I've got a whole city to hold down

May 28, 2004

Finally, somebody who gets it

Chicagomuzikblog vets remember Clarence Page condescending to us about his condescending column on the evil that is hip hop.

In contrast, wouldn't an opinionated writer who appreciates the gravity of conscious rap be a breath of fresh air? Indeed.

An excerpt, from Crispin Sartwell's 4/10 Creators Syndicate column "Politics, Leadership, Hip Hop": "If you want to know where tomorrow's leaders are coming from and how they think, if you want to know who's out here forming the political consciousness on our streets and in our schools, you had better face the music."

And there's more where that came from: "All that's really left of American public discourse occurs at the fringes," Sartwell wrote in a previous piece titled "Hip Hop Drops the 411"; "graffiti, independent films, blogs. And that's why I've replaced CNN with underground hip hop."

Love 'em or hate 'em

The Pitchfork crew gets inked up by the East Bay Express, whose writer calls the Northside-based site influential, adventurous - and "a dense, hugely overwritten, utterly incomprehensible brick of critical fruitcake."

(If you missed it, here's a Trib profile of Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber, published last fall.)

Come on, tell us what you really think

Jim DeRo pulls out all the stops in swooning over the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir today. Their debut, I Bet You Say That to All the Boys, is "a wonderfully beguiling set of extremely winning and well-written folk-rock" with "a searing sense of humor," and with it, "they're well on their way to becoming one of the most ambitious and rewarding bands in Chicago." You can see for yourself Saturday night, when SYGC shares a bill with Califone and Sally Timms at the (um) Abbey Pub.

May 27, 2004


New from Jam: In news you have all been waiting for, Godsmack has been added as support on the Metallica shows (8/27-28 at Insurance Arena). The 6/26 Primus show has been downsized from the UIC Pavilion to the Aragon. And the 5/29 Dark Lotus show at the Riviera has been cancelled.

This is what a slow news week looks like.

Update: New announcements from the Empty Bottle are headed by the relocation of the Danger Mouse/Jemini/J-Live bill from HOB to LSA. (Yes!) Other freshly confirmed gigs include Bobby Bare, Jr. (7/1, with Gina Black's Dead Horse Hill - hey did Bloodshot hear our bitchin' about the Abbey or what? Thank you to the powers that be for putting BBJ at the Bottle), Brother Danielson (7/30), and Errase Errata (8/14).

Dear Abbey

Or, 10 Things We Hate About You:

1. Overpriced tickets. Fifteen dollars for Eyedea & Abilities? The third-string (at best) members of the Rhymesayers crew? On their first headlining tour?

2. Exorbitant online-purchase fees. That Eyedea & Abilities show was billed as a $13 ticket in advance. But the Abbey's web sales partner, Ticket Web, tacked a $3.77 fee onto each ticket. That's almost a 30% markup, nearly a $17 ticket price, and almost $2 more than the cover charge at the door. To compare, Schubas' web sales service charges just $1.50 per ticket.

3. Extortionist drink prices. Six dollars for a bourbon?

4. Poor sound. We can't hear anything upstairs or under the balconies.

5. Poor choice of sound personnel. Gary 'Elvis' Schepers is one of the town's best sound men, yes - for rock. He seems lost trying to mix hip-hop though. Is it too much to hire someone who knows what's up?

6. Zero ambience. Paint over the silly murals. Turn off the freaking neon ads during shows. Or just let the place go to hell - at least dives have a vibe. At least then we'd know we were in a club.

7. Surly attitudes. Dan the Doorman was tolerable, even lovable, as the cranky troll protecting the gold that was Lounge Ax. Sitting atop this dungpile, however, he is just rude, bitter and unpleasant. And in that department, there's plenty of blame to share with other staff as well.

8. Incompetence in handling crowds. How many times have we stood in an endless line, in the middle of the night, in a downpour - or a deep-freeze - as the staff snoozed and bumbled their way through checking IDs, tickets, will-call, cash and guest list. And the bands we wanted to see played on inside.

9. Jungle-like conditions. Yo, we see the massive AC unit on the ceiling, plus the fans. Let's use them. We're sweating through our hoodies over here.

10. Lame-ass openers. It's cool to support local bands - but it's cooler to support good bands, and do so by putting them on bills that make sense. The number of inane, horrible local openers we have seen at the Abbey far exceeds anything we've suffered anywhere else. We won't name names, though - in part because you've never heard of any them before or since, and for good reason.

Oh yeah, and we'd say we hate your lame booking, but that's actually a plus 'cause we're rarely compelled to suffer your venue as a result. Fact is, if it weren't for MP Shows putting up excellent rap bills there, we'd probably never need to visit.

May 26, 2004

And the wait goes on

Parasol says that Wake Up Captain, the long-awaited latest from Kevin Tihista's Red Terror, has been delayed (again) to August 24. The disc, tracked last summer with producer Ellis Clark, was initially slated for January and then June release dates. While there's no word on what's taking so long - and Tihista's official website now appears to be down - you can still peep three of the new tracks here.

The Way The Music Died

Posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld

I generally enjoy PBS' Frontline, but maybe they should stick to political topics. Because what I'm reading about the show that will air here Friday (and re-broadcast on 6/3) leaves me curious to watch only in that "can't turn away from a train wreck" kind of way.

They've decided to tackle the current state of the music biz, and they're using Woodstock as their jumping off point ("The modern music scene was created in 1969, at Woodstock..."). Such luminaries as David Crosby (representing the old guard) and Velvet Revolver (covering the new kids trying to make it) will fill the two hours. Nic Harcourt & Danny Goldberg are also quoted in the press release.

Over/Under on how much of this I can sit through without flipping away: 6.5 minutes. Though if I'm subjected to any Woodstock-era Wavy Gravy footage, it'll be less than that.

May 25, 2004

More Summer Concertwatch

Posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld

Fitzgerald's has a preliminary listing of the acts booked for their annual American Music Festival (taking place July 1-4 this year). Drive By Truckers fans should circle the 3rd on their calendar, and there'll be a Chris & Heather's Film Jamboree (which will include special guests Robbie Fulks & Kelly Hogan) on the 1st.


Posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld

Wizards And Hacks

Posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld

That's the theme of tonight's Sound Opinions. Here's the full blurb...

Producers are the behind-the-scenes gurus behind some of the greatest music ever made, and some of the worst. Jim and Greg name names on both sides of the studio equation.

May 24, 2004

Believer At The Bottle

Posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld

Here's some further info on the June 4th Mountain Goats/Archer Prewitt/Buried Beds show at the Empty Bottle sponsored by The Believer.

More specifically, it's info on the June "music" issue of the magazine that will be handed out at the show. It features interviews with David Byrne, Q Tip, Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, Ani DiFranco, and Joanna Newsom, and comes with a CD featuring tracks from Death Cab For Cutie, Papa M, TV On The Radio, The Gossip, M. Ward, Iron & Wine. No word yet on whether it's previously released tracks on that CD.

There will also be a raffle by "using an arcane, Danish random-ticket-disbursement strategy".

This Is Not An Onion Article

Posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld

Billy Corgan is now the Cubs Correspondent for WXRT. His Wrigleyville Report segments will appear on Lin Brehmer's show at 8:05am on Mondays and Fridays from now through the end of the season.

I'd love to know how inane the first two installments have been.

Summer Concertwatch

Posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld

The Hives are coming to Metro on 7/26.

The bill for the 'XRT Fourth of July show at the Petrillo Shell is going to be Counting Crows/They Might Be Giants/Old 97s.

And DeRogatis wrote yesterday about his 10 can't miss shows of the summer (along with a calendar at the bottom hitting most of the "major" highlights). Peruse his choices, and then I'd be curious to know (via the comments) what your substitute lists of must-see shows of the summer would be.