Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Saturday, January 8th - 9pm at Hideout

Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Night a Brewery Saved My Life

I've always loved good beer, but somewhere along the way, great craft beer became a full-time obsession. Two European tours in 2004 and 2005, with extended stays in Bruxelles, Belgium, set the wheels into motion, but it was probably discovering Chicago's West Lakeview Liquors that really sealed the deal. Half Acre's 'On Photon' party last Saturday night was the magical culmination of this beer love.

Entering refuge from the seemingly sub-zero outdoor weather, the inside of the brewery was illuminated by thousands of white Christmas lights and subdued light-filled balloons, which reflected magnificently on the metal fermenters, giving the place an appropriately heavenly vibe. Lucky patrons who were able to score an elusive $40 ticket (I lined up an hour-and-a-half early for mine) were able to gorge on a mind-blowing selection of beer and food. DJ Major Taylor kept the hits-a-rollin', playing lots of functional party faves delivered with panache.

The first thing on my agenda was to score a fresh Double Daisy Cutter, which Half Acre brewed up especially for this party. DDC was an outstanding beer, amplifying every great aspect of Daisy Cutter and knocking it out of the park. I'll definitely be in line for some of this on Wednesday. Next order of business, check out the Pipeworks table to try some Abduction, a great Russian Imperial Stout, which benefitted from barrel-aging. These guys are running a kickstarter campaign to get their operation running at a commercial level. As of this writing, they're only $3000 away from their goal of $30,000, so if you've got some change in your pocket, toss it their way. Before heading upstairs for some food, my friend Mike and I grabbed a liquid sandwich in the form of Pipeworks' Pastrami On Rye, an rye ale which tasted much like it sounds.

Upstairs, it was time to feast on chef Bill Kim and the Urban Belly / Belly Shack's fine culinary treats. The shrimp and chorizo taco with tomatillo cilantro was delicious, as was the Belly Dog with curry mayo and crispy shallots, followed by a spicy smoked sausage stew with napa cabbage and rice cakes. I'm a major fan of Korean food and it was a real treat to see a fresh twist in party-friendly form. Outstanding.

Palate suitably cleansed, it was time to return downstairs for a glass of Revolution's Double Fist, a great double pale ale that really packed a punch. After catching a powerful whiff of 3 Floyds' Hell's Black Intelligencer, I made a mad dash over to their table before it was gone. This thick, black oatmeal stout was brewed with Intelligencia coffee, which had a very strong coffee aroma and flavor. An absolutely delicious coffee beer. I should note that Half Acre's Big Hugs is also an outstanding coffee stout, but I didn't drink any on this night, because there were so many untried beers and time was running out. Luckily I managed to make it just in time to try Cigar City's José Martí Rye, which was great, but I think the great conversation and laughs compromised my tasting integrity. Attempted a re-evaluation, but it was gone.

On to the Short's table, to try their Freedom of '78, a guava beer brewed in collaboration with Half Acre. This IPA, brewed with a ton of Ecuadorian guava, was a refreshing taste explosion that I really hope to drink more of. I returned to the Shorts table for Bludgeon Yer Eye, a great black IPA with a bit of stout flavor. I'll definitely be looking for more Short's in my future.

Seeking solid nourishment, I returned back upstairs for some Derek's Dogs to try a white sausage cooked in Daisy Cutter and a smoked kielbasa. Awesome.

At this point, dessert seemed like a good option, so I went out for some Nice Cream, who make seasonal ice cream in small batches, using organic ingredients from local farms. I had a double-dipper of burnt caramel and salted chocolate.

Returning from my ice cream break, local favorites Mucca Pazza, brought the proceedings to a frenzy with their New Orleans-style circus punk marching band. Two thoughts occurred: 1) This is the best party I've ever been to and 2) I am drunk. Made a point to drink some water and eat some more of Bill Kim's wares before returning for some more Double Daisy-Cutter and Simon Shorts porter from Half Acre.

Time was running out, so I made a point to try Flossmoor Station's Grandma's Sleigh Ride, which was a Belgian-style spiced red ale, aged in a bourbon barrel for six-and-a-half months. This was a fantastic last beer of the night, a small sip of which was poured in honor of the recent passing of the immortal Don Van Vliet.

I wish there had been more time, because there were so many beers that I didn't have time to try. Much credit goes to Half Acre for running what was a world-class class party. Everything was very smoothly run. Lines for beer were very short, an ample amount of portable bathrooms were supplied, there was lots of water was on hand, the music was rockin', the lighting design was fabulous and everybody was just nice as could be (except for the dickhead that gave me a shove and took my glowstick that I was gonna give to my daughter).

Thanks to Half Acre and all collaborators, my wife Bridgette (for letting me buy this ticket for my birthday), Mike Broers for the company, West Lakeview Liquors and Beer Advocate (for the continuing education), Goose Island barreler John Laffler (for enduring my fan-boy questions) and Philip Montoro at the Chicago Reader, whose writing and blogging is helping spread the gospel in Chicago.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Violent ARP Band live on Oct. 18th. Empty Bottle CHICAGO


On Monday, October 18th, The Violent ARP Band has the honor of joining JOAN OF ARC, MIRACLE CONDITION and THUNDER POWER, for what is sure to be a memorable evening of music. Admission is free. 9pm

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Taste of The Violent ARP Band

The Violent ARP Band plays "Statue" live at Enemy, Chicago, 2010. Our first show.

Line-up: Jim Magas (vocals), Eli Caterer (guitar), Matt Jencik (bass), Mike Mazzola (drums). Cinematography by Laurie Little.

Monday, July 19, 2010

FRI, July 30th: Violent ARP Band / Drugs Dragons / Ken Camden / Ratatosk

Friday, July 30th, 9PM at Enemy (1550 N. Milwaukee, 3rd floor)

Violent ARP Band

Drugs Dragons

Ken Camden


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


©James Marlon Magas, 2009


You don't even understand desire
You don't even want to know the why
We own all the time
We are no reply
We don't even wonder when we die

I feel like a cool American
You are not but the only way you ever been
Sunday morning got the funny money act to you
Sunday morning got the funny money act to you

DEVIL IS FLYING (Magas/Larson)
Too many problems in this world
More solutions than problems
Babies born without eyes
Growing up
Telling lies

Devil is flying

There's nothing you can do
Ain't no use in trying

Devil is flying

You know it used to really burn me
You know it used to make me fry
and now I can't remember
What it was or even why

You know I used to howl in pain
Because it was inside of my brain
But now I can't remember
What it was to howl in the night

Ah ah

This is one of those whiskey nights
Anything can happen and anything might
She poured 'em long and she poured 'em right
This is one of those whiskey nights

This is one of those whiskey nights
This is one of those whiskey nights
She poured 'em long and she poured 'em right
This is one of those whiskey nights

repeat verse


Some people say
Why do you stay away
Why do you make us wait
I take my time
I blow my mind
in life's lonely grind

Friday, May 14, 2010


VIOLENT ARP BAND (l-r) Eli Caterer, Jim Magas, Matt Jencik, Mike Mazzola Photo by Steve Shoup

The VIOLENT ARP BAND has been undergoing some changes behind the scenes. Drummer Dave Hoffa split awhile back and has been replaced by the one and only MIKE MAZZOLA, a longtime Magas ally and drummer of RAGTONES and LASERS & FAST & SHIT. Mazzola's rough'n'tumble style meshes perfectly with the turbulent and surreal hard-rocking vortex that is the VIOLENT ARP BAND. We can't stop this freight train. Expect shows July-ish.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MAGAS - Black Test Car (2000)

Just discovered what I thought was lost: my half of a split cassette with TWIG HARPER, entitled BLACK TEST CAR.

BLACK TEST CAR is a 10-minute jam recorded in 2000.

Download HERE

Friday, March 5, 2010

VIOLENT ARP BAND now has its own blog

The VIOLENT ARP BAND now has its own blog, which can be found HERE.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


THE VIOLENT ARP BAND (l-r Jim Magas (vox), Dave Hoffa (drums), Eli Caterer (guitar), Matt Jencik (bass)

Ladies and gentlemen...after devoting the past decade to purely electronic music, I have decided to smash the old model and begin the new decade with a new sound: THE VIOLENT ARP BAND.

"Sharing a love for high-velocity avant heavy sludge, this newly-minted syndicate of freaks features Jim Magas (MAGAS, LAKE OF DRACULA, COUCH) on vocals & electronics, Eli Caterer (SMOKING POPES) on guitar, Matt Jencik (IMPLODES, TAKING PICTURES, PAPA M, DON CABALLERO, etc. ) on bass guitar and Dave Hoffa (CHICAGO THRASH ENSEMBLE, AUTHORITY ABUSE) on drums."

Rehearsals have been going well...we'll be playing this spring.