A couple years ago Matt Kimmel and Daniel Smith launched a wildly ambitious experimental-music festival called Neon Marshmallow, cramming more than 90 acts onto two stages at the Viaduct Theatre in just three days. They returned with a scaled-down but more focused version at the Empty Bottle last summer (and a New York festival in October), and Kimmel says they’re working on a third Chicago installment. More important, Kimmel has continued to book interesting underground music year-round. Some have been with Smith under the Neon Marshmallow banner—such as a recent duos concert at the Bottle that paired local experimentalists Olivia Block and Joseph Clayton Mills, European improvisers John Butcher and Thomas Lehn, and Chicago pop icons Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt. But Kimmel has stayed busiest bringing weird shit to the Burlington Bar, from Greh Holger’s malevolent dark-synth project Hive Mind to tape-loop maestro Jason Lescalleet to maximalist Kid Millions drum hootenanny Man Forever.
Best New Booker With an Ear for the Weird