Recap: The Hideout Block Party/A.V. Fest

Almost without fail, the Hideout Block Party is one of the summer’s most entertaining festivals — and that hasn’t changed over the past couple of years, when it combined with the A.V. Club’s A.V. Fest. It feels like a gathering of old friends — in the middle of an concrete-block and corrugated-metal cityscape, with a whiff of trash wafting over from all of the city garbage trucks parked nearby.

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Hideout co-owner Tim Tuen

The banner on this year’s stage, created by the great Chicago poster artist Jay Ryan, depicted garbage trucks tumbling in midair. And on Friday night, the Streets & Sanitation odors were stronger than usual. As Kelly Hogan wryly noted (during Neko Case’s concert, where she was providing her delightful-as-usual harmony vocals): “That breeze feels great even though it smells like dumpster juice.” The smell was worth putting up with because of all the great music, and thankfully, the wind was blowing in another direction on Saturday.

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Neko Case

Unfortunately, the crowd was chatty on Friday night during the sets by Case and Mavis Staples. Wandering around the parking lot, it wasn’t easy to find an area where you could hear the music clearly without being distracted by nearby conversations. As usual, the audience members closest to the stage were the most attentive, and a hush finally fell over most of the crowd when Case daringly performed  “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu,” an a cappella song from her new album, The Worse Things Get, the Harder IFight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You.  The song delivers a fairly stunning emotional impact in the studio version, and it was only heightened in the live performance. That was the highlight of the night, but the rest of Case’s set was lovely, too — such a subtle mix of tough and tender. The final song of the night was her 2002 classic “I Wish I Was the Moon,” and she performed the opening verse a cappella (or nearly so) — the same way she did the song during the Solid Sound Fest this summer. And once again, Case’s voice rang out with clarity. See more of my photos from Neko Case’s performance.

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Mavis Staples

Earlier in the evening, Mavis Staples ably demonstrated the power of her own voice. The matriarch of Chicago gospel recently had knee surgery, and she told the crowd, “This is my very first concert with the new knee. So I’m going to call this knee ‘the Hideout.'” Staples, who recorded a live album inside the Hideout, does genuinely seem to love the place, and the reception that she gets whenever she plays there.  http://tbamail.com/?sdsw=Cialis-Over-Counter . Buy Cheap Pills with Discount. Acquistare Priligy Originale Online Find Latest Medication For This pill Now! Visa Buy go to site SafeOnlineCanadianPharmacy. Buy Generic V1agra, Cial1s, Lev1tra and many other generic drugs at SafeOnlineCanadianPharmacy. Lowest baclofen tablets usp 20 mg If themind did not set up a series of automatic cognitive demon processes that becomehabits, (called source url enter Lowest prices for Generic and Brand drugs. Bonus 10 free pills, discounts and FREE SHIPPING. Cheapest drugs online - buy and save money. Viagra Online Com - no prescription needed, order Sildenafil (viagra) with discount 15% - low prices for all ED pills, support 245, online cost Comment Acheter Viagra En Suisse click Xenical Orlistat Review | Up to 40% Off🔥 |. 2018 is 9 Best Erection Pills That Work! 100% Benicar Uk,It solves the problem for you quickly.. Buy Now » Buy Zovirax Cream Online No Prescription

Staples’ voice sounded tentative during the first song, her cover of Funkadelic’s “Can You Get to That” (from her excellent new album One True Vine), but there was nothing uncertain about her vocals in the rest of the set, as she gave full-throated glory to songs new and old. Closing with the Staple Singers’ classic “I’ll Take You There,” she exhorted the audience to sing along, taunting  that the crowd’s first attempt at joining in was “weak.” See more of my photos from Mavis Staples’ performance.

Friday also featured the scrappy garage rock of Nude Beach and the acoustic jamming of Trampled by Turtles.

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Nude Beach
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Nude Beach
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Nude Beach
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Trampled by Turtles
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Trampled by Turtles
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Trampled by Turtles

 

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Girl Group Chicago

Saturday was a festive day in the garbage-truck parking lot. I just barely missed the opening set by the Guitarkestra (though I heard the roar of its chord in the distance as I walked up to the Hideout). I arrived in time for a fabulous set by Girl Group Chicago — five singer and 15 musicians, if I counted correctly, playing big renditions of classic girl group songs, joined onstage by the dancing gals known as the Revelettes. See more of my photos from Girl Group Chicago’s performance.

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Jon Langford and Jean Cook
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Jon Langford
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Jean Cook
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Jon Langford

It wouldn’t be a Hideout Block Party without a performance by Jon Langford, and for this one, he played with a new lineup of his Skull Orchard band, playing a new song on the timely topic of “endless war” and closing with a cover of the Faces’ “Debris.” He also played “Haunted,” the song he wrote for Kelly Hogan’s album of last year. “The royalty checks are flooding in,” he joked. “They almost match the parking tickets.”

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The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo)
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The Both (Aimee Mann)
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The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo)
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The Both (Aimee Mann)

Next up was the Both, a duo comprising Aimee Mann and Ted Leo. They’ve recorded an album together, and their musical styles blended with surprising ease during this set, despite some technical difficulties with the mix during the first couple of songs.

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The Walkmen
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The Walkmen
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The Walkmen

The Walkmen sounded as intense as ever during their late-afternoon set; lead singer Hamilton Leithauser was unrelenting.

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Superchunk

It was bittersweet to see Superchunk for the first time without the band’s longtime bass Laura Ballance, which is still recording with the group but has retired from touring. But Jason Narducy did a fine job of handling duties on bass, even getting into Superchunk’s bouncy, jumpy spirit. It seemed like lead singer Mac McCaughan’s feet were a few inches above the stage at just about any given moment during the show, and Superchunk was as lively and exciting as it ever was. New songs, like set opening “FOH,” sounded terrific alongside oldies like “Slack Motherfucker.” And in some comments to the crowd, McCaughan paid tribute to all of the Chicago people and institutions that helped Superchunk over the years, including the Lounge Ax, Steve Albini and Touch and Go Records. See more of my photos from Superchunk’s performance.

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The Hold Steady
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The Hold Steady
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The crowd during the Hold Steady’s set
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The Hold Steady

As darkness fell, the Hold Steady launched into a loud and raucous set. The fans along the barricade by the stage clearly loved frontman Craig Finn’s shout-singing and wild gestures. Since keyboardist Franz Nicolay left the band, its sound has been all guitars, all the time. The nonstop riffing in the first half of the set was a bit much, but when the Hold Steady dug into its back catalog for some of its catchiest choruses at the end, all was well in Hideoutville.

Saturday’s headliner was Young the Giant. Who? … OK, I had heard of this group, but I’ve just barely heard its music. And I knew plenty of other people who turned out to see Superchunk or the Hold Steady and who were largely unfamiliar with Young the Giant. Judging from the people who crowded near the stage at the end of the night, most of Young the Giant’s fans are in their late teens or early 20s. And well … to my ears, Young the Giant’s music was rather bland and generic pop rock. It paled in comparison to the other music I’d been hearing all day. But I can’t complain too much, given how much fun the whole weekend was.

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Young the Giant
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Young the Giant
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Young the Giant

Ted Leo at Millennium Park

Millennium Park’s Monday-night rock concert series, “Downtown Sound,” wrapped up on July 25 with a show by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists — but it’s hardly the end of this summer’s music at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The “Made in Chicago” jazz series begins Thursday, while the “Lunchbreak Music Series” and Grant Park Music Festival continue. And Monday nights will shift to the “Dusk Variations” theme next week — experimental classical music mixed with electronica, folk, rock and the avant-garde — including a must-see performance Aug. 8 by My Brightest Diamond. Check out the schedules here.

Like some of the other concerts at Pritzker, Monday’s featured a somewhat odd pairing of headline band and opening act. Ted Leo is a real rocker, while opener Rachel Ries is more of a troubadour type. Pritzker’s concert bookings can make for some unusual contrasts, but it’s rather cool to see this sort of diversity on the same stage in the same night. Ries (until recently, a Chicago resident) played a nice set of folk rock songs with a jazzy tinge. And then Leo and his Pharmacists treated the crowd to a complete performance of his first album from a decade ago, The Tyranny of Distance, preceded by several songs from his other records. Leo was playing with an injured knee, and he apologized for not being to jump around quite as much as usual, but it didn’t stop him from singing and playing those guitar chords with sweaty vigor.











Rachel Ries