The Ocean Blue at Schubas Tavern on Jan. 13, 2013

written by: Craig Bechtel on January 18, 2013

Sunday’s show at Chicago’s Schubas Tavern drew a packed crowd of the Midwestern faithful, so much that at times it was hard to tell if it was Schelzel’s reverb-heavy tenor or the attendees singing along that created a chorus effect on his lead vocals.

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Ray LaMontagne at the Chicago Theatre on Nov. 30, 2012

written by: Jason Radford on December 3, 2012

LaMontagne, introduced as “one of the best singer-songwriters in the world,” took to the Chicago Theatre stage to support the double-threat credibility the singer had earned thus far in his career, and roused a full house to their feet at the sound of his melting voice.

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Sharon Van Etten at the Metro on Nov. 7, 2012

written by: Shannon Shreibak on November 8, 2012

Sharon Van Etten is a stained glass masterpiece onstage—handfuls of broken pieces carefully fixed into an intricate puzzle. Elegant as this display may be, Van Etten still looks like she could shatter at any moment. Van Etten showed at the Metro on Nov. 6, 2012, that she could tie herself together by the heartstrings to […]

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Benjamin Gibbard at The Athenaeum Theatre on Nov. 2, 2012

written by: Jason Radford on November 4, 2012

With an intimate setting such as the scene set at the Anthenaeum, Gibbard may have expected his crowd to behave more accordingly, but given the mid-sized, full Lakeview 20-something crowd, some of the sheath was punctured between bouts of buzz-induced banter between shouters and the performer.

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The Wood Brothers at Lincoln Hall on Nov. 1, 2012

written by: Shannon Shreibak on November 2, 2012

The Wood Brothers seem to have navigated a typical path leading to a colorfully rooted folk catalog—musically-inclined parents, numerous fruitless bands—but their music is anything but the clichéd wispy, wandering-in-the-mountaintops indie. Two brothers, Colorado natives, formed a band to steep their love for folk in a kettle of smoky blues and crisp R&B beats. While […]

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El Ten Eleven at Lincoln Hall on Oct. 18, 2012

written by: Shannon Shreibak on October 21, 2012

The night promptly began with a quick set of Bastardgeist’s melancholic eclectronica. The Chicago duo—one half resembling a geek squad Moby DJ, the other a hipster club kid—was tensely arranged face-to-face, synth-to-synth, a 21st century satirical dueling pianos. Distorted hints of New Order prevailed in melancholic loops, and the faint vocals often veered off ambient […]

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Balmorhea at Schubas Tavern on Oct. 14, 2012

written by: Craig Bechtel on October 15, 2012

Almost as difficult to describe as their name is to pronounce, Austin sextet Balmorhea put on a phenomenal set on a showery Sunday night at Chicago’s Schubas. It’s pronounced ball-more-ay: unlike their music, it’s not as difficult as it first appears. The group is named after a town of 500, six hours west of Austin, […]

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Crocodiles at Subterranean on Oct. 5, 2012

written by: Ciara Shook on October 6, 2012

Crocodiles put on a short-but-sweet set that left little room for filler or chatter. The close quarters and reckless acoustics of Subterranean fused the sound with anyone who could hear it.

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