Between Pitchfork and Lolla, Riot Fest and Rudio, there’s no shortage of summer festivals in Chicago. While the options are plentiful, they are lacking a bit in choices for fans seeking a curated event with a feminist-forward lineup full of unique songwriters who shred.
On Tuesday, Aug. 16, that all changed as Courtney Barnett brought her touring Here and There Festival to The Salt Shed, which is quickly becoming the go-to spot to enjoy thoughtful music in the open air. Lucy Dacus, Snail Mail, Sleater-Kinney, and Waxahatchee are among the performers appearing on various Here and There dates and the Chicago stop featured a headlining set from Barnett herself as well as performances by Alvvays and The Beths.
“Here And There feels like a natural culmination of energy after years of touring, and ten years of working on my label Milk! Records. It’s something I’ve been forever daydreaming about, and part of an always evolving project to share spaces and build new platforms for art and artists that I believe in,” said Barnett in a statement at the time of the festival’s announcement.
Barnett opened her Chicago set with the lo-fi swagger of “Rae Street” off her critically-acclaimed 2021 album, Things Take Time, Take Time. “Avant Gardener” ushered in the first of many gales of guitars that was quickly topped when “Nameless, Faceless” hit its catchy chorus. “Small Poppies” eased in quietly before erupting into a thrashing jam with bassist Bones Sloane and drummer Dave Mudie.
Earlier in the night, Canadian indie pop rockers, Alvvays, delighted fans with songs old and new.
“We haven’t been around for a little while and we just put out some new songs so we’re going to play some new songs for you tonight. Thank you for your acceptance of that,” said singer Molly Rankin with a smile introducing the track, “After the Earthquake,” off the forthcoming album, Blue Rev.
“Not My Baby” was also a hit with The Salt Shed crowd as was “Archie, Marry Me.”
Rankin took time out to share Alvvays’ love and appreciation for the evening’s opener, The Beths, as well as Barnett and her entire team, saying, “You can tell what type of person Courtney is when every single person we encountered today that works for her was so kind and so pleasant. It makes a huge difference so ‘Way to go.’”
The Beths also shared a solid set as the first band of the night. “Dying to Believe,” “Happy Unhappy,” and “Little Death” – accentuated by Tristan Deck’s incredible drumming – were among the show’s highlights.
The Here and There festival continues through Sept. 3 when Barnett, Japanese Breakfast, Arooj Aftab, and Bedouine will perform at Mission Ballroom in Denver. Even if you can’t make it out to one of the remaining shows, you can still get in on the action as Barnett is releasing Here And There: B-Sides, Live Tracks + Demos to raise money for organizations supporting reproductive justice – including National Network of Abortion Funds and Advocates for Youth – in America.
Click here to pre-order a copy of Here And There: B-Sides, Live Tracks + Demos and head over to Hereandtherefest.com for a full list of upcoming tour dates. More information about Courtney Barnett can be found at Courtneybarnett.com
(Photos by Laurie Fanelli)