Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival

Sweet and Amazing Discoveries In Live Music

Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival

Did you see what we “un-locked” at the Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival? We hope so, because we’ve got another CBB festival discovery for you. But this time it’s of the homemade variety.

My fellow concert fans, you consistently amaze me with your endless creativity and your strange and unexpected concert fan behavior.

And I’m convinced that one of the things that makes live music so addictive is that you never know who or what you’ll find at a concert.

You might discover an amazing theremin player opening for Grinderman, an almighty set list scrawled on the flesh of an Evil Beaver, or even Crash Kings who have a different way to play rock music.

Heck, if your favorite concert venue is haunted, you might even see a ghost at a show too.

Though the paranormal is a vital part to seeing shows at the Congress Theater in Chicago, this CBB Festival discovery involves The Living and ranks as one of the most creative instruments I’ve seen all year.

Like I mentioned in my review, the stage set-up of the festival was sort of strange with one of the stages being way up in the Congress Theater balcony.

And while Chicago bluegrass quintet Tangleweed played on, I did a double take when I noticed that the bass player Paul Wargaski was actually playing a transformed suitcase!

Needless to say, I was impressed and extremely intrigued when I first saw Wargaski’s homemade instrument.

And when I took a look around on the Tangleweed blog to find out more about this fascinating musical creation, I also discovered that Wargaski and the band have been featuring an excellent ongoing How To series on homemade instruments.

Here’s more details about the “suit bass” from the Tangleweed Blog:

“In the spirit of going green. I’ve redesigned and revived the suit bass for maximum output and it still sounds sweet. I’ll be unveiling it on our summer 2009 shows. Yes, that’s a vintage wooden suitcase complete with f-holes, a custom bridge, and a re-purposed neck from a dead bass in my violin shop. There’s a bottle opener on the side, and a full wet bar inside the case.”

I had never seen an instrument quite like Wargaski’s suit bass, and it was great to be reminded that bluegrass music has a rich history of relying on the creativity of musicians to make instruments out of stuff they have around the house.

If you’ve seen something like the suit bass, or any other type of creative instrument, at a show before, I’d love to hear your story too!

What Have You Discovered?

Have you discovered an awesome instrument at a show recently? Have you made and played a unique instrument at a concert? Tell us all about it — the comments are yours!

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