Touch and Go 25th Anniversary Block Party The Hideout, Chicago IL - September 8 to 10, 2006

Seven thousand music fans descended upon Chicago during a weekend of uncompromising love and reflection for Touch and Go Records’ 25-year legacy. Label owner Corey Rusk was front-row centre, splitting time between the alternating "Touch” and "Go” stages, as a parking lot bore witness to a musical time warp. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists blazed through energetic songs from their forthcoming first T&G album. !!! eventually won over some audience members, despite the fact they’re an embarrassingly awful band. After a shoegazing set by the New Year, Sicily’s Uzeda put on a stunningly tight show. A reconstituted Pegboy played straight-ahead punk numbers and consciously came off as a joke. Emotions ran high during a set by Silkworm’s Tim Midgett and Andy Cohen, which paid tribute to drummer Michael Dahlquist, who died in a car accident last year. Amsterdam’s the Ex followed with an awe-inspiring experimental rock show, their first as a quartet. Later, drummer and vocalist Katrin Bornfeld joined the Mekons’ Jon Langford for an endearing duo set. Twelve years after they disbanded, the Didjits played irreverent punk rock and Rick Sims put on a front-man clinic. Defunct for 21 years, a refurbished Negative Approach were a blast of early ’80s hardcore and the ensuing circle pit fit the scene. Former Mekon Sally Timms gleefully provoked the huge crowd assembled for the headlining acts after her 15-minute set, where she vainly led an aerobics lesson during "Bomb.” Hungry fans got the full meal once Scratch Acid took the stage and played classics like "She Said” and "Cannibal” for the first time in 19 years. David Yow prowled the stage, manic as ever, slipping in a "Lick my taint” amongst gracious foreign language "thank yous.” The sound of Man or Astroman? drifted over to the "Touch” stage where people steadfastly held positions in advance of Big Black’s 15-minute set. Steve Albini, Jeff Pezzati, and Santiago Durango’s surprising reunion marked the band’s first performance since 1987. After ferocious versions of "Cables” and "Dead Billy,” Albini drew big laughs, remarking: "I know what you’re thinking, ‘what was the big deal?’ Believe me, it was a lot cooler in the ’80s.” Tight versions of "Pigeon Kill” and "Racer-X” followed, providing the festival’s most surreally exciting set. Albini stayed on to play a stellar Shellac show. The art-punk power trio previewed songs from Excellent Italian Greyhound with "Steady As She Goes” and "The End of Radio” standing out as highlights. Shellac later delivered a poignant rendition of "Billiard Player Song” and a fan-filled "Watch Song” to cap off the best show of a truly legendary weekend.