After hosting underground bands for five years Avondale’s Auxiliary Arts Center says good-bye tonight with one final show, which doubles as a release party for a cassette compilation, Aux Mix Tape Volume 1. The album’s title gives me hope that Auxiliary Arts Center’s organizers will be able to continue flying the flag for Chicago’s DIY scene beyond tonight; at the very least the folks at Powell Brew House, who frequently collaborate with the Auxiliary Arts Center crew, aim to continue their annual “Arts N Drafts” minifest.
Regardless of what the future holds, this evening’s gathering should be a celebration—even though the space’s doors are closing, the Auxiliary Arts Center squad are welcoming this cassette into the world. The folks behind the space have been uploading select songs to the compilation’s Bandcamp page since last month. There are 20 tracks on the cassette, and it includes plenty of independent local acts that have filled the web and print pages of the Reader. Melkbelly, who were named the “Best cross between the Breeders and Lightning Bolt” in the 2015 edition of our “Best of Chicago” issue, contribute the nasty ripper “Doomspringa.” Blake, a witty rapper who recently moved to Texas, shows up with “Squats,” a bombastic track wherein he boats about eating lots of snacks. Noise mutants Den close out the compilation with the guttural, lurching “Worth the Burn” off their 2014 BLVD Records debut, Exhausted.
Some of the musicians who are on the cassette are helping close out the Auxiliary Arts Center in person at tonight’s show. The six-band blowout also doubles as a tour kickoff for power-pop goofs Mama. They’ll be joined by scuzzy pop-rock experimentalists Soddy Daisy, surf-garage groovers Bleach Party, chilly new-wavers Baby Magic, postpunk chemists Rat Hammer, and electro-rockers Supermagical. The festivities kick off at 7 PM; for more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.