Matt Ciarleglio stands smiling on the corner outside the Empty Bottle, in front of the chalkboard door where the venue promotes that night's show and beneath its famous "Music Friendly Dancing" awning.
Matt Ciarleglio outside the Empty Bottle Credit: Ava Anhalt

Last week, the Empty Bottle’s head of marketing and promotions, Matt Ciarleglio, announced he’d become a managing partner of the venue—and thus its co-owner, alongside founder Bruce Finkelman. In late August, Finkelman pitched the idea to Ciarleglio out of the blue, and the following month Ciarleglio signed the papers. He decided to wait to go public about the deal, though, because he’s been so busy learning the ropes. “Managing partner—it’s never been done here before, but [Finkelman] has replicated it at some of the other 16 on Center properties. And he has a better idea of how the flow goes and is helping guide me,” Ciarleglio says. “I’m still the marketing and promotions person. We have a pretty small team of people—it’s not really changing that much other than, like, giving me the precedence and ability to make changes and help guide the Bottle in the foreseeable future.” 

The Bottle recently hired Cameron Chapleau—cofounder of local label and mix series Beloved, which just launched an Internet radio station—to work as a marketing and talent-buying assistant. This will free up Ciarleglio to focus on larger projects, such as providing more support for Bottle staffers. That task is especially critical in light of the financial and emotional pressures of the pandemic. “Something that I want to really start doing more is being present for our hourly staff and trying to get them into better positions, to make working at the Bottle as good for them as possible,” Ciarleglio says. “And obviously, one thing that would be great to see more of is inclusivity—in the workplace, in general, as well as with shows. That’s something I’m really stoked that [Bottle talent buyer] Molly [Mobley] is doing. Of course, it’s been that way in the past, but I feel like she’s really crushing it in that sense, by bringing in tons of different types of music from all over the world.”

Since Ciarleglio shared his news last week, he’s gotten a lot of congratulations from people in the scene. “I guess one thing I am surprised at is how few people have asked me to get on the guest list in the last 48 hours,” he says. “I think only four people have, which is great.”

Gossip Wolf considers Eliza Weber and Josh Condon of local choogle-rock group Glyders to be straws that stir the drink of Chicago’s indie-rock scene. They also play together in country-rock band Tobacco City, and they’ve got their own pursuits too: Condon maintains a hypnotic solo psych project called SPVD, and Weber makes gorgeous concert posters for herself and fellow musicians. Glyders have released a handful of EPs and singles since forming in 2014, and on Friday, January 20, they’re finally dropping their debut full-length, Maria’s Hunt, via Drag City subsidiary Country Thyme. It’s full of loping, desert-tinged road-trip rock that would make the perfect soundtrack to a chilled-out biker movie! (Think Easy Rider with less violent death and more slow zooms on plant and animal life.) Glyders also have a new drummer, Joe Seger of CB Radio Gorgeous, and the band will celebrate the album’s arrival with a show at the Empty Bottle that same night.

Glyders release Maria’s Hunt at the end of this week.

Local pop artist Liska describes her music as “Gwen Stefani meets Magdalena Bay with an obvious Chicago indie rock sway,” which certainly covers a lot of bases. But to this wolf her punky, riff-packed jams also call back to awesomely attitudinal 80s MTV divas like Pat Benatar and Toni Basil. On Wednesday, February 1, Liska celebrates her self-released 2022 EP Le Boom with a show at Schubas that includes openers Mila La Morena and Maddi Jones.

“Liska” is the performing name of singer and songwriter Annelise Steele.

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An oral history of the Empty Bottle

Staff members and musicians share stories of the venerable nightclub in this excerpt from The Empty Bottle Chicago: 21+ Years of Music / Friendly / Dancing.