to the show.[Update: This contest is closed. Congrats to Brian. Have a blast!]

The Right Now play Lincoln Hall Saturday, May 12. DJRC and Derobert & the Half Truths open the show. It starts at 9pm. This one's limited to 18+.

Katie Karpowicz

Contest Wed May 02 2012

Contest: Alcoholic Faith Mission @ Schubas!

Ask Me This is Alcoholic Faith Mission's 4th album and it's all over the map, in a good way; from beautiful multi-part harmonies to synth-driven noise to prog-pop to earworming folk across. And that's just the first half. It's difficult to listen to Ask Me This without thinking at random points, "I could hear how this would be on a [Field Music/Dungen/Other Lives] album." Yet through that melange is a consistently grandiose aesthetic and moments of brilliance, such as the quirky "Into Pieces" or "We Need Fear", which could be like a dark and frenetic Sufjan Stevens track. Watch the video for the title track:

Alcoholic Faith Mission headlines Schubas on Saturday, the 5th. You Won't and Hot as Hell open at 10PM. The show's 21+ and $12. However, Transmission is giving away a pair of tickets to this show. Write in to with "Ask Me" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: This contest is closed. Congrats to Debra. Thanks for writing in, folks.] Schubas is at the corner of Belmont & Southport.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Tue Apr 24 2012

Contest: Mice Parade Acoustic Trio @ Hideout Tonight

Over the last decade, collaborative group Mice Parade have cultured a somewhat mysterious, textured sound that places the sum of the parts ahead of any single voice or instrument. Their last full-length album, 2010's What It Means To Be Left Handed (FatCat Records) blends beats from South America, Africa, and Europe with electronic touches reminiscent of '80s pop and synth. It goes along to show the group's ongoing challenge to parse musical influences wherever they might be found, and cook them together in a delicious auditory stew. Check out a track below:

Their upcoming album, Candela, will be released later this fall. In a twist, Mice Parade has embarked on a small U.S. tour as an acoustic trio in advance of this studio album, and while they might play new songs, there's no telling exactly what this paired down, acoustic show will become, based on the band's history as a large-scale electronica outfit. On the tour, group founder and multi-instrumentalist Adam Pierce will star on stage along with classical guitar virtuoso Dan Lippel and a special guest Icelandic female vocalist, to be announced at a later date (I've been told it's not Bjork, but honestly I never even suspected it would be). The threesome hits the Hideout tonight for an intimate show. Tickets are a mere $8. Chicago band Cloudbirds open at 9:30pm.

If you'd like a chance to enjoy this show for free, and hear some of the group's new licks, we have a couple of pairs of tickets to give away to some lucky readers. Just email us at with the subject line "Squeak" and you and a friend will head to the show tonight, gratis.

Anne Holub

Contest Thu Mar 29 2012

Contest: Feed Me @ Congress Theater

Been looking for the right opportunity to get into this whole EDM (electronic dance music) craze? This weekend might be your best bet.

On Saturday, March 31st, English DJ/producer headlines the Congress Theater. Performing under his stage name Feed Me, Gooch's sounds channel some of the biggest names in the elctroniic music scene. See his latest EP Feed Me's Escape from Magic Mountin for a unique blend of the lighter, trance-like side of the genre (i.e. DeadMau5) and the heavier, glitchier--dare I say--dubstep sounds of other heavy hitting EDM artists like Skrillex. Feed Me, who's signed to DeadMau5's label Mau5trap, provides a solid span of styles that give an authentic, yet non-polarizing, glimpse into the music scene.

Sure to be the ultimate party setting, this stacked show goes from 7:30pm to 2:30am Saturday night. Other DJs on the bill are local duo Team Bayside High, Jackmaster, Plastician, Kill the Noise, as well as Skream & Benga. It's 17 and over show. The Congress Theater is located at 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave.

But wait! Gapers Block is giving away two pairs of tickets to the show tomorrow to a lucky couple of readers. Just email us at with the subject line "FEED ME!" and you and a friend will head to the show for free. [Update: Hold the phone, we have our winners! Congrats to Ryan and Nina.]

Katie Karpowicz

Contest Mon Mar 05 2012

Contest: Alabama Shakes @ Lincoln Hall!


It's been a hell of a year for Alabama Shakes. In the last 10 months, they've gone from not even being named Alabama Shakes to having a praised EP to opening for Drive-By Truckers to being featured in a television commercial that was practically inescapable. On the verge of their debut album's release (Boys & Girls is out April 10), they're touring to show everyone a glimpse of what's to come. The Athens, Alabama quartet pumps out an olio of southern rock, R&B, blues and soul that's infectious and makes you wonder if you're really listening to music made in 2012. Singer Brittany Howard wails in a way reminiscent of classic southern soul vocalists and provides the cornerstone of the band's sound. This Friday's show at Lincoln Hall is sold out, but Gapers Block is giving away a pair of tickets. Write into with "I Found You" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: Whoa, hold your horses. We have a winner. Congratulations, Sarah. Thanks for writing in, everyone!]

Alabama Shakes headline a sold-out Lincoln Hall on Friday, March 9. Jennifer Castle opens at 10pm. Chicago's Canasta, who are fresh off of a tour of Mongolia that you may have read about, will play too. Alabama Shakes are also playing a free show sponsored by XRT at Reggie's at 12pm (yes, noon) on Saturday, the 10th. Lincoln Hall's at 2424 N. Lincoln Ave. Reggie's is at 2109 S. State St.

James Ziegenfus

Concert Mon Feb 13 2012

Win St. Patrick's Day Dinner and a Show with Chicago Bluegrass Stalwarts Sexfist

Chicago bluegrass outfit Sexfist are unlikely to be accused of taking themselves too seriously, but there are a couple of reasons that you should pay attention to them. First, the band itself is extremely serious about their music, and second, they are one of the more entertainingly self-promoting bands in the city. Fans can fill in their Sexfist Club Cards at shows (a clever nod to the Subway Club of yore) and posters featuring their distinctive homunculus logo are staples on Chicago's post boards. This spring, fans of their Facebook page can vie for a chance to win dinner with the band, VIP treatment, and a merch package for their St. Patrick's Day show at Rogers Park's Mayne Stage theater. Beginning today, fans can check in on Facebook and play the "Would you rather. . ." game to win deluxe treatment by answering questions between now and March 9.

Sexfist plays a St. Patrick's Day show, named "Fist me, I'm Irish," on Saturday, March 17 at the Mayne Stage, 1328 Morse Ave, Chicago, IL at 8:00. Colorado-based bluegrass band Whitewater Ramble shares the bill.

Dan Snedigar

Contest Wed Jan 18 2012

Contest: STS9 @ the Congress Theater

It's an end of the world party and your invited! Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9 for short) will be in Chicago this Friday and Saturday night at the Congress Theater for the second stop of their "Great Cycle Spectacles" series, celebrating the beginning and end of the Mayan calendar cycle. If all this 2012 talk is true, we might as well go out on a good note, right? STS9's jam band/electronica blend should be just the thing for that.

Homepage Player by STS9

STS9 promises these "Great Cycle Spectacles" shows will be "one of a kind performance celebrating a spectacle of music, art and imagination." Sound like something you don't want to miss? That's where Gapers Block comes in. We've got three sets of tickets for three of our lucky readers to Friday night's show. Just email us at with the subject "STS9" and you and a friend might be heading to the show on Friday night for free. [Update! Congrats to Blair, Brian, and Ryan -- our winners!]

STS9 plays the Congress Theater this Friday and Saturday, January 20 and 21. RJD2 opens on Friday and Savoy will be the supporting act on Saturday. This show is 17+. The shows start at 9pm. The Congress Theater is at 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Katie Karpowicz

Contest Fri Dec 02 2011

Contest: Celebrate the music of Serge Gainsbourg with Jane Birkin Monday night

Jane Birkin has lived her life as not only the muse to one of the most famous French singers in history, but as an actress, humanitarian, singer, mother, and all around amazing woman. From her days as a staple in the European pop scene of the 60s, her beauty and charm captured the man who would create a body of work that would influence a multitude of artist from Beck to Portishead to Pulp. With the anniversary of one of the pinacles of Serge Gainsbourg's work, Histoire de Melody Nelson, Birkin has started to tour with a full backing band to bring to life the songs from this iconic album. If you are a Francophile, this is the closest you'll get to seeing Gainsbourg's music live in the most true form.

And for one lucky Gapers Block reader, we have a pair of tickets to give away so you can enjoy the show as well. Just email us at by 4pm today, Friday December 2nd, with the subject line "Je t'aime" and you and friend could be enjoying the show for free Monday night [Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Tracy!] We're more than certain that the show will be très bien.

The Empty Bottle and Chicago Reader present A Serge Gainsbourg Tribute featuring Jane Birkin, Monday December 5th, 8pm at the Portage Theater. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 the day of, and can be purchased here.

Lisa White

Concert Tue Nov 22 2011

Contest: Enjoy a Different Beat with Tinariwen @ Metro

Just some of the members of Tinariwen (photo by Marie Planeille)

Let's face it, you don't have a lot of bands like Tinariwen on your iPod. Hailing from Mali, where the group first got together in the early 1970s, the blues-influenced tribal music is like none other. They gained some attention in Chicago thanks to electric performances around town [Read previous Transmission coverage of Tinariwen.] , and their latest album Tassili offers up grooving, trance-like gems that are sure to gain them even more listeners. Joined on many tracks by guests like guitarist Nels Cline (of Wilco fame), members of TV On The Radio, and the horns of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, there's a lot to love about Tassili.

Songs range from sad tales of longing for home to girl trouble to just tunes about having the blues. You can check out lyrics (which have been kindly translated into English) and see just how much you have to relate to in Tinariwen's songbook.

The band is a feast for the eyes as well as the ears, donning their flowing robes while still emitting an approachable spirit to their shows, whether they take place in the desert or on stage in Wrigleyville. For two lucky readers, we're happy to have two pairs of tickets to give away, courtesy of the Metro. Just email us at by noon on Wednesday, Nov. 23 with the subject line "Tassili" and you and a friend will be all set to see the show for free. [Update! We have our winners. Congrats to Scott and James!]

Tinariwen plays the Metro on Friday, November 25, 2011. Sophie Hunger opens. Tickets are $26 (adv), $29 (day of show). 18+. Doors open at 8pm, music starts at 9pm. The Metro is located at 3730 N. Clark St. 773-549-4140

Anne Holub

Event Thu Nov 10 2011

See The Drums, Look At Phones, Drink For Free


Microsoft is celebrating the release of the Windows 7.5 phones this weekend in Chicago by loading our city with free food, free booze, and free rock 'n 'roll. This Friday and Saturday night, Windows is taking over a "secret location" to showcase the Samsung Focus S, Samsung Focus Flash, HTC Titan and HTC Radar phones. As the effects of S.A.D. start to seep in, the summertime sounds of indie pop band The Drums might do our poor souls some good in this miserable weather. The band will be performing at the parties, which will also feature life-sized X-Box games. Did I mention the free booze?

Lucky you (and your friend) we've got two pairs of VIP tickets to these events to give away (one for Friday and one for Saturday night). VIPs get guaranteed free entry, access to a special VIP area, as well as free food and drinks. To win them you must A) be 21+, and B) email us at with the subject: DRUMS! and you must indicate which night you prefer (can be either) in your email. We'll select two winners at random at noon on Friday, 11/11. [Update: We have our winners! Congrats to Wes and Joey!]

Tickets can be reserved through Microsoft's Facebook page, but you'll have to hurry as tickets are limited. The parties go on from 7pm to 9pm Friday and Saturday night at a location you'll learn about in the RSVP. Note: your RSVP does not guarantee entry, so get there early!


Stephanie Griffin

Contest Fri Sep 30 2011

Contest: Zee Avi @ Schubas!

There was a time not long ago that it seemed most people were pretty much snickering at the idea of taking a street artist approach to fame via Youtube. Really, there're millions of people who own webcams and play a guitar. But as we evolve, so does the method in which we find diamonds in the rough. And so it is that a Malaysian singer/songwriter went from a self-shot video to a full-length album and opening for Pete Yorn in two years. Now two years later, Zee Avi's sophomore record, Ghostbird, has been produced by Mario Caldato, Jr., who's worked on a few albums by some acts called the Beastie Boys, Seu Jorge and Super Furry Animals, among others. Not too bad for a 25-year old who plays ukulele, right? It doesn't hurt to have such a smooth voice while adeptly blending southern Pacific and American folk musics either.

Zee Avi headlines Schubas next Tuesday, the 4th. Matt Jennings opens at 8PM. The show's 18+ and $12. But you won't have to worry about that if you're lucky because Gapers Block is giving away a pair of tickets to this show. Write in to with "Ghostbird" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: We have a winner. Congratulations to Maura.] Schubas is on the corner of Belmont & Southport.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Thu Sep 29 2011

Contest: Avett Brothers @ Aragon 9/30

Folk rock group The Avett Brothers play a sold-out show at the Aragon Ballroom tomorrow night -- and we're lucky enough to have three pairs of tickets to give away! If you're interested, email with the subject line "I and Love and You." Include your name and phone number. We have our winners! Congratulations to Casey, Lindsey and Emily!

Andrew Huff

Contest Mon Sep 26 2011

Contest: The Low Anthem TONIGHT @ Empty Bottle

Low Anthem.jpg

Low Anthem at Bonnaroo, Paste magazine

Start your week off right, with a pair of tickets to tonight's show at The Empty Bottle and an autographed poster from The Low Anthem. The Rhode Island indie folk act have been on tour for the past three years since the release of their third studio album Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. They released Smart Flesh this past February, a mix of hauntingly beautiful love songs and rousing Americana folk with always present perfect harmonies. The band is getting ready to take a break from touring for a bit, so this is your last chance to see them live for a bit if you've been putting it off. Also make sure to head out early and catch opening act Sleepy Sun for a woozy dose of swirling psychedelic folk pop.

Write to with "Oh My God, Charlie Darwin" in the subject line for a chance to win! The winner will get two tickets to their show at The Empty Bottle tonight, along with a lovely signed poster from the band. Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Christopher!

The Low Anthem and Sleepy Sun play tonight, Monday September 26th, at The Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave. The show starts at 9:30pm and tickets are just $12.

Lisa White

Contest Wed Aug 24 2011

Contest: Release the Sunbird @ Schubas!

rogue.jpg Did you ever wish that Rogue Wave were folkier? Well, then have I got something for you! After the release of Rogue Wave's 2010 Permalight, singer Zach Rogue recorded a handful of rough demos and added some gorgeous male/female harmonies (with the help of Kate Long) along with a breezy folk sound under the moniker Release the Sunbird. The guitar work on the project's debut, Come Back to Us, at points is reminiscent of Nick Drake, but the subject matter is much more uplifting. Fans of early Rogue Wave will spot similarities between Out of the Shadow and Come Back to Us in its simple songwriting that fills up with elegant instrumentation.

Release the Sunbird headlines Schubas this Saturday, the 27th. It's an early show at 7PM that's 21+ and $14. However, your friends at Transmission are giving away a pair of tickets to this show. Write into with "Come Back" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: We have a winner! Congrats, Anna. And thanks for writing in, everyone.] Schubas is at the corner of Belmont & Southport.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Wed Aug 03 2011

Heat Up The Night With The Cool Kids

Chicago rap duo The Cool Kids (aka Antoine "Sir Michael Rocks" Reed and Evan "Chuck Inglish" Ingersoll) are hot on the heels of their first full-length album (after many free mixtape and single releases online over the years) with When Fish Ride Bicycles (Green Label Sound). With some great jams, including "Swimsuits [ft. Mayer Hawthorne]" and "Bundle Up" (both of which really highlight some of the most notable parts of living year-round in the Midwest), the album is great for some slow cruising on a hot summer night, or heading down the highway to your favorite getaway. Either way, put that elbow outside the window while you listen, for maximum cool.


The fellas are performing at Lollapalooza this weekend, but they're also jamming at an official Lollapaloza after-party at Reggies Rock Club (see our full list of Lolla pre- and after-parties), and we want you to get in for free. We're giving away a pair of tickets to one reader. Just email us at with the subject line "Cool!" and you and a friend will get in for free on Friday night. You must be 18+. [Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Gavin!]

The Cool Kids - Bundle Up from GreenLabelSound on Vimeo.

If you're not a winner, or just don't like contests, catch The Cool Kids at Lollapalooza on Sunday afternoon at Perry's Stage at 3pm, or at Reggie's at 10pm on Friday, August 5th along with DJ RTC, The O'My's, and GLC. Tickets are $20. 18+. Reggies Rock Club is located at 2109 S. State St. (312) 949-0121.

Anne Holub

Contest Mon Jun 27 2011

Contest: Ben Harper @ the Vic!

BenHarper11.jpg Over the last 20 years, Ben Harper's worked all over the map - heading bands with the Innocent Criminals and Relentless7, collaborating with the Blind Boys of Alabama and playing with Joseph Arthur and Dhani Harrison (you know, George's son) in Fistful of Mercy. But he always returns to solo albums where he's comfortable rolling out whatever mix of rock, blues, folk, etc. that he's feeling at the time. His latest, Give Till It's Gone, is no exception with Harper drawing from a variety of influences and even featuring legends like Ringo Starr and Jackson Browne as guests.

Gapers Block is giving a pair of tickets to Ben Harper's show at the Vic on Friday, July 1. Write into with "Give Till It's Gone" in the subject line for a chance to win! [Update: Holy cow. Our inbox was slammed with responses to this. But we have a winner and her name's Amy. Have fun at the show, Amy! And thanks for reading, everybody!]

Ben Harper plays the Vic this Thursday and Friday, June 30 and July 1. They start at 7:30PM. Both shows are sold out. The Vic's at 3145 N Sheffield.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Mon Jun 20 2011

Free Neko Case Concert Ticket Contest

The Poetry Foundation is offering you a chance to win tickets to a free concert by Neko Case this Saturday night. They'll give out pairs of tickets to 90 lucky fans for Neko's show at the Poetry Foundation's Open House at 61 W. Superior St. at 8:30pm on June 25th. How did the redhaired wonder get involved with the Poetry Foundation, you ask? Well, besides being an accomplished songwriter, she also contributed an essay on how poetry is not just for the intellectual elite for Poetry magazine's November 2007 issue.

To enter, fill out the online entry form starting at noon today and before 5pm Tuesday, June 21st.

Anne Holub

Contest Thu Mar 31 2011

Contest: Win Ellie Goulding's Signed Lincoln Hall Setlist

ellie new 1-500.jpg

If you missed out on Ellie Goulding's show at Lincoln Hall Wednesday night [see our preview from earlier this week], or if you just want a one-of-a-kind keepsake, this one's for you. We've been offered a setlist from last night's show signed by Ellie herself for one lucky reader. Just be the first to email us at with the subject "Setlist" and it'll be on it's way to you in a flash. Thanks to Ellie's management for the setlist! [Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Ruthie!]

Anne Holub

Contest Wed Mar 30 2011

Contest: Dance to DeVotchKa @ House of Blues, 3/31/11

The band DeVotchKa has always brought a little international flavor to the stage with their Gypsy-inspired rock and elaborate performances — it's just in reality, they're from Denver, Colorado. But there's absolutely nothing wrong with this group's homegrown, yet exotic sound. Past albums like the widely popular How It Ends are filled with an almost indescribable mix of influences from Eastern Europe to "spaghetti Westerns" with strings, horns, and the mesmerizing voice of singer Nick Urata. They've just released their latest album, 100 Lovers, which once again brings romance and a dreamy storytelling into songs rich with musical talent, including guest collaborations from members of Calexico. (Check out their video, below, for the track "100 Other Lovers" off the new album — unless you've got something against puppets.) Their latest collection was inspired by the Arizona desert, and you can feel the vastness of the dunes in their songs. This album is once again a grand celebration, and the group's live performances are nothing less than a party. They'll roll into town tomorrow night at the House of Blues.

We've got three pairs of tickets to give away to three lucky readers. Just email us at with the subject line "100 Lovers" and you and a friend could be dancing tomorrow night at the House of Blues. [Update! We have our winners! Congratulations to Michael, Lindsey, and Brian!]

DeVotchKa plays House of Blues on Thursday, March 31, 2011. The Kopecky Family Band opens. Doors 7pm / Show 8pm. Tickets are $23/adv. and $25/day of show. 17+. The House of Blues is located at 329 N. Dearborn, Chicago. (312) 923-2000.

Anne Holub

Contest Mon Mar 28 2011

Contest: Ellie Goulding @ Lincoln Hall!

Ellie Goulding is the latest in a long line of female British pop singers who've made a push to break in the US in the wake of success across the pond. The 24-year old has recently released her debut Lights here. It's full of synthpop-influenced jams reminiscent of Kate Nash or La Roux that appeal to the savvy music aficionados here and ignored by nearly everyone else who call it something like insularly British pop music. But maybe she doesn't fit that mold after all, since she has a powerful voice, writes catchy songs no matter where the origin and is attractive enough to appeal to people who listen to music based on what a singer looks like. She's currently on her first US tour and receiving raves across the board for lively performances in venues much smaller than she's now used to in the UK. That trend could continue over here if she plays her cards right and has a little bit of luck.

Ellie Goulding headlines an all ages show at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday, the 30th. The Knocks open at 7:30. The show's sold out. However, Transmission is giving away a pair of tickets to this show! Email contests@gapersblock with "Starry Eyed" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: We have a winner. Enjoy the show, Kyungmin!]

James Ziegenfus

Contest Mon Feb 28 2011

Contest: Dipset @ the Congress!

Dipset.jpgIt's been a while since there've been rumblings about the Diplomats (a.k.a. Dipset) doing anything, like even talking to each other after the hip-hop supergroup parted ways. But it seems that Cam'ron and Jim Jones have set aside their differences and Juelz Santana's said, "If the fans want an album, we can do that." Oh, you think they do? So it seems 2 proper studio albums and a handful of mixes won't be Dipset's legacy. Diplomatic Immunity 3 is supposedly in the pipeline, but what is confirmed is that the New York group has been back on stage doing some shows. You've got to restart somewhere, right? They'll hit Chicago on March 17. Gapers Block is giving away two pairs of tickets to see Dipset. Write to with "Cam'ron & Juelz & Jim & Freekey" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: We have winners. Congrats to Brian and Rian! (That's not intentional.)]

Dipset headlines the Congress on Thursday, March 17. It's an all ages show with GLC, Big Once, Boy Jeanius, DJ Twentys and Tony Trimm. Doors open at 6:30PM and tickets are $25. The Congress is located at 2135 N Milwaukee.

James Ziegenfus / Comments (1)

Contest Thu Feb 24 2011

Contest: Ice Cube @ the Mid!

icube.jpgDoes Ice Cube really need an introduction? The South Central Angeleno was in N.W.A., contributed a wealth of rhymes to perhaps the most significant gangster rap album ever, has had a critically and commercially successful solo career and also was in the supergroup Westside Connection. Of course, he's also been slammed by critics, but that's part of the allure of the gangster rapper and only adds to the notoriety. Even though Cube's often seen in movies and television these days, he's still pumping out records. Last year's I Am the West was a bit of a departure with tracks that punctuated the life of an aging rapper, but with his talent, he's still making points and enciting some ire with those he takes digs at.

Obviously, he still busts out the hits when he performs. Right now he's on a tour that closes in Chicago on March 13. Thanks to our friends at Cold Grums, Gapers Block's giving away two pairs of tickets to see Ice Cube at the Mid. Write to with "It Was a Good Day" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: We have our winners. Congrats to Mark and Nicholas!)

Ice Cube headlines the Mid on Sunday, March 13. Mikkey Halsted, Illy & Alo and Lungz also perform. DJ 33 1/3 and Big Once will be spinning. It's 21+ and doors open at 9PM. Tickets are $22.50. The Mid's located at 306 N Halsted.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Tue Feb 15 2011

Contest: Bobby Long @ Schubas!

It's been written that Bobby Long picked up a Gibson J-200 because it's the guitar that Bob Dylan's holding on the Nashville Skyline album cover. Now, it's completely premature for a 24-year old Brit to make such comments public, lest he be compared to Dylan constantly. But it does make for a good story. And that's something Bobby Long can get away with because his music's filled with good storytelling. On his latest record, A Winter Tale, he exemplifies that with timeless tales and a spirited imagination. He borrows here and there from classic folky singer/songwriters, but he's well on his way toward developing a voice of his own.

Bobby Long headlines Schubas on Friday, the 18th. Local singer/songwriter Julia Klee opens at 10PM. The show's 18+ and $15. Schubas is at the corner of Southport & Belmont. Gapers Block is giving away a pair of tickets to this show! Write to with "Winter Tale" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: We have a winner. Congrats, Molly!]

James Ziegenfus

Contest Tue Feb 01 2011

Contest: Fitz & the Tantrums @ Metro!

It would be silly to not mention that Fitz & the Tantrums' major influences include acts from arguably the greatest era of songwriting in American history. That's a lot for a relatively new band to live up to, but their influences don't stop at the end of Holland-Dozier-Holland's reign. They pull from a wide range of R&B, pop and rock periods that may have once been slighted, but include undeniably catchy hooks and phenomenal arrangements. (A recent performance on "Live from Daryl's House" was flat-out excellent.)

On the strength of bandleader Michael Fitzpatrick's background as an engineer, the band's 2010 Pickin' Up the Pieces is a sonic marvel in modern soul music. Just like how Sharon Jones isn't trying to reinvent the wheel, Fitz & the Tantrums incorporate dynamic elements of classic R&B and soul, and sprinkle touches of recent inspirations. As if the single "MoneyGrabber" didn't make it clear, they're a force live, too. And Transmission's giving away a pair of tickets to see them on Saturday. Write to with "moneygrabber" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: We have our winner! Congrats to Jordan!]

Fitz & the Tantrums headline Metro on Saturday, 2/5. Local acts JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound and the Right Now open at 9PM. Soul Summit DJs will also spin. The show's 18+ and $14. Bring your dancing shoes to 3730 N Clark.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Wed Dec 08 2010

Ticket Giveaway: Justin Jones, Badly Drawn Boy @ Lincoln Hall 12/10

Justin Jones.jpg

Justin Jones grew up surrounded by cabins, trailers and campers in Virginia. So it almost goes without saying that he makes country tunes, soulful ballads and southern rock, with plenty of harmonica. Jones began working east coast venues (he's currently on Washington D.C.'s 9:30 Records label, created this year by 9:30 Club owner Seth Hurwitz) and developed a solid east coast fan base. D.C. critics have likened Jones to '96 Wilco and Ryan Adams, not too shabby. Jones is now making his way west touring with Badly Drawn Boy supporting his The Little Fox EP. (Check out more Justin Jones music on iTunes.)

But wait! One lucky Gapers Block reader will win a pair of tickets to the sold out show at Lincoln Hall on Friday, December 10th where Justin Jones will open for UK artist Badly Drawn Boy. Just email us at with the subject line "Mr. Jones" and you and a friend will check out the show for free! Update! We have our winner. Congrats to Paul!

Justin Jones and Badly Drawn Boy play Lincoln Hall on Friday, December 10, 2010 at 9pm. 21+. This show is sold out.

Bonnie Page

Contest Wed Dec 08 2010

Chicago Musicians Called to Bear Down

"Bear Down," the fight song for our beloved Chicago football team, was written some 70 years ago. Meaning, none of the current Chicago bears players or coaches were even alive when the song first came to be. In fact, I'd be willing to bet most of you reading this weren't alive in 1941 either. This can only mean one thing: It's time for a makeover.

Chicago Bears' safety Chris Harris is urging fans to tackle this makeover sooner rather than later. The "'Bear Down' Fight Song Contest 2.0" urges Chicago musicians to record a remake of the famous fight song in any style or genre that they see fit. Harris will then pick the best version and the winner(s) will receive tickets to Dec. 26's Bears vs. Jets game and the opportunity to have their remake professionally recorded at Chicago's Rax Trax Recording Studio.

Katie Karpowicz / Comments (1)

Contest Mon Nov 22 2010

Contest: Wolf Parade at House of Blues

Wolf Parade headlines at the House of Blues tomorrow night, with fellow Canadians Wintersleep and Japanese act Orge You Asshole in support. Tickets for the 17-and-over show are $20.50 in advance, $23 day of -- but we've got two pairs of tickets to give away!

Email with the subject line "Turkey Wolf" by 5pm today and we'll pick two winners from the entries received. Good luck! UPDATE: We have our winners! Congratulations Joy and Brian!

Andrew Huff

Concert Tue Nov 16 2010

Ticket Giveaway: Ariel Pink, Os Mutantes @ Metro, 11/19

Freak folk outfit Ariel Pink have kept busy this past year, charming Pitchfork with their brand of sunny pop of a bygone era and touring with the likes of the Flaming Lips. The band (a brainchild of reclusive leader Ariel Pink) have won over critics with their lo-fi release Haunted Graffiti, a mix of hazy West Coast sound with a backbone of old style soul and pop. For a taste of their work, check out the video below for "Bright Lit Blue Skies."

The band have been traveling across Europe recently, documenting their life on the road online, and are now back stateside to co-headline a tour with Tropicalia legends Os Mutantes. If you want a perfect double bill of fuzzed out psychedelic rock, then you'll want to be at the Metro this Friday when the tour rolls into town. Haven't grabbed a ticket yet? You're in luck because we have a pair for one lucky reader! Just email us at with the subject "Pink!" and you and a friend might just be checking out the show. [Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Mike!]

Ariel Pink and Os Mutantes play the Metro this Friday, November 19th. The show is 18+ and doors open at 8pm with the show starting at 9pm. Tickets are $21.

Lisa White

Contest Wed Nov 03 2010

Contest: Frightened Rabbit @ House Of Blues 11/4

frightened rabbit new_5.jpg

When Frightened Rabbit first introduced themselves with debut album Liver! Lung! FR!, they were easily confused with other indie-rock trios that also harked from Glasgow, Scotland or who also fronted real brother team-ups. Now two albums and two extra band members later, they can't be mistaken for anything other than a group dedicated to wearing their hearts — and slightly damaged livers — on their sleeves.

That's the best thing about Frightened Rabbit: an ability to capture dramatic crescendos and aching, heartbroken lyrics without surrendering the rugged masculinity that comes with tangled beards and swigs of straight whiskey. And anybody who's ever gone through a breakup or ached (in any sense of the word), will fall in undeniable love with the band's personal accounts of what it means to feel too much, all at once. Now touring off their latest album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, the band has expanded from the weeping ballads on Midnight Organ Fight to more experimentation with sound. Shoegaze guitars and driving percussion under tracks like "Swim Until You Can't See Land" sort of make you want to stomp, jump, gallop — anything to release the song's pulsing energy.

Since I've seen the band twice here in Chicago (once at Bottom Lounge, then at last summer's Lollapalooza), I can say with confidence that Frightened Rabbit's distinct brand of raw, confessional folk-rock is best enjoyed live. For all that listeners already feel the urgency in tracks like "The Modern Leper" and "Fast Blood," frontman Scott Hutchinson stretches that vulnerability to its limit onstage, in between gulps of PBR, of course.

The band plays tomorrow night at House Of Blues along with Plants and Animals and Bad Veins. GA Tickets are $18.50 (adv)/ $20.50 (day of show). Doors open at 7pm. Thanks to the kind folks at Live Nation, we have two pairs of tickets to give away to the show! Just email us at with the subject "Frightened Rabbit" and you'll be heading to the show with a friend in tow. We have our winners! Congrats to Jon and Julie!

Dee Fabbricatore / Comments (2)

Contest Wed Oct 27 2010

PVT, Kid Color @ House of Blues 10/28 (and a contest!)

The band PVT (formerly Pivot) released their latest effort Church With No Magic back in August on Warp Records. On this, their sophomore release, the band has found a more accessible sound while maintaining their heavily inventive style. As you can see in the video for "Window" the band utilizes an array of instruments and sound to create their very danceable sound.

Earlier this month they released a remix EP called Light Up Bright Fires and an accompanying video.

The band plays tomorrow night at House of Blues' Backporch Stage along with local DJ Kid Color. GA Tickets are $9 (adv)/ $11 (day of show). Doors open at 9:30pm. 21+

Thanks to the kind folks at Live Nation, we have five pairs of tickets to give away to the show. Just email us at with the subject "PVT" and you'll be heading to the show with a friend!

Jason Behrends

Contest Wed Oct 27 2010

Contest: The Soft Pack & Kurt Vile @ Empty Bottle!

softpack110917.jpg It's one thing for a half-dozen major publications to denote a band as one to watch out for in a particular calendar year. It's quite another for that band to actually live up to such hype. But the Soft Pack has been taking care of it in 2010. Their self-titled debut album has been lauded for its jangly indie-rock sound with remnants of southern California rock'n'roll all over it and their live show has tightened up since they broke out. They appear to be on the road constantly yet still finding the time to record. Right now they have a limited edition tour-only 7" for a new song "Gagdad."

Like the Soft Pack, Kurt Vile has been a workhorse. Since concentrating on his solo recordings apart from the War on Drugs, he's released a plethora of music ranging from folk to punk to psychedelic. Difficult to pigeonhole? You bet. An excellent talent? Naturally. It's a treat to watch him lose himself while playing guitar and genre-hopping.

Want to see the Soft Pack and Kurt Vile? You may be in luck because Transmission's giving away a pair of tickets. Write to with "VILE PACK" in the subject line for a chance to win! [Update: We have a winner. Congrats to Sean. Thanks to everyone for writing in. (Honestly, I had no idea the Soft Pack and Kurt Vile were so popular with our readership.)]

The Soft Pack and Kurt Vile co-headline the Empty Bottle this weekend, October 30 & 31. Saturday's show starts at 10PM. Sunday's show starts at 7PM. Purling Hiss open both nights. Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 at the door. The shows are 21+. The Empty Bottle's at 1035 N Western.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Wed Oct 20 2010

Contest: Freaky Deaky 2 @ Congress!

freakydeaky2-frontlowres.jpg Transmission has a little thing for Chromeo. We've been on top of their Pitchfork and Lollapalooza appearances, as well as about a year ago when they played the Congress with Crystal Castles and Boys Noize. Well, what do you know? It's closing in on Halloween and Chromeo's playing the Congress again for Freaky Deaky 2. What luck! The electrofunk band has had a long history of putting on some ridiculously fun shows. Their new album Business Casual is anything but business-like, except in its execution. Party jams, heavy synths, thick grooves and exquisite pop music senses (no doubt helped a bit from some time with Daryl Hall) flood the record. It's near impossible to not have a good time when they're on stage.

Transmission's giving away a pair of tickets through our good friends at Cold Grums. Write into with "Business Casual" in the subject line for a chance to win! [Update: We have winners. Congrats, David and Liz. Enjoy the show. And thanks for reading.]

Chromeo headlines the Congress on Saturday, October 30. A-Trak (who you might know as Kanye West's DJ, who Chromeo knows because he's their singer's brother), Theophilus London, Kid Sister, Midnight Conspiracy, Gemini Club, Zebo, Alex Zelenka, Gun Love, Mettle, Kool Hersh and the Wolf Pack open. The show's 17+ and admission's $35. Doors open at 7PM. The Congress is at 2135 N Milwaukee.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Fri Oct 15 2010

Contest: The Henry Clay People @ Empty Bottle

The Henry Clay People have been kicking around for a few years now and have finally ventured out for a true headlining tour. They've put in some serious time on the road with the Drive-By Truckers, Silversun Pickups and the Airborne Toxic Event honing their craft and receiving raves. Their new album Somewhere on the Golden Coast pools their influences of the Replacements and Neil Young and soaks it in southern California rock'n'roll. Although, it's easy to hear the Hold Steady in them with anthems about youthful exuberance, half-singing/half-yelling, throwaway asides, etc.

The Henry Clay People headline the Empty Bottle on Tuesday, October 19. New York's The Dig open at 10PM. The show's 21+ and admission's $12. The Bottle's at 1035 N Western. Transmission is giving away a pair of tickets to this show. Write in to with "Working Part Time" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: A winner has been chosen. Congrats to Timothy! Thanks for reading, everyone.]

James Ziegenfus

Contest Tue Oct 12 2010

London and Detroit Via Chicago: Four Tet and Matthew Dear @ Metro 10/14

Four Tet, aka the lightly unclassifiable Kieran Hebden, will make Chicago the site of his first stateside performance after a summer touring Europe. For the first time since April 2009, Chicagoans will get the chance to dance (or at least undulate?) to his skittering, mellow, and constantly evolving catalog on Thursday the 14th at The Metro. Since he last stopped by, 2010's There Is Love In You found Four Tet winning some of his best critical acclaim yet (including a Best New Music title from Pitchfork) for a collection of tunes field-tested and adjusted at London's famous Plastic People nightclub.

Detroit techno mainstay Matthew Dear has been no slouch himself this year — his Black City LP also garnered Pitchfork's best new music title. As the opener and cherry on top, Four Tet's Domino label-mate and Lovely Bones scorer Jon Hopkins. He recently collaborated with a little-known artist named Brian Eno to produce the latter's 2010 effort Small Craft on a Milk Sea.

Right now, we're going to give away a pair of tickets to the show 10/14 at the Metro to one lucky reader, and to another, a copy of the LP (that's vinyl, you guys) There is Love In You to another. Just email us at with the subject "Four Tet" and we'll pick a couple of winners! (If you don't want the record at all, please let us know in your email, and vice versa.) [Hold that email! Our winners have been notified!]

Four Tet plays at the Metro, Thursday, 10/14 with Matthew Dear and Jon Hopkins opening. Tickets are $20 in advance. Doors open at 8pm. The Metro is located at 3730 N. Clark St. 773-549-4140. This show is 18+.

Dan Morgridge / Comments (1)

Contest Sun Oct 10 2010

Ticket Giveaway - Alejandro Escovedo @ Lincoln Hall, 10/12


Alejandro Escovedo
just doesn't get enough mainstream recognition. Not that success is necessarily measured in popularity, but when you consider that Escovedo was defining rockabilly punk far before it was even dubbed a genre, you start to feel the plight of his lovingly-devoted fans.

Escovedo got his start in the mid-70s with punk band The Nuns, then moved on to Texas to play with Rank and File and eventually transitioned to solo work. It seems alone is where he belongs, creating one-man albums that are as rich and textured as the experience and history he pulls from.

His latest album "Street Songs of Love" feels entirely different than the past sixteen he's cranked out. On it, he produces full-on rock beats and amped-up albums, with special guests like Bruce Springsteen that lend a couple extra watts.

Alejandro Escovedo takes the stage tomorrow night (Tuesday) at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln Ave, starting at 8pm, and tickets are $20 ($25 at the door).

Lucky for you, we have a pair of tickets to give away to Tuesday night's show at Lincoln Hall. Just email us at with the subject line "Alejandro Escovedo" and you and a friend just might get to check out the punk/alt-country/pure rock veteran for free. [Update! We have our winner! Congrats to Liz!]

Dee Fabbricatore

Contest Tue Oct 05 2010

Contest: Dungen @ Lincoln Hall!

It's a competitive musical landscape out there. There are more bands more accessible to more people than ever before. So it should be more important to more bands to do what fewer other bands are doing. One band making great strides, though not quite peerless, is Dungen. The Swedish quartet spent the better part of the 00s mixing psychedelic rock with folk. For good measure, they also tossed some jazz arrangements in the pot. It often came out sounding like a lo-fi Genesis. (I have a recurring dream in which they cover The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in Swedish. Ok, not really. But you could hear it, right?)

With their new record, Skit i Allt, the Gustav Ejstes-led band has dialed it down a notch or two. The prog-rock and psych leanings are still evident, but there is more reliance on folk and jazz. The crunchy guitars are nearly non-existent, except on the rocker "Högdalstoppen." Whether it's a sign of a change in their approach to music or just a one-off experiment, it's an interesting diversion for Dungen. They're still listener-friendly and based in pop music, but the soundscapes are much deeper on Skit i Allt and it's what many people would qualify as a grower. Hear for yourself:

Dungen headlines Lincoln Hall on Thursday, October 7. The Entrance Band opens at 9PM. Tickets are $15. The show's 21+. Lincoln Hall's located at 2424 N. Lincoln. How about a contest? You want to see Dungen? Write into with "Högdalstoppen" in the subject line for an opportunity to win a pair of tickets to this show! [Update! We have a winner. Congratulations to Andrew. Enjoy the show!]

James Ziegenfus

Contest Fri Oct 01 2010

Contest: Teenage Fanclub Next Week!

tfc.jpg Glaswegian power-pop band Teenage Fanclub return to Chicago next week for two shows at Lincoln Hall. Ever since emerging from the same C86 scene that birthed BMX Bandits and the Soup Dragons in the 1980s, the band has produced a parade of fine albums, including 1991's masterpiece Bandwagonesque. At they're best, they sound like a raw Big Star. At they're worst... well, they don't really have a worst.

At the center of their long career's consistency are the three songwriters - Norman Blake, Raymond McGinley and Gerard Love. Each brings a little something different to the table, and each sings their own songs, which makes for a good even mix during shows. From their noisy beginnings to the more reformed direction they've latched onto, there's nothing less than great in their history. (Yes, even their so-called duds are worthwhile.) While the band never became the next big thing that seemed inevitable, they've maintained a rabid following nonetheless.

Teenage Fanclub appear to have settled into a routine of releasing a new album every five years and touring on it. 2010's Shadows is the catalyst for this tour, but they'll be playing all the hits live. So don't miss out. Transmission's friends at Lincoln Hall are giving away a pair of tickets to see them next week. Write into with "Shadows" in the subject line for a chance to win! [Update! We have a winner. Congrats to Victor!]

Teenage Fanclub headline Lincoln Hall next Tuesday and Wednesday. Los Angeles' Radar Brothers open with a renovated lineup and in support of a new album, The Illustrated Garden. Both shows start at 9PM, are 21+ and $20. Lincoln Hall's at 2424 N. Lincoln.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Tue Sep 28 2010

Contest: Klaxons @ Lincoln Hall, 9/30

Klaxons7.jpg London's Klaxons last steamrolled through Chicago in 2007 when they played 4 shows during a whirlwind year. Their debut album Myths of the Near Future pushed the electronic side of the angular rock music sound that was ubiquitous in British bands in the prior years and won that year's Mercury Music Prize. On its strength, they toured the world and reached dizzying heights. Then, in an age when bands need to constantly be in the public's eye, they retreated to work on the next album.

In the years since, the followup's progress ran into roadblocks like creative differences with producers and a label calling it "too experimental." Re-recordings delayed it and left everyone nodding about an inevitable sophomore slump. However, with Ross Robinson on the boards, everything started to fall into place and the album, Surfing the Void, was released over the summer. Despite worries about Robinson's history with nu metal bands like Korn and Slipknot (and At the Drive-In, naturally), Surfing the Void continues where Myths of the Near Future left off. It's still steeped in guitars and synths, highly danceable and very British. Transmission's giving away a pair of tickets to see Klaxons on Thursday at Lincoln Hall. Write to with "Surfing the Void" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Amy. Thanks for reading, everyone who wrote in.]

Klaxons play Lincoln Hall on Thursday, September 30. Los Angeles' Baby Monster opens. The show starts at 9PM, is 18+ and admission's $15. Lincoln Hall's at 2424 N. Lincoln.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Mon Sep 27 2010

M.I.A. and Rye Rye Hit the Vic for Two Days

Wee rapper M.I.A. settles into the swing of The Vic Theatre this week for a double shot of hip-hop, looped beats, gunshot samples and many many many colors of DayGlo just in time to brighten up Chicago's dreary launch into fall. You already know a lot about M.I.A. — her deeply political lyrics (often met with violent images), her about-to-pop performance at last year's Grammys when she was nine months pregnant, her kinetic performances filled with video projections and lots of swagger. But she'll have something new and fresh (and dare I say a little innocent) during her current tour.

In tow this week is M.I.A.'s protege Rye Rye — a rapper (raptrix?) off of M.I.A.'s N.E.E.T label (her album Go! Pop! Bang! is due out in early 2011). She's got the spunk and sass (and trash mouth) that M.I.A. brings to the table but she's quite the new kid on the scene at 19 years old, hailing from Baltimore. Rye Rye reminds me of girls I used to watch at talent shows in high school in Virginia who had the whitest sneakers and the flyest dance moves. She's still at the point where you can see her goof and smile through her videos in a totally charming way (even though she's rapping some maybe NSFW stuff).

We've got a pair of tickets for a lucky reader to check out the show on 9/29. Just email us at with the subject "Swagga" and you and a friend can hit up the show. [Update! We have a winner! Congrats to David.]

M.I.A. performs two nights at the Vic this week, 9/29 and 9/30 along with Rye Rye opening. Tickets are $34. The Vic is located at 3145 N. Sheffield Ave. Music starts at 8pm. 18+.

Anne Holub / Comments (1)

Contest Thu Sep 16 2010

HEAVEmedia Celebrates their 3rd Birthday with Owen (and a contest)

owen.jpgChicago-based site are celebrating their third birthday this weekend, and they've come a long way from a little blog to a full blown site with web content including audio and video, as well as putting on shows that showcase local talent. It's a lot of hard work by some dedicated people, and to celebrate they're throwing a party with some of their favorite acts. Topping the bill is Mike Kinsella's solo project Owen. You might be familiar with Kinsella's work in American Football, Joan of Arc, and Cap'n Jazz, all regular staples in the Chicago music scene. Owen's 2009 album New Leaves took almost three years to complete, during that time Kinsella became a husband and a father, and New Leaves took on a new sound a direction inspired by the change in Kinsella's life. Opening up before Owen is Brooklyn based Savoir Adore (this will be their first Chicago show so give them a warm welcome) and The Streets on Fire.

To celebrate, our friends over at are offering a prize to one lucky Owen fan (a birthday gift in reverse) here on Gapers Block. An Owen prize pack, which includes a copy of New Leaves, posters, and a copy of the new Owen 7" and also one ticket to the show. Email us at with the subject "Owen" and you'll win some sweet swag and plans for Friday night. [Update! We have our winner! Congrats to Matt!]

Tickets are still available for the show, so head out, buy Amy from Heave a drink because she works her butt off, and wish the site a very happy 3rd birthday! presents Owen, Savoir Adore, and the Streets on Fire at The Empty Bottle, Friday September 17th. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased here. The show is 21+ and things kick off at 9:30pm.

Lisa White

Concert Mon Sep 13 2010

Garotas Suecas Bring Brazillian Beats to Schubas 9/14 (and a contest)


Straight up from Sao Paolo, Brazil, Garotas Suecas, which actually translates to "Swedish Girls" — something of a misnomer, is a funky group of funksters. They're going to be rocking in Portuguese, but it so doesn't matter when the language of dance is universal. Just listening to their sample of online tunes has my head nodding and my mouth smiling. Their debut album Escaldante Banda was just released in the U.S. and fans of Brazillians Os Mutantes will be pleased to hear that Garotas Suecas are doing just fine in the newest generation of South American funk and fuzz bands. There's a supremely laid back tropical vibe to their tunes, and a real opportunity to celebrate the end of the summer over on Belmont Avenue Tuesday night. Check them out, but leave your troubles at the door — no frowns allowed.

Email us at with the subject "Funky!" and you and a friend will get to boogie for free Tuesday night. [Update! Hold your typing! We have a winner! Congrats to Tony!]

Tickets are $12 and the music starts at 9pm on 9/14, with Chicago's equally funky I Kong Kult, at Schubas, located at 3159 N. Southport Ave. (at Belmont). 773-525-2508. 21+.

Anne Holub

Contest Mon Sep 06 2010

Ticket Giveaway: Hallogallo 2010 @ Lincoln Hall, 9/8

What a week for electronic music lovers in Chicago! The first annual Sónar Chicago starts on Thursday and the related festivities put on by the Empty Bottle and Wire magazine begin on Wednesday. With all this activity, it would be easy, but foolish, to miss a performance related to a German band that innovated psychedelic rock and electronic music equally. The music of legendary krautrockers, NEU!, will be played at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday, September 8, under the name Hallogallo 2010. With Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley filling the late Klaus Dinger's role on drums, founding member Michael Rother and Tall Firs' Aaron Mullan plan to present tracks by NEU!, Harmonia and Rother's solo outings.

Thanks to the good folks at Lincoln Hall, we have a pair of tickets to give to one of our lucky readers. Just email us at with the subject line NEU! and you and a friend might be rocking for free Wednesday night. [Update! We have our winner! Congrats to Adam!]

Dave Knapik

Contest Thu Sep 02 2010

Contest: Crowded House @ House of Blues!

crowded-house.jpg New Zealand's Crowded House was born from the ashes of Split Enz, the Kiwi new wave giants. With personnel crossover, including Neil Finn who's always pounding out earworming melodies, it's easy to hear similarities between the two. But where Split Enz were frenetic, Crowded House is just a pop band. They're not terribly raw, though they can be rambunctious. The melodies are nearly perfect and the lyrics are often painfully personal. Across six albums (two since reuniting in 2007, including the new Intriguer), Finn and his bandmates have consistently delivered sugary pop with some darkness and humor as balance. As a live band, they've been reunited long enough that they're far from rusty. Even though they do have a new album out, it's expected that they'll be bringing the hits to House of Blues on Sunday.

James Milne, who's worked with the Reduction Agents, Brunettes, Okkervil River and now the New Zealand supergroup BARB, records under the name Lawrence Arabia. His latest Chant Darling showcases strong influences ranging from T. Rex to Booker T.

Lawrence Arabia opens for Crowded House on Sunday at House of Blues, 329 N Dearborn. The show's 17+, starts at 9PM and tickets for $48. But Transmission's giving away a pair of tickets to this show. So email with "Don't Dream" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update: A winner's been picked for the tickets. Congrats, Christine!] [Update: The goods keep rolling in. We also have 2 signed CDs of Lawrence Arabia's Chant Darling to give away. So let's go with a simple subject line like "Chant Darling" for those. Note: The ticket winner can't also win a CD. Update: We have our CD winners. Thanks to all who entered!]

James Ziegenfus

Concert Tue Aug 31 2010

North Coast Festival is Here! (and a contest)


The summer festival season is drawing to an end here in Chicago. We sweated it out through Pitchfork and Lolla, spending a lot of our weekend hours in a field with a few thousand of our closest friends. Have forked over our $5 suggested donation to the plethora of neighborhood festivals, got a few nasty tan lines, and drank a lot of mediocre beer. But this year we'll get a few more weekends to laze in the sun and soak up great music, with the addition of two new festivals in September, Sonar and North Coast Festival.

North Coast Festival is the brainchild of a group of independent promoters in Chicago, who decided to collaborate and produce a festival "to celebrate the merging of all music and walks of life that enjoy it as much as we do." Those walks of life mainly being the jam band and electronic scene, with a good dose of hip-hop and local exposure thrown in. Over the news few days I'll be breaking down the festival by each day, so you're ready for the weekend. Haven't grabbed a ticket yet and now wishing you could spend one more festival weekend in the sun? You're in luck! The lovely folks at North Coast have given Gapers Blocks five pairs of weekend passes to the festival, which means 5 lucky readers will win a weekend pass for them and a guest! Just email us at with the subject "North Coast" and you might be spending your weekend in Union Park, enjoying good music as summer starts to come to a close. [Update: We've selected our winners and they have all been notified. Thanks to everyone who entered!] Now, on to the meat and potatoes of the festival.

Continue reading this entry »

Lisa White / Comments (1)

Contest Thu Aug 12 2010

Contest: My Morning Jacket @ Charter One!

mmj.jpg It's been almost two years since Louisville's My Morning Jacket last graced Chicago with a visit. They haven't released new recordings since that year's Evil Urges, but two years is a long time away for what was once a monster of a touring band. The rumor mill is buzzing with word that they're working on a new album that could be released in the first half of 2011, but for now they're just playing some summer shows filled with the hits. And, oh, do they have hits in their live arsenal. (See: "One Big Holiday" from "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" a while back - still one of the greatest musical performances ever on a talk show.)

Over the course of their career, they have pushed genre boundaries from a reverb-obsessed southern/psychedelic rock hybrid to a spacier Neil Young or Buffalo Springfield to a culmination mixed at times with a little funk, as if those Prince covers they've loved to do finally influenced their originals. But where My Morning Jacket has always been best is on a stage. They may look somewhere between Metallica and the Band, but it's all cohesive when they rock out for epic sets. This tour finds them fine-tuning some of the back catalog and absolutely stunning the large crowds that've finally jumped on the bandwagon. (And to think just ten years ago they were playing in front of sparse audiences at Phyllis' and the Fireside Bowl.)

My Morning Jacket plays Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island on Tuesday, August 17. Califone opens at 7PM. Tickets are $46. The show benefits Mercy Home. Thanks to some friends of Transmission, we're giving away a pair of tickets to this show. Write to with "MAHGEETAH" in the subject line for a chance to win. [Update! We have our winner! Congrats to Anna!]

James Ziegenfus

Contest Wed Aug 04 2010

MGMT and AWOLNATION Ticket Giveaway!


Two bands who really love caps lock have teamed up with Lollapalooza and the Dare 2 Dream concert series to benefit The People's Music School in Uptown, and they'd like you to head out to the show, VIP-style. Hip hop/electronic act AWOLNATION are offering up their latest album for free online, and anyone who downloads the album is automatically entered to win VIP tickets to the Dare 2 Dream benefit August 6th at House of Blues. Psychedelic rock duo MGMT will be headlining the event, which starts at 10 pm Friday night and is 17+. Tickets are available to purchase here for $80.

Contest! We've also got a pair of tickets to give away to the show Friday night! Just email with the subject line "MGMT!" and you and a friend might be rocking to MGMT and AWOLNATION at House of Blues. [Update: We have chosen our winner! Thanks to everyone who wrote in!]

Stephanie Griffin

Contest Wed Aug 04 2010

Ticket Giveaway- Devo, Dirty Projectors @ The Congress, 8/5


If you're having trouble figuring out your conflicted picks for Lollapalooza, have no fear! This year, as in recent years past, offers up a plethora of pre and post Lolla shows around the city. And one of the best ways to kick-off your Lolla weekend is tomorrow night with Devo and Dirty Projectors at The Congress.

Devo recently released their first studio album in 20 years, and they're cranking out punk infused power pop better than ever. Whether you rock an energy cone or not, expect to bounce around to the sugary yelps and riffs of Mark Mothersbaugh and company. And before Devo hits the stage, catch Dirty Projectors before their weekend Lolla set as well. They performed an amazing show at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion last summer, and their eclectic blend of instrumentation mixed with dreamy harmonies are a perfect soundtrack to the last days of summer.

Also just announced, Lolla founder (and Jane's Addiction frontman) Perry Farrell will be in attendance, dishing out a DJ set at the show and helping to usher in Lollapalooza weekend.

Thanks to the kind folks at The Congress Theater, we have five pairs of tickets to the show for five lucky readers. Just email us at with the subject "Potato!" and you and a friend will get to see the show for free (energy cones optional). (17+) [Update: We have our winners and they've been contacted! Thanks to everyone who wrote in!]

Devo, Dirty Projectors, and Perry Farrell DJ set at The Congress, Thursday August 5th. The show is all ages and the doors open at 7:30pm. Tickets are $35. Or a special offer of 2 for $50, 4 for $100 if you purchase online at the Congress website.

Lisa White

Contest Tue Aug 03 2010

Ticket Giveaway - Lone Wolf, The Kissaway Trail, Wild Beasts @ Empty Bottle, 8/6

There's a lot of animal-themed bands out there. If this year's Pitchfork Music Festival was any indication, you can build a whole afternoon of sets based around some sort of crazy zoological diagram. With Lone Wolf, an artist out of England making his American-tour debut, incorporates elements of much that's in vogue these days: sentimental lyrics, facial hair, and a bit with the guitar. Come out when doors open Friday night and hear his earnest singer-songwriter tunes reverberate around the warm walls of the Empty Bottle — get in close and smell the heartache.

Lone Wolf takes the stage first Friday at Empty Bottle right before tour-mates and Lolla performers The Kissaway Trail bring their pleasant pop to the hot lights. They'll both precede another great set of Lolla artists, Wild Beasts, who'll put the grrr into the line-up before last call. The show starts at 10pm, and tickets are $15. (21+). The Empty Bottle is located at 1035 N. Western Ave.

Check out The Kissaway Trail's lovely Danish popitude:

So, we have a pair of tickets to give away to the show on Friday night. Just email us at with the subject line "Lone Wolf!" and you and a friend just might get to check them out for free. The lucky winner will also receive Lone Wolf's debut album on vinyl (with a bonus CD version as well), The Devil & I. [Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Tim!]

Anne Holub

Concert Wed Jul 28 2010

The Dead Weather Ticket Giveaway


Jack White is a modern day "Renaissance Man" if there ever was one. Whether he's part of the peppermint striped duo that was his claim to fame, or producing some of the most historic acts in music, or creating his own label and pop-up store, he keeps busy.

His latest project, The Dead Weather, boast an impressive line-up including members of The Kills, The Raconteurs, and Queens of the Stone Age. While touring with his band The Raconteurs, White's voice had some problems, and Alison Mosshart of The Kills had to fill in on some songs. The vibe felt right, and the two, along with Raconteur/Greenhorns Jack Lawrence and QOTSA Dean Fertita, combined forces to create The Dead Weather. It's gritty, dirty blues garage rock at its finest, abrasive and sexy with the powerhouse guitar licks and howls of Mosshart and White entwined.

The group is headlining The Congress during their stop in Chicago Friday night, and we've got the chance for you to see them live! Just email us at with the subject "Stormy!" and you and a friend might win a pair of tickets to the show on Friday! [Update! We have selected our winners and they've been notified! Thanks to everyone who wrote in.]

Tickets are $35 and the show is all ages. Doors open at 7:30pm with Harlem opening. The Congress Theater is located at 2125 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Lisa White

Contest Fri Jul 23 2010

All Aboard the Night Train with Keane (+ Contest)

keane1.jpg There are not many bands who go nearly a decade from inception to debut album. But if it's all about honing your craft and releasing the best product imaginable, then I'm all for it. And that seemed to be the case with Keane. Their 2004 debut Hopes & Fears made a big splash stateside on the strength of singles like "Somewhere Only We Know" and "Everybody's Changing." Often lazily compared to a popular piano-driven British band, Keane's kept themselves separable with Tom Chaplin's rich tenor and relying solely on keys and percussion for instrumentation. On their sophomore album Under the Iron Sea, they progressed from uplifting pop to a darker electronic-influenced sound ("Atlantic"). But then its followup, Perfect Symmetry, returned them to a bright synthy point that practically plays out like an homage to 80s pop.

2010's Night Train simply reinforces that Keane is totally comfortable changing their sound for every release. The EP features collaborations with Somali rapper K'Naan (on 2 tracks) and Japanese MC Tigarah (on a fairly faithful Yellow Magic Orchestra cover) and an array of pushes in a half-dozen directions. As schizophrenic as that may sound, it's still all catchy. And now you have a chance to win a copy of Night Train signed by Keane ahead of their performance at the Chicago Theatre next week. Just email "NIGHT TRAIN" to and we'll pick 5 winners. [Update! Our winners have all been notified! Thanks to everyone who wrote in!]

Keane plays the Chicago Theatre on Wednesday with Ingrid Michaelson and Travis' Fran Healy opening. Tickets range from $49.50 to $29.50. The show's open to all ages and begins at 7PM.

James Ziegenfus

Concert Wed Jul 21 2010

Tapes 'n Tapes @ Lincoln Hall on 7/22 (and a contest!)


Brought to prominence by word-of-mouth in the blogosphere back in the mid-2000s, Tapes 'n Tapes plays an off-kilter brand of indie-rock where lush melodies are forgotten in favor of a little reverb and some lo-fi vocals, where the concept of rhythm is occasionally flouted by the staccato squeal of guitar distortion or a sudden slam!-bang!-slam!-slam! drum attack, tossed off like a splotch of paint across the canvas. Comparisons to Pavement and Pixies have been made, but the claim seems a bit of a stretch. Tapes 'n Tapes tends to have a more sinister air (at least on 2005's The Loon), as if singer and guitarist Josh Grier is delivering bad news and maybe enjoying it a little.

The Minnesota-born band hasn't released an album since the somewhat lighter sophomore LP, Walk it Off, in the first half of 2008. And a trip to the group's MySpace page shows no new songs in the works (but a "new record coming soon!!!"). Is it too much to hope the show Thursday night might showcase some upcoming material? Maybe even just a few songs off an EP? Looks like the only way to find out is to show up. The concert is 21+, and tickets are $15. Music gets underway at 9pm on July 22 at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln Ave.

Hey! We're excited to have a pair of tickets to pass along to one lucky reader, thanks to the kind folks at Lincoln Hall. Just email us at with the subject line "Cassettes!" and you just might be a winner! (21+) [Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Katie!]

Geoff George

Contest Mon Jul 12 2010

Preview and Ticket Contest: DePedro @ Schubas, 7/13

Depedro.jpgPhoto courtesy of

Having grown up in Spain, toured the U.S. as a guitarist with Calexico and traveled throughout Mexico, Jairo Zavala's solo project, DePedro, is a bluesy, boozy patchwork connecting the Spanish old country to the American West to everything south of the border. Elements of Madrid, Texas and Tijuana can be heard throughout, and Zavala's voice has the sweet, sad lament of a Mariachi three drinks in and reduced to singing alone.

The Spaniard and his backing band will take the stage Tuesday night at Schubas as part of a larger tour in support of the band's self-titled first album, which you can hear portions of on the DePedro MySpace page. Standout tracks include the accordion-heavy "Te Sigo Soñando" and the eerily, dreamily pedal-steeled goodness of "Two Parts in One." The show is 21+, and tickets are $12. Music starts at 8pm on June 13 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave.

Our friends at Schubas gave us two pairs of tickets to give away to two lucky readers for Tuesday's show. Just be one of the first two to email us at with the subject line "DePedro!" and you and a friend can have fun for free tomorrow night. [Update: We have our winners! Congrats to Bryan and Kevin!]

Geoff George / Comments (1)

Preview Fri Jun 18 2010

Lost In The Trees @ Schubas, 6/19 (and a contest!)


When a community is brought together on stage it becomes a sight to be heard. Lost In The Trees is folk music brought to a whole new level in ways that differ from other with larger member acts. With soft driven songs that slowly melt and blend a lush string based cacophony of sounds, their music is complex, but still comes from a simple place at heart. The North Carolina band releases All Alone In An Empty House on August 10th on Anti Records, their new home as of March. This is a a follow up to last year's EP Time Taunts Me.

If you don't get a chance to see them Saturday at Schubas you will be missing a very intimate musical experience with a band that has been making waves that will no doubt get bigger in the not too distant future.

Here's the band performing with the North Carolina School of Science and Math orchestra on January 15, 2010 in Durham, NC:

Thanks to the generous folks at Schubas, we have two pairs of tickets to give the first two people who emails us at with the subject line "I'm Found!". [Update: We have our winners! Congrats to Jacob and Jeremiah!]

Local bands The Thin Man and Zephuros start the night at 10pm and $10 gets you in.

Aharona Ament

Contest Thu Jun 17 2010

The Phenomenal Handclap Band Hit Up Lincoln Hall, 6/18

With their soul and psychedelic rock influences, The Phenomenal Handclap Band were clearly born in the wrong decade. This eight-piece group even looks like a roving band of hippies. Hailing from Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, the band operates on the same wavelength as MGMT or the sorely-missed Apes & Androids, employing a hodgepodge of nostalgic '60s and '70s sounds. With their wide array of classic influences, it is no surprise that this band started out after two DJs (Daniel Collás and Sean Marquand) started writing music together. I have to admit, I'm a sucker for a large collective of musicians performing on stage at once, especially when they wear matching outfits. Their clever band name certainly doesn't hurt, either.

Check out The Phenomenal Handclap Band's new Dario Argento-inspired video "Baby":

The Phenomenal Handclap Band play Lincoln Hall Friday night at 9 pm along with Only Children, Kid Color, and Just Desserts. The show is $10 and 21+. Tickets may be purchased here.

Hey, why buy when you can win! We have a pair of tickets to Friday's show just for you (if you happen to be the first to email us at with the subject line "Claps!"). You must be 21 and over, please! [Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Melissa!]

Stephanie Griffin

Concert Thu Jun 10 2010

The Constellations shine @ Empty Bottle, 6/13 (and a contest)


Straight off their performance in the wilds of Tennessee at Bonnaroo, Atlanta's own The Constellations hit the Empty Bottle on Sunday night for some funky, soulful, psychedelic southern rocking. But this isn't mullet-tastic southern rock — I doubt you'll even hear a drawl between the keyboards, tambourines, and bass taps. The Constellations tag themselves "southern gothic" (in fact, it's the title of their new album due out June 22) but I think that gothiness just speaks to the smooth, dark, velvety sounds coming out of their amps like thick red drapes. Led by Elijah Jones on vocals (who sounds a bit like a fallen preacher you're bound to enjoy sitting next to at the corner bar) and serenaded by the likes of backing songstresses Alaina Terry and Shab Bashiri, tunes like "Step Right Up" sound like if disco invaded your Sunday morning choir loft. Nine members strong, they'll surely fill the intimate stage at the Empty Bottle Sunday night. More than just funky beats, their lyrics are often dark and dripping with venomous narratives out of some pulpy paperback you'd find on the back shelves at Shake, Rattle, & Read. Or maybe they're the funky new house band at the vampire bar in True Blood. Check out the slightly NSFW (copious amounts of skin here) tattooed pin-up photo shoot video for their song "Felicia" and you be the judge. Better yet, come out on Sunday and check them live and in person.

If you'd like to head down Western for free, well, we can help you out with that. Just be the first to email us at with the subject line "Starry" and you and a friend will get to hit up the show gratis. [Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Ellen!]

The Constellations play the Empty Bottle on Sunday, June 13th along with Eli "Paperboy" Reed, local GB faves Dirty Diamonds, and East of Eden Soul Express. Tickets are $12. Music starts at 9:30pm. The Empty Bottle is located at 1035 N. Western Ave. 773-276-3600.

[Oh and if you miss them this time around, they are playing Lollapalooza as well. This will be your last chance to see them in town before they hit the big stages in Grant Park in August.]

Anne Holub

Contest Wed Jun 09 2010

Contest: The Like @ Lincoln Hall, 6/12!

thelike.jpg It's been five years since the Like's debut, Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?, turned a few heads with a sound that was awfully difficult to not compare to the Sundays or Throwing Muses. Despite being a pretty good album and the members having a striking musical pedigree, it failed to generate much attention. Now in 2010, the Los Angeles foursome have rebranded themselves by traveling further back in girl group pop music history with a record, Release Me, that takes influence from a swinging 60s scene without being entirely entrenched in it. Producer Mark Ronson and some Dap-Kings will get a lot of press for their contributions to Release Me, but a key new component is clearly Annie Monroe on organ filling spaces with licks that are appropriate but not overwhelming. (Just listen for it in the bubblegum single "He's Not a Boy.")

And right now Transmission's giving away a pair of tickets to see the Like on Saturday, June 12, at Lincoln Hall. Be the first to email "RELEASE ME" to and you'll be all set! [Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Holly!]

The Like play with the Futureheads. The Static Jacks open at 10PM. (Also of note, it's the last show of their tour.) Admission's $15 and the show's for those 21 & over. Lincoln Hall's at 2424 N Lincoln.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Tue May 18 2010

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings prize pack

We know you love some amazing soul music by one of the most electric performers around. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings hit the Vic this Friday night, and the city seems poised to welcome them with a big ole hug. Courtesy of The Muse Box, just email us at with the subject "Soul!" and we'll pick a winner of a prize pack including a signed Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings poster, a copy of the band's new album I Learned The Hard Way, as well as a limited edition out-of-print 45" from Daptone Records! Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Alex!

Anne Holub

Contest Tue Apr 20 2010

Contest: Hotflush Impresario Incyde @ Smartbar 4/22

incyde_web.jpgFor all the buzz surrounding dubstep, some of its most-touted producers (Burial, Flying Lotus) are overshadowed by heavier, louder fare in the club. Smartbar's Thursday night series, Subfix has been bringing those heavy-hitters, like Caspa and Rusko along with more subtle, nuanced fare. This Thursday's Subfix with Incyde, Timid, Jeff Pietro, and Olin will surely be the latter as Incyde is the manager for forward-thinking label Hotflush Recordings, which has released the likes of Joy Orbison, Pangaea, Untold and Chicago's own Eric H. And Transmission has a pair of tickets to Incyde's Chicago debut at Smartbar to the first person to email with the subject line "Subfix!". [Update!] We have a winner! Congrats to Michael.

The locals round out what promises to be an interesting night of intricate sounds, from Timid - formerly of Chicago's first dubstep monthly Bass Goes Boom - and Chicago veteran Jeff Pietro to the Smartbar debut of Rumble Lounge resident Olin. The show starts at 10pm, is presented by Abstract Science, Fresh Kid and local blog Little White Earbuds and is $8 ($5 w/ text before 11).

Mica Alaniz

Contest Wed Apr 14 2010

Smartbar Launches Merch Design Contest

bb5fa4c497ebe35d10b8ed067b82b21e.eps.jpgLooking to spruce up their merch line, everyone's favorite subterrestrial dance haven Smartbar is kicking off a contest to find the next design for their 2010 line. Smartbar is looking for a one color design and a two-color design and the winning design for each criteria will be featured on a variety of merchandise, including t-shirts, hoodies and hats. The competition will be judged and voted on by the Metro / Smartbar staff, so designers, tip your bartenders well! Because if you do win, you'll be seeing a lot of them. The prize is 2 tickets to every Smartbar night for the rest of 2010, and two tickets to any two Metro shows of your choice.

Sound enticing? Here are the rules on how to enter:
1. Download Smart Bar logos at
2. Create your original design, incorporating at least one Smart Bar logo, and using either one color or two colors.
3. Email your design in either JPEG or PDF format in CMYK and 300ppi, plus your name and phone number to by 6pm on Friday, May 7, 2010. The winner will be announced on Monday, May 17, 2010.

Mica Alaniz

Contest Thu Apr 08 2010

Got a Story?

The Third Coast International Audio Festival is starting up their ShortDocs challenge again. To enter, produce a short audio story (up to three minutes) inspired by (and named after) song titles from the Books' upcoming record The Way Out, and including at least two of eight samples selected from their vast library of musical bits, strange phrases, and sonic doodads. Stories of all styles are welcome.

All submissions will live on the Third Coast site forever and if you win your story will be on the radio (on Re:Sound) and you'll get to present it at the opening of the Third Coast Conference in October.

Submissions are due July 5. Click here for details.

Kelly Reaves

Contest Wed Apr 07 2010

Contest: The Soft Pack @ Empty Bottle, 4/9


It's amazing what two years can do for a rock band. Opening for Night Marchers in the spring of 2008, the Soft Pack were a ragtag group with punchy riffs, cool disinterested vocals and a manic drummer who stood up. By the fall of 2009, they were a well-greased garage-rock machine. At the Chopin last fall, they sounded tight, confident and aggressive. Their self-titled album exudes a swagger in its quick-paced songs with pinches of surf-rock and post-punk. It's been enough for many to compare them to bands so legendary that even being mentioned in the same sentence would be daunting. Still, they're a band to be heard live. And Transmission is giving you the opportunity. Be the first to email "PARASITES" in the subject line to and win a pair of tickets to see the Soft Pack this Friday at the Empty Bottle. [Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Bryan!]

London lo-fi rockers Male Bonding and San Diego's Beaters open at 10PM. Admission is $10 in advance/$12 at the door. The show's 21+ and the Empty Bottle is at 1035 N. Western.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Mon Mar 15 2010

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch Runaways Contest

Between the internet, tv, and TMZ freaking out about the shag haircuts you might have already come across the rocking, tight-pantsed, super glam trailer for the upcoming Runaways movie starting Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning as late-'70s all-girl rock band pioneers Joan Jett and Cherie Currie (respectively).

It's a bit of a happy accident that The Runaways movie will open (well, for its limited release) during March, which is Women's History Month. This badass girl band (and really, that's a far cry from the wimpy moniker "boy band" these days) not only made it big when they were just teenagers, but did it during the late '70s, selling out shows in SoCal and opening nation-wide for testosterone fueled dude rockers like The Ramones, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Van Halen. A little bit glam, a little bit amp-kicking rock'n'roll, you just can't look away when they take the stage (or screen).

In honor of this sweet rock'n'roll film opening in Chicago on Friday, we have a special contest with beaucoup prizes for two lucky winners.
1. One winner will receive a t-shirt, a poster from the film, a copy of Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway by Cherie Currie and Tony O'Neill (hitting bookstores this week), a copy of Joan Jet and the Blackhearts Greatest Hits CD, a copy of The Runaways film soundtrack (which includes tracks from The Runaways, The Stooges, The Sex Pistols as well as a track by film stars Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning).
2. A second winner will win a pair of tickets to see a preview of the film at the AMC 600 North Michigan 9 (600 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago) on Thursday, March 18th at 7pm. (Both winners must be U.S. residents.)

To enter: Just email us at with the subject "Queens of Noise" and you'll be entered to win (if you can't make the film screening Thursday, say "prize 1 only" in your email). We'll select our two winners later today. One entry per person. Update! We've contacted our winners! Thanks to everyone who entered!

Anne Holub

Contest Tue Mar 02 2010

Contest: Free Energy @ Empty Bottle!


Philadelphia's Free Energy formed out of the ashes of the Twin Cities' Hockey Night. Where Hockey Night sounded like a heavier Beulah, Free Energy is rooted more in glam-pop. Influences like T. Rex, Thin Lizzy and some new wave are clear in the mix. ("Something in Common" could be mistaken as a cut from Room On Fire.) Hooks, handclaps and breezy vocals worm their way into your head and stay there. A single on DFA has been holding ears over in anticipation of the LP, Stuck On Nothing, out next week on Astralwerks. Producer James Murphy seems to have traded in his turntables for guitars on this one. This Friday, Free Energy plays at the Empty Bottle and Transmission's giving away a pair of tickets to the first person to email "DREAM CITY" in the subject to Update: Hold your horses! We have a winner! Congrats to Tim!

Los Angeles' Foreign Born headline Friday's show. Their latest, Person to Person, is an ethereal collection of music that sounds best on sunny days. Cleveland's Clovers open. The show's 21+ and starts at 10PM. Admission is $10. The Empty Bottle's at 1035 N. Western.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Fri Dec 04 2009

Ticket Giveaway: The Arctic Monkeys @ The Riviera, 12/6


We gushed about this British garage rock group back in August when they were in town playing Lollapalooza. If you missed the chance to catch their frenzied and energetic live set this summer, you've got another chance as they roll into town and set up camp at The Riviera Theatre Sunday night.

The Arctic Monkeys may have started as an internet sensation, but have kept their career relevant with a large devoted group of fans, a infectious live show, and by keeping true to their garage rock punk sound, while still branching out into darker layers of work. Their latest release, Humbug, pays homage to the guitar noodling and organ sounds of late '60s pop music, which gives their live setting a darker tone, yet stays true to their bouncing-off-the-wall concert style. The music is universally pleasing to a rock fan, and would be a perfect way to spend a Sunday evening in Chicago.

And Gapers Block and the fine folks over at Domino Records would like to treat you to that enjoyable Sunday evening with the Arctic Monkeys. We're giving away a pair of tickets to the show Sunday night, thanks to the bands lovely label. Just be the first to email us at with the subject line "Monkey!" and you'll be a winner. Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Nicolas!

The Arctic Monkeys play The Riviera Theatre, Sunday December 6th at 7:00pm. Tickets are $27.50, and the show is all ages. Tickets are still available.

Lisa White

Contest Wed Dec 02 2009

UPDATED: Contest for Field Music

brewis.jpg After Peter and David Brewis's Field Music became a company (their words) more than just a band in 2007, its members dabbled in side projects like the prog-influenced the Week that Was and School of Language. Even though both had their own identities, the Field Music name was still attached to them when albums were released and tours made the rounds. (In March, the Week that Was turned in an excellent set at the Empty Bottle.) For a time it was assumed that Field Music's divine indie-pop (in the vein of Apples in Stereo or a more sparse XTC) would be held to just two proper albums and a hodgepodge of B-sides and rarities. However, as creative types are wont to do, the Brewis brothers couldn't just let Field Music go and so they've resurrected the band for a 2010 comeback.

In February, they'll release a 20-track double album that pulls inspiration from a wider range of music than they've ever displayed before. As a small treat to the US, the band visits for just two dates - in New York tonight, and Saturday at Beat Kitchen. Thanks to Transmission's friends at House Call, you can see this show for free. Be the first to email "MEASURE" to to win a pair of tickets for Field Music. We have a winner. Congratulations, Oscar.

Chicago bands Sleep Out and Canasta open for Field Music at Beat Kitchen on Saturday. The show begins at 9:30PM for ages 17+ and admission is $12. Beat Kitchen is located at 2100 W. Belmont. Well, forget that. This Field Music venture to the US has been postponed until next year.

James Ziegenfus / Comments (1)

Contest Tue Nov 24 2009

Airport Music Program Asking For Submissions

musicalplane.jpgIs that local music you're hearing over O'Hare's PA? Yes, indeed. Proponents of all things Chicago music-related, the Chicago Music Commission (CMC) and the Department of Aviation have put together the Airport Music Program: recordings of local Chicago musicians serenade your travels at both O'Hare and Midway. Pretty neat idea, huh? This unique showcase for our hometown sounds freshens itself up annually, and it's about that time to re-up the playlist. More (albeit old) information can be found here.

A recent CMC email explains the submission process further:

Continue reading this entry »

Mica Alaniz

Contest Mon Nov 09 2009

Win Passes to See The Meat Puppets This Weekend

meatpuppets.jpgThe Meat Puppets have had their share of ups and downs, breakups and makeups, triumphs and tragedies (including the disappearance and reemergence of one brother Cris Kirkwood) since they started making music in 1980, but now they are riding high on an upswing in their roller coaster story. Their second hiatus ended in 2006 when original members and brothers Curt and Cris Kirkwood reunited, and between tours in 2008 they wrote and recorded their latest album, Sewn Together (Mega Force) which was released earlier this year.

The trio is on tour again (this time with Shandon Sahm replacing original drummer Derrick Bostrom) and this Thursday will begin a three night stand at Schubas, and we are giving away a pass for all three nights plus a Meat Puppets shirt. The first to email us at with the subject line "Meat!" gets a Meat Puppets shirt and two three-day Meat Puppets passes courtesy of Schubas. Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Mark!

Given their large catalog, you're sure to hear lots of old as well as new (and yes, I'm sure they'll play "Backwater").

Thursday, November 12 with King Sparrow and Black Wine. Tickets are $16 ($18 door). 9pm. 21 & up.

Friday, November 13 with Dynasty Electric and Winston Audio. Tickets are $16 ($18 door). 10pm. 21 & up.

Saturday, November 14 with Dexateens and Dynasty Electric. Tickets are $16 ($18 door). 10pm. 21 & up.

Michelle Meywes

Concert Wed Nov 04 2009

Win Tickets To See Led Zeppelin Tribute Band, Heartbreaker

Heartbreaker.jpgWho doesn't like Led Zeppelin? My own memories of friends belting out "D'yer Mak'er" on a high school camping trip will never be forgotten. Led Zeppelin Tribute Band--Heartbreaker--is coming to The Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University on Saturday, November 14th and you could go for free! They are holding a contest for the best rocker photos, videos, songs or whatever you've got for your own hair band tribute. The best part is, even if you don't win, all entrants receive $10 off the regularly priced $35 tickets. To enter email your material to or become a fan of their Facebook page and post to the wall. Deadline for entries is November 11.

Maybe you and a friend will be belting out "D'yer Mak'er" yourselves in front of the ultimate tribute band.

Tickets can be purchased by going to or calling 708.235.2222. Governors State University is located at One University Parkway in University Park, IL 60466.

Michelle Meywes

Contest Wed Oct 28 2009

Don't Shy From These Scars

jaxx.jpg The UK electronic/house duo Basement Jaxx hasn't played the US in many years, but a short North American DJ tour to promote their new album Scars visits the Congress on November 6. As is the case with Basement Jaxx's schizophrenic electronic albums, their DJ sets tend to be on the wild side. From reggae classics to their own remixes to the latest bangers, it doesn't really matter what they play because it's all for the sake of a party. And you can be part of that party because Transmission's giving away a pair of tickets for it, courtesy of Cold Grums. Be the first to email with "RAINDROPS" in the subject line and you'll could be our winner. Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Tracy!

Toronto's MSTRKRFT and Berlin's Modeselektor open with live sets. A cavalcade of Chicago DJs will also be performing. The show is November 6th, doors at 7PM, 17+, and $26.50. The Congress is at 2135 N Milwaukee.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Tue Oct 20 2009

Ticket Giveaway: Chromeo/Crystal Castles/Boys Noize @ The Congress


Halloween weekend is fast approaching, and the folks over at The Congress are making sure you kick off the festivities on Friday with a huge dance party. With a bill offering up the likes of Chromeo, Crystal Castles, and Boys Noize, it's shaping up to be just that. And the folks putting on this massive party are awesome enough to offer a Gapers Block reader a pair of tickets! Just be the first to email us at with the subject line "BOO" and you and a friend will be on your way for free. Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Matthew!

Headlining the show are the funk infused electro beats of Chromeo. The Brooklyn duo offer up synth heavy beats that are bit campy in delivery and lyrics, but infectiously danceable and fun. Also on the bill is Crystal Castles, the electro punk duo that are known for insanely loud show and fierce attitude from singer Alice Glass. And Boys Noize whipped Perry's Stage into a frenzy at Lollapalooza this year, so with these three acts on the bill bring your best pair of dancing shoes and make sure to wear some Speedstick. It's about to get very sweaty Halloween weekend at The Congress.

Chromeo, Crystal Castles, and Boys Noize play The Congress Theater, Friday October 30th. The show is 17+ and doors open at 7pm. Tickets are $35.

Lisa White

Contest Wed Oct 07 2009

Haymarket Riot @ Bottom Lounge 10/9, and a ticket giveaway


On Friday, our friends over at HEAVEmedia have a rock solid line-up of a show at The Empty Bottle, and they've been nice enough to give us a pair of tickets to giveaway to a lucky Transmission reader! Just be the first to email us at with the subject line "Hay!" and you'll be on your way. Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Tara!

Headlining the show is local post-punk outfit Haymarket Riot. The band clearly draws influence from Shellac and Fugazi to At The Drive-In, creating a heavy and forceful yet catchy sound. This is the last hometown show listed for the band before they head over to tour Europe at the end of the month, so stop by the Bottle and wish the boys well as they head overseas.

Also playing is Portland-based band System and Station, who have a bit more of a pop-punk edge, but still incredibly noisy and fun. According to their press release, they've torched computer monitors while on tour and saw a man dressed as a nun defile someone in New York. Clearly these guys know how to have a good time.

HEAVEmedia presents Haymarket Riot, System and Station, We Make Thunder, and Black Attic Friday October 9th at The Empty Bottle. The show is 21+, tickets are $5 in advance and $8 at the door. The show starts at 9:30pm.

Lisa White

Concert Fri Sep 25 2009

Chain, Chain, Chain. . .

For the last 20-(cough) years, Ian Svenonius has been an underground mainstay. His music, from early-'90s Dischord-era punk (Nation of Ulysses, Cupid Car Club) to mod garage-gospel (The Make-Up) and even modder psychedelica (Scene Creamers/Weird War), always features the elements of conspiracy rhetoric and ants-in-the-pants dancing.

Svenonius' latest project, Chain and the Gang, is no different, though it sounds far more subdued (no James Brown screaming here, folks) -- more "Folsum Prison Blues" than "N-Sub Ulysses." The band's first album, Down With Liberty... Up With Chains!, is mainly a Svenonius gig, but collaborators include the who's-who roster from K Records, including Calvin Johnson and other members of Dub Narcotic Sound System, Sarah Pedal, Brett Lyman, Karl Blau, Lizet and Veronica Ortuño, and about half of Old Time Relijun.

Catch Chain and the Gang at the Beat Kitchen on Monday, Sept. 28. I'm not sure just who will be in the touring band, but suffice to say it'll be a good ol' down-with-the-Man time. Playing with them is locals D. Rider and The Love of Everything. The show kicks off at 9 p.m., and it'll set you back $10. That is, unless you are the winner of a pair of tickets to the show, courtesy of Gapers Block. Just send an e-mail to with "Chain and the Gang" in the subject line and your first and last name in the body of the e-mail. Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Eric!

Kara Luger

Contest Fri Sep 25 2009

Os Mutantes @ The Subterranean -- and a Contest!

51777.jpgI have to admit, I was only faintly familiar with Os Mutantes before they headlined The Pitchfork Music Fest in 2006. I had heard the name, but never ventured in to the realm of '60s Brazilian Psychedelia. Everyone was freaking out over this band and I knew that I had been missing something wonderful. Kurt Cobain begged them to open for Nirvana in the early '90s. When Beck released Mutations in 1998, the title was in ode to this band. Os Mutantes' influence was slowly brought in the mainstream and the term Tropicalia became part of the indie rock lexicon. It took the band reuniting to get them all over mix CDs and to my ears.

I was at Pitchfork three years ago with my friend who knows music like no one's business. She set me straight on what a powerful band they are. In addition to making some of the most amazing experimental music of the '60s and '70s the band has survived imprisonment, artistic oppression, and exile during a military coup. Yet though all this turmoil, they produced joyous music matching the anger and passion that stemmed from the Tropicalia movement. They just released their first album in 35 years on Anti Records entitled Haih or Amortecedor and play this Sunday at the Subterranean. They have proved themselves as music legends whose stories are gifts to be heard.

We live in exciting times when a band with such a rich and important history plays an intimate venue. I expect to be there in awe and awaiting an experience 35 years in the making.

Os Mutantes play Sunday, Sept. 27 at The Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave. Doors at 7:30pm, show starts at 8:30. Brooklyn Spanish-pop band Deleon opens. The show is 17+. Tickets are $25 but we've got an opportunity for you to win a pair of tickets for free! Just email with "Mutations" in the subject line and your full name in the body of the email. We'll choose one entry at random at 5pm today. Update: We have a winner! Congratulations, Oscar!

Aharona Ament / Comments (2)

Preview Wed Sep 23 2009

Scout Niblett @ Subterranean Contest


I first saw Scout Niblett perform on June 22, 2008. Whatever else I did that day is long gone, but the performance I saw that night will always stick with me. It was a Sunday night and the show was at Schubas. I was there mostly to see Dax Riggs, but Niblett was opening. She began with "Hot to Death" from her album Kidnapped by Neptune, and she got my attention fast. Intense is not a strong enough word for what happened in that room, on that night. I was only slightly familiar with her before she started that first song. By the end of it I was enamored. I knew I was in for a binge. I bought (yes, bought) all her albums that night.

For those unfamiliar with Niblett, allow me a moment to proselytize: She is from Staffordshire, England, but currently lives in Portland, OR. Her music is very minimal, and consists primarily of vocals accompanied by guitar, drums and the occasional piano. Often, only one of these instruments can be heard at a time. She plays them all.

Niblett's singing is unconventional but fervent. She's cited grunge music and astrology as being major influences. She's worked with Chicago's own Steve Albini on multiple albums; her most recent, This Fool Can Die Now, features a hefty four duets with Bonnie "Prince" Billy. On April 14, 2009 she released the 7" single, It's Time My Beloved through Chicago-based indie label, Drag City. Her current tour comes to a close this Friday, Sep 25 at Subterranean: 2011 W North Ave. 9:30pm. 17 & over. Tickets are $12.

But why pay when you could go for free? That would be ridiculous, not to mention wasteful. We're giving away a pair of tickets. Be the first to email us at with your full name and "Niblett" in the subject line, and they're all yours. UPDATE We have a winner! Congrats to Dan B.

Brian Leli

Contest Mon Sep 21 2009

These Arms Are Snakes @ Subterranean (plus a contest)


Post-Hardcore/Progressive rockers These Arms are Snakes seem to want to be Chicagoans based on who they have been tour mates with. They are back in town playing the Subterranean Tuesday. This band, who was at the Sub-T last Febuary played what was told to be amazing show, just off the heels of a tour with local instramental rock stars Russian Circles through Europe. They have also spilt EPs with both Russian Circles and fellow locals Pelican.

After releasing the soon to be classic Tail Swallower and Dove last year on Suicide Squeeze, The band decided that Pitchfork didn't know what the hell they were doing and collaborated their own 500 list with what they believe to be the best songs of the past 10 years as opposed to Pitchfork's 30 year exploration. (With of course respective nods to songs they both agreed on.) Anyone who would take the time to compile another list that long is obviously a hard core music fan and TAAS's love of music shows in their thrilling live performances where crowd surfing and stage diving are common. I haven't taken the time to count the number of Chicago based bands on the list.

Act now and get in for free! We have a pair of tickets to give away to the first person to email us at with the subject "Snakes!". Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Tim!

Experimental Canucks DD/MM/YYYY and Northwest Indiana band Native opens for what is sure to be an intense night of music. The Subterranean is located at 2011 W. North Ave. Doors at 8:30. Show Starts at 9:00.

Aharona Ament

Contest Thu Sep 10 2009

Amazing Baby Return to Wild (and a Little Contest)

Amazing Baby.jpgI first saw Amazing Baby back in June when they opened for Phoenix at Park West. I was there to review Phoenix, but I was so blown away by the opener that when I heard they were returning to Chicago to headline Schubas, I had to give them a shout-out all their own.

Their debut album, Rewild, wasn't out by the time of the Park West show, but you can be sure I picked up as soon as it was available. With such a mature sound, it may come as a surprise that Rewild is their first album. The first half of the album entrances beginning with "Bayonettes" and Pink Floyd-esque drones and swells on "Invisible Place" into persistent drum beats driving the intensity of "Kankra" and breathy desperation (reminiscent of earlier Prince?) in "Headdress." Late in the album is the unassuming "The Narwhal" -- which you have to hear live because the recorded version just doesn't hold a candle. While they may wear their influences blatantly, they mold them well and show much promise of continuing growth and longevity in a time when today's hot thing is tomorrow's ancient history.

Here at Transmission we are so excited about this band that we want to make sure you see them, which is why we are giving away a pair of tickets to tomorrow night's show! Just be the first to email us at with the subject "Amazing!" and you and a friend get to go to the show for free! Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Patrick!

Amazing Baby play Friday night at Schubas. The Entrance Band opens. Show starts at 10:30pm. 3159 N. Southport. 18 & up. Tickets are $10.

(Photo by Victoria Jacobs)

Michelle Meywes / Comments (1)

Contest Wed Aug 26 2009

The Ettes @ Subterranean (plus, a contest)

Ettes.jpgThe Ettes add a sexy '60s swagger to punk rock that sounds like they could soundtrack a Tarantino B-film all on their own. Think of them as a modern version of Nancy Sinatra--with fuzz pedals. The trio started off as an all girl group, but Jem joined the ladies before they put out their first album, Shake the Dust, in 2006. They have a new album coming out next month, but you can see them live here in Chicago on Friday night at Subterranean.

What's that you say? You want to go for free? Well, you're in luck because we're giving away a pair of tickets to Friday's show. Just be the first to email us at with the subject line "Ettes!" and you'll be going with a friend for $0. [Update!] We have a winner! Congrats to Emily!

White Mystery, Buzzer, Impediments and Tiger Spirit also play. 9:30pm. Tickets are $10. 2011 W. North Ave. 17 & up.

Michelle Meywes

Contest Tue Aug 18 2009

Pearl Jam Ticket Giveaway!

Pearl Jam may have formed in Seattle as part of the '90s grunge scene, but Chicago still makes their own claim since lead singer Eddie Vedder is originally from Evanston. Nevertheless, the group is swinging through town this Sunday and Monday, August 23rd & 24th on their latest tour for their highly anticipated new album Backspacer (to be released next month sans a label). Tickets for the United Center shows are $66, but right this minute we are giving away a pair of tickets to Sunday's show! Just be the first to email us at with the subject line "Jam It!" and you'll be headed to the show with a friend. Hold the phone! We have a winner! Congrats to Brad!

And as we told you about yesterday, here is the "Backspacer Short" which takes a look at the making of the band's ninth studio album:

Pearl Jam - Backspacer Short

Michelle Meywes

Contest Mon Aug 10 2009

Contest: The Breeders @ the Metro


The Breeders are a nostalgic treat for anyone who grew up in the '90s. Anytime I hear the opening riff to "Cannonball" I'm brought back to my high school days watching videos on MTV's "120 Minutes". But they certainly haven't been the easiest band to keep tabs on in recent years. Between the sometimes long gaps in albums, the drugs and the record label issues it is hard to know when the next time we will get to see them will be.

Thankfully, the alternative superstars just kicked off a summer tour, leaving 4AD and self-releasing their newest album Fate to Fatal. This follows last year's Mountain Battles. The twins rockThe Metro this Thursday for the post Lollapalooza show week with with indie soul band Whispertown 2000 opening. Doors open at 8. Show starts at 9.

Lucky for you, we have a couple of pairs of tickets to give away, courtesy of the Metro. Be the first two to email us at with the subject line "Cannonball" and you and a friend will be headed to the show on Thursday night. [Update: We have our winners! Congrats to Oscar and Sarah!]

Aharona Ament / Comments (1)

Contest Wed Aug 05 2009

Ticket Giveaway: The Arctic Monkeys @ Metro

The Arctic Monkeys have come a long way from their humble days of Myspace darlings back in 2005. With the rise of their brash and infectious hit "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor," the band found themselves touring around the world, including a plethora of festival dates. The band should feel right at home this weekend when they head into town to play Lollapalooza.

They're also one of the many acts this weekend playing small intimate shows while in town. The band is headlining a show Friday night at the Metro before heading to Grant Park Saturday. Obviously the show is sold out, but Gapers Block has a pair for one lucky winner. Just be the first to email us at with the subject line "Monkeys!" and you'll be on your way to the show Friday night at the Metro. Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Gordon!

The band is getting ready to release their third album, Humbug, and have been listening to a lot of '60s psychedelic rock and working with Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), and these factors show in their new dark and lush sound. Check out the first single "Crying Lighting" below.

Lisa White

Concert Wed Aug 05 2009

Crookers w/ Major Lazer (Soundsystem), Simian Mobile Disco, Kid Cudi, Amanda Blank and more (even the stage will be crowded)


Lollapalooza means that everyone and their mother is in town, and probably want to make the most of their time here beyond an hour in Grant Park. They boys of Dark Wave Disco host a cavalcade of stars at the Congress on Friday night, with Italian remixers du jour Crookers headlining and a mysterious Major Lazer (Soundsystem) just underneath them (be prepared for an absent Diplo, Switch or both)? Rounding out the bill is buzz-peaking Kanye protege Kid Cudi, Philly rap diva Amanda Blank, Italians Bloody Beetroots and Chicagoan Willy Joy. Tickets run $25 a pop, which if you do the math, breaks down to a mere $3.57 per act (oh this economy!). When you have this many people, your afterparty has to start a little early, so doors open at 8pm.

But that's not all! We have a pair of tickets to give away to the first person who emails us at with the subject line "Major Fun!". Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Brian.

Dan Morgridge

Artist Mon Aug 03 2009

Saviours to Rock (Plus a Contest)


A few years ago an old friend of mine called me out of the blue and said, "You have to see this band. They're called Saviours." He went on to tell me that they were a metal band from Oakland that had ties to Drunk Horse and Yaphet Kotto. He was completely blown away with their riffs reminiscent of early 80s British metal (NWOBHM), gruff vocals, breakneck speed, and complex arrangements. Their music has a little Iron Maiden, some Melvins, a bit of Motörhead, etc. And with song titles like "Circle of Servants Bodies" and "Holy Slaughter", you know they're paying homage to the occult-obsessed metal bands that preceded them. Tours with Earthless and Mastodon have done much to elevate their status in modern metal circles.

Saviours are road warriors. They've been to Chicago numerous times over the last few years and visit again tonight at Subterranean with Sourvein and Raise the Red Lantern. The show is 21+ at 9PM and runs $10. However, the first to email with "CRUCIFIRE" in the subject line gets a pair of tickets to the show. Update! We have a winner! Congrats to David!

James Ziegenfus

Contest Thu Jul 23 2009

Jamie Lidell Tickets x10

We had so much fun giving away tickets to Jamie Lidell's show Saturday night at the Congress Theater that we've been given ten more pairs to hand out! Just write us at with the subject line "x10" and you just might very well be a lucky winner of a pair of tickets! [Update: And we're done! Congrats to all our winners!]

For more on Jamie Lidell, see Michelle's previous post.

Anne Holub

Contest Wed Jul 22 2009

Jamie Lidell Ticket Giveaway

lidell gold jacket pose.jpgJamie Lidell is one wild and crazy guy. Having seen him in concert more than a few times, I can say one thing; you never know what's going to happen. Hailing from Berlin, Lidell is a soul crooner, funk aficionado and beatboxing expert. He is known for his lively stage shows which almost always include a break that turns into an electronic one man show with him looping his voice, layering tracks and singing over them. It's actually quite impressive. He had a couple of hits off his album Multiply, including the title track and the groovy bass line behind "A Little Bit More" which was featured in a Target commercial. His newest album, Jim, was released last year on Warp Records.

Lidell is coming to Chicago on Saturday, July 25th to play Congress Theater with special guest Tortured Soul and we are giving away a pair two pairs of tickets! Just be the first two to email us at contests (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject "Dammit, Jim!" and you and a friend get in for free! [Update! We have our winners! Congrats to Joel and Alec!]

Congress Theater is located at 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave. This is a 17 & up show. Doors open at 9pm. Tickets are $20.

Michelle Meywes / Comments (3)

DJ / Dance Tue May 12 2009

Ticket Giveway: Kingdom @ Mashit's "Bouncement" this Friday

This Friday night, DJ C and the Mashit crew host their "Bouncement" residency party at Lava in Wicker Park, and they're welcoming a special out-of-town guest to headline on the decks the occasion -- DJ Kingdom from NYC. Hosts DJ C and MC Zulu will also be on hand, and they'll also be welcoming their Windy City confrere Whoa-B aboard to help keep the party on-track. Expect an evening of bassline, Bmore bangers, dancehall, grime, dubstep, and plenty of other styles that'll get the dancefloor jumping. It all gets underway at 10 PM, admission is $7, and it takes place at 1270 N. Milwaukee.

Really quick contest! We here at Transmission have a pair of complimentary passes to give away for the event. If you're 21 or up, just be the first to shoot us an e-mail at contests(at)gapersblock(dot)com with the subject line "Bounce this Friday" and you'll be the winner. Update: And we have a winner! Congrats to Colin.

[mp3]: Kingdom - Official Mixtape, Vol. 2
[video]: Whoa-B - Quickmix

Graham Sanford

Contest Tue May 05 2009

Quick Contest: Dex Romweber Duo @ The Double Door

rexweber duo.jpg

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to listen to an advance copy of the Dex Romweber Duo's new album, Ruins of Berlin. The album was put out by Chicago's own Bloodshot Records, and it's a great record. Listening to it as often as I have been lately, honestly, I can't imagine a better, more energetic show that I'd like to see. Thankfully, Dex will be in Chicago tomorrow night.

Dex and his sister, Sara will be rocking out the Double Door Wednesday night, May 6th. They won't be alone, either. Also on the bill are the Blackbelts and the always entertaining (and fellow Bloodshot recording artists) Detroit Cobras. If you want in, we've got you covered. We have not one, not two, but three pairs of tickets, and we'd really like to give them to you. Here's what you have to do: Just email us at with the subject line "Dex Duo" and you and a friend get to go for free! (21+) The first three get 'em, so email away! The show starts at 9pm, at the Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Update: We have our winners! Congrats to Matthew, Erin, and Kurt!

Gavin Robinson

Concert Thu Apr 30 2009

Plugged Up

Ah, Grand Rapids: native hometown of former President Gerald Ford and the nation's Furniture Capital (of office furniture manufacturing). Mustard Plug proudly claims Grand Rapids as their base of operations, where they've held court over the local ska scene since 1991. That's a whole lotta years of skankin' to offbeats, folks.

The boys are obviously good at the game by now, so do yourself a favor and head to the Beat Kitchen on Friday, May 1 to check them out as they headline with The Pinstripes and Scissors. The show kicks off at 9:30 p.m. and will set you back $12. You can find online tickets here.

Kara Luger

Concert Mon Apr 27 2009

Want Some Tickets to Mastodon Thursday Night?


The first (and only) time I saw Mastodon was at the Pitchfork Music Fest in 2007. I knew who they were and I'd heard a couple of songs, but I was completely unprepared for the amount of rock that they unleashed. It was one of the highlights of my weekend, way better than Yoko Ono's light show that night. They're heavy metal the way it should be; loud and fast.

If you haven't heard of them yet, you should pick up their newest album, Crack the Skye (you can listen to it here, too). If you have heard of them, then you're probably one of the people that can't get in to their sold-out show this Thursday night (4/30) at the Metro. Lucky for you, we can help. Thanks to the tour's sponsors,, we have two pairs of tickets to give away. E-mail us at with the subject line "Mastodon" to enter. We'll pick two lucky winners on Tuesday morning! It's as simple as that. I assure you, you want to see this show. If you can't make it to the show in Chicago, perhaps you can find another date on their schedule that suits you. Good luck! Update! We have our winners! Congrats to Casey and Ryan!

Gavin Robinson

Contest Thu Apr 23 2009

Ticket Giveaway: Superdrag @ The Metro

Superdrag returns to Chicago this weekend (Saturday April 25th) to perform at The Metro with longtime Chicago veteran Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra and Van Ghosts. SuperdragGiants.jpg This show is in support of their new album Industry Giants, and follows on the heels of the recording of their Daytrotter session. In sound, this is very much the Superdrag you may remember from the late nineties, but lyrically frontman John Davis is taking the band in new direction. John had a life changing experience in 2001 that eventually sparked the bands four year hiatus and his new found faith is tastefully splattered though out this album. Don't get me wrong, Superdrag is not a Christian band, but there is a positive spirituality that sets a clear and refreshing tone.

Really Quick Contest! We have a pair of tickets to give away courtesy of Superdrag for the first person to email us at: contests (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject line "Super!". (FYI: This show is 18 and over.) Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Ryan.

Recently, I was able to ask John a few questions about the direction of band and the new album.

Continue reading this entry »

Jason Behrends

Concert Wed Apr 22 2009

Get Down With the Pee Pants, Er, MC Chris (and a quick contest)

You wanna talk geek cred? MC Chris has it in spades: For years, he served as a writer and voice talent for Cartoon Network, working on The Brak Show, Sea Lab 2021, and notably, on Aqua Teen Hunger Force as MC Pee Pants, the most famous giant spider rapper to wear a shower cap.

Oh yeah, and he raps. In 2001, Chris captured geek hearts far and wide with underground hits including "The Tussin" and "Fett's Vette" (with the excellent hook "My backpack's got jets/ I'm Boba the Fett/ I bounty hunt for Jabba the Hut/ To finance my 'Vette." Many albums later, MC Chris is back on track with his latest CDs, 2008's MC Chris is Dead and 2009's Part Six Part One.

Want to spend an evening rhapsodizing about action figures? Of course you do. Check out the MC Chris show on Friday, April 24 at the Beat Kitchen. He'll be performing with Jacksonville, FL, punkers Whole Wheat Bread. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. and will set you back $14 at the door.

Really Quick Contest! The first one to email us at contests (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject "Pee Pants" gets a pair of tickets to the show on Friday night! Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Eric!

Kara Luger

Contest Mon Mar 30 2009

Ticket Giveaway: Bishop Allen tomorrow at Subterranean


I recently reviewed Bishop Allen's latest release, Grr... at another fine music site, and found the latest effort from the Brooklyn band delightful and charming. The album was "bright and cheery, full of multifaceted and catchy sophisticated pop music." Thankfully Bishop Allen is bringing their pop-rock fares to Chicago tomorrow night (Tuesday for those slow to the start of the week) at Subterranean, and Transmission has a pair of tickets to give away for what will surely be a pleasurable show! Just be the first to email us at contests(at)gapersblock(dot)com with the subject line "Free Pop" and you'll be our lucky winner of a pair of tickets to the show! Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Jessica.

Lisa White

Concert Fri Mar 27 2009

Mountain Goats Move to Portage Theater

The Empty Bottle booked the Mountain Goats and John Vanderslice to perform at Epiphany on April 1 -- and promptly sold the show out, leaving a whole lot of sad fans out in the cold. If you were one of them, here's some news to cheer you up: The show has been moved to the much bigger Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave., which means more tickets are now available, still at the low $16 ticket price.

Even better, we've got two pairs of tickets to give away! All you have to do is email with your full name and the subject line "Cubs in Five" by Sunday at 9pm. We'll choose two lucky winners at random from the submissions. Good luck!

UPDATE: We've got our winners! Congatulations to Matthew and Casey!

Andrew Huff

Concert Wed Jan 21 2009

Return of the Disco Biscuits (Plus Contest)


Philadelphia's The Disco Biscuits got their start playing the party scene at UPenn in the mid-90's. Now over a decade later, they've created a loyal, dedicated fan base of die-hards touring the jam band circuit with their mix of electronica, jazz, and rock, dubbed trance-fusion. You may remember them from Lollapalooza 2006 or touring with the likes of Umphrey's McGee. They're known for their long, intense sets, like all jam bands, and they never play a song in the same way twice - performing parts of their songs at different points throughout their set and even playing songs backwards. Their fans call their unique style for converting studio tracks into groovy live performance as "bisco" — a method that makes each live show by this band a unique experience. In taking such risks, their live act can be hit-or-miss, sometimes a bit self-indulgent but other times you'll leave their show with your jaw on the ground, making it a risk worth taking.

The band had taken a break in 2008 from the constant touring that is their norm to record their first studio album in seven years, release date to be determined. It's been over a year since The Disco Biscuits have played in Chicago, but you can catch them continuing to build the bridge between the jam band and dance world this Saturday at the Congress Theater. Joining The Disco Biscuits on Saturday is Philadelphia's underground hip hop DJ/producer RJD2, who is also putting the finishing touches on a new album, and IDM artist Prefuse 73, who you may remember from Wicker Park Fest this past summer.

Catch all three acts this Saturday, January 24th, at the Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here. The show starts at 8 p.m. and is 18+. Stick around after the show for DJ sets by Skyler and Derek Specs in the lobby of the Congress.

Free Tickets Contest! The first two readers who email us at contests (at) with the subject line "Disco" will each win themselves a pair of tickets to the show on Saturday at the Congress Theater! Update! We have our winners! Congrats to Mark and Dave.

Click below to watch TDB's music video for "World is Spinning" from the album The Wind at Four to Fly.

Continue reading this entry »

Stephanie Griffin

Concert Thu Dec 18 2008

The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir Holiday Spectacular (& Really Quick Contest!)


Chicago's own Scotland Yard Gospel Choir has been making waves opening for the likes of The Arcade Fire, Spoon, The Violent Femmes, and Of Montreal. This chamber pop collective mixes dark humor with an eclectic mix of instruments and styles, at times sounding like The Ramones hired a backing orchestra, and at other times straight-up Belle & Sebastian-influenced folk. They're currently finishing up a new album, due out in the spring, and will be ending 2008 headlining a show at the Double Door tomorrow night. SYGC's shows are always high-energy, which is almost inevitable for a band of this size in an intimate venue like the Double Door but is mostly due to their strong attention to detail and effort put into their live act. This is surely a show you will not want to miss.

Catch SYGC this Friday, December 19th, at the Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave. The show starts at 9 pm, but arrive early because the first 100 people through the door will receive handmade buttons and mix CDs from the band. Tom Schraeder and His Ego, The Fabulous Putterbaugh Sisters and DJ Screeble Dee will open. As always, the Double Door is 21+. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online here or at the Double Door box office.

Really Quick Contest! One lucky reader can win a pair of tickets to the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir show tomorrow, Friday 12/19 at the Double Door. Just be the first to email us at contests (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject "La La La" and you and a friend can have sweet night of free entertainment, courtesy of Bloodshot Records. UPDATE: We have a winner! Congrats to Brandon!

Stephanie Griffin

Contest Wed Dec 17 2008

Have a Dandy New Year's Eve

DandyWarholsNYE.jpgWhat are you doing on New Year's Eve? If you haven't made up your mind, here are two opportunities to have it made for you.

The Dandy Warhols are going to be performing at the Metro's NYE party, with Robert Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club DJing to open. The show is 18 and over, and doors open at 9pm. Tickets are $55 in advance ($65 at the door), or $125 for VIP, which get you special seating, four free drinks and limited edition posters.

The Metro is running a contest to upgrade one lucky ticketholder and three of his or her friends to VIP status. All you have to do to enter is purchase your tickets by Saturday, Dec. 20. Winners will be announced on Monday the 22nd.

But that's not all! The Metro has also given Transmission two pairs of tickets to give away! Enter to win by emailing contests[at] with "NYE" in the subject line; include your full name in the body of the email. We'll select two winners from the entries on Friday, Dec. 19, so that if you don't win you still have time to enter the Metro's contest. Update! We have our winners! Congrats to Kit and Aubrey!

Good luck!

Andrew Huff

Concert Thu Dec 11 2008

Bring in 2009 with Justice (& Really Quick Contest)

We like Justice at Transmission. (And, for the record, we liked that other Justice too.) They've graced our city a few times and given us some good memories from their thump-driven performances. From Smartbar to Metro to the Riv, they've worked their way up the venue ladder and become better showmen as their popularity has skyrocketed over the years. In a few weeks, the French electro duo will put on their biggest Chicago party yet with a New Year's DJ set at the Congress. It may hark back to a time when their claim to fame was remixing Simian and Britney Spears or it may go in a completely different direction. They probably don't even know until five minutes before they hit the stage.

Their Ed Banger labelmates So Me and local trio Hey Champ will open, as will numerous local DJs. (Oh, and Peanut Butter Wolf too!)

And because we at Transmission appreciate our readers so much, we're giving away a pair of tickets to what'll obviously be one of the most fun ways to bring in 2009. Just be the first to email us at contests (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject "Justice!" and you'll be the lucky winner of a pair. For those who don't win, the show runs from 7pm to 3am and tickets are $60. The Congress is located at 2135 N. Milwaukee. UPDATE Hold the phone! We have a winner! Congrats to David.

James Ziegenfus

Contest Thu Dec 11 2008

Loyal Divide "Labrador EP"

labrador300.jpgFirst impressions are everything. People can decide whether they like you or hate you in a handshake, and the same thought applies to music. In the first ten second an album can be sold or lost. When I received the new ep from Chicago's Loyal Divide I fully expected an assault of garage rock or lo-fi indie tones, but what I heard was atmospheric electronic tones with a solid beat. The remarkable thing is that the beats just kept coming. From the crunchy stomp of "Young Blades" to the squealing electro vibrations of "Labrador" to the angelic shuffle of the closer "Vision Vision", this Ep will move you. Recently featured on RCRD LBL and self-released, the Labrador Ep is now available at CD Baby, but we have a copy that the band is letting us give away to the first person to leave a comment. (Make sure to leave an e-mail address)

Jason Behrends / Comments (2)

Contest Tue Nov 25 2008

Really Quick Contest: Kid Sister

Don't listen to the rumor mill on this one — there are definitely still tickets left for the Kid Sister show at the Metro Wednesday night. On your way to the visit with the fam come Thursday? You can head out the night before and head off some of those Thanksgiving calories with some seriously fun dancing. Kid Sister's debut album Dream Date doesn't hit the shelves until January, but her single "Get Fresh" is already blowing up the airwaves (web and otherwise). She'll be celebrating the release of the tune tonight in her hometown. What better way is there to do it? None.

Need more? Check out our preview here.

Kid Sister takes the stage Wednesday night, November 26 at the Metro with DJ duo Flosstradamus and mashup kings The Hood Internet opening. It's a trio of Chicago talent! The show is all-ages and the music gets going at 7pm. Tickets are $16, but if you're quick, and email us at contests (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject line "Get Fresh" you and friend could be on your way to the show for free! Update: We have our winners! Congrats to Eric and Catherine!

Anne Holub

Concert Mon Nov 17 2008

Congress Theater Hosts First Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival Saturday


If you're like me, when you hear the term "music festival" you'll automatically think of relaxing on the lawn in a sea of people, lapping on sunscreen as you squint to catch a glimpse of some of your favorite artists. This Saturday, KingTello Presents (a recently formed alliance of Chicago promoters and producers) will integrate elements of the traditional summer music festival into a more intimate setting fit for the winter months as they host the inaugural Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival at the Congress Theater. The festival will not only offer 12 hours and 2 stages showcasing two genres of music that have heavily influenced modern indie rock, folk, and Americana, but will also include improv comedy, a live-art exhibition and indoor gallery, DJs, raffles, a marching band, and an indoor smoking lounge. Additionally, the concert will be filmed by Wiggle Puppy Productions for use as a feature concert documentary and live album to be available as a digital download.

With our city's thriving independent music scene and rich history in creating a unique blues sound, the festival would not be complete without some local talent. Chicago-based blues label Alligator Records and roots-rock label Bloodshot Records are teaming up and sharing a bill for the first time at the festival to bring some homegrown flavor into the mix. Bloodshot artists Ha Ha Tonka and Dollar Store will be performing at the fest, while Alligator Records is contributing classic Chicago Blues artist Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials. Oak Part artist Donnie Biggins, winner of Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival's "Last Banjo Standing" contest, will be kicking off the festival's main stage at 12:30 PM.

The Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival takes place this Saturday, November 22nd, at the Congress Theater, 2135 N Milwaukee Ave. The music runs from 11am-midnight and tickets are $31 (through Ticketweb). A portion of each ticket sale is donated to the Saving Tiny Hearts Society, which benefits the research of congenital heart defects. The show is all ages.

Keep reading for a full schedule along with our three picks for the must-see artists at the fest, plus a chance to win yourself a pair of tickets.

Continue reading this entry »

Stephanie Griffin

Review Sun Nov 16 2008

O'Death: A Flailing of the Heart


If you're looking for a view of death in Chicago the industrial corridor that is Elston Avenue is a good place to start. If you're looking to see O'Death you'd be on the right track as well. Just a bit too late.

Rolling up to The Hideout is always a bit of a leap down the rabbit hole. Wandering into the back room for O'Death's set was an introduction to a stage worth of mad hatters. This is not mellow music to fall asleep to. These are not musicians gently caressing songs from precious instruments. This band plays as though possessed by particularly unsavory demons with no regards to how much their strings or vocal cords can withstand.

Continue reading this entry »

Alexis Finch

Concert Tue Nov 11 2008

Matt & Kim Hit the Town (Twice!) (Just once)


Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim are headed to Chicago, and they like us so much, they're settling in at Wicker Park's Subterranean for a two-night stint [Update: their Wednesday night show has just been canceled. That means you've only got one chance to catch them this tour. BUT tickets purchased for Wednesday night's show will be honored Tuesday]. That's right, the adorable, electric pair are going to bang around the room upstairs Tuesday and Wednesday, with a sweet gang of openers to boot. Tonight, get there early to hear Chicago's Vyle as well as Hollywood Holt, and Texas' Best Fwends open.

It may be getting dark and cold early now, but Matt & Kim surely won't disappoint the crowd. I don't know where these kids get their energy from, but I want it in my coffee every morning. Their sound is part crash bang, part giddy pop thing. If there ever were a cure for the onslaught of winter weather in Chicago, these two are it.

Tickets are $10, each night. Tonight's show gets going at 9pm (17+) and Wednesday's starts early at 6pm with a special all-ages night. Subterranean is located at 2011 W. North Ave. in the heart of Wicker Park.

Download their latest tune, "Daylight" at Green Label Sound.

[Video]: Matt & Kim - "Daylight"

Quick like a bunny! If you're the first to email us at contests (at) gapersblock (dot) come with the subject line, "M&K", you'll win a pair of tickets to Tuesday night's show at Subterranean. Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Jeff!

Anne Holub / Comments (1)

Contest Wed Jul 16 2008

Contest: Three Days of Pitchfork

Don't have your tickets to the Pitchfork Music Festival yet? How's a three-day pass for free sound? We've got a pair to give away, courtesy of Boost Mobile -- just email with the subject line "Pitchfork Booster" by 5pm today. We'll choose a winner at random from the entries received. Be sure to include your name, phone number and an address where the tickets can be overnighted to you if you win. UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations to Jen!

Andrew Huff

Contest Thu Jun 26 2008

Really Quick Contest: Get Some Walter Meego

For two (that's 2) lucky readers, we've got some sweet sweet Walter Meego swag to give away. Not only will you get a copy of their new album Voyager, but we'll also send you a poster and some killer stickers, courtesy of Almost Gold Records. Just be the first (and second) to email us at contests (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject line: I want some Walter! and we'll whisk the goods out to you ASAP. Not sure what's a Walter Meego? Read about this cool Chicago-born dance music duo in our feature to your right. Update: We have our winners! Thanks to everyone who wrote in!

Anne Holub

Contest Mon Jun 23 2008

Scream, Scream In the Heat of the Night

battleroyale_promo5.jpgI imagine it all comes down to why you listen to music. Do you want to dance around the living room? Are you looking to relax and hear a tale of someone else’s troubles and successes? Do you want to sing along while driving to work? You might have a different mix (or playlist) for each mood. Well, what if you wanted to do all three? If that’s the case then Minnesota’s The Battle Royale has the answer.

On their latest release from Afternoon Record’s, Wake Up, Thunderbabe, John Pelant (vocals, guitar), Grace Fiddler (bass, vocals), Sam Robertson (organ) and Mark Ritsema (synth, vocals) shift styles and genres with ease. In fact, the way they have designed the album it is formatted in a classic Side A/Side B style. The first half of Thunderbabe is full of throbbing floor shaking dance tracks like their indie hit single “Racecar”. The second half of the album runs at a slower pace, but is flush with sing-a-long near campfire tracks starting with the gentle “Scream, Scream”. So regardless of your mood, and regardless of what you think a “Thunderbabe” is, The Battle Royale have what you are looking for.

[MP3] The Battle Royale - Racecar
[MP3] The Battle Royale - Scream, Scream

The Battles Royale will at The Empty Bottle tomorrow night (Tues. June 24th) with Darling and Canasta. The show begins at 9:00pm and tickets are $7.

Jason Behrends

Contest Thu Apr 10 2008

Really Quick Contest: Head of Femur

You've already read about Head of Femur's new album Great Plains over in the Transmission Feature this week, then you know that they're excited to play Schubas Friday night in celebration of the album's release. Be a part of that number (along with a friend) and be the first to email us at contests (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject line "thighbone" and you and a friend (sorry kids, you must both be 21+) will get to see the show for free! [Update:] We have a winner! Congrats to Shira!

Anne Holub

Contest Thu Apr 03 2008

Really Quick Contest: Scotland Yard Gospel Choir

If you've read our feature this week (to your right), you know that the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir is all set to rock Schubas all month long. Thanks to the kind folks at Bloodshot Records, we've got a pair of tickets to give away to the first of their four Monday night performances in April. Just be the first to give us a shout at contests (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject "SYGC!" and you'll win a pair of tickets to the April 7th "Friends with Benefits" show which will also feature the band Cabin, WBEZ's Ben Calhoun, Comedian Jena Friedman and WLUW's Think Pink's DJ Stinky Pink alongside SYGC. UPDATE: We have a winner! Congrats to Joseph!

Anne Holub

Concert Mon Mar 31 2008

It's a family affair for The Felice Brothers and Justin Townes Earle at Schubas on Tuesday night

Not since Uncle Tupelo helped coin the term "no depression" and the resulting alt-country/americana movement of the 80's have there been so many great bands emerging that rely on a sound rooted in the folk songs of Woody Gutherie, the near jam band grooves of The Band, and the literary songs of Bob Dylan. Off the top of my head I'm thinking of Chatham County Line, The Avett Brothers and AA Bondy.

In the case of The Felice Brothers the boys in the band (actual brothers) even have a shared geography with The Band. They're natives of upstate NY; a stones throw from both the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains. To say they've absorbed and been influenced by this region is to undersell the importance their rural background has on their everyman tales of lovable losers. The Felice Brothers' American debut has just been released by Connor Oberst's Team Love Records and this is their first headlining tour of the states.

[mp3]: The Felice Brothers - "Frankie's Gun"

[mp3]: The Felice Brothers - "Wonderful Life"

Sure he's Steve Earle's kid and yes he's been saddled with a tough middle name to live up to. But on his new record for Bloodshot Justin Townes Earle makes a fairly clean break from his family ties and delivers a record that's more diverse than anything his two namesakes ever recorded.

You can hear one of the directions that he heads in on the breeezy, 1920's-jugband-meets-speakeasy tune "Hard Livin'". Meanwhile on “Who Am I To Say” JT does sound like dear old dad at times, but before drugs, middle age, smoking and a hard living altered his voice to the point that it’s now just a low growl. The song itself is an autobiographical tale that attempts to deal with his dad’s myth and his flawed relationship with him. This is one hell of a lineup for a Tuesday night in Chicago.

Catch both bands at Schubas Tuesday night starting at 9pm.

[mp3]: Justin Townes Earle - "Hard Livin'"

[mp3]: Justin Townes Earle - "Who Am I To Say"

P.S. The Felice Brothers are busking fools, so if you see a group of scruffy cats set up on some street corner on the northside of Chicago you can bet it's them getting a quick set in before or after their Schubas gig.

BONUS: We've got an autographed copy of the brand new Justin Townes Earle album The Good Life (thanks to the nice folks at Bloodshot Records) to give away to one lucky reader. Just be the first to email us at contests (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject "The Good Life" and you're the lucky duck! [UPDATE: We have a winner! Congrats to Cassi!]

Craig Bonnell

Contest Thu Feb 21 2008

Transmission Contest: A pair to see St. Vincent

Hey, want to have some fun this Saturday for free? Well, we're happy to oblige. Just be the first to email us at contests (at) with the subject line "St. Vincent" and you'll win a pair of tickets to see this great orchestral pop experience (read our full review here) at Schubas, Saturday night 2/23. [Update: We have a winner! Congrats to KT!]

Anne Holub

Contest Fri Dec 14 2007

Win Spoon New Year's Eve Tickets

Gather round, listen up. Want to go see Spoon on New Year's Eve but can't afford the ticket price? Fear not, Chicago Innerview to the rescue. In exchange for taking a reader's survey, you will be automatically entered to win two free tickets plus VIP passes to see Austin's favorite indie rockers blow the pants off the Metro on December 31st. Press here, answer questions, wait patiently. Now you have plans for New Year's.

Nicholas Ward

Contest Thu Dec 13 2007

Really Quick Contest: Thrill Jockey Stuffs Your Stocking

In honor of its 15 years, Thrill Jockey has gladly donated a fabulous grab bag of goodies for us to give away to one lucky Transmission reader. It includes:

- a Thrill Jockey 15th anniversary totebag,
- a Thrill Jockey knit hat, and
- a copy of the limited edition, 15th anniversary Super Epic Thrill Jockey Mega Massive Mix, not available in stores, compiled by Gregg Gillis (Girl Talk) and Frank Musarra (Hearts of Darknesses), aka Trey Told 'Em.

Just be the first to email us at contests (at) with the subject line "What a Thrill!" and it's yours! Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Jessica!

Anne Holub

Contest Wed Dec 12 2007

Really Quick Contest: A night with Jon Brion = one happy New Year's Eve!

That's right, we're giving away a pair of tickets to one of the hottest shows in Chicago come December 31st. You and a friend will get to hear the legendary producer and musician Jon Brion (& Friends!) play a special two-set show at Harris Theater in Millennium Park.

You get:
- two sets of music,
- an open bar (!)
- plus, plenty of chances to dance and be entertained during pre- and post-event parties in the lobbies of Millennium Park's Harris Theater.

More details here. If you're over 21, just be the first to email us at contests (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject "Happy New Year!" and you're the lucky winner. Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Gena!

Anne Holub

Contest Thu Nov 15 2007

Local Band? Play the Metro!

This week alone the Metro will play host to Menomena, Rx Bandits, and Circa Survive. Next week it could be you! (If you play in a Chicago-based band, that is.)
The Metro and Skybox are offering one local band the chance to play on the second day of their three-day “Home for the Holidays Weekend”, a collection of local shows featuring such home-grown acts as Mannequin Men, Holy Roman Empire, and The Audition.
Home for The Holidays Weekend arrives Dec 21-23, but the contest deadline is next Sunday, November 25.
Check out the Metro’s blog for contest details and how to enter.

Good Luck!

Emily Kaiser

Contest Wed Nov 14 2007

Really Quick Contest: You've Got a Mission of Burma

Got a hankering to see some legends of proto-punk play Friday night for free? Well, we've got your hook up, right here. The first to email us at contests (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject "I'm on a Mission!" gets a pair of tickets to see Mission of Burma at the Abbey Pub this Friday. What a great way to end the week, eh? Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Ingrid!

Anne Holub

Concert Fri Nov 02 2007

Some Things Not Lost In The Fire...

The press kit for the North Carolina outfit The Annuals would have us believe that the band is of the "should appeal to fans of Arcade Fire" stripe. Such reductivism and coattail-riding is the bread and butter of music industry blurbsters and hype merchants. Granted, there's plenty on the band's latest EP, Frelen Mas, to give teeth to the comparison. But fortunately, the Annuals know to pare back on the storm and stress and end-of-the-worldness much of the time, allowing more space for the listener to cozy into. And they prove that they're (thankfully) capable of bringing a little much-needed humor and whimsicality to the table.

On Frelen Mas, instruments and leads get passed around quite playfully, and the Annuals actually sound like they know how to enjoy themselves and keep the caterwauling and histrionics within reasonable limits. While their version of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" doesn't really do the band or the songbook staple any great favors, there's still a fair amount of lush and capacious prettiness to be found throughout. Not to mention that they manage to pull together something that's damned near sexy with “Such a Mess.”

And, oh yeah, Sneak Attack Media is currently hosting a contest where fans and listeners are welcome to mashup an Annuals’ tune with some material by labelmates The Manchester Orchestra. Which, given the similarity between the two artists, ain’t exactly like mixing anchovies and ice cream. (Check the links below to hear the two bands covering each other's songs.)

The Annuals will be playing at Subterranean this coming Tuesday evening. Manchester Orchestra and The Nevers are also on the bill. 2011 W. North Ave. Doors open at 6;30pm, show starts at 7; and tickets are $10 in advance, $12 the night of.

[mp3]: The Annuals - "Where Have You Been?"
[mp3]: Manchester Orchestra - "Brother"

Graham Sanford

Contest Fri Nov 02 2007

Really Quick Contest: Pale Young Gentlemen...Giving Away Tickets

Just a tick below, Nicholas makes some pretty convincing arguments as to why you really should head out to the Hideout Monday night to see Madison-based Pale Young Gentlemen rock their indie pop out at a special show. And now you have no excuse not to go, as we're going to send one lucky reader (and their BFF) to the show for free, yo. Just be the first to email us at contests (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject "Pale Rider" and you're in it to win it. Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Taylor!

Anne Holub

Contest Wed Oct 24 2007

Really Quick Contest: Graveface Puts on a Party (and you're going for free)

Just a couple of ticks below, we put the word out about a double shot (that's two nights worth!) of local label action at the Abbey Pub. Well, as a reward for starting your day with Transmission, the first to email us at contests (at) with the subject "BOO" gets a pair of tickets to a night of their choice (this Friday or Saturday) full of music by Octopus Project, Appleseed Cast, Dreamend, and Enon. Bonus: You'll also get your very own extra special gift bag with some Halloween goodies, some albums and other extra special Graveface swag! You have to be 18+ to go, and they are encouraging the heck out of costumes. Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Sharada!

Anne Holub

Contest Tue Oct 09 2007

Quick Contest: Patrick Wolf!

Patrick Wolf plays The Metro tonight, and you could be there for free! Email with the subject line "Who's Afraid?" -- the first to respond wins their name plus one on the guest list. UPDATE: We have a winner! Congrats, Bob!

Andrew Huff

Contest Mon Aug 20 2007

Really Quick Contest: Free Queer Fest Midwest Tickets

This Saturday, August 25th, Queer Fest Midwest arrives in Chicago at the Pulaski Field House in Wicker Park. It's Chicago's first ever music, visual and interactive arts festival celebrating the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community. With a lineup including visual and interactive art, performance, and music ranging from indie to hip-hop to trans-hillbilly, it's sure to be a fun-filled day of outstanding artistic expression. The musical lineup includes national artists Katastrophe, The Ex-Members, Johnny Dangerous, Chris Garneau, Katz, Gina Young and Team Gina. There will also be performances by midwest musicians Office, Hey There Cowboy, 8 Inch Betsy, Opportunity School and Actor Slash Model. The fun starts at noon and runs until 8pm. More details here and in Slowdown.

Sound like fun? We want to get you there, for free! Just email us at contests {at} with the subject line "Free Fest" and we'll give away a pair of tickets to the first three readers who give us a shout. Update: We have our winners! Congrats to Ron, Eric and Brendan!

Anne Holub

Contest Thu Aug 09 2007

Really Quick Contest: Canasta Playing

If you're into great Chicago indie bands (and if you're reading this, you probably are), but maybe don't have the cabbage to head out to the Double Door to see Canasta play a benefit show for the Chicago Independent Radio Project, then you're in luck. Just be the first to email us at inbox (at) gapersblock (dot) com with the subject "I Play Canasta" and we'll hook you up. You'll get two tickets to the show tomorrow night, plus a copy of Canasta's album and a tshirt, all courtesy of the band. UPDATE: We've got our winner. Congrats, Tim!

Anne Holub

Contest Tue Jul 31 2007

100 Words for Rhymefest Scores you Lollapalooza Tickets

Chicago rap artist Rhymefest, who put on quite the show for the hometown crowd at last year's Intonation Festival, is running a contest through his MySpace page that may just be your ticket into Lollapalooza (um, literally). Just give 'Fest 100 words (or less) by midnight Thursday on his MySpace page profile that tells what a revolutionary means to you and by Friday morning, you could have tickets to this weekend's music destination in Grant Park.

Anne Holub

Contest Mon Jul 30 2007

Win 2 Tickets to Paste Magazine's Live in Chicago!

Paste magazine is hosting an exclusive pre-Lollapalooza concert, Live in Chicago! at Subterranean (2011 W North Ave, 9pm) this Thursday. Surprise guests featured in Paste as well as artists from the Lollapalooza stages perform; the lineup is undisclosed before the event. The secret guest list should be nothing less than spectacular, as Paste, recently featured in the Chicago Tribune's list of "50 Best Magazines," certainly knows how to choose their pickings with care. Enter the contest for your chance to win two free passes; this pre-Lolla event is not to be missed!

Marla Seidell

Contest Wed Jun 27 2007

Really Quick Contest: The Hookup from the Hot IQs

Hey music-lovers! What's not to love about a free EP and free tickets to a show? (Nothin', that's right.) Just be the first to email us at inbox (at) with the subject line "My IQ is Hot" and you'll get the Hot IQs' latest release (read what we have to say about them a little bit below or right here), as well as a free chance to see them at the Kinetic Playground Thursday night. It's just that easy! [Update:] We have a winner! Congrats to Kristen!

Anne Holub

Contest Thu May 17 2007

Really Quick Contest: 3 Free CDs from CIP

Hey, as you've no doubt read in our feature this week, CIP Records is putting out some amazing experimental rock, right here in Chicago. As a bonus to you, dear reader, just be the first to write us at inbox (at) with the subject line "I'm Down with CIP" and you'll be the lucky recipient of not one, not two, but three CDs from the label. Sent right to your mailbox, the albums include Alu Autismenschen, Vertonen Stations, and Leticia Castaneda On The Verge of Redundance (all of which you can read about here).
[Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Zach!]

Anne Holub

Contest Wed May 02 2007

Really Quick Contest: Get Cozy with ADULT.

(Oh, get your mind out of the gutter!) What we're giving away, courtesy of Thrill Jockey and Nicola Kuperus of ADULT. (who's quite the artist) are two handmade iPod cozies (one red, one brown) made by none other than the lead lady of the band herself!


You can't buy these in stores, nor can you pick one up at the band's show on Friday, so consider yourself lucky if you're one of our two winners. Just be one of the first two to email us at inbox (at) with the subject line "warm and cozy!" and you're a winner winner winner! (While you're here, make sure to check out our band preview/review of ADULT.'s latest album Why Bother?.) [Update: We've given away the brown cozy, but we still have the red one available (like the one above). If you want it, email us!] {Update Update We've got our winners! Thanks}

Anne Holub

Contest Fri Apr 27 2007

Design Deadline

Today's the day! Send us your designs for the first ever Transmission sticker and button design contest. Need the details? They're right here.

Anne Holub

Contest Wed Apr 25 2007

We Like Buttons. We Like Stickers.

Just another friendly reminder that we're having this little ole design contest, and we need your...well...designs. Help us create the first ever Gapers Block: Transmission 1-inch buttons and super cool stickers! Details n' stuff are here. Deadline is Friday.

Anne Holub

Contest Fri Apr 20 2007

What Have You Drawn for Transmission Lately?

Time's ticking away, and we're just 1 week away from the deadline for our first ever Transmission button and sticker design contest. Details details details are here.

Anne Holub

Contest Mon Apr 02 2007

Attention Breakers!

Wanna impress your water cooler homeboyz back at the office? Check this insta-cred: Hosted by Chicago breakdance crew Brickheads, the 3rd Circle Killaz breakdance competition at Alternatives rec center (4730 N. Sheridan). It all goes down at 7:30 p.m., on Saturday, April 7. Doors are a mere $5 for all the popping and/or locking you can possibly handle.

More interested in participating than spectating? All skill types and age levels are welcome to compete. Breakdance teams are also encouraged, as well as breakdance battles, featuring anywhere from one-on-one action to five-on-five. The Brickheads themselves will decide the best dancers to move on to the next level of the competition. The the winner of the final battle stands to win mad ca$h, y'all.

Kara Luger

Contest Tue Feb 27 2007

Quickie Contest: VIP at Metro's Anniversary Party

We mentioned awhile back that The Metro turns 25 this year, and that they're kicking off a year-long series of celebrations with a huge show at SXSW. Well, if you can make your way down to Emo's in Austin on March 14, we have a pair of VIP laminates for you. The first person to email inbox{at} with the message "I'm a jet-set rocker" gets them. (We just checked and Southwest can get you there for as little as $220 round-trip. Just sayin'.) UPDATE: We've got our winner! Congatulations, Bianca!

Andrew Huff

Contest Mon Feb 26 2007

Really Quick Contest! Music to your eyes and ears

Hey, there. Just in time for the cold, couch-filled nights to return, Transmission's gonna offer you a chance to win some stellar Chicago jazz and blues you can enjoy from the comfort of your own DVD player. The folks over at Delmark want you to see and hear what we've been raving about in our feature this week. So the first to email inbox (at) with the subject line "I can see the music!" wins a pair of DVDs of Jimmy Burns Live at B.L.U.E.S. and The Ethnic Heritage Ensembe Hot N' Heavy: Live at the Acension Loft. Hop to it, and start your week off right! [Update!] We have our winner! Congrats!

Anne Holub

Contest Thu Feb 15 2007

Really Quick Contest: Be a King for a Day!

I just know our feature today on Chicago performer Bobby Conn has totally piqued your interest in seeing him live, and now, thanks to Chicago label Thrill Jockey, you've got your chance, for free. The first to email us at inbox (at) with the subject line "It's good to be the king!" gets the "King for a Day" package, which includes a pair of tickets to the CD release party this Saturday at the Empty Bottle and a copy of Conn's new album and an autographed poster! Five other runners-up will get their own copy of the album and an autographed poster too. Keen! Email now now now! [Update!] We've got our fill of winners! Congrats to you all!

Anne Holub

Contest Thu Feb 01 2007

Really Quick Contest: Free show, Free tunes

If you've read our feature this week on The Eternals and Skybox, you know that these bands are really worth checking out. We're going to help you hear one of them for zero clams this weekend. Just be the first to email inbox(at) with the subject line "Arco Iris" and you'll get a pair of tickets to see Skybox headline at Subterranean this Saturday, Feb. 3. One lucky runner up will get the brand new Skybox CD! Hop to it! [Update: We have our winners! Congrats!]

Anne Holub

Contest Wed Jan 17 2007

Really Quick Contest! Free Show (plus) Plus Device

As Graham tells you below, Friday night's show at Sonotheque is sure to bring the groove to your booty with a hot dj lineup including Daedalus, Atomly and Plus Device. If you want to get your dance on for free than just write us at inbox (at) with the subject line "I've Got Rhythm" and you and a guest will get to go for absolutely zero dollars. Runners up will get a free copy of Plus Device's debut album courtesy of Chicago's own Hefty Records. [Update!] We've given them all away! Congrats to the winners!

Anne Holub

Contest Fri Jan 12 2007

Ride a Tin Horse to Lowen & Navarro

Lowen & Navarro are playing tomorrow night at the Park West, and friends of GB Tin Horse are opening for them. The show is nearly sold out, but Tin Horse has your hook-up: enter their raffle by 3pm today and you could win a pair.

Andrew Huff

Contest Thu Dec 21 2006

Really Quick Contest! Music History VIP

As promised, here's another chance at free goodness, from your pals here at Transmission, and the Chicago History Museum. In honor of our feature (up there) on the new exhibit "Chicago Roots Music", one lucky reader and a friend will receive free VIP pass to the Chicago History Museum! We're going to make you work a bit more than usual though. The first to email inbox (at) with three people discussed in the exhibit, as detailed in the feature this week and the subject line "Deep Roots!" will get the passes. Update: We have a winner! Congrats to Jennifer.

Anne Holub

Contest Wed Dec 20 2006

Really Quick Contest: All that Jazz!

Here's another chance to win during your pre-holiday week! About a month ago, we told you all about some stellar recordings by Chicago jazz musicians Ken Vandermark, Tim Daisy and Robert Barry called the Sound in Action Trio and their album Gate as well as Vandermark and Daisy's other (other) side project Bridge 61 with includes Nate McBride and Jason Stein and their album Journal. Both these albums are put out by Chicago jazz label Atavistic, and both can be yours if you're the first to write us at inbox (at) with the subject line "Jazz Hands!". We've only got one pair, so be quick about it! UPDATE: We have a winner! Congrats to Eric.

If you still want to hear some jazz by Ken Vandermark tonight, head on down to the Hideout at 9:30pm with $8! And keep reading this week for more free stuff!

Anne Holub

Contest Tue Dec 19 2006

Really Quick Contest: 'Till They're Gone (again!)

Remember a couple of weeks ago when we gave away a whole baker's dozen of the snappy albums by Chicago duo Utah Carol? Well, the band was so jazzed about their album releasing today, that they want to do it all over again. The first to write an email with the subject line "Yee Haw!" to inbox (at) wins the mega prize pack: 1 copy of their newly released album Rodeo Queen, 1 copy of each of their previous albums Wonderweel and Comfort for the Traveler and a copy of their limited edition press pack, all of which will be signed personally by JinJa and Grant. The next dozen emailers get a copy of each of the previous two albums! Yippie Yi Yo! (Oh, and if you won last time, please give others a chance to win.) Update: Hold your horses! We're out! Congratulations to all the winners! Keep an eye out this week for more free fun!

Anne Holub

Contest Fri Dec 01 2006

Win NYE tickets, celebrate George Jones @ Hideout TONIGHT

In an interesting turn of events, you can head out tonight to The Hideout and get a chance to win tickets to the sold out New Year's Eve show at The Metro with Smoking Popes and Alkaline Trio. Josh Caterer of the Smoking Popes will be performing an acoustic set of George Jones tunes as a part of the venue's special tribute to the legendary musician. Everyone who shows will receive a raffle ticket and the winner will be announced tonight! The fun starts tonight at 10pm at The Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia) with Special Guest Rachel Ries. Tickets are just $8!

Anne Holub

Contest Thu Nov 30 2006

Quick Contest ('till we run out): Utah Carol albums just for you

Our feature this week, on Utah Carol, has the duo really itching to let you get a listen of their sound, so we have a big stack of their past two albums to give away! The first to write an email with the subject line "Stampede!" to inbox (at) wins the mega prize pack: 1 copy of their forthcoming album Rodeo Queen, 1 copy of each of their previous albums Wonderweel and Comfort for the Traveler and a copy of their limited edition press pack, all of which will be signed personally by JinJa and Grant. The next dozen emailers get a copy of each of the previous two albums! Yee Haw! UPDATE: We're all out! Congrats to those who won.

Anne Holub

Contest Tue Nov 28 2006

Mashup wins you Metro tickets NYE

If you waited to buy tickets to the Metro's New Year's Eve bash featuring Alkaline Trio and Smoking Popes, well, you're S.O.L. 'cause it's officially sold out. Not to fear, though, as they're having a groovy contest that can still get you in the door. They want to hear the best mash-up featuring at least one song by Alkaline Trio and one song by Smoking Popes. You don't have to use the entire songs or just one song by each band, but you know, creativity counts big time. Here's the prize breakdown: 1st Place, One pair of tickets to the NYE show and a limited edition NYE silk-screened poster (All ages are welcome to enter, but you must be 18+ to attend the show); 2nd Place, Limited edition silk-screened poster and a copy of the limited edition 7" featuring unreleased material from both bands; 3rd Place: Limited edition silk-screened poster. Deadline is Tuesday, December 26 at noon. Details, including the Metro blog post you have to post your entry on, are online.

Anne Holub

Contest Thu Nov 09 2006

Don't Say We Never Gave You Anything

Music, at its heart, is poetry, right? And Joe Pernice, our featured artist this week, our favorite soulful troubadour, has written a beautiful book of honest-to-God poetry. Wouldn't you love to get your mitts on one, for free? First to email inbox {at} with the subject line "Pernice Poetry" gets Joe's book Two Blind Pigeons delivered right to your door. [Update!] Congrats to Michelle, our winner! Keep on reading for your chance to win cool stuff on Gapers Block: Transmission.

Anne Holub

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


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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:



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