Artists from throughout Chicago will be participating in a new, multi-venue festival this weekend. Decibel Crawl Fest, organized by Beverly native Clyde Moreau, started with the goal of highlighting local artists of color and LGBTQ+- and women-identifying artists, and paying them fairly “in exchange for what they give to inspire us.” The new DIY festival has shows in venues across the city, including Bohemian Grove in McKinley Park. The Weekly spoke with Moreau in Hyde Park about their hopes for the festival and the challenges of pulling together a festival in seven venues with over thirty performers, including ONO and Sasha No Disco. This interview has been edited for length and clarity; listen to an SSW Radio segment that includes Moreau’s interview as well as interviews with Decibel Crawl Fest performers Audra Vidal and Eiigo Groove:
On his first full-length release Hold Your Tongue, Melo Makes Music confronts depression, mental wellness, loneliness, and heartbreak with a sense of self. The South Side rapper might be best known for last year’s “Sleepless,” his song featuring Taylor Bennett, but he’s been evolving as an artist since early songs like “Murphy’s Law” (featuring Ju & Tatiana Hazel) and “Drain U” (featuring Ravyn Lenae). Now, on “Hold your Tongue,” he confronts his inner demons with music—and comes out of the other end with a message of positivity.
Ravi Coltrane is laughing at me. Or maybe with me? I can’t say for sure. However he’s laughing, I don’t feel too bad about it. I’ve asked a stupid question.
When I meet Matt Muse on a bright August morning, the South Side-raised rapper is on top of his game. The night before our interview at WHPK 88.5 FM’s broadcast station in Hyde Park, he’d doubled as featured artist and host for Young Chicago Authors’ WordPlay, the city’s longest-running open mic. Earlier in the summer, he’d performed at Taste of Chicago and Fox 32’s Good Morning Chicago, and in the days to come, he’d head out to New York City for a sold-out performance with Sofar Sounds and to celebrate his twenty-sixth birthday.
If you stopped by the Stan’s Donuts on Fairbanks and Erie this summer, you might have had the pleasure of buying a treat from the burgeoning South Side musician, artist, and activist Kopano.
Akenya is a singer, pianist, and composer from Chicago. In honor of the end of Lyme Disease Awareness Month, this past May, Akenya released a single titled “Decay.” Her fans have waited over two years since the release of her last single, “Disappear.” “Decay” intimately describes her experiences with Lyme Disease, an illness spread by ticks that can cause fatigue and pain, among other symptoms; some 30,000 cases are reported to the Centers for Disease Control every year. A percentage of proceeds from the song go to the LymeLight Foundation, which provides grants for Lyme disease treatment. The Weekly sat down with Akenya to talk about her relationship to Lyme disease and her single. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
On 73rd Street and Paxton, toward Merrill, at least one hundred people marched: past cars, over puddles, into alleys and across the block. As they marched, they held bundles of herbs in the air, played percussion, danced, and waved flags. This scene was the beginning of the Back Alley Jazz Festival—and the man at the front of the crowd, who rode in a mint-green Pedicab and wore a sash that read “Grand Marshall,” was Jimmy Ellis, a saxophonist who has been playing in Chicago since 1948.
Teklife is a crew of producers and DJs known for pioneering and popularizing footwork, a genre which produces some of the most futuristic sounds and styles in electronic music even as it draws upon decades of Chicago dance history. In the late 2000s, the group emerged from the Ghettoteknitianz outfit (2004-2009), and went on to prove itself as the decisive force in footwork’s explosion onto the international scene. Between drops on experimental electronic labels Planet Mu and Hyperdub, DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn began touring abroad, bringing their frenetic beats to a growing audience. Today, Teklife is known overseas for pushing footwork forward—and known locally for maintaining the culture.
Kevin “K-Max” Maxey is a DJ and Far South Side native. For nineteen straight years, he’s brought his passion for music to CTA Radio, the hip-hop radio show he hosts with Pugs Atomz and Aja the Cover’It’Girl on WHPK 88.5 FM in Hyde Park. In an interview with the Weekly, K-Max broke down CTA Radio and shared where his unique passion for hip-hop comes from.
If you have seen one of Jackie Taylor’s plays at the Black Ensemble Theater in Uptown, you have pretty much seen them all. The latest incarnation of her brand of concert-style musical theater peppered with somewhat preachy teachable moments, Rick Stone: The Blues Man, delivers on what enthusiasts of Taylor’s theater are there for. Everyone cast in this show is extraordinarily talented—and thankfully so, since audiences will sit well beyond two hours.