Indiepop in Chicago!

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Indiepop in Chicago!

Post by DoNotDisconnect » Sat Jul 31, 2010 23:08

Sorry if this belongs on a different board (I contemplated the geography subsection but reckoned that it was dual subject matter and more relevant to here...).

Basically, I'm going to Chicago for two weeks at the start of September and want to find out as much as I can about Chicago's indiepop "scene" (if there is one). Which (small?) local bands should I be checking out, what nights should I go to, any unmissable gigs between the 2nd and 15th September? All support and suggestions are welcome! It would also be nice to make some more Chicago friends (all my friends over there are united by our obsession with Ben Folds, though I don't really listen to him all that much anymore). I will reward your generosity by pretending to be more British than I actually am, emphasising my native stereotypes and generally being appreciative.

Suggestions of other fun things to do while I'm there are appreciated, too, though I already have an extensive list of which Presidential residencies to visit, which graves I'm going to go searching for and which Wilco album covers I'm going to attempt to recreate.

I'm already going to see Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Vampire Weekend and Pavement while I'm there.

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String Bean Jen
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Re: Indiepop in Chicago!

Post by String Bean Jen » Sat Jul 31, 2010 23:57

Wow! Hello. I'm from Chicago. While I've only lived here just over a year, I feel like I've been thoroughly London-ized, I mean London-ised and I don't know everything that's going on nowadays but I'll have a go at writing some things out. I've moaned enough in the past about the lack of an indiepop scene in Chicago. I'm fairly certain there still isn't one!

The best local indiepop band is easily Very Truly Yours. Second to them I always liked seeing the swirl/noise pop of Panda Riot. Bears (at least part of them) are local too which is lovely. I've been told The Hollows are pretty good in a punky way. Then there's The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir who have been around many years, starting off as very upbeat, sweet B&S-style but evolved into a much rootsier band. I think Casiotone for the Painfully Alone still lives there though I think he's calling it quits soon. Have a look at their web sites to see if they have shows on when you're there.

Here are venues to check the schedules of:
* Beat Kitchen
* Darkroom
* Double Door
* Empty Bottle
* Hideout
* Logan Square Auditorium
* Metro
* Ronny's
* Schuba's
* Subterranean
* Silvie's

There is a new venue called something like LaSalle Power Station as well that might be worth googling. There were no club nights worthy of mention like ever. There were bad Britpop and 80s nights if you dig that. One was called Panic. Oh wait! I think Elia of SYGC started a club night but again, I think it's mostly Britpop. Ah yes, it's called 'This is England.' If that's on, you can go there and get hit on by English accent lovers I'm sure.

My favourite thing to do when visitors came to town was to take them to the 96th floor of the John Hancock building. I think it's more impressive than going up the Sears Tower as it has a BAR. Also it's right on the lake, out of the throttle of skyscrapers so you get a better perspective of the city. Go at night and have a cocktail. I think they're between $8 and $10 but you just need one really!

If you can take an architecture tour, either by boat (along the river which cuts through the city) or by walking, I'd recommend that too. Chicago has superb architecture, from sturdy old brick homes to massive shiny skyscrapers. You actually might be in town during their annual architecture tour fest...I can't remember what it was called but it was a big city-wide event every year one weekend in September and the tours on offer were fascinating. You could never sign up for enough. I loved the combination of social history and architecture on the tours.

Museum-wise I'd recommend the Chicago Museum! This is my bias; one of my favourite things to learn about cities is their social history and that's what that is all about. None of the museums are free but they are all worth plunking down some dollars for.

That's all I can think of at this late hour but feel free to ask other questions!
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