Friko: Luke Stamos, Bailey Minzenberger, and Niko Kapetan
Friko: Luke Stamos, Bailey Minzenberger, and Niko Kapetan Credit: Nando Espinosa Herrera

Friko front man Niko Kapetan is a key player in Chicago’s young indie-rock underground. His band belongs to a tight-knit community that also includes like-minded acts Lifeguard, Post Office Winter, Dwaal Troupe, and Horsegirl—the connections among them are too numerous to list here, but to pick one example, Kapetan helped engineer and produce Horsegirl’s 2020 breakout single, “Ballroom Dance Scene.” Kapetan’s bandmates in Friko are bassist Luke Stamos (who played with him in buzzy Evanston group Thee Marquees) and drummer Bailey Minzenberger, and on Saturday, March 19, they self-released the EP Whenever Forever. Its five tracks thread together heart-on-sleeve folk (“Half as Far”), tense, smoldering postpunk (“In_Out”), and soaring, melodramatic chamber pop rooted in 2000s indie (“Holdin’ on People”). On Friday, April 8, Friko open for Austin Weber at Subterranean downstairs; tickets are $15, and the show is 17 and up.

Whenever Forever was recorded at Trigger Studio and Rax Trax.

On Sunday, March 27, the folks at Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar and Kimski will host a birthday party for their friend Howard Bailey, a veteran of the restaurant and nightclub business who turns 50 on Friday, March 25. Bailey got his start in the late 1980s working the door at Lakeview hot spot Medusa’s; from the 90s into the 2000s, he ran Wicker Park record shop Beat Parlor and Goose Island nightclub Slick’s Lounge; in the 2010s he opened Englewood restaurant Dream Cafe & Grille. Sunday’s party doubles as a Slick’s Lounge pop-up, selling favorite dishes from the long-gone nightclub’s menu. The music lineup is top-notch too, with DJ sets by Tyree Cooper, Tone B. Nimble, Aryun Dismuke, and Lee Farmer. The festivities run from 2 till 10 PM at Maria’s.

As coincidences go, they don’t get much more awful than a husband and wife both receiving a diagnosis of stage four colon cancer within six months of each other—and to make matters even worse, Kacie Peters and her husband, Erik Stanley, also have a young child. The couple live in Denver now (they left Chicago in 2015), but Gossip Wolf readers may recognize Stanley as having played bass in local indie-rock band Swearwords in 2010 and ’11. Early this month, friends organized a GoFundMe campaign that’s raised almost $116,000 so far to buy the family more time together—it will help Erik and Kacie pay for experimental treatments, let them rest more and work less, and in the worst-case scenario, provide some support for their son, Nate, after they’re gone. On Thursday, March 31, Swearwords will play a show at the Burlington that directly benefits the family, sharing the bill with Hlday Magik (aka local pop whiz Pamela Maurer of Baby Money & the Down Payments) and rock trio Hoarse Heckler.

Erik Stanley left Swearwords before they recorded any of their albums. The most recent, Solar Vortex, was released in 2015—the same year Stanley moved away from Chicago.

The longest Hlday Magik release to date came out in February 2021.

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