Do you ever wish you could listen to your favorite band in your Wisconsonian uncle’s late 70’s furnished basement? Well, then you’re in luck if you’re planning on being in Chicago sometime soon..and your favorite band isn’t someone like Coldplay or something like that.
Deep in downtown Chicago, Illinois, The Hideout hosts music more along the lines of HEALTH, Mahjongg or Shellac. That is to say, good. Or, well, at least a little less mainstream. Off the beaten path, if you will. And that phrase is particularly apt, as The Hideout is kind of hard to find, at first. Right near the Chicago river, Wabansia Ave. angles off of the main streets, leading you down through an industrial area. Right in the middle of a pack of warehouses and old factory buildings , an “Old Style” (oh, how Chicago!) sign dangles in front of a woodsy looking house. The front of the house was recently adorned with a huge poster of Barack Obama, painted by Andrea Jablonski.
Once you’re through the urban wasteland, stumble through the doors and pick up a $2 can of PBR while waiting for the show doors to open. The bar is pretty standard fare. One wall features a glassed case of old beer cans. Above the booths at the far wall, a chalkboard is updated monthly to show the full slate of upcoming gigs.
One staple on that chalkboard is the acoustic blues/rag group Devil in a Woodpile. As legend (and the band’s Web site) has it, singer Rick “Cookin” Sherry and bassist Tom Ray stumbled into the Hideout looking for a drink. After discussing music with new owner Tim Tuten (yes, that guy who helps emcee the Pitchfork Music Festival), it was revealed that Ray had just quit the Bottle Rockets in order to play fulltime with Devil in a Woodpile, alongside Sherry and guitarist Paul K, due to his love of the Bottle Rockets, offered them a Tuesday night gig and the group has returned every week since.
Anyways, your next stop is going to be the main attraction: the concert hall. Whether it’s packed and soaked in sweat for a rowdy show like HEALTH, or a chilled breeze of jazz like Fred Lonberg-Holm’s Lightbox Orchestra, the Hideout is the perfect place to see live music. The hall is a big open wood-paneled room, stuffed marlins and seabass dangling on every wall. To complete the cottage feng shui, there are a mess of metal folding chairs, a disco ball and a green plank with the club’s name hand-painted onto it.
Lonberg-Holm and friends aren’t the only jazzbos to call The Hideout home. Wednesday nights feature the Immediate Sound series, presented by Umbrella Music, a group of musicians that includes saxophonist Ken Vandermark, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and others. Anyone interested in a quick introduction to free jazz and experimentation can take a quick stop in on Wednesday night. For example, this upcoming Wednesday the 10th features Lonberg-Holm, drumming legend Michael Zerang, Lou Mallozzi on the infinitely awesome combination of trombone and sampler, and Hal Rammel on “invented instruments.” Yeah, that’s right, invented instruments.
The Hideout also hosts yearly Block Parties, packing thousands onto the industrial parking lots out front. 2008’s featured Neko Case and the New Pornographers, while 2007’s lineup included Dan Deacon, O’Death and local-boy-does-good Andrew Bird.
Whether you’re looking for a laidback night of experimentation or a raucous rock show, The Hideout is the perfect place to go. The shows are always intimate, the sound always spot on and the PBR always…well, there.
12/12 – Majors Junction
12/13 – Big Science, The Gunshy
12/14 – Devil in a Woodpile
12/15 – Immediate Sound Series
12/23 – The Western Elstons
12/26 – Eli Jones, Dylan Posa
12/27 – Oh My God