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Local 101: Wicker Park Fest Roundup

Posted by on Jul 26, 2012 | 0 comments

Wicker Park Festival hit the corner of Milwaukee and North avenues Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29. Chicago’s known for busing national talent in and out of its city limits each summer for big name festivals like Lollapalooza and Pitchfork but if up-and-coming local acts are what you’re after WPF might be your best bet.

Local 101 combed the lineup and chatted with some of the Chicago-based musicians from this year’s Wicker Park Fest:

Saturday, July 28, artists:

Kill HannahLongtime Chicago faves bring their alt-rocking, electronic-infused cuts to the Center Stage on Saturday to close out the first night of WPF.
Q&A with vocalist Mat Devine:
What’s your favorite festival food? Ribs. I realize that kills any hope  I have of sounding sexy, but it’s true.
What’s your favorite song to play at Chicago shows? Our song “Welcome to Chicago MF” goes ballistic every time. It’s a tribute to the city and considering it’s never actually been released it’s pretty amazing how it’s become a live cult favorite.
Set time: 8:45 p.m., Center Stage

YAWN - Psych rock with a drummer who’s not afraid to go heavy on the toms. It’s whimsical. It’s catchy. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Q&A with vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Adam Gil:
Any good memories from Wicker Park Fest in years past? I’m sure there are good memories somewhere but all the festival drunkenness has washed them away.
Aside from your performance at the fest, what else should your fans be excited for? A Lollapalooza after party at the Empty Bottle on August 3 with Bear In Heaven. Our new EP Happy Tears… it’s free! Show/parties at our loft! More FeelTrip artists coming out with releases.
Set time: 5:30 p.m., South Stage

Big Science - A bit jazzy. A little psychadelic. A lot of rocking. A big musical science experiment gone so right.
Q&A with bassist Jason Richards:
What’s your favorite festival food? As a band, we’re 75% vegan so it’s kinda tough to work out. I wish we could just say ribs. I remember what they taste like. They’re good. Let’s say ribs!
Any good memories from Wicker Park Fest in years past? Two years ago we played really early in the day on the Cap’n Jazz stage. We got to see them and Mission Of Burma. That was great.
Set time: 4:30 p.m., South Stage

Magic Box - Rock ‘n roll with a soft, melodic edge brought to you by veteran duo Ed Anderson and Scott Kipping.
Q&A with vocalist/guitarist Scott Tipping:
What’s the best thing about Chicago street festivals? Live music and beer.
Any good memories from Wicker Park Fest in years past? Yes! Seeing Glossary a few years ago. I had never heard of them before, their set was amazing.
Set time: 4:15 p.m., Center Stage

Archie Powell and the Exports play the South Stage Saturday, July 28, at 3:30 p.m.

Archie Powell and the Exports – By mixing pop rock jams with the slightest hint of grunge, Archie and co. prove that rocking out and having fun are really one and the same.
Q&A with Archie:
What’s the best thing about Chicago street festivals? It’s a great opportunity to get really weird for an hour and be recognized for it.
What’s your favorite festival food? What’s that place that does the mystery meat made out of all the farm animals at once? Because that’s the best one.
Set time: 3:30 p.m., South Stage

Pet Lions - Indie rock to the core. Bouncy, blissful tracks. The perfect soundtrack for a summery Saturday afternoon street fest adventure.
Q&A with vocalist/guitarist Karl Ostby:
What’s the best thing about Chicago street fests? The lineups seem to be getting better every year. We’re stoked to play a street fest with The Drums, Cursive, Joe Pug, Yawn, Tristen, etc.
What’s your favorite song to play at Chicago shows? Like most bands, we probably like debuting new material more than anything. New songs just sound so different on stage than in a practice space, so it’s almost cathartic to hear that for the first time.
Set time: 3 p.m., Center Stage

Rollo Tomasi - Perhaps the heaviest band playing this weekend’s fest, it’s only a matter of time before Rollo’s aggravated guitar breakdowns and driving rhythms will get your head bobbing.
Q&A with guitarist/vocalist Neil Sandler:
What’s your favorite festival food? Beer. Yes, beer is a food.
Any good memories from Wicker Park Fest in years past? In 2009, Jeff [Larsen, bassist/vocalist] and I got to see John Reis’s band, The Night Marchers, play a great show. What made it even better is that we went to see Obits play at Empty Bottle later that night. Obits contain Rick Froberg, the other half of the magical duo that created Hot Snakes and Drive Like Jehu, two of our all time favorite bands.
Set time: 2:30 p.m., North Stage

Perfect Kiss - Their dark synth swells and electronic beats will bring you right back to the glory days of ’80s new wave. Get yo’ dance on.
Q&A with bassist Ray Mora:
What’s your favorite song to play at Chicago shows? Right now I would say “One Kiss” from our new EP Alarms. It was fun writing it, it all came together and now we love playing it out live.
Aside from your performance at the fest, what else should your fans be excited for? We are getting ready to shoot our first music video, so that’s really exciting. Also just starting to play out a lot more, in and out of the city. Our fans will have plenty of opportunities to check us out this summer and I’m hoping to see familiar along with new lovely faces out there.
Set time: 2 p.m., Center Stage

Mike Musikanto - Musikanto isn’t breaking the singer/songwriter mold, but his rich tenor and dreamy guitar lines are setting the bar for the genre much higher.
Q&A with Mike:
What’s the best thing about Chicago street festivals? The best thing about Chicago festivals is the love people show for their neighborhood. It’s one big block party.
Aside from your performance at the fest, what else should your fans be excited for? Fans in Chicago can see me at Chicago’s new City Winery with Suzanne Vega in September. It will be a stripped down acoustic show.
Set time: 1 p.m., Center Stage

Sunday, July 29, artists:

The Steepwater Band - Nitty, gritty, dirty and delicious blues rock.
Q&A with singer/guitarist Jeff Massey:
What’s the best thing about Chicago street festivals? The opportunity to play music in front of a diverse group of music fans. Chicago is one of the greatest cities for live music and festivals are a great way for bands of different genres to converge on the same stage.
Aside from your performance at the fest what else should fans be excited for? They should be excited that we are playing Fitzgerald’s on Friday August 10th! [Shameless plug]
Set time: 7 p.m., Center Stage

Fort Frances - Enough pop sensibility for a fun listen and enough musical poise for some serious respect.
Q&A with vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist David McMillin:
What’s the best thing about Chicago street fests? A long list of great bands for under $10.
What’s your favorite song to play at Chicago shows? Currently, it’s our cover of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince classic, “Summertime.”
Set time: 5:30 p.m., South Stage

Lasers & Fast & Shit - Sure to get the afternoon energy surging this Sunday, Lasers should fill your punk quota for this festival outing. Traditional melodies meet spastic breakdowns a la Death From Above 1979. Oh, yeah, and they bring their own light show.
Q&A with vocalist Joe Carsello:
What’s your favorite song to play at Chicago shows? Songs are like cats. It’s hard to pick your favorite as they are all cute in their own right.
Aside from your performance at the fest, what should fans be excited for? Rain! For heaven’s sake, PRAY FOR RAIN!!!

Will Phalen play the Center Stage Sunday, July 29, at 4:15 p.m.

Will Phalen and the Stereo Addicts - Expect to hear plenty of brooding, folk rock tunes off Phalen’s debut solo album–the Chicago-themed and aptly titled Holy Ghost Gold Coast.
Q&A with Will:
What’s your favorite festival food? Cevapcici! I discovered them at Do Division a couple years ago and then realized they’re actually at a bunch of Chicago’s street festivals. It’s a meat pattie made of lamb, beef and pork. They grill it up, put it in a pita and cover it with a delicious sweet red pepper sauce and onions. I love it. I think it’s a take on a Balkan dish.
What’s your favorite song to play at Chicago shows? I don’t know if I have a favorite. All my songs are like children to me. But I’m really excited to be playing a bunch of new material with my brand new band! We’ve also got a special cover song in store. I’m not going to say which one, so folks will have to come out to hear it.
Set time: 4:15 p.m., Center Stage

Derek Nelson and the Musicians - It’s almost unfair how eerily beautiful Nelson and his band sound on their debut record Riders of the Tide. Unfair to anyone who won’t be seeing the folk rockers live this weekend that is.
Q&A with Derek:
What’s your favorite festival food? I was always fond of funnel cakes growing up. Now that I’m older, I’m wondering how they’re made. Ribs are still the best festival food.
Aside from your performance at the fest, what else should fans be looking forward to? From the festival side, they should definitely check out our friends The Shams Band and Will Phalen & The Stereo Addicts — and of course, Joe Pug, Tristen and all the other great bands. More than anything, they should be excited to live in a city that consistently has great things like this to do.
Set time: 3:30 p.m., South Stage

Soft Speaker – Don’t let the name deceive you. This gang of wholesome garage rockers can make some serious noise.
Q&A with drummer Joe Daley and guitarist/organist/vocalist Paul Foreman:
What’s your favorite festival food? Fried Twinkie with powdered sugar or the ham ‘n oil sandwich.
Any good memories from Wicker Park Fest in years past? This is our first year at Wicker Park Fest. Do Division and Green Music Festival were a gas!
Set time: 3:30 p.m., North Stage

The Shams Band plays the South Stage Sunday, July 29, at 2:30 p.m.

The Shams Band – The Shams pay tribute to the sounds of middle America via a musical amalgamation of soul-infused folk rock at it’s finest.
Q&A with guitarist/vocalist Donnie Biggins:
What’s your favorite song to play at Chicago shows? “Cold City”–our song to Chicago. Lyrics are here.
Aside from your performance at the fest, what else should fans be looking forward to? Our new record, Cold City. We released it on July 9th. We’ve received some very positive responses from our friends and fans, and we are very proud of the record.
We will also be closing out our Schubas July Residency on Monday, July 30th with Archie Powell & The Exports and Young Hines. It is a party not to miss!
Set time: 2:30 p.m., South Stage

Midwest Hype – The forecast for Sunday is 85-degrees and sunny. Um, yeah, you’re gonna need a litte reggae and ska in your life.
Q&A with drummer Max Kepler:
What’s the best thing about Chicago street festivals? The best thing about Chicago street festivals is that they happen all over the city all summer and each one has it’s own character and vibe. Wicker Park Fest always has a young crowd and a great vibe. I have been enjoying myself there for a few years.
Any good memories from Wicker Park Fest in years past? I have several good memories of Wicker Park Fest. However, I really enjoyed watching Company of Thieves perform last year after a few sangrias.
Set time: 2:30 p.m., Center Stage

The Kickback – Between the bluesy guitar tones, catchy choruses and raspy croon of singer Billy Yost, these guys would sound right at home playing second stage to acts like the Kings of Leon.
Q&A with vocalist/guitarist Billy Yost:
What’s the best thing about Chicago street fests? Getting to play them this year. Last year you may have seen us at intersections with “Let Us Play Your Festival, God Bless” signs. We made $11 but didn’t score any fests.
What’s your favorite song to play at Chicago shows? “Little Teach” because we encourage a healthy debate between festival patrons regarding the public vs. charter school issue. But only for 30-seconds between songs. And rebuttals must be in the form of dance battles.
Set time: 2:30 p.m., North Stage

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