While the Vinyl Me, Please team works hard to choose the best records for you every month, we also catch some incredible live acts. This past weekend, we sent Vee to The Hideout Block Party in Chicago. This two-day festival is everything that’s perfect with music. If you’re not familiar with the Hideout in Chicago, do some Google-ing today.

Sadly, we didn’t make it early enough to photograph our friends Sylvan Esso on Saturday, but we were able to catch 95% of their dancetastically fabulous set. Saturday also saw Mac DeMarco doing what he does best, making kickass music, crowd-surfing, and making new friends. If you haven’t picked up ‘Salad Days’ yet, you’re missing out on one of the best records of the year.

After Mac, came funk band legends funky METERS, from New Orleans. Art Neville (yup, one of THE Neville brothers), alongside George Porter, Jr. proved that it doesn’t matter if you’re in your twenties, sixties, or even seventies… music is universal, and they can play and make an entire blocks’ worth of kids, and grown-up kids alike, dance, dance, dance.

The Dismemberment Plan came out with great announcing introductions from Travis Morrison himself. He chatted with the crowd about water in milk cartons, and bourbon in a plastic cup. Not only that, they decided they needed to come back to Chicago to play in a small room again. They came, they drank Boxed Water, and conquered.

And… the headliner, the reason I woke up that morning… The War On Drugs. There’s never a bad moment with them, and the crowd made certain this was an experience for everyone. Playing for over an hour and fifteen minutes, Adam Granduciel and company did exactly what I (and everyone else was expecting), put on the perfect show. It’s apparent that we love The War On Drugs around the Vinyl Me, Please offices, and it’s very obvious everyone else shares that love with us. The loudest reactions came towards the end of the set, when (probably the best song of the year) ‘Red Eyes’ was played, and Adam thanked longstanding local radio station WXRT for their support, and undoubtedly for helping getting more of Chicago’s music lovers into the band. 

As a music lover, it’s sometimes hard to put into words an experience, particularly without seeming like an overexcited fan, or having your words feel disoriented because the excitement is still running high through your veins. The War On Drugs are the real thing, a massively talented band, that beyond being a pleasure to listen to on vinyl, in the car on the radio with the windows down, or live, were a dream to photograph, and even more so, an absolute lovely group of gents who don’t mind talking when they’re eating pizza post-show.