Chicago Garage Rock is in something of an Enlightenment period. This is not to say that the Pride of the Rustbelt has ever lacked for gritty whiteboy blues, it's just more prominent than I recall when I first moved up here in '01. I'm sure sister city Detroit's garage boom (the Detroit Cobras, the Dirt Bombs, the White Stripes) has had a lot to do with the crowd swelling but Chicago's been cultivating it's own brand with an ear closer to Memphis than Detroit these days. Nothing makes that clearer than this years BlackOut Festival hosted by Horizontal Action Magazine (HA claims to be taking a break meanwhile they are pulling some of the coolest rabbits out of their hat). Last year HA miraculously (and financially disastrously) reunited the Pagans (Cleveland, OH) this year the Oblivians pay a visit teamed up oddly enough with Quintron. Therein lies the Memphis connection with the disbursement of the Oblivians to garage projects that permeate the Chicago scene.
Greg Oblivian went on to form the Reigning Sound which headlined last year's Black Out Festival and performed at the wedding party for Cococoma keyboardist Michael Fitzpatrick. Eric Oblivian is releasing a Cococoma 7" on his garage rock flaghsip label Goner Records.. Lucky Cococoma recently released another 7" on Chicago's Shit Sandwich Records which is run by Norah Utley of Headache City which features Cococoma's guitarist, Lisa Roe, and the aforementioned Mikey Fitzpatrick.
The intertwining of this scene gets way more knotted so I'll refrain from full disclosure although I should say I am connected to this garage world by a few tenticles. I play with Cococoma's Bill Roe and Michael Fitzpatrick (also of Headache City) in THE LATEST (more Beefheart than Iggy) and I play in churchbus (more Them than Sonics) with Al Scum drummer of the C*nts. The C*nts put out what may be the first Chicago garage single in 1978 and has recorded a dozen or so garage albums since. Er, not that the C*nts are playing the festival or anything but how can I not mention an affiliation with one of the longest running gargage bands in the city, and btw/fyi/lol, they will soon be recording for disclexington productions.
The Blackout officially starts Wednesday but you'll get a good feel for it tomorrow night at Cal's with maybe (but I doubt it) a little less crowd congestion. Cococoma on at 10 PM.