RUSSIAN CIRCLES / 📷 : KPL

This was a week to remember our dear Surfers! Not only were we forced to move CCS Headquarters last minute due to unforeseen circumstances, we had a whole team taking in the action at Do Division, MDR plugging into the metal at Reggies for Doomed and Stoned Fest, and TLM taking in Laura Stevenson and company at Beat Kitchen! It was a full week that got topped off with an interview with The Curls! Check out our review of their new record Bounce House, set to hit shelves and queues this Friday, along with write-ups on the new affecting TREE record and all the top releases from last Friday. Come on in and experience the Chicago music scene from an on the ground perspective. Click on that playlist link and get ready to explore the week in music. And don’t forget to check out our Summer Festival Guide, giving you up to date info on all the fests worth attending!

Keep Seeing Live Music!

the curls

“I think we'll be getting more adventurous and focused with the music in a smaller core group while maintaining a more loose, revolving cast of collaborators when we go into the studio. I see our next record having loads of improvised features and multiple 30-minute long tracks.”

- Mick Fansler

—> READ THE INTERVIEW <—

 

SHOWS

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Do Division Fest


May 31st - June 2nd

REZN / 📷 : KPL

Every summer, Do Division Fest marks the official start of Chicago’s Street Fest season. While not near the largest of the plethora of street fests that happen every weekend throughout the summer, it is one of the best musically, and this year did not disappoint in the slightest. With plenty of local and national talent on display, (curated by The Empty Bottle and Subterranean,) there was something for every taste. We couldn’t get to every artist over the three days, but our team spread out and caught as much as we could over the fest’s three-day run.

**FRIDAY**

The first day of a street fest is always a trip. The crowds come out in force and food / beverage lines are always a slog till they can figure out their systems, but people that live along the blocks are getting used to the commotion and joining the fray. Friday of Do Division was no different, with some quality acts entertaining the throng, softening any frustrations that came from the crowds and long lines.

REZN / 📷 : NBL

REZN

Worship Doom! The doom/stoner metal group was the shot in the arm needed to start off the weekend. After rushing from work to get over to Division street to catch Rezn, any grogginess left over from a long day were whipped away. From the heavy guitar riffs to looping bass lines and mind-bending breakdowns, REZN treated the early fest-goers to a spectacular performance. With the addition of a saxophone in a few songs, REZN briefly moved into the doom jazz subgenre. There is a certain calmness found through the softer vocals even with a looming black cloud raining down on you, note after note...

-MVM

Bumpus / 📷 : NBL

Bumpus

“Let’s do the music,” yells the band... and from the beginning of their set, the nine piece funk/soul band was grooving high. Bumpus is comprised of two vocalist, drums, guitar, bass, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and keyboard. Most bands are lucky to have one talented singer, but Bumpus has two. Tina Howell is the main vocalist and truly is one of the more talented singers to come around in recent years. Howell is thankful for her skills as she demonstrated this after completing one of her songs;she made the sign of the cross and pointed up to the sky. Everybody had their dancing shoes on, and Bumpus jammed away as the sun set. Bumpus is set to play at Navy Pier(Miller Lite Beer Garden) June 22.

-MVM

Skatalites / 📷 : NBL

Skatalites

“3,2,1 Freedom!” the easy-listening ska band, Skatalites, filled the West Stage with reggae melodies audiences of all ages danced to and enjoyed.  From the loud trumpets and saxophones creating the beat, to the bass guitars and drums forming rock steady melodies, Skatalites celebrated 55 years creating music- they even brought out Queen of Ska, Doreen Shaffer to continue the party. From smooth and slow ska/reggae songs such as “Garden of Love,” to the upbeat tune with Shaffer’s ever-energetic vocals, audiences laughed and danced together, and the band thanked Chicago for 55 years of dedication to great music and great atmosphere and ended their show counting down once more, “3,2,1 Freedom!”

-NBL


Russian Circles / 📷 : KPL

Russian Circles

A packed East Stage rocked out to the decimating Chicago trio Russian Circles to round out a solid Friday night.  With a string of critically-acclaimed records and sold out shows around the world, the post-rock leviathan was easily the highlight of a solid first day lineup. They brought out their fan base (who sell out anywhere they play in the city,) plus the normal fest crowd, who seemed a little bewildered by the crunch-filled instrumental cacophony created by Mike Sullivan (guitar), Dave Turncrantz (drums), and Brian Cook (bass). Highly accessible as far as post-rock goes, with their metal-style hooks and driving beats, Russian Circles is an easy entry point for anyone looking to explore the genre. Their new record Blood Year drops August 2nd. Check them out live at Thalia Hall on September 28th with fellow locals FACS in the opening slot. Tix are $22.

-KPL

**SATURDAY**

As anyone who was there will attest, Saturday got rough, limiting our coverage. Temperatures dropped after a torrential storm that brought rain and hail, but we still got a few acts in, and they deserve full attention for what they brought to the afternoon festivities.

State Champion / 📷 : KPL

State Champion

Though it was overcast, the afternoon was lit up with the country-tinged rock of Louisville’s State Champion. With the rambling, real-life poetic lyrics from Ryan Davis on full display and the rock chops from his mates rending the air, a growing crowd was regaled with long-form tunes that border on the folk of the ‘70s, ala Dylan, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen, with elements of contemporaries ranging from The Hold Steady to Wilco. This is “beard rock” at its best. Their newest record State Flowers dropped last December, and it’s worth a listen for Davis’ outlook and honesty, and the band’s love for musical expression.  

-KPL

Paul Cherry / 📷 : JCB

Paul Cherry

Light as air and full of a retro lounge vibe, Paul Cherry’s tunes are like a refreshing shot of musical energy. The nine piece band he has assembled barely got four songs into their set before the rain cut short the mounting pleasure his tunes brought the dancers who were already warming up the concrete in front of the East Stage. It’s really too bad the weather didn’t cooperate, and so Cherry’s set was cut short. If you need more loungey grooves in your system, check out last year’s undeniably funktified Flavour, or Cherci, his collab with Liano from a few months back.

-KPL

Varsity / 📷 : KPL

Varsity

Always a solid draw, local indie rockers Varsity had a healthy post-rain crowd with a local music contingent down front in support. Members of Beach Bunny, Girl K, Faux Furrs, Fauvely, and more had come out to see their friends play Do Division for the first time. With a set full of hits off last year’s Parallel Person and a few new tunes, including one they played live for the first time, the five-piece made up of Stephanie Smith (vocals/synth), Dylan Weschler and Pat Stanton on guitars, and the Stoltz brothers (Paul and Jake) holding down the low end on bass and drums looked to be having a great time beguiling the crowd with their jangly indie-pop style. Their next local show is at Empty Bottle on June 11th opening for Best Coast. That show has been sold out since it went on sale, but Empty Bottle always has tix available at doors, so get there super early and you might be able to snag one!   

-KPL

**SUNDAY**

In complete opposition to the day before, Sunday was sunny and gorgeous. With plenty of local talent on the slate, it was imperative to get to the fest promptly to check out the early bands who made plenty of new fans, which is the main impetus for playing street fests. Hats off to The Empty Bottle and SubT for booking some of the city’s most exciting acts at Do Division for years!

School of Rock Chicago / 📷 : KPL

School of Rock Chicago

These kids are the future of rock, literally. Showing off all their hard work and dedication, they put on one insane showcase, rotating out players seamlessly and showing off their rock chops with abandon. A festival staple for years now, School of Rock has been a Chicago institution for many years, and as part of the overarching international system of School of Rock, they are really teaching these teenagers how to truly have confidence on stage- from banter, to belting, to shredding solos, they have all the skills to be the coming generation of Chicago rock.

-KPL

Gazebo Effect / 📷 : KPL

Gazebo Effect

Heavy local jammers Gazebo Effect ripped into their set with abandon, tearing up the West Stage with plenty of tunes off their self-titled and produced record they dropped back in February. A three-guitar attack that brings to mind the rukus of Diarrhea Planet with the cool grooves of an Umphrey's McGee/ Gazebo Effect has only been gaining momentum, and they are on track for one breakout year. Next up, they are at the 7th Annual Homegrown Arts and Music Fest in Lisle at BaseCamp Pub & Eatery on July 27th, but also be on the lookout for their next Chicago show! These young rockers are going places!  

-KPL

Cordoba / 📷 : MVM

Cordoba

The jazz fusion sextet was otherworldly early on Sunday afternoon. Cordoba took us on a journey to destination unknown, but they were not concerned with that. The main idea was to enjoy the experience and to take it all in. With soulful vocals to suck you in and then out-of-nowhere improvisations, Cordoba blasts off to space and has no plans on coming back. The improvisations were a collection of individual solos combined to bolster their unique sound into one. Cordoba will be playing at DZ Fest on July 13th, put on by DZ Records in Hickory Hills.

-MVM

Free Snacks / 📷 : KPL

Free Snacks

Hip hop duo Free Snacks has been making a splash on the Chicago scene since dropping EAT GOOD TAPE last December, so it was no surprise when SubT booked them for the final day of Do Division. With a crowd full of friends who knew every hook, the duo of Joshua Virtue and Ruby Watson got the crowd going with their stripped-down beats and fast-paced flows. Clearly having a great time, they were all over the West Stage with their signature brand of snide raps mixed with cultural observations that run far left of center. Be on the lookout for Free Snacks to have a break-out hit in the near future.

-KPL

Habibi / 📷 : KPL

Habibi

Habibi in Arabic means love, and love is the exact word for me to describe this set. During the whole time Habibi was on stage, the crowd was washed over with happiness as the ‘60s pop sound floated on. A combination of indie/pop rock with surf rock undertones kept the crowd swaying. In a weekend packed with many talented artists and bands, this was my top set of the weekend.

-MVM

Sweet Spirit / 📷 : KPL

Sweet Spirit

The set of the fest belonged to Austin rock gods Sweet Spirit. With a penchant for showmanship, Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashen brought together a veteran group of performers to form this one-of-a-kind experience. Blowing the minds of everyone in attendance, they ripped through plenty of tracks off their last record St. Mojo, while playing a few new ones to keep things fresh. From ripping guitar solos, to Ellis’ throwing herself around the stage, to both Cashen and fellow guitarist Joshua Merry ending the set in the photo pit. This is a never miss act. The next time they come through Chicago we’ll be right down front with our Sweet Spirit t-shirt on, ready to rock the fuck out.  

-KPL

Ryley Walker / 📷 : KPL

Ryley Walker

Chicago has always enjoyed calling Ryley Walker a local treasure. The mercurial indie singer/songwriter whose weaving and twisting tunes are a maze of musical gauze thats multiple textures mix to create a beautiful aura of warmth returned to Do Division with a set mixed with tunes spanning his career... With a gifted three-piece behind him, Walker crafted a gorgeous performance that belied the personal troubles he’s recently overcome. A truly gifted performer, Walker has come a long way in his career, and this fine set was a testament to the power of art to persevere.

-KPL

Mikal Cronin / 📷 : MVM

Mikal Cronin

Notable his work playing bass for Ty Segall in the Freedom Band, Mikal  Cronin is using his break from touring with Segall to tour with his own band and showcase his skills. Cronin fronts the indie rock band primarily taking lead on guitar, mixing in keys, and perfectly weaves through extended jams. Those who stuck around for Cronin’s Sunday headlining set were treated to a wonderful performance. Cronin bursted out halfway through the set with a blistering version of “Say.” To end the set, Cronin held nothing back on “Gold” and prompted the crowd to cheer for an encore we unfortunately didn’t receive. Cronin mixed in songs from MCII and MCIII and added “Apathy” from his first album, Mikal Cronin. Cronin released the singles “Undertow” and “Breathe” back in May that feature the incredible William Tyler. Hopefully, with these releases, we have a sign of Cronin dropping a new album soon. Cronin will be returning to Chicago on November 15th and playing at Lincoln Hall. Tix are $16.

-MVM

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Thanks to Do Division and all the sponsors and vendors involved for another excellent festival! And a special thank you to The Empty Bottle and Subterranean for booking another superior fest that makes those Star Event street fests look like chump change. See you next year at Do Division!

 
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Laura Stevenson / See Through Dresses / Completions


Beat Kitchen

May 29th

Laura Stevenson / 📷 : TLM
 

Shawn Alpay was performing as Completions. He plucked at his cello, playing in a way we would more likely associate with a guitar. It was in contrast to his vocals which were more languid and smooth; they had a breathy, textured quality that was not unlike a bowed string instrument. He was playing all new music for us. The songs explored the relationships in his life from his father, to friends, to heartbreak in 2015, to his current (so far so good) relationship. My favorite line was from the song written for his father, “Echo.” He sang, "learned to learn from silence." It hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ll be looking forward to the new album.

See Through Dresses defies genre classification. A bit shoegaze. A bit of the Cure. A bit of ‘90s moody-fuzzy guitar grunge. A bit bedroom rock. They even said in the middle of their set, “and now for the rock portion…” and went from dreamy to bopping jangle. I must admit my fav part was the bop. It made me want to move. The band got progressively more mobile. The bass player, Alex Kirts, started with subtle leaning and head tilting, and ended up throwing his leg out into wide stances and thrashing as he played. They have two vocalists, Sara Bertuldo and Mathew Carroll. They had a similarly breathy tone, unifying the sound. They both play guitar, too. Carroll is the more subtle performer, throwing his head back or bending over his guitar as he plays, while Bertuldo moves all over the stage any chance she gets. She starts out a badass guitar player and showed herself to be a true rockstar by the end. By that I mean someone you either love or want to be. Falling to her knees, jumping back up, moving around with agility and passion. She inspired deep admiration and awe. She tried to hand us some of that self-empowerment when she dedicated "Herbivore" “to all the weak men in your life.” With it’s lyrics, “Charlie, you can never come back/ I love you, too, but that's no way to react/ I guess I'll finish if you start“ Preach. But my favorite song had to be their closing song, “Lucy’s Arm.” It undeniably kicked ass.

Laura Stevenson takes the stage with a smile and sings for us the first of her sad songs, “Lay Back, Arms Out.” Her vocals were sweet, sailing over the low resonance of her guitar. Alpay was back on the cello, lending smooth sonorous undertones. When Mike Campbell joined on bass, he reached deep to hit the rhythm with emphasis. Sammi Niss came in on the drums during my favorite song, “Living Room, NY.” Bringing a power to the middle of an emotionally powerful song. Her drumming was by and large precise. When she would let it fall to the back of the beat, she would smile softly like she found satisfaction in loosening her drumming. Stevenson’s music is largely a folk-rock-singer-songwriter thing, but takes on flavors of different genres. It brings a nice variety to her sound, and shows off how elastic her voice is. She’ll tweak an intonation and bring a different sound to mind. Like the little twang in ,“Hum,” which she said was supposed to be a love song when she started to write it, but it ended up being sad. Plummeting the depths of sadness or melancholy is a common thread for much of her music. During the show, an audience member actually shouted out, “Make me sad!” There is something so satisfying about reveling in sadness... A salve when it comes with a sweet voice and melody. Stevenson made it lighter with her stage presence. Smiling, warm, and a little goofy. She capoed all the way down at the 10th fret for “Hum.” She smiled as she did it and said, “It’s like playing on a tiiiny guitar. Makes the solo really interesting.” My favorite song of the set was probably “Runner.” The refrain of, “This summer hurts,” and the rolling beat had that perfect balance of bop and sad helped dance the pain away.

-TLM

 
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Doomed and Stoned Fest


Reggies Rock Club

May 31st and June 1st

Doomed and Stoned Festival / 📷 : MDR


With all of the rain we’ve been having in Chicago, it’s sometimes hard to remember what the sun looks like. Competing with bullying clouds and successive showers, that ol’ boy Apollo has really had his work cut out for him. At this point, I’m ready to acquiesce. If the literal ball of fire at the center of our solar system can’t muscle its way through the permanent ceiling of clouds overhead, then I’m just going to have to give in and become a man-sized house cat. Thankfully, Do Division wasn’t the only festival happening this weekend, and I was able to catch some live music despite my newly resigned mole-person status. Welcome to my coverage of Doomed and Stoned Chicago 2019...

Doomed and Stoned Chicago is a festival organized by a blog of the same name. It is one of several festivals organized by confederate nodes of the blog’s staff around the country to help promote regional Doom and heavy psyche scenes. This is the second year that such a festival has been held in Chicago and featured many local doom, sludge, and stoner bands, including Uncouth, High Priest, and Snow Burial, among others. The festival extended over two days at Reggies in the south loop, with headliners Torche capping off Friday, and Saturday hosting Blood Ceremony... and Coven? Coven! HOLY F*CKING SH*T COVEN HEADLINED ON SATURDAY! HOLY MOTHER-LOVING GOD DAMN SH*T! (More on this later…)

What struck me when I arrived at the venue on Friday night was that I was not amongst the usual festival crowd.  This was not a “dress to impress” occasion and made Riot Fest look like Coachella by comparison. No rompers. No floral pattern button-downs. No turtlenecks stuffed into overalls. No chinos with low-top sneakers sans socks... None of that. I didn’t even see that many back patches. Most people looked like they had come straight from their thankless service jobe, having removed their work polos in the car to display whatever 20-year-old band shirt they use to soak up the perspiration while they slung hors d’ oeuvre at a golf course. Very low key crowd, easy to mingle with. Especially by the time High Priest took the stage, the venue had taken on the relaxed air of a backyard barbeque.  The vibe was positively mellow.

The sets on the first night were uniformly good and on brand. Slow churning riffs: check! Mournful howling vocals: check! Foggy feedback: check! While all the bands dutifully slayed in their own ways, the stand out by far was the vampy Frayle. Describing themselves as “heavy witch doom,” the group combine clean sounding, down-tuned shoegazey guitar work with singer Gwyn Strang’s breathy, fragile vocal delivery to create an eerie and engaging variety of heavy metal that verges on the theatrical in its understated granger. Frayle’s incantations were a welcome counterbalance to the ranging, psychedelic ruminations of Louisiana’s Forming the Void, wh followed and whose giant, plushy, reverby compositions acted as a psychedelic (and physiological) steamroller. Forming the Void’s set provided a lofty burst of harsh guitar tones that ended up being a perfect wind up for the night’s headliner: the incomparable Torche.

Torche is a Miami sludge band that I’ve been following for a while but surprisingly never actually seen play with a full line up of other sludge and doom metal bands. This isn’t unusual for forward-thinking sludge band, though. By way of example, Buzzo and Co. (i.e., The Melvins), preferred to play with hardcore, grunge, and alternative rock bands in their heyday rather than crowd the bills of local metal shows, and it didn’t hurt them any (arguably all the touring they did with Nirvana is what turned them into a household name in the ’90s). The first time I witnessed Torche perform was at Total Fest 2012 in Missoula, Montana. A weekend populated by mostly noise, crust, grind, and other acts whose sounds can be comfortably classified as “outsider art.” They were as at home in that crowd as they were amongst their doomy brethren on Saturday (maybe even more so). Seeing them on a bill with bands with adjacent sounds though really hammered home the uniqueness of their own aesthetic, combining major key pop melodies with seething, angry punk-infused riffage. I’ve heard them described as “metal bubblegum,” and I’ve described them to others as “tar candy.” Both fit equally well. I love the way that Torche builds these gigantic, sugary melodies that float like cotton candy clouds over a churning maelstrom of rumbling drop-tuned guitars. Taking it all in can feel like having the two halves of your brain ripped apart and smashed back together. (Think Hall and Oats and Corrosion of Conformity on a tour bus that flipped over along a stretch of remote mountain highway, and everyone inside has been horrible ground together like a kindergartener rolling six different kinds of playdough into one grotesque lop-sided ball.) Ugly, endearing, and comically mis-shapen, they’re really a band that you have to see for yourself to appreciate their strange grandeur in full. They have an album dropping later in July, so you can be sure that they will percolate back up to Illinois sometime later this year.

****

The Festival had the good fortune of taking place on the eve of the Illinois legislature passing a bill that legalized recreational marijuana in the state; Torche’s lead singer Steve Brooks mentioned this fact resulting in a solid round of applause before their set. Brooks’ remark prompted a rather hirsute fellow in a Pantera shirt to derisively snort “Yeah, I bet that makes all the hippies happy.” There is no real point to this anecdote. But at a festival literally titled, “Doomed and STONED,” this comment was too ironic not to relay. This man-bear was unfazed by the deadly quantity of side-eye I gave him throughout the remainder of the evening.

Day two of Doomed and Stoned started quite a bit earlier than the previous evening, and I spent a lot of the downtime between sets reading* next to a guy who was seated pretzel-legged with his fists squeezed into his temples. That guy knew what was up. He kept to himself and served as a perfect visual metaphor for the music that swirled around us. There isn’t a better representation of music about the inevitability of loss, the slow march of entropy, and the impending slide of order into chaos and decay than the image of a man sitting on the floor, seemingly overwhelmed with pain and despair.

****

The bands on day two were all good and loud and provided the perfect complement to the copious amount of boozing that was going down. The pouring rain outside helped set the subdued mood, and by 6pm the crowd had slipped back into the relaxed flow of the day before. The chill vibe had just settled in as Minneapolis’s Wolf Blood took the stage. I have to say, Wolf Blood's set really grabbed me due to the way that they dragged thrash riffs through a slurry of distortion at half-tempo while maintaining a steady punkified beat. Like they reverse engineered Black Sabbath’s sound from shattered copies of Vol.4 and Master of the Universe they found in a dumpster, leaving them to have to improvise the missing bits of the fractured recordings they recovered, it felt really inventive, and I was engrossed the entire time they performed.

Seattle’s Witch Ripper followed Wolf Blood, raising the temperature in the room with their filthy blend of sludge and psychedelia, which conjured a vision of what Mastodon might have become had they veered deeper into hardcore on their later releases rather than indulging their proggier preoccupations. The crowd really responded to their set (as well as Curtis Parker’s DHU Records shirt) getting caught up in the boggy whirlpool of their riffs and serpentine slap of their rhythms. While the relaxed mood had been pleasant while it lasted, it was felt like the right time for the night to begin building momentum and the angry, purposive nature of Witch Ripper’s sound did an admirable job of lighting a fire under the crowd's feet.

North Carolina’s Bask cooled things down a bit with their breezy brand of metallic Americana, sounding like the soundtrack to a craft brewer’s internal monologue. (Think Drive By Truckers steeped in a steel drum with citra hops and five pounds of Alice in Chains.) They were followed by Las Vegas’ Demon Lung, another intriguing hybrid who take slamming ’90s death metal, slow it down by three quarters, and then stack epic doom vocals on top. They sound like any extra sticky Cannabis Corpse lead by Jennie-Ann Smith doing a Johan Längqvist impression. I was absolutely absorbed by singer Shanda’s stage presence and haunting persona, obscuring her face with hoods and veils, giving the impression that the sound of her voice was emanating from nowhere and everywhere all at once. Eerily epic, sublimely menacing, and cleansingly brutal.

The penultimate set on Saturday was Blood Ceremony. Described by some as “flute metal,” they introduce elements of acid rock, heavy psychedelia, and the ’60s folk revival to doom metals modern sonic pallet. When vocalist Alia O’Brien isn’t seductively crooning into the mic she’s shredding, yes, literally shredding, on a flute. She’s able to match the speed and dexterity of her performance to that of her guitar-wielding bandmates, and it is a wonder to behold. The Recording Academy should retroactively award Jethro Tull’s 1989 Best Hard Rock/ Metal Grammy to Blood Ceremony based on Saturday’s performance alone. I was especially impressed with “Goodbye Gemini” which requires O'Brien to switch between flute, vocals, and keyboard with each verse like a mini-musical triathlon. Metal is a physically demanding art form... Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  

After Blood Ceremony finished blowing minds and dropping jaws, it was time for the genuine mischief to begin. The time had come for Coven to address the congregation.  For the purposes of FYIs and journalistic due diligence, Coven were (and still are) a psychedelic folk band with their roots in Chicago and a daring fascination with the occult. They released three albums in the late ’60s and ’70s to underwhelming reception before breaking up and leaving lead singer Jinx Dawson to carry on spreading the teaching of sonic witchcraft alone. Coven was responsible for one of the later hits of the last century's folk revival with their cover of Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter's “One Tin Soldier” (a song that was conspicuously absent from their set-list on Saturday). It was their first album Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls that was the focus of their set on the second day of Doomed and Stoned. Witchcraft is a genuine gem in the annals of music history, needlessly pulled from distribution following the tragic Manson Family murders (surprisingly, very few Beatles albums suffered the same fate, despite being the actual inspiration for said heinous crimes). It features some of the catchiest psychedelic rock of the era, that depict vividly visual tales of arcane rituals, supernatural happenings, and morality plays, all culminating in a twenty-minute reenactment of a Satanic mass. It’s as bizarre as the songs are frighteningly catchy.

Jinx Dawson is the only remaining original member of the group, and she set the tone for the evening's performance by emerging from a coffin on stage, wearing a diamond-encrusted mask, and bowing before a projection screen featuring scenes of demonic rituals and frantic, hysterical nuns. After making her appearance, Jinx tore into her set, cutting an evocative and theatrically minded pose, that entranced the crowd and inspired waves of horn mimicking hand gestures from the crowd. They played all the hits from the unnerving allure of “Black Mass,” to the twisty tortured soul seduction of “White Witch of Rose Hall,” through the transfixing ritual of revenge “Coven in Charing Cross,” onward to the scintillating Doors-esque “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge,” and winding down with the clear-eyed, dogged march of “Dignitaries of Hell.” At one point Jesus himself appeared, filthy and caked in dry blood, dragging his cross behind him, only to be hung from the pre-medieval instrument and playfully slapped with a bondage whip by Jinx. This display of depravity would have seemed the highlight of the evening, but this honor was reserved for the band’s performance of “Wicked Woman.” “Wicked Women” was a propulsive and uncompromising anthem of female power and determination when it was released in the late ’60s, and it could not seem more relevant today in 2019 when the image of the witch is often evoked as a shield against patriarchal oppression. The song was given special purpose that evening as Jinx leaned into each cutting verse, pushing the venomous sting of every hook further into the wrinkles of the audience’s pliant minds. The spell Coven cast that evening more than convinced me that Doomed and Stoned fills a unique niche in Chicago’s music scene. I’m already looking forward to next year’s gathering, provided society hasn't completely collapsed by 2020, although, I don't know that civilization imploding would impact a festival like this all that much. Might even improve turn-out, if anything!  

*Yes, I brought a book to a metal show. I always have a book on me. It is a very normal thing.  

-MDR


NEWS & NOTES

  • Lollapalooza announced their massive aftershow slate this week. Check out the extensive list, and get ready to purchase your tickets on Friday morning at 10AM! Our picks include: King Princess at Thalia Hall on Wednesday 31st, Idles with A Place To Bury Strangers at Lincoln Hall on Thursday 1st, Japanese Breakfast at Lincoln Hall, Boy Pablo at Schubas, or Men I Trust at Sleeping Village on Friday 2nd, and Sharon Van Etten with Dehd at Lincoln Hall, Francis and the Lights at Park West, or (Sandy) Alex G at The Empty Bottle on Saturday 3rd. Pick your fav and try for that one first, because most of these shows are selling out fast! Jump on the net Friday at 10AM to get your Lolla aftershow tix before they are gone!

  • For more Chicago music news check out our friends at Midwest Action and ANCHR Magazine.

 

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Lots of SOLD OUT shows this week that are not included here

+ Local
^ All Ages

THURSDAY June 6th
+ Rotten Mouth / Cocoa Greene /  Jack Minogue @ Sleeping Village  9:30PM $5

+ TurboVamps (13th Anniversary Party and Live Album Recording) @ Beat Kitchen  8PM $8

Model Zero / + Glyders / Mkii @ The Hideout  9PM  $8

Choir Boy / Fearing / Side Action @ Empty Bottle  8:30PM doors $10

Craig Finn & The Uptown Controllers / Bogie / Bitney / Lux @ SPACE  8PM $25

Duff McKagan / Shooter  Jennings @ Thalia Hall  7PM $41.65 - $54.65


FRIDAY June 7th

^ Chicago Blues Fest @ Millennium Park  11AM FREE

Spring Awakening Music Festival @ Poplar Creek at 59 - 90 Entertainment District   1PM $79 and up

Chali 2na + Cut Chemist / Air Credits / Rich Jones / The Microphone Misfitz @ Chop Shop  9PM $25

Jade Jackson / David Quinn @ Schubas  7:30PM $12

Mini Mansions / James Supercave @ Empty Bottle  9PM $15

Kevin Morby / Sam Cohen @ Thalia Hall  7PM $25 - $30

Craig Finn & The Uptown Controllers @ Old Town School of Folk Music  8PM $25


SATURDAY June 8th
^ Chicago Blues Fest @ Millennium Park  11AM FREE

Spring Awakening Music Festival @ Poplar Creek at 59 - 90 Entertainment District   1PM $79 and up

^ Pilsen Food Truck Social @ 18th and Allport 12PM  $5 donation

+ Acquaintances (Record Release) / Engine Summer / Gnarboyz @ Empty Bottle  8:30PM $10

+ Busy Bodies (EP Release) / Sick Day / The Gaffes @ Moe’s Tavern  9PM FREE

+ DJ Heather / T. Mixwell @ Smartbar  10PM $8

+ Drilling For Blasting /The Brokedowns / Wig / Chicken Happen @ Chop Shop  9PM $10

+ CHI is Soul: Sam Trump / Meagan McNeal / Elisa Latrice and more @ Lincoln Hall  8PM $15

Jenny Lewis / Serengeti @ The Riv  7:30PM $35

John Prine / Tyler Childers @ Ravinia   7:30PM $38 and up.


SUNDAY June 9th
^ Chicago Blues Fest @ Millennium Park  11AM FREE

Spring Awakening Music Festival @ Poplar Creek at 59 - 90 Entertainment District   1PM $79 and up

^ Pilsen Food Truck Social @ 18th and Allport 12PM  $5 donation

+ Jessica Risker / Her Crooked Heart (Record Release) / Xiao Yao @ The Hideout  7PM $10

Jesse Marchant / Pinc Louds / Half Gringa (duo) @ Empty Bottle   8:30PM doors $10

Slingshot Dakota / Mother Evergreen / Jupiter Styles @ Subterranean (Downstairs)  8:30PM $10

Superchunk / Negative Scanner @ Thalia Hall  7:30PM doors $25

Stephen Marley / Mystic Marley @ Park West  7PM $31


MONDAY June 10th

Pro Teens / Fernando House / Heaven Honey / Owen Casey @ Empty Bottle  8:30PM doors FREE

+ Daymaker / Origami Ghosts / Namorado / Alien Thing @ Emporium Wicker Park  8PM FREE

Ocean Alley / Ruby Waters @ Schubas  8:30PM $15


TUESDAY June 11th

+ Impulsive Hearts / The Canvas People / Young Man In A Hurry @ Schubas  8PM FREE

+ Matt Gold Trio / Lane Beckstrom @ The Hideout  9PM $7

Little Simz / April + Vista @ Lincoln Hall  7PM $17

Matt Costa / JD & The Straight Shot / Matt Hartke @ City Winery  7PM $22 - $32

Ben Nichols / Blind Adam @ SPACE  8PM $20

WEDNESDAY June 12th
TV Girl / Negative Gemini @ Lincoln Hall  8PM $15

Elijah Berlow / Bad Bad Meow / Woodrow Hart @ The Hideout  9PM $8

Luluc / Guest @ Schubas  8PM $12

Shlohmo @Subterranean  8PM $20

 

See you at the show Chicago!