One of the summer’s most intriguing musical events in Chicago took place Saturday (Aug. 13). The venue? Various porches, backyards, storefronts and balconies scattered around the West Town and Ukrainian Village neighborhoods. This was Found Sound: Chicago, billed as “a series of intimate music & audio art performances.” I wasn’t able to see it all, but I did catch the first three performances of the day.
At 1 p.m., the musician-artist Steve Krakow, aka Plastic Crimewave, was sitting out on his front porch on Winchester with a banjo, an amp, various effects pedals and an extension cord running up to a window a couple of stories higher. Some people, maybe 20 or so, wandered up and sat down near the sidewalk or stood nearby as Krakow created a droning wash of sound, sometimes tapping the body of his banjo, sometimes plucking or bowing it. A few passersby who didn’t appear to know what Found Sound was all about paused to listen and watch.
Half an hour later, many of the people attending this performance walked a few blocks to a backyard, where the Lawrence Peters Outfit played some nicely old-fashioned country songs, including originals that Peters wrote for his band’s brand-new debut album, What You Been Missin’. The sunny day turned dark and cloudy as Peters played, and as a rainstorm loomed and the wind started to toss around the overhead power lines, Peters played an appropriate tune, the lovely and understated closing track from his CD, “The Wind.”
By the time when the third act of the day, Mark Booth, began his performance inside the Corbett vs. Dempsey art gallery, it was pouring rain outside. Some hail even tinkled against the windows. Booth used a laptop to create a sound collage that began with the antique sounds of a gramophone and melted into a variety of creaks, buzzes and hums.
What did I miss the rest of the day? Performances by Heartichoke, Andy Slater, the meme, Matthew Hale Clark, Piss Piss Piss Moan Moan and Shearing Pinx, and Judson Claiborne. Kudos to Penny Duff and Michale Slaboch for creating Found Sound. Wouldn’t it be cool if this sort of thing happened on a regular basis in places around the city?
Here’s a video from the Found Sound: Chicago website with some of the days highlights: