Best and Worst of Hideout Block Party/A.V. Fest
Saturday night at the Hideout Block Party/A.V. Fest. For more photos, launch the gallery »
The rush of folks—including Chicago magazine staffers—who bought tickets to the annual Hideout Block Party & AV Fest shouldn't have surprised anyone. With an incredible lineup (Wilco! Glen Hansard! Iron & Wine!) spread over two days, the yearly music fest in the industrial Noble Square space outside the Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia) lived up to our great expectations—for the most part. Browse our photos and read our picks for best and worst of the fest this year.
Wilco: It's no secret that Jeff Tweedy and Co. consistently deliver one of the best concerts of any rock group anywhere. That they are a Chicago band and that this was a show at the beloved Hideout just added an extra layer of sentimentality that made this event one to witness. Not only did they reach deep into their canon (even playing songs from 1995's A.M.), but Tweedy let the guitarist Nels Cline just rip. Worth the ticket alone.
Wye Oak: This Baltimore duo masters the art of intricacy, a feat that's pretty mind-blowing to witness live. The nimble percussionist-bassist-renaissance musician Andy Stack created a sonic undergirding that was so formidable that the crowd was clearly disappointed frontwoman Jenn Wasner got word from the organizers that they only had time for one more (the excellent "Civilian.") We'll be among the first to queue up for tickets when the dark indie folk band finally comes back this way.
Wild Belle: We've been following the budding brother-sister duo for a while, but seeing them play live in front of a captivated crowd of hundreds confirmed our belief—Natalie and Elliot Bergman's electro-reggae sound is definitely catching on with music lovers.
The booth options: It wasn't just beer and merchandise on sale at Hideout. Right at the entrance was a booth celebrating the Poetry Foundation's 100th anniversary directly across from a voter registration spot. Leave it to Hideout to give just a little bit more to its attendees than overpriced T-shirts.
The block party vibe: Maybe it was the fact that, unlike Lolla, the average attendee could legally drink, but the crowd during the day on Saturday was engaged without being, well, crazy. The parking lot/sound stage was half-full with people swaying to the sounds of the Waco Brothers and Kelly Hogan while the rest of the festgoers were moseying between the beer stands, the different booths, and of course, the Hideout bar itself. Bonus points for all the moms and dads with their kids. If ever there was a music fest for the family, this was it. (The crowds at night, of course, were just a bit rowdier).
The Hot Oinkie off of Bridgeport Pasty Company's Pastymobile: For $5, yum city!
Mile-long beer lines: Admittedly, saying the beer line stretched a mile is hyperbole, but not by much. Not only was the one solitary beer stand overrun, but there was no security to organize the thirsty herd.
Three hop-driven choices for Lagunitas: We don't want to look a craft beer gift horse in the mouth, but really? A little diversity would have helped.
The bathrooms: There's never a good system for this, is there? The row of restrooms lined the north end of the sound stage, making it easy access for attendees but also being a little too close for those crowding the stage at that end.
Photography: Esther Kang