Tag Archives: chicago

Wish You Were Hear: Giuda in Chicago, 8/23/13


Giuda, Liar’s Club, Chicago, IL | August 23, 2013

How is it Roctober already??? To celebrate this raucous month, here are some photos from the Giuda show I had the pleasure of attending back in August. C and I were visiting family in Illinois when I learned at the last minute that the Italian glam band (featuring members of Taxi) would be playing in Chicago, roughly two hours from where we were. Knowing that they wouldn’t be in California anytime soon, we cut our trip short and high-tailed it to the Liar’s Club, just in time to catch their sweltering, stomping set. If you missed out on their 2010 debut Racey Roller, it’s been repressed by TKO Records. Even better, their new album Let’s Do It Again comes out on November 16. Don’t stop rockin’!



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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

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The Many Faces of HoZac Records: Blackout 2012 edition

gentleman jesse and his men

Gentleman Jesse & His Men (Atlanta, GA) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/13 sec, f8, ISO 500

The mere thought of sifting through the thousand-plus underexposed / overexposed / blurry / out-of-focus shots I snapped at the HoZac Blackout two weekends ago was so overwhelming that I decided to ease myself into the abyss with the band portraits I took that weekend. Unfortunately, due to varying degrees of senility, tardiness, hunger, and/or exhaustion, I failed to capture all the bands that played. (Steven/Redd Kross, if you’re reading this, sorry I had to bail! Will you take a raincheck?)

In any case, here are the portraits I managed to wrangle over the course of those four days, starting with the opening-night art show and concluding with the legendary Roky Erickson (a wholly unexpected development, I might add). Incidentally, I displayed a bunch of prints at the art show but forgot to take a self-portrait that night. I also forgot about taking portraits by the time Cemetery and Mentally Ill played. I suppose if this mental lapse had to happen anywhere, what better place than at the Blackout.

In the next few weeks I’ll be posting photos of the actual performances as well as a revealing interview with the latest teen-pop sensation out of Minneapolis, Cozy. Stay tuned!

marieke mcclendon

Marieke McClendon, artist | Canon 5D, 40mm, 1/320 sec, f4, ISO 200

luke chappelle

Luke Chappelle, artist | Canon 5D, 40mm, 1/320 sec, f8, ISO 200

darius hurley

Darius Hurley, artist/Criminal IQ Records mastermind | Canon 5D, 40mm, 1/320 sec, f8, ISO 200

colin smith

Colin Smith, photographer | Canon 5D, 40mm, 1/320 sec, f8, ISO 200

christopher ilth

Christopher Ilth, artist | Canon 5D, 40mm, 1/40 sec, f4, ISO 1250

joey potts

Joey Potts, artist | Canon 5D, 40mm, 1/40 sec, f4, ISO 1250

tiger lily photo exhibit

Tiger Lily photo exhibit | Canon 5D, 17mm, 1/50 sec, f4, ISO 1250

tiger lily photo exhibit

Tiger Lily photo exhibit | Canon 5D, 17mm, 1/50 sec, f4, ISO 1250

hozac trifecta

HoZac trifecta (Canderson, Todd, Brett) | Canon 5D, 17mm, 1/50 sec, f4, ISO 400


Cozy (Minneapolis, MN) | Canon 5D, 17mm, 1/13 sec, f8, ISO 640


The Plateaus (San Diego, CA) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/8 sec, f8, ISO 640


Video (Denton, TX) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/8 sec, f8, ISO 500

spider fever

Spider Fever (San Diego, CA) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/5 sec, f8, ISO 400

davila 666

Davila 666 (Puerto Rico) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/4 sec, f8, ISO 640

white mystery

White Mystery (Chicago, IL) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/13 sec, f6.3, ISO 400


The Barreracudas (Atlanta, GA) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/13 sec, f8, ISO 800


The Ketamines (Alberta, Canada) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/6 sec, f8, ISO 500

pleasure leftists

Pleasure Leftists (Cleveland, OH) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/8 sec, f6.3, ISO 800


Teledrome (Calgary, Canada) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/8 sec, f8, ISO 500

fungi girls

Fungi Girls (Cleburne, TX) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/6 sec, f6.3, ISO 500

gentleman jesse and his men

Gentleman Jesse & His Men (Atlanta, GA) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/13 sec, f8, ISO 500


Medication (New Milford, CT)  | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/4 sec, f6.3, ISO 640

bare mutants

Bare Mutants (Chicago, IL) | Canon 5D, 15mm, .3 sec, f8, ISO 800

estrogen highs

Estrogen Highs (New Haven, CT) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/4 sec, f8, ISO 800

human eye

Human Eye (Detroit, MI) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/4 sec, f8, ISO 500

roky erickson's band 2012

Roky Erickson’s band (Austin, TX) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/4 sec, f8, ISO 500

roky erickson meets human eye

Roky Erickson meets Human Eye | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/4 sec, f8, ISO 500


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Gettin’ Stuffed in Chicago Redux

Tortuga torta, Cafe con Leche | Canon 5D, 80mm, 1/100, f4, ISO 800

In tribute to the Nervous Eaters’ song “Get Stuffed” (see video below), I resolved to eat as much as I could while in Chicago for the HoZac Blackout music festival over Memorial Day weekend. No, the song isn’t about stuffing oneself in a gastronomical sense, but doing so is certainly the preferred alternative.

Unfortunately, I forgot I have trouble reaching my stomach’s maximum capacity whenever I travel. I can’t recall one single trip in which I had to unbutton my pants, waddle out of a restaurant clutching my belly in pain, or fall into a deep stupor shortly after a meal. Not even in Italy, where pizza comes in one size (12″?) and is meant to be consumed by one person—before continuing with the rest of the meal, which likely includes pasta, meat/seafood, salad, and dessert. And not even at Fresc Co in Seville, Spain, a branch of the all-you-can-eat buffet chain that seemed to be one of the few Spanish eateries that offers fresh vegetables and fruits that aren’t fried, deep-fried, or drowned in oil.

Oh wait! One time in NYC, after the Radio Heartbeat Power Pop Fest, I had two lunches two hours apart—one vegan lunch special at Sacred Chow, followed by $16 worth of sushi rolls and sashimi at Noodle Cafe Zen, one of those half-price sushi joints on St. Mark’s Place. I really didn’t need that second meal, but the goading and gusto of my visiting Italian friends created a moment of unexpected gluttony that I apparently remember with fondness.

Other than that, I seem to have a mental and physical block against gorging in destinations other than my home turf, which is not a bad thing. The last things I need are gastrointestinal discomfort and ill-fitting pants getting in the way of my rabid sightseeing or, in this case, hours of standing in front of deafening speakers with no indoor plumbing in sight.

So I failed my mission to stuff my face to the fullest this weekend (see rundown below), but did manage to eat well regardless. Thank you, Chicago! May I eat your deliciousness again soon!


[NOT PICTURED] 1:00pm: San Francisco Soup Company at SFOLarge Southwestern corn chowder in sourdough bread bowl. I ate all the soup (highly recommended if you’re looking for relatively cheap but filling airport food) and saved the dense, chewy bread bowl for the flight. Good thing, toonot only was our plane late, we sat on the tarmac for at least an hour before taking off.

[NOT PICTURED] 11:30am: Big Star4 fried tilapia tacos topped with a smoky, addictive chipotle mayo, 1 spicy ejote (green beans) taco. I meant to eat only one fish taco but it was too good to stop at one. As for the green bean taco, the texture of a green bean just doesn’t work well.


11:30am: Yuca Cafe—2 poached eggs on challah bread with home fries (sausages went to M), a dish called “Rocky Mountains” on the menu. I ordinarily associate this food term with bull testicles, but if it means I don’t have to agonize over ordering something sweet or savory, I’m all for it. By transferring the eggs onto the potatoes and smothering the challah (flavored with cinnamon and vanilla and lightly fried) with pure maple syrup, I essentially had two breakfasts. OMG, can you hear me drooling all over again?

"Rocky Mountains," Yuca Cafe | Canon 5D, 105mm, 1/40, f4, ISO 1250

[NOT PICTURED] 1:00pm: Bake—1 chocolate chip banana cookie, 1 pretzel chocolate chip cookie. They were exquisite but too melty to be photographed.

[NOT PICTURED] 11:30pm: El Cid3 grilled fish tacos, rice, beans, and 1,000 chips. The tacos here were a letdown after Big Star.

[NOT PICTURED] 12:15am: Longman & Eagle—Small plate of decadent beef fat fries that killed my craving for any more food. And then my moist pineapple upside-down cake with boozy cherries and toasted coconut arrived. It was flavorful but I was glad everyone wanted a bite.


12:00pm: Cafe Con Leche (Wicker Park)—Baskets of freshly made chips and salsa; huevos montados (poached eggs over thick sopes, or corn husk shells) with two kinds of salsa and black beans. It was satisfying but not mind-blowing. Perhaps I should’ve gotten a tostonillo instead, a sandwich that substitutes bread with fried plantains.

Chips & salsa, Cafe Con Leche | Canon 5D, 105mm, 1/50, f4, ISO 640

Huevos montados, Cafe Con Leche | Canon 5D, 105mm, 1/100, f4, ISO 800

(This was the day we checked into Longman & Eagle. Check out their see-through shower; the frosted-glass toilet is right next to it.)

Room, Longman & Eagle | Canon 5D, 24mm, 1/50, f4, ISO 1000

7:00pm: New Wave Coffee—Vegan chocolate cupcake, simple, moist, delectable. I can’t believe I didn’t get more over the weekend.

Vegan chocolate cupcake, New Wave Coffee | Canon 5D, 105mm, 1/80, f5.6, ISO 100

1:55am: Longman & Eagle—Small bowl of mixed nuts.

After hours at Longman & Eagle | Canon 5D, 24mm, 1/25, f4, ISO 1250


1:00pm: Longman & Eagle—”Market scramble of roasted Nichols Farm peppers, Werp Farms arugula, foraged mushrooms, and housemade fromage blanc” served over a croissant with home fries. Tasty! Since I didn’t have dinner the night before and knew that I’d probably skip dinner again, I also ordered Bananas Foster french toast with banana pudding, bourbon caramel sauce, and goat cheese semifreddo. I liked it, but the french toast could’ve been soaked longer for a more custardy texture.

Scramble over croissant, Longman & Eagle | Canon 5D, 70mm, 1/40, f4, ISO 1250

Bananas Foster french toast, Longman & Eagle | Canon 5D, 82mm, 1/40, f4, ISO 1250

12:00am: Rockin’ Horse—Veggie burger and too salty cajun fries. Thanks to Jason Morgan (of East Bay Grease, who have a single titled “Just Head”) for buying.

Burgers & fries, Rockin' Horse | Canon 5D, 24mm, 1/8, f6.3, ISO 800


[NOT PICTURED] 3:00pm: Zen Noodles & Sushi (delivery)—Cambodian fried rice. I love plain ol’ Chinese fried rice, but adding basil pushes it to another taste dimension.

8:00pm: Boiler Room—Hummus with the best grilled flat bread ever (dense, chewy, almost like focaccia); too-tangy salad with pieces of grilled focaccia. It also has Jameson soft-serve ice cream, which 1 out of 4 people in our party liked. The bathrooms are like mini CTA trains!

Hummus and grilled flat bread, Boiler Room | Canon 60D, 50mm, 1/6, f1.8, ISO 1600


1:00pm: Handlebar—Vegan biscuits with seitan sausage gravy and poached eggs. It was really toothsome but almost had too much gravy. M and I split  the hot, gooey fried pies: one filled with PB&J and the other with blueberries. They reminded me of being at a county fair.

Vegan biscuits with seitan sausage gravy and poached eggs, Handlebar | Canon 5D, 105mm, 1/50, f4, ISO 800

Fried pies and ice cream, Handlebar | Canon 5D, 93mm, 1/50, f4, ISO 800


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Gettin’ Stuffed in Chicago

Chicago hot dog

Chicago hot dog (Hot Doug's) | Canon A80

It seems like just yesterday that I visited Chicago for the first time, but, in actuality, it was six years ago this May, a trip that coincided with the fifth Horizontal Action Blackout. I’ve been fortunate to return to the Windy City at least once a year since, and will be back this weekend for the newly revived music fest, no doubt amped after a five-year break. Among the great bands playing are Nervous Eaters, the Spits, Tutu & the Pirates (Chicago’s first punk band), and a slew of HoZac hitmakers, including Mickey, Nobunny, Eric & the Happy Thoughts, Outer Minds, and Timmy’s Organism.

C has done a stellar job chronicling all of the past Blackouts, and will be showcasing some of his work at the Blackout Art Show on Thursday along with other talented folks such as Nathan Jerde (of the Ponys), Tim Lampinen (of Clone Defects, Human Eye, Timmy’s Organism), and Mark McKenzie (of Mickey, Functional Blackouts). My photos from the two Blackouts I went to were pretty awful, but they brought back memories of my little Canon A80’s painfully long shutter lag and the multiple flash explosions that saved a couple of my shots. Much as I miss the near-weightlessness of the Canon A80, I don’t think I can ever go back to a point-and-shoot—not even one with manual functions—at least when it comes to shooting live music. The Digital Rebel was a wonderful introduction to digital SLRs.

Final Solutions, Blackout 2005 | Canon A80

Demons Claws, Blackout 2006 | Canon Digital Rebel XT, 18mm, 2sec, f11, ISO 400

Here’s a random shot of the crowd entranced by Dead Moon. The bespectacled boy is Jeffrey Novak of Cheap Time; I didn’t know him at the time, and was surprised I recognized him. Also in the shot, to his right, is the singer/guitarist of the Mean Jeans, who was performing as rap artist C-Rex at the time—he looks exactly the same!

Blackout crowd 2006 | Canon Digital Rebel XT, 18mm, 1.6sec, f11, ISO 400

By the way, I really hope the Nervous Eaters play “Get Stuffed.”

Because it’s something I like to do sometimes.

(FYI: Here‘s the update.)

Chocolate peanut butter cupcake (Bake.) | Canon 5D, 105mm, 1/60, f4, ISO 100

Sky-high dessert (John Hancock). By Canderson

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48 Hours in Chicago

Up until a few years ago, I thrived on whirlwind trips: 12 hours in Portland, 12 hours in Bilbao, 24 hours in Austin, 24 hours in Seattle….Hopping on a plane and hurtling to a different city hundreds if not thousands of miles away from home really put a giddyup in my step.

There was something exhilarating about zipping from sight to sight like a well-mannered tornado. Had The Amazing Race been on then, I would’ve clamored to get on the show. But I guess age strips away that layer of your brain that makes you invulnerable to sleep/oxygen deprivation, extreme temperatures, bad smells, and cramped spaces. Nowadays when I watch that show, I exhaust myself just wondering about how they deal with food, sleep, and irritable bowl syndrome. This may be why I have a soft spot for the BBC show An Idiot Abroad (now available in the U.S.!). Karl Pilkington is the only travel show star who manages to make me feel happy to be at home sometimes.

Not to say I no longer enjoy traveling. I’d simply rather spend more time savoring a locale than (literally) racing past its tourist attractions. And yet I somehow agreed to a quick jaunt to Chicago last November. Two dozen members of the UC Martial Arts Program’s yongmudo club, including me, descended upon Chicago for the 1st U.S. Yongmudo Championship. (Technically, the event was held at Harper College in Palatine, an industrial suburb just a hair outside of O’Hare International Airport, but “48 Hours in Palatine” just doesn’t seem to have the same dazzle.)

I’d visited Chicago several times before, in all manner of weather, but I still couldn’t bear the thought of being there for merely 30 hours like many of my teammates. So I extended my stay just a little, just enough to take the “business” out of it. Thanks to T & E for their hospitality and their big, warm hug of a couch!

In 48 hours, I managed to devour several bowls of T’s homemade leek and potato soup and an unnecessary-but-oh-so-delicious slice of triple chocolate cake; receive an amazing hair blowout courtesy of E; catch the Ponys at the Bottom Lounge (more pix here); complete a three-hour, multilocation/multiwardrobe photoshoot with E that ended sometime after 4 a.m.; rouse myself in time to meet the others at O’Hare; attend a tournament seminar; finish proofreading my new book; get roughly five hours of sleep; referee at the tournament; and enjoy a tasty Greek meal before heading to the airport.

I wasn’t there long enough for jetlag to screw me up, but the odd hours I kept certainly did. Good thing I took some photos. Otherwise I would’ve forgotten the whole thing ever happened.

The Ponys

The Ponys, Bottom Lounge

3 a.m. photoshoot

1st U.S. Yongmudo Championship, Harper College, Palatine, IL

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