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Photos: Black Lips Headline The Empty Bottle's Not-So-Frozen Block Party

By Jessica Mlinaric in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 29, 2016 8:20PM

The Empty Bottle hosted its third annual Music Frozen Dancing block party on Saturday, and it wasn't very frozen at all. Instead of the blizzard conditions of years past, the outdoors-in-February music festival happened to land on a sunny day where temperatures reached the mid 50's.

Georgia quartet Muuy Biien kicked things off at the free event with a vigorous punk rock set on the outdoor stage. Chicago post-punk favorites Meat Wave took the stage next for an adrenaline-fueled set that began with a blown amp (kudos on the quick recovery) and ended partially shirtless.

As Meat Wave frontman Chris Sutter told Chicagoist, "Playing a music festival in the winter is like the most Chicago thing you can do."

Michigan natives The Spits kept the energy high into the late afternoon, as attendees of all ages enjoyed the springlike weather. (It was some young attendees' first music festival experience.) Long lines at Goose Island's ice bar peaked mid-festival; guests also sipped on Dark Matter coffee and snacked on chili.

"I came to see my friends and also the Black Lips," said one attendee. "There aren't many winter festivals, and the weather is so nice today it doesn't feel like winter."

The mosh pit was in full effect for headliners the Black Lips. The rowdy Atlanta garage rockers had fans crowd-surfing and singing along to favorites like "Family Tree" and "Bad Kids."

The huge turnout could have overwhelmed a lesser event staff, but the Empty Bottle's team kept the day running smoothly.

"I think we won calendar roulette with that one," said Empty Bottle Presents Manager, Brent Heyl.

"The vibe from the crowd at Music Frozen Dancing always feels overwhelmingly warm and inviting," he added. "I think because we are all in agreement about how great/ridiculous it is to be a part of an outdoor concert in the middle of winter. The fact that it was a balmy 50 degrees this year? [I'm] speechless. Sincere gratitude to everyone who came out and especially to our amazing neighbors."

We know better than to assume Chicago's winter will end quietly, but Music Frozen Dancing gave us spring fever, at least for a day.