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    Gavin Rossdale Performs for Cancer Survivors

    Gavin Rossdale is no stranger to either rocking hard or helping kids, so he was a natural choice to headline Platform One Entertainment's sixth Dare 2 Dream event at Chicago's House of Blues on Thursday night. The evening benefitted the Illinois Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for patients fighting blood cancers and their families. More than 15 kids affected by leukemia or other cancer got the opportunity to meet Rossdale and be introduced onstage before a packed house. The 42-year-old rocker who rose to fame in the mid-90s as the frontman for British grunge heroes Bush has been active for several years in charity work, donating his talents both on stage and on the tennis court to causes that benefit children.

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    Backstage Q&A: Kings of Leon

    It's been a big year for Kings of Leon. Since the release of their fourth studio album, Only by the Night, last October, the Memphis foursome are finally experiencing the success in the U.S. that they've long enjoyed overseas. To see how life's been treating them, we checked in with the three Followill brothers backstage (cousin Matthew was elsewhere) before their sold out show benefiting the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital earlier this week. The guys were laid-back and gregarious as they gabbed about their newfound stardom, sobering up and boozing it up,and which bands they are ripping off. SPIN: You say it took America longer to catch on to you guys than Europe. But now you're playing Madison Square Garden.

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    Kings of Leon Rock to Help Sick Kids

    They may subscribe to a hard-partying rock'n'roll lifestyle, but Kings of Leon are really a bunch of softies. That was apparent Saturday night at Chicago's House of Blues, where the Tennessee foursome strutted and howled their way through a sold-out benefit show for the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital. In addition to the roughly 1,000 fans who shelled out $150 for a ticket, the band was happy to entertain some of the hospital's young patients, too. "We met some really beautiful kids today," frontman Caleb Followill said onstage. "It's a wonderful world we live in." Sentiment aside, the Kings delivered one hell of a raucous set. Now finally experiencing the recognition stateside that they've enjoyed in Europe and Australia, the Followills are coming into their own as one of America's best live rock bands.

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    Fall Out Boy's Extravaganza Hits Chicago

    "The last time they had pyrotechnics at the Chicago Theatre, I think the city burned down," Fall Out Boy bassist and new father Pete Wentz told his hometown crowd Tuesday night. Chitown's downtown area may have stood intact after the show, but not for lack of trying on the band's part. Love 'em or hate 'em, no one can deny that Fall Out Boy know how to put on a spectacle. For 90 minutes, the most famous emo pop quartet ever to blow out of the Windy City entranced with plenty of explosives, black confetti, macabre chandeliers, psychedelic Candy Land-like props, and hip-hop dancers in bear costumes. If not for strategically placed ramps and risers, diminutive rockers Wentz and singer/guitarist Patrick Stump would have been lost completely amidst the visual chaos. You can't blame the guys for going all out. The show was being filmed for a Fuse TV special that will air Dec.

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    Andrew Bird Incites a Babe Riot!

    Andrew Bird is a modern-day renaissance man. Beyond his multi-instrumental prowess and penchant for quirky, orchestrated chamber pop, Bird has come to define the sort of bookish, detached cool that can't be bought, styled, or practiced in front of the mirror. And with his mind-boggling skill, Bird looped, strummed, plucked, and whistled with his crack band through a set heavy in new tunes to an adoring crowd last night under the stars in Chicago's Millennium Park. After the band's exuberant versions of "Plasticities" and "Fiery Crash," audience members rocketed to their feet as soon as Bird ripped into the intro to "Fake Palindromes." Patrons on the lawn poured down into the pavilion, pushing forward in one collective conga line of writhing excitement.

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    Jamie Lidell Defies Nature in Chicago

    Chicago's weather may be barely warm enough for short sleeves, but Jamie Lidell still managed to set Chicago's Abbey Pub ablaze last night (June 4), singing like he was possessed by the soul of Ray Charles. Commanding a crack band, skinny English bloke Lidell's whirlwind of mid-century American jazz, soul, and funk proved his virtuosity to the sold out crowd. Whether sending his band mates into the audience to stoke the dance party during the jam-happy "When I Come Back Around," off 2005's Multiply, or dropping the mic and going for broke with a couple of pasty-dude dance moves during "A Little Bit More," Lidell's ability to go above and beyond the call of "entertainer" validated his huge crossover appeal.

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    Colin Meloy's Musical Tales Serenade Chicago Fans

    "I'm going to play some songs for you," Colin Meloy announced rather unnecessarily as he took the stage at Chicago's posh Park West venue last night (April 21). "Hopefully, you will be, in turn, entertained." And the bookish Meloy seemed to have no trouble making sure his devout, rapt crowd was just that, treating them to Decemberists gems like "Leslie Ann Levine," "The Apology Song," and "We Both Go Down Together." Jovial and prone to charmingly awkward interactions with the crowd, including an assessment of the coolness of the T-shirts sported by fans in the front row, Meloy's good-natured self-deprecation kept him acutely connected to his audience.

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    Basia Bulat Melts Away the Icy Cold

    Two major blizzards in the past week -- psssh -- won't stop a real Chicagoan from taking in a buzz-worthy show, and last night (Feb. 7) at Schubas was no exception as smoky-voiced Canadian sprite Basia Bulat brought her folk-tinged indie pop to the Windy City masses. Launching into an a cappella version of the gospel classic "Hush," Bulat and her five-piece band highlighted choice cuts from her debut long-player, Oh, My Darling. From the bright harmonies of "In the Night," which got the audience tappin' toes to its insatiably catchy keyboard melody, to the sweeping strings of "Little One" and "Snakes and Ladders," Bulat's resonant, alto voice was certainly the star of each tune.

  • The Swell Season's Greetings Heard 'Once' and for All

    Even if you'd arrived late to the Vic Theatre last night (Nov.25), you could have shimmied all the way to the front and rested yourelbows on the stage. Not because the crowd was sparse -- quite theopposite, this was the second of two sold-out shows in Chicago thisweekend -- but because it was an audience focused raptly on seeing andhearing the majestic cinematic sleeper Once come to life.

  • Wilco is Trying To Break Your Curfew

    If, say, Sufjan Stevens is the pretty face of independent-minded music, Jeff Tweedy is its undeniable spirit. Under the cool Chicago stars last night (Sept. 12), Tweedy and the rest of Wilco held court for more than two hours during a set that spanned the depth and breadth of the band's impressive catalog. The scruffy-faced frontman was engaging and droll, playfully scolding the Jewish members of the audience for skipping Rosh Hashanah and wryly commiserating with the fans at the back of the gorgeous Jay Pritzker Pavillion: "Hey you guys on the lawn, I wish you could see us...we look awesome!" They sounded even more awesome, as Tweedy calmly delivered his iconic tunes amidst the whirlwind of Glenn Kotche's mind-blowing percussion and Nels Cline's frenetic guitar work.

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