Posted inBest of Chicago

Best 184-page love letter to Chicago

Chicago is too often presented as a violent wasteland rather than a cultural wonderland, for terrible reasons and occasionally for less terrible reasons. Many fantastic facets of our city have been underdocumented not out of nefariousness, but because everyone who cared already knew. In pre-Instagram days, who had an incentive to record a sight as […]

Posted inBest of Chicago

Best concert for a cause

On Wednesday, October 13, 2021, the Old Town School of Folk Music’s third annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day Concert shook the rafters of the auditorium with Opliam’s rock-tinged blues, Huguito Gutierrez’s Andean pan flute, and the NuFolk Rebel Alliance’s mishmash of folkloric music, acoustic Americana, and tropical punk. Artist and activist Opliam (aka Liam McDonald, who’s […]

Posted inBest of Chicago

Best use of cicadas on a jazz album

The dense, iridescent drone of an untold number of singing cicadas seeps into Now, the 2021 sophomore full-length by Damon Locks’s Black Monument Ensemble. In August and September 2020, 11 of the collective’s members gathered to record at Edgewater’s Experimental Sound Studio, both inside and out back in the garden behind the building—and the environmental […]

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Best impromptu spiritual-jazz show to celebrate what turned out not to be the end of the pandemic

When the pandemic shut down live music, Chicago gallery Corbett vs. Dempsey began presenting great online gigs via Experimental Sound Studio’s Quarantine Concerts series. I remember the excitement I felt when the gallery made a last-minute, low-key announcement, mostly to friends and supporters, that the sixth of its Sequesterfest livestreaming events would also be open […]