It’s time once again for one of Chicago’s highest rated street festival of the summer, Wicker Park Fest. Putting the hip in hipster, Wicker Park and Bucktown districts have historically offered something for all aspects of life. Whether you are looking for family activities, local restaurants, or a trendy fashion scene Wicker Park Fest has it.
Live music however, makes this Chicago street fest one of the best. For a fraction of the price of Lollapalooza ($5) this street fest brings in local and national acts each year. This year does not disappoint with Cults, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, and Roky Erickson headlining. With many relatively unknown bands performing, I’ve created a guide for the top five must see local acts.
Driving bass lines, aggressive drumming, meandering guitar that can turn metal in a split second with negative lyrics thrown on top you get the band, Their/They’re/There. Comprised of Matt Frank (Loose Lips Sink Ships, Lifted Bells) on guitar, Evan Weiss (Into it, Over It) on bass and lead vocal, and Mike Kinsella (Owen, Joan of Arc, Cap’n Jazz) on drums, these rockers are no strangers to the underground Chicago music scene. Formed by a couple of friends wanting to have some fun, Their/They’re/There have made mouths drop from day one. It sounds as though this band can crash and burn at any second but somehow manages to hold it together. You can watch them hum a positive tune with a negative attitude Saturday at the South Stage at 6:25.
An explosion of jam band meets Reggae, Midwest Hype is bringing their funky vibes to Wicker Park Fest. Midwest Hype can get the party started with their colorful horns, lively rhythm section, and insightful MC. Extensively touring over the last three years they have already played Summer Camp Music Festival, Chicago Blues Festival, and North Coast Music Festival. With electronic music becoming more and more popular, Midwest Hype is a breath of fresh air reminding us that bands can still make people dance. Check them out Sunday on the Center Stage at 5.
If Abba and Phoenix had a baby, Pet Lions would be their child. The Chicago Indie Pop band has an uncanny way of putting you in a wistful dream like state with their melodic vocals, heavy synth, and wondering guitars. Listening to their EP Popular Nature is contagious. Catch them on the North Stage Saturday at 3:45.
The Dirty Pigeons
One thing comes to mind when listening to The Dirty Pigeons, raw emotion. These rock stars want you to feel every note, every drum beat, and every lyric just as much as they do. Taking influences from Neil Young, Sparklehorse, and Big Star, The Dirty Pigeons have all the elements of a great rock band. With crunchy guitars, soothing bass lines, rock solid drums, and accompany keyboards, this band knows how to feed off each other. What really makes this quartet special is their use of dynamics. They can go from a soft ballad to kicking out the jams in a matter of seconds. I definitely will be at the South Stage Saturday at 2:05 to see these guys. The question is, will you?
Come one! Come all, to experience the electrifying Mucca Pazza extravaganza. The self-labeled “Circus Punk Marching Band” plays with stupendous intensity while marching in formation. Comprised of almost every instrument you could possibly think of, including guitars and mandolins. How can string instruments that need an amp participate in a marching band? With the simple DIY invention of the Helmet Amp (a hockey helmet with a loudspeaker on top of it). This band has proved time and time again that if there is a will, there is a way. Catch them closing the Center Stage on Sunday. The celebration begins at 8:45.