Hoist One for the Hideout on its 20th Anniversary | WBEZ
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Jim DeRogatis

Hoist One for the Hideout on its 20th Anniversary

The proliferation of ultra-hyped, big-bucks, corporate-sponsored mega-fests over the last decade has made the annual end-of-summer Hideout Block Party seem quaint and outdated if not irrelevant, though it always was the outdoor music party of the year. So in 2016, everybody’s favorite dive bar off Elston on Wabansia is going old-school, throwing a shindig “similar to our first block party 20 years ago,” according to owners Katie and Tim Tuten and Jim and Mike Hinschliff, celebrating their milestone anniversary in trademark intimate fashion.

“We’ll have bands play inside the Hideout, and out front on the patio (rain or shine), and it will just be a fun a day with our favorite bands and the Hideout regulars,” their invite reads. (Not for nothing is the tag line on their Web site “Chicago’s most loved small venue.”) The schedule of artists performing tomorrow follows below; there’s no cover, just a suggested $20 donation to worthy causes at the door—and let’s see Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, Riot Fest, or North Coast do that.

The party is intended to be a family affair, and it’s already gotten a lot of publicity (in the pages of The Tribune and The Reader, among other outlets). But it didn’t feel right to let it pass unmarked in this space, especially because some of the best nights of live music in my lifetime have been experienced in those cramped quarters in the shadow (and within olfactory distance) of one of the city’s garbage-truck parking lots. 

There are the big names, of course: Neko Case, Kelly Hogan (who used to tend bar at the club), Jeff Tweedy, Billy Corgan, and the incredible array of talent when the Hideout joined forces with the late, lamented Touch & Go label for the fest to end all fests. But just as important were the many nights I simply stopped by for a cold beer and enjoyed whatever locals or touring acts the Tutens were excited about at the moment.

I’ve also played that tiny stage myself many times, and my Sound Opinions colleague Greg Kot and I have both held book release parties there. Somewhere, I have a photo of Greg playing the beat-up upright piano at the end of one of those nights, and another of me and the boys in my band Vortis backing Tim Tuten, when he was still a CPS social studies teacher before becoming a big shot in the Education Department of the Obama administration, doing an endless and crazy spoken-word revolutionary rant over our noisy improvisations before we played a properly punk-rocking set with our old front man the Professor (who passed around this time last year).

Mike Weinstein always said he aimed to be a cross between Noam Chomsky, Iggy Pop, and Ice Cube, but that night, Tim outdid him in the wild outrage department, forgetting that several colleagues and his principal were in attendance, and much to the chagrin of his beloved wife Katie. As I heard it, Tim spent quite some time in the dog house after that, but so did Vortis. I suppose it’s a badge of honor to be banned from a venue as liberal and welcoming in its booking policies as the Hideout. Happily, I think that’s passed, but it’s probably best that I can’t find that picture.

Anyway, it’s time to hoist one for 20 great years at the Hideout, but just as importantly, to look forward to 20 more. The anniversary celebration kicks off at noon tomorrow with Plastic Crimewave Vision Celestial Guitarkestra; other performers include Mantina (Nora O’Connor, Gerald Dowd, and Liam Davis) at 2 p.m.; White Mystery at 3; the Amazing Mr. Ash at 4; Kelly Hogan and Andy Hopkins at 4:30; Mr. Rudy Day at 5; Jon Langford and Skull Orchard at 6; the JC Brooks Band at 7; the venerable Eleventh Dream Day at 9; Devil in a Woodpile at 10, and the Lawrence Peters Outfit at 11. And I bet that if you ask nicely, Tim might even rant a little somewhere in between.

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