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Audiotree Music Festival 2017 Recap and Gallery: King Gizzard, Twin Peaks, Lizzo, and more!

Chicago-based music tastemakers Audiotree may be best known for some of their studio sessions with your favorite bands, but this past Friday and Saturday, they took over downtown Kalamazoo to bring some of those musicians to one stage for their annual festival. Although Audiotree, a big part of the crowd, and a few of the acts on the lineup all hailed from Chicago, the festival did a great job of curating local fare by bringing in Michigan based food trucks and beer from local breweries. The curators also succeeded in booking a diverse lineup that featured everything from psych rock to rap music. While there was never a dull moment over the course of those two days, here are the moments that stole the show.

Noname Drew in the Friday Evening Crowd

Chicago's on the rise spoken word artist/vocalist/rapper Noname has already had an unstoppable year, playing major festivals like Osheaga and Lollapalooza.  Her sunset performance at Audiotree Music Festival on Friday evening completely hooked the small, but mighty festival crowd with her compelling cadence. Her 45 minute set included some of her most popular tracks like "Diddy Bop" and "Reality Check," as well as some shoutouts to fellow Chicagoans like Saba and Kanye West. One of the most memorable moments in her set happened only a few songs in when she told the crowd they could move up, and there was a notable shift of everyone rushing forward to soak in the magnetic performance. Noname will be performing Concord Music Hall in November as part of Red Bull's 30 Days in Chicago, so make sure you catch her there if you missed her summer festival performances!

Noname performing during her sunset slot at ATMF

Noname performing during her sunset slot at ATMF

Lizzo Activated and Instilled Confidence in the Crowd

Hip Hop singer Lizzo brought a vivacious and energetic performance to the Audiotree Festival stage, but her nonstop show also featured a powerful message. While she encouraged the crowd to dance and sing along to her songs like "Phone" and "Water Me," she also encouraged everyone to take a stand in the world. Mentioning some of the current problems of the world, Lizzo said the only way to get through the horrible happenings is to come together and activate. She also instilled the confidence in her audience that they can all do whatever they put their mind to, no matter what anybody says. She put on an inspiring show just a couple weeks back at Loufest, but every time she hits a stage, Lizzo spreads positivity and love. You can also catch her in Chicago this November with Red Bull Sound Select's 30 Day festival. 

Lizzo and her ladies getting Friday night at ATMF going

Lizzo and her ladies getting Friday night at ATMF going

Campdogzz Warmed Up the Crowd During the Day's Peak Heatwave

Chicago's own Campdogzz warmed up the stage on the second day of Audiotree Music Festival. Although the seasons technically shifted into Fall a few days ago, the temperature during Campdogzz's set was reminiscent of the dog days of Summer, reaching mid 90s...with humidity. Although the temperature during their 30 minute set was nearly unbearable, lead singer Jessica Price's unique voice and the chemistry displayed between the band members still got the crowd engaged. The group flawlessly performed new songs off of an upcoming album, which all held onto their signature sound, but showcased their development and expansion as musicians since their last album.

Jessica Price of Campdogzz on Saturday afternoon

Jessica Price of Campdogzz on Saturday afternoon

Liz Cooper's Set Brought on a Wind Tunnel

The Nashville based nomad Liz Cooper and her band (aka The Stampede) kept it cool while they played through their laid back, country-tinged rock tunes. Throughout the set, the band's easygoing nature shone through, especially when Liz made the most of the fan onstage, which gave her a natural windswept look as she sang her songs with her signature earnest and raspy vocals. Throughout the set, you could tell Liz and her bandmates were enjoying themselves, which translated to the crowd getting lost in the moment too. 

Liz Cooper and her windswept look on Saturday

Liz Cooper and her windswept look on Saturday

Active Bird Community Made Their Michigan Debut

NYC's Active Bird Community has been playing together since they were in middle school, for more than ten years, but when they hit the stage on day two of ATMF, they mentioned that the festival was their first time playing in Michigan. Although they'd never played nearby before, the music hungry crowd eagerly absorbed songs from the band's earlier days and their 2017 album called Stick Around. 

Active Bird Community's frontman Tom D'Agustino during their Saturday set

Active Bird Community's frontman Tom D'Agustino during their Saturday set

Charly Bliss Played New Songs While Jetlagged

The Brooklyn based four piece fronted by Eva Hendricks also performed in the peak of Saturday's heat wave, but they still got the crowd into their show and moving in the sun. Decked out in a baby pink dress, Hendricks completely rocked the stage with her bandmates, even though they'd just gotten back from a tour around The U.K. Hendricks told the crowd they'd be performing a few new ones, and they went over incredibly well despite the jet lag. 


Pinegrove Got Shady

Pinegrove frontman Evan Stephens Hall took the stage during Pinegrove's late afternoon set donning green sunglasses that matched his t-shirt, due to the blazing hot sun still beaming down on the audience and stage. After a few songs, Hall told the crowd that he wished he didn't have to wear the sunglasses because "eyes are the best way to show you mean it" but he asked the crowd to trust him anyways. Despite the sunglasses barrier, Hall and his bandmates still managed to connect with the crowd, who were all ardently echoing the words back to songs like "Old Friends" and "Cadmium." If you're based in Chicago and missed Pinegrove's set, go see them at Thalia Hall this November, where Hall will be performing sans sunglasses. 

Evan Stephens Hall and his sunglasses during Pinegrove's set

Evan Stephens Hall and his sunglasses during Pinegrove's set

Twin Peaks Played Some Sweet Singles

The energy of day two at Audiotree Music Festival peaked (pun intended) when Chicago legends Twin Peak hit the stage with a surge of energy that never lulled.  Their hour long set included some of their most popular tracks like "Butterfly," "Walk To The One You Love," and "Making Breakfast," but the band also performed some of their "Sweet '17 Singles" like "Tossing Tears" and "Shake You Lonely" for one of the first few times. Twin Peaks always steals the show when they're part of a lineup, but this refresh to their setlist added another layer to their usually incredible show. Twin Peaks will be taking over Chicago's Thalia Hall for three nights at the end of December, so ring in 2018 with one of their rowdy performances. 

Clay Frankel of Twin Peaks leaving it all on the stage 

Clay Frankel of Twin Peaks leaving it all on the stage 

King Gizzard Dedicated a Song to Charles Bradley

During the early afternoon on Saturday, news broke that the soulful legend Charles Bradley had passed away. A few songs into King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's 90 minute set that night, the seven piece band dedicated a song to Mr. Bradley, with vocalist/guitarist/flutist Stu Mackenzie saying, "This one's for Chuck." Outside of the heartfelt dedication, their headlining set kept up a pulsating pace that never let up and included several live debuts of tracks from the group's first album of 2017, called Murder of the Universe. Their explosive set acted as the perfect wrap up of Audiotree Music Festival 2017. Some lucky Chicagoans got to witness a similar performance at Lincoln Hall last night, and the super group returns again tonight with Mild High Club. 

Stu Mackenzie closing out the night with King Gizzard

Stu Mackenzie closing out the night with King Gizzard

Check out the full gallery featuring Noname, Lizzo, SuperDuperKyle, Campdogzz, Liz Cooper and the Stampede, Active Bird Community, Charly Bliss, Pinegrove, BadBadNotGood, Twin Peaks, and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard!

LIVE: Weyes Blood Puts on Stunningly Beautiful Performance at Auditorium Theatre

"The woman who called herself nameless sure has an incredible voice," WXRT's Marty Lennartz gushes, standing on the stage at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre. The woman he is referring to is Natalie Mering of Weyes Blood, who had introduced her band to the audience halfway through her set, adding in that she'd rename nameless.

About forty minutes prior to this post-introduction from the radio DJ, Mering had glided onto the theatre's dimly lit stage, where the words to her song "Diary" flowed out of her as she remained staked out center stage, full of poise and sans instrument.  That same calm and composed demeanor clung to Mering as she picked up her guitar for the second song. Although her music has this mellow undertone, her voice soared through the sparkling venue, with its swooping ceilings and endless rows of lights. "I hope it looks as beautiful out there as it does from here," she said as she transitioned over to the keyboard for her third song of the evening, called "Used To Be." The track builds up, gradually adding layers, like the song that followed, "Seven Words." Weyes Blood's most popular track, "Seven Words" contains gospel elements that immediately envelope its listeners, along with Mering's ethereal vocals. 

Weyes Blood's support set for Father John Misty winded down with Mering and her band shifting around on stage again; first with Mering back with her guitar for "Generation Why" and then back on the keys for the final song of her set, which brimmed slightly over thirty minutes. Mering dedicated the latter song to the people all the way in the back in her composed and calculated speaking voice, which complemented her mellow musical style. She and her band shuffled offstage after Mering thanked the crowd for their welcoming reception to her music. Check out photos from her stunning performance below.

It's been an unstoppable year for Weyes Blood; playing festivals like Pitchfork in Chicago, touring with Father John Misty, signing with Sup Pop Records for her next record...and we can't wait to see what's in store next for soothing powerhouse. 

See all of Weyes Blood's upcoming tour dates here, and listen to her latest double single below. 

PHOTOS: Ásgeir at Bottom Lounge

The Icelandic singer-songwriter Ásgeir enchanted the crowd at Chicago's Bottom Lounge on Tuesday night, performing songs from his 2013 album In The Silence and 2017's follow up, called Afterglow.  Switching between the Icelandic and English language in his songs, Ásgeir captivated the crowd with his sweeping vocal range. See photos from the show below. 

Ásgeir's US tour continues throughout next month. Grab tickets here, and listen to his new album Afterglow in full below. 

PHOTOS: Cameron Avery and Madeline Kenney at Schubas

Cameron Avery and Madeline Kenney put on a stunning performance at Schubas Tavern on Sunday night. Check out our photo gallery of the show below. 

Listen to Cameron Avery's debut album in full below!

LIVE: Haim Returns to Chicago's Riviera

Sisters Alana, Danielle, and Este Haim returned to Chicago to play an intimate show at The Riviera Theatre, which they had last played in 2014. The sisters performed old favorites like "Falling," "My Song 5," and "Forever" alongside new songs from their sophomore album Something to Tell You. In between songs, the Haim humor shone through, as the three kept up witty banter and even busted out a choreographed dance routine to "Walking Away," one of the newer tracks. However, the biggest highlight by far had to be when the eldest sister Este crowd surfed, making it all the way to the back of the first tier of the concert venue's standing room. Check out photos of the unforgettable evening below!

Keep up with Haim on social media, and listen to their latest album in full below!

HAIM: Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

LIVE: Coast Modern Brings Diverse Songs and Social Experiments on Their First Headline Run

Los Angeles friends Coleman Trapp and Luke Atlas, better known as Coast Modern, took over Chicago’s Bottom Lounge on Monday night as part of their first headlining tour. The two have been making waves over the years with their catchy, indie pop tunes...which have even caught the attention of the legendary Smashmouth and Kate Hudson. They’ve toured in the past with bands like The Wombats, Temper Trap, Sundara Karma, and more, but this time around they’ve stepped up their show.

To celebrate their biggest tour yet and their self-titled debut album being released this Summer, the pair incorporated some fun activities and social experiments between songs. One of the activities included having the crowd all say their name at the same time on Coleman's count of three, and another time he asked the crowd to introduce themselves to the people around them that they didn't know. 

After performing some of their popular songs like "Guru" and "Pockets Full of No," which got the crowd grooving, Coleman also asked the crowd to all think about a thing they desired and yell that on the count of three. One of the coolest activities, though, which was amplified by Coleman and Luke's incredible live band, was when Coleman had the whole crowd close their eyes and imagine they were in an Amazon Rainforest. Meanwhile, the band played some sound effects to enhance the imaginative activity.  Coast Modern's 18-track debut album proves that Coleman and Luke are skilled musicians, with a broad range of tones and moods that sit all over the sonic field, but these between-songs engaging moments proved that Coast Modern have also become performers over the years, in addition to their developed musical talents.

Other highlights of the hour-long set included the band's cover of Julia Michael's song "Uh Huh" and their own song "Comb My Hair" towards the end of the set, which had the crowd animatedly singing along still. The personable and authentic show ended just after 9PM to a thundering of applause. If you missed out on the incredible show, check out our photo gallery of the evening, including some behind the scenes shots before the show!

Check out all of Coast Modern's tour dates here, and listen to their debut album below!

Can't get enough Coast Modern? Check out our interview with Luke Atlas here. 

A Night at Sofar Sounds Chicago

Last week, the Chicago chapter of Sofar Sounds took over the Chrome store in the city's Wicker Park neighborhood to bring an intimate concert to a small group of old and new friends. Kicking off the tunes, Lucille Furs  performed some of their retro-inspired narratives that will be featured on their upcoming debut album, out 9/29. They blend their own fresh style with influences of 1960's rock'n'roll to create a sound that's instantly likable. You can check out their latest single here, and if you like what you hear you can also pre-order the album there. 

Lucille Furs

Lucille Furs

Next up, Wilem "Hurricane" Simmons performed a stunning solo set, which he actually prepared to replace another performer who had to cancel last minute. Simmons enchanted the crowd with just his voice, a harmonica, a guitar, and some bells he strapped to boot. Keep up with the one man band via his Instagram page.

Wilem "Hurricane" Simmons

Wilem "Hurricane" Simmons

Closing out the night, Chicago's own Chicago Loud 9 put on a massive, genre bending performance, blending hip hop, rock, and soul music. With multiple vocalists, and a full band that included string and brass instruments, their dynamic set never had a dull moment. The super group have a residency at Rhyme or Reason, and you can check out details here

The megagroup Chicago Loud 9

The megagroup Chicago Loud 9

Make sure you check out Sofar's website to stay in the loop about upcoming shows, and get in on the experience of this show by checking out the full gallery below!

PHOTOS: Oh Sees at Thalia Hall

Oh Sees (still widely referred to by their former name, Thee Oh Sees) rocked Thalia Hall on Sunday night with their high-pace, nonstop show. Their 15 song set spanned more than 90 minutes, featuring songs from all corners of Oh Sees' musical catalog. Although the tour was promoting their latest album Orc, only a handful of the songs performed came from that record, but the crowd loved every minute of it, feeding the band back the energy that pulsed through the music. 

If you missed out on the show, check out our photo gallery of the show below, and see all of their upcoming tour dates here.

Listen to the latest album Orc in full below!

PHOTOS: The Dig with Dan Croll at Lincoln Hall

The Dig took over Lincoln Hall on their tour with Dan Croll. Check out our photo gallery from the show on Friday if you missed it!

Check out all of The Dig's upcoming tour dates here, and listen to their latest album below!


Can't get enough of The Dig? Check out our interview with them here. 

PHOTOS: The Orwells and Peel Riot Fest Kickoff

The Orwells and Peel warmed up Chicago before Riot Fest this past weekend. Check out our gallery of their show at House of Vans below!

Listen to The Orwells' latest album Terrible Human Beings below.