by Leor Galil
Less than two hours after OutKast wrapped up their headlining set at Lollapalooza on Saturday another beloved reunited band took the stage at Beat Kitchen—influential 90s-emo outfit American Football. Singer-guitarist Mike Kinsella said it was the band's "first public practice" since the group reunited earlier this year behind a deluxe reissue of their 1999 self-titled debut. Their first official performance isn't happening till next month, when they headline Pygmalion Festival in Champaign-Urbana, and their Beat Kitchen appearance was a secret; Mike Kinsella's solo project, Owen, was originally billed as the headlining act, and in the middle of the set Kinsella asked if anyone was disappointed they weren't performing any Owen songs.
No one seemed to mind as Kinsella, guitarist Steve Holmes, drummer Steve Lamos, and bassist Nate Kinsella deftly played through America Football's gentle, beautiful, and melancholic catalog. Everyone I talked to before the band's set had never seen them—American Football only played a handful of shows in the late 90s before calling it quits. The idea of watching them perform felt unreal even minutes before they took the stage, and watching dozens of fans headbang their way through the breakdown of "Honestly"—a song I've long listened to in the privacy of my bedroom—was mind-blowing. Very few people hoisted their cell phones in the air, and those that took photos or video did so discreetly—that's a rarity at any show in 2014—and it helped make the performance feel a little more intimate. Fortunately ace Reader photographer Alison Green made it out to Beat Kitchen after conquering the terrain at Grant Park, and she got some fantastic photos of the show. Take a look at them below.