Welcome to the first issue of year two of Chicago Crowd Surfer. Last week we reached our first anniversary, so we’re celebrating with a new email campaign! Sign up to receive our weekly email as soon as that week’s issue goes live. Please subscribe and help us get CCS to the public faster and more efficiently! It was a Hideout heavy week with the SXSW send-off and Joybird’s record release backtoback at the iconic venue. We joke, but it was Nnamdi sighting #327 and 328 at both shows! That man is everywhere! (And you know it’s a cool show when Nnamdi arrives.)
Plus we have interviews with the awesome Girl K, ahead of her album release this Friday, as well as the enigmatic Jovan Landry, the architect of Synergy. The first all- female-produced and performed hip-hop record is set to drop Friday as well.
This week saw seven records come out of the area including new ones from The Moses Gunn, Blithe Field and Chicken Happen, a debut from Warm Human, and of course Joybird’s fantastic Landing. It was a huge week for music in Chicago and beyond, so buckle up Surfers, click on our playlist, and get reading. Here’s to another year of giving you everything you need to know about the music you need to know about!
Keep Seeing Live Music!
“I don’t think age should ever limit the length and success of our dreams- there are so many young people out there selling out shows, being nominated for Oscars, competing in the Olympics. Ambition starts young.” - Kathy Patino
⬐ SHOWS ⬎
Joybird / Glad Rags / MichA
Joybird / 📷 : all by LPL
A record release show is always a bit of an emotional experience: the moment when an artist shares their project with the world can be cathartic. Something they have spent months, or years, working on is finally released from the personal into the public sphere. What may have been ephemeral, only played live, is now laid down permanently. It’s an extant record of that moment in time. Last Thursday, at The Hideout, just that sort moment unfolded. Joybird was able to reveal Landing to a gathered group of friends and fans who fully embraced what the work had to offer.
The night began with an inspired set by MICHA, once local Michelle J. Rodriguez’s loungy alter-ego. The singer/songwriter/composer has recently jetted off to New York to workshop one of her musical theatrical creations, but returned in support of her friends for an inspiring set filled with her humorous and touching tunes. Her magnetic stage presence put the whole crowd at ease, and after her set, the room was brimming with a nervous energy that bled right into the performance of the enigmatic Glad Rags.
An orchestral cacophony of groove, Chicago’s Glad Rags is something only this city could produce. An amalgamation of music hall, blues, jazz, funk, and soul (with a some klezmer thrown in); they are an experience unto themselves. Self-described as “psychedelic orchestral synth pop,” they have a way of taking hold of a crowd and bending them at their will. Matthew Gladly lead the charge with his mix of Tom Waits and shades of Paul Shaffer, and Maryann Michael’s one of a kind deep vocal delivery just added to the many layers that made up this fantastic collective. Last year’s Wonder Under was a breezy marvel of a record that didn’t get as much notice as it deserved. Look out for this inspiring act that will hopefully hitting a couple street fests this season.
In between sets, Alyssa Martinez shared some of her evocative and emotionally effective poetry. You can find her work on her website. We highly recommend checking it out.
Transportive and evocative, the music of Joybird brings the mountains of Appalachia to the urban streets of Chicago. It’s a potent mixture of Americana that lands in all the right ways. singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jess McIntosh has assembled a killer trio to back her (Bill Harris: Drums, Aaron Smith: Bass, Emily Nott: guitar and keys), and on this evening, multiple guests joined her for a straight run through new record Landing. Equally comfortable on guitar or banjo, but shining brightest on her fiddle (her original instrument), McIntosh sang of themes between the margins; the momentarily lost, the struggling to find their place, and the joy found in the little things. Stand outs “Molly Ban” and closer “My House,” really sunk their hooks in and led us into the gorgeous world in which Joybird resides. A small contingent of dancers formed down front, and at one point, MICHA was two stepping with Nnamdi! It was an evening filled with unforgettable moments that will be cherished by those that were there every time they throw on this eclectic and vivid record.
Joybird has multiple gigs coming up in the city, including March 28th at Nonny in Arlington Heights, March 29th at The Hungry Brain and April 17th at Tonic Room. Check out their event page for more info.
SXSW Send Off Party
Dehd / 📷 : LPL
What started in 1987 as a way to feature the talents of Austin, Texas, South by Southwest now hosts the epicenter of world music for eleven days every March. . Over 1,300 bands and thousands upon thousands of fans, label reps, agents, journalists, and others descend on the “Live Music Capital of the World” for a raucous and exhausting week and a half of music that happens everywhere and anywhere. From Churches and coffee shops, to bars and restaurants, to parking lots and parks, there is no where in Austin where music isn’t happening. Chicago always has a large contingent of acts who make the pilgrimage, and for the last eleven years, The Hideout has been throwing a party and giving the proceeds to the bands that play: a warmup for the showcases that will dominate their time at the festival. This year was a bit emotional, given that the Lincoln Yards go-ahead was handed down at a zoning committee meeting last Thursday which may spell the beginning of the end for the legendary venue, and a large crowd filled the venue for the duration of the day. Some even stood in line in the rain for a chance to see some of the best acts heading to the annual fest.
Already full, the venue immediately embraced Izzy Olive and company as Half Gringa took the stage. The excellent singer/songwriter ran through quite a few songs off breakthrough record Gruñona, and quite a few fresh ones including new single “Teggsas,” as well as a brand new one she performed solo. The bands layered, indie rock is the perfect foil for Olive’s frank storytelling and astute emotive lyrics.
The future is bright for Tasha, who packs so much beauty and glory into a small package. A woman alone with her guitar onstage, her smile lighting the room as she sings of experiences small and expansive, last year’s Alone At Last is a revelation, and Chicago is better for knowing Tasha has a home here.
Producer / Singer / Fashion Designer, Tatiana Hazel excels at everything she touches, and her set showed off all her talents as she ran through quite a few new tunes including plenty off last year’s Toxic and brought in some of her tunes in Spanish to get the crowd moving down front. Her black vinyl dress set off by a purple boa-lined overcoat was the perfect accent to the West Side native’s groovy tunes.
Aggressive and challenging, the music of Good Fuck is not for everyone. The duo of partners Tim Kinsella (Joan of Arc, Cap’n Jazz) and producer Jenny Pulse just put out their debut self titled record a few weeks back, and it’s blend of electro industrial beats with intellectual, poetic lyrics hits all the right chords for us.
One of the most exciting acts in Chicago right now, The Curls are gonna hit it big with new record Bounce House, coming later this spring. New single “Isn’t It Funny” just shows how fantastic this art rock collective can get. Their set was the same ball of energy that they always bring, each and every time.
Seminal Chicago mainstays and Bloodshot Records recording artists Waco Brothers brought the house down with their distinctive mix of punk and outlaw country. With a superstar lineup made up of veterans of many local and international acts, they rocked the packed house with high kicks and guitar theatrics galore.
Possibly the record we’re looking forward to the most this spring is Dehd’s Water, due out May 10th. The jangley surf trio rocked out as they brought the evening to a close with their signature off-kilter sound that comes together perfectly through the connective tissue of Eric McGrady’s snare and tom.
All the proceeds from the evening were donated to the bands to aid in their trip down to Austin. Thanks to The Hideout and all the acts for this fantastic day! Good luck at SXSW! We’ll hold the fort down here in our namesaken city.
NEWS + NOTES
Despite the best efforts of organizers the zoning committee passed the Lincoln Yards resolution, putting the future of The Hideout into question. However, there were victories in the protest as the venue complex run by Live Nation has been scrapped from the plans for the development that no one asked for or wants despite what the paid speakers at the meeting said.
Spring Awakening has announced it’s moving to Hoffman Estates. The annual electronic fest will take place at Poplar Creek at 59-90 Entertainment District June 7-9. Headliners DJ Snake, Zedd, Martin Garrix, Rezz, Griz and DJ Illenium have been announced, and the rest of lineup drops March 15th when tickets will go on sale.
Lots of SOLD OUT shows this week that are not included here
THURSDAY March 14th
Beams / Kelsey Wild / Jessica Risker
The Empty Bottle 8:30 doors $8 ($10 doors)
The Dollyrots / Van Goose / The Just Luckies
Reggies 7PM $13
Amy LaVere & Will Sexton
The Hideout 9:30PM $10
Can't Swim / Homesafe / Save Face / Youth Fountain
Subterranean 6PM $15
Arkells / The Greeting Committee
Bottom Lounge 7PM $16
VHS Collection / WLDLFE / Emily Blue
Metro 8PM $19
FRIDAY March 15th
Girl K (Record Release) / Fran / Engine Summer
Schubas 9PM $10 ($13 doors)
Synergy Album Release and Exhibition
Columbia College 7PM $10 ($15 day of)
Tunde Olaniran /RV Mendoza / Rae Chardonnay / Ahya Simone / Lucy Stoole / Thair
Sleeping Village 8PM $12
Lettering / Cleveland Avenue / Ethel Shank / A Story Unwritten
Cubby Bear 8PM $8
Early Eyes / BESTMAN / Swatches
Beat Kitchen 8PM $12
Kamaal Williams / Jitwam
Empty Bottle 9PM doors $15 ($18 doors)
King Buffalo / REZN
The Hideout 9PM $12
Bronze Radio Return / Wildermiss
Lincoln Hall 9PM $17 ($20 doors)
SATURDAY March 16th
Oozing Wound (Record Release) / Platinum Boys / Hitter / DIM
The Empty Bottle 8:30PM doors $10
Blood People / Bleach Party / Totally Cashed / Pylons / and 4 more bands
The Burlington 4PM $15 cover
Jessie Winslow / Ty Maxon
The Hungry Brain 9PM FREE
The Tossers / The Avondale Ramblers / Hymen Moments
The Metro 9PM $16
Cass McCombs / Sam Evian
Lincoln Hall 9PM $20
Rainbow James / American Grizzly / Quiet Oaks
Schubas 10PM $10
Rubblebucket / Twain
SPACE 8PM $22
The Infamous Stringdusters / John Craigie
The Vic 8PM $25
Houndmouth / Boa
Thalia Hall 7:30PM doors $25
Kyle Hollingsworth Band / Crosseyed & Phishless
Martyr’s 9PM $20
SUNDAY March 17th
Chin Up, Kid / Offended by Everything / Cleveland Avenue / When The Sun Sets
Subterranean (downstairs) 8PM $10
Nude Model, Crumpler, The Falbonauts w/DJ Thirsty Grandpa
The Hideout 7PM $8
Martyrs 8PM $15 ($17 doors)
Los Lonely Boys / Dave Herrero / Anne Harris
City Winery 8PM $48 - $65
A Benefit for Old Town School of Folk:
Athenaeum Theatre 7PM $65 - $85
The Ike Reilly Assassination / Brendan O’Shea
Lincoln Hall 7PM $25
MONDAY March 18th
Elephant Gym / Tamar Aphek / William Covert
The Empty Bottle 8:30PM doors FREE
Not For You / Ellis / Fauvely
Schubas 9PM FREE
TUESDAY March 19th
Be Forest / Lightfoils / Blue Unit / Shimmer DJs
The Empty Bottle 8:30PM doors $10
Sid Sriram / Jake Sherman
Sleeping Village 8PM $15
WEDNESDAY March 20th
Molly Nilsson / Apostille / Accessory
The Empty Bottle 8:30PM doors $13 ($15 doors)
Art / Daisybones / Impulsive Hearts / Noiseland
Subterranean (Downstairs) 8PM $8
Courtney / Clever Girls / Underwire / La Rosa Noir
The Burlington 8PM Cover
The Blue Stones / The Million Reasons
Schubas 7:30PM $10
Alex Di Leo / Capital Soirée / Louis the XVII
Cobra Lounge 6PM $10
Jukebox The Ghost / The Mowglis / Twin XL
The Metro 6PM $24
See you at the show Chicago!