I always love seeing concerts at Logan Square’s Illinois Centennial Monument — that tall column with the eagle on top — but these shows don’t happen often enough. So it was cool that Comfort Station, Maximum Pelt and Tall Pat Records teamed up for a fundraiser festival on Aug. 20. I was there for just a short time, arriving just as a brief rainstorm hit and then staying long enough to catch a playful, noisy set by Comm to Black on the outdoor stage and a meditative performance inside Comfort Station by Cinchel.
The Empty Bottle sponsored another one of its free concerts at the Illinois Centennial Monument in Logan Square on Sunday, this time featuring High Places and Magic Key. Both are duos featuring a female singer playing keyboards with a guy playing drums or percussion. Both play music electronic pop songs with an indie-rock edge. High Places got a small crowd of people dancing near the stage, though it was not nearly as mobbed as it was for last month’s concert by Thee Oh Sees. Magic Key was the more intense of the two acts, with Aleks Tomaszewska showing some strong passion and daring in her vocals. (If Aleks looks familiar, you may remember her from the Chicago duo Aleks and the Drummer. Magic Key’s her new band, although as she explained in the Tribune, the new, larger band has morphed back into just Aleks and “the Drummer,” Deric Criss.
As I said last month, the Illinois Centennial Monument in Logan Square is a pretty cool place to see a concert. The Empty Bottle’s series of free concerts at this lovely little picnic spot continued Sunday (July 24) with the great psychedelic garage rock band, Thee Oh Sees. Like last year’s show at Lincoln Hall, this one featured one catchy riff after another as well as some longer jams — and this time, the band had two drummers. The band played right in front of Logan Square’s tall monument with the eagle on top, and fans climbed into every available space around Thee Oh Sees, dancing and singing along.
The well-chosen opening act was Chicago band Football, which includes members of various other local bands such as the Ponys, Baseball Furies, Hot Machines, Tight Phantomz, France Has the Bomb and A/V Murder. The guys were all wearing white Indian-style outfits (apparently purchased on Devon Avenue, if I heard right), and they sang indecipherable but head-bopping songs for 20 or 30 minutes, stomping and leaping with glee.
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The latest cool spot for concerts in Chicago is Logan Square — the square itself, a park (which isn’t actually all that square) in the middle of Kedzie Avenue, Milwaukee Avenue and Logan Boulevard, where that eagle-topped column rises high above the traffic. (That’s the Illinois Centennial Monument.) The Empty Bottle put on a concert here last year with Lightning Bolt and Dan Deacon, which I missed. Sunday afternoon, the Bottle kicked off a new monthly series of free concerts featuring bands playing at the base of the monument. Due to my packed schedule (I had a play to see downtown), I wasn’t able to see the headliner, Califone, but I did catch the opening act, Chicago’s sprawlingly big hard-rock band Bloodiest.
A seven-piece band, Bloodiest pounded out a noise worthy of its name, but it’s inventive variation of heavy metal, as we should expect from any project involving singer Bruce Lamont, who’s also in Yakuza. (Greg Kot interviewed Lamont in the Trib last week for a piece about Bloodiest.)
The park turned out to be a pretty great place to enjoy the weather and catch some music, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the future shows. (July 24: Thee Oh Sees with Football. Aug. 21: High Places. Sept. 18: Mucca Pazza.)