Twenty-five degrees, four bands and plenty of beer…

One of the things that make Chicago a great city is the outdoor concerts and street festivals each year which residents enjoy. One of the things that make Chicago not so great is the long, cold winter with arctic temperatures and lots of snow driven by gale force winds. The interval between these two seasons became a bit shorter last Saturday February 28 with the Music Frozen Dancing – A Winter Block Party 2015 Festival.

Following the virgin flight of the festival last year, Chicago venue Empty Bottle, along with Goose Island Brewing Co., brought back the festival with a line up of Perfect Pussy, featuring singer Meredith Graves; Protomartyr (Detroit); Oozing Wound (Chicago) and NE-HI (Chicago).

With Spring a full three calendar weeks away, one might wonder who in their right mind would to party outdoors with temps hovering in the mid-20s. Unofficial head counts indicate that there were about 1500 brave souls willing to do exactly that.

NE-HI (Indie Rock) was the first band to take the stage, introduced by The Puterbaugh Sisters. The crowd pushed toward the stage, people vying for the best positions. Taking a more mountainous approach, some found decent vantage points atop of four foot piles of snow on the parkway.

The excitement only grew when Oozing Wound and Promartyr took to the stage. A mosh area formed center stage with fans wildly gyrating and moving back and forth and side to side in unison. Some less adventurous folks headed to the sidelines while others were brave enough to embark in crowd surfing; one person riding over the crowd beginning at the front row and finally released on his feet some twenty rows back.

With the sun shining brightly, it appeared warmer than it actually was. People dealt with the cold in various ways. Most fans dressed for the day in Parkas, winter boots, gloves and above all, warm footwear. For some, warmth and fashion merged beautifully – some not so much!

Preparations began early in the day and by midday fans began arriving. Soon, the beer lines were dozens deep but moved quickly, showing good logistics planning. The line for coffee was somewhat shorter. Some attendees brought liquid refreshments in flasks (probably hot cocoa, right!) which they passed around among their friends.

The performance stage was shielded with warmers blaring full blast, yet some performers mentioned the cold and took time to warm the hands intermittently near the heaters.

Darkness was falling, as was the temperature, when Perfect Pussy took the stage. The band’s lead singer and frontwoman Meredith Graves made a point to mention the cold as well, but the crowd was ready for the music and only cheered the comment. Dressed in a stylish black faux leather and fur jacket, she began singing and fans cheered even louder. The action in the mosh area only intensified. Some in the front rows tried to get Meredith to surf the crowd but she retreated from the stage’s edge to a more secure position further back.

Once the performance ended, the crowd quickly dispersed. While some hurried to their cars and homes, others joined together inside the Empty Bottle for an after-party with Windy City Soul Club (Chicago’s Rare Soul Dance Party) leaving the workers to tear down and reopen the street.

While Chicago is known for its great music festivals, as well as its harsh weather, we salute the brave fans and Artists, as well as Empty Bottle and Goose Island Brewing Co., for taking on the challenge of bringing these two elements together. Now that is some coooool music! Way to go Chicago!

Read more about Perfect Pussy: here.

Article by: Roman Sobus
Photo Credits: Roman Sobus

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