We’ve recovered from our Ribfest meat hangovers just in time to deliver a huge issue full of musical madness for your reading pleasures our dearest Surfers! Not only did we take in three full days of local and a few national acts while getting our bones on at Ribfest; but MVM caught Matt Gold at The Hideout; and a special guest contributor, EVK, caught Jason Isbell, Father John Misty, and Jade Bird at Northerly Island. June just keeps on hitting us over the head with a massive amount of new music and this week saw new singles from locals Resavoir and Purple Mountain, plus local born hip hop artists Common and Freddie Gibbs, along with the debut full length from Hal Baum, and the new record from Bloomington, Indiana’s Mike Adams At His Honest Weight. Along with all the new national and international releases you should be checking out and when they are hitting our fair city. So strap on those reading glasses, hit up our playlist and slide on your headphones and prepare for another deep dive into the music scene. Check out our Summer Fest Guide on Friday for all the up to date fest news we can chuck at ya, and watch out for those Bird scooters that just got spread all over town! Oh boy, that is a baaaddd idea! Watch your backs Chicago, and we’ll catch ya on the flip side!
Keep Seeing Live Music!
“The band offers an opportunity to be involved in something a bit bigger than each of ourselves. It's very community driven. Who knows which "acquaintance" could pop up next?” -Adam Reach
⬐ SHOWS ⬎
June 14th - 16th
RibFest / 📷 : MVM
This year’s Ribfest was a hit, with plenty of acts spanning countless genres for the BBQ lovers to enjoy as they tore the meat from the bone. The annual fest was scaled back from years’ past, with a relaxing music schedule that left plenty of time to stand in line for some pork goodness. This year’s Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce-sponsored festival had some weather challenges but overcame in the end to host a solid lineup of local and touring acts that filled Lincoln Ave with the sounds of late spring, rough as it has been. We caught a ton of music over the weekend; here’s a look at the standouts of Ribfest ‘19.
The wind blew in heavy all night, but it didn’t deter the largest crowd of the weekend for the Friday evening festivities.
The easy flowing indie rock group from Chicago kicked off Rib Fest on Friday evening. As the group was taking the stage, vendors were finishing setting up and rib enthusiasts started to file in. People entering through the South Gate at Lincoln and Irving Park were welcomed in by Wyatt Grant’s soft, melodic songs and the experimental play of art rock mixed with garage/indie rock. Pool Holograph and Courtesy are doing a split 7” Record release show at Land and Sea Dept. on June 28th. Tix are $10.
From the opening jam, blues, rock, and funk came streaming through to set the scene for Goose Corp. Phil Sciurba’s guitar playing is something to behold and should be heard by everyone. His solo during Goose Corp.’s second song was hypnotizing. Then the group turns up the heady jams moving in their song “Titan” off their album Jumbled Thoughts, which came out back in February of this year. Goose Corp. has the capability to jam wonderfully with each other and would be very interesting to see them in a setting where they have a longer set time or two sets and they can fully stretch out. I would not be surprised if they move into the jam band scene and flourish. On July 27th , Goose Corp will be playing at Sleeping Village opening for Railway Gamblers and Lunar Ticks! Tix are $10.
Billed as Blue Dream, but as soon as the band took the stage, people noticed something was amiss. On this evening the lineup of Blue Dream included guitarist Anthony Cook and three quarters of Strange Foliage. Guitarist Joey Cantacessi, bassist Stuart MacFayden, and drummer Andrew “Goose” Giese joined in. Giese had just finished up a set with his other band Goose Corp. and was taxied over from the North Stage to the South Stage. The mash up of Blue Dream and Strange Foliage did not miss a beat and was a unique experience. Blue Dream does not have an upcoming show, but Strange Foliage is playing at Emporium on July 5th with Cocoa Green. Tix don’t seem to be available quite yet.
CHRISTON “KINGFISH” INGRAM
In my opinion, the standout of the weekend was Kingfish Ingram. The twenty-year-old blues guitarist blew the crowd away. Fans in the know were already camped out waiting for Kingfish after Goose Corp. finished. To the rest of us, Kingfish made a lasting impression. The Blues and BBQ complimented each other perfectly as the smoke from the grills set a smog over the crowd and Kingfish shredded the blues. It is good to know that someone of Kingfish’s age is still interested in playing the blues and hopefully will inspire others. Coming up from Clarksdale, MS, Kingfish was born not too far from the start of the blues. At one point Kingfish, ask the crowd if he could slow it down for a song and the crowd still riding high from the last jam was a little hesitant but Kingfish comes right back at them with a fantastic cover of B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone.” I typically try not take videos while at a show, but I had to make an exception for this set and sent the video out to every blues enthusiast I know. Kingfish does not come back to Chicago soon, but is playing a free show down in Carbondale, IL at their Sunset Concert Series, which are always a good time.
The badass punk trio hailing from Atlanta, GA, do not hold back and are unapologetic. Energetic and keeping the crowd moving, The Coathangers did not slow down. Mixing different styles of singing between Julia Kugel’s poppier and Stephanie Luke’s more traditional punk, harsher tone, the group covers the whole spectrum. “Ear muffs, kids!” Kugel yells out and is wondering if the crowd is ready for the next song before they get into “F the NRA.” The crowd joins in on the chorus and gives the middle finger in unison. Finishing the set with “Squeeki Tiki,” The Coathangers left the crowd riding high and amped up.
All day rain kept the crowds at bay. After soaking in as many tunes and drizzle as we could handle, we had to call it quits before the headliners but still caught quite a few quality bands before heading for dryer ground.
Fargo established their roots in Geneva, IL but some have migrated to Chicago. The groove-based indie rock band has elements of new wave and pop shine through. With the soft melodies of Ryan Thomas on lead vocals, each line is sung with the fervor of this being the last time he plays the song and wants to leave a lasting impression on you. Playing most tracks of their EP, Fantastic Voyage, the dedicated Fargo fans that made it out were no stranger to these jams. Treating the crowd to close to an hour set, Fargo showed their appreciation for the support. Fargo does not have an upcoming show currently but are likely to be playing soon anywhere between Chicago and Geneva.
THE LONG LOST
Fronted by Andi Avalos and Katie Burke, the folk/country group use their excellent song writing and ability to harmonize and alternate lead vocals make for a beautiful listening experience. The lyrics behind each song are emotional and inspiring. It was very easy to get caught up in the songs as Avalos and Burke lead you along with their ballads and then follow it up next with a rocking country song. The Long Lost is opening for Lucette on tonight at Schubas. Tix are $12. ($15 at the door).
Case was another band that had the unfortunate luck of having to play during the hardest rain on Saturday. Most people took shelter under either the Starbucks umbrellas or under an awning where possible to get out of the rain. The softness of lead singer, Cale Zepernick, and the play of Jabriel Martin on trumpet gives the indie rock unit tranquility. Zepernick’s lyrics are written with his heart worn on his sleeve. The maturity in his song writing his very impressive and exciting to see him continue to grow as a writer. Case is playing on June 23rd at SubT and tix are $10.
If you were brave enough to continue to stand out in the rain and when it was coming down the hardest on Saturday to catch Jordanna, then you would not have regretted it. The four-piece soulful R&B group lead by Jordanna on vocals was truly spectacular, and it was unfortunate that the rain caused people to miss her. Funk and blues undertones came across through the band and it was easy to tell that they were having fun playing and the feeling was transferred to those that were in attendance.
FAMILY OF GENIUSES
The award for Best Dressed would definitely have gone to Family of Geniuses. Everyone in the group wore sharp threads and brought color to a rather gloomy day. FoG was another group whose energy was contagious to the crowd. Mixing funky disco with pop, the group were another standout weekend performance. There was not a single person who was not dancing or swaying back and forth while FoG was grooving. FoG is playing the Empty Bottle on June 28 ($10), and Sleeping Village on July 24 ($5).
Usually Ribfest is, capital P: packed on Sunday. But the crisp and cool temps kept the attendance down for the second straight day, and we were easily able to sneak up front for some of the best acts of the weekend.
The early afternoon crowd wasn’t ready for the synth madness that is Woongi. Complete with BBQ-soaked napkins adorning fronter Wavid Wurtin and keyboardist Joy, they were all in to the Ribfest family time vibe, wishing the crowd “Happy Father’s Day” several times. The Chicago five piece got weird with a long jam to finish their set and rocked a good deal off new record Rip’s Cuts to flush out the set including standouts “Tailwhip,” “Sad Sequence,” and “Fire’s Dead.” Be on the lookout for this must catch act later this summer!
EDWARD DAVID ANDERSON’S BLACK DIRT REVIVAL
The three-piece blues/country rock-a-billy lead by long time musician, Edward David Anderson, showcases the grit and experiences gained from being in the industry for nearly 25 years. The grit comes through in Anderson’s perfect vocals for the genre. The-three piece has a naturally wholesome sound which is usually tough to fill. This is where the experiences come in, as Anderson has worked with many people on his albums, from members of Los Lobos to the Steeldrivers. As it was Father’s Day, Anderson sang a song he had written about his father. It was compelling to be standing next to my own father as Anderson sang about remembering his father and the things he passed on to him. Anderson will be playing at FitzGerald's American Music Fest with Black Dirt Revival.
If you don’t know Girl K by now, you obviously haven’t been paying attention. One of the standouts of the local scene, Kathy Patino and the guys put out the fantastic For Now earlier this year to rave reviews and have been building a steady fanbase through word of mouth and social media. Having just returned from Mexico that morning, Patino should have been exhausted, but the crowd was as supportive as ever and Alex, AJ, and Kevin were as tight as we’ve ever witnessed as they flew through hits “Speed Racer” and “Wish You Were Right,” as well as treating the loyal fans who showed on a fifty degree Sunday afternoon to new tunes “White Roses” and “Settle.” The former featuring some tight guitar work from Kevin Sheppard. You can catch Girl K at the Divino Niño record release at The Empty Bottle this Friday (we’ll be there for sure!) Tix are a mere $10 for a whole evening of Chicago indie rock!
Giving us all the Americana feelies with their tight harmonies, banjo plucking, and pump organ drones, New England’s own Parsonsfield filled the grey day with plenty of warm joy. Gathering influences from all over music, the talented quartet filters them through their folk vibe to produce a sound that is truly an amalgamation of genres and emotions that captures the essence of American music. Whether it’s Chris Freeman’s lilting vocals, the deft storytelling of their lyrics, or the timeless mixture of mandolin and banjo, Parsonsfield know how to capture the rugged rural spirit of the Northeast.
The heavy psych-rock head bangers power house that is one of Chicago’s very own, and we are proud to boast about them. The following that they have accumulated over the years is always ready to show up whenever they are playing around town. The fans are always into each performance as if they were experiencing Post Animal for the first time. Closing out Rib Fest on Sunday night even as the temperature dropped, we just needed some quick licks and heady jams by Post Animal to shake the cold. Moving through a slightly shorter set than usual, the boys moved through the material exceptionally. Per usual after leaving the show, the mood of the crowd is raised to a level of bliss and awe. Post Animal does not have any upcoming Chicago shows soon, as the group will be traveling to Europe next.
Matt Gold / Lane Beckstrom
Matt Gold / 📷 : MVM
Lane Beckstrom is a multi-instrumentalist who has played in various Chicago groups. One of his earlier groups, Kids These Days, featured Vic Mensa. Moving on, he has been playing with The Juju Exchange, playing drums for Knox Fortune, playing bass in Resavoir, and leading his own solo projects. The Lane Beckstrom Trio took the stage first at the Hideout with drummer Jeremy Cunningham (Resavoir, Nick Mazzarella) and violinist/vocalist Macie Stewart (Ohmme). Beckstrom set the mood for the night and informed the crowd that the performance would be one of improvisations and nothing had been written. Then, the band took off. The Beckstrom Trio were total equals, in-sync, and flowed together with precision. They allowed space for one another to lead during the jams, but still came back to unison. The basis of the performance boasted experimental and free-flowing jazz, though the trio moved way past those boundaries. Big stand-outs of the evening were the violin and vocals of Macie Stewart. Stewart’s violin playing was truly amazing, and with the help of some effects and pedals, she was able to turn the violin into a futuristic ray gun of sound that stops while you sit there thinking, “did this sound really come from a violin?” Still, Stewart was primarily traditional in her musicianship, and she weaved her way through the leading Beckstrom while also complimenting Cunningham on drums. Stewart’s vocals were like a wave function taking us into a quantum realm. Cunningham was not to be forgotten in the back hunched over his drums like a mad scientist. Continuously switching from mallet side, to handle, to his normal drumsticks, Cunningham was getting the most out of each piece of equipment he had up there. At one point, he took as many drumsticks as he could grab to play the rim of his drum kit, letting the sticks fall back on the rim as quickly as possible. Beckstom, the multi-instrumentalist, was on his bass for the evening and was impressive for his skills leading and flawless soloing during the group’s third song.
Matt Gold, who stood in back watching all of the Beckstrom Trio’s performance, was equally impressed. One of my favorite things to see at a show is the bands on the bill taking in each other’s performance and supporting the other artist. Beckstrom and Stewart were front row for Gold’s set, and Cunningham would have been there, too, if not for pulling a double and sitting in with Gold. The Gold trio was primarily set around Gold’s guitar play as he is becoming one the most respected players in Chicago. From solo work, to his bands Sun Speak and Storm Jameson, as well as sitting in with Makaya McCraven, Gold’s stage presence is very much like his guitar play: it keeps moving. There is never a standstill or lull where you brush off what the artists are doing. Gold seemed to be using the vertical approach to playing. He would start out with a riff and then solo out of it, then come back to the original riff and solo out of it again, but in a whole different way. His excellent use of this style of play gave the performance a continuously fresh vibe. The group blended rock, blues, and jazz-fusion into a beautiful performance. Cunningham, who was playing his second set of the night, was reeled in a little bit from the beat experiments he was conducting earlier in the night. To end the night, Gold lead a beautiful version of his song, “August Fairgrounds,” which showcases his range and speed. Gold has a very bellowing tone in his guitar, and it was at the forefront of each song played throughout the night. Gold is constantly popping up around the city playing shows, so when he is not playing in one of his three bands, he is finding someone else to play with.
Matt Gold is playing at the California Clipper on July 25th with his trio. Lane Beckstrom can be seen playing in various other groups starting on June 20th, then on June 24th, Beckstrom and Cunningham can be seen playing with Resavoir on June 30th at Logan Square Arts Festival and again on July 26th at Sleeping Village for a Resavoir album release show. Jeremy Cunningham schedule can be seen here for his various upcoming appearances.
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit / Father John Misty / Jade Bird
Jason Isbell / 📷 : EVK
It was a dark and stormy night at the venue known as Huntington Bank Pavilion, formerly known as FirstMerit Bank Pavilion, formerly known as Charter One Pavilion, formerly known as Lakefront Pavilion. Upon arrival, I was informed that the venue would now like to be referred to as 🏦🏦🏦. (Which makes sense when you consider the ticket prices: $8 bottled waters, $15 tallboys of Coors Light, VIP upsells, etc.) This was my first time at the venue, and my experience was quite confusing. It was a blend of everything I’ve always hated about big stadium shows, combined with a healthy dose of fun, and a newfound appreciation for some of the things I’ve always hated about big stadium shows.
Jade Bird was terrific. She played solo acoustic, I assume due to time constraints. Her songs translated quite well to just voice and guitar. Jade and her guitar sounded lively, ringing out with clarity while providing just enough percussion to drive a solid rhythm throughout the songs. The sound was solid from just behind the pit. Jade ran through a strong set which seemed sequenced to allow her to catch her breath between impressively fast singing on foot stompers like Uh Huh, Good Woman, Love Has All Been Done Before, and I Get No Joy. Unfortunately the weather was cool, wet, and rainy and less than a fourth of the crowd was present and listening. If you are not familiar with her music, I encourage you to check out her latest album and watch her set from the previous night in Minneapolis.
Misty was up next, and the crowd continued to filter in while being showered intermittently with rain. The fog and mist provided eery views with Gotham City-esque buildings peeking in and out of the clouds in the distance. I started the set in the VIP area, and it sounded terrible. (At least the first third of Misty’s set suffered from typical stadium sound issues. Big booming bass, piercing treble, and practically nothing in between except unintentional distortion. It was as if the PA were an iPhone set in a bathroom sink for better projection. Having been to 10+ Misty shows over the years, I can say this issue was definitely specific to the venue.) Fortunately, they did seem to dial it in eventually, and the sound was noticeably better as you moved from the VIP area to somewhere near the center of the pavilion. The set itself was solid, pretty standard Misty fare stretching back to Fear Fun a couple of times and covering all albums in between. The focus was on the newer material, and he did bust out the brand new Leanard-Cohen-esque Time Makes Fools of Us All. I appreciated the newfound optimism in We're Only People (And There's Not Much Anyone Can Do About That), where the lyrics changed from “I hope” to “I know you’re somewhere smiling.” I certainly was.
Isbell’s set was rocking, with a good pacing between slower material, upbeat numbers, and plenty of guitar shredding. Jason adjusted the monitors after the third song and seemed to acknowledge the bad sound at the venue by saying, “We only control the little speakers.” The lighting looked good although it was a pretty standard presentation. Due to the weather, which had fortunately let up a bit, they didn’t even need the fog machines and fans.
Speaking of fans, I couldn’t help but observe that many Isbell fans appeared to not give a shit about Misty’s set, and possibly vice versa. That’s unfortunate, because even outside of the name-dropping, I do find some common threads in their music and lyrics, although it’s not always obvious. As my friend JWK pointed out, there is a dichotomy in sincerity between the two artists. As a Misty fan I would argue his last couple albums made good progress in that area.
Isbell’s set neared an end with his simply perfect encore commentary: “Normally at this point we'd walk off stage and come back, but there is a strict curfew so we're just going to play two more songs instead.” Fuck. Yeah.
Pro Tips From a First Timer at Northerly Island
Here’s how to take advantage of 🏦🏦🏦, formerly known as... First, consider getting there early and exploring Northerly Island. There is a beach with bathrooms, walking trails with native landscaping, beautiful views of the lake and city, etc.
At this point I must confess; I brought my kids. Furthermore, I bait-and-switched three friends at the last minute. They were all geared up to hang out with me, and I dropped the K-bomb on them. Just when you think I’ve lost all credibility as a reviewer, allow me to state that in my defense, due to the aforementioned kids and Coors Light tallboys, I didn’t pay much attention to the show either.
Speaking of kids, all shows at 🏦🏦🏦 are all-ages and kids 2 and under are free. My kids, ages 2 and 7, are huge Misty and Jade Bird fans (seriously), so when I saw the relatively cheap VIP tickets and that it was an all-ages show, that clinched it. Fortunately the tour had just switched to Isbell headlining, which worked out perfectly for us. Plus it was Father’s Day weekend, which is the only chance I would ever have to get my partner to help bring the kids to the show and then take them home early. Turns out, the stars aligned (behind a thick set of rain clouds).
(guest author Eric Kingery)
Lots of SOLD OUT shows this week that are not included here
^ All Ages
THURSDAY June 20th
+ Imelda Marcos (Record Release) / Big Syn / Not For You @ Empty Bottle 9PM doors $8
+ Unmanned Ship / Plastic Crimewave Syndicate (Record Release) / Clickbait @ The Hideout 9:30PM $7
+ Uma Bloo, Rose Hotel @ Hungry Brain 9PM $10
The Tillers / + Joybird @ Fitzgeralds 8PM $10
^ Will Varley / Adam Lee / Ross W. Berman IV @ Cobra Lounge 6PM $12
Mystic Braves / Thee Casual Hex / Douglas Slur @ Subterranean 8PM $15
Lucette / The Long Lost @ Schubas 9PM $12
Touche Amore / P.O.S / True Love @ Bottom Lounge 8PM $20
Digable Planets w/ Kweku Collins @ Temperance Beer Company / OUT OF SPACE series 7PM $28
The Accidentals @ SPACE 8PM $20- $30
FRIDAY June 21st
Ruido Fest @ Union Park 12PM $84.99 and up
+ Divino Niño (Record Release) / Bunny / Girl K / DJ Paul Cherry 666 @ Empty Bottle 9PM doors Sold Out (but Empty Bottle always holds a few tickets for doors open)
+ Bonelang (Record Release) / HXLT / Oxymorrons @ Metro 8PM $12
+ Chicago Afrobeat Project / Illville Vanguard / Future Rootz DJs @ Bourbon on Division 9PM $15
+ Advance Base / Claire Cronin / Moon Racer @ Hungry Brain 9PM $10
+ Telethon (Record Release) / A Dumb Special Secret Guest / Sad Witches @ G-Man Tavern 8PM $8
+ Haymarket Riot / Something Is Waiting / Titanpointe / GDYE @ Burlington 8PM Cover
The Gotobeds / Greys / Ethers / DJ Doug Mosurock @ Sleeping Village 9:30PM $10
Sinkane featuring the Mad Alchemy Light Show / Bassel and the Supernaturals @ Chop Shop 9PM $15
NRBQ @ The Hideout 9PM $20
Fog Lake / Friendship / Options @ Beat Kitchen 8PM $12
Magda / Hiroko Yamamura / M.Sylvia @ Spybar 10PM doors Sold Out (Limited Tix at door)
SATURDAY June 22nd
Ruido Fest @ Union Park 12PM $84.99 and up
Ravenswood On Tap @ Ravenswood 12PM $5 donation
A.A. Bondy @ Sleeping Village 9PM $18
Bad Luck / Save Face / Unturned / Caving / Old Sol @ Subterranean 6:30PM $16
Sonreal / DJ Rich-A @ Lincoln Hall 8PM $17
NRBQ @ The Hideout 9PM $20
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe / Neal Francis @ Thalia Hall 7:30PM doors $26 - $36
SUNDAY June 23rd
Ruido Fest @ Union Park 12PM $84.99 and up
Ravenswood On Tap @ Ravenswood 12PM $5 donation
A Day In The Country @ The Hideout 2PM $15 ($20 doors)
+^ Case / Corn on My Dinner Plate / The Hazy Seas @ Subterranean 7PM $10
+ Disrobe / The Phone Calls / Get Up W/The Get Downs @ Burlington 8PM Cover
Wand / Dreamdecay / Wet Piss @ Sleeping Village 8PM $16
Hembree / Bloxx / Warbly Jets @ Lincoln Hall 7:30PM $15
Yo La Tengo / The Minus 5 @ Temperacne Beer Comapany / OUT OF SPACE SERIES 6PM $28
MONDAY June 24th
Lever / Post Child / Happy Face @ Empty Bottle 8:30PM doors FREE
The Technicolors / + Deal Casino / Ivy Dye @ Beat Kitchen 8PM $12
TUESDAY June 25th
+ Liam Kazar / Tenci @ The Hideout 9PM $7
+ Jude Shuma / Jungle Green / Fran @ Sleeping Village 9:30PM $5
The Mystery Lights / Future Punx / Town Criers @ Empty Bottle 8:30PM doors $12
Whoa Dakota / Daisychain / Natalie Grace Alford / Maggie Kubley @ Tonic Room 8PM $10
WEDNESDAY June 26th
Koeosaeme / CVN / + Fire-Toolz x Mukqs / Fetter @ The Hideout 9:30PM $10
Dressy Bessy / Colleen Green / Potty Mouth @ Sleeping Village 8PM $12
Magna Carda / Demuetruest / AMFM DJs @ Empty Bottle 9PM doors $10
See you at the show Chicago!