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. 


Wednesday, May 22

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Hideout Block Party Mon Sep 08 2014

Your Guide to Hideout Block Party & Onion A.V. Fest: Day 2 in Review

Gapers Crowd1.jpg
Photos by Kirstie Shanley

Sunny, cloudless skies that melted into a serene evening. Each musical act emerging as dynamic as the one that preceded. As all good things must come to an end, the 18th annual Hideout Block Party & Onion A.V. Fest has come to a close. Day two brought about a scene of bright skies, in stark contrast to the day that preceded it, a limitless crowd, and a diverse blend of musical acts that truly showcase what a glorious hub for music Chicago has become and will continue to be.

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Sarah Brooks

Hideout Block Party Sat Sep 06 2014

Your Guide to Hideout Block Party & Onion A.V. Fest: Day 1 in Review


The 18th annual Hideout Block Party & Onion A.V. Fest has graced the city with its presence once again. This revered, lovable festival continues to bring with it excellent tunes, an emphasis on everything local, and a fantastic atmosphere year after year. Despite the apocalyptic weather conditions yesterday evening, a suitably large crowd was gradually accrued as concertgoers seemed happy as ever to be enjoying this year's stellar crop of musical offerings.

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Sarah Brooks

Hideout Block Party Tue Sep 02 2014

A Hideout Block Party How-To


My favorite Chicago music festival of the year is swiftly approaching, bringing with it high-caliber acts that are sure to please a happy crowd of sweater-wearing music lovers (yes, it is supposed to be oddly chilly this weekend, to my elation). If it's your first trip to the glorious Hideout Block Party & Onion A.V. Fest, you're in for a lovely weekend full of outstanding tunes, local fare and a heightened appreciation for the beautiful city of Chicago. Here's a handy Hideout how-to guide for all of the whos, wheres and whats to ensure that you have a seamless festival weekend.

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Sarah Brooks / Comments (3)

Hideout Block Party Mon Jul 14 2014

Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest Adds to Lineup


Along with the already stellar acts announced for this year's 18th annual Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest, the event has brought in two more wonderful additions to round out the lineup. Hamilton Leithauser, from The Walkmen, will play the fest in addition to Chicago group, Empires.

The lineup for the two day fest being held on September 5 and 6 has been announced as well, and follows below. Along with fantastic sounds emanating from the festival grounds, visitors can as always treat themselves to the elements the festival prides itself upon, from Lagunitas brews to delectable Jeni's ice cream selections, to classic Tim Tuten band introductions, and more. Tickets are available for $65 for two days, or $39 for single day passes, with a portion of proceeds donated towards Chicago charities, such as Foundations of Music (formerly known as Rock For Kids).

Bad Luck Jonathan ft. Jon Langford
Hamilton Leithauser
The Handsome Family
Death Cab For Cutie

Valerie June
Sylvan Esso
Mac DeMarco
funky METERS
The Dismemberment Plan
The War on Drugs

Sarah Brooks

Hideout Block Party Wed May 28 2014

A.V. Fest / Hideout Block Party Announces 2014 Lineup

Hideout-2014.jpgSummer in Chicago brings a wealth of live music opportunities; from individual concerts, to street festivals, and festivals, there is a plethora of great music options, and picking and choosing opportunities is key in order to experience all the live music you would like to hear in one summer. However, what seems to be discarded sometimes is how many large-scale, gargantuan music festivals we hold in the city, as compared to smaller festivals. From Lollapalooza, to Riot Fest, to Wavefront and North Coast, there is immense value to be had in a smaller, more intimate festival experience.

This is precisely why the A.V. Fest / Hideout Block Party is consistently my favorite music spot to be at during a Chicago summer season. With the emphasis on local food and drink and typically featuring many artists from Chicago as well, the festival gives one a strengthened sense of pride for their city, and the aspect of only one stage is a welcome change of pace from diligently reading a festival map and sprinting to another spot to see the next act. It's a full crowd, but comfortable, and the Hideout is a neighborhood gem that I feel proud to support each year.

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Sarah Brooks / Comments (1)

Hideout Block Party Thu Sep 12 2013

Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest 2013: Exploring the Themes

By Sarah Brooks and Timothy Schuler

The Hideout_9705167904_l-web.jpg
(photo by Joshua Mellin)

Given our snapshot review of this year's Hideout Block Party and A.V. Fest, there are a lot of reasons why this festival is so wonderful and unique. No other large-scale festival places such an emphasis on local talent, frequently bringing artists that were once in a fledgling state, playing late night sets at the Hideout to get their start, as headlining acts that garner a massive crowd to match their amassed following. We look into the themes of each evening's performances, as the festival truly shows us a conscious reasoning behind the choices for headlining acts, and the message they wanted these choices to send.

World's Best Dancer owns Guitarkestra!_9701941901_l-web.jpg
"The World's Best Dancer" at Guitarkestra (photo by Joshua Mellin)

Friday: A Night of Lady Power and Wisdom
Friday night brought us a stellar back-to-back lineup of two veteran singers who have traveled amazing journeys throughout their lives, who both have a strong connection to the city of Chicago. In concert with one another, they played off of the vibes that each put out into the audience. Such immense musical talent truly brought about a special energy in the air, as two female powerhouses were paired together not only to showcase their incredible skill at their craft, but also to impart their own pieces of wisdom to the crowd, too. If Friday night were to have a theme, soul-seeking wisdom would be it.

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Hideout Block Party Tue Sep 10 2013

Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest 2013: A Snapshot Review

Hideout Fans_9701944687_l-web.jpg
Hideout Block Party (photo by Joshua Mellin)

In its 17th year, the Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest continued to bring local music to our city for one glorious weekend. If you were there, you probably know that each day was filled with unprecedented musical surprises, ranging from comedic onstage banter or performances that shook your soul to its core. We've lined up this year's most memorable moments of the Block Party for you, as we sit back and reminisce on another wonderful year.

Mavis Staples_9701935383_l-web.jpg
Mavis Staples (photo by Joshua Mellin)

1. Mavis Staples Taking Us to Church
As 93XRT's Terri Hemmert addressed the crowd to further announce Mavis Staples's appearance, she mentioned, "there will be no twerking tonight," as chuckles rang out from the audience. However, I noticed that there was a bit of movement occurring within the crowd during the set. Maybe not twerking, thank goodness, but if you looked around, you couldn't help seeing every member of the crowd smiling, swaying, dancing and head-bobbing to the music. Mavis Staples is truly a living legend and a polished master at her craft of spiritual soul music. She brought us all to her church of music as she sang her own ballads interspersed with powerful covers. Ending with a jam session to "I'll Take You There," Mavis had all of us submitting to her religion of soul as we listened to her preach.
-Sarah Brooks

2. Neko Case's A Cappella Singalong and Banter with Kelly Hogan
I could write a paragraph about how much adoration I feel for Neko Case, but I will spare you all. If polling the crowd, individuals would jump at the chance to speak about her music. Simply put, she is a songstress that Chicago absolutely adores, as I watched the crowd amass more and more festival attendees until the boundary walls faded away. From overhearing excited comments from the folks around me, I could glean that most of these people, like me, have been listening to Neko Case for a long, long time. After all, she did get her start right in this city, which made this appearance even more meaningful. When she played her set, it was truly something special. From the comedic stage banter with Kelly Hogan peppered between songs that gave the crowd many strong belly laughs, to playing a set full of crowd-pleasing favorites, Neko Case brought it home, literally. The moment of her set in which I'm pretty sure there was magic in the air was when she and Kelly decided to experiment and sing a cappella ballad "Nearly Midnight, Honolulu." Shivers creeped up my spine, as I could hear nothing but their voices ringing out into the night, while the crowd watched in a hushed reverence of true talent.
-Sarah Brooks

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Hideout Block Party Fri Aug 30 2013

The Hideout Looks Forward: The Block Party's 17th Year

In 1934, the Hideout originally opened as just a dive bar, in an isolated location where those in the know knew precisely where to find it. Decades later, in 1996, founders Tim and Katie Tuten and Mike and James Hinchsliff transformed the burgeoning establishment into a dynamic hub for artistic creativity and innovation that will hopefully span many years to come. Often featuring fledgling local artists looking to get their start from its founding and packed-to-the-brim crowds, it's the place where creative relationships form, Chicago musicians band together, and creativity flourishes. It's the venue where bartenders often end their shifts only to get up onstage themselves. It not only features concerts, but film screenings, trivia nights, community events built around free bowls of soup and eccentric outlets for creative expression. After 17 years of live music and illuminations of art at The Hideout, we emerge in 2013 with the 17th annual Block Party & A.V. Fest.


If you haven't been to The Hideout yet or its annual Block Party, it's hard for those of us who are veteran attendees to explain just one thing that makes it so special: because honestly, it is everything. It's the emphasis on local musicianship and paying homage to a city so wonderful. It's listening to a new band that you haven't heard yet, only to fall in love with each song that they play. It's seeing Andrew Bird return to his city and play an unbelievable set. It's watching Mavis Staples sit in a throne designed especially for her arrival. It's listening to Wilco play a hometown show under the stars.

Unlike years past in which we Gapers Block staffers told you readers why we love Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest, it's time for a new voice to take shape, as Hideout staffers themselves share their opinions; what do they most look forward to at this year's Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest? Read on, and hopefully we will be seeing you out in the crowd soon.

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Sarah Brooks / Comments (1)

Hideout Block Party Tue Jul 16 2013

A.V. Fest/Hideout Block Party Lineup Announced

av fest hideout block party 2013

The lineup for the 2013 A.V. Fest/Hideout Block Party Sept. 6-7 has been announced, and it's a doozy. Both days are stacked with talent, including Mavis Staples and Neko Case topping the bill Friday and The Walkmen, The Hold Steady and Young the Giant holding down Saturday night.

Two-day passes are still available for $60; single-day passes have not yet been released.

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Andrew Huff

Hideout Block Party Tue Sep 18 2012

Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest: Day Two Review

Day 2
Photo by Joshua Mellin

Day two of the Hideout Block Party and A.V. Fest. Seventy-five degrees and sunny, the sky wide and blue, like in those ads for Montana. I arrived at 11:30 a.m. when doors opened, and killed time in the VIP lounge with free bottles of Fred water, which aren't round but flat like a flask, and so resemble liquor that during his set Lawrence Peters looked out at the crowd and said it looked like we were all drinking straight vodka.

Given that this is Chicago, Wilco was always going to be the weekend's main deal. Friday night's headliner, Iron & Wine, is great, and folks swarmed Millennium Park last summer when they played a free show at the Pritzker Pavilion. But Wilco is Chicago royalty. Cooler than Rahm, nicer than Kanye, more loyal than Oprah. Plus, the band has made no secret of the fact that they love the Hideout, and vice versa. Until Wilco, though, Saturday was a day of kick-ass women -- Corin Tucker, Jenn Wasner, Kelly Hogan, Natalie Bergman (who, along with her wolfman brother, Elliot, easily won Sexiest Brother/Sister Act).

The main thing to know about the Hideout Block Party is that to enjoy it, you really have to appreciate music. It's not a place to dance -- electronic, hip hop, and rap are noticeably absent from the lineup -- and the acts usually aren't trending on Twitter. You either have to love good music or really enjoy the act of trading things for other things. Your bike for a valet ticket. Your bag for another. Your PIN number for cash, your cash for beer tickets, and those beer tickets for beer. You trade your place up by the stage for a seat in the shade and give that up when you want to see the next band. The cycle ends only after the final note soaks into the pavement, and you reclaim your bag and bike with empty pockets and sail down Elston, like a grifter into the night.
-Timothy Schuler

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Sarah Brooks / Comments (1)

Hideout Block Party Mon Sep 17 2012

Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest: Day One Review

Photo by Joshua Mellin

At 6p on Friday, while commuters were bumper-to-bumper on 90/94 just two blocks west of the Hideout, a band called CAVE took the Hideout's outdoor stage. I didn't know much about them; they're local — by way of Columbia, Missouri — but until Friday, I hadn't run across them. What I was doing on Sept. 15 last year, when the Krautrockers were playing a show from the back of a flatbed truck cruising down Milwaukee? (Not at the Hideout Block Party, I found out — it was later in September last year).

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Sarah Brooks

Preview Thu Sep 13 2012

The Perfect Place to Hideout This Weekend

Well folks, the time has come again. The 16th annual Hideout Block Party/A.V. Club Festival is upon us, and this year we are presented with some fantastic acts that are going to bring high-caliber indie rock music to (just outside) one of Chicago's most unique music venues. We here at Gapers Block have decided that there are several new acts that you should be sure to catch, and familiar acts that you should consider catching up with.

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Sarah Brooks / Comments (1)

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

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
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