The second installment of the Owl and Bear Guestcast was compiled by Chicago’s Dave Hall.
It’s like this in most cities: a musical community evolves from playing together, going to shows and meeting new people, etc. Before you know it, a band is formed, then another, and another. Many of the musicians are multi-instrumentalists, so in one band they may play the drums, while in another strum a banjo. Most also have regular jobs; music doesn’t pay the bills — at least not all of ’em. Some are lucky enough to record albums that sell, along with touring, to allow them to focus only on their music. Many times, they play for less than a couple of hundred people, and it’s usually the same people. A lot of those people are friends.
But what you will see and hear, if you take the time to do a little leg-work, is some of the most inventive, compelling music out there today. You won’t hear much of it on the radio. Yet these players are out there in places like The Hideout, Quenchers, The Whistler, the Empty Bottle, and Lizard’s Liquid Lounge. Great places to see bands like this, but the kind of places most people don’t even notice as they drive by.
Seemingly without worry as to whether or not they’ll “make it” in the business, these 30, 40, and even 50-somethings keep writing, playing, recording, working, and living regular lives like the rest of us. Right now, in Chicago, there are thousands of bands slugging it out for a $100 a night; here are just a few that make it all worthwhile. — Dave
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