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Entries on the topic of “Concerts” 95 results

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesThis Week With CHIRP Radio (Week of May 30, 2011)

  • Sunday, June 5th

    CHIRP welcomes Brendan Perry of Dead Can Dance and Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins to Metro!">Metro / 3730 N. Clark Street
    8:00pm / $21.00 / 18+

  • Sunday, June 5th

    CHIRP is proud to be a media sponsor for the 2011 Chicago Underground Film Festival! This year’s festival will showcase a mix of independent features, shorts, documentaries and experimental films. The fest kicks off on Thursday, June 2 and runs through Thursday, June 9.


    We are especially excited to be a part of the closing night screening of Heavy Metal Picnic! “A rock and roll flashback to 1985, focusing on an out-of-control weekend field party at ‘The Farm’, Heavy Metal Picnic is a celebration of mid-80s Maryland rock and roll and heavy metal, by those who lived, and survived it.” We’ll be in the lobby before and after the screening. Please stop by and say hello!

    Gene Siskel Film Center / 164 N. State Street
    Festival Schedule / Tickets

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Topics: concerts

Abbey Fox writesAbbey Fox Goes to South by Southwest (2011)

[I’m still not sure words will do any justice, but I am going to attempt to describe the awesome insanity of the past weekend in Austin, TX. Enclosed are notes from my journal about my experience at SXSW. I went to a mixture of official and unofficial SXSW day and night parties. Most were free. I spent $15 on music (for one night’s cover charge) the entire time I was there.]

5 a.m. Thursday, March 17
My friend Anna and I arrive at the airport, prepping for our three flight journey to Austin. There are not many direct flights to Austin and the ones that are available are expensive. We don’t care, we decided that we are going anyway. Anna has been to SXSW several times before; I am just a newbie. She has prepped me with necessary information and keeps reminding me that flexibility is key in enjoying this festival. Yes, we have our schedules planned out – but so many things change in an instant down in Austin. I think I know, but I really still have no idea what is in store. I’m just brimming with excitement and nervous energy at 5 a.m.

2 p.m. Thursday, March 17
After dropping off our bags and grabbing a quick taco lunch, we head to the madness of 6th street and Congress. It is 80 degrees and the sun is shining bright. I am immediately struck by the fact that music is playing EVERYWHERE. In every bar we pass, a musician is setting up or playing a set. On every street corner, there is someone singing or playing guitar. Every three steps, I hear a mixture of sounds or a completely new band. They say there are over 2,000 bands in Austin this week. I now understand. The space is overflowing with positive energy and over-all excitement. You overhear conversations about the best bands you’ve ever seen and who you are excited to see next. There is comfort in knowing that everyone on the street (and even in the city) is there for the same reason as you: the music. Instant friendships are formed so easily and effortlessly. "You like music? I like music! It’s 80 degrees – let’s go check out this next band together!" It feels much like any summer music festival, but is amped up by about 1000 %.

We head over to the NPR party at the Parrish, but the line is just too long – so, we look across the street and see the Flamingo Cantina and waltz our way over. We made it in time for the end of Sondre Lerche’s set, the darling Norwegian singer-songwriter that I forgot I used to love. His set was a nice, calm refuge from the beautiful, but overwhelming main streets of the festival. Next up was an energetic five song set from Lord Huron. After celebrating the lead singer of The Dears' 40th birthday with a rousing version of “Happy Birthday" and cupcakes for everyone in the venue, we run over to the East Side Drive Inn for the Pitchfork showcase. By the way, it’s about 4 p.m. at this point and the only money we have spent has been on food. During the day, artists play free shows of half sets that last around 20-30 minutes. If you play your cards right, you can easily see over 15-20 bands a day – for free.

We catch the end of Times New Viking, and get geared up for the legendary Dinosaur Jr’s J. Mascis. Our homeboy with long grey hair and a black beard does not disappoint, playing solo with just his guitar. Up next is a band I was very excited to see, Chicago’s own Smith Westerns. I really enjoyed their latest album Dye It Blonde, but had been warned about their bratty attitudes. And boy, did they really deliver with some of the most pretentious diatribes I have ever heard. They put on a fine rock show, but nothing life changing or even extremely interesting. I was extremely put off by their stage presence. We didn’t even finish the set.

A quick dinner and we’re off to figure out how to spend our evening. We are also exhausted by this point. After walking up and down 6th street, we end up at a local blues bar at the suggestion of the door man who lured us in with no cover. We saw a great local blues band open for New Jersey Americana-folk-rock band Reese Van Riper. It was LOUD and messy and good….and not at all what I expected for folk rock. After a few Lone Star beers, we are heading back to the house to try and catch some rest for the next few days of music.

12:30 p.m., March 18
The first thing we all did when we woke up in our rented artist loft on 22nd street was to check our email and Twitter accounts. It wasn’t just because we are internet junkies, it was to see if anything new had been released over night – any secret shows, any special appearances, etc. This is the thing that is most exciting about SXSW: it is changing constantly. Lineups are changed, bands switch locations, and special shows are played in parks. So, we did our research and settled on some plans for the day.

After a relaxing brunch at the South Congress Café, my pals and I headed over to the Homeslice showcase across the street. The weather was beautiful, with highs reaching around 90 degrees. When we arrived at Homeslice, we could barely hear the music set up in the back yard. Turns out, Homeslice didn’t get the proper sound approval from the city, so the bands would have to play acoustic. I stuck around to see two indie bands, Versus and Lost in the Trees who played a delicious set in the round. It was a very intimate space because of the sound issues, and it needed to be – as soon as you walked outside of that circle you could hear different music blaring in every direction.

In the interest of cleansing my palate, I headed over to the Scoot Inn for a hip-hop showcase that was weirdly enough hosted by Andrew W. K. Das Racist was the first set we caught, and man, what an awesome set it was! These boys have so much fun on stage, great energy with each other, and utilize humor in a way that’s over-the-top, but somehow completely reasonable. AND, their rhymes are tight, socially conscious, and still playful. Das Racist put on one of my favorite sets at SXSW.

After Das Racist, we saw the much hyped Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. OFWGKTA can only be described in one word: insanity. This L.A. Collective features rappers aged 17-23 and their youthful energy feels destructive and immediate. The crowd was so excited to see them, and Odd Future played off that energy by constantly crowd surfing, climbing on speakers, and at one point, jumping off the roof of the venue into the crowd. They are crass, and their punk attitudes shine through their raps. Definitely worth seeing, but for safety’s sake, at a distance.

Feeling hyped from the energy at the hip hop showcase, we headed back to Homeslice to catch the rest of the acts in their day party. I caught the tail end of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yelstin which is one of the most clever band names in indie rock, part of one of my favorites, Thao and The Get Down Stay Down, and Canadian band Rural Alberta Advantage. Like I said earlier, the acoustic sets were fun if you were up close, but the noise restraints put a damper on the shows for those of us near the back. Homeslice allowed RAA to play their last song at normal level, and that was my favorite part of the day party.

Then, we ran into Yoko Ono who was trying to buy a cowboy hat. It was surreal, and I just yelled “OMG YOKO" because I am really just a star struck adolescent behind these skinny jeans and large sunglasses. She got into a limo, and we continued walking.

7:30 p.m., March 18
We headed over to the legendary music venue, Antone’s for our choice of night party. Unfortunately we missed the indie pop openers, The Head and the Heart because of the line wait. After about fifteen minutes, we got in just in time for Philadelphia band,
We ended the evening with another set by Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, but this time – they were plugged in. Obviously, a bigger crowd = greater energy, and they played mostly up-beat, danceable tunes which was perfect for a Friday night. We tried to stick around for the headliners of Okkervil River, but we were too exhausted (and our feet hurt from dancing!). We headed back home to rest for our final day of music in Austin.

12 p.m., March 19
We checked our email and saw that that the set times for the Mess With Texas Party had been confirmed, so we decided to head back to the East Side Drive In to hang out in the sun. Up first was California band, We Barbarians. A good old fashioned rock and roll band, their set is tight and clean – and we decide they sound like a non-washed up version of the Kings of Leon. Up next is Deertick, a band from Rhode Island. I have heard a lot about this band from friends, primarily that they are great musicians and probably alcoholics. They played a Nirvana tribute set in Austin the day before and called themselves Deervana. The point is, this band knows how to have a good time, and I was blown away by their immense rockabilly/rock/roots sound. They’ve been around for a while, and I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to finally experience them. It was a fun set.

The next three bands were heard from sitting down in the shade. I had run into a few friends from Chicago and we decided to catch up over some beers instead of work our way to the front of the stage. Our soundtrack to the lovely afternoon was Strange Boys, Lemuria, and The Dodos. After a much needed break, we headed back to the stage for Ted Leo’s solo show. Say what you will about the man (i.e. Is his music still relevant? Why do all his songs sort of sound the same?), but there is something about Ted Leo that I will always find magnetic and nostalgic. I still think he’s better with a full band, but he played well known (and very loved) songs like “Me and Mia" and “Timorous Me" by himself and definitely did them justice. Ted Leo is still a force to be reckoned with, but it was obvious that this set was only for the very serious fans.

7 p.m., March 19
I head over to Auditorium Shores to see the Bright Eyes show. My relationship with Conor Oberst’s music has really changed over the years . As a 16 year old, the man sang the Gospel truth to me (i.e. “Haligh, Haligh, a Lie, Haligh" was one of the most important songs of my high school experience). A few years later, I began to resent his negative outlook on life and love and found the music I once loved so much as very whiney and predictable. But then (!) his solo albums and side projects reeled me back in, and I started listening to the up-beat tracks on the albums that I had always skipped for the slow, sad ones. I must emphasize that I did this with great caution and skepticism , knowing that I will always be a recovering acoustic -emo-music addict. I went to this show knowing that I had a very long, personal history with the music of Bright Eyes, and with a strong curiosity to see him in a very large outdoor space like Auditorium Shores.

It was one of the best shows I have ever been to in my entire life. Yes, we must put it in context: it is my last evening in Austin, TX; the full moon was out in full force; I was there with new and old friends who were singing as loud as I was; and there were fireworks afterwards. Regardless, he played a perfect mixture of old and new songs, and had fantastic stage presence (not even drunk or awkward, unlike the last times I’d seen him). Conor Oberst is more than just Bright Eyes, he is an amazingly talented musician. I have always been impressed by the amount of music this man can produce, and now I re-appreciate every sort of song/lyric he has ever experimented with. He’s the real deal. (This concert is currently streaming on, and I highly recommend checking it out if you are at all curious.)

The evening ended up at the Vibe party’s tribute to Nate Dogg (we knew a guy). Warren G. was headlining, and if I hadn’t been so physically exhausted and emotionally drained from the Bright Eyes shows, I would have enjoyed it more. I was ready to leave when I looked up on the stage and saw Snoop Dogg make a special appearance. There is a reason that these rappers are famous (obviously). Their rhymes were still so smooth, the show was still fun, and they were still awesome performers. It was nice, random, perfect way to end the evening.

8 a.m., March 26
It has now been a week since I returned from SXSW, and I’m still trying to figure out how to talk about it. This is what I know: It was extremely awesome and overwhelming and I’m still on a live music high. Like many of us, music has always been more than just background noise for me. It has articulated my feelings, it has helped me dream of different possibilities, it’s been a way for me to express myself. Live music possesses healing and transformative powers. There is something so special about being in the same space as musicians you love because they created the music you cling to.

And yes, SXSW is a big party. But, it is a big party in celebration for the necessity of and for the future of music we love and will grow to love. It’s a reminder of the all the music in the world we’ve yet to discover, and a way to appreciate all the songs that got us here in the first place.

“As for us, the listeners, there's really no proper way to feel besides grateful. This is a work week for everyone on the many stages of South by Southwest; a labor (to invoke another buzz band down here ) of the head and the heart." – notable rock critic and prolific music journalist, Ann Powers

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Topics: concerts

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesComing Soon: Beats and Blogs, A Musical Hotspot at Subterranean

Mark your calendars now: on Saturday, December 18th, Betta Promotions and Loud Loop Press present a very special showcase of music, as well as a spotlight on 17 of Chicago’s local independent web focused music blogs, inclduing your’s truly, CHIRP Radio!

It all goes down at Subterranean (2011 North Avenue), where White Mystery, Hollows, Rabble Rabble and Radar Eyes will be rocking the house. More info will be posted shortly, but be sure to clear your schedules for what will be a great evening of music and community!

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Topics: community, concerts

Erik Roldan writesCHIRP Partners With Coach House Sounds

Live sessions are a growing part of the independent music scene, and CHIRP is happy to announce a partnership with a local group of enthusiasts producing this kind of recording.

Hidden in Chicago’s West Lakeview neighborhood, Coach House Sounds is a DIY analog recording studio set up in an actual coach house, and since late 2009 has been inviting local musicians to record an exclusive performance to be streamed online at

Matt Baron, curator of CHS, has a unique take on the live session – album oriented, spontaneous and anything goes, once the tape starts rolling there’s no going back. Literally, it’s tape. Doug Lienen, CHS’s sound engineer records the bands on a reel-to-reel, making overdubs and editing impossible.

Along with photographer Neal Morrison and Mike Mayer, CHS’s videographer, Coach House Sounds has built a substantial catalog of sessions from high profile local bands. Artists ranging from White Mystery, Kid Static, and Daniel Knox are just a few of Chicago artists already recorded, and the upcoming release schedule is full.

To be released on Tuesdays, the fall itinerary has a new CHS session launching every week, with artists like Tyler Jon Tyler, Rabble Rabble and Love of Everything. Sessions are stream-only, and things are still growing—newer sessions now regularly have an accompanying video recording.

Matt Baron hopes to increase the touring musicians coming through the coach house but wants to keep it Chicago-focused. “Most other session sites have the Pitchfork trickle-down artists,” he says. “Pitchfork approves them, and sooner or later they make it onto those sites. I want to keep it Chicago-centric and underground.”

Black Cab Sessions, iTunes and even Pitchfork TV produce their own exclusive live performances from the latest bands, and they are a small handful in a recent wave of companies making this type of content. Baron hopes to set Coach House Sounds apart by keeping it analog—the warmth of the sound matches the informal nature of the recordings. He loves it when a band has an early version of a new song or wants to re-start a song in the middle of the session. “It’s just like a concert, but it’s in my coach house.”

Adding to the DIY charm is the kind, professional attitude of the CHS staff and the casual business model. There is no money exchanged, and bands agree to the licensing of the performance through an electronic hand shake, more or less. CHIRP is proud to partner with Coach House Sounds! Listen for exclusive tracks from past and upcoming CHS releases on as well as casual interviews with CHS performers on the CHIRP Blog.

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Topics: concerts

Erin Van Ness writesKing Pignacious and His Merry Swine: One Awesomely High-Concept CHIRP Fundraiser

Get ready for a three night “Modern-Day Multimedia Rock Opera” at the Viaduct Theater!

CHIRP is thrilled to have the energetic 10-piece King Pignacious performing “A Swine’s Rise to Power”—a music and multimedia concept show about the hog army’s hard fight against employer based healthcare. Or, in their words, the fight to “Cut the Tubes and Free the Youth.”

If you’re a fan of great music and daring performances (being a CHIRP listener suggests you are), you won’t want to miss any of these three great shows.

Sat 8/28: w/ Red Hot Annie’s Burlesque Show and Stephanie Rearick
Sat 9/4: w/ Four Star Brass Band
Sat 9/11: w/ Fluid Minds

Tickets for each night are only $10 and one-third of that will help CHIRP in the fight for excellence in independent radio. We can’t wait to see you there!

3111 N Western Ave.
Doors at 9pm. Show at 10pm. 21+

Read more and RSVP online!

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Topics: concerts, fundraiser

Mike Gibson writesUpcoming CHIRP benefit with Jonny Rumble, Detholz! and Honest Engines

CHIRP is pleased to announce our partnership with the Ford Fiesta Benefit at Subterranean featuring Jonny Rumble, the Detholz!, and Honest Engines on Thursday, April 29th. Doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 8:30pm. Tickets are only $5, and all proceeds benefit CHIRP Radio! RSVP in order to receive the free giveaways (like beer, posters, and t-shirts!). Giveaways are only available while supplies last so come early, get free stuff, and support community radio! This show is 21+.

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Topics: concerts, fundraiser

Erin Van Ness writesHelp CHIRP raise money while checking out a unique performance!

CHIRP is excited to announce our partnership with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Thanks-4-Giving program this year!

Half of the proceeds from tickets purchased to the Step Afrika! show scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, November 19-21 at the Harris Theatre will be donated back to local charities. To choose CHIRP as your charity of choice, type CHRP-Radio in the promotional code section when checking out. Additionally, by selecting CHIRP as your charity of choice, ticket buyers will get an additional 10% discount off the regular ticket price!

You can buy your tickets to this event by clicking here.

Please visit the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Step Afrika!, and this year’s Thanks-4-Giving event page for more information or email Erin for questions about how this project benefits CHIRP.

And thanks for giving!

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Topics: concerts, fundraiser

CHIRP DJ writesShow Review: The Decemberists - October 8 2009 @ The Riviera, Chicago

One wonders if Colin Meloy et al get together once every few years and say to themselves, “As The Decemberists, what is the weirdest thing we can do next?” or if The Decemberists are just quirky people who get together and say, “We should really write an operetta. About fawns.”

Regardless, friends, The Decemberists. I’m nuts about ‘em. What some pass of as a self-conscious explosion of the emo hipster fedora persona, I like to think of as a joyous, innovative, uninhibited, artistic process that we’ve been privileged to listen to. When I found out that The Decemberists’ latest album (Hazards of Love) was an operetta, I was nervously curious. Perhaps, having signed with a major label, they were over-compensating with something mildly unpalatable to get back their indie cred? Maybe they’ve just gone bananas?

No! It took two listens, but Hazards of Love thoroughly won me over, and assured me that the band was still the brilliant, absorbing band I loved. It’s the story of William, a fawn by day and man by night, and Margaret, who is quite possibly a forest fairy. They fall in love, and start having nightly woodland dalliances, and the Queen of the forest – who rescued William when he was a baby and turned him into a fawn – is all mad. But she agrees to let him have one more night with Margaret, he will return to her in the morning (to die? It’s unclear). But then! Margaret is abducted by The Rake, who sings a lovely song about how he killed all his children, and then whisks Margaret away. This is all very convenient for the Queen, who helps The Rake get across the rushing river, happy to get Margaret out of the picture. But lovesick William goes inevitably after Margaret, making a deal with the river that if he can cross safely, and rescue Margaret from danger, they will come back and duly drown later. I don’t mean to spoil the ending, but yeah, they drown. But they drown kissing! So…love!

This stuff is nuts. But The Decemberists make it work. Last Thursday at The Riviera in Chicago, as they have on the entire Hazards tour, they played the operetta straight through. It amounts to roughly 60 minutes of continuous music – no breaks, no banter – during which the whole trippy, mystical story unfolded in front of us. Every now and then, during an instrumental interlude or a bandmember’s solo, one or two of the band would be able to duck offstage to grab a new water bottle or, I don’t know, plunge their fingers in an ice bucket, but otherwise the entire band played and sang for an hour.

One couldn’t help but feel grateful for such an obvious effort, and the result was truly a great show. Frontman Colin Meloy sings the part of William, grounding the narrative with his familiar voice. Guest vocalist Becky Stark (of Lavendar Diamond) sings the part of Margaret, and her ethereal voice filled the theatre in an enchanting way that is missing from the album, on which she sounds sweet and small. Shara Worden (of My Brightest Diamond) sings as the Queen, and she brought the flipping house down. The show didn’t really bring the crowd to life until her first solo. I was sitting in the middle of the balcony, easily 200 feet from the stage, but when she belted out, “Your life for the evening/ I will retake by morning./ Consider it your debt repaid,” I kind of wet my pants in fright.

Although the album is a single work, within it are tucked all the Decemberists’ specialties. “Isn’t it a Lovely Night?” and “Annan Water” have Colin Meloy in the plaintive ballad mode of “Grace Cathedral Hill” or “As I Rise.” “The Rake’s Song” and “Repaid” have the same fist-pumping, jump-up-and-down quality of “The Infanta” or “We Both Go Down Together.” And the infectious effervescence that have made The Decemberists great are sprinkled throughout, in the four permutations of “Hazards of Love,” and William’s theme, “The Wanting Comes in Waves.”

The Decemberists have been touring this show for a good few months, so the fact that they produced 60 minutes of pure verve was commendable at least, and inspiring at best. The crowd went wild.

After a short break, the band came back and played another 50-minute set of their perennial favorites. It was so generous and, as is obvious, combined with the sight of Colin Meloy in suspenders to launch me even farther over the moon for this band. That second set – including “O, Valencia,” “Los Angeles, I’m Yours,” “Grace Cathedral Hill,” The Crane Wife trilogy, and “Sons and Daughters” – made me very happy I’d plopped down $25 for the concert tshirt I will undoubtedly wear at next year’s Pitchfork.

This being the third Chicago show the band has played this year, Colin Meloy asked at one point, “Man, Chicago, how many times do we have to come back here?”

Never enough, Colin, I’ll be there every time.

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Topics: artist spotlight, concerts, reviews

CHIRP DJ writesShow Review: MK Ultra / Failures / Pretentious Assholes / Herds / Harms Way

October 3rd, Beat Kitchen Chicago

In the 1990’s, punk and hardcore started to fray into two very distinct categories — “mainstream” and “underground.” As much of an oxymoron as “mainstream punk” might be, it became a reality with the increasing popularity of bands like Green Day, Rancid, Blink 182 and several others whose wallets and fan base swelled. Through the 1980’s and early 1990’s, punk bands really had no idea that there was money to be made playing punk rock, which allowed a lot of freedom and creativity, giving us a scene that was diverse and interesting; limiting any stylistic choke holds and horrible “post” this and “proto” that genre titles. There was basically punk, hardcore and everything else.

While the Green Days and Offsprings basked in mainstream MTV adoration, bands like MK Ultra, Charles Bronson, Los Crudos (all who shared members at one point or another), Pretentious Assholes, Billy Builders and countless other punk bands around Chicago (and the country really) were continuing to write songs that were far too extreme for mainstream rock radio. The scene was the most outspoken the punk scene had ever been, commenting the political as well as social.

Recently, in celebration of the release of their discography, MK Ultra reunited for one night at Chicago’s Beat Kitchen. With support from another “one time only” reunion band, Pretentious Assholes, east coasters Failures, Milwaukee’s Herds and locals Harms Way, they proved that their music is still vital nine years after their break up.

Up first was Harms Way, which features members of Weekend Nachos and Convicted as well as ex-members of countless Chicago hardcore mainstays and favorites. They play metal influenced hardcore that sits somewhere between Infest and Cannibal Corpse, delivered at both, break neck speed and down tempo sludge. Saturday night was no exception. I listened to their set, bobbing my head while perusing the Residue Records distro table.

Herds, from Milwaukee Wisconsin delivered a thrashy hardcore punk attack that would be most comfortable in a musty basement. Reminiscent of many of the bands coming out on No Way Records and Fashionable Idiots (who coincidentally is their label). What makes them stand out is they’re a bit noisier and unlike some of their contemporaries, their songs break from the formula of fast and loud, introducing tempo changes and breakdowns without delving into the cliched “hardcore breakdown” territory.

Filling out the middle of the bill was Chicago’s Pretentious Assholes, whose punk pedigree is as impressive as their ability to meld styles. Featuring members and ex-members of Charles Bronson, Dischrist, No Slogan and the Repos, they brought a healthy combination of crust, grind and good ol’ fashion hardcore to the show. Musically, these guys would have fit just as well on the Apocalypticrust Fest that was going on at the Black Hole that same night, but I was grateful they played this show instead. Unfortunately, there’s no link on line for this band. To find like minded bands, check out their pedigree.

Following P.A. was NYC’s Failures. The one thing I can say about the midwest, specifically the greater Chicagoland area is that the last of the real maniacs and mongoloids reside within it’s scene (and I say that with nothing but love and adoration.) As soon as Failures started, there was a mass wave of bodies ramming into one another, jumping from the stage and trying to take the mic from the singer. This is why I love punk rock. None of it was contrived or postured. There was no sense of irony to the mosh or the stage dives. It was pure and youthful; a lack of concern for your own well being. With the exception of some technical problems caused by a couple destroyed microphone cables, Failures tore through a thirty minute set in roughly twenty minutes with no pause or acknowledgment of the audience. If you’re a fan of raging, tribal, breakneck speed hardcore, be sure to check out their full length and 7”. Neither will disappoint.

Finally, ending the night was a set from one of my favorite Chicago hardcore bands, MK Ultra. At one point in the 90’s, indie rock heart throb John Vanderslice played in a band of the same name, issuing a cease and desist order on the locals, despite the fact that the audiences didn’t really overlap. MK Ultra reclaimed the name and spent their set Saturday night picking exactly where they left off in 2000. It felt as if they never lost a step and played with the same vigor and energy that they did in their “heyday.”

Unlike the 1990’s incarnation of the band, there was very little political banter between songs and was replaced with genuine appreciation for the audience attending and a call to the punk scene to start talking about issues on stage between songs. Something that was time honored in the 90’s, replaced by either apathy, or an understanding that everyone in attendance operates on the same page.

The discography is now available on two LP’s, along with a digital download coupon, on Youth Attack records.

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Topics: concerts, local music, reviews

Shawn Campbell writesCHIRP Winds Up as the Summer Festival Season Winds Down

CHIRP’s been out at summer festivals all season, and we’ve loved the chance to talk to the hundreds of you who have dropped by our booths to ask questions and show your support. September is the last big month of fests, and this weekend is packed!

As you celebrate 15 years of Bloodshot Records with this Saturday’s “Beer-B-Q” at the Hideout, featuring Alejandro Escovedo, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, the Waco Brothers, reunions by the Blacks and Moonshine Willy, a drunken spelling bee, and much more, be sure to stop by the CHIRP tent to say hello.

And while you’re in Wicker Park perusing nifty handmade items at the Renegade Craft Fair on Saturday and Sunday, don’t neglect CHIRP booth #2 near the corner of Division and Wolcott.

When you stop by, we’ll be able to give you all the latest information about the launch of our new radio station at later this fall. We also have great new t-shirts and water bottles to get you through this year’s remaining warm weather. The summer festival season may be cooling off, but CHIRP’s future is heating up!

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Topics: appearances, concerts

Shawn Campbell writesAnother busy summertime week for CHIRP

We have a busy week ahead of us at CHIRP. Not only are we beginning to work on equipment installation for our studios, but we’ll be out and about all over the place!

On Friday, July 31, CHIRP will be providing the musical accompaniment to the Printer’s Ball, a great celebration of all things print in Chicago. All supporters of the city’s independent literary scene are welcome at the free event, running from 5-11PM at the Luddington Building, 1104 S. Wabash.

On Saturday, August 1, CHIRP is pleased to present The Astronomer, performing a set of new songs and scores to accompany a live reading by acclaimed author Joe Meno (Hairstyles of the Damned, The Boy Detective Fails) in celebration of his long-anticipated new novel “The Great Perhaps”.

Renowned poster artist Jay Ryan and photgrapher Todd Baxter will be projecting visual art based on Meno’s work, making this event a unique multimedia event.

Canasta opens the night with their wide-ranging brand of chamber pop.

The show takes place at the Old Town School, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave. Showtime is 8PM. Sign up above for CHIRP e-mails for a chance to win tickets to this and other upcoming CHIRP shows!

And finally, the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival runs all weekend in Logan Square – up and down Milwaukee between California and Ridgeway. The weekend features an amazing musical lineup, some of it curated by our good friends at The Whistler, who’ve asked CHIRP to be the official between-set DJs for the fest. We’ll also have a booth where we’ll be offering up all the latest CHIRP swag in preparation for our launch — coming soon!

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Shawn Campbell writesCHIRP presents The Astronomer and Joe Meno at the Old Town School

On Saturday, August 1, CHIRP is pleased to present The Astronomer, performing a set of new songs and scores to accompany a live reading by acclaimed author Joe Meno (Hairstyles of the Damned, The Boy Detective Fails) in celebration of his long-anticipated new novel “The Great Perhaps”.

Renowned poster artist Jay Ryan and photgrapher Todd Baxter will be projecting visual art based on Meno’s work, making this event a unique multimedia event.

Canasta opens the night with their wide-ranging brand of chamber pop.

The show takes place at the Old Town School, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave. Showtime is 8PM. Sign up above for CHIRP e-mails for a chance to win tickets to this and other upcoming CHIRP shows!

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Shawn Campbell writesPitchfork Weekend

So what’s going on this weekend? Well, if you’re CHIRP, you’ll be running the big record fair under the tent at the tennis courts at Union Park for some music festival or other that’s going on.

Wha? Full Pitchfork lineup is right here.

We’re also psyched about the Pitchfork afterparties (or kind of “during party”) going on at the Bottom Lounge:

Friday – 8PM
Smith Westerns
Blue Ribbon Glee Club
The Loyal Divide

Saturday – 8PM
Cymbals Eat Guitars
Unicycle Loves You
Midstates & the Choir of Ghosts

Sunday – 8PM
Frightened Rabbit

The Hideout and Schuba’s have nice Saturday night afterparties too:
Hideout – Saturday – 10PM
The Duchess and the Duke
+ midnight dance party with DJ Frier Tuck

Schuba’s – Saturday – 10PM
Plants & Animals
Stranger Waves
Buke & Gass

And then on Monday, July 20th, CHIRP is back at the Whistler for our regular 3rd Monday of the month revelry. This month, we’ll have a live set from Rabble Rabble, and DJ sets from CHIRPfolk Dr. Drase and Kristin Marks. And fancy drinks as always!

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Shawn Campbell writesCHIRP out and about

Summer is always a busy time for CHIRP, and this summer is even busier than usual, with the planned launch of the web version of our new radio station!

As we move toward our late-summer launch, you’ll be seeing us out and about around the city.

We’re excited about an upcoming CHIRP benefit show generously planned by Chicago’s soulful rockers The Right Now. They’re playing a show with Love in October and Jenny Gillespie on Saturday, June 27th at Martyrs’, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit CHIRP! Showtime is 10PM, and tickets are $8.

Summer is a great time to see music outdoors, and we’re really looking forward to the new Monday night live music series at Millennium Park. Every week is a winner – including CHIRP favorites like the Sea and Cake, and a long-awaited return by the Feelies!

CHIRP will have a table at the Old Town School’s Folk & Roots Fest July 11th and 12th, so be sure to stop by and pick up great new swag.

And of course we’ll be back at the Pitchfork Music Festival July 17-19 with our record fair under the big tent on the Union Park tennis courts.

Hope to see you at one or more of these cool events.

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Topics: appearances, concerts

DJ Betynka - It's 12 O'Clock Somewhere writesReport from Washington—the Hideout in DC

A week after the Inauguration I’ve warmed up from the seven hours spent standing on the National Mall in front of a jumbo-tron—not nearly as cold as my recently adopted Windy City, but you stand in place on cold ground for any length of time and you’re bound to get chilled—but the high of last week’s Inaugural Day has not quite worn off. It’s a feeling I hope we can bottle and sell and look back on the way people talk about JFK.

There were a lot of festivities that weekend besides the main event (or the surreal musical stylings of Garth Brooks and Beyonce at the concert on the Mall Sunday). Having had an opportunity to buy tickets for the Midwest Ball, I opted instead for the Hideout Big Shoulders Inaugural Ball last Monday night at the Black Cat—located on 14th Street near the U Street corridor in Washington, DC. The night brought a lineup of eight, mostly Chicago-based, bands and full coolers of Goose Island to our nation’s capitol. And for me, it brought my two favorite venues—from my new city and my old home—together for one night. A strange collision of hang-outs in honor of our new president.

U Street was awash with crowds lining up at Ben’s Chili Bowl (no chance of a half-smoke unless you were willing to stand in a line stretching down to 12th street, thanks to Obama and Mayor Fenty’s TV appearance the week prior), but down the block the folks from the Hideout had managed to give the Black Cat the intimacy of its own gigs. The upstairs’ stage was festooned with streamers, bunting, Chicago flags, and the iconic Obama print that a few weeks earlier had hung from outside the Hideout itself. Tim Tuten held forth from a podium, delivering the characteristic introductions as Freakwater, Ken Vandermark, Tortoise, Andrew Byrd, and the Waco Brothers, among others, all took their turn at the Chicago talent show. Thomas Frank, author of “What’s the Matter With Kansas?,” led the crowd in singing “Solidarity Forever” along with Jon Langford of the Waco Brothers. There was vintage “thrift store” fashion, traditional black tie ball attire, and the rest of us hipsters who preferred to stay warm in our jeans.

It was a great night for music—this was the eve of not just the Inauguration, but of Andrew Byrd’s new release as well—but the music was secondary. The night fit seamlessly into a weekend of almost unfamiliar good will. Tourists and locals alike walked around for four days smiling to one another and starting conversations in shopping lines and on the metro. Across town my hosts for the weekend were at an Inauguration party for a group of musicians—composers, National opera types, and others—wondering who would be selected for National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities chairmanships, while bemused that they’d never felt compelled to hang a flag from their house until this night. At the Black Cat, a number of fine musicians brought their best, but the crowd was really waiting through the jazz and fancy whistle tricks for a party. Icy Demons and Waco Brothers were high points, in my view the epitomizing party bands of the night. Jon Langford introduced his mates as a protest band that had very little to protest that night. When they played “I Fought the Law” it seemed that for this night WE had won. The Wacos—three Yanks, a Welshman and an Englishman, based in Chicago, doing coordinated kicks and guitar windmills couldn’t have expressed our feelings better. For one night indie irony and cynicism was dead.

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Topics: concerts

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