Post-college, Andy Argyrakis “focused mainly on music and entertainment freelancing to a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, websites, record labels, venues, promoters and artists directly.” Whilst this Chicago-based website author still engages in freelance work, he has, since the birth of his website, become “increasingly selective now that I’m also running ChicagoConcertReviews.com.”

Chicago Concert Reviews has “been steadily building” since a “soft launch in 2014.” Argyrakis acknowledges that the website “really picked up steam in the summer of 2017, by far the busiest concert season that’s taken place in Chicago thus far this century.”

But what makes his website stand out amongst a sea of other music website enthusiasts? Argyrakis insists that “having context is the most important component.” To that end, the criteria he uses to review hundreds of concerts annually has required considerable introspection:

“Where does this tour compare with previous ones? How does a particular artist or show factor into the current musical climate in general? What about its commentary on society and current events? That insight takes time to build throughout a career of taking in at least 200 concerts a year (and sometimes as many as 300), but it’s vital in being able to paint an informed opinion and accurate representation of the event for your audience.”

Although the website name and logo, “We’ve got the windy city covered” might suggest that it caters to a purely local crowd, the base of Chicagoconcertreviews.com actually extends much further — here the website owner explains the demographics: “More than half of Chicago Concert Reviews’ audience hands down comes from Chicago and the surrounding region, simply because that’s primarily the area being covered (unless it’s a major festival or national event). However, the other portion of the audience is actually in the UK and throughout Europe in general. Local audiences seem to like looking up coverage of a major blockbuster show they caught in town, such as Pink, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, the Grateful Dead or Lollapalooza. Internationally, we’ll pull in huge numbers from legendary acts that seem to stand the test of time and might not make the rounds as much, whether that be Paul McCartney, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Deep Purple or pretty much anything related to progressive rock.”

The vivid imagery, crisp captions, discerning observations and relevant features on this site seem to cross boundaries. And indeed, Andy asserts that “no style is off limits” but more specifically, “I would say pop and rock have the highest percentages, but hip-hop, country, EDM, jazz, blues, classical crossover and Broadway musicals are also part of the regular rotation. The majority of the acts we cover are either household names or have some sort of name recognition to someone.”

The acts that Argyrakis critiques may be icons and/or rising stars and they may perform in backlit salons or stadiums, but either way, this website wizard holds the evaluation bar high. “An arena show is generally going to have more eye-popping spectacle than catching someone at a club but that doesn’t mean creative productions can’t be made from a bare bones budget as well. My main hope is that it’s always lit well enough to capture in a photo that doesn’t have to be taken with an outlandish setting or from a ridiculous distance! But above and beyond merely the visual and entertaining aspect, make sure the songs are memorable, effective and have the potential to last beyond the given season. Whether it’s a brand new band or a veteran giving it another shot, there just isn’t time for anything even remotely mediocre or less than excellent.”

Both local and international acts entertaining at Chicagoland venues would benefit from the wisdom that Argyrakis has gleaned from operating his successful site: “It’s positively essential to bring your A-game to absolutely every aspect of the performance, regardless of budget and scale.”

As for the aesthetics and functionality of the website itself, ChicagoConcertReviews.com is a cinch to navigate, whether one is seeking archival articles or something more current; a certain number of concert photos enjoy space under a separate heading, Photo Gallery; a browse through several editions reveal accompanying concert shots that are chock-full of personality; the reportage is timely and concise and the 'In The Spotlight' profiles whet the reader appetite for future band recordings and engagements.

In addition, icons that link to pertinent social media are displayed on the reader’s far left and the navigation bar is prominently shown at reader eye level. As an extra bonus, ChicagoConcertReviews.com boasts a special section which documents music-related Theater events.

In essence, you certainly don’t have to be a Chicagoan to enjoy this dynamite site, but you just might want to make a trip here after reading about the hard-working bands that call these windy city hotspots their second home.







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