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Sheffield Garden Walk

- by Bonnie Stiernberg

For those of us not quick enough to snag Pitchfork tickets this year, the weekend could have easily been a miserable one (honestly, how many times can you listen to your friends go on about how great Pavement was?). However, thanks to the Sheffield Garden Walk, all was not lost. Plenty of talented bands hit the stage over the course of two days; here are some highlights in case you missed it.

 

Chris Buerhle: Playing an early set to a small crowd can be tough, but Chicago’s Chris Buerhle managed to pull it off. Buehrle’s original material went over well, but it was his diverse choice of covers (Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So,” The Rolling Stone’s “Honky Tonk Women,” and Bill Withers’ “Use Me”) that got the crowd really engaged.

 

Ezra Furman and the Harpoons: Ezra Furman often writes about his love affair with the city of Chicago, so it’s no surprise that he’s at his best when he’s on home soil. The Evanston native is just as entertaining in between songs as he is when he’s singing, and whether he’s whipping his sunglasses off in perfect time with the drumbeat or reciting his address and inviting the crowd to a party at his house, there’s a certain impishness that always makes for a fun show. He’s like Ferris Bueller leading us from atop the float, if Ferris listened to Daniel Johnston instead of The Beatles. He and the band tore into songs like “Take Off Your Sunglasses” and “Big Deal” and toned it down for haunting renditions of “God is A Middle-Aged Woman” and “How Long Diana.” Perhaps Furman said it best when introducing his song “Kirsten Dunst”: “Pop culture doesn’t always have to be tawdry and vulgar. I think it can be kind of sweet.”

 

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears: There are certain things that just go well together, and in my mind, street fests and the blues make up one of those perfect combinations. There’s something about the sound that almost demands you listen to it under the sweltering sun with a beer in your hand. Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears got the crowd moving with songs like “Boogie,” “Gunpowder,” and “Sugarfoot” and kept them interested during some really stellar instrumental jams (easier said than done). They also thanked people for coming out and poked fun at the Pitchfork crowd, with Lewis smirking, “Pitchfork? More like Pitch-DORK. We don’t need that hipster bullshit.”

 

Katie Todd: I tried to make it to the Garden Walk early on Sunday to catch the School of Rock kids, but instead I stumbled upon Katie Todd’s set. Todd is a local singer-songwriter whose cheery pop songs reminded me of Sara Bareilles. The trumpet in her band added a unique element to her sound, and overall she left me pleasantly surprised.

 

Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk: Like Black Joe Lewis the night before, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk transformed the Sheffield Garden Walk into a giant dance party. This New Orleans funk group grabbed everyone from the very first song and didn’t let go until they left the stage. Whether it was the wicked basslines, the women they invited onstage to dance, or the sing-alongs during “Put it in the Dumpsta” and a cover of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Sing a Simple Song,” the whole set was spirited to say the least, and Dumpstaphunk’s energy was infectious. 

 


 
 
 

 


 

 

 
 
 




Heavy Manners

Eighties Ska legends, Heavy Manners are back and preparing to thrill audiences with some new tracks as well as their classics. The band is releasing a new 12” on Jump Up! Records which features the rather fitting track “Get Me Outta Debt”.

Heavy Manners celebrates the release of their new 12", featuring two brand new singles and a Peter Tosh produced dub mix, with a performance at Taste of Lincoln Ave. There will also be an after party at the Elbo Room, Chicago, 2871 N. Lincoln 8PM – Featuring DJ Chuck Wren spinning 80’s Ska and Reggae.

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Pitchfork Music Festival Coverage Part 2

Here is our coverage of the Sunday's events at Pitchfork Music Festival. Neph Basedow started the day by taking in two quality Chicago bands and ended up at Pavement with the masses. You can read her coverage here.

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Pitchfork Music Festival Day Three
- by Neph Basedow

Hopes for cooler temperatures were short-lived Sunday morning, when we woke upto not only a continued heat wave, but a massive downpour to boot.

CAVE: 1pm, Balance Stage

Dark skies and ominous clouds erupted into what seemed destined to become a day-long thunderstorm, but thankfully for us (as well as tens of thousands of fellow Pitchfork Festival attendees), the weather miraculously cleared—and just in time for our first local show of P4K’s final day, CAVE.

Chicago’s CAVE meandered to the Balance Stage fashionably late, leaving their crowd just enough time to be tempted to instead journey over to fellow Chicagoans, Allá, who temporarily (and punctually) rivaled their set time. Twenty sluggish minutes past their scheduled start time, sound issues were solved, and CAVE took to the stage in the steamy heat. And they turned out to be the revelry that Sunday’s stifling afternoon required: noisy, reverbed psych-rock. Sporting the presumed band uniform of tanks and unkempt hair, CAVE buzzed through their repertoire of trippy, punk-tinged songs. Enthused and refreshing they may’ve been, some of CAVE’s jams seemed to stretch a tad too long, leaving us the opportunity to take in both of Sunday’s local acts…

Allá: 1pm, Aluminum Stage

I jetted over to the Aluminum stage, just in time to catch the last part of Allá’s set. Not having seen the local quartet before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was generally pleased with what was delivered: a blend of entrancing world beats and Latin-tinged pop, with considerable likeness to such acts as Thievery Corporation.

Frontwoman Lupe Martinez engaged her audience with her lush singing style that I couldn’t help but loosely compare to (Mazzy Star’s) Hope Sandoval. Allá held their own on such a spacious stage, though I can bet seeing them in a more intimate environment would suit them better.

Best Coast: 1:55pm, Balance Stage

Best Coast easily provided a welcome whimsical midday pick-me-up. The lo-fi Californians delivered peppy surf-pop tunes, making evident nods to 60s-era girl- groups, with their swaying songs about—what else?—love, boys, and heartbreak.

Although their debut LP has yet to officially drop (it releases July 27), the crowd was still able to sing along to singer Bethany Cosentino’s every word to new songs like “Boyfriend” (thanks, in part to Urban Outfitters’ streaming earlier this month).

Beach House: 3:20pm, Connector Stage

A certain highlight of Sunday was Baltimore’s Beach House, who never disappoint as far live sets go. But singer Victoria Legrand appeared noticeably more comfortable, confident, even jovial onstage this time around, acknowledging the amount of “dark bands” playing Sunday, about which she joked, “Pitchfork Fest: wear your flip-flops; bring your razor blades!” Clearly among the ranks of her own joke, Legrand and musical copilot Alex Scally plowed through their token atmospheric dream-pop tunes, including synth-driven tracks like “Walk in the Park,” “Norway,” “Used To Be,” and Devotion’s sultry single, “Gila.” Whether you were up-close in the set’s action, or napping in the shade, Beach House provided the perfect mid-afternoon dose of lush pop songs.

St. Vincent: 5:15pm, Connector Stage

The ever-charming St. Vincent (A.K.A. Annie Clark) defended such a title with her humble, sugary-sweet stage persona. But don’t be fooled with such sweetness; although Clark delivers enchanting, reserved melodies like “Marrow” and “The Stranger,” she’s just as willing—and incredibly able—to demolish said reverence with crunchy guitar solos and fueled numbers like “Actor Out of Work” and “Your Lips Are Red.” If anything, Clark’s guitar volume could have been knocked up a coupl’a notches, as she at times competed with her woodwinds section. Headliners aside, St. Vincent’s was the first performance since Saturday’s Titus Andronicus that seemed to beg the utmost live compliment—just one more song.

Major Lazer: 6:15pm, Aluminum Stage

What to say about Major Lazer...? Between elaborate Chinese dragons, dancing ballerinas, and a healthy dose of dirty (and we mean drrrty) dancing, DJs Diplo and Switch served up an entertaining—albeit ridiculous at times—set, through-and through. Better yet, we finally witnessed some stage-diving and Hennessy-drinking.

There’s a noticeable gap in evening coverage from hereon out (sorry, Neon Indian, Big Boi, and Sleigh Bells)... as securing a good spot for Pavement simply outweighed our priority scale.

Pavement: 8:30pm, Aluminum Stage

This brings us to Pitchfork Festival 2010’s highly anticipated headliners, 90’s alt- rock poster-boys, Pavement. No one seemed surprised when Stephen Malkmus and co. didn’t exactly bring finesse to their opening number; instead, we witnessed a false start of sorts. Malkmus murmured, half on-mic, half off, “Cut Your Hair,” to which the crowd eagerly erupted... only then did the band stumble into their first song—of one of their first live performances since their recent reunion, and first Chicago show since 1999. Pavement’s choice for opening song couldn’t have been any more nostalgic, as the band played to its crowd—an alternative generation they helped define. Wistful fans sang along to Pavement greats, including “Range Life,” “Here,” “Unfair,” “Greenlander,” and “Staple.” The band blasted through Terror Twilight’s “The Hexx,” waved a listless goodbye, and just like that, Pavement was gone without an encore, and Pitchfork was over. Anti-climactic? Perhaps. But Pavement’s solid setlis —encore or not—made it all worth it. And who are we to be surprised over Malkmus’ antics after 20+ years?

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 
 

 

Alla

 

 
 
 




That’s Hard To Find

The new album from The Streets on Fire also was released today. This Is Fancy is an eleven-track parade of beats and rock mixing both humor and aggression. We have a new track from the album called “That’s Hard To Find”. This is Fancy was released by The Currency Exchange.

The bands plays tomorrow night (7/21) at Angels & Kings.

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