Yay, Nay, Egh: My Hideout Block Party Concert Review

My ladyfriend and I traveled to Chicago for my 5th consecutive attendance to the Hideout Block Party in Chicago. The Hideout is the coolest bar/musical community behind a Home Depot. I didn’t get to see everything and had to leave early. I am only a man.

SATURDAY

  • Giant Sand (Yay)He’s much jazzier and Billy Bob Thortonlike than expected. Unfortunately, the set was a little ramshackle and there were none of the great female vocalists he recorded with on the recent and great Provisions. (C’mon, Neko Case.) Still, it was my first time seeing a guy I’ve been listening to for a decade. Novelty prevails.
  • Little Cow (Egh) I guess they did what they could for shirtless Hungarians.
  • Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip (Yay) Pretty decent British rapping, I shrug. But here’s what puts it over the top as a live experience. Pip devotes intersong banter to reaming their Pitchfork reviewer for giving their last album a 0.2 (which is like a really low pitched “Nay,” given my primitive rating schema). He reams by reading that same reviewer’s celebratory assessments of Coldplay and Sean Combs.  Get that guy, Scroobius.
  • Plastic People of the Universe (Egh) I half-read an article about this group being legendary and everyone should be really excited.  I half-listened and wasn’t convinced of the former, so didn’t become the later.
  • Monotonix (Yay) I’m not too sure what they were playing or that I would ever listen to it again. But they won me and many over for keeping it sort-of together while the singer crowd surfed in a garbage can, the drummer crowd surfed on his drums, and the guitarist sat on an elephant. Again, novelty prevails.
  • Neil Hamburger’s Drunken Spelling Bee (n/a) I was definitely interested in doing this. But you had to sign a release and apparently there were to be shots after every spelling bee round. And it was inside, during Black Mountain’s set. If anyone can share, please do. 
  • Black Mountain (Yay)Long freaking setup time. But in retrospect, I think it had something to do with Monotomixabbreviated set (abbreviated by some kind of destruction, I think). Still, it was nice to see Vancouver psyche-rockin the sunshine, however cloaked in a manufactured fog.
  • Vieux Farka Toure (Egh) A little too jammy. Not on my wavelength. They should play by an egg-timer. One of the guys sat on a gourd.
  • Neko Case (Yay) I thought Neko was on her way out as far as my positive assessment goes. I thought OD’d on her and the rest would be diminishing returns. But the lady’s still got it. Looked like she could use a nap, though. Maybe a few z’s were more important than showing up for Giant Sand.   

SUNDAY

  • The Jon Rauhouse Sestet (Yay) Pedal steel driven instrumentals. Listened from afar, as I drank my beer and read through old New Yorkers.
  • Honey Boy Edwards & Devil in a Woodpile (Obligatory Yay)It’s blues in the Sunday sun, so it’s kind of boring. Both Honey Boy Edwards and Devil in a Woodpile are best heard on weekday nights. But Honey Boy Edwards is billed as the “oldest living bluesman,” a description that renders any critique mean. And Devil in a Woodpile are essential to the Hideout, so it seems wrong to say anything remotely critical. 
  • The Uglysuit (Egh) Oklahoma group with each band member managing to have their own personal and equally dire hair issue. The new album is alright, but they need to grow up. And get some buzz cuts.
  • Tim Fite (Egh) Kind of bummed that Tim rhymes/sings to backing tracks. But he ends Gallagher-like by throwing watermelons into the crowd.
  • Mucca Pazza (Yay) The marching band shtick is still pretty fun.
  • Dark Meat (Nay) Wow. These guys were terrible. No idea how they ended up with such a prime time slot. C’mon, Hideout staff. You can do better.
  • Robbie Fulks (Yay) Robbie finds a way to finally get the masses excited about him, by doing a Michael Jackson-only set with the great Nora O’Conner. Their are costume changes, lamely funny to impenetrably bizarre pantomimes, the obvious jokes, but it’s pretty fun. Novelty prevails and conquers.
  • Rhymefest (An Averaged “Egh”)Rhymefest starts out a strong “Yay,” but unravels to a “Nay”. Perhaps overshadowed (or tripped up?) by the Robbie Fulks-Michael Jackson extravaganza that just preceeded him (and ended with a stage full of hipster zombies doing the “Thriller” thing), he seems at first charged by the build-up, starting with a few tracks off his free Michael Jackson tribute album.  After a few flubbed raps, he wrongheadedly goes off-script with his spoken word peice about being close to life, death, hope, etc. After a minor flub of this, he gets heckled. He then goes in a defensive crouch behind the DJ and tries again with the solid “Brand New” from his great album, Blue Collar. But he’s obviously rattled. He flubs this and just walks off, completing only like 20 minutes of an hour set. The DJ tries to cover for him by leading the crowd into a chant. DJ understands that there’s little he can do sans MC and flees after El Che.  You don’t often get to see a set implode like that. And it’s surprising to see it happening to Rhymefest, who fronts a hardworking, professional entertainer ethic. Perhaps he was angling for his own Kanye West-like Bonnaroo meltdown
  • The New Pornographers, Ratatat, Hercules and Love Affair DJ set (n/a) Have to work. Can’t flee the stage of my life. Damn, dude.

Nobody is ever missing

More promotion for our show Saturday (beginning 9pm). And for the curious, here’s the poem the show might be named after…

Not too sure what it might mean, though, in the context of promoting the show. But the other bands sound great.

This Saturday in Chicago, the Lion Will Roar and the Fish Will…

This Saturday, Lion v. Fish makes their triumphant return Chicago’s Gallery Cabaret to celebrate Julie Jurgens’ birthday. All are welcome!
Miss Jackie and the Sass, Julie Jurgens, Lion v. Fish, The Columbines, True Historians
Saturday 10pm – August 2, 2008
Gallery Cabaret
2020 N. Oakley, Chicago, Illinois 60647
Cost : Birthday Wishes
 

 

 

Gird yourself for a hoot. True Historians, The Columbines, Lion v. Fish, Julie Jurgens (herself), and then Miss Jackie and the Sass will do their respective things for Julie’s birthday! Who will be the one to push Garrett over the edge? I think the pitchers of Lieny’s are still $4!
 

PS. Heads up to the Madisonians. We will also be opening for freaking Eef Barzelay (of Clem Snide!) in Madison on Thursday, August 7 at Cafe Montmartre. No joke.
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