Sweet Treat

September 19, 2008


The perfect ending to what has become Chicago's long hot summer of over-hyped but underwhelming outdoor concerts and festivals, the 12th annual, eclectic-as-ever Hideout Block Party once again takes place this weekend amid the charming urban industrial decay outside the tiny club that could at 1354 W. Wabansia. All proceeds for the two-day event will be donated to the youth organizations Tuesdays Child, Literacy Works and the Thomas Drummond Elementary School.

Here is a look at this year's performers, in order of appearance:

Plastic Crimewave's Vision Celestial Guitarkestra, 11:30 a.m.: Things kick off with the impressive spectacle of this art-freak happening/overwhelming sonic assault spearheaded by Steve Krakow of veteran acid punks Plastic Crimewave Sound, aspiring this time around to include 100 volunteer musicians contributing to the mighty harmonic drone.

Wee Hairy Beasties, 12:30 p.m.: Where other children's musicians are all too eager to croon about sunshine and flowers, Mekons veterans Jon Langford and Sally Timms and their bandmate and Chicago treasure Kelly Hogan know what kids really like: Catchy gross-out anthems about spiders, snakes, toenails and age-appropriate murder and mayhem.

The KatJon Band, 1:15 p.m.: The mighty Langford will retain the spotlight for the next set, too, unleashing the fury of the latest of his many side projects, a collaboration with Kat Ex of Dutch punk legends the Ex, celebrating the recent release of a killer self-titled album on the local Carrot Top label.

Giant Sand, 1:45 p.m.: I've never fully grokked the twisted charms of these veteran desert rockers/ folkies/weirdo balladeers, but the legions of Howe Gelb fans are numerous and devoted.

Little Cow, 2:45 p.m.

Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, 3:45 p.m.: Now here are two of the sort of far-far-left field bookings you won't find at Lollapalooza, or even Pitchfork, but which make the Hideout Fest such a blast. Little Cow is a simultaneously traditional and post-modern combo from Budapest that performs gypsy-tinged ska, rock and funk, while Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, aka Dan Stephens and David Meads, is a British duo that delivers an entrancing mix of electronic dance grooves, indie-rock and trip-hop.

Plastic People of the Universe, 4:30 p.m.: One of this year's big highlights, this long-running combo from the Czech Republic will never be accused of lacking the courage of its convictions: Members of the band were actually jailed for playing their unrelenting, Velvet Underground-inspired proto-punk/psychedelic drone during the years that followed the Soviet invasion. Appropriately enough, the long list of their devoted fans starts with Lou Reed and Václav Havel; not for nothing did they call it the Velvet Revolution, you know.

Monotonix, 5:30 p.m.

Neil Hamburger's Drunken Spelling Bee, 6 p.m.

Black Mountain, 6:15 p.m.: The international flavor of Day 1 continues on the outdoor stage with Monotonix, an art-punk/stoner rock trio from Israel, followed by the even heavier and trippier sounds of the Canadian quintet Black Mountain. Meanwhile, country-croonin' comedian Neil Hamburger shows his fondness for the world of "Akeelah and the Bee" inside the club.

Vieux Farka Touré, 7:15 p.m.: The son of African musical legend Ali Farka Touré, Vieux grew up in Bamako, the capital of Mali, learning at the feet of his father while simultaneously forging his own path and mastering a unique and incendiary style of guitar that some have compared to Jimi Hendrix.

Neko Case, 8:15 p.m.: The first night closes with an old favorite, former Chicagoan and one-time Hideout bartender Neko Case. For this set, she'll lead her own band and highlight tunes from throughout her exquisite catalog, as well as sampling some material for the new album due in the spring of 2009.


The Jon Rauhouse Sestet, 1 p.m.

Honey Boy Edwards & Devil in a Woodpile, 1:45 p.m.: Two of Case's bandmates will have to rise early on Sunday after Saturday's late night, but their loss of sleep is our musical gain. Banjo and pedal steel virtuoso Jon Rauhouse will kick things off with his own band, followed by Case bassist Tom Ray and his combo Devil in a Woodpile joining for what promises to be a thrilling performance by Delta blues legend Honey Boy Edwards.

The Uglysuit, 2:30 p.m.: There seems to be no end to the amount of gorgeous psychedelic pop Oklahoma can produce, but unlike the Flaming Lips, the Uglysuit, thankfully, have yet to do a commercial for salad dressing. The group just released a strong self-titled album for the local Quarter Stick label, complete with an irresistible Windy City homage titled, sure enough, "Chicago."

Tim Fite, 3:30 p.m.: Perhaps the most distinctive voice in hip-hop -- and certainly the most uniquely dressed -- New Yorker Tim Fite made good on the promise of his last two releases, the furious "Over the Counter Culture" (2007) and the backwoodsy "Gone Ain't Gone" (2005) with a stellar recent album that splits the difference, "Fair Ain't Fair."

Mucca Pazza, 4:15 p.m.

Dark Meat, 4:45 p.m.: Talk about back-to-back, over-the-top spectacles: From the always entertaining punk-rock marching-band bacchanal of local heroes Mucca Pazza, the festival shifts into something slightly darker and even more chaotic with the Athens, Ga., orchestral art-punk grand guignol that is Dark Meat.

Robbie Fulks, 5:45 p.m.

Rhymefest, 6:45 p.m.: Another Hideout favorite who never fails to disappoint, local country-folk giant Robbie Fulks will be using this platform for a special 25th anniversary tribute to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album, appropriately warming up the crowd for local rapper Rhymefest, who continued to broaden his audience in recent months with a mix tape of his own brilliant Jackson remixes called "Man in the Mirror." A natural born performer who brings an element of the unexpected to every show, Rhymefest is also still unopposed as hip-hop's long-awaited answer to Iggy Pop.

The New Pornographers, 7:30 p.m.: The difference between tonight's set by the Canadian power-pop supergroup and the many others that the New Pornographers have played in these parts since the release of their last album, "Challengers" (2007), is absolutely key and essential to experiencing the band at its best: Case will be on board this time around. The only way it could be better is if we got Dan Bejar, too.

RATATAT, 8:45 p.m.

Hercules and Love Affair DJ set, 9:45 p.m.: Finally, the festival concludes with two acts from New York. Onomatopoeic headliners RATATAT are guitarist Mike Stroud and synthesizer player Evan Mast, who unleash hypnotic dance/trance grooves amid a full-on assault of lights, smoke and video projections. Then, as a pleasant coda to close things out and/or encourage just a little bit more dancing in the streets until next year, things officially end with a dance set by DJs Hercules and Love Affair.