Wednesday, August 20

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Review Mon Aug 18 2014

Andrew Bird Shows Us Pulaski at Night

I've seen Andrew Bird in an array of settings. I've seen him at a smaller stage at Lollapalooza six years ago. Since then, I've had the pleasure of seeing him own his unique musical style nine more times. He's played for a hushed, watchful crowd huddling around a lone microphone at the Museum of Contemporary Art. He's played at Fourth Presbyterian Church amidst the serene and exquisite backdrop. He's played a variety of Chicago music halls. However, he had yet to play the delicate and divine Chicago Theatre until this past Saturday evening, which I found baffling due to his greatness. One of my favorite venues, with such pristine sound, was about to see a glorious appearance.

Springfield native Daniel Knox opened up the show. Unfamiliar with his music, I scanned the stage to see an unconventional array of instruments, including what looked like a musical saw, piano, guitar and drums. Knox, with a burly beard and dry wit akin to Nick Offerman, featured songs with hauntingly beautiful piano accompaniments along with lyrics from his husky vocals that are sardonic and smart. In "Ghostsong" off of his latest album, he states, When I come back to life, I'll find you / Push my thumbs into your eyes and blind you. This created a ripple of giggles and smirks amongst the crowd, delighting in the fact that such a gorgeous, serious musical backdrop could be laden with these lighthearted words. His voice then emitted a ghoulish wail, yet it was beautiful, distinct and heartstring-tugging. I felt as if I was in a trance for his brisk 30-minute set, in which the theater became a silent arena for Knox to showcase his very unique music. His next album will be coming out in February, and I can't wait to listen to the newest material, some of which he debuted at the Chicago Theatre for us lucky listeners.

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Sarah Brooks / Comments (0)

Video Wed Aug 13 2014

A Theme Song for a Good Cause

"Windy City Live" host Ryan Chiaverini recorded a new song about Chicago, with proceeds benefiting the Illinois Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The video debuted on YouTube and iTunes Monday, before news broke of Robin Williams' death. Chiaverini's younger brother committed suicide five years ago, and he's been active with AFSP ever since.

Andrew Huff / Comments (0)

Contest Mon Aug 11 2014

Contest: The Ballroom Thieves Perform at SPACE This Wednesday!

Although they hail from Boston, folk trio The Ballroom Thieves exude soulfulness from the Delta south. Martin Earley strums his guitar with feverish finesse as Devin Mauch rattles away with his diverse percussion with Calin Peters' filling out the band's sound with the tender rhythm of her cello; all the while weaving their voices together in wonderful harmonies. The band manages to imbibe a hearty sense of rock into their music and still maintaining a gentle sincerity. Their songs are personal and earnest about their themes, whether it is the anguish of defining oneself in "Coward's Son" or delving into bad relationships by way of metaphor in "Vampires".

The Ballroom Thieves will be playing at Evanston SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, this Wednesday, August 13, at 7:30pm. They will be joined by Humming House, a collection of musicians who've gather influences from Americana, bluegrass and traditional Irish music.

Tickets for this sure to be fantastic show are just $10, but you also have a chance to win a pair of tickets! Just email us at with the subject line "Ballroom!" and we'll pick a lucky winner at random. Email by 5pm today! [Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Joseluis!]

Julian Ramirez / Comments (0)

Concert Mon Aug 11 2014

Photos/Review: Echo and the Bunnymen @ Cabaret Metro 8-10-14

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It's always an exceptional thrill to see a band of the caliber of Echo and the Bunnymen play The Metro because their sound is quite massive and has become the stuff of legend. For 36 years now, Ian McCulloch's vocals alone have helped inspire countless other bands and served as a soundtrack to the childhood of anyone who grew up in the '80s and early '90s. Today, McCulloch's voice still keeps quite a bit of its range and distinctiveness while the backup band makes the songs sound impressively close to their original recordings.

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Kirstie Shanley / Comments (1)

Preview Sat Aug 09 2014

Preview: United Nations are Serious Business


When Thursday broke up a few years ago, it was jarring and unexpected. From riding my bike back to high school while listening to "Understanding in a Car Crash" at top volume on my CD player to their cathartic farewell show at Bottom Lounge, this was a band that I grew up and matured along with.

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Justin Freeman / Comments (0)

North Coast Music Festival Fri Aug 08 2014

North Coast Announces Daily Lineups and After Parties


A few days ago, the North Coast Music Festival made a few announcements. First, the list of the after parties they're doing. Then they announced which bands are playing on each day. Below is a copy and paste of the daily lineups.

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Justin Freeman / Comments (0)

Concert Wed Aug 06 2014

Photos/Review: Lil Bub with David Yow @ Cabaret Metro 8-6-14

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For those who may not know, Lil Bub is a very special female cat from outer space who has special needs. Lil Bub and her dude, Mike Bridavsky, have helped raise over $100,000 for animal shelters. Typically, Lil Bub's shows which have featured everyone from Whoopi Goldberg to Andrew WK to Amy Sedaris happen in a more controlled studio so Chicago was lucky to behold Bub in all her feline glory at Cabaret Metro.

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Kirstie Shanley / Comments (0)

Lollapalooza Wed Aug 06 2014

Lollapalooza 2014 Hits and Misses

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Cage the Elephant (Photo by Joshua Mellin)

The Lollapalooza line-up didn't seem all that impressive when it was originally announced. Of the headliners, the biggest draw was Outkast and they'd already been booked for basically every other festival in the U.S. this summer. I decided to still attend the festival anyway, mostly out of habit. Once the day-by-day schedule was released, I was surprised to rediscover how many quality midday acts Lolla had on the bill. Headliners aside, I saw heaps of outstanding performances over the weekend. Here are some of my favorites, a few missteps, and the acts I missed during this year's festival.

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Stephanie Griffin / Comments (3)

Classical Wed Aug 06 2014

Pulling Strings: For classical music in Chicago, you got a guy - August 2014

By Elliot Mandel

Before the main classical season kicks into gear in the next month or two, take advantage of these local artists and ensembles playing throughout the city.

Chicago Q Ensemble: Living Loop Festival
Loop workers: get out of the office and go hear Chicago Q Ensemble play Mozart in one of the Loop's few open-air respites. The trio — whose recent performance at Constellation was nothing short of magnetic and intense — plugs in and performs the E-flat major Divertimento. You don't need to be Einstein to enjoy Mozart, but Einstein himself really loved Mozart. Of this particular Divertimento, he wrote, "Every note is significant, every note is a contribution to spiritual and sensuous fulfillment in sound...the finest, most perfect trio ever heard." Admission is free. Friday, August 8, noon. 1 South Dearborn, Chicago.


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Transmission / Comments (0)

Lollapalooza Tue Aug 05 2014

Run the Jewels are a Job Well Done at Double Door 08/02


As somewhat dated as this reference is becoming, Run the Jewels are the anti-Watch the Throne; two anarchist leaning savage bullies who'd gleefully kick in the windows of mansions only to break in and steal the Basquiat paintings belonging to rapper millionaires.

El-P and Killer Mike have have been doing their own things for awhile now. El-P ran the much respected alt rap label, Definitive Jux, before deciding to pursue a solo career. Killer Mike was a student of Outkast as well as a member of Atlanta's Dungeon Family. Killer Mike guest starred on El-P's latest album, Cancer 4 Cure for the single "Tougher Colder Killer." They realized they had chemistry and kept the partnership going. In 2013, they released their debut mixtape as a collective, the self titled Run the Jewels.

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Justin Freeman / Comments (1)

Review Sun Aug 03 2014

Courtney Barnett Gets Gritty @ Schubas, 7/30

Schubas was packed to the brim on Wednesday evening, the first of official Lollapalooza aftershows, which led Courtney Barnett and Varsity to lend their talents to a wide-eyed audience, hungry for musical consumption, for performances that would not be forgotten.

Varsity emerged to kick the evening off with their fuzzy yet indulgent garage rock tunes. Energized and upbeat, the crowd moved and delighted in the musical offering that they brought to the table. Take a listen for yourself to their Soundcloud page, where you can purchase their music by naming your price. Their lead singer has a powerhouse voice reminiscent of Tennis, with perfect intonation amidst a blazing backdrop of sound. Playing songs off of their Thanks For Nothing EP, Varsity was able to warm up the crowd and showcase their emerging tunes for an eager audience.

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Sarah Brooks / Comments (0)

Concert Fri Aug 01 2014

Darren Hayman is Coming to Town (and You're About to Miss It)

By Phil Huckelberry

In 1998, an English pop-rock band released their first album. You probably didn't hear about it. It came out on a very hip indie label, but remained mostly unknown on this side of the Atlantic. This was back in the day of listservs — run off of obscure university servers and beloved by the internet's earliest adopters. On one such listserv a guy named Spencer insisted that we all had to listen to this band Hefner.

Many years later, I rank Hefner's debut album, Breaking God's Heart, as one of my top ten albums of all time. It contains brilliant pop songs, mostly about relationships and their attendant failures. The subject matter seemed universally familiar even while totally off the wall. Nobody else was writing breathtaking love songs about witches and librarians, all while bemoaning the state of British politics. The tenderness in the first song, "The Sweetness Lies Within," slams against harried guitars, creating not a strange juxtaposition but instead the appropriate sonic context for how insane it is to be young and single and not single and single again. At times it was like finally hearing what everybody else had to have been thinking all along.

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Transmission / Comments (0)

Lollapalooza Wed Jul 30 2014

How to Make the Most of Your Lollapalooza Weekend

It's not enough to just say you're going to three days of music in Grant Park, you really have to plan your attack. After years of Lollapalooza experience, here are our fresh takes on how to best rock the fest.

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Photo by Joshua Mellin

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Transmission / Comments (0)

Concert Tue Jul 29 2014

Neon Marshmallow Provides 4-day Walk-free Alternative to Lolla


Missed out on tickets for Lollapalooza? Can't afford tickets for Lollapallooza? Pining for the good old days when Lolla hosted legitimately frightening acts like The Boredoms and Nick Cave and the Jesus Lizard? Don't like walking/daylight/the outdoors/Skrillex fans?

This Thursday through Sunday, The Burlington (3425 W. Fullerton Ave.) has your alternative as they host the 2014 Neon Marshmallow festival. With 16 acts for $30, you're unlikely to find a better jams-to-buxx ratio this weekend, with styles ranging from day-glo to funereal, garage-tastic to grave-shufflin'.

Weekend passes will be sold through Wednesday. They include access to all four days' worth of acts (four per night), an unreleased track by festival regulars Telecult Powers, and an hour of free select Stoli beverages each night. (Individual night tickets will be available at the doors as well.)

Below the jump, a night-by-night guide to everything.

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Chris Sienko / Comments (0)

Lollapalooza Tue Jul 29 2014

Your Lollapalooza 2014 Party Guide

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You don't need a wristband (or supreme fence-hopping skills) to enjoy Lollapalooza this weekend -- Lolla pros know that the festival doesn't begin and end inside Grant Park. Of course, there are a ton of official Lolla aftershows, but over three days those can get pricey. There are plenty of ways to enjoy Lollapalooza that won't cost you a nickel. Let the suburbanite dudebros have those $8 Bud Lights inside the festival. Here's your guide to boozing it up and catching all your favorite bands for free this weekend.

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Stephanie Griffin / Comments (0)

Classical Wed Aug 06 2014

Pulling Strings: For classical music in Chicago, you got a guy - August 2014

By Transmission

Before the main classical season kicks into gear in the next month or two, take advantage of these local artists and ensembles playing throughout the city.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

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


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
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


Wed Aug 20 2014
Propagandhi @ Concord Music Hall

Thu Aug 21 2014
Invaders from Mars & The General w/Live Soundtrack

Thu Aug 21 2014
MC Frontalot @ Subterranean

Fri Aug 22 2014
Ken Vandermark's Audio One @ Constellation

Fri Aug 22 2014
Jeff Daniels and Ben Daniels Band @ SPACE

Fri Aug 22 2014
Boulevard Festival

Fri Aug 22 2014
The Boulevard Festival

Sat Aug 23 2014
Ken Vandermark's Audio One @ Constellation

Sat Aug 23 2014
Deer Tick @ Metro

Sat Aug 23 2014
Drivin' and Cryin' @ Reggies

Sat Aug 23 2014
The Boulevard Festival

Sun Aug 24 2014
The Boulevard Festival

Sun Aug 24 2014
Robyn & Röyksopp Do It Again @ Pritzker Pavilion

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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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Editor: Anne Holub,
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