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Playing Fair

By chicago_chris in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 18, 2004 2:17PM

2004_06_music_streetfair.bmp It’s summertime in Chicago and that means (at least) one thing: street fairs! That’s right, rub elbows (often literally) with your Windy City brethren and “enjoy” over-priced, reheated food and watered down beer, all for the measly price of a “suggested donation.” To you and Chicagoist, that means free. (There was a great article in the Reader last year about how, no, you don’t have to pay for street fairs because they’re on public property. So don’t let those intimidating security guards strong-arm or guilt-trip you.) The real reason to check out the festival circuit every summer, though, is the chance to see some incredible bands for very little money. Last summer, for example, Chicagoist saw strong performances from acts like Spoon, Hot Hot Heat, and Interpol at street fairs.

This weekend holds the Lincoln Park Festival and the Taste of Randolph Street. The former features Calexico playing their indescribable signature sound that the Reader nonetheless tries to describe: “[a] blend of Gypsy jazz, Morricone twang, Waitsian hoodoo.” Thanks, guys. They will take the stage Saturday at about 6. (Take notice of that “about.” The worst part of these shows is that the individual bands’ start times are often misjudged or just plain wrong, so, like with Chicago voting, go early and often.) There’s a better line-up on Saturday over at the Taste of Randolph Street – would that taste be asphalt? – with a full day of quality music. Scheduled to appear are the suddenly (and surprisingly) popular Fountains of Wayne – whose best song is still the theme to That Thing You Do! – hyper-literate indie-rockers Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Detroit's Brendan Benson and worthy local act (yay, Chicago bands!) the M’s. This weekend, join Chicagoist and take to the streets.