Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’
It turns out that there is such a thing as a comfortable music festival experience. After an exhausting, disorienting and soaked (but successful) festival season, last weekend’s Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusement at Chicago’s temporary Riverfront Theater proved that a music fest can be as rocking as it is sanitary. All it takes are some pop legends, a few $7 PBR tallboys and a circus tent.
The second year of the showcase festival received minimal buzz, which is surprising for an event that went the extra mile to bring surprising and timeless performers. Anchoring each night of the weekend respectively were John Cale, Conor Oberst and Bobby Womack, three recognized monsters of their genres and generations. Add behind-the-scenes composing genius Van Dyke Parks and rising progressive artists Zola Jesus and Helado Negro, and you have a stellar, if short, weekend lineup.
The overwhelming nature of life in a world-class city presents a multitude of opportunities, for better or for worse. In the age of oversharing and over-reflection, isolation can creep up on you. it’s easy to say ‘fuck it’ and fall into the cold world of Cap’n Crunch feasts and Instant Netflix pity parties. In order to combat the potential doldrums of the solitary urban experience, I take advantage of my surroundings and see as much live music as possible. In just 15 days, I saw 13 acts, ranging from the virtuosic to the epileptic, and everything in between.
This is how I spend my time. If it sounds like something you’d like to do, you are encouraged to join.
Our culture of nostalgia continues to rage on as Riot Fest returns to Chicago, this time with Iggy Pop and a carnival. After a serious expansion that includes franchise events in Brooklyn, Toronto and Dallas, Riot Fest has established Chicago as their flagship weekend.
The lineup is firmly focused on appealing to punk rockers ages 25-45 who have more interest in seeing the bands they grew up with, as billing to up-and-coming bands has been kept quite low. Most bands are either defunct or reaching irrelevance, but that doesn’t make the lineup any less awesome. The inclusion of bands such as Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Elvis Costello, Descendents, Dropkick Murphys, Hot Water Music, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Promise Ring, Built to Spill, The Adicts and Reverend Horton Heat may be a little puzzling, but all are established as excellent live bands in any day.
On the other side, fest promoters have done a decent job including some rising punk bands up against these old favorites, including: Screaming Females, The Gaslight Anthem, Larry and His Flask, Off with Their Heads and White Mystery. While the focus is clearly on yesterday, it should be exciting how these bands stand up to the old favorites.
Tickets are still available, if you’re interested. The fest will be held at Humboldt Park, and will overlap with the sold-out AV Fest at The Hideout, featuring Wilco, Iron and Wine, Glen Hansard, Wye Oak and The War On Drugs. The verdict is still out as to which fest has captured the key aging hipster demographic.
We’ll have a review of the fest for you next week. In the meantime, enjoy a playlist of all the songs we hope to hear at this year’s Riot Fest Chicago.
Peter Lillis is Managing Editor of Frontier Psychiatrist. His teenage self is jealous of this lineup.
Mike Birbiglia can tell a mean story. He has built an impressive comedic career based on his mostly autobiographical vignettes of growth, duty, fear and love, shared in an engaging yet conversational tone. Most of all, his pieces and performances have a concept that run throughout, as opposed to the typical ad hoc musings of which most stand up comedians are guilty. His marquee piece is Sleepwalk With Me, the story of how his REM behavior disorder came to a sharp point (literally) as it mixed with his increasing anxiety over his relationships and career. First performed as an off-Broadway “one-man show” in 2008, Sleepwalk With Me has been reproduced as a comedy album, a memoir, and most recently, a feature film produced by This American Life’s Ira Glass. Talk about getting mileage out of an idea.
It helps that Sleepwalk With Me is a fantastic narrative, no matter the form. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a comedian/bartender/slacker is essentially forced to take the reins of his life, something he worked to avoid. This isn’t a typical slacker flick, however. As you have likely inferred, this slacker suffers from a severe sleepwalking disorder in which he acts out his most vivid, strange and, at times, destructive dreams.
Chicago musician and tastemaker Tom Schraeder thinks he’s on the verge of something big, and he wants to tell the world. Despite being sidelined by major art markets like NYC, LA or even Nashville and Austin, Schraeder believes in the strength and uniqueness of the Chicago art scene, so much that he built a month-long fest showcasing the best and most diverse work we have to offer. Chicago, I Love You takes place at Lilly’s in Lincoln Park, and covers the entire month of September. We had a chance to talk with Schraeder about his work, his plans and what there is to love about Chicago.
FP: Chicago, I Love You is an excellent event for a lot of reasons. I’m relatively new to Chicago, and somewhat unlearned when it comes to the local scene, so this is a great opportunity to start my education. I’m sure a lot of people feel that way.
TS: Yeah, that’s actually perfect, and part of the reason we set it up.
FP: How did it come to be?
TS: Originally, it was supposed to be a fun record release show for some friends and me, but it started to grow, and we realized it was something much larger. The more people I reached out to, the more people responded eagerly to get behind what we’re doing. With all the positive responses I got, I realized I could and should make it about something much larger than just myself. Now, the CD release will come much later. So, what came from just a fun idea, became a collective event. We’re all in this together now, and it’s a joint effort to build Chicago.
Basically, we don’t appreciate that Chicago is referred to as second or even third to big art markets like New York and LA or even Nashville. Maybe it’s because the city is so spread out, and based entirely upon these neighborhoods, that its hard to get a center for our art, but that also makes it that much better. So, now, we’re taking art from all these different neighborhoods and heritages and showcasing it in one central place, at Lilly’s. It’s a genre-less fest, that’s more showing off what the city can do and create that community.