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Swilling Beer in Style

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 21, 2006 5:00PM

We admit that in the past we would attend street fests with nary a thought about the entertainment. We just learned to work under the assumption that all the bands were going to suck. Not much has transpired over the years to make us change our opinion on that matter all that much. Of course there are a few bright lights. For instance the Taste Of Randolph has been booking some mighty fine acts over the past few years (even if they stumbled pretty majorly on two of the three days this year,) and more recently the Wicker Park Summerfest has stepped up to the plate to deliver some great music for free.*

2006_07_starlightmints.jpgIn some ways, the Wicker Park Summerfest has something for everyone. On the South Stage you can find slightly more challenging but ultimately just as bland versions of the usual street fair watered-down jammy crap. Except for Apollo Sunshine. How the hell did they end up sandwiched between Dearborn (formerly known as the hippyish Punsapaya, now gone emo) and Chicago’s own overwrought Oh My God? Poor kids. We will attempt to fight our way through the patchouli to catch their sunny psych rock, but blame us if we start to lose it and begin shredding every backwards baseball cap in sight.

The North Stage is a whole ‘nother story though. Sunday’s line-up is the stronger one with The Living Blue (whom we recently raved about) and The Starlight Mints providing the brawny rock and brainy pop, respectively. Anchoring the night is the sludge metal of Dead Meadow and the psychedelic metal improv wildness of Gris Gris. Saturday is no slouch either, with the politically funked up hip-hop of The Coup and the everything AND the kitchen sink -- plus accordion of course -- gypsy rock of Devotchka.

As far as summer street fests go, this one has the most adventurous line-up. Not too bad for a neighborhood often accused of turning a deaf ear to the arts in favor of commerce, eh? We told you Wicker park still had a soul.

*Or that “suggested donation” of $5, but who is really dumb enough to pay that? Really.