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Bloodshot label celebrates 15 years of stellar rock 'n' roll
By Matt Arado | Daily Herald Staff

The Waco Brothers, with members from the Northwest and West suburbs, have become known for their galvanizing live shows.


Co-owners Rob Miller and Nan Warshaw will celebrate Bloodshot Records' 15th anniversary with an all-day party on Saturday.


Alejandro Escovedo is just one of the acclaimed acts scheduled to perform.


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Published: 9/11/2009 12:05 AM

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At a time when the record industry is in economic free-fall, the fact that a stellar Chicago-area label like Bloodshot Records has survived for 15 years is definitely something to celebrate.

Rock fans will get that chance Saturday, Sept. 12, when the Bloodshot 15th Anniversary Beer-B-Q sets up shop outside the Hideout in Chicago for a full day of food, games and some of the best music to emerge from the city and suburbs.

Bloodshot was founded in 1994 by Chicagoans Rob Miller and Nan Warshaw, and it quickly developed a reputation as an outlet for alternative country acts.

During the past decade-and-a-half, though, Bloodshot's catalog has expanded far beyond the alt-country genre to include punk, rockabilly, garage rock and more. Many of the bands hail from the city or suburbs, but the label has attracted talent from all parts of the country. What links the disparate artists on Bloodshot's roster is a disdain for all the glossy, manicured pop that continues to dominate commercial radio.

Saturday's anniversary celebration will take place just outside the Hideout, a small Chicago club that has been something of a headquarters for Bloodshot artists. Attendees will be treated to an art show, food, a kids area for the little ones and what may be the oddest fest activity ever: the Drunken Spelling Bee.

But the focus, of course, will be the music. While none of the scheduled acts will steer you wrong, here's a look at some scheduled highlights.

• The Waco Brothers (with Rico Bell, 8:40 p.m.): The Wacos will be the final act to perform Saturday, but they deserve mention up front because they consistently deliver one of the most joyous and raucous live sets around. Led by Mekons singer Jon Langford and featuring Des Plaines resident Tracy Dear, the Waco Brothers slam punk and country together into a funny, galvanizing and, yes, sometimes beautiful noise of their own. A must.

• The Blacks (1:35 p.m.): This Chicago group broke up earlier this decade after releasing two excellent records; let's hope Saturday's reunion show means more music is forthcoming. Led by Oak Park native Danny Black and statuesque Gina Black on stand-up bass, the band looks fantastic and rocks the house, too.

• Bobby Bare Jr., (2:30 p.m.): With his expressive voice, literate songwriting and scorching live show, this son of country-music royalty (his dad is legendary singer-songwriter Bobby Bare) never disappoints. For my money, he's one of Bloodshot's most versatile artists.

• Alejandro Escovedo (7:25 p.m.): This shamefully underappreciated singer-songwriter remains one of the best artists not nearly enough people know about. The typical Escovedo show covers everything from punk to country to sparse acoustic ballads.

Bloodshot Records 15th Anniversary

Local record label will celebrate its birthday with an all-day party at the Hideout. The event includes live music, food, a children's area and games.

When: Music starts at noon Saturday, Sept. 12, with final show scheduled to end near 10 p.m.

Where: The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago

Tickets: $10 donation requested, to benefit area charities. Children under age 10 are free.

Information: For full schedule, visit