Despite summer festival season in Chicago starting officially about a week or two ago, I’d pegged this weekend as a beginning point in general, Do Division Fest in particular.
Two stages — one at Division/Damen; the other at Division/Leavitt — and each programmed by reputable city institutions (Damen stage by Empty Bottle Presents; Leavitt stage by Subterranean/House Call Entertainment). Admirable bills all around.
Lots of aggressive garage going on all day, and I think no act impressed me more than one of the groups I’d advised you go and see: Magic Milk. As I wrote then, I’d caught about a song of theirs when they opened for Outer Minds/Mark Sultan at the Empty Bottle. I later learned the song was “Deep Stuff,” and like that show at the Empty Bottle, Magic Milk rounded out their Do Division set with “Deep Stuff.” Handle with care, kiddos. It kicks up about two minutes in:
As they played Saturday I found it a challenge to look away from drummer MaggieLane Laleman, who I’ve written about before here for her part in Chicago-based duo, Tiny Manatee. Anyway, Maggie’s basically all smiles as she’s pelting her kit. Literally the entire time. As if — and maybe it’s so! — performing for a crowd of good size brings her tremendous joy. And she certainly doesn’t hide it.
Their live show, probably, might be made or broken by their front man, though. He wore on stage what I generally wore to bed as a child. That is, an oversized T-shirt and underwear. No pants. Also a trucker hat. And he’s wily and doesn’t make clear sense half the time. So if you happen to be into that, Magic Milk — a three-piece — is fronted by that.
Anyway, I do like these guys a ton. They’re what you probably want in a garage band: they’re energized, loud and exceedingly silly.
Slowing things down some, a more sobering experience was had over at the Damen stage about an hour earlier for a set by In Tall Buildings. For the first time I’ve seen, In Tall Buildings bloated to a four-piece in lieu of a two.
I don’t know, these guys are rock stars. Erik’s such a master cradling one of his many guitars and handling lead vocals. They did “Alarm Will Sound,” which by now I think is the best of the catalog. Directly following that was a tune I remember them usually leading with. I don’t know its name, but I believe it’ll be on the next record. Happy to hear it again.
I guess I picked well is all. The other sets I recommended — ones by Mannequin Men and White Mystery — were super fun. What you’d at least expect, I suppose, by groups who’ve played together as long as they collectively have.
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