The Raven

No, this post has nothing to do with Edgar Allan Poe. The Raven was the unusual name for a new street fest in Chicago, so named because it was in Ravenswood. Sort of. Truth be told, it was on Clark Street at Leland, which is right on the border between Ravenswood and the neighborhood where I live, Uptown. I didn’t even realize this festival was happening so close to my home until I looked up the location in the Reader on Saturday afternoon. The close proximity erased any doubts I’d had about checking it out.

Whoever booked the music for The Raven has good taste. The crowds were a little on the sparse side, especially on Sunday, but there was plenty of good music to hear. On Saturday (Aug. 16), I showed up in time to see the cumbersomely named SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN. I need to get the new record by this tuneful indie-rock band out of Missouri. The older songs that I recognized, like “Oregon Girl,” as well as the newer, less familiar ones sounded peppy and melodic.

Next up was the Chicago band CHIN UP CHIN UP. I had trouble warming up to this band’s vocal style, but the arrangements were fairly interesting.

Back on the other end of the fest, WHITE RABBITS played a nice set of piano-and-guitar pop with doubled-up percussion. I still haven’t really gotten that excited about White Rabbits’ album, but this live set confirmed my fond memories of their show last year at Lollapalooza.

The final band of the night was TAPES ‘N TAPES. I only stayed for a few songs, since I was getting ready to head down to the Empty Bottle for ONEIDA. I haven’t kept up on Tapes ‘N Tapes since the band got that initial burst of buzz. They sounded pretty dense and noisy from what I heard Saturday.

Photos from The Raven, Day One: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Chin Up Chin Up, White Rabbits, Tapes ‘N Tapes.

I returned to The Raven on Sunday (Aug. 17) in time for a cool set by BOUND STEMS. I’ve had mixed feelings about this Chicago group in the past. One set wowed me with its energy, another left me feeling a little undernourished as far as the songs themselves. This time, I felt myself getting more into the spirit, especially during the last part of the show. According to the band’s introductions, the songs were about historical topics including the French Revolution. That’s interesting, but what was more impressive were the catchy choruses and the group’s lively, friendly attitude onstage.

DIRTY ON PURPOSE is another band I’d seen before, and I have to admit I could barely remember anything about that earlier gig. But I was duly impressed with their set at the Raven. The songs were fairly catchy with strong rhythms, and the last tune built to an energetic groove with guitars pressed up against the amps.

And then it was time for the final band of the whole fest, THE M’s. I don’t have much new to say about THE M’s, since I just saw them recently, but this was another good set by a good local band, which soldiered through a brief absence by the bass player due to a broken string. By the end, I think the M’s may have won some new fans.

Photos from The Raven, Day Two, with Bound Stems, Dirty on Purpose and The M’s.

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