Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, May 20

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Tomorrow Never Knows Mon Jan 19 2015

Family Crest Wrapped up TNK Festival at Schubas Sunday Night


"It's like speed dating. You have no idea who we are but just smile and pretend you're enjoying it. It'll be over soon," Bryan Simpson of The Whistles and the Bells told the crowd at Schubas Sunday night. The openers for Sunday night's TNK headliner The Family Crest were self deprecating and delightful, a far cry from the cringe-worthiness of speed dating. The group created a unique brand of bluegrass/folk/rock with a diverse set of instruments (a good warm up for the orchestral Family Crest), including a range of strings -- guitar, mandolin, banjo, and stand up bass. Simpson's voice is both sharp and haunting - an appropriate conduit for the group's songs which deal with rather heavy themes including questions of belief and faith.

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Celeste Mallama

Tomorrow Never Knows Sun Jan 18 2015

Alvvays Bring Sunshine Vibes to Schubas, 11/17

The inventive Toronto five-piece Alvvays crafted one of my favorite releases of 2014. After swiftly building their fan base, their debut self-titled album featured summery rhythms, that infectious twee sound, and stunning vocals by lead singer Molly Rankin. Would the sugary melodies be too sweet in a live setting, or would they prove to decrease our winter blues just a little bit?

Carbon Tigers opened up the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival show at Schubas with their powerhouse ballads. I honestly think they could have headlined their own show with the spiritual-experience-inducing tunes. Begun in Chicago, their sound is unique and inventive, with lead vocalist Chris Wienke's commanding vocals drawing you in instantly. They dazzled the crowd with songs off of their first and second EPs, and off of their full length album being released this year. They shared their penchant for learning covers of their favorite songs, and played an exquisite version of Chris Isaak's hypnotizing "Wicked Game."

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Sarah Brooks

Tomorrow Never Knows Sun Jan 18 2015

Metro Celebrated Saturday Night with Jukebox the Ghost


There is very little more satisfying than seeing a group of women take the stage to play rock and roll. To be certain, there are some great female singer songwriters, solo acts, and vocalists out there, but female bands, especially rock bands, are few and far between -- which is why it was such a delight to see Secret Someones take the stage as the first opener at Metro on Saturday night. The female fronted band consisting of Bess Rogers (guitar), Hannah Winkler (guitar/synth) and Leila Broussard (bass), with drummer Zach Jones, played a quick set of loud, brash, fun, intelligent rock music off their 2014 EP I Won't Follow.

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Celeste Mallama

Tomorrow Never Knows Sat Jan 17 2015

Landlady Connected with Lincoln Hall on Friday Night


It's always interesting to learn the story behind an artist's songs. Partially because it gives you tidbits to obnoxiously throw into the conversation when a song comes on: "Oh, fun fact, when I saw him live, Vance told the audience that he wrote Snaggletooth about Sia" but also because it can honestly give new insight and appreciation into a band's tracks.

Brooklyn based collective Landlady opened for Hamilton Leithauser of the Walkmen on Friday night at Lincoln Hall, and lead singer/keyboard player Adam Schatz was throwing out some of the most interesting openings to his tracks I'd ever heard. Some of them instantly made my understanding of the song crystal clear. Before "The Globe": "This is a song from the perspective of aliens who are cutting up the Earth." Yep, yep and yep - that makes total sense. Others were a little more enigmatic and intriguing. Before "Girl": "This is a song about a man who is calling customer services about his defective sex's dedicated to my twelve year old cousin who's in the audience tonight." ...Huh.

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Celeste Mallama

Tomorrow Never Knows Fri Jan 16 2015

Kishi Bashi Took on the Athenaeum Theatre for the Second Night of TNK


Kaoru Ishibashi is nothing if not versatile. The man behind Kishi Bashi is a violin virtuoso, a human beat box machine, a story teller, a conductor and a looping machine expert (I suppose having toured with Of Montreal probably prepares you for a range of scenarios no matter how bizarre). Last time I saw Kishi Bashi was at Metro a couple years ago -- my last visual on him was when he launched himself into the crowd, sporting a hat with cat ears over his multi-colored Mohawk, and waving his GoPro around to document the experience, so I was curious as to how he would adapt to the seated and much more sedate Athenaeum Theatre, leading a string quartet for the second night of TNK.

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Celeste Mallama

Tomorrow Never Knows Thu Jan 15 2015

Generationals Dazzled Lincoln Hall for the First Night of TNK


Chicago loves Lincoln Hall and Schubas. The sparkling clean sister venues bring us all our favorite bands in a small intimate atmosphere with a stellar sound system -- of course we love them. And clearly Lincoln Hall and Schubas love us back. Sure, when the lake thaws and the Ferris wheel starts mobilizing again, Lollapalooza and Pitchfork and North Coast and Riot Fest all open their gates and declare their love for the city, but what about those months of negative degrees? When the streets get dark at 4:30 and our heating bills somehow quadruple while our pipes still freeze? Lincoln Hall and Schubas have our backs. In the midst of the bleakness of winter they give us Tomorrow Never Knows -- the five day multi-venue festival hosted by the sister venues every January.

The first night of TNK kicked off yesterday with Operators at Schubas, The Both at Athenaeum and Generationals at Lincoln Hall. Although they were up against some stiff competition and they had just played Thalia Hall back in October, the Generationals still managed to pull in a sold out crowd at Lincoln Hall Wednesday night -- and nobody left disappointed.

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Celeste Mallama

Tomorrow Never Knows Thu Jan 15 2015

Strand of Oaks Headlines Lincoln Hall for TNK Jan. 17th

Image courtesy of Schubas
Timothy Showalter (aka Strand of Oaks) released his most recent album, Heal, back in 2014. The record was a departure for him - a deeply personal album where he explores himself, his childhood and his connection to music, it was completed and mixed after Showalter recovered from a car accident involving two semis on Christmas day. An interesting mix of rock, folk and electronic, Showalter's confessional album is a thing of beauty. On Saturday, Metro will have your Broadway-esque power pop with Jukebox the Ghost, Schubas will have your hazy indie pop with Alvvays, and Athenaeum will have your folk with Phox, but if you're feeling hard core, hit up Strand of Oaks at Lincoln Hall for some straight up rock.

Strand of Oaks headlines Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave, 9pm on Saturday January 17th. Tickets are $15.

Celeste Mallama

Tomorrow Never Knows Mon Jan 12 2015

The Both Hit the Athenaeum for TNK Jan. 14

Image courtesy of Schubas

Aimee Mann and Ted Leo pulled a reverse magic trick in 2012 wherein instead of breaking apart to start their own solo careers, they merged their successful solo careers to create The Both. The band came about during a joint concert in Milwaukee at the Pabst Theater that's chronicled in "Milwaukee" off their 2014 debut album The Both.

Fans of their solo careers might be surprised by the sound that came about when the two joined forces -- Mann is a singer-songwriter known for her reserved introspection and Leo is more of an extroverted punk rocker -- but the musical math ended up sorting out as: singer-songwriter + punk rocker = indie rock/power pop. It's a balanced equation that works out well.

The group has a smart, fun, sophisticated energy, and they're one of the many excellent bands headlining Schubas' TNK festival this year. The duo is playing Athenaeum Theatre - tickets are $30.

The Both play the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., at 7pm on Wednesday January 14.

Celeste Mallama

Preview Wed Oct 29 2014

Tomorrow Never Knows Announces Their 2015 Lineup


Yesterday, the latest iteration of the annual Tomorrow Never Knows festival was announced and it'll take place this upcoming January at venues scattered throughout the city. Tomorrow Never Knows is well regarded for their smart and eclectic booking, with past acts ranging from The Orwells to Oneohtrix Point Never. This year seems to somewhat indie rock-centric but true to form, with Cloud Nothings and Zola Jesus both scheduled as headlining performers.

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Justin Freeman

Tomorrow Never Knows Sun Jan 19 2014

Day Four: Tomorrow Never Knows - Superchunk, RoomRunner, Split Single @ Cabaret Metro 1/18/14

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It's never a dull moment when Superchunk is in town! The four piece has rearranged itself a little without Laura Ballance accompanying the band for live tours but with more practice given the current lineup, they've become even tighter than when they played a stellar set at this year's Hideout Block Party, giving both their old favorites and their new songs from 2013's ironically entitled I Hate Music. The crowd emphatically knew the words to all of the songs they played and were almost as invigorated as the band seemed, echoing a sense of energy with moshers up front and center.

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Kirstie Shanley

Tomorrow Never Knows Sun Jan 19 2014

Day Three: Tomorrow Never Knows - Weekend, Bare Mutants @ Schubas, 1/17

tomorrowneverknows2014.jpgFriday night's Tomorrow Never Knows show at Schubas was headlined by Weekend, whose previous Chicago shows have arguably been upstagings of bill mates. Their fuzzy post-punk calls to mind a chugging My Bloody Valentine or, say, a Glasvegas with more oomph. Their two albums are solid efforts and 2013's Jinx shows evolution, but live they are another beast. Hypnotic percussion and pummeling guitars make them an aural delight. A song like "Oubliette" may have noisy pop hints of Slumberland labelmates the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but it's the life that gets added to songs like "Mirror" and "July" where they're at their best. Singer Shaun Durkan thrashes on stage, sometimes just sitting down for half a song, but never falling out of step with everyone else as they punish chords. A 10-minute long closer that meandered but never bored built into a fury of noise as they left for the night.

Bare Mutants opened with a set mostly from their debut album, The Affliction. The Chicago band's developed over the last few years into something that has a little shoegaze but also borrows nicely from the Velvet Underground's more rock'n'roll years. Their best songs ("Without You," "Crying with Bob," etc.) tend to build to heavy last acts and earworm their way into your head. On Friday, they had a few new songs that fit perfectly with everything else. It seems they are in good shape for the near future and shouldn't be missed.

Read all our Tomorrow Never Knows coverage.

James Ziegenfus

Tomorrow Never Knows Sat Jan 18 2014

Day Two: Tomorrow Never Knows - Rural Alberta Advantage, Kopecki Family Band, Mutual Benefit at Lincoln Hall 1/17/14


If there was any previous doubt how much Chicagoans love The Rural Alberta Advantage, Friday night would put those thoughts to rest. The audience for the RAA was better than ever in their deeply felt love of all of the lyrics to the songs they knew by heart. It's a rare day in this jaded postmodern world when a band doesn't have to ask the audience to sing along and they just passionately feel so inclined as if they were fulfilling some deep aspect of their souls.

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Kirstie Shanley

Tomorrow Never Knows Fri Jan 17 2014

Day Two: Tomorrow Never Knows - Circuit Des Yeux, Tim Hecker, Oneohtrix Point Never 1/16/14 @ Lincoln Hall

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This was the first time this reviewer had seen the one-piece wonder that is Haley Fohr of Circuit des Yeux. She was often able to use pedal effects to her advantage but perhaps even more amazing was her very deep and resounding voice with the powerful distinctiveness of a Patti Smith for this postmodern age. She didn't speak very much and so her personality remained a little mysterious but songs that often began rather gentle acquired a tone filled with anguish before their finish, which in a way speaks volumes on its own. She also has an incredible command over the projection of her voice as well which was both disarming and engaging.

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Kirstie Shanley

Tomorrow Never Knows Fri Jan 17 2014

Day One: Tomorrow Never Knows Fest - Cayucas @ Lincoln Hall 1/15

tomorrowneverknows2014.jpgThe opening night of this year's Tomorrow Never Knows festival hinged upon opportunity. For not only were more established bands headlining at many of Chicago's most cherished venues, but also we were presented with bands beginning their careers and making their first appearances in Chicago, anticipating where their music will take them next.

On Wednesday evening, I was lucky enough to hear three bands showcase their talents for a completely packed house at Lincoln Hall, eagerly awaiting headliner Cayucas. Each band's sound was vastly different than the next, and the immense variety present kept listeners guessing as to what they would be welcomed with next.

Opener Bad Bad Hats played a short but sweet set that filled me and surely many other listeners in Lincoln Hall with pure, unadulterated joy. Minneapolis native duo Kerry Alexander and Chris Hoge combine their talents for the perfect musical chemistry, unabashed in the sweetness that their music possesses, but it is never saturated with too much. I had never heard their music before, though it felt like I was listening to a band I had followed for years as their sound was welcoming and jubilant. They opened with "9 AM," a track off of their early 2013 EP It Hurts, which is available for a free download via their Bandcamp page. The song immediately showcased their lyrical prowess; though the beats remain light, the lyrics find frequent moments of serendipitous wisdom that showcase their ballads as not only sweet, but smart. Kerry Alexander's voice is mature and soulful, and comprises a large vocal range, reminiscent of a Karen O and Bethany Cosentino vocal hybrid, with an additional zest that is all her own.

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Sarah Brooks

Tomorrow Never Knows Mon Jan 21 2013

Review: Freelance Whales @ Lincoln Hall, 1/19

When you are a lover of music festivals, the day, to hours, to minutes winding down to the end is always the hardest part. We enter a world of exuberant bliss, an alternate reality, a bubble-esque respite from our usual routine. We celebrate the sets of seasoned favorites, while catching on to a new artist and falling in love with our next favorite band. It's magical. However, magic has to end. This year's Tomorrow Never Knows festival was filled with acts we revered, with fresh talent also added to the mix in an ample supply. Saturday night featured a blend of both of these aspects; new acts Snowmine and Hundred Waters meshed perfectly with celebrated act Freelance Whales for a night of electronic indie-pop fusion.

Opener Snowmine combined their futuristic, big sound with an eclectic video feed of themselves on stage, the colors obscured and inverted. For some reason, this combination made sense for their performance and identity. Trippy backgrounds complemented the dreamy, atmospheric sounds that emanated from the stage. Lead singer Grayson Sanders's voice floated above the crowd, as each member in the band jolted to the reverberating beats they were creating. It was a great way to start the show off; they've only been on the scene for a little over two years now, but they've made quite the initial impression as they hooked the audience's attention for the entirety of their set.

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Sarah Brooks

Tomorrow Never Knows Sun Jan 20 2013

TNK Fest Recap: Night 3 - Free Energy @ Schubas, 1/18

"Free Energy" is such a great band name. Whether the phrase evokes an open offer for fun or a thermodynamics concept, it all pretty much describes what happens when you listen to the band's music or see them live.

On Friday night, cozy little Schubas turned into a sold-out celebration of pure, dumb rock and roll, thanks only in part to Free Energy's unapologetically feel-good set. I don't know about all of the other five venues that had music on night three of Tomorrow Never Knows Fest, but I'm going to guess that Schubas had the rowdiest bill. With a solid lineup split between two local and two non-local acts, the people at Schubas were in for a night of increasingly building energy, in which glowsticks abounded and where there were at least two different instances of band members leaping up onto stacks of amps around the stage, turning Schubas into as much of an arena-rock jungle gym as possible.

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Marc Fishman

Tomorrow Never Knows Sun Jan 20 2013

Review/Photos: Tomorrow Never Knows - Chelsea Wolfe, The Amazing, King Dude & Sabers @ Schubas Tavern 1/19/13

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Chelsea Wolfe wasn't just the most unusual musician playing in a night of quite varied and unique bands but she might very well be one of the strangest and most intriguing musicians in the entire world at large. She is striking in her very tall, thin stature and she seems like she comes from a totally different time and place, like the silent film era for instance. Wolfe possesses the kind of eyes that make her seem irreconcilably lost. Her music is typically experimental and distorted as in the case of her second full length album Ἀποκάλυψις, which is also referred to as Apokalypsis. She has become known for a sound that is unpredictable and as wild as it is strange so this reviewer wasn't quite sure how a more acoustic set was going to work.

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Kirstie Shanley

Tomorrow Never Knows Tue Jan 15 2013

Preview: Freelance Whales @ Lincoln Hall, 1/19

Tomorrow Never Knows, Chicago's own multi-venue festival, welcomes many a great band to our city for a weeklong extravaganza of shows, spanning the concert halls of Schubas, Lincoln Hall, the Metro, Smart Bar, Hideout and the Vic. On Saturday evening, Lincoln Hall will feature electro-pop favorites Freelance Whales, while introducing fresh openers Snowmine and Hundred Waters into the mix.

If you've already grabbed your 5-day pass to the TNK fest, make sure to head over to Lincoln Hall early to catch show openers. Snowmine, hailing from Brooklyn, have developed their own unique indie pop sound, with fuzzy, dream-pop layered beats surrounding crisp vocals, creating a deliberate ambient feel with their tunes. You can download their two-track album released this past year featuring "Saucer Eyes" and a remix of Twin Sister's "Meet The Frownies" by naming your price.

Hundred Waters, from Gainesville, Florida, have had a whirlwind year introducing us to their music, gaining exposure all the way through. Releasing their first EP, Thistle, and full-length album later on in 2012, Hundred Waters LP, their sound is mesmerizing and glimmering. Opening track "Sonnet" is hushed and haunting, ambling slowly along, introducing layer by layer of electronic sound to the steadily grooving vocal line. These slower ballads are juxtaposed against more abrupt, though still perfectly mixed electronica numbers such as "Me & Anodyne" heralding a tribal backing and synthesized beats, and percussive, surprising horn instrument-saturated "Theia." The group wasted no time after their album release by touring this past summer with Diplo, Skrillex, and Grimes. Their sound is folk interweaved with electronic elements, pop riffs, and tribal rhythms, creating an interesting and refreshing sound. Take a listen for yourself as you watch live recording of "Caverns" below:

Read all our Tomorrow Never Knows coverage.

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Sarah Brooks

Preview Mon Jan 14 2013

Merchandise's New Direction

Merchandise's members have done time with Tampa-area punk and hardcore bands, but their Children of Desire album doesn't sound like a product of their pedigree. It's more rooted in the Jesus & Mary Chain's melodic noise or the Church's oft-kilter alternative sound. There're hints of electronic and jazz sprinkled through, too. It's a fresh melting pot from a band that seems to have been filing away ideas that would be risky in punk and hardcore. On the standout "Become What You Are", singer Carson Cox broods through sweeping guitars and keyboards that never fatigue during its 11 minutes. "Satellite" carries the spirit of a somber country tune with its stirring "you'll never escape from my mind" refrain. Thursday's Schubas gig will be a bit of a change from the DIY spaces, like Mousetrap, that they've previously played in Chicago. Their sound may have been renovated, but don't expect them to have lost the DIY aesthetic.

Merchandise headlines Schubas on Thursday, the 17th, as part of Tomorrow Never Knows. Toronto's Dusted, Denton's Sundress and Chicago's Sybris open. The show's $15, 18+ and starts at 9pm. Schubas is at the corner of Belmont & Southport.

Read all our Tomorrow Never Knows coverage.

James Ziegenfus

Preview Tue Oct 23 2012

Tomorrow Never Knows 2013 Initial Lineup Highlights


A little less than three months from Tomorrow Never Knows 2013 and the initial lineup's out there. So far, it's just a peek at Schubas and Lincoln Hall, but the full lineup including Metro and Hideout shows will surely be released soon for the "festival" that runs January 16 through the 20th. Tickets for this first round of announcements are on sale Friday, so we thought we'd run down a few of the early highlights. Born Ruffians headline the first night at Lincoln Hall. The Canadian indie rockers have sort of been quiet south of the border since their 2010 Say It album, but they've had a few shows up north recently and are undoubtedly preparing for a new record in 2013. Merchandise graduates from DIY venues in Chicago to play Schubas on Thursday. Their Children of Desire has been with a hit with anyone pining for ex-hardcore band members from Tampa who're now writing smart and catchy alt-rock. Philly power-poppers Free Energy return to Schubas for a show on Friday night. And British R&B/soul up-and-comer Jessie Ware will close out Lincoln Hall on Sunday. Her Devotion album is fresh and she's poised for stardom. For more information, see the Tomorrow Never Knows website.

Read all our Tomorrow Never Knows coverage.

James Ziegenfus

Concert Tue Jan 17 2012

Review: Active Child & Tycho @ Lincoln Hall 1/12/12

On Thursday night Active Child and Tycho played at Lincoln Hall as part of the Tomorrow Never Knows festival. Both acts performed sets of hazy electronic music that fit the growing winter wonderland outside.

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Active Child (photo by Andy Keil)

Active Child quickly filled the air with a characteristically exceptional set of modern chamber pop. Singer Pat Grossi's celestial voice soared over the accompanying classically tinged sun warped electronic pop. For an hour Lincoln Hall fell into natures hidden web and was transported to an elaborate Elven courtship ritual. Active Child performed almost the entirety of their recently re-released debut album You Are All I See to a receptive crowd.

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Jason Olexa / Comments (2)

Concert Sun Jan 15 2012

Photos and Review: Grouplove @ LincolnHall on 1/14/12

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The title alone for Grouplove's only full length studio release thus far, Never Trust a Happy Song might lead people to think that the Los Angeles 5 piece was a dismal and depressed bunch. This couldn't be farther from the truth, however. The band has the kind of energy that makes it seem like they are having some great fun on stage and, of course, they also are adept at convincing their audience that making music and performing it is incredibly easy for them. While the construction of a perfect catchy song that can be exuberant and, at the same time, quite meaningful to an audience doesn't come too effortless for many, this five piece may just be one of the lucky talented groups that can pull it off.

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Kirstie Shanley / Comments (1)

Concert Fri Jan 13 2012

Cooking Class is in Session with Lunice Tonight at Lincoln Hall

Lunice Fermin Pierre II is on a #rare and #legendary breakout steak. In 2011 the breakdancer / producer first came to internet fame in a number of Youtube pop-lock videos has gone on to remix Deerhunter with Diplo, collaborated with Hudson Mohawke on a top secret project, and was a featured dancer in Azealia Banks "212" video. Tonight as part of Tomorrow Never Knows Festival, the self described Turbo Crunk artist will melt the dance floor with futuristic high tech bass lasers at Lincoln Hall.

Lunice's FADER Mix by The FADER

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Jason Olexa

Concert Thu Jan 12 2012

Active Child & Tycho Blanket Chicago in Fantasy Tonight

Greetings travelers. If you're reading this you are interested in tonight's voyage into the higher planes starting with a live music performance by Tycho and Active Child as part of the 2012 program of the Tomorrow Never Knows festival. The guide currently being displayed on your digital device is a checklist to follow for maximum enjoyment of the evening. Together we will look behind the curtain as our minds peel back the layers of holographic perception.

Tycho - Hours [Dive LP - Nov. 2011] by Tycho

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Jason Olexa

Preview Mon Jan 09 2012

Rumspringa Adventures with Canon Blue


Canon Blue's Daniel James hails from Nashville, but the music on his latest album Rumspringa is taken care of nicely by friends from Denmark and Iceland. From its onset, the orchestral arrangements are reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens' Illinois and some Owen Pallett. Backing James' lithe vocals are an array of instruments that each have their moments in the sun, whether it's the brass that kicks off the record, the strings on "Heavy Heart (Minneapolis A)", the hypnotic and frenetic percussion of "Fading Colors (Bloomington)" or the subtle woodwinds throughout. Even better, it sounds meticulously crafted with every moment carefully performed and produced by someone with a grand plan in their head. Unpredictable arrangements and warm production also contribute to Rumspringa as a catchy and delightful listen.

Canon Blue plays with Plants & Animals at Schubas on Thursday as part of Tomorrow Never Knows 2012. Herman Dune and Cloudbirds open. The show's $15, 18+ and starts at 8PM. Schubas is at the corner of Southport & Belmont.

Read all our Tomorrow Never Knows coverage.

James Ziegenfus

Concert Fri Jan 06 2012

Grouplove and More at Tomorrow Never Knows 2012

NYE concerts rocked Chicago into 2012, but what happens now that the mixture of confetti, champagne and vomit is swept away? Next week, Tomorrow Never Knows 2012 will roll into Chicago, giving music lovers a reason to quit hibernating and rock out at some of the best venues across the city. From Wednesday, January 11, 2012 through Sunday, January 15th, TNK will be bring five nights of wintery music fun to this frozen city. TNK will be jammin' at Schubas, Lincoln Hall, Metro, the Hideout and Smart Bar . Tickets have already gone on sale for most of the shows. Check venue sites or the Reader's Website for complete listings and tickets sales.

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Niki Fritz

Concert Thu Aug 18 2011

Tomorrow Never Knows What You'll Be Doing In January


It's still a long haul to get us through the rest of 2011's concerts, but if you want to set yourself up with a secure five days of music in the dark days of January 2012, you can do so tomorrow. Friday at noon, you can purchase a discounted 5-day pass for Schubas/Lincoln Hall's long-standing Tomorrow Never Knows Festival which will run from January 11-15, 2012 at multiple small venues in Chicago. The music will play on for five days at the aforementioned clubs (which have curated and played host in years past) and also at new TNK participants The Metro, Smart Bar, and The Hideout. The list of participating bands has not yet been released, even in short form, but you can go ahead and take a chance that, like years past (see 2010, 2009, 2008), the lineup will be awesome, and well worth the effort of donning your heavy winter coat and actually leaving the house. A 5-day pass will set you back $75 at this special early bird price and will be available starting Friday, August 19th at noon in limited quantities. (Note: Festival shows are 18+ at Lincoln Hall, Schubas and The Metro, but performances at Smart Bar and the Hideout will be 21+.)

Read all our Tomorrow Never Knows coverage.

Anne Holub

Concert Mon Jan 17 2011

Photos/Review: Little Dragon, Alex Winston, & Billy Goat@Lincoln Hall 1/16/11


It's always a tiring yet exhilarating experience to attend the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival and this year, spread across the three venues of Schubas Tavern, Lincoln Hall, and Cabaret Metro, it became much larger than ever before. That said, it was impossible to get to every band but the shuttle between venues did prove reliable for those who wanted to try to see as much music as humanly possible.

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Kirstie Shanley / Comments (4)

Review Thu Jan 13 2011

Review: The Helio Sequence, California Wives @ Lincoln Hall, 1/12

tnkSponHeader.jpg It'd been almost two years since the Helio Sequence played Chicago. Back then it was opening for Keane at the Aragon. Last night they were at the friendlier-sounding Lincoln Hall for the first night of Tomorrow Never Knows Fest. After a lengthy delay between sets, guitarist Brandon Summers and drummer Benjamin Weikel emerged from behind the curtain and immediately put forth an engaging performance highlighted by Weikel's energetic and chaotic drumming. The Portland duo have made a career of blending the raw Pacific Northwest indie-rock sound with ambient music and some psychedelic leanings. Take a little Quasi, a bit of Tristeza, some American Football and you'll eventually get the Helio Sequence.

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Helio Sequence drummer Benjamin Weikel (Photos by Kirstie Shanley)

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James Ziegenfus

Concert Fri Jan 07 2011

TNK Kicks Off Next Week

tnkSponHeader.jpgNow that cabin fever is settling in as we hit mid-January in Chicago, it's time to get yourself out of the house and into a concert (or five). Schubas and Lincoln Hall's annual winter music festival Tomorrow Never Knows kicks off next Wednesday, and this year has some extra special perks, including the Metro getting in on the act--which also means official SmartBar after-parties, and shows for the kids.

Still debating whether or not you should pick up one of those 5-day passes? Perks include admission to all shows at all three venues, plus free trolley rides between them. You'll also be invited to the opening night party at Lincoln Hall which includes a hosted bar by Tito's Handmade Vodka, with Sound Opinons hosts and music critics Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot providing the tunes (You can also get in by purchasing a ticket to that evening's The Helio Sequence show).

For all the details, and to purchase single day tickets or 5-day passes, check out TNK's official website where you can also listen to some of the bands playing the fest. Be sure to check back with Transmission next week because we'll be bringing you reviews of various TNK shows throughout the fest.

Check out the full lineup after the jump.

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Michelle Meywes

Concert Mon Oct 25 2010

TNK 2011 Initial Lineup Announced

tnkArtist.pngYou've already got the dates marked in your calendar (January 12-16, 2011), now you can add the artist details. Today Schubas and Lincoln Hall announced the initial lineup for their winter music festival, Tomorrow Never Knows, which mixes established indie acts (The Besnard Lakes) with up and comers (BRAHMS) and local flavor (Pet Lions). There's also a lot of "Special Guest" spots (confirmed acts yet to be announced) that will keep us glued to the computer in anticipation. See the whole lineup as it stands now after the jump.

This is the biggest TNK fest yet, with the Schubas crew teaming up with Metro this time for Friday and Saturday night's performances (where Freddie Gibbs, Rita J and Tanlines are slated to appear). It's no wonder those early bird $50 passes disappeared in a flash, but you have an opportunity to snag a $75 five-day pass along with $15 single-show passes this Friday, October 29th at 12:00 PM. Tickets will be available at, and, but act fast, because there's only a limited quantity.

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Michelle Meywes / Comments (3)

Tomorrow Never Knows Tue Sep 14 2010

Be Prepared For Tomorrow

tnkArtist.pngIt still feels a little early to start talking about Schubas' (and now Lincoln Hall's) annual Tomorrow Never Knows festival, since it feels like just yesterday we were sweating our way through summer festivals, but beginning Friday at noon you can get your hands on some limited edition early bird tickets for the winter fest taking place January 12-16, 2011. The special price is $50 for a five day pass. You can do the math, that's $10 a day for entry into shows at both venues, plus they've partnered up with Metro for TNK's Friday and Saturday nights! That's a lot of music for just a little dough, and if this year is anything like last year, they'll even provide transport from venue to venue so you don't have to miss a minute.

Snow and scarves might seem really far away, but do your future-self a favor and make advance plans to brighten up some dreary nights in January. Look out for the full line-up to be announced soon.

Read all our Tomorrow Never Knows coverage.

Michelle Meywes

Review Mon Jan 18 2010

Review: Owen Pallett (aka Final Fantasy) at Schubas 1/16/10

Owen Pallett, formerly known as Final Fantasy, made waves as string arranger for The Arcade Fire, but that was only the beginning. While still a steady and integral member of the powerhouse Montreal group, Pallett has built an ambitious and impressive career by remixing tracks by Grizzly Bear and Stars, contributing string arrangements to Beirut and Pet Shop Boys and recording three solo albums. The second of those, the majestic but tragically-titled, He Poos Clouds, was the 2006 winner of the Polaris Music Prize. Pallett, because he just wasn't awesome enough, decided to donate his prize money to struggling colleagues.

His latest album, Heartland, is a far-reaching and often strange concept record concerning a farmer's one-sided conversation with his creator, Pallett himself. The record was recorded with a slew of artists, including the Czech Philharmonic, and his live shows draw all the more attention since he often performs solo or with the help of one or two musicians. When I saw him at the 2009 Pitchfork Festival, it was just him and his instruments, alone on a gigantic stage in front of thousands of sweaty hipsters, a bemused look of wonder across his face.

Schubas' moody, intimate space is a much more appropriate venue for Pallett's intimate aesthetic, and Saturday night, on the penultimate evening of the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival, he didn't disappoint.

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Randall Colburn / Comments (1)

Feature Fri Jan 08 2010

Tomorrow Never Knows Festival 2010

The 2010 Tomorrow Never Knows Festival gets a split personality this year with the introduction of a second venue in addition to Schubas, in the form of its sister (brother?) club, Lincoln Hall. Featuring five days of comedy, indie rock, girl rock and soul, this little winter festival is one of the (extremely affordable) entertainment highlights of a very dark month each year. Check the site for ticketing, read up on some of our picks, pull on your boots and get on out there. The festival starts Wednesday night, the 13th, and runs through Sunday the 17th. Most tickets are $15 or less and you can also still pick up a 5-day pass to all events for $75 which includes a host of freebies including Zipcar shuttles between venues.

What follows is a brief preview of some of the acts you can catch each night. More on each act and full ticketing at Schubas website.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

News Wed Nov 11 2009

Tomorrow Never Knows 2010 Dates Announced

TNK10logo_colorwide.jpgAs much as you might not want to believe it, winter is right around the corner, but one bright spot is that Schubas' Tomorrow Never Knows festival comes with it. And now that their new space Lincoln Hall is up and running, they're spreading the festivities across both venues.

TNK is a great opportunity to check out up and coming artists that haven't broken through the industry chatter quite yet. Plus it gives you the cred to say you knew them when... The line-up so far contains: The Cribs, Voxtrot, Final Fantasy, Bowerbirds, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Adam Green, Clues, The Dead Trees, Solid Gold, Julie Doiron, The Hood Internet, Gemini Club, Paul Green's School of Rock, and even more bands and DJs to be added.

Tomorrow Never Knows will take place Wednesday, January 13 through Sunday, January 17. Single show and five-day passes go on sale Friday, November 13 at noon. Visit or for more information.

Read all our Tomorrow Never Knows coverage.

Michelle Meywes

News Tue Jan 13 2009

More Opportunities to See TNK Bands

alla.jpgIf you're super bummed that some of the Tomorrow Never Knows shows have already sold out (along with those 5-day passes), I have good news. Reckless Records is offering FREE in-store performances from some of the bands at their Broadway location. This Wednesday at 3pm you can catch Boston's Lost In The Trees before they run over to Schubas to play that night (still on sale). On Thursday, Chicago's own Alla will perform in-store at 4:30pm. Unless you have tickets for TNK Thursday night, this is the only chance you'll have to see them. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, who recently teamed up with TV On The Radio's Kyp Malone, Grizzly Bear's Chris Bear and Daniel Rossen on his latest album, will grace the store on Saturday, January 17th at 1pm. He is also playing the already sold out Friday night show of TNK. And finally, The Donkeys, all the way from San Diego, bring their beachy-pop with them to the store on Sunday, January 18th at 3pm. They also play TNK Sunday night (tickets still available). All in-store performances will take place at Reckless Records: 3161 N. Broadway (773-404-5080).

Read all our Tomorrow Never Knows coverage.

(Photo of Alla from their MySpace page)

Michelle Meywes

Concert Mon Jan 12 2009

Department Of Eagles @ Schubas, Tomorrow Never Knows 2009 Fest, Thursday

Here's the humble beginnings. Six years ago, when Department Of Eagles were calling themselves Whitey On The Moon U.K., one wouldn't have guessed that they were likely to evolve into any sort of Big Indie Darling Thing.

When the songwriting duo of Daniel Rossen and Fred Nicolaus first started collaborating, they were a couple of NYU dormmates -- bored college kids farting around with a sampler, making silly beat compositions with fragments of Gil Scott-Heron, bits of classical Indian music, and snippets from old Steve Martin comedy records. By the time they got around to recording a debut LP in 2003, they'd grown more serious about songwriting and musicianship and aimed to make a proper pop album. The result was a wonderful and brilliantly eclectic collection of songs that were likely to provoke dancing, laughter, or -- in a few cases -- that were just flat-out beautiful. By the time the album became something of a creeping indie-world fave (thanks to its belated U.K. reissue), Rossen had drifted off to find greater success as a member of the band Grizzly Bear; for a time leaving the status of DOE in suspended animation.

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Graham Sanford / Comments (2)

Event Mon Jan 12 2009

Tomorrow Never Knows at Schubas

tnk_logo.jpgIt's a fact that "tomorrow never knows."You can never predict what the future will bring, although you can try. Schubas will attempt to do just that, or at least offer you some candidates for the future of indie music. Tomorrow Never Knows is a festival presented each winter at Schubas and showcases some of the up-and-coming musical acts from all over the country, including Chicago. The Soft Pack, Department of Eagles (see our preview here), Cursive, Hey Champ, and Bishop Allen are just some of the bands appearing. The festival begins this Wednesday, January 14th and continues through Sunday, January 18th. Tickets for each night are $15 and can be purchased at Schubas' website, where you can also purchase a 5-day pass good for entry to every show for $55 (UPDATE: 5-day passes have sold out). Thursday and Friday individual tickets are already sold out, so act fast if you want to see any these acts in the home-y confines of Schubas before you're stuck seeing them in a larger venue...

Schubas is located at 3159 N. Southport. All shows begin at 9pm and are 18 & up.

And for a glimpse a little further into the future, don't forget to see the Paul Green's School of Rock students present British Invasion on Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 2pm. Tickets can be purchased separately for $10 ($15 at the door), but admission is included if you opt for the 5-day pass.

The full lineup is after the jump.

Continue reading this entry »

Michelle Meywes

Concert Wed Jan 16 2008

Tomorrow Never Knows Starts Tonight!

Despite the spat of warm weather a few weeks ago, winter in the Midwest can be might depressing--I'm sure most of you, like me, spend your time complaining about the temperature and that godforsaken wind and yearning for summer, with its promises of barbeques, trips to the lake and outdoor music festivals. It's the festival that's a true gem, as there is possibly nothing better in the world than lying on the cool grass and listening to a potpourri of live musical stylings wafting in and out and through ear holes. Hell, I'm getting a little bitter just thinking about the cold beer and pleasant surroundings.

Into this wintry abyss, comes Tomorrow Never Knows 2008, Schubas' fourth annual mid-winter festival that won't succeed in changing the weather, but will most likely alter your mind a little bit. Starting tonight, you can stop by that quiet tavern on the corner of Belmont and Southport for five sultry nights of the best indie music has to offer. In addition to a terrific Wednesday thru Sunday lineup, there will be DJs upstairs nightly as well as a Southern and Roots Rock Tribute Show on Saturday and Sunday afternoon from Paul Green's Chicago School of Rock Music.

Tickets are $15 nightly, and $55 for a five-day pass. Visit the website for the full lineup. While giving a nod to all of the fine musicians on display, I've included my own personal highlights below:

On Thursday, catch Bobby Conn, that weirdo showstopping song and dance man whose live shows have become legendary around Transmission. He'll be playing material from his latest record, King for a Day, but there's a better than average chance we'll get his experimental-showtunes take on a couple of classic pop songs.

Friday sees local pop rock stalwarts, the Redwalls, taking one for the team and stepping in for Cloud Cult, who recently cancelled due to personal reasons. Watch as their 60s influenced wall of garage-y sound attempts to blow the roof off.

Saturday night will prove not to be dead, as it serves as TNK's party night, with funkadelic hip-hop guru Ohmega Watts, followed by Canadian rapper Cadence Weapon (who is finally old enough to drink) and a throw-down headlining set from happy hardcore ace, White Williams.

Venerable indie rockers, the Walkmen (now elder statesmen in this universe) play Sunday, and while their individual show is sold out, tickets can still be gleaned from that five-day pass. The past few years has seen a couple of creative stumbles from this rock'n'roll cabaret ensemble (the unfortunate Pussy Cats cover album, anyone?) but even if Bows and Arrows ends up being their only masterpiece, it's still enough to add to the Canon.

Read all our Tomorrow Never Knows coverage.

Nicholas Ward

Concert Fri Nov 17 2006

Schubas Always Knows

Schubas has announced the line-up for the 2007 installment of its "mini-winter-indie-fest" Tomorrow Never Knows. Set to take place on five successive nights in January (10th through 14th), festival passes cost $50 and come with a free poster. Individual shows will set you back $15/ea. Both options are on sale now. The scheduled line-up includes French Kicks, The Ponys, Bound Stems, Dr. Dog, Office, Dirty On Purpose, Mucca Pazza, Headlights, The Bees, The God Dam Doo Wop Band, All Smiles, Tigercity, Skybox, Brooklyn Bridegrooms, Sano, Eagle Seagull, The A-Sides, The Early Tapes and family shows with The Blisters and School Of Rock. And, as if those aren't enough, more bands will be announced in future.

Read all our Tomorrow Never Knows coverage.

[Author name lost in database explosion]

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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