Monday, August 22, 2011

You Missed Out: High Places

Thrill Jockey's High Places played two shows in Chicago yesterday--one in the evening at the Empty Bottle, and an earlier set in the afternoon at the Logan Square Monument. I went to the outdoor show with my wife and dog. It was free, and 77 degrees. I can't help but wonder why more concerts wouldn't be outside like this? Yeah, I know. Because the weather in Chicago is unpredictable and way too often offensively uncomfortable. But it was perfect yesterday.

I hadn't seen a show at the monument since Dan Deacon/Lightning Bolt last year, which was almost too fun. Tons of kids showed up, interpretive dancing in a huge pit at the bottom of the monument steps. But that concert was the first experiment. This summer, a couple free concert series can now be found at the monument on weekend afternoons. In addition to High Places, other acts like Thee Oh Sees, Mucca Pazza, and Califone have played on the Boulevard this summer. It's really turning out to be a preferred venue on dry days, with families bringing their kids and dogs out to the shows, along with blankets and picnics.

High Places are a perfect act for an outdoor show like this though. A few people can sit or stand close enough to watch the duo, but the majority of the crowd reclines on the grass while watching clouds float by. Their music has just enough rhythm to keep the mood upbeat, but is ambient enough to not pressure anyone into crowding around the front of the band. These are marvelously low-pressure shows, and we've actually been lacking that in Chicago for a while now. Sure, we have the Millennium Park Mondays, but sometimes those are obnoxiously crowded. And, dogs aren't allowed.

So the Logan Square Monument wins for the outdoor concert venue this summer. Millennium Park has been dethroned. I can't wait to see who we get out to Logan Square next summer. Don't miss out.

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