Since 2004, musician, artist and historian Plastic Crimewave aka Steve Krakow of Galactic Zoo Dossier/Secret History of Chicago Music/etc has curated the celebrated Million Tongues Festival. The fest has included international folk, experimental, psychedelic, and underground musical artists from as far away as Japan and the UK. Million Tongues spanned over several days at Ukrainian Village’s Empty Bottle in the early aughts, then mostly turned into one-night events. For the club's 25th Anniversary, the two day summer festival is reborn, featuring many alumni who don't appear live often these days.
New to Million Tongues is NARITA of legendary Japanese psychedelic punks HIGH RISE, who changed the entire course of the underground musical landscape in the late 80s with their blown-out-beyond-comprehension biker-speed riff-mania. In this EXTREMELY RARE USA appearance (NARITA has not played over here in over 20 years), the absolutely slaying acid-guitar king will be backed by members of LA's OVER GAIN OPTIMAL DEATH, who freely admit to worshiping the man. If you miss his appearance, you will be crying grimy psychedelic tears for the rest of your miserable life.
Also new to the festival is the widely-lauded, delicate LA songwriter ITASCA (aka Kayla Cohen), who’s stunning 2016 album, Open To Chance (Paradise of Bachelors), was a favorite among record snobs around town. Cohen has toured around the globe and performed with the likes of RYLEY WALKER, DANIEL BACHMAN & more. No freak in Chicago should be unfamiliar with the mighty ONO, whose resurrection after a few obscure 80s albums has been nothing short of miraculous. Garnering press and accolades galore, the new/no wave/anti-music/gospel unit never leaves audiences disappointed. SPIRES THAT IN THE SUNSET RISE are no strangers to the fest or the EB stage and they open the festival with their pagan-like sonic odes (the duo now live in Madison and NY). STITSR feature a harmonium, guitar, slide, banjo, bowed psaltery, cello, flute, autoharp, spike fiddle and mbira while toying with folk traditions but never fully embracing its stylings.
The weekend festival is all going down the second weekend of August – Fri, 8/11 & Sat, 8/12 – right after that behemoth Lollapalooza steamrolls in and out of Chicago. A welcome respite for Chicago’s more adventurous listeners and about 10x more affordable, tickets are just $12 per night, with a limited number of $20 2-day passes available.