Summer Camp Music Festival: Campfire Stage, some primitive RV camping,vendors, Pyramid Stage, Vibe Tent, Starshine Stage / photo by LPL

Editor's Note
Welcome to issue #13 of Chicago Crowd Surfer! This week we have our Summer Camp slideshow, along with a review of the U2 show at the UC last weekend from our 12th contributer MC! Two weeks ago we  launched our Summer Fest Guide for May and June. We have added more content this week with some lineup additions - take a gander! It has all your lineup and schedule needs for all the street and park fests we think are worth checking out.

Seeing live music gives us joy, and it is our mission, in these trying times, to spread some of that joy to you. We don’t just want to spread it, we want to share it; which is why we are a crowd-sourced publication. We want you to join us: to write about, and share pictures of, the shows you attend, the new albums you love, the bands you adore, and any other thing that has to do with seeing, performing, or experiencing music in Chicago. Please send any submissions to chicago.crowd.surfer@gmail.com. We are now up to eleven contributors and are always looking for more! We may not publish everything we get, and we reserve the right to edit, but will always try and seek the submitters’ approval. Our mission is to be a positive publication, so if you have negative things to say - please look for another forum in which to express that opinion. We aim to wade through the bullshit of this modern life to find what good is left. See you at the show Chicago.

Keep Seeing Live Music!

KPL & JB

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SUMMER CAMP MUSIC FESTIVAL

 

Three Sisters Park

Chillicothe, IL

May 24th-27th

Umphrey's McGee Friday Night: set Two / all photos by KPL and LPL

 

The nexus of the jam and electronic scene descended on Three Sisters Park this Memorial Day weekend for the 18th Summer Camp Music Festival (or  “Scamp” as we who frequent the festival affectionately refer to it). What began as a two stage small camping festival has grown into a ten stage behemoth that draws over 20,000 fans, artists and musicians to Chillicothe, IL every year. The love some have for this festival is palpable from the moment you arrive, and rolls along through the weekend until it is carried out on the souls and faces of Scampers packed up and heading home. “Happy Scamping!” is frequently heard as a greeting, an affirmation or as the occasional mood adjuster to keep on going.

Someone once asked us why we would spend 4 days camping in the woods where there is music pumping all around us from noon to four am every day, and we usually answer with a question: “Why wouldn’t we?” Scamp is a bacchanal of massive proportions. A dancing ball of energy you would most likely see from space. Our cover photo features just a third of the park and four of the stages. It is a massive undertaking and around-the-clock effort by the promoters, park staff, crew, and volunteers to make this festival happen every year. Which is why we keep coming back. To see what they can do next, how far they can walk that tightrope. This year featured a brand new Pyramid stage, with DJs spinning inside a gigantic LED paneled structure.

We debated for a long time on how to best put the Scamp experience into words, but in the end LPL and I decided it couldn’t be done without writing a novel. So here are some snapshots we were able to capture so you can at least get a sense of the talent on display over the course of the festival. Every good trip has a slide show and we would like to share with you our CCS Scamp Slide Show:

Four days is a long a time to spend at a music fest, that we will admit, and in a lot of ways we took it easier than in the past. True, we were up till past 4 am on Friday and Saturday, but we are reaching the age were we took it easy for most of those days in order to make it through the late shows. The highlight of the festival was one of those: the set Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9 or simply Tribe to fans) gifted us in the Red Barn. They played way past their time, no apology necessary, and ended with an extended version of “Instantly” that brought the house down.

However, the thing we will remember forever is Al Schnier of Moe. guesting with Phil Lesh for a rousing “Jack Straw.” That one will always be there, reminding us of our time at Scamp 2018. Thanks for the Moe.mories. See you next year. Maybe. We’ll see. Probably will happen. Who knows. But yeah, we’ll be there….

-KPL & LPL

From LPL:

When you fest with other people it is possible to get cabin fever, even among 20,000 people. Sometimes you need to split off and have an adventure of your own. Sunday night I journeyed over to locals Future Rock to see my favorite trio of middle aged men laying down some heavy riffs. Well, heavy for Summer Camp standards. On my way from Sunshine Stage to Starshine Stage, the sun was setting over the soybean field. A low hanging branch had grown over the festival fence, allowing myself and a few other Scampers to climb out and dance in the rays of the setting sun. In the mad heat of the weekend, I had fully embraced the crop top trend and was dancing and feeling good, and quite young! Then a crew of people (who were actually young) charged past my post to stand directly in front of me. They were still on a high, post-some other band, and danced a little harder than I was. I decided to ride my high, lose my spot and groove on back to join KPL for Phil Lesh and The Terrapin Family Band’s 2nd set. The adventure worked. Happy Scamping!
 
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U2
Experience + Innocence Tour

Night 2 - United Center

May 23rd

U2 / all photos by KPL

Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr. The Irish quartet known as U2 rolled through the Windy City last week for a two-night stay at The United Center. Gosh, are these guys ever going to give up?  Or can Bono just shut up? No, not yet.

The 2018 Experience+Innocence Tour is the second part of the Innocence+Experience Tour that launched in 2015. Sandwiched in between, and sort of unplanned, was the 30th Anniversary Joshua Tree Tour. In case you missed it, it was the seminal 1987 album played from front to back in a live setting, for the first time in the band’s history. For the casual U2 fan, this was the tour to see. “Streets,” “Still Haven’t Found,” “With or Without You…” played at every show. We can all get on board with those songs, right? As for the 2018 Experience+Innocence Tour? Well, it’s quite different.

This show was everything the Joshua Tree Tour wasn’t.

The opening set showcases Bono suspended in the middle of the arena inside a video cage. Then comes a mix of augmented reality, lighted catwalks, and the most realistic video screens you will ever see at a rock show. Oh, and a total of 6 stages for the band to play on.  It’s U2 channeling their bombastic, over the top 90’s image. Also known to be the decade of four men chopping down the Joshua Tree.

As for the new songs, the bluesy “Lights of Home” and the punk rocker, “Red Flag Day” seemed to attract the biggest reactions from the crowd. In all, 9 songs from Songs of Experience were played. Yet, the band left room for some of their biggest hits as they belted out “I Will Follow,” “Beautiful Day,” and “Pride (In The Name of Love).” But it was “The Ocean,” “Acrobat,” and “Staring at The Sun” that really got the United Center’s attention. It is refreshing to see the band dig deep in their catalogue and make these songs sound fresh in 2018. Bono even brought back his Zoo-TV alter ego, MacPhisto. Again, channeling 90’s U2.

Interestingly enough, the show ends with three straight ballads including two new songs. While the songs were played with precision and purpose, it’s maybe too risky. The encore could potentially use a “Bad” or a “Streets” to give the arena one last jolt of energy. Yet, that’s not one the band is going for this time around.

Musically, the band continues to sound superb. Bono, while older and certainly removed from his prime, still sounds like an artist so concerned about his craft. His voice remains energetic and loose and he works the crowd like very few front men can. The Edge, a minimalist at heart, plays with such energy and grace as his notes shimmer throughout the arena. And, then there is Adam Clayton & Larry Mullen Jr. This may be the tightest rhythm section in rock history. Go see for yourself, if you haven’t already.

40 years in, and this U2 phenomenon still isn’t a greatest hits act. This is a rock band still taking risks; still trying to prove something. To some, they might be trying too hard. To many, they still cease to amaze.

Setlist – U2 – Chicago Night 2

Videos

Lights of Home

Red Flag Day

Acrobat

-MC


ALBUM REVIEWS

deeper
deeper
fire talk

One guitar jangles over another and the syncopated bass and drums drive the tunes along, while Nic Gohl’s voice rides just above the mix, blending into the instruments eb and flow so much at times it becomes just a part of the music. Recorded in their rehearsal studio, their debut album has an intimate feel that draws you in and makes you feel at home in their sonic landscape, even if at an aloof arm's distance. 

Formed in 2014, but just now releasing their self titled debut after honing these tunes in basements and clubs all over Chicago and the country, Deeper is made up of Gohl on guitar and vocals, Mike Clawson on guitar, Shiraz Bhatti on drums and Drew McBride on bass. These four tackle these tunes with a controlled abandon live that really translates to the record. “Is this real life?” Gohl wonders on final track “Trust.” I assure you Mr. Gohl. At this point. In this world. We are all asking ourselves the same question. 

-KPL

Deeper is playing Do Division this Sunday June 3rd at 3PM on the East Stage. (see Fest Guide for more info.) 

 

tracyanne & Danny
tracyanne & danny
merge

Camera Obscura is a Scottish band that helped define my post high school musical tastes, along with Belle & Sebastian and Mogwai to round out the trifecta. So if you’ve spent any time listening to indie pop over the last 15 years, or you spent a good deal of time with any of my old playlists, you’ll recognize Tracyanne Campbell’s beautifully maudlin voice. She and Danny Coughlan began writing together in 2012, when his band Crybaby toured with hers, but it wasn’t until years later that a cassette tape started the beginnings of this collab.

Even though this is their first record of duets, Campbell and Coughlan were born to make music together. Their voices harmonize, call and respond, and braid together like they’ve been doing it for years. Produced by Edwyn Collins and Sean Read (Dexys Midnight Runners!), the self-titled effort swings from simple and heartbreaking to lavish and orchestral.

As is no surprise to indie rock crooner fans, about half the songs are ballads about heartache. “Alabama” is a tribute song to a departed Camera Obscura member that contrasts the somber lyrics with an upbeat country melody and catchy chorus that would fit right in on any Camera Obscura album. The country twang is peppered on a couple other tracks and is more proof that country-indie pop is my new favorite fusion.

What’s most impressive is that everyone is willing to play whatever part they need to. The album succeeds because it’s a true team effort, and not just Campbell or Coughlan letting the other take lead vocals. The backing band is subdued when the song requires, and the strings and horns explode on “It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts” in such a way that I’ve been humming it nonstop for a week.

Only 15 minutes to spar? Check out these 3 tracks.

Home & Dry

It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts

Alabama

Postscript: While Camera Obscura may never release another album (bandmember Carey Lander passed in 2015, throwing their future into the unknown), it’s great to hear Traceyanne’s voice back with new music.

-JB

Tracyanne & Danny play Lincoln Hall on June 27th. It’s only $20, and it’s bound to be the perfect hump day activity.

 

thunderpussy
thunderpussy
thunderpussy, stardog, republic

Who says guitar rock is dead!? These four women from Seattle might have something to say about that. From the shredding on slow burner “Fever” to the straight up three chord riffs in “Gentle Frame” this is garage rock in its most polished and straight forward frame. Their live shows are already legendary and this debut studio record shows some of that audacity and grit that makes everyone who has seen them rave.

They gift us a couple power ballads (a classic of the genre) as well.  “All In” begins with the mantra “Keep it together, keep it together now.” and ends with Molly Sides sceams over and over  “My heart’s beating!,” and closer “Young & Pure” are both examples of how to execute the power ballad to perfection.

What makes this album a special one is contained within the fact that this was a man’s genre for so many years with a few exceptions: Heart, L7, and Ex Hex being a few of them; and with this female influence comes a new perspective. The subject matter turns more nuanced; a bit more timeless. The male bravado dissipates and true rocking can commence.

-KPL

Sadly they were in town last Monday at Cobra Lounge and we had to miss it due to festival preparations. We are really hoping they end up in the second wave of Riot Fest artists.

 

chvrches
love is dead
chvrches, glassnote

Lauren Mayberry wails “I have been waiting my whole life to grow old, and now we never will, never will.” as synths explode behind her vocals and Scottish sensation CHVRCHES begins their most cohesive record to date. Each track flows into the next with precision, with sleek production and unfettered beauty. However, this is their first real mainstream effort and it may fall short due to the complicated subject matter. Mayberry claims it was inspired by the “death of empathy” she sees everywhere. Hence the simple direct title Love Is Dead.

Many listeners these days do not want to be reminded of their own shortcomings and foibles, an issue that has spread to most corners of our social media threaded landscape. What CHVRCHES is trying to do would have worked better in the late 90’s than it does today. But we need this today. Artists that are willing to shine a light on the dark corners of society and show us our own weaknesses and how to spot them ourselves. How else will we be able to turn that corner into fixing them, if we still can.

-KPL

CHVRCHES is playing Lolla on the Grant Park Stage at 6:45PM on Thursday Aug. 2nd and are playing a Lolla Pre-show at The Metro on Wednesday Aug. 1st at 9PM for $36.


WHAT WE'RE JAMMING TO THIS WEEK

tancred
Something else

Jess Abbott put out her last single before her new album Nightstand drops on Friday and it is our kind of earworm. Quality indie guitar rock that gets our heads bobbing.

She is opening for The Joy Formidable at Lincoln Hall on Nov. 3rd. Tix are on sale for $25.

gift of gab (feat. R.A. The Rugged Man, A-F-R-O)
Freedom Form Flowing

Half of the duo Blackalicious, Gift of Gab has been filling our smooth flow hip hop needs since the 90’s. And this track, his second this year, and his first new solo tunes since 2012, doesn’t disappoint with rhymes coming so fast they make your ears spin.

There are no Chicago dates on Blackalicious current tour, and Gift of Gab hardly ever tours without his mate Chief Xcel.

thick
would you rather? EP

This four song burner from these Brooklyn punk crusaders crashes into you and won’t let go. As they scream in the chorus of opening track “Be Myself:” “I’m gonna be myself, and you can’t stop me.”

Unfortunately they have no Chicago dates coming up. We are crossing our fingers for a Riot Fest spot to be theirs.

The Jayhawks
Everybody knows

The first single off new album Backroads and Abandoned Motels, due out July 13th, is as folky and jangling as you would expect from this Twin Cities quartet who have been putting out quality tunes for over thirty years.  

They are stopping at Thalia Hall on July 13th, the day the new album drops, with Sima Cunningham in support. Tix are $26 - $60.

The Get up Kids
Better this way

Our highschool selfs rejoice when these guys put out new music. A rolicking second single from new EP Kicker, which drops June 8th. (A note from KPL - I saw these guys form in KC during the mid 90’s and was at their first several shows. Always great to see hometown heros still around twenty years later.)

There is no Chicago stop on their current tour but if we had to guess we would say they are gonna end up on the Riot Fest lineup.

 

OTHER NOTABLE JAMS FROM THIS WEEK

  • Matthew And The Atlas - Cali EP

  • The Fever 333 - Trigger

  • R+R=NOW - Resting Warrior

  • Ages and Ages - Needle and Thread

  • Durand Jones & The Indications - Put a Smile on Your Face

  • Moses Sumney - Make Out in My Car (Extended Version)


THIS WEEK'S RECOMMENDED NEW RELEASES

Parliament  /  medicaid fraud dog  /  C kunspyruhzy

A sprawling 23 track, hour and forty five minute opus from the masters of funk, 38 years after their last album. Always ones to comment on current events, this record is no different. But unlike previous efforts laden with metaphor, they get right to the point with tunes about social media, insurance, drugs and health issues. Considering much of the original band is in their sixties and seventies it is no surprise they prefer outright honesty instead of hiding behind the science fiction metaphors of the past.

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic will be funking up the Petrillo Music Shell at Taste of Chicago on July 15th. If you want seats they range from $18 to $50 but the lawn is free. Get there early for a spot, the show starts at 4:30PM.

 

Sudan Archives  /  sink  /  stones throw

This singer and violinist from Ohio produces some of the most interesting R&B influenced music we have come across in years. Following last years break out self titled EP this six track effort further develops the waving rhythms and beats that envelop your mind with touching beauty.

She just opened for Tune-Yards at Thalia in March so we probably won’t see her around again until the fall.

 

naji  / act I  /  thousand story

A producer/rapper who took his moniker from an arabic word meaning “to survive,” Naji produces some of the most atmospheric hip hop we have ever heard. These five tracks all combine to make one long song that brings us on a journey along with this Erie, PA native.

He has no tour dates as of now. Boo!

 

welshly arms / no place is home / position, universal

Rock with a gospel edge and some blues thrown in may be the best way to describe this six piece hailing from good ol’ Cleveland. Their second album adds some maturity to their sound while keeping their signature feel.

Welshly Arms is part of the 101WKQX PIQNIQ at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre on June 30th. Tix are $18 - $68 for 10 bands, including our favs The Front Bottoms!

 

pusha T  /  Daytona  / getting out our dreams, Def jam

The king of coke rappers puts out a new one that adds to the legend of his own making. With local controversial icon Kanye doing the producing. Does a seven song album in hip hop count as an LP or EP? When most rap albums are upwards of fifteen tracks these days, we say this is an EP, but it runs laps around most other mainstream MCs. (Another controversy has come to Kanye due to the album art from this record, which is of the bathroom Whitney Houston passed in. Bobby Brown is not happy…)

No current tour dates for Pusha T that bring him around here.

 

MORE NOTABLE RELEASES

Ari Roar / calm down / bella union

Caleb Cambell’s solo project Ari Roar takes us from 60’s psych pop thru to the lo-fi of today. A breezy album that goes perfect with the long hot Chicago days.

He is currently not on tour. Why not Ari! Come play Chicago! Please!

xavier rudd / storm boy / xavier rudd, nettwerk

This Australian folker is huge back home and is breaking ground abroad. He blends native drums with folk, reggae and rock to produce a one of a kind sound.

His tour is bringing him to The Metro on June 21st at 8PM. Tix are $27 advance and $32 day of show.  

chad valley / imaginary music / cascine

The producer moniker of Hugo Manuel, Chad Valley draws you in with it’s intimate turning expansive sound.

He is visiting Beat Kitchen on June 22nd at 9PM and tix are only $13.

wand / perfume / drag city

Solid indie rock out of LA. If you dig Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees, you’ll dig this. Not as hard as those two acts but they always build to a peak from the mellow.

Wand is doing a two night stand at The Hideout on June 18th and 19th with Dead Rider and Itasca (18th) and Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker (19th) in support. Tix are $15 a performance.

bernice / puff: in the air without a shape / arts & crafts

Toronto has a history of producing great indie rock and Bernice is working their way to the top of the pile with this impressive sophomore full length.

No current dates outside their home for now. We’re hoping this great record will change that.

jenny hval / the long sleep / sacred bones

No one sounds like Jenny Hval. She is all to her own. This EP is her first new music since her amazing album Blood Bitch two years ago.

The Norwegian artist has no U.S. tour dates at this time.

andrew duhon / false river / andrew duhon

New Orleans based folk rocker’s third album may be his best. A record filled with tracks devoted to capturing the way life is lived in the big easy.

He is playing the Windy City Smokeout on July 15th at 1PM. Tix to the mainly country music affair run $110 for a 3 day pass and $40 a one day pass.  

snow patrol / wildness / polydor

Sure it’s arena rock. But when you are one of the better arena rockers and you put out a quality album we take notice.

Snow Patrol is opening for Ed Sheeran at Soldier Field on Oct 4th. The only available tix are in the top sections and are going for $65.50 but if you wanna pay we are sure you can get better.


NOTES & ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

  • Riot Fest released their first wave of artists last night and we are excited! Tix are on sale now! Looks to be another great mid September weekend filled with a balance of new and nostalgia acts. Some of our can’t miss acts include Atmosphere, The Front Bottoms, The Wonder Years, Beck, Blondie, Calpurnia, Kevin Devine, Speedy Ortiz, Bully, and The Fever 333. Check out the whole first wave:
 
 
  • Lolla released their aftershow schedule and tix go on sale this Friday, June 1st at 10AM! Many pre sales have already begun! Check out the schedule below. We’ve already got our tix to Parquet Courts on Thursday and Tank and the Bangas on Friday at Thalia Hall! More notable shows include Billie Eilish at House of Blues and CHVRCHES at Metro on Wednesday; Anderson East at Schubas on Friday; and Manchester Orchestra at House of Blues on Saturday.
 
 
  • ***Web Wizard LPL is running out of magic spells and is seeking a Squarespace Sorcerer

If any of you are a website designer and or programmer, or know someone who will work for beer and concert tickets please contact us at chicagocrowdsurfer@gmail.com.  Squarespace is killing our souls!  
 

  • We are in the midst of constructing a new calendar. We apologize for the delay. Stay tuned for a new calendar design next week.

 

Till then we just think you should all go to Do Division this weekend. So many local and national acts to see. It’ll be a blast, we promise!

That’s all for this week Surfers.

Join us next week for a full report on Do Division and more.  

Till then . . .

See you at the show Chicago! 


Been inspired by a recent musical experience? Excited about an upcoming show? shoot us an email to GET STARTED.

Being a contributor has never been easier. All you have to do is enjoy music, have a good time and tell others about it. We are a community sourced web mag, that means our experts are music lovers in your community. Yes, you are an expert music lover. (We know because you are reading this site) Our goal here is to encourage people to see live music, and have a good time doing it. Get clever with how you would like to contribute, but here are some ideas:

  • See a show and write about what made it great for you (and snap a couple pics)
  • Tell people about CCS
  • Listen to a new album and write a review
  • Share the weekly issue post
  • Buy us a ticket to see a show - we will try to cover the show if you can’t go!
  • Post to our social media sites about news in the local music scene 
  • Help us make a connection to acquire:
    • Press passes
    • Photo passes
    • Promo materials (buttons, stickers, gear, flyers…)

With any contribution, we request email submissions by the following Wednesday morning  (ex. If you see a Friday show, submit 4 days later; ex. Listen to a new album on Tuesday, submit the next day). Please let us know that you want to contribute so we can get you into that week’s issue. You can totally submit a review later than Wednesday, and we may include it. Not to put the pressure on, but we are a weekly mag so we like to keep content current.

-LPL

P.S. If you want a little extra confidence, we really do want to hear from you and expand our community. I am not a trained writer, and personally think my reviews need a good deal of improvement. I keep writing to get better, and people are still reading it!