Posted in music | pictures on September 14, 2011

photos by Matt Ziegler, words by Zach Pollack

Hum @ A.V. Fest
A.V. Club Fest

Saturday (9/10) afternoon, the A.V. Club's inaugural A.V. Fest kicked off in a block party style setup, steps from Hideout.

I arrived about halfway through Chicago-based band Like Pioneers' set and enjoyed what I heard of their careful mix of indie and roots rock. The small, early crowd was mostly milling about grabbing lunch from the gourmet food trucks inside of the fest, and actively searching for a shady spot to park it. It wasn't until Maritime started to play around 2:30PM, that the festival grounds became hoppin'.

Maritime was formed in 2003 out of the ashes of two beloved bands: The Dismemberment Plan and The Promise Ring, but rather than just repeating their past, the group bring forth some infectious indie pop with a slight dance-y tinge to it. With only six bands on each day, A.V. Fest is able to both stack the lineup full of amazing acts, and give each band a full hour or more on stage. Toting 4LPs and 1EP to their name, Maritime were able to make great use of the large chunk of time they had been given. The crowd grew larger and larger as their set went on, and everyone watching appeared to be very into it (myself included).

Up next was the Clem Snide frontman Eef Barzelay playing a set of mostly Journey covers, fashioned in his own way. To preface this very strange sounding happening, note that Barzelay previously covered Journey's 1983 power ballad "Faithfully" for A.V. Club's 'Undercover' series. Though I can't say I was really interested in the Journey aspect of things, his smooth voice really carried the performance through for me. He played some of his own songs too, all on a ukulele.

In a major turn of mood, genre, and mostly volume, Chicago's Disappears, who also played Lollapalooza this summer, were next (complete with semi-recent addition Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth on drums to help fill out their massive sound). They blend shoegaze and garage rock like no other, featuring the shouting vocal stylings of frontman Brian Case (ex-90 Day Men/The Ponys). Their face-melting, tight-as-could-be set went by so quickly that I didn't even realize an hour or so had passed. The band's most recent LP Guider, came out this past January via Chicago's Kranky Records. Stay tuned for what these guys have in store for the future. They are not a band to miss.

The Thermals
A.V. Club Fest

Hutch, Kathy, and Westin, formally known as The Thermals began their knock out set at 7PM last night. They began by playing their awesome 2010 record Personal Life from start to finish, then hitting the crowd with a few b-sides, followed by some older tracks. The power trio cranked out every ounce of energy they had in order to make their set memorable and exciting. The musicianship of all three members really shone through, especially when just about the entire crowd was moving to their songs. Before jumping into their last song of the set, frontman Hutch Harris told the crowd how psyched they were to play right before Hum, and shortly after, that's exactly what we got.

After watching stagehands load massive amps and gear, the reunited Hum took to the stage at 8:30PM. The Champaign band have been pretty quiet for 10 years, but Chicago is spoiled. Hum returned at the beginning of 2009 for a couple of reunion shows at Double Door and then again in 2010 to play a free Memorial Day show in Millennium Park - a big treat for Chicagoians then, and now (let's keep the yearly tradition going!). Formed in 1989, Hum bring 90s alternative rock and post-hardcore to the table and are still good at it. The band sounded full and tight, while the massive crowd ate up every note that poured out of the speakers. No word on if the band will do a full reunion tour like Pavement and Sunday fest headliners Archers of Loaf, (review coming soon), but they did play High Dive one night before A.V Fest, and they'll be playing at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin in November.

Hum's two Illinois show setlists and more pictures from most of Saturday, below...

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Eef Barzelay

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High Dive Setlist (9/9/11) (via)
"I'd Like Your Hair Long"
"Green To Me"
"The Pod"
"Hello Kitty"
"Suicide Machine"
"Firehead"
"Iron Clad Lou"
"Inklings"
"Stars"
"Afternoon With The Axotols"
"Cloud City"
"The Scientists"
"I Hate It Too"

A.V. Club Festival Setlist (9/10/11)
"Suicide Machine"
"The Pod"
"Iron Clad Lou"
"Little Dipper"
"Inklings"
"Green To Me"
"I Hate It Too"
"Comin' Home"
"Afternoon With The Axotols"
"Stars"
"Cloud City"
"The Scientists"
"I'd Like Your Hair Long"


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