Sunday, September 25, 2011

Review / Photos : 2011 Hideout Block Party : 15 years of being awesome!

The Hideout is a tiny little gem of Chicago, as you all know. I liken it to a small bar in upper Wisconsin. It's tucked away behind, and surrounded by, sprawling industrial buildings, and a giant parking lot. If you've never been to the Hideout or their block parties, they use that giant parking lot to throw a bash.

A few years back, it was a celebration of Touch and Go records in which Big Black, Girls Against Boys, and Scratch Acid played. After that, Bloodshot. It's always a really well planned, easy-going festival that a lot of other fests should go and take notes on. Very well-ran.

Either way, the Hideout has been at it for so long, and it shows in their musical partnerships. This year, Andrew Bird, White Mystery, Booker T. Jones, Mavis Staples, The Eternals, and more all chipped in to throw a good party.

Yes, I know, we missed a few acts. One cannot stand in one spot for 12 hours straight. Apologies if you don't find what you're looking for in this review!

Tim Tutten wasn't short on funny and inspiring words.

It started with Steve Krakow (from Plastic Crimewave, Solar Fox) holding a celestial "guitar orchestra" where anyone and everyone could get in for free if you brought a musical instrument. That's up early, get in free. It was pouring rain up until, well, the moment it was supposed to start. The clouds parted, as if a gift to the festival itself, and the sun came out.

Travis from ONO had a megaphone and barreled in a reading from a book he had, which cut in and out of the skreech-drone-blam of the some 20-30 instruments on hand. You had Muya from Humminbird, P. Michael of ONO, children and their families, and many others I didn't recognize.

White Mystery played immediately after, shilling out loud-ass tunes from their new record, and a few old ones peppered in for good measure. The band hasn't slowed down a bit since the last time you saw them, only upping the volume on the knob, screaming and bashing away with reckless abandon.

I do not know the catalog's of Mavis Staples, Booker T. Jones, Andrew Bird, or the Eternals well enough to pick apart their sets and offer you a long, drawn out opinion.

All I can say is this : It's well known that the Hideout is one of the best venues on the planet. Mavis Staples recorded a live record there. Jeff Tweedy just sang fucking Black Eyed Peas songs after Mayor Emanuel hung out. It's a Chicago staple, really. We could go on all night about the who's who that love the little shack on Wabansia, but we won't.

The Eternals played a stellar set, spitting out a few newer tracks that skittered along and got the day well on it's way.

We watched wide-eyed as Booker T. Jones played songs from his back-catalog that spanned decades, so much so that they've been covered and twisted and warped so many times over the years, we were often left laughing at the fact that he actually conceived these songs.

Mavis brought the proverbial house down. A true performer. She brought Andrew Bird on stage for a song. Inspiring. Similar to Booker T where you just hear these songs being played, but they're seasoned with the grit of, well, being sung and played by the actual person that wrote the song in the first place. An amazing set that moved me and shook me to to the core. Maybe because I was so close. Would have loved to see her at that Hideout show. She sure can pose for photos, too.

Andrew, playing a few new ones of his own, seemed to leave everyone really happy. We looked to the side of the stage, as people seemed to clamor for one last hit song after a chunk of new material. We saw the sound guy make the call to stop. People seemed a little bummed, but it certainly didn't put a damper on a rainless day that ended up being a highlight of the last few months.

Few can throw a festival and party like the Hideout. May they have continued success (and continued block parties) for years to come.

Photos :

View the whole set...
WATCH : White Mystery

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