Friday, August 29, 2008

Blue Friday

It's the last day of color week, wrapping things up with Blue. Thanks for letting me participate!

More Radiohead at the Auditorium Theatre, with a crazed fan in the foreground.

Royksopp at the Metro.

Ok, there's not that much blue in this picture outside of his shirt and the brim of his hat, so this is sort of a stretch, but I figured I should have a picture of my arch-nemesis, Thax Douglas, up. Here he's reading his poetry, probably called "Thunderbirds Are Now #2", at Pitchfork.

The adorable Annie in front of a blue backdrop at Intonation 2006. (She also opened for Royksopp at the Metro show above). I think she's supposed to be coming out with a new album soon . . .

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Now it's time for Green Thursday. (Holy crap, is it Thursday already?)

Radiohead @ the Auditorium Theatre, one of the few times I was able to beat the crowd and get tickets to a show that sold out in minutes. That luck would later fail me with Bjork and Flight of the Conchords. Damn you, ticketmaster!

Cat Power rockin' the army green shirt at the Vic Theatre.

Sexy-voiced Jeremy Greenspan of the Junior Boys at one of their many Empty Bottle shows I attended.

And what set of green photos would be complete without an ode to Dan Deacon's trippy green skull? (Actually a shot of the video screen from the Ultimate Reality Tour).

The trippy green skull in the darkness.

Some fan's apparent nod to the trippy green skull.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Color Week continues today with the color Yellow.

Dan Deacon rockin' the tie-dye at the 2007 Hideout Block Party. No Deacon show is complete without the Gauntlet.

Prefuse 73 brought some live yellow drumming with him to the Empty Bottle back in May 2005.

The utterly ridiculous Brazilian trio Bonde de Role at the Empty Bottle last September. I'm glad I got to catch this show, because singer Marina Ribatski left the band not long after.

And continue to check out the other Color Week blogs here and here, both sites containing links to the other participants.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Color Week

Some design-minded, artsy blogger friends of mine are participating in a "color week", where each day is a different color theme and each blog posts photos relating to that color. I was asked to join in, and since this is a music blog, I figured I'd just pull pics from my concert photo inventory to post for each color theme day throughout the week. You can check out links to the other blogs participating here and here.

I missed out on Red Monday yesterday, so today's Orange Tuesday will have some red in it as well (partly because I couldn't find that much orange . . . but just wait until we get to Blue Friday).

Good ol' Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords rockin' his orange sweatshirt at the Sasquatch Music Festival in May 2008.

Dan Deacon's Ultimate Reality at the Lakeshore Theater 1/25/08. I'm realizing that Dan Deacon will provide me with a vast majority of these pictures. He is nothing if not neon.

Stars at the Metro, February 2006. This was one of the better light shows I've seen at the Metro.

Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal on a ladder during their Metro show in March 2007.

Totally forgot about going to this show, Sufjan Stevens and his Illinois cheerleaders at the Metro in 2005. This project is bringing back memories.

Color Week themes:
Monday - Red/Pink
Tuesday - Orange
Wednesday - Yellow
Thursday - Green
Friday - Blue

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hideout Block Party

The Hideout has finalized its lineup for this year's Hideout Block Party. Looks like it's all about Neko. Here's the full press release:

Hideout Block Party Expands Line-up
Just Added: Rhymefest, Giant Sand, Hercules and Love Affair DJ Set.

We are happy to announce the line-up for the highly anticipated 12th Annual Hideout Block Party. This year will be our most eclectic and international festival yet.

One-time Hideout bartender, Neko Case will headline both nights of our festival with two very different bands. On Saturday, September 20, Ms. Case will lead her own band, performing her critically acclaimed material spanning her career. She will also break out some new un-released material from her upcoming album, scheduled for spring 2009. This will be the only performance that Neko and her band will play in Chicago this year. On Sunday night, Ms. Case will make an increasingly rare live performance with her increasingly popular “other” band, The New Pornographers. This will be the only time this year that she has performed with them in Chicago as well. This is the first and only time that Neko Case has performed with both of her bands, back-to-back in the United States.

We will also highlight band members, and collaborators of Neko Case through out the festival. Kelly Hogan, Neko’s singing partner, and Tom Ray will open Saturday with their kid friendly band, Wee Hairy Beasties, followed by Neko collaborators and tour mates, Giant Sand, from Tucson AZ who will celebrate this summer’s release of their new album.

On Sunday, Jon Rauhouse, Neko’s banjo and pedal steel player, will perform with his Jon Rauhouse Sestet. This will be followed by Tom Ray, Neko’s bass player and his band Devil in a Woodpile, who will perform with recent Grammy winner Honey Boy Edwards, the oldest living original delta bluesman.

Saturday morning will begin precisely at 12 Noon with Plastic Crimewave’s Vision Celestial Guitarkestra, creating a circle of over 100 musicians, and assorted characters, creating a dramatic harmonious drone.

Other Saturday performers will represent four continents of the world. From Europe we will have The KatJon Band, featuring Kat Ex from Amsterdam, and Welsh ex-pat Jon Langford. Next up Hungary’s amazing Little Cow, U.K., rappers dan le sac VS. Scroobius Pip, legendary Plastic People of the Universe from Czech Republic, the incendiary (literally) Monotonix from Israel who will perform amongst the audience, followed by Vieux Farka Toure’ from Mali. Just for some psychedelic fun, we will throw in Canada’s Black Mountain. Meanwhile Drag City’s Neil Hamburger will host his Drunken Spelling Bee inside the bar.

Sunday will celebrate weird, raucous psychedelic pop with Oklahoma’s The Uglysuit, Georgia’s Dark Meat, and NYC’s Tim Fite. Of course there will be a parade by Chicago’s Mucca Pazza.

From this hilarious psychedelic circus we will then pay homage to the 25th Anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. Robbie Fulks will present for the first time his complete tribute to the King of Pop. Then Michael’s second biggest fan, Rhymefest, will perform material from his “Man in the Mirror” tribute CD. Be sure to dress like a scary night creature, for the culmination of this milestone in dance-pop the Hideout staff will lead the entire audience in the “Zombie Dance”

Now come the 21st century Kings of Pop, New Pornographers.

Enough? We will culminate this year’s Block Party with two on New York’s finest outfits. Ratatat will perform their full show, lights, smoke, projections, the works. This will be followed by a DJ set from uber-hot Hercules and Love Affair. What better way to celebrate the last day of summer, and welcome the first day of fall than by joyously dancing in the streets!

About the Hideout Block Party

From its humble beginnings in 1996, the Hideout’s Block party has grown into an, influential international music festival. In 2007 Chicago Magazine called the Hideout Block Party, “Perennially the Best Music Festival in Chicago.” Over the last 11 years the Hideout’s Block Parties have raised over $200,000 for various local charities. Organizations participating this year will include: Chalk for Peace, Rock for Kids, Future of Music, and Voter Registration. Charities to benefit are Tuesdays Child, Thomas Drummond Elementary School, And Literacy Works

For more info check: or

Friday, August 22, 2008


I can't say enough how excited I am for tonight's Joanna Newsom show with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I've been immersing myself in Joanna this week in preparation, and I splurged on the pricier floor seats in anticipation. I'm expecting great things.

Meanwhile, Mirah has added a show at the Epiphany on Wednesday, October 15. I'd like to see a Joanna Newsom/Mirah tour- get my two favorite female artists together in one place. This "Epiphany" has been scheduling some great shows lately- let's hope the venue itself lives up, since I have yet to experience it. I'd say this fall's concert schedule is shaping up to be the best in recent memory.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Smooth X

Well this just sounds crazy . . .

Saturday 9/6/2008
7:00 PM

Live from the Columbia Yacht Club in Chicago's lovely Monroe Harbor!
Stay Smooth X: Overboard!
A night of '70s AM Gold, '80s FM Rock & Contemporary Smooth Gems!

with DJs Bald Eagle & STV SLV

and special guest hosts from the cast of Yacht Rock, screening the entire Yacht Rock series, plus a live performance from smooth cover band Haulin' Boats.

$40 - For all this Smooth and a hosted bar from 7 - 10 PM.

But let's hear what Schubas has to say about the event:

"After two years and eight and a half Stay Smooth events, Bald Eagle and STV SLV are trading in land for water for their smoothest party yet. Located aboard the Columbia Yacht Club’s Abegweit vessel in downtown Chicago, Stay Smooth X will feature DJ sets, a live cover band performing Boz Scaggs, Hall & Oates, Christopher Cross and plenty more plus special guest hosts from the infamous web-based show Yacht Rock as well as a screening of the entire series that introduced smooth music to a whole new generation. While the boat won’t set sail, patrons will enjoy a spectacular view of downtown Chicago as well as a 180 degree view of Lake Smoothigan via two open, outside decks high atop the water. From 7-10PM well drinks and beer will be provided, and patrons can also enjoy two specially crafted Tommy Bahama Rum drinks via the Stay Smooth Jet Spray Machine.

Smooth attitude suggested and proper attire requested: captain’s hats, jean shorts, short shorts, sailor shirts, knee high socks, friendship bracelets, sunglasses, beards and staches, feathered hair, chest hair and flip flops."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wings of Change

Having a radio show, I get promo CDs in the mail at the station fairly regularly. Most of them are junk and end up in the Free CD pile. Every now and then I get a gem. This week, appearing in my inbox: Wings of Change: Native Flute Solos by Robert WindPony, inspired by Barack Obama and dedicated to a new knid of leadership for America.

I'm not sure the use of the Obama logo above is totally legal. Robert Windpony also points out in the liner notes that he can teach you to learn to play the flute in just one day, from one of his 1500 flutes in stock.

And the tracklist:

1. Wings of Change
2. Foresight
3. Hope
4. Unity
5. The Wind Speaks
6. Green Prosperity
7. Dignity
8. Yes We Will
9. Solar Waves
10. Seeing All Sides
11. Answers
12. Windpony Serenade


Monday, August 18, 2008


Minneapolis-by-way-of-Madison screenprinters Aesthetic Apparatus have, in addition to their plethora of indie rock posters, a new book called "Misplaced Groceries", which is a photography book of, obviously, misplaced grocery items they find in the store. The rules: no touching misplaced groceries, touching anything around the misplaced groceries, or faking a misplaced grocery item. Unexpectedly, the pictures and their corresponding titles are pretty hilarious. I can see how this hobby could become an obsession.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Street Fest Madness

How did this street festival escape me? The inaugural Raven Festival, happening this weekend at Chase Park in Ravenswood, has a pretty impressive lineup.

South stage
1 p.m.: Deanna Devore
3 p.m.: MOS Funnel
4:45 p.m.: The Janes
5 p.m.: Tulsa
7 p.m.: Chin Up Chin Up
9 p.m.: Tapes 'n Tapes

North stage
Noon: Typhanie Monique Trio
2 p.m.: Thomas Pace
4 p.m.: piNK dEVil
6 p.m.: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
8 p.m.: White Rabbits

Sunday music lineup:

South stage
Noon: Chris Bryan
1:15 p.m.: Paper Airplane Pilots
3 p.m.: Jukebox the Ghost
5 p.m.: Bound Stems
7 p.m.: The M's

North stage
1 p.m.: Ash Avenue
2 p.m.: Gooey
4 p.m.: Detholz!
6 p.m.: Dirty on Purpose

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Uptown Theatre Sale

An interesting article in the Reader detailing how Jam Productions recently purchased the Uptown Theatre, and why this is good for the Chicago concert landscape.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Upcoming Shows

Got some good shows coming up in the next few months as big festivals no longer take up all the Chicago stops on bands' tours.

Matthew Dear- Friday, August 15 @ Smart Bar
Joanna Newsom w/ Chicago Symphony Orchestra- Friday, August 22 @ CSO
Andrew Bird- Wednesday, September 3 @ Millenium Park (this summer's answer to last summer's incredible Decemberist's show- get your spots early!)
Cut Copy- Wednesday, September 17 @ Metro
Calexico w/ Mariachi Luz de Luna- Thursday, September 25 @ Millenium Park (part of Music Without Borders series)
My Bloody Valentine- Saturday, September 27 @ the Aragon
Hot Chip- Sunday, September 28 @ Metro
Sunset Rubdown- Friday, October 4 @ Empty Bottle
Dan Deacon presents "Eyes Night"- Friday, October 11 @ Epiphany
Dan Deacon presents "Ears Night"- Saturday, October 12 @ Epiphany
The Notwist- Friday, October 17 @ Logan Square Auditorium

And that takes me through early fall . . . the busiest concert lineup I've had in awhile, and there's much more to be booked or other shows still under consideration.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Baltimore Round Robin

Um . . . this sounds amazing. Well done, Dan Deacon, well done. Get October 10 and 11 at the Epiphany on the calendar ASAP!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Manic Pixie Dream Girl

The Onion AV Club has finally put a name to the film archetype I despise the most: the cute, quirky, spontaneous yet ultimately completely shallow girl that swoops in on some poor schlub of a man to save his life from whatever self-absorbed personal crisis he is currently experiencing. (Yes you, Natalie Portman in Garden State). The AV Club takes a look at 16 movies over the years that feature this so-called "MPDG". My favorite quote: "Oh, Natalie, your unconventional ways are so inspiring, and your beauty is surprisingly non-threatening! In Garden State, she's a loveably eccentric little angel in the body of a smokin'-hot goddess, spreading good cheer and tuneful indie rock to depressed boys everywhere." Brilliant.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

She & Him w/ Becky Stark @ Park West, 8/5/08

This was one of the most fun shows I've been to in a long time. I've found She & Him's debut album, the work of M. Ward and indie actress Zooey Deschanel, to be pleasant enough, though by no means outstanding. Live, however, Zooey's voice proved to be much stronger than on record, and the songs just made me incredibly toe-tappingly happy. "Adorable" is probably the best term I can use to describe She & Him's performance, and I mean that in a good way, not in an annoying, cloying way.

Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond opened for She & Him in addition to later providing backing vocals for the band. I'm not especially familiar with Lavender Diamond's catalog and found her music sweet though ultimately unmemorable; still, I thought Becky was hilarious and enjoyed listening to her on stage, especially as Zooey, M. Ward and most of the She & Him band joined her at various times during her set. Speaking with other show-goers afterwards, some people thought she was ditzy and annoying, but I thought the ditz-act was intentional and sarcastic, and I decided I liked her. Let's hang sometime, Becky.

I've had a big girl-crush on Zooey Deschanel ever since seeing her in All the Real Girls, and it was clear when she came on stage that every other girl in the audience felt the same way- I think more girls were swooning than boys. Zooey is clearly still working on her stage banter (i.e. not enough of it- though occasional sarcastic comments slipped through that made me *heart* her even more), but it's clear from her presence that as an actress she is comfortable on stage. Some of her songs are a bit too slow for me, but she conveniently left most of those off the set list in favor of fun, 60s girl group-vibed songs like "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here", "This Is Not a Test" and "Sweet Darlin'", a song I haven't been able to get out of my head ever since. In addition to covers already on her album ("You Really Got a Hold on Me"), she also gave us a Joni Mitchell song and a cover of "I Put a Spell on You", an unexpected belter that proved she had more up her vocal sleeves than we thought.

M. Ward spent most of the show quietly playing his guitar in the background, offering a few backing vocals here and there, but mostly letting Zooey take center stage. During the encore we were treated to some Matt and Zooey alone time with the aforementioned "Spell", and the two seemed to have some good chemistry together. Are they dating? If not, they should be. Finally, just when you didn't think the band had any songs left to sing, the group left us with a rousing rendition of M. Ward's "Magic Trick." And good times were had by all.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Lollapalooza Recap

After 3 exhausting days and the day off yesterday to recuperate, it's time to take a brief look at my 2008 Lollapalooza experience. As usual, Lolla proved to be a relatively well-run, if not overwhelmingly large, festival with only a few minor hiccups. The weather proved to be far superior than expected, making for a much more tolerable outdoor experience than, say, Lolla 2005. The north half of the festival was much more enjoyable than the overwhelming south half, with smaller stages and smaller crowds overall; I'd make a point to spend more time there in future Lollas if the line-ups warrant it. The food options were tasty, local and relatively cheap. The smaller Citi stage made it possible to see bands amongst a much smaller audience; it felt more like being at a street festival than at the behomoth that is Lollapalooza.

Having seen Radiohead 5 times now, I'd put their Friday night performance near the bottom when compared to previous experiences- I knew In Rainbows would be emphasized over other albums, but the focus on new material was a bit excessive; when a band has 7 albums and tons of B-side/EP material, they owe it to give fans a bit more of a career overview, which they have in the past. Still, any Radiohead show will always be at least good, and the fireworks/helicopter/cloud moving overhead during the encore (I'm now convinced Radiohead can also control the weather) were nice touches, even if not always intentional. Meanwhile, I'm only a passing Wilco fan, but watching them with friends on a beautiful, cool night with the skyline in the background can't be beat. And Kanye West was just complete, Obama-free sensory overload.

Other highlights and lowlights:
- We apparently arrived at Lollapalooza at the exact same time as 75% of the crowd on Friday (2:00pm), because the line to the front gate was astronomically long. Friends that showed up just 2 hours later reported flying right through the gates. It would have taken us well over an hour to get through, so we paid some high school kid $20 to let us stand in front of him (which, I will admit, made us feel pretty cool, and probably made him feel pretty cool, so everyone won). It still took us 30 minutes to get through the gates, meaning I only made it for the last 4 songs of Yeasayer. Oh well, it sounded good anyway.
- During Wilco, a guy in front of us who happened to have a lot of space in front of him decided to use that space as his own personal toilet. After everyone around him realized this and made the space around him even larger, a poor girl walked right into his path before anyone could stop her. After realizing she had just been pissed on, she started screaming at him for pissing on her, saying it could be seen as sexual harrassment; but just before a serious fight could emerge, he produced a joint for her and suddenly, all was well! She brought out a flask, they laughed about how he has pissed on her, she went up for the high five (completely forgetting where that hand had been 2 minutes earlier), and then went on her merry way, while 15+ people around them watched this entire exchange in shock and awe. This was the most ridiculous 5 minutes I have ever experienced at a festival. I have concerns that this was positive reinforcement and that gross guy may start using that tactic to pick up women in the future.
- Walking into the festival Sunday evening, a golf cart beeped behind us and passed to reveal it was carrying Perry Farrell. He looks exactly the same in person.
- Gnarls Barkley covering Radiohead was pretty cool.

And now a break from festivals until the Hideout Block Party. Back to watching shows in actual venues, starting with She & Him tonight.