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LIVE: Hideout Block Party

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It’s been a nice, long summer in Chicago. There are street fairs and music festivals nearly every weekend from May through September. But the unofficial end of summer music in the Windy City is typically the Hideout Block Party.

(left: Monotonix engages the crowd by playing drums right on top of them.)

In a dead end alley leading to the Department of Fleet Management, the Hideout takes the show outside for its block party that’s moved from the street into a nearby parking lot for big events in recent years, such as 2006’s Touch & Go 25th Anniversary. This year they were part of the World Music Festival with musicians from Canada, Czech Republic, England, Hungary, Israel and Mali.

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(right: Neko Case, twice in one weekend? Indeed.)

The past weekend’s big draw was Neko Case and the New Pornographers headlining back-to-back nights. Saturday evening Neko and her band performed an array of songs from her history, including numerous cuts from Blacklisted, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood and an upcoming album that’ll include her take on “Don’t Forget Me” by Harry Nilsson. (Isn’t it odd that everyone from Astrud Gilberto to LCD Soundsystem has covered Nilsson, yet two of his most recognizable songs are actually covers?) Her voice was incredible as she ranged from the sweet and sincere to the mighty and powerful. Of course, she delved into the latter much more on Sunday with the New Pornographers. Even though it’s Carl Newman’s band, it wouldn’t be the same without Neko and Dan Bejar’s input. They rolled through chunks of Twin Cinema (Who knew “Sing Me Spanish Techno” was so popular?!) and Challengers, but old songs from Mass Romantic and Electric Version still excited the crowd. Though, it was the surprise closer “Don’t Bring Me Down” (Yes, that one) that caused arguably the most hysterics. In hindsight, it was a no-brainer that the power-pop band would nail an ELO cover, but the proof was all there on Sunday evening.

The weekend also featured a lot of Michael Jackson love, such as alt-country singer Robbie Fulks covering an arsenal of tunes from “Ben” to “Billie Jean” to “Black and White”, Hideout staff and regulars performing the “Thriller” dance, and Rhymefest dropping “Man in the Mirror” into his short set.

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(left: I’ll take some Dark Meat and a pair of pom-poms please.)

Other highlights included Czech psychedelic rock band Plastic People of the Universe and Vancouver stoner rockers Black Mountain, Brooklyn’s eclectic Tim Fite singing children’s songs and giving away watermelons, Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip‘s abrasive hip hop, Vieux Farka Toure‘s hodgepodge of north African R&B, reggae and pop, Ratatat‘s eardrum-bruising instrumental electronic post-rock, and Chicago’s Mucca Pazza indie-rock marching band being crazy but Athens’ southern rock ensemble Dark Meat having a bit more substance with just as much gimmickry.

However, it was Monotonix (top of page) who impressed me most. The Israeli rock band who’ve apparently been banned from venues all over Tel Aviv (and probably a few elsewhere) entertained the audience like no one else. Their set began with the drums and cymbals in flames. A few songs in, they moved the drums 30 feet out into the audience. A few songs later, they moved the gear back near the stage. All the while, the three members forced the audience to be part of the show. Whether it was singer Ami Shalev disrobing and crowd-surfing in a trashcan (reminiscent of Tim Harrington all the time, but especially at this year’s Pitchfork Festival), Ran Shimoni drumming from his elevated bass drum while other kit pieces were held up by the crowd or Yonatan Gat riffing like gangbusters, the trio didn’t leave a second for anyone to be distracted.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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