Friday Night’s Hidden Music


What is the hideout? A small venue is located in Chicago, one of many. But this one is unique. More unusual than you might think. It’s a place for the average dude or chick. A dive bar that “rocks.” It’s in the middle of an industrial area with a lot of garbage trucks and warehouses nearby. An obscure location. Cash Only. Since the Al Capone days, the Hideout has been around. Lots of events and small concerts actually happen here. I tend to dig places that are off the beaten path. Have you been to a bar this this? One that holds random bingo nights, charity events, live shows with a lot of beer that keeps on coming. Cheap drinks. The hideout isn’t flashy. It’s ordinary, small and a wonderful little gem that many people don’t know anything about. Plus there’s cool outdoor seating in the summer time. Which brings me to the next question.

They hold a Block Party? Whats this all about? Well it takes places annually around Labor Day. In September; on the streets outside of the bar, this fun and laid back party is full of music, food, drinks and various hipsters hanging out. But there’s no hype or much talk about it. Unlike events, such as Lollapalooza or Pitchfork, this is kind of a secret. But let me tell you, there’s a lot of heart and soul in this party. Low stress, family friendly festival. There’s even valet bicycle parking. The smell of garbage dumpster juice blowing around in the cool Friday night windy air is awesome! Ahhhh! Parking is free but you have to walk at least 6 blocks. That’s what my wife and I did on Friday, September 6th.

Now for the bands we saw as we stood around drinking our green tea, chomping on BBQ sandwiches and pasties.

First we got treated by banjos, fiddles and various acoustic guitars jamming quite excitably loud and making everyone clap and cheer. This group I speak of is called “Trampled By Turtles.” They’re from Minnesota. It’s folk. It’s bluegrass. Think Bob Dylan and Neil Young with a touch of country. The two of us were nicely entertained by this catchy band.


Intermission time. Bathroom break! Lets grab a coke!

Next up? A living legend. We are now in the midst of the one and only Mavis Staples. Se been around since the civil rights movement. Rhythm and Blues mixed with Gospel is her style. She was the front runner of the classic group The Staple Sisters. Remember the hits, “I’ll Take You There” and “Respect Yourself?” We’ll she’s been recording some new stuff with Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) creating gospel albums of the 21st century. Spectacular voice and a great band with backup singers. Mavis is 74 years old and still really packs a punch! You go girl!


Last break before the final act. Our headliner for this evening is Neko Case. We situated ourselves up front to the left of the stage and leaned against the cold steel rails in anticipation for one of my favorite artists to take the microphone. This now marks my fifth time seeing Neko live. Today, September 8th, is her birthday. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY Neko Case! Just thought I’d mention that. So, who is she? Why do I like her so much? She has the voice of an angel. Much revival enthusiasm with arresting beauty.

Her inspiration comes from respected artists like, Loretta Lynne, Hank Williams and Tom Waits. She’s embraced country music but truly influenced by David Lynch Films and unusual noir styles. She’s incorporated dreamy imagery of the rights of animals, love, loss and what it means to live in America.

So the blue spotlights flicker on
We hear the noises of Submarine sonar pings
Fog fills of the stage
The crowd goes wild
Much applause
Our red-headed hero is ready to jam
She’s ready to expose her soul
Her melancholy mixed with humor
It’s just her way of entertaining
Aggressive guitars
Yet laid back

Her stuff is truly a nice blend of Indie, Alternative, Rock and Country.
One of the most stunning moments was a gorgeous acapella done by her and co-singer Kelly Hogan. Shocking language and just their two pleasant voices in this abstract location just made me realize why I love her so much. No fear to express her and dear friend’s voice in an honest and real way.

It was another night to remember at the Hideout.

Thanks for the inspiration Neko and everyone else.

Peace out