HoZac Blackout 2013 Recap: Looking for the Magic


Games (Brooklyn, NY), HoZac Blackout 2013 | Empty Bottle, Chicago

HoZac Records, the untamed Windy City label, dipped under the radar yet again to pull together both new and legendary acts for this year’s four-day blowout at the Empty Bottle in Chicago (the one exception was perhaps power popmeister Dwight Twilley, whose songs “I’m on Fire” and “Girls” cracked the Top 20 in 1975 and 1984). I managed to catch 18 of the 19 bands (sorry, Population!) and was delighted by the following (in chronological order):

  • Winter Bear (Milwaukee, WI): Refreshing jangly pop featuring Erin Dorbin (formerly of the Cave Weddings). Limited-edition cassettes are currently available on Etsy; debut HoZac 7″ is out in June.
  • Buck Biloxi & the Fucks (New Orleans, LA): Primitive punk à la early Misfits (or the Spits)
  • Unnatural Axe (Boston, MA): No doubt riled up about the alleged Christian group that was keen to shut down their performance (see the Huffington Post report), this Killed By Death outfit cranked out classics like “The Creeper,” “3 Chord Rock,” and “Summertime.” At one point, singer/guitarist Richie was so caught up shredding his sunburst Les Paul Gibson that he took a nasty backwards tumble off the stage. We feared the worst, but he bounded back on stage after a few minutes to continue playing, but not before he threw his guitar in my direction. Its headstock struck my lens, which in turn smashed part of my camera into my face (my brow bone still hurts and is swollen more than a week later!), but that was nothing compared to the blood oozing down Richie’s face. They polished off their set with the Plasmatics’ “Butcher Baby.”
  • Wizzard Sleeve (Mobile, AL) with Quintron on drums: Sinister electropunk
  • The Sueves (Chicago, IL): The only garage punk band to play the fest!
  • Games (Brooklyn, NY): Catchy power pop featuring Jeremy Thompson (ex-Busy Signals, Carbonas)
  • Pezband (Oak Park, IL): Technically proficient power popthey were fun even though they didn’t do “Baby It’s Cold Outside”
  • Dwight Twilley (Tulsa, OK): Master showman in a white suit; “Looking for the Magic” (originally performed with Tom Petty and the late Phil Seymour) was the encore

Incidentally, I somehow had energy for a Saturday afternoon show (Jook, Fake Surfers, Mac Blackout Band) at the Mutiny, and then another (The Beets, Wrong Words, Pink Films) at the Night Light in Oakland after I returned to the Bay Area, which brought my final band total to 22 that week. I’ll admit that capturing that many bands while getting smacked in the face by a guitar and being drenched in PBR and assorted bodily fluids requires a special blend of endurance and masochism, but there was a lot of magic to be had. Here are some of my favorite songs I heard during the course of those seven days (press the “play” arrow below if you’d like to start the soundtrack for this photo essay), followed by a smattering of snaps from the Blackout. Thanks, HoZac!

hozac blackout 2013

The 2013 line-up (May 1619)

the sleaze

The Sleaze (Minneapolis, MN)

negative scanner

Negative Scanner (Chicago, IL)

mike rep & tommy jay

Tommy Jay & Mike Rep (Columbus, OH)

mike rep-tommy jay-todd

Mike Rep, Tommy Jay & HoZac’s Todd Novak

dustin mertz and tommyjay

Tommy Jay, proud owner of Dustin Mertz’s Iggy Pop piece

winter bear

Winter Bear (Milwaukee, WI)

winter bear portrait

Erin Dorbin of Winter Bear with limited-edition cassettes

buck biloxi & the fucks

Buck Biloxi & the Fucks (New Orleans, LA)

buck biloxi & the fucks portrait

Buck Biloxi & the Fucks (New Orleans, LA)


Make-Overs (Pretoria, South Africa)


Make-Overs (Pretoria, South Africa)

make-overs portrait

Make-Overs (Pretoria, South Africa)

eat skull

Eat Skull (Portland, OR)


Tyvek (Detroit, MI)

tyvek portrait

Tyvek (Detroit, MI)

unnatural axe1

Unnatural Axe (Boston, MA), pre-tumble

unnatural axe2

Unnatural Axe (Boston, MA), post-tumble

unnatural axe3

Unnatural Axe (Boston, MA)

unnatural axe portrait

Unnatural Axe (Boston, MA)


Verma (Chicago, IL)


Verma (Chicago, IL)

verma portrait

Verma (Chicago, IL)

fnu ronnies

FNU Ronnies

cop city/chill pillars

Cop City/Chill Pillars (Orlando, FL)

cop city/chill pillars portrait

Cop City/Chill Pillars (Orlando, FL)

wizzard sleeve1

Wizzard Sleeve (Mobile, AL) with Quintron

wizzard sleeve2

Wizzard Sleeve (Mobile, AL)

wizzard sleeve portrait

Wizzard Sleeve (Mobile, AL) with Quintron


Chrome (San Francisco)

helios creed meets wizzard sleeve

Wizzard Sleeve meets Chrome’s Helios Creed

the sueves

The Sueves (Chicago, IL)

the sueves portrait

The Sueves (Chicago, IL)


Games (Brooklyn, NY)


Games (Brooklyn, NY)

games portrait

Games (Brooklyn, NY)


Pezband (Oak Park, IL)


Pezband (Oak Park, IL)

pezband portrait

Pezband (Oak Park, IL)

dwight twilley1

Dwight Twilley (Tulsa, OK)

dwight twilley2

Dwight Twilley (Tulsa, OK)

dwight twilley3

Dwight Twilley (Tulsa, OK)

dwight twilley4

Dwight Twilley (Tulsa, OK)

dwight twilley with fans

Dwight Twilley fans passing the dust


Leave a comment

Filed under music, photography, wish you were hear

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s