This February, a miniature version of Pitchfork Music Festival is coming to the Art Institute. A new 3-day festival called Midwinter will be taking place at the Art Institute of Chicago from February 15-17, featuring 30+ live acts including Deerhunter, Joey Purp, Zola Jesus, Slowdive, Kasami Washington, Panda Bear, Tortoise, Mount Eerie, Oneohtrix Point Never, Perfume Genius, Haley Fohr, Weyes Blood, Hiss Golden Messenger, Grouper, and Mykki Blanco. Performances will be held amongst the museum’s collection at venues through the space, with select performances including original music inspired by museum art. The event will also include soundscape compositions, a pre-event dinner and a live broadcast from Pitchfork Radio. Tickets are now available for $50 and up.
Tomorrow Never Knows, taking place January 16-20 at several venues across Chicago, has announced its 2019 lineup. Popping up in the middle of the frozen Chicago winter every year since 2005, the annual festival of up-and-coming independent acts will take place at Lincoln Hall, Schubas, Metro, Smart Bar, Hideout and, new this year, Sleeping Village. Musical acts include CAVE, S. Carey, Varsity, Sarah Shook, Charly Bliss, and MNDSGN, with comedy acts including Neil Hamburger, Helltrap Nightmare, and Kate Berlant. 5-day passes cost $100, with single-show tickets also available. Visit the TNK Fest website for additional information.
Mom Jeans kicked off day three of Riot Fest to get the sluggish crowd moving with a fun set including sing-alongs and emo vibes, before Calpurnia showed the crowd these kids have some serious chops with a riotous garage punk set that included diverse covers from The Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down” to Twin Peaks’ “Butterfly.” JD McPherson played one of the most boring sets of the weekend that entertained no one except maybe the parents there with their kids, while Fear and The Avengers trafficked in fiery punk nostalgia that vindicated the obscure pairing as two of Riot Fest’s more inspired bookings. Blondie’s Debbie Harry donned a green wig for a set that, while certainly not as tight as the old days, delivered with the same characteristic cool and hits like “One Way or Another.” Alkaline Trio put on a career-showcasing set that was heavy on Chicago love and short on theatrics, before Father John Misty strutted the stage in a white suit (a move he quipped was pretty punk) with the backing of horns and strings that felt out of place only to those unfamiliar with his shtick. Late addition Run the Jewels closed out the festival with the same raucous energy that has made them festival kingpins in recent years, mixed in with some very 2018 reminders to keep your hands to yourself and call suicide prevention hotlines if you’re feeling depressed — reminding us that while music and festivals are certainly a fun escape, the wider world is never too far away. BY JOHN KURNAT–PHOTO BY JASON PENDLETON
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Three songs into Wolfmother’s set and frontman Andrew Stockade has screamed three “Chicagos!” (thank you, I know where I am). It’s cool to see Chicago’s Bruce Lamont wail away on his saxophone on the opener “Lazy.” My biggest fear hearing Twin Peaks at a festival have come true as the nuances of the band’s music are lost. It sounds muddy, and it’s such a bummer because it appears the band is performing well. Killing Joke is tearing through a set of their greatest hits. Drummer Paul Ferguson, at age 60, is destroying the kit with his fills and cymbal work and basically stealing the show. It’s fun to stumble upon Elvis Costello & the Imposters playing one of their biggest hits. They’re stampeding through “Peace, Love and Understanding,” and Costello himself is ripping it up on his guitar. I figure Jerry Lee Lewis is here and I’m here, so I might as well catch a glimpse of the rock ’n’ roll pioneer. After winding around a huge crowd to see the stage, Lewis is not up there but his backup band is smoking through standards. Four songs later, Lewis himself ambles onto the stage, sits at the piano and works hard to get through a couple of songs before I leave. Meanwhile, The Jesus Lizard is in top form. They sound great, they’re playing well and they look like they’re having a ton of fun delivering what could be the set of the night. Finally, can a band really be as slick as Beck’s backing band? It seems antiseptic from the sounds coming from the stage combined with the intense light show. It’s good, but it also screams “Super Bowl Halftime” show. BY CASEY MOFFITT–PHOTO BY ANTHONY NGUYEN
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