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Brett Ray had proved his commitment to extreme music long before he launched the extreme-music blowout Dreary North Fest last year. He’s been booking shows for more than two decades, and he’s been releasing music through his label, Suspended Soul Tapes and Records, for close to ten years. He also regularly tests strangers’ capacity to endure high-decibel punishment in several bands—most notably as the front man of Midwestlust, whose knots of grindcore and harsh noise seethe like a rat king trying to untangle itself. That group performs on night two of the second annual Dreary North, whose amazingly dense and somewhat unstable lineup includes 65 other musical projects at the time of this writing—I expect that even a few fanatics may see it as a bit much. (Most sets will run between ten and 20 minutes; otherwise the day just wouldn’t be long enough.) To outsiders, extreme music can sound undifferentiated in its nastiness, but Ray recognizes its spectrum, and Dreary North’s offerings are far from monochromatic; I’d be hard-pressed to think of another festival that spotlights long-running Virgina grind group Suppression, sludgy Indiana punk outfit Shih Tzu, and experimental Chicago hip-hop duo Angry Blackmen. Dreary North’s scope is global, with acts from Mexico (Violencia), Japan (Crimes of Love), Brazil (Test), and Belgium (Psywarfare), among other locales, but of course the lineup also does great work spotlighting acts from Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois. Agitprop-driven posthardcore band the Ableist and postapocalyptic metal group Urine Hell help kick off the third and final day of the fest as part of a block of local acts that could play Subterranean on any other night—if you’re curious about extreme music, they’d make a great entry point. The lineup is likely to continue changing after this is published, but updates should be available at the festival’s event page on Facebook.
Dreary North Fest day one Today’s bill consists of Suppression, Sirius Blvck, Collapsing Scenery, Slutbomb, Hopeless Voyage, World Peace, Angry Blackmen, Sick/Tired, Spring Break, Scumbag Fred, Pig City, Magical Mind, Constituents, Choke, Utility, Breaking/Entering, Aseethe, Shitstormtrooper, and Meredith Haines. Fri 9/9, 2 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, $40 single-day pass, $100 three-day pass, 17+
Dreary North Fest day two Today’s bill consists of Psywarfare, Crowhurst, Wake, Violencia, Pain Chain, Wounded Touch, Canadian Rifle, Midwestlust, Nunn, Intercourse, Chip7, Snuffed, Backslider, Sarin, Spit Pile, Dug, Hallucination Realized, School Drugs, Heel Turn, Citizen 2-13, Blackwater Sniper, Subservient Dominance, Blunt, Janna Lee, and Stress Positions. Sat 9/10, 2 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, $40 single-day pass, $100 three-day pass, 17+
Dreary North Fest day three Today’s bill consists of Merc, KST.DEX, Test, Niku Daruma, Rush Falknor, Sissy Spacek, Crimes of Love, Everlasting Light, Dental Work, Fuck It . . . I Quit!, Swollen Organs, Nequient, Shih Tzu, Davis Ag, Dipt, DeathEnvy, Disperser, Canyons, Urine Hell, MWA, Shrivel Up, and the Ableist. Sun 9/11, 2 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, $40 single-day pass, $100 three-day pass, 17+