With the New Year comes a chance to start fresh, to be the person you want to be, and to go on that three day bender you never got around to in 2015. Lucky you, Ian’s Party starts on New Year’s Day, so you can check that one off your list of resolutions early. The annual three day, multi-venue underground music festival moves into Wicker Park this year, taking over Chop Shop, Double Door, Door #3 and Subterranean from January 1st through the 3rd.
Regular festival headliners The Brokedowns are closing out Friday night at Double Door, banjo slinging local favorite Al Scorch wraps day two upstairs at SubT, and F2L2 brings the bounce and the weirdness to the official Ian’s Party After Party at Door #3 on Sunday. Below you’ll find just a taste of the 60+ bands performing over this weekend of hangovers, blown eardrums, bad decisions and excellent tunes. Cheers to that!
Paul Cherry | Subterranean | 10:00 PM
Windy City pop rocker and self-proclaimed “Olive Garden Connoisseur” Paul Cherry helps kick off Ian’s Party with a set that should please fans of T. Rex, Twin Peaks, and glistening guitars in general. Cherry drapes warm, saccharine vocals over cool melodies and giddy riffs, resulting in a sound that’s both playful and sincere. His set should be a really nice way to wind down from the turbulent roller coaster that is Space Blood.
Starfoxxx and the Bubblegang | Double Door (Door #3) | 11:20 PM
Starfoxxx is one of a few aliases used by David Beltran, the local DJ/producer/artist behind FeelTrip Records and Soft Leather. Both of those projects throw a hell of a party, a this set is maybe the must see of the weekend. Beltran’s waves of lysergic energy, snapping beats and Nintendo twinkling are so mesmerizing live it’s hard not to get lost dancing or melt away making out with your boo. His new group The Bubblegang features equally blippy and slightly bruising Chicago rapper Sophagus, performers Straw-bb, Sunflower, and Druid Beat, and plenty of bright lights and handcrafted costumes. The “Heart of Wicker Park” might be a black hole overflowing with pricks these days, but Starfoxxx and the Bubblegang should conjure up visions of the neighborhood’s dreamy, debaucherous past.
The Dyes | Subterranean (Upstairs) | 12:20 AM
An absolute blast to see live, The Dyes have perfected a wild and gritty sound by blending heaps of 60s garage and 50s rockabilly with touches of punk, surf and blues. Front woman Lisa Louise compliments her brash rhythm section with chugging guitar, gravelly growls, wild shrieks and caramel drawls. Whether they’re tearing through classic covers or sizzling originals, Jill E. Bean’s bass is tumbling and magnetic and drummer Charlie Crane’s beats are ferocious and booming. It’s a train that feels ready to derail any second, but stays on course through jam after jam. You’ll want a cigarette when they’re done.
Post Child | Chop Shop (Stage 1)| 8:15 PM
Descendants of 90s alt and grunge, Post Child would fit in on a bill with the likes of Urge Overkill, Fig Dish or Local H. The riffs are sludgy, the solos are white hot, and the song’s have a bounce and swagger to them that would get Rivers Cuomo hard. Their 2014 release New Age Whatever is full of earworms and headbangers, which is about what you can expect for their show Saturday night.
Soddy Daisy | Chop Shop (Stage 2) | 8:45 PM
Rare is the song you’ve never heard that upon first listen feels like an old friend. Such is “Better Run,” arguably the best song from Soddy Daisy’s debut full length, Trashtopia. It’s an infectious, inspiring track that feels limitless. Seeing that live? Probably a good move. Sometimes their song’s glisten with old school rock n’ roll charm, amd sometimes they’re scrambled and stoned and brooding. Soddy Daisy isn’t just the soundtrack of the party, they’re the soundtrack of the morning after.
Paper Mice | Subterranean (Upstairs) | 11:45 PM
What does the battle cry of a tribe of club-wielding, boil-covered, three eye’d Martian dwarves sound like? Or the staccato eruptions of all the world’s volcanoes as boulders rain from the sky on judgement day? Paper Mice. The math punk trio juxtaposes lyrics inspired by weird news stories against studiously maniacal beats and crooked melodies. Singer Dave Reminick is frenzied in his delivery, spitting, biting and screaming his way through the madness. It’s all an effective way of highlighting just how fucked up and weird humans can be. On that subject, Paper Mice has released two (excellent) albums since 2009, and recently contributed a track to Math & Atlases: Chicago.
Strawberry Jacuzzi | Double Door | 10:35 PM
If you’re the kind of romantic underdog who feels like the Smoking Popes were speaking to you with “Let’s Hear it For Love,” you’re going to find religion with Strawberry Jaccuzi’s Love Is For Suckers. The album is loaded with slightly punky, slightly fuzzy garage rock and lyrics that are equal parts hilarious and angsty. Think young Liz Phair in a dirty pop punk band that’s playing a free show at Cole’s.
The Bingers | Double Door (Door #3) | 11:00 PM
Toss surf, punk, garage, fuzz pop and a case of Schlitz into a rusty meat grinder and what comes out are The Bingers. They have deceptive moments of prom rock sweetness designed to get your guard down, eager to unleash waves of gnarled guitars and haunted vocals over locomotive beats. It’s a grimy, twisted version of classic Americana; Zombie Fonzie leaning on a Chevy covered in flames smoking a spliff, a Drive-In cheeseburger and fries stuffed with roaches and flies, an entire sock hop of ghouls and freaks. The Bingers also score extra throwback points for releasing Classic Hits, a collection of covers recorded on a Tascam Portastudio that sound gloriously spooky and raw.
Panda Riot | Chop Shop (Stage 1) | 11:45 PM
Looking for the perfect way to come down from a weekend of hard partying? Enter Panda Riot, a band that crafts beautifully exquisite dreamscapes, guides you through them, and then dissolves them around you. Sometimes that means charging through the scenes with the urgency of a band like Metric, other times that means getting completely lost in them ala Explosions in the Sky. Brian Cook’s guitar hums and squalls like it’s not of this world, and singer Rebecca Scott imbues the mystical fireworks around her with a devastating humanity. When the last glimmering note quiets and the lights come up, you’ll be glad you let Panda Riot close out your Party.
Check out the Facebook event for the full lineup, which is absolutely ridiculous, and RSVP while you’re there. Both single day and weekend passes are available at punk rock prices (less than 50 cents a band with the three day pass!). Get tickets here.