One of my favorite bands of all time, Scotland’s Teenage Fanclub, is coming to Chicago next week, and I can’t tell you how excited I am. The band rarely tours in the U.S., and this is the first time they’ve been here since 2005. I was lucky enough to see the band at the Bowery Ballroom in New York twice on that last tour (that’s a really crappy pic I took on the right), and those shows were – without a doubt – two of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.
So if you can’t tell, I really, really think you should go to the shows next week.
And guess what? I’m gonna help two of you go for free (with a friend, even!).
I’ve got two tickets for each night – Tuesday, October 5th and Wednesday, October 6th – and all you have to do for a chance to win a pair is go here and give me your name, your email address, and let me know if you absolutely can’t go to either of the shows. Entries must be received by Monday, October 4th at 4pm Central Time, and we’ll randomly pick a winner for each night (making sure not to award you tickets to a show you’ve indicated you can’t go to).
Oh, and in case you aren’t familiar (or familiar enough) with the band, here’s a short bio of the band’s early years that I stole from the Lincoln Hall website.
Singers/guitarists Blake and McGinley first teamed with singer/bassist Love in 1987 in Glasgow’s short-lived Boy Hairdressers, issuing the single “Golden Shower” on the famed Scottish indie label 53rd and 3rd, before disbanding. After a brief stint with the BMX Bandits, Blake reunited with Love and McGinley to form Teenage Fanclub in 1989; drummer Francis McDonald, a fellow BMX Bandit, completed the original lineup, although McDonald was replaced by fan Brendan O’Hare during sessions for the group’s debut album, 1990’s A Catholic Education.
Released on the Creation label overseas and on the fledgling Matador imprint in the U.S., the album’s thick, murky squall staked out sonic territory subsequently occupied by the nascent grunge movement and made Teenage Fanclub an instant critical favorite; the God Knows Its True EP soon followed, but although American major labels came courting, the band still owed Matador one more record. They submitted The King, a ramshackle collection of instrumentals capped off by a tongue-in-cheek rendition of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”; instead, the record was summarily rejected by Matador honcho Gerard Cosloy, and after paying Cosloy what they felt the remainder of their contract was worth, Teenage Fanclub signed to Geffen.
Never shy about celebrating their inspirations covers of the Beatles’ “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” the Flying Burrito Brothers’ “Older Guys,” and Phil Ochs’ “Chords of Fame” are scattered across various singles and EPs Teenage Fanclub’s 1991 Geffen debut, Bandwagonesque, gloriously evoked the raggedly radiant pop manna of Big Star, the famed 1970s cult band led by ex-Box Tops frontman Alex Chilton and his singing/songwriting partner Chris Bell. With its newfound melodic ingenuity, brash guitar sound and gorgeous harmonies, the record was a massive critical success, and although mainstream pop radio failed to bite, the group found a warm welcome on collegiate airwaves.
Oh, and here’s video of the band playing on the Jimmy Fallon show just this week:
Yep, I’m still here… just trying to figure out how to fit blogging into my new work schedule. I actually ran this blog for the first 14 months of its existence (early-2006 to mid-2007) while I was working as an attorney at a firm in New York, so there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to do it now. I hope.
Anyway, apologies for the lapse in posting. I’ll try not to let it happen again. For now, check out this awesome show coming up next month in DC with 3 great bands – Imperial China, True Womanhood and Tereu Tereu. Wish I could be there.
Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Wednesday 29 September 2010 at 5:41 pm
Another legitimately excellent week of music in Chicago this week, and several incredible shows this weekend (Built to Spill, Jay Bennett Foundation benefit, The National). Of course, that’s the weekend that my parents decide to make their first visit since I moved to Chicago. Ugh.
Shows in bold are recommended shows, while shows in larger bold red are shows that I plan on going to and/or shows that I really, really think you should be going to. Sorry, no embedded videos or songs this week.
Beat Kitchen: Extraordinary Popular, Delusions [FREE SHOW]
Crown Tap Room: Wild Thing, Welcome Home Walker
Double Door: Venomous Concept, Nails, Chicago Thrash Ensemble, Hate, DJ Yendor
Elbo Room: Wally Dogger, Quiet Company (10pm), Andy Hannon, Clayton Heinrich
Empty Bottle: Radar Eyes, Crocodiles, Heavy Times [FREE SHOW] Hideout: Robbie Fulks – Kook Duo w/ Scott Ligon
Lincoln Hall: Biffy Clyro, O’Brother, Empires
Martyrs: Tin Lynott
Ronny’s: The Swan King, Dickkicker, Heaving Mass
Schubas: Carbon Tigers, Devon Kay & The Solutions, Truman & His Trophy Whistler: CHIRP Benefit – The Cathy Santonies, Dumpster Babies, CHIRP DJs
Double Door: The Toadies, Gringo Star, Waterstreet
Empty Bottle: Hollus, Absinthe and the Dirty Floors, Desert Soap
Fireside Bowl: Punk Band, Weird Science, Din
Hideout: Sanctified Grumblers
House of Blues: Iced Earth, Sons of Liberty Lincoln Hall: Land of Talk, Suuns
Martyrs: Phete Morgana, Shifty Grifters, Black Willoughbys
Reggie’s Rock Club: Weedeater, Witchbanger, My Cold Dead Hand, Beak
Ronny’s: The Independents, Squared Off, Horror Is Dead, The Likelihoods
Schubas: Shonen Knife, Aleks & The Drummer, Santah
Vic: Gaslight Anthem, Fake Problems, Bridge and Tunnel
Abbey Pub: Stan Ridgway, Jon Langford
Beat Kitchen: Backwords, The Clams, Blank Banker
Darkroom: Social Espionage, Coyote Camaro, Icy Shores, Airlines-X Double Door: Alberta Cross, Dead Confederate, J Roddy Walston & The Business
Empty Bottle: +/-, Soft Speaker, Like Pioneers
Hideout: Immediate Sound Series ft. two sets w/ Jeb Bishop Trio
House of Blues: Bruno Mars, Fat Joe Lincoln Hall: Those Darlins, Turbo Fruits, Velcro Lewis
Martyrs: Mos Scocious, Heatbox, Girl Shy
Mayne Stage: An Evening with P.J. O’Rourke Park West: Tallest Man On Earth, S. Carey
Schubas: Richard Buckner
Subterranean: Whiskey Music, Young Jesus, The Lumineers, Nick Boettcher Band
Abbey Pub: TAxi, Halfway 2 Hollywood, The Game
Beat Kitchen: Foreign Stations, Steve Franque & The Alibi
Bottom Lounge: Street Sweeper Social Club
Chicago Theatre: Jackson Browne
Congress Theater: Papa Roach, more TBA
Crown Tap Room: Grass Widow, Nones, Black Math
Double Door: Sloppy White, Dave Mata, Duke Grip, DJ Meaty Ogre [FREE SHOW]
Empty Bottle: Fennesz, David Daniell, Male
Hideout: Black Bear Combo, volcano!, Capillary Action
Martyrs: Emmitt Nershi Band, Chicago Farmer, Henry Wagons
Metro: Subfix Massive (All Building Event) ft. Hudson Mohawke, more
Park West: Ed Kowalczyk (of Live), Thriving Ivory, Miggs
Reggie’s Rock Club: Strung Out, Rufio, Mute, We Are The Union, She Likes Todd Schubas: The Deep Dark Woods, These United States, Juniper Tar
Subterranean: District 97, Sidewalk Chalk, Philenious RX
Abbey Pub: Hessler, Roller, Zeddemore, Sirens In Vain Beat Kitchen: Sonny & The Sunsets, Kelley Stoltz, Vermillion Sands, Lover!
Bottom Lounge: AM Taxi, The Lifeline, Stubhy and the Bad Habits, more
Chicago Theatre: Dennis Miller
Crown Tap Room: Hamburglars
Double Door: Download (ft. Cevin Key), Plateau, Dead Voices on Air, more
Empty Bottle: Walter Meego
Hideout (6:30pm): Chicago’s Finest House ft. The Dirty Blue, Yellowhammers, more
Hideout (10pm): World Music Festival Chicago ft. Nation Beat, The Horse’s Ha, more
House of Blues: Bad Fish, Scotty Don’t, more
Lincoln Hall: Foals, Esben and the Witch [SOLD OUT]
Logan Square Aud.: Kamelot, Leaves Eyes, Blackguard, Slauter Xtroyes
Martyrs: Mahala Rai Banda, DJ Robert Soko
Mayne Stage: Eastern Conference Champions, Automata, more
Metro: One Night Stand’s “Ghost” release party ft. Gemini Club, more
Old Town School of Folk: Cimarron and Los Guitarristas
Reggie’s Rock Club: Ekoostik Hookah, Fifth World, Lee
Ronny’s: Birds of Avalon, The Mediums, The Blamers
Schubas: Villagers (solo), Sad Brad Smith, Tristen
Subterranean: Northpilot, Tin Tin Can, The Break Vic: Built to Spill, Revolt Revolt, The Stay Lows
Abbey Pub: Eleven Dollar Life, Echo, Powerjunkie, more
Aragon: LA Original Banda Limon
Beat Kitchen: Trainwreck (ft. Kyle Gass)
Bottom Lounge: Vitalic V Mirror, Teenage Bad Girl
Chicago Theatre: Chelsea Handler
Cubby Bear: Spacehog, Holding Mercury, Maybenauts
Double Door: Lubriphonic, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band
Empty Bottle: 3 Leg Torso, Portico Quartet
Hideout: Mondo Drag, The Mediums, Moonrises
Lincoln Hall (7pm): El Ten Eleven, Dosh, Baths
Lincoln Hall (11pm): INNERPARTYSYSTEM, Mr White, more
Martyrs (7pm): Liz Knowles
Martyrs (10pm): Debo Band, Fendika, Magic Carpet
Mayne Stage: Tommy McCracken & The Force of Habit Band
Metro: Menomena, Suckers, Tu Fawning
Old Town School of Folk: Kinobe & Soul Beat Africa, Meklit Hadero
Park West: Little Feat
Reckless Records (3pm): Bongripper
Riviera: Of Montral, Janelle Monae
Reggie’s Rock Club: Street Dogs, Flatfoot 56, Left Alone, Continental
Ronny’s: The Brokedowns, Bust!, Vacation Bible School, more
Saki (6pm): Alla
Schubas (7pm): Matt Hires, Camera Can’t Lie
Schubas (9pm): Matt Hires, Camera Can’t Lie, Lauren Shera Subterranean (7pm): Jay Bennett Foundation benefit ft. Edward Burch, David Vandervelde, more
Subterranean (10:15pm): Craze, Kill The Noise, Klever, Zebo
Beat Kitchen: You, Me & Everyone We Know, Queens Club, Take Cover, Stay Golden
Chicago Theatre: Chelsea Handler
Darkroom: Phillip Morris, Agents of Changes, Scarlet Monk & Her Orchestra, more
Double Door: Bly Phoenix, Half-Pint Jones
Empty Bottle: Nymph, Dark Fog, Verma Hideout: Royal Bangs, Chain Gang of 1974
House of Blues (Backporch): Zee Avi, In Tall Buildings
Lincoln Hall: Sea Wolf (solo acoustic), Sera Cahoone, Patrick Park
Martyrs: Emeline Michel, DJA-rara
Mayne Stage: Las Guitarras de Espana – Indo-Afro Flamenco Fusion performance
Metro: Caribou, Emeralds
Old Town School of Folk: Connie Smith, Robbie Fulks
Reggie’s Rock Club: The Sway Machinery, Khaira Arby Riviera: The National, Owen Pallett [SOLD OUT]
Ronny’s (5pm): American Cheeseburger, Rat Bastards
Ronny’s (9pm): The Mpls Henrys, Hot Panda, Train Across The Sea, The Spend
Schubas: Van Dyke Parks, Clare & The Reasons
Subterranean: Drink Up Buttercup, North Highlands, On Again Off Again
Hey! It’s the first ever Babystew TICKET CONTEST! After four years and 7 months of running this blog, I figured, hey, why not actually give you guys something other than bad concert photos and silly 3-line “show reviews”?
So, err, yeah. Wanna win 2 tickets to see LAND OF TALK at Schubas Lincoln Hall in Chicago next Tuesday, 9/21?? CLICK HERE for your chance to win.
Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Friday 17 September 2010 at 8:01 am
I was going to do a slightly more in-depth Show Alert later this week, but in light of some new developments (see below), I figured I’d post something quickly now.
Anyway, I think I’ve mentioned Austin’s Quiet Company on this blog before. I’ve certainly mentioned them on Twitter quite a bit, and their excellent last LP, Everyone You Love Will Be Happy Soon, sat in my “What I’m Listening To” section in the sidebar for months on end. Here’s a song from that album in case you haven’t heard them before:
The band is about to hit the road for two weeks, including a stop at Chicago’s Elbo Room next Monday (9/20), but unfortunately got hit with some crappy, crappy news yesterday — their trailer, which was loaded and ready for tour (and also parked in a supposedly “secure” area), got broken into, and all of their guitars and pedals were stolen. Here’s the full list of what they lost, as well as a more detailed posting on Craigslist:
1973 Fender Jazz Bass (Photo)
American Fender Telecaster (Photo)
1994 to 1997 Japanese Fender Baritone Jaguar Guitar (Looks Like)
Epiphone ES-335 Guitar (Photo)
Samick Hollowbody Guitar (Photo)
Vintage Big Army Green Big Muff Pi Fuzz Pedal (Like This)
Blue Vox Volume Pedal
Sansamp Bass Driver DI (Like This)
Various instrument cables, damper pedal and power cable for a Nord
If you’re in or around Austin, please keep and eye out for this gear and let the band know if you see or hear anything. The band has also set up a donation page for folks who might be willing to help contribute something to the effort to replace their equipment. If you have the means, please try to help them out.
And, last but not least, be sure to catch the band on the road in the next couple of weeks. I haven’t yet had the chance to see them in a live setting (dang SXSW schedule conflicts!), but every single person I know in Austin who’s seen them has raved about them. And, of course, I love their records. So catch them if they’re in your town.
Quiet Company Tour Dates
9/17: Tyler, TX (The Spot)
9/18: Springfield, MO (The Outland)
9/20: Chicago, IL (Elbo Room)
9/21: Covington, KY (Mad Hatter)
9/22: Nashville, TN (The Rutledge)
9/23: Hot Springs, AR (Maxine’s)
9/24: Shreveport, LA (The Warehouse)
9/25: Bryan, TX (The Stafford)
9/26: Austin, TX (Pecan St. Festival)
Excellent show at Pritzker Pavilion last night. As pretty much everyone I’ve talked to or read online has agreed, last night’s Pavement set was much, much better than the band’s set at Pitchfork Fest in July. Better setlist, better energy, better everything.
I still wouldn’t call Pavement a great live band, but they certainly had their moments last night. And, honestly, I could sit and listen to a band of talentless monkeys play “Elevate Me Later”, “Here” and “Trigger Cut” (the latter of which the band dedicated to Silkworm drummer Michael Dahlquist, RIP) and I’d still enjoy it. And considering that the first time I saw the band was on the awful Terror Twilight tour (their final tour before breaking up), anything is going to be better. The fact that they actually seem to be enjoying themselves this time out is a very welcome development.
Openers No Age were excellent as well, though I’d much rather see them at the Empty Bottle or even Lincoln Hall. They actually sounded really good, but their sound would (obviously) translate much better in a more personal environment than Pritzker’s 11,000 person capacity. It’s hard to feel the immediacy of their music, which they have in spades, in a room that big. They have an excellent new album called Everything In Between coming out on Sub Pop on September 28th [preorder], so hopefully we’ll see them back in town at a smaller venue soon.
Just a quick post with a few cool tunes being offered up from Slumberland Records right now. The Crystal Stilts tune is brand new, by the way, and is a “taster” for the band’s new album, which is due out in early 2011.
There’d been rumblings about this for a little while, but now it’s official: The Dismemberment Plan are reuniting for a short, five-show East Coast tour in January.
The tour is in support of Barsuk Records’ re-issue of the band’s seminal Emergency & I, which is due out on January 11th in the form of a 180 gram, deluxe gatefold LP.
The tour includes two stops in the band’s hometown of Washington, D.C. (Black Cat and 9:30 Club), as well as shows in Philly, Boston and New York. I’d heard rumors of a wider 2-3 week tour, but unfortunately it doesn’t look like that’s in the cards at the moment. However, the quote from bassist Eric Axelson in the Washington Post article that broke the news (written by former Q and Not U guitarist and now journalist Chris Richards) suggests that a longer-term reunion may be a possibility if things go well.
Fingers crossed. Until then, though, I guess I’m headed to DC in January.
All tickets go on sale this Friday, September 17th, at noon Eastern. For the New York show only there is an AMEX pre-sale on Wednesday (no time specified). DC and Philly shows are all-ages and $20, Boston is 18+ and $20, and New York is 18+ and $25. Full details here.
Dismemberment Plan Reunion Tour
Jan. 21: Washington, D.C (Black Cat)
Jan. 22: Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)
Jan. 27: Philadelphia, PA (Starlight Ballroom)
Jan. 28: Boston, MA (Paradise)
Jan. 29: New York, NY (Webster Hall)
(Ya gotta watch this second one — DC kids dancing! It actually happens!)
What turned out to be an extremely weak August (and early September) concert calendar has finally turned a corner. As I write this, we’re about to enter into a stretch of two months with some absolutely incredible shows. In fact, it very well may be the most exciting two months of live music I’ve ever had in my life — Guided By Voices, Pavement, Teenage Funclub (twice!), The Frames, The Vaselines, Greg Dulli, five days of Riot Fest, Sufjan Stevens, Belle and Sebastian, Forgetters and on and on.
I’m serious when I say this — there aren’t going to be many better times to be a music fan, in Chicago or elsewhere. So do yourself a favor and try to get out to some upcoming shows. You’ll be glad you did.
Here are this week’s shows. Shows in bold are recommended shows, while shows in larger bold red are shows that I plan on going to and/or shows that I really, really think you should be going to. Oh, and be sure to check out the embedded videos/audio below to get a taste of some of the bands playing this week.
Beat Kitchen: The Hate Maxes, Streetwisemen, Bizarbies, Born to Love Volcanos
Double Door: Coldcock Jones & The Shithawks, Tina Sparkle, Jared Grabb
Empty Bottle: Distractions, Mako Sica, Radio People [FREE] Hideout: Robbie Fulks w/ The Hoyle Brothers
Lincoln Hall: Jenny and Johnny, Love As Laughter, Jaill [SOLD OUT]
Martyrs: Bonzo Terks, the Quick and Easy Boys, BC Pritzker Pavilion: Pavement, No Age
Reggie’s Rock Club: Chali 2na, Rita J., Heatbox, Whojahsay
Schubas: The Dø, Dirty Diamonds, The Wooden Sky
Darkroom: Voxhaul Broadcast, The Gentlemen’s Club, more
Double Door: Asa Ransom, Perfect Kiss, Violetness, Maybenauts [FREE]
Empty Bottle: Dick Wolf!, Mutts, Brontosaurus [FREE w/ RSVP]
Enemy: Corridors, Cleared, Brett Naucke, Duplicates
Evanston SPACE: Jeff Daniels
Hideout: Sanctified Grumblers
Lincoln Hall: The Beautiful Girls, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Kinetix
Martyrs: Euforquestra, The Opposition Party
Ronny’s: Gestapo Khazi, Population, Pink Torpedo, Flake Like
Schubas: Garotas Suecas, I Kong Kult
Subterranean: Strong Arm Robbery, Safe Haven, Ambient Green, The Sound of Us Not Drowning
Dick Wolf!: (3-song demo)
Beat Kitchen: Good Work Johnson, Ormen Lange, Arbit, Droughts Double Door: Jim Jones Revue, Lasers and Fast and Shit, Hillbilly Casino, Sonic Boom
Empty Bottle: Sin Ropas, Father Murphy, Hands of the Hydra, Mahogany Frog
Evanston SPACE: Raul Midon, Jen Lowe, Johnny Rabb
Hideout: Immediate Sound Series ft. My Silence, Joshua Abrams Lincoln Hall: Thee Oh Sees, The Hot Machines, Paul Cary
Martyrs: Big T1me, Tabitha Rae & the TKOs, Marvin Tate
Metro: The Glitch Mob, Martyparty
Park West: The Airborne Toxic Event, The Calder Quartet [SOLD OUT]
Permanent Records (5pm): Super Wild Horses
Quenchers: The Groundkeepers, TBA
Reggie’s Rock Club: Caspian, The Alaya Conscious, The Crown and Two Chairmen, The Felix Culpa
Schubas: Cobalt & The Hired Guns, Run Run Run, PS I Love You
Subterranean: The Fallen Rivers, Buxter Hoot’n, Todd Kessler and the New Folk, Jessica Robbins
Abbey Pub: HEMI, Cealed Kasket, Space Versus Time
Bottom Lounge: Blah Blah Blah, The Blind Staggers, Of1000faces
Double Door: Garage-a-Trois ft. Stanton Moore, Marco Benevento, more
Empty Bottle: Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Judson Claiborne, The Field Auxiliary
Evanston SPACE: Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks, Tony Furtado
Hideout: Darling, Rachele Eve, Tin Tin Can Lincoln Hall: David Bazan, The Mynabirds
Martyrs: Ali Baba’s Tahini, Macpodz
Mayne Stage: Colin Tyler, The Outbreaks, Johnny Sullivan, Ron Ivy
Quenchers: Scale Model, Kinkador, Phil Angotti
Reggie’s Rock Club: Nappy Roots, Innosphere, Big Splashes, Anti-Crew
Ronny’s: The Neutron Bombs, Red Denizen, The Gaze, Stiff Bindles, Ratguts
Schubas: Crooked Still
Subterranean: Sincerely Calvin, The Moves, Collectors, Pet Lover
Abbey Pub: Ramova, The Cathy Santonies, Faggy Pussy
Beat Kitchen (6:30pm): Victorian Halls, Rosaline, Par Avion
Beat Kitchen (10pm): Molehill, All Things Lucid, Steve Stone
Bottom Lounge: Despised Icon, Misery Index, Revocation
Double Door: Electric Six, The Constellations, Javelins
Empty Bottle: Owen, Savoir Adore, Streets on Fire
Evanston SPACE: John Gorka
Hideout: Mittens on Strings, Daniel Knox, Magic Gloves
House of Blues: Railroad Earth, Toubab Krewe
Lincoln Hall: School of Seven Bells, Active Child
Martyrs: The Handsome Devilz
Mayne Stage: Shannon McNally and Hot Sauce, Haywood Yards, more
Metro: Dirty Projectors, Happy Birthday
Old Town School: Texas Tornados, The Hoyle Brothers
Quenchers: Oro, Self Evident, The Bronzed Chorus
Reggie’s Rock Club: Katatonia, Swallow the Sun, Orphaned Land, more
Ronny’s: Gypsyhawk, Jehovah Mustache, Killer Moon
Saki (6pm): Radar Eyes, Doomstar Schubas (7pm): Mark Olson, Cory Chisel
Schubas (10pm): Colour Revolt, Pomegranates
Subterranean: Tera Melos, Castevet, Shapers
Viaduct Theater: Neil Hamburger, The Kenny “K-Strass” Strasser Yo-Yo Extravaganza, more
Abbey Pub: Earthen Grave, Bible of the Devil, Stone Magnum, Diamond Plate
Beat Kitchen: Lights Over Paris, Some Hear Explosions, Litchfield
Beauty Bar (10pm): Best Coast DJ set
Bottom Lounge (5:30pm): Action Blast, Dear Noel, Trainwreck Symphony, Goodbye Good Sense
Bottom Lounge (11pm): Armitage Shanks Depaul University Museum: Bottomless Pit (7pm), Bear Claw, The Bismarck
Double Door: Charlatans UK, Sherlocks Daughter
Empty Bottle: White Mystery, Super Wild Horses, Wet Hair, Outer Minds
Evanston SPACE: Brendan James, Ellery & Lauren Shera
Hideout: Peter Stampfel, The Cairo Gang
House of Blues: Kottonmouth Kings, Blaze Ya Dead Homies, Big B, Bliss N Eso Lincoln Hall: Justin Townes Earle, Jessica Lea Mayfield
Martyrs: The Branded, Sonic Pistol, The Dirty Vibe, Thunderunderus Metro: Titus Andronicus, Best Coast, Free Energy, Male Bonding Old Town School (7:30pm): Aimee Mann
Old Town School (10pm): Aimee Mann
Park West: Tommy Emmanuel Quenchers: Jon Langford and Skull Orchard, Black Nag Reckless Records/Lakeview (5pm): Justin Townes Earle
Reggie’s Rock Club: Blitzkid, Audio Violence, The Ugly, Glass Dicks
Ronny’s (5pm): The Please & Thank Yous, Mixtapes, Two Houses
Ronny’s (10pm): Lionlimb, Ol’ Boy, Channel Four
Schubas: Elmwood, Rob Nicholas
Subterranean: Jesse Malin & The St. Marks Social, Moneybrother, Musikanto
Beat Kitchen: Ribbons, Weye
Double Door: Honest Engines, Mike + Ruthy (of The Mammals), G Dolce
Empty Bottle: CAW! CAW!, We Are Country Mice, Ortolan
Evanston SPACE: Michelle Shocked
House of Blues: Natalia Lafourcade Lincoln Hall: Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s, The Lonely Forest, Cameron McGill
Mayne Stage: Drop Steady, The Crombies, Tracer Bullet
Metro: Matt & Kim, The So So Glos Old Town School: Aimee Mann
Park West: Tommy Emmanuel
Quenchers: Grant Hart, Land of the El Caminos, Sunken Ships
Reggie’s Rock Club: The Chop Tops, The Gravetones, The Heavies, more
Ronny’s: Descender, Boots With Spurs, Arcadia Hero, Lexie Trip
Saki (3pm): Bedfellows, Reds and Blue
Subterranean: The Sweeps, Sons of the West, Vows, Cyrus Goudarzi
[Note: Sorry this is a week late. A slightly shorter version ran here early last week, and I had to wait a few days to post the full thing. Enjoy.]
For several months now I’ve been hearing people talk about going to see bands play at “that liquor store” in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. While I like to think that I’m pretty tied-in to the local scene, I honestly had no idea what they were talking about. So I did a little digging online and discovered that Crown Liquors, a liquor store at the intersection of Diversey, Milwaukee and Kimball, actually had an honest-to-goodness bar and music venue – called Crown Tap Room – attached to it. And, even better, they seemed to host a number of really good up-and-coming bands.
It took me a while to finally to Crown Tap Room for a show, but I finally had a chance to swing by on Saturday night to catch a great lineup of fuzzy, garage-y rock and roll featuring Alabama’s Thomas Function alongside local Chicagoans White Mystery and CoCoComa. It was a good night, though a bit of a mixed experience.
Crown Tap Room was pretty much what you’d expect from a venue attached to a liquor store – i.e., not great. There’s no stage, so the bands set up on the floor in the back left-hand corner of the room. As a result, the audience ends up crowding around the band, meaning that it you’re one or two people back, you’re not going to see anything that’s going on. Add to that the fact that the sound system was pretty muddy, and it made for a less-than-ideal concert-going experience. (Oh, and the ladies’ restroom is actually directly behind the bands, so any women wanting to use the restroom during a band’s set had to carefully sneak by a playing bandmember to reach the restroom. That was actually kinda funny.)
That said, underground (or quasi-underground) rock shows aren’t supposed to be about comfort, so maybe none of that really matters, and we should just focus on the bands. First up were locals CoCoComa, a band I saw for the first time back in June, and that I’ve been dying to see again ever since. The band plays catchy, 60’s-influenced garage punk, and while they’re not breaking any new ground with their sound, they’re a ton of fun and absolutely impossible to dislike. Their live show is loud, fast and sweaty, and their 35-minute set time goes by way too quickly. Wish I had some pictures of them for you, but the crowd was actually at its biggest during their set, and I couldn’t get close enough to even see them. You can see my pictures of their set at June’s Do Division festival here.
Next up were fellow Chicagoans White Mystery. I’d heard a lot of good things about White Mystery before the show but had never actually seen or heard them before. That’s a potentially bad combination – the good word-of-mouth creates high expectations, but the lack of familiarity with their songs, plus the less-than-ideal conditions of Crown Tap Room for seeing and hearing them, means that your experience probably isn’t going to live up to their reputation. And that’s exactly what happened. From my spot in the back of the crowd, the music came across as pretty standard garage fare, though without the laid-back catchiness that the best bands in the genre manage easily. Their 35-minute set felt significantly longer than CoCoComa’s.
The night closed with a too-brief set from Thomas Function, who are probably one of my personal favorite “garage rock” bands going these days (along with Reigning Sound and Eddy Current Suppression Ring). I actually managed to work my way to the front of the crowd (because about 1/2 of the crowd had left by the time they went on at 12:10am), and the pictures at the top and bottom of this post are of their frontman Josh. Their set was fantastic, though it only last about 30 minutes, and I would have been more than happy with twice that length.
All-in-all, a solid night of music made even better by the free rum provided by sponsor Sailor Jerry’s. I don’t think I’d recommend that bands play at Crown Tap Room if given the choice, nor will I rush to go back, but then again it’s hard to say no to a strong lineup of bands regardless of where they’re playing. (Speaking of which, Ireland’s excellent So Cow hits Crown Tap Room on 9/18 – you really ought to go.)
Be sure to check out each of the bands if you haven’t already:
Daylight is the first single off Robert Scott’s upcoming album Ends Run Together. Simply put it is a driving kraut-post-rock masterpiece (featuring Lesley Paris – Look Blue Go Purple – on drums), that was too good not to give away. So we are. Take it, listen to it, share it, become one with it….
Scott, of course, is a longtime member of legendary New Zealand bands The Clean and The Bats.
Ends Run Together comes this month in New Zealand on Flying Nun and in Australia on Mistletone. I haven’t seen any mention of a U.S. release yet, but The Creeping Unknown is on eMusic, so it may be worth keeping an eye out there. Looks like you can also order it as an import for about $32 from CD Universe.