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Zath at the Hideout 4/29: The term "supergroup" gets tossed around a lot in this town. This show seems to be the one that put Zath (a thrash band that consists of members of Cave, Ga'an, and Cacaw) on everyone's radar, jacking up the demand for their proggy Master of Puppets worship.
Puffy Areolas at the Blackout 5/28: I'm not going to lie: by the second night of the Blackout, I had been jamming to garage rock for 30 hours straight, and maybe this is the 20 PBRs talking but it was kinda starting to blend together. Then out came the Puffies. Scoffing at the stage and setting up on the floor, they snapped everyone back into it with a nihilistic set of their signature Kraut-psych trash.
Off! at the Pitchfork festival 7/16: For the most part, Pitchfork failed to excite this year. Prime example: I saw a girl lying in the middle of the grass reading a book while Thurston Moore played on a stage about 100 yards from her. Luckily there was the Off! set. Punk legend Keith Morris and company whipped the crowd into a manic frenzy and even had the security guards getting down.
Thee Oh Sees at the Logan Square monument 7/24: The outdoors summer vibe was an excellent counterpart to Thee Oh Sees' high-energy jams, and the combination got the entire park dancing and smiling.
Disappears at A.V. Fest 9/10: Disappears played right before the Thermals and Hum, two bands that have been together exponentially longer than they have. Disappears' set was incredibly tight and hypnotic, and blew both of the headliners out of the water.
Ty Segall's secret show at Treasure Town 10/2: Given that there were hundreds of kids in attendance, I'd say that the secret of this "secret show" got out. Segall had played a lackluster set the night before at the Empty Bottle, but he more than made up for it at Treasure Town, where the wall-to-wall crowd went apeshit over his hyperactive garage rock (and a couple of covers by the Misfits and Sabbath). This was one of those shows that revives your faith in rock 'n' roll.
Cacaw at Treasure Town 10/4: We didn't know it would be Cacaw's last show. Cacaw didn't know it would be Cacaw's last show. Late on a Tuesday night, one of Chicago's heaviest-hitting bands, all salty with one another, destroyed a five-song set in front of 30 people at most and refused an encore of any kind. This was the perfect way to see off some of the most devastating creators of bad vibes to ever come out of this town.
All in all, an excellent year for music. Think I'm forgetting anything? Let me know.