Hideout Block Party

Once again, one of the most glorious events of the Chicago calendar- the Hideout Block Party- was celebrated this weekend. After lobbying last year for access, I was greeted the first day by Tim Tuten, owner of the Hideout, with these words:

 “We are going to do it your way this year! We have contacted almost all the bands, and they have all agreed to let everyone shoot their entire set.” What a glorious way to start a two day festival!

The first day included a few local bands and ended with Glen Hansard and Iron and Wine. It was a pleasure to wait for moments to shoot without always being rushed to “get the shot”.

The second day was a full day of amazing music, starting off in the morning with the Waco Bros., who have probably never sung those songs in daylight. They played, fueled by many beers, a great 45 minute set, joined by Nashville singer-songwriter Paul Burch. They were followed by the sublime voice of Kelly Hogan, who used to bar tend at the Hideout.

She was followed by Corin Tucker of Sleater Kinney, who tore it up, although blinded by the sun, setting directly in front of her (It supplied a nice warm glow to her face).

She was followed by a local band called Wild Belle, also blinded by the sun,

followed by Why Oak, an electric duo of Guitar and drums (and occasional bass. The highlight of the afternoon (although there were plenty of them) was Lee Fields, soul singer extraordinaire, who seemed to want to have sex with all the women in the audience!

Then the stage was cleared for Wilco. At this time, my mood changed, as a security guy came into the pit to tell us that we could only shoot the first three songs of their set. When they hit the stage, they were playing in almost total darkness, so I left and went downtown to photograph Buddy Guy at his sold out Chicago Theater concert where there was no question of being able to shoot the whole show!

One weird observation. Although everyone at the Block Party was told that they could shoot the entire set of every band, every set ended with me alone in the pit. Either everyone’s mind was programmed to only stay for three songs, or they didn’t know what to do with all the time, all the photographers seemed to drift off in the middle of the 4th song of each band! All of the best shots were toward the end of each set, and I seemed to be the only one in the pit at those times.

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