Features Stories

Setlist / Review / Stream / Download: Neutral Milk Hotel @ Riviera Theater 2/6/14

Words / Photos: Alex Wood (see Alex's Friday night review here)Before Neutral Milk Hotels Jeff Mangum appeared on the stage at the Riviera, it was clear that the show was to be one of a kind.Three hand saws of various lengths lay propped against Julian Kosters amplifier at the front of the stage, arranged...

Setlist / Recap: Tributosaurus Becomes Bob Dylan @ Fitzgeralds 1/17/2014

Why are there not more Bob Dylan cover bands?Isn't it universally acknowledged that he has the deepest catalog of songs of any beloved artist? And let's face it, the bulk of his repertoire is written in a way that is just begging to be interpreted. Given that recent Dylan performances have left his rabid...

Review / Setlist / Photos: Califone & William Tyler @ Lincoln Hall 2/1/14

Words / Photos: Alex WoodAs Califone walked on stage, drummers Joe Westerlund and Rachel Blumberg fiddled with a hodgepodge of small, electronic noisemakers, opening the show with layers of gurgling electronic noise.Out of these noises came Dont Let Me Die Nervous from 2000s Califone EP, a track that showcases the bands full range of dynamics...

Interview: Tim Rutili on Califone's New Direction

Tim Rutili is the mastermind behind Califone, the sole constant in the Chicago bands influential 15-year existence.Califones latest release, Stitches, marked a new direction for the band with a cleaner production value, prominent vocals and more direct, personal lyrics. Around the time of its release, Califone embarked on an intimate living room tour, something...

Review, Stream, Download: Yarn @ City Winery 12/18/13

If you've got the songwriting gift and are starting to get damn good at it, I suppose there are three paths you can go down.1. Grab a guitar and hit the road as a one-man-show. Refuse to dilute your vision with other musicians.2. Be a band leader. Step out in front of a team committed...

Dead Is Jazz: The Grateful Dead's Greatest Jazz Collaborations

Guest Post by Paul Abella.  Paul is a musician, radio host, pundit and early supporter of The Barn Presents.  As a jazz guy who actively embraces and celebrates jambands like Grateful Dead and Phish, and even champions jammers on our local scene, his sensibilities are a natural fit for the site.  We...

The Best Jazz Venues In Chicago

Chicago is a world class jazz city. That means it has world class jazz venues. But that doesn't mean they're all created equal. Some are 100% dedicated to the form. Others program jazz as a part of a more diverse lineup. Just as there are many permutations of the music, there are plenty of ways to...

Review / Photos: Justin Townes Earle & Felice Brothers @ Concord Music Hall 1/17/14

Words / Photos: Alex WoodFriday nights installment of the Chicago Bluegrass & Blues festival offered two very different takes on blending folk-rock and country.To the surprise of many, the presumed headliner Justin Townes Earle came out before The Felice Brothers.Paul Niehaus added sparse electric and slide guitar backing, making Earles band two members short...

It's Not About Me: A Conversation With American Babies' Tom Hamilton

Contributed by: Mike Guzaski - @312mrgTom Hamilton spent over ten years fronting the Philadelphia based jamtronica act Brothers Past. While BP still tours, and he fills his plate with the occasional side product or super-group (Joe Russo's Almost Dead, anyone?), his focus, attention, and energy is centered on the Americana/blues/folk/rock concoction that...

Ten Chicago Jazz Artists To See in 2014

Guest Post by Paul Abella. Paul is a musician, radio host, pundit and early supporter of The Barn Presents. As a jazz guy who actively embraces and celebrates jambands like Grateful Dead and Phish, and even champions jammers on our local scene, his sensibilities are a natural fit for the site. He offered to provide...