Features | Music

Finding Charley Organaire

How one superfan is relaunching the career of a forgotten reggae pioneer

Courtesy of Feel the Rhythm Reggae Club

The man dancing at the edge of the stage moves with an energy rare for his seventy-plus years.

Auburn Gresham | Best of the South Side 2014 | Greater Grand Crossing

Auburn Gresham & Greater Grand Crossing


You can feel the pulse of the community best on a summer night along 79th Street. The sky is pink and perfect, wispy with clouds, while cicadas mingle with the rumble of traffic. People are driving home from work down Racine and Halsted. On Loomis and Parnell children are playing before dinner. From the grey monolith of St. Sabina Church the strains of an organ pour out in waves. Singing rattles the slightly open windows. Continue reading


Chance the Younger

Taylor Bennett follows in his older brother’s footsteps


Sporting a name wildly familiar in the recent Chicago hip-hop scene, Taylor Bennett, young brother of wunderkind Chancelor Bennett—aka Chance the Rapper—is making his own name as Chicago hip-hop’s next big thing. Continue reading

Education | Hyde Park | Stage & Screen

Poetry in the Gray City

Team InVerse competes in Louder Than a Bomb



If you hear me, say, ‘Hey oh!’ ” Dominique Chestand shouts, singsong, from the lip of the stage at the Metro in Wrigleyville. The audience, still filing in, delivers the requested exchange. “You are my family!” Chestand continues. “This is my living room!”

She says this to keep the tone comfortable, to keep the space welcoming, in spite of the words about to be spouted into it. Continue reading


Going to California

At Riff, a tribute to departing Save Money member Nico Segal

Segal's 2013 EP, "Donnie Trumpet"

Segal’s 2013 EP, “Donnie Trumpet”

Only open since Thanksgiving 2013, Riff seems a fitting place for a gathering of some of Chicago’s most up-and-coming young musicians. Owner Danny Bonilla is enthusiastic about the club’s future, and the place holds the same undercurrent of rampant young success that accompanies many of the young artists performing here. Situated on Michigan Avenue, twenty blocks south of the Loop, Riff still has that fresh new performance space/bar/recording studio smell—a mix of expensive furnishings, ambition, and a three dollar coat check.  Continue reading


Textural Harmony

Anthony Pateras's experimental compositions

Courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist

The Performance Penthouse in the Logan Center is packed. Berlin-based experimental musician Anthony Pateras is in the wings, as part of a joint presentation through the Lampo Collective and the University of Chicago’s own Smart Museum, and the promise of his performance has drawn this crowd through the mire. Pateras himself is slight, with a sparse shock of black hair that has a tendency to stick straight up, almost comically. Standing half-shadowed against the soundboard while Andrew Fenchel from Lampo introduces him, he could be just another inquisitive concertgoer, at least until he steps onto the stage. Pateras remains unimposing until the very moment his fingers touch the keys of the grand piano, framed starkly against the rain streaming down the windows behind it.  Continue reading


Polishing a Rising Star

Willis Earl Beal's "Nobody Knows"

Ben Pobjoy

Ben Pobjoy

On his new album “Nobody Knows,” Chicago born artist Willis Earl Beal has made some changes. His musical past is anything but stable and his first effort, 2012’s “Acoustimatic Sorcery,” reflects that fact. Recorded on a busted karaoke machine in a small apartment in Albuquerque, between Beal’s medical discharge from the military and a stint living with his grandmother on the South Side of Chicago, the record is all garbled vocals and chaotic guitar. It is a soundtrack of a wandering soul, at once casual and pleadingly desperate, one man’s struggle to express his inner world through music. Continue reading