Cover by Colin Denney
Music is alive and well and living in Chicago.
While that once might have meant records and radio and bands being signed to major labels, it’s a much more complex score these days, with artists and venues more entrepreneurial than ever. But at the core is the shift in emphasis from recorded to live music, and it’s a change that’s made Chicago a town of festivals, from the city’s bedrock blues, jazz, gospel and world music festivals, to Lollapalooza and Pitchfork, to the new electronic dance music festivals—Spring Awakening, Wavefront and North Coast—as well as the explosive growth of an old one, the Chosen Few DJs Picnic. With these shifts, the players are changing too; since we last made this list of the behind-the-scenesters, the power list if you will, most of the list has changed. This year’s forty-five include twenty-six folks who were not on the list that last time in 2009. (Brian Hieggelke)
Music 45 was written by Brian Hieggelke, Dennis Polkow and Kenneth Preski, with additional contributions by Dave Cantor, Keidra Chaney, Dylan Peterson, John Wilmes and B. David Zarley. See previous years here. Read the rest of this entry »
Blues, Chicago Artists, Classical, Country, Electronic/Dance, Festivals, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Music 45, Pop, Rock, World Music
It’s the economy, stupid.
Not only has the music industry had to adapt to the growth of digital technology and file-sharing, now everyone’s broke and on the brink of fighting for food. This century has not been kind to record labels, record stores and record manufacturers, not to mention the promoters and venues who’ve seen some declines in business due to—you guessed it—the elevating economic crisis. Top that off with the threat of a Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger and a citywide Promoter’s Ordinance, and the fear is very much real. No matter how good the intentions are of all parties, there may not be enough room for the little guy for much longer.
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By Tom Lynch and Duke Shin
How do you size up a musician’s creativity, let alone rank it above another’s? As we dare take on this task every two years for our Music 45 artist-driven list, many factors come into play: cultural relevance, invention, influence on other musicians and the rest of the industry, but also what moves and excites us personally, as writers and, foremost, lovers of music and everything the art form represents.
We know a few things. This year will be huge for Chicago hip-hop (what else is new), with the highly anticipated releases from The Cool Kids and Kid Sister, plus another record from Rhymefest. Andrew Bird’s proven to be, once again, more than ever, a local treasure. R. Kelly could kill your parents and you’d still buy his albums. Wilco ages like wine, and the music world changed during the absence of Smashing Pumpkins.
They need help. Art needs our help. Overblown gas prices make it extremely difficult for smaller acts to tour as much as they need; for every Kanye, there are a hundred acts like Office. Get involved, see twice as many shows in 2008 as you did in 2007. Don’t let Lollapalooza meet your live-music quota for the summer.
“Make art,” The Frames’ Glen Hansard told us when he won his Oscar back in February.
Live it, too. Read the rest of this entry »