Recent Posts in venues

August 20, 2014

interior of the Congress Theater (more by Chase Turner)

As part of a new plan of operation for the embattled Congress Theater, DNAinfo points out that one of its stipulations is an official ban on EDM for the venue. The agreement was signed by venue owner Eddie Carranza and City of Chicago local liquor commissioner Gregory Steadman in late-July. The conditions of the plan of operation (EDM ban included) apply to current and future owners, "the business address, the licensee, and to all officers, managers, partners, and direct or indirect owners of the licensed entity." The Congress lost its liquor license in May of 2013.

EDM, as defined by the City of Chicago, is "music created by a DJ or multiple DJs primarily using specialized equipment and software instead of traditional instruments." "... And an EDM performance shall be defined as a performance of Electronic Dance Music or any performance by a DJ or multiple DJs featured the playing of prerecorded music. Performers that incorporate electronic beats or prerecorded music in their acts shall be allowed, provided those performers either sing vocals or play an instrument(s) (or do both) during their performance." Alderman Joe Moreno (1st Ward) offered, "It's not the genre, it's the way the owner handles the genre." "I don't blame the genre or the artists, it's the operator who has to be able to handle the crowd. Unfortunately, the Congress has a history of not being able to manage certain types of crowds." Carranza declined to comment about the agreement.

August 18, 2014

"Our Chicago show on the next tour just got way sweeter..." - KEN mode

KEN mode in NYC in February (more by Di Lynn Ring)

As discussed, Winnipeg's pummeling KEN mode are slated to tag Chicago on their fall North American tour for a show at Reggie's on September 8. That gig is now part of Reggie's 7th anniversary party -- it'll take place in the Rock Club, and The Atlas Moth, Burdened, Brothers Starrace, and Fleeting Suns have been added as support. Mr. Blotto, Handler, Sammy Llanas, and The Whateverly Brothers will play the Music Joint. Advance tickets ($7) will get you in both rooms, you'll receive a free anniversary t-shirt, and there will be a free buffet from 5-7PM. Party.

An updated list of KEN mode dates lie after the jump...

Continue reading "KEN mode @ Reggie's is now part of the venue's 7th anniversary party (The Atlas Moth added ++ more)"

April 18, 2014


Pure Joy -- an all-ages, nonprofit, 200-capacity performance space -- is slated to open in Chicago this fall. They've got "a very large former warehouse space" which is being fully converted to meet needs. It's also a community space, with meeting and office space for other nonprofits, community groups, and arts-based after-school programming. Pure Joy is registered as a nonprofit in Illinois, and the team behind it are waiting on their 501(c)(3) paperwork to come through. With an Indiegogo campaign, they're currently raising funds to obtain a lighting rig, PA, and materials for stage construction. Their goal is $32,000 (they have $6,492 as of this post), but should it not be reached, whatever funds are raised will still go directly towards that. If it's exceeded, those additional funds will be used for venue start-up costs, like soundproofing. The campaign perks include t-shirts and show vouchers. They've also said, "Even if you can't help financially, please share our page with your networks and get the word out! We're only as strong as our community."

Check out the Pure Joy campaign, contribute financially if you're able, and spread the word!

April 2, 2014


As discussed, Thalia Hall are getting ready to open their rehabbed second floor theater. You already know that they'll have Panda Bear on May 21, GOAT on June 13, and Camera Obscura on July 25, and their initial schedule also includes a few other shows.

Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle's Songs & Stories, Together On Stage happens on June 6, The Mavericks play on June 8, and Tab Benoit headlines on June 27. Looking forward to this fall, Lake Street Dive will be there on September 25 and Cécile McLorin Salvant plays on November 4.

Tickets for ALL Thalia Hall shows go on sale this Saturday (4/5) at 11AM CST.

March 17, 2014

(via Thalia Hall's Instagram)

The last time we spoke about the Empty Bottle-operated Pilsen spot Thalia Hall, it was just getting ready to open its doors. Its tavern Dusek's and basement bar the Punch House have been in full swing since mid-September, and the only missing piece has been Thalia's beautiful-but-in-disrepair second floor theater. According to DNAinfo, the theater's liquor and entertainment licenses were applied for on February 13. In response to a recent "when is it opening?" inquiry on the venue's Facebook page, they've replied "Look out for some news in early summer!" Stay tuned for more information.

February 11, 2014

crowd at Logan Hardware for The Evens, 2013 (more by Zach Pollack)

Logan Hardware moved 0.2 miles down the road this past July, and their longtime space has been vacant ever since. Well, it turns out it wasn't actually vacant, they retained the space and have been working on what will now be called Logan Arcade--a full-fledged arcade and bar. It'll house a larger collection of vintage pinball machines, video games, and etc. than ever before, but also a 20+ tap bar. Logan Arcade will be 21+, but the record store // vintage arcade museum remains an all-ages affair. Logan Arcade will be opening its doors on Monday, February 17. We won't soon forget that closing Evens show...

February 8, 2014

Concord Music Hall

Last night during a Datsik-headlined performance, Logan Square venue Concord Music Hall's ceiling began to collapse, injuring at least four concertgoers---luckily none were seriously injured. It's not clear what caused the collapse, and those with minor injuries were taken to St. Mary's Hospital and Stroger Hospital. Cellphone footage shows debris falling from the ceiling as copious amounts of bass pump through the system. You can check it out below...

Continue reading "Concord Music Hall's ceiling collapsed during a show last night (video)"

January 16, 2014

Reckless Records' Wicker Park shop (more by Milos Markicevic)

According to DNA Info, Reckless Records CEO Charles Taylor purchased a two-story building at 1379 North Milwaukee Avenue for $1,580,000 on December 30, 2013. The new spot, which is just two-blocks from their current location of 1532 North Milwaukee Avenue, will boast 15,000 square feet of retail space including the basement. Reckless general manager Bryan Smith reports that there is at least one-year remaining on their existing lease, so don't expect the move to be immediate. A multi-level Reckless Wicker Park sounds pretty great, no?

November 15, 2013

The Thermals @ Ultra Lounge for a BVC-presented show in Aug. (more by Jeff Ryan)

Logan Square rock and metal bar // venue Ultra Lounge will be closing its doors after tonight, according to Chicagoist. The owner apparently decided not to renew his license so that he can focus on a bar he opened in the suburbs. Tonight's show is The Dead On with The Ladies and Gentlemen and Black Cat Heart Attack.

We had a lot of fun throwing a trio of unofficial Lollapalooza aftershows at the venue this year----with headliners Weedeater, The Thermals, and Russian Circles----and will miss the space. Hopefully someone takes over the spot with a new bar // venue.

August 27, 2013


Earlier this summer, Empty Bottle owner Bruce Finkelman closed a deal on Pilsen's historic Thalia Hall, a four-story giant located near the 18th Street Pink Line stop. Thalia, opened by John Dusek in 1892, originally served as a public house. So far, Finkelman and co. have split the large space into two distinct parts: a tavern called Dusek's and a separate basement bar dubbed the Punch House. Thalia's theatre will eventually host live music, and new businesses will be moving into its retail spaces. Modern Cooperative, a vintage furniture shop, and Belli's, a health food store // juice bar, are the first two confirmed shops. Punch House and Dusek's are slated to open their doors on September 17.

Stay tuned for more information.