ANCHR Magazine

Holding you down with the best new music

Filtering by Category: Reviews

PHOTOS: Love Fame Tragedy at Subterranean 09.21.19

This past Saturday, Love Fame Tragedy made their live debut in Chicago, performing at Wicker Park’s Subterranean venue. The solo project of The Wombats’ frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy, Love Fame Tragedy was first introduced to listeners with the single “My Cheating Heart,” which was released earlier this summer. The live show included a full band playing alongside Murph, and the setlist featured all of current singles, plus several unreleased tracks. Make sure you keep an eye on future upcoming shows here.

Love Fame Tragedy’s debut EP I Don’t Want To Play The Victim, But I'm Really Good At It is out this Friday, September 27th—Pre-save it here.

Keep up with Love Fame Tragedy on Instagram // Twitter // Facebook

Live Recap: The 404 Tour with Barns Courtney and The Hunna

This past Wednesday night, The 404 Tour stopped in Chicago, bringing a lively performance from The Hunna and Barns Courtney to Park West.

The evening kicked off with British band The Hunna making their long awaited return to a stage in Chicago to perform both new material and old favorites. It had been years since The Hunna had toured The States, and they had taken a long hiatus from releasing new music until this year, so the band eased into their set with “We Could Be” from their 2016 debut album. Before the first song was even over, the energy of the band had skyrocketed, but it only continued to climb throughout their show as they played songs like “Bonfire,” “She’s Casual,” and new single “I.G.H.T.F.” During the set, lead singer and guitarist Ryan Potter threw his body into his guitar strums, climbed up on drummer Jack Metcalfe’s kit, and swung his microphone around. You could truly sense how grateful the band was to be back onstage in front of an audience far away from home ad that their return was warmly welcomed. Whether the people in the audience were fans of the band who had patiently been waiting for that return, or perhaps seeing The Hunna for the very first time, the band had every single person in the room sold on them by the end of their set.

Barns Courtney took the momentum that The Hunna had built up and propelled it to even greater heights when he burst onto the stage, twirling his microphone in the air and opened up the show with “Fun Never Ends” from his new album 404, just released this Friday. Whether intentional or not, the title of the opening song foreshadowed the lighthearted and amusing nature of the set that would follow. Besides the boundless energy he and his bandmates exuded while performing his upbeat songs, Barns Courtney also kept the audience entertained with his humorous between-song banter. Before slowing things down to deliver a solo acoustic performance of the unreleased “Hard to be Alone,” Barns invited two fans from the front row onstage, and shared the news that the couple had gotten married earlier that day— The fact that he has fans who would spend their wedding night at his concert attests to just how infectiously joyful he is as a performer. After that special, intimate moment of the set, the momentum picked right back up and finished the night on a high-note; Barns jumped off the stage to crowd surf, balloons floated around the room, and everyone danced and sang along to every song.

Between The Hunna and Barns Courtney, the 404 Tour is a blatant reminder that rock and roll is alive and well. To get your fill, see where the tour is stopping next here.

Live Recap: Nao and Jean Deaux at Metro 08.23.19

Just last month, the unfortunate news broke that the annual Mamby on the Beach festival would be cancelled, due to troubles with the location. That meant that many of the artists that music fans in Chicago had been looking forward to seeing perform would no longer be in town the weekend of August 23rd and 24th. On the other hand, some of the artists were still able to book new gigs at venues around the city, and fortunately one of those artists was Nao, who performed at the Metro on Friday night.

Chicago’s own Jean Deaux took the stage first on Friday, and she did a perfect job of warming the crowd up for Nao. Jean Deaux’s set was short, but sweet, and included a ton of crowd interaction encouraged by the singer. From call-and-response style sing alongs to dance moves, the crowd remained entertained the whole time. Being her hometown, some of the audience was already well-versed with Deaux’s music, but by the end of the set she had gained the entire room’s attention and admiration with her outgoing performance style.

By the time Nao was set to take the stage, the Metro had completely filled in, and it became clear how much of a positive impact the London R&B artist’s music has had on fans, even miles away from her hometown. When the lights dimmed and Nao’s band took the stage, she actually entered from the back of the crowd, singing the entirety of “Another Lifetime” alongside her audience. While the indoor venue was obviously scaled back from the size of the festival performance, Nao’s surprise introduction made her performance even more intimate.

As the night went on, Nao continued to truly connect with the audience through her lyrics, her stage presence, and her speaking points. Nao is an artist who bares her souls in her songwriting, and when she performs, she leaves all her energy onstage. Whether she was twirling across the stage, sitting down at the edge of the stage to be physically closer to the audience, or handing out white balloons (as an homage to her Saturn album cover), Nao’s energy was something that you didn’t just watch— it was something that you felt. Everyone in the room could genuinely relate to Nao as she recited an anecdote about change and personal growth before performing her new album’s title track “Saturn.”

The difference between a good show and a great show usually comes down to the energy put out by the performer and the crowd alike, and for Nao’s Metro performance, there was nothing but positive vibes in the room that night. The show brought people of all different backgrounds into one place, allowing for strangers to share an incredible moment together.

Keep up with Nao on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and check out photos from Friday’s show below.

Live Recap: Together Pangea Bring Surf-Rock Madness to The Foundry

After releasing their brand-spankin' new EP Dispassionate in May, Together Pangea has hit the road with the recently rebranded Ultra Q and veteran garage rockers Tijuana Panthers. The stacked bill stopped by The Foundry in Philadelphia on Thursday, July 18. 

Ultra Q (formerly Mt. Eddy) opened up the show with their recent singles “Redwood” and “Gool,” along with old fan favorites that had the crowd singing along. The band played a few songs off of Chroma from the band’s old Mt. Eddy days, and the popular single ‘“ Luv Robert Smith.” After making the crowd dance on their feet, Tijuana Panthers took the stage and beguiled the crowd with singles off of their latest album Carpet Denim. With a discography spanning ten years, Tijuana Panthers played a variety of hits, but a majority of the setlist was dedicated to songs off of Carpet Denim.

By the time California surf rockers Together Pangea took the stage, the crowd was ready to get rowdy. The band kicked off their extensive setlist with a few favorites from their 2017 album Bulls and Roosters, Badillac, and of course, the EP Dispassionate. Fans were feeling the surf rock so hard that security didn’t know how to handle the intense mosh pitting happening all around!

The band just wrapped up their tour in Indianapolis, but if you didn’t get a chance to catch them this time around, they will be hitting the road this fall. Check out their website for additional details and make sure to stream Dispassionate on your favorite music platform. 


Photos of Ultra Q, Tijuana Panthers, and Together Pangea

More on Together Pangea:



Pitchfork 2019 Recap: Sunday, July 21st

Pitchfork Festival’s final day rolled around on Sunday, featuring a lineup packed to the brim with some of my favorite artists to close out the fest. Throughout the weekend, the weather forecast for Sunday had gone back and forth— varying from raining all day to showing clear skies and temperatures in the 70s. When the morning rolled around, it looked like we might have gotten stuck with cooler temperatures and rain—especially when gates were postponed nearly an hour with rain and threats of lightning. However, after the morning and brief early afternoon storm, the gates opened and the rest of the day went smoothly and according to plan.

Sunday’s theme definitely revolved around the camaraderie in the Chicago music scene, with incredible sets from some local artists that featured multiple guest appearances. In addition to the Chicago music community, here are the rest of the day’s highlights.

Morgan Simpson of Black Midi

Morgan Simpson of Black Midi

London’s Black Midi played the Green Stage in the early afternoon, getting the energy ramped up for the day with their experimental hard rock. The festival site by the main stage had flooded with the early morning rain, but despite the puddles, fans watching Black Midi didn’t let some mud get in the way of their fun. The band’s high energy was matched by the crowd, who started a muddy mosh pit early on in the set.


20190721-IMG_0912.jpg

Next up, Chicago’s Tasha made her much-deserved Pitchfork Festival debut over on the Blue Stage. Tasha’s 2018 album Alone at Last showcases her smooth and soulful indie pop, and her set at Pitchfork provided a tranquil escape for festival attendees. I’ve seen Tasha perform captivating solo sets several times throughout the last year, but her festival set was one of the first times I’ve seen her with a backing band. The addition of the band gave her intimate songs a layered and more full sound. Tasha also treated fans to some brand new, unreleased songs, which she performed solo.





JPEGMAFIA on one of his many trips into the crowd

JPEGMAFIA on one of his many trips into the crowd

One of the best things about music festivals is that you can go in with expectations of what bands you’re seeing and what time, but you’re always given the chance to see a band you’ve never seen perform, or even listened to before. On Sunday of Pitchfork, rapper JPEGMAFIA was that artist for me. I wandered over to JPEGMAFIA’s set with no expectations, having never seen him before, and his stage presence was one that immediately drew me (and everyone else) in. After making his way onstage, it didn’t take long for the performer to become very close with the audience; He began his set giving photographers and people in the crowd hugs ,and shortly after, crowd surfed. Throughout his set, he probably spent more time in the crowd than onstage between all of his surfing and standing on the barricade to dance with the audience. JPEGMAFIA is a performer who demands your attention and puts all their energy into keeping your attention for the duration of the show, and he put on one of the best sets of Pitchfork Weekend.




Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz of Ibeyi

Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz of Ibeyi

Ibeyi is a duo of French twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz, and while I’ve listened to them for years, I unfortunately never had the chance to see them perform before their set at Pitchfork. Ibeyi’s performance at the fest was well worth the wait and reinforced how much of a fan I am of their music. They started their set and immediately brought positive vibes and good spirits with their kind energy and smiles, but it was their sisterly harmonies and strong vocals that gave me goosebumps. My favorite part of their set was when they used their music to share their political beliefs, performing their song “No Man Is Big Enough For My Arms,” which samples part of a speech by Michelle Obama.


Laura Lee, Mark Speer, and Donald Ray "DJ" Johnson of Khruangbin

Laura Lee, Mark Speer, and Donald Ray "DJ" Johnson of Khruangbin

Texas trio Khruangbin has also been a favorite of mine to see live, and their set at Pitchfork Festival was no exception. While they’re a band of few words and play a lot of instrumental jams, they were able to capture a large crowd with their entrancing blend of funk, soul, and psychedelic tunes. Khruangbin has an effortlessly cool stage presence, making them the perfect Sunday afternoon act.


Julien Ehrlich of Whitney

Julien Ehrlich of Whitney

Hometown heroes Whitney made their return to Pitchfork Festival, following up their 2016 performance at the fest with a kickoff to their new era. Earlier this summer, the band announced their highly anticipated sophomore album Forever Turned Around would be released August 30th, so naturally their first hometown show in almost a year featured some never before played songs. In addition to the new material, what really made Whitney’s set special was the sense of community—both onstage and offstage. When the band performed their popular tune “Golden Days” from their debut album, they got a little help from their friends, including Pitchfork acts Ric Wilson, Tasha, Chai, Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy, and Lala Lala. The audience also sang and swayed along to all of their old favorites from Light Upon the Lake.





Charli XCX

Charli XCX

Charli XCX was definitely one of the more mainstream artists to play Pitchfork Festival this year. As a pop artist, Charli XCX is an artist whose songs are everywhere— songs that you’ll know 99% of the words to because they’re so catchy they stick with you after only a couple of listens. Despite the larger than life pop anthems that she’s known for, Charli’s stage set up was actually pretty minimal. Two massive yellow cubes acted as a backdrop, and the singer made her entrance onto stage by herself, sans a backing band. Though her setup was simple, her fanbase proved to be mighty; Fans camped out at the Red Stage all day to get a prime spot, they wore pink cowboy hats and held up signs with references to her songs. The dedicated fans helped make the set so powerful— as they danced and sang along, the positive energy radiated throughout the crowd.


Robyn closing out the festival

Robyn closing out the festival

Robyn closed out the whole festival with one of the most fun and cathartic shows I’ve ever seen. Robyn’s set up featured a delicately draped backdrop and backup singers, but at the center of her incredible performance stood her legendary electro-pop songs. Getting to experience the live performance of songs like “Call Your Girlfriend” and “Dancing On My Own” in a huge crowd of both friends and strangers all singing and dancing along was the best way to close out the festival weekend.




Photos of Flasher, Black Midi, Tasha, JPEGMAFIA, Ibeyi, Clairo, Khruangbin, Whitney, Chari XCX, Snail Mail, and Robyn

Pitchfork 2019 Recap: Saturday, July 20th

The second day of Pitchfork Festival started off with the same sweltering heat as day one, but a fair amount of festival goers showed up as gates opened to take in the full day of music. The forecast showed continuous sunny skies all day to accompany the heat, but the fest ended up being suddenly evacuated around 5PM by a storm that came out of nowhere. The festival organizers were able to make the call just before torrential downpour hit the park, and most attendees were able to seek shelter in nearby bars and restaurants. Unfortunately, Kurt Vile and Freddie Gibbs sets were cut during the storm, but the festival did reopen after an about an hour of downtime, continuing the night with good weather. Despite the evacuation, day two still proved to be a great day with plenty of highlights. Read about my favorite Saturday moments below!

Lillie West of Lala Lala

Lillie West of Lala Lala

Lala Lala, the project of songwriter and musician Lillie West, opened the second day of the festival with the same all-star band roster that had performed the night prior at Metro, which included V.V. Lightbody, KAINA, Sen Morimoto and Nnamdi Ogbonnaya playing alongside West. Despite having the first set of the day, the heat, and the fact that they were coming off playing a late show the night prior, the entire band sounded as flawless and refreshed as ever. The early day crowd listened intently, even during some of the quieter moments of the set, like the performance of “Scary Movie." Lala Lala’s set also included a cover of “Slip Away” by Perfume Genius, who has also previously performed at Pitchfork Festival. Lala Lala has continuously been one of my favorite bands to see play around the city, but this set was my favorite from them to date.



Ric Wilson with the Lane Tech marching band

Ric Wilson with the Lane Tech marching band

Ric Wilson kicked off the Red Stage for the second day, and his set was hands down my favorite of the day, if not the entire festival. Wilson’s set had literally everything you could want from a festival show; an interactive dance party, guest appearances, and a positive message. The Chicago based artist immediately let the crowd know that he doesn’t tolerate any hate by starting his set with a call and response chant where to told the crowd “no racist, no sexist, no homophobic, and no bullshit” behavior would be tolerated here. The positive vibes continued as Wilson danced across the stage with a beaming smile. A few songs into the set, the first guest appearance came from collaborator and Pitchfork Festival alum, Kweku Collins, who played the festival last year. The energetic performance also featured an appearance from the Lane Tech marching band. And finally, Wilson closed out his set with everyone in the crowd participating in a Soul Train style dance off, which left everyone walking away with a smile on their face to enjoy the rest of the festival.


Jay Som performing at the Blue Stage

Jay Som performing at the Blue Stage

After taking a break to cool down, I moved over to the shaded Blue Stage to catch an afternoon set from Los Angele’s Jay Som. The singer’s dream pop tunes provided the perfect mid-day, chilled out set for festival goers, acting as a retreat from the chaos of the festival and the blistering heat. Jay Som and her band played through trusted favorites like “Baybee” and “The Bus Song” as the audience echoed the words back to the singer. The festival set also included a couple of new ones from the upcoming album Anak Ko, out later this summer via Polyvinyl Records.



Austin Brown of Parquet Courts

Austin Brown of Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts played next on the Green Stage, and they brought tons of energy along with them. It took mere seconds into the band’s first song of the set for the crowd to get amped up and start moshing, even with everyone being drenched in harsh sunlight. Starting at 4:15pm, Parquet Courts’ set took place during the day’s sweet spot, when more and more people decided to start showing up. The band’s uptempo rock tunes like “Master of My Craft” and “Total Football” were perfect for setting up the tone of the evening ahead. Unfortunately about 15 minutes before Parquet Courts’ set was slated to end, they made an announcement to the crowd that weather conditions might cut them short. After playing the title track of their 2018 album Wide Awake, festival goers were asked to calmly evacuate the site and find shelter. While it might have been cut short, the part of Parquet Courts’ set that we did get to experience was definitely a highlight of Saturday.


Following the evacuation of the festival and the downpour of rain, the park opened back up around 6:30PM for sets from Stereolab and Belle & Sebastian. As both of these bands played their sets, the sun once again shone down on Union Park and all was right— almost giving the feeling that it was a completely different day.

The Isley Brothers closing out the second night of Pitchfork

The Isley Brothers closing out the second night of Pitchfork

Before long, the sun began to set on Saturday, and it was then time for the legendary Isley Brothers to close out the night. Their spot on the festival lineup seemed a little out of place between more contemporary pop acts HAIM and Robyn, who bookended the weekend as the other headliners. However, when the brothers and their live ensemble made their way onto the stage to “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince playing as their introduction song, it was clear that we were all in for a show. As the band began their set of throwbacks, even the younger audience members who might have been unfamiliar with the group’s music could recognize bits of the songs that have been sampled by other artists. The Isley Brothers instantly had the audience moving along to their soulful music, and onstage, they had extravagantly dressed backup singers and dancers to accompany them.


More photos of Saturday featuring Lala Lala, Ric Wilson, Jay Som, Parquet Courts, Stereolab, Belle and Sebastian, and the Isley Brothers

Stay tuned for more Pitchfork Festival coverage

Live Recap: Doubleheader From Lala Lala and Grapetooth Celebrates Chicago and Collaboration

After the last set at Union Park on Friday, music fans made their way to Metro for a double-header Pitchfork aftershow with Lala Lala and Grapetooth. The night started with a DJ set from Title TK, who had the crowd dancing as they settled in for the night and waited for Lala Lala to take the stage.

With the crowd warmed up, Lillie West and her bandmates began their set around 10:30, filling the room with dreamy melodies and captivating harmonies. West has always been at the center of Lala Lala and toured with an array of different musicians, but her band roster for Pitchfork weekend included some of the best musicians based out of Chicago at the moment—including V.V. Lightbody, KAINA, Sen Morimoto and Nnamdi Ogbonnaya. As the group played through songs from Lala Lala’s 2018 album The Lamb, the dynamic and multi-faceted nature of West’s songwriting was showcased. Songs like “Scary Movie” and “See You at Home” took a step back and slowed things down, with the latter featuring Sen Morimoto on saxophone. “Spy” and “Water Over Sex” built up the energy and momentum, creating a juxtaposition between the smoother, more subtle songs of the night.

By the end of Lala Lala’s set, the venue had mostly filled in, and the rowdy crowd beckoned Grapetooth onstage by chanting “Friday Night! Up All Night! Red wine in my blood tonight!”—which has become a tradition of sorts at Grapetooth’s past shows in Chicago at venues like Lincoln Hall and Thalia Hall.

While the show would eventually end in a much more intense way, Grapetooth began their set with one half of the duo, Clay Frankel, taking the stage for a solo performance of a new song—armed with just his guitar and harmonica. Following the gentle introduction, Grapetooth co-founder Chris Bailoni and drummer Justin Vittori took the stage to play the single “Violent” from the band’s 2018 debut album. As soon as the chorus for “Violent” kicked in, audience members were already up in the air crowd surfing and throwing each other around in a sweaty mosh pit. The dance party continued for the first half of the set, and eventually Frankel and Bailoni welcomed their friend and Chicago musician James Swanberg to the stage right around midnight. Swanberg’s bit kicked off a steady roll of guest appearances; Lillie West returned to the stage to perform a new song she co-wrote with Grapetooth, followed by an appearance from OHMME, who sang backing vocals on “Red Wine.” Next, Ian Sweet and James Swanberg joined OHMME for the second to last song “Imagine On”— and finally, a whole bunch of friends crashed the stage for the closing song of the night: Grapetooth’s debut single '“Trouble.” While the band’s friends joined them onstage to dance and sing the catchy, mischievous anthem, the crowd continued to go wild, ending the night (and day one of Pitchfork Fest) with a bang.


Pitchfork 2019 Recap: Friday, July 19th

In the week leading up to Pitchfork Festival, the forecast for Chicago showed a spike in temperatures, which only continued to climb higher as Pitchfork weekend inched closer. With highs of 98 degrees (without the heat index and humidity) and the promise of sunny skies, it was clear that this weekend would be one of the hottest of the summer and not necessarily the most ideal weather to spend all day outside watching live music. A couple of days before the fest’s kick off on Friday, Pitchfork Festival organizers announced that they’d be taking extra measures to keep festival goers safer in the extreme weather conditions; In addition to providing additional cooling buses and a misting station, the fest ordered 18,000 more water bottles to pass out for free to its attendees. While I knew there would be no way to feel comfortable in temperatures that felt like 110 degrees, these extra precautions at least eased my mind a bit going into Friday.

Chris Bailoni of Grapetooth

My afternoon on the first day of the fest began with Chicago’s own Grapetooth, who played the Blue Stage at 4PM. Tucked away in a tree-lined, shaded corner of the festival grounds, the Blue Stage remained the most comfortable viewing area of Friday, allowing for festival goers to retreat from the sun and still catch some great music. A relatively new collaboration between Twin Peaks’ Clay Frankel and producer/songwriter Chris Bailoni, Grapetooth became an instant hit with their synth-infused, new wave sound and their rambunctious stage presence. The crowd at Pitchfork welcomed them onstage with a rowdy chant and danced along to their opener “Violent,” despite the heat. The opening tune and a few others of Grapetooth’s singles featured an extended introduction, which added some new intensity to their live set. In the spirit of Chicago and the collaborative nature of the music scene, Grapetooth’s set also featured guest appearances from Lillie West of Lala Lala, OHMME, and more.


Sky Ferreira

Sky Ferreira

After a few songs of Grapetooth, I rushed over to the Green Stage to catch Sky Ferreira’s comeback show, marking her return to Chicago for the first time in years. Due to sound issues and gear malfunctioning in the overbearing heat, Ferreira made her way to the stage about 20 minutes past her scheduled time slot, but she was greeted with an overwhelming sound of applause by her many long-time fans. Unfortunately, the sound issues for Ferreira continued for the entire set, and it was clear that she couldn’t hear herself in the in-ear monitors. Despite the technical difficulties and all, Ferreira’s vocals sounded incredible and fans in the crowd screamed along with her when she performed old favorites like “You're Not the One” and “Everything Is Embarrassing.” Adding to the list of obstacles for the singer, Ferreira was cut short due to time restraints, but not before she made the live debut of new song “Descending.”


Soccer Mommy (Sophie Allison)

Soccer Mommy (Sophie Allison)

Next, it was back to the Blue Stage for Soccer Mommy, the project of Nashville songwriter Sophie Allison. All weekend long on the Blue Stage, the festival had different slam poets warm up the crowds for the next musical act performing. The addition of the poets was a great way to experience a different form of art at the festival, and it definitely worked well with an artist like Soccer Mommy, whose narrative-style lyrics have the same relatable impact as some of the words recited by the poets. Overall, Soccer Mommy’s set provided a chance for everyone to just kickback and enjoy a great performance from Allison and her band, who had incredible chemistry onstage from their extensive touring history. The set included favorites like “Last Girl,” “Cool,” and “Your Dog,” which Allison mentioned they hadn’t been performing lately but they were bringing it back in the spirit of Pitchfork.





Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples

The legendary Mavis Staples closed out the Red Stage for the first day, providing an instant mood boost for the entire audience and delivering my personal favorite set of the entire day. With her hearty and soulful vocals, which mixed with her grooving band and backup vocalists, Staples captured the audience’s attention and hearts from the very start of her set. A few songs in, the singer told the crowd that she wanted them to feel good, and judging by the infectious grins on everyone’s faces, it was clear she had succeeded in her mission. Staples gave me goosebumps as she sang in harmony with her live bandmates and when she belted out her roaring vocals, showing off the raw power and control she still has over her voice.



Alana and Danielle Haim

HAIM, the evening’s headliners, were up next on the Green Stage. As the sun set over Union Park, the three sisters [Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim] marched to take their places, as a real-time camera followed them on their walk to the stage. The set began with the siblings taking their places in front of drum sets, building up a suspenseful introduction to what would be their first ever festival headlining slot. Their set opened with “Falling” and “Don’t Save Me” from their debut album Days Are Gone, taking the audience back to the days of 2013—when everyone had that album on repeat. In addition to older material—both from their debut and 2017 sophomore album, HAIM also sprinkled in their new song “Summer Girl” and not one, but two Paula Cole covers: “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” and “I Don't Want To Wait.” HAIM’s festival headline debut allowed longtime fans to relish their older favorites while still experiencing a glimpse of what is to come in the band’s next era.



Friday Gallery from Pitchfork 2019, featuring Grapetooth, Sky Ferreira, Julia Holter, Soccer Mommy, Mavis Staples, and HAIM

Stay tuned for more Pitchfork 2019 Coverage

Live Recap: Australia's The Chats Bring Their Rowdy Show to The Subterranean

Hailing all the way from Queensland, Australia, garage punk band The Chats brought their raucous, rowdy show to Wicker Park’s Subterranean venue on July 15th. Although the band was a long way from home, tickets for the gig had sold out months prior despite it being a Monday night. When the day finally rolled around, the weather in Chicago had reached blistering temperatures, but regardless of the heat, enthusiastic fans still packed into the venue like sardines in order to hear some of their favorite songs— including the infamously catchy “Smoko” from 2017’s Get This In Ya.

Following support sets from Side Action and Rad Payoff, the eager fans couldn’t contain their excitement while the stage was set for the evening’s headliner; Everyone chanted in unison, beckoning the band to the stage. When the time finally came, the tension that had built up in the room snapped as soon as the first distorted guitar riff rang out into the venue. Without hesitation, the entire floor of the venue became one rambunctious mosh pit and fans thrashed their bodies around to the night’s opening song “Nambored.” The Chats powered through many of their fast-paced punk anthems as the rowdy crowd continued to mosh, turning the Subterranean into a sweat-soaked sauna. Towards the end of their set, The Chats treated fans to a cover of “Rock & Roll All Nite” by Kiss, which they joked was a new song they’d just written on this tour before playing it.

During every single song of the night, audience members hopped up onto the stage and flung themselves from the stage to crowdsurf, but none of the songs got nearly as intense of a reaction as their hit “Smoko” did— there was consistently at least three crowd surfers up at all times during that song. When the night ended and I made my way out of the Subterranean, the heat in the room had caused the floor to become slippery. I’ve been to plenty of rowdy shows, but The Chats by far put on one of the most intense gigs I’ve ever seen.

The Chats are on tour the rest of this year— see all of the dates here.

Live Recap: A Night of Nostalgia at the Pop2000 Tour

This past weekend, Joe’s Live in Rosemont hosted the Pop2000 Tour, opening up a time portal back to fifteen plus years ago, when the acts of the tour dominated the pop charts. 

After an introduction from *NSYNC’s Lance Bass, the night of nostalgia kicked off with actor/singer-songwriter Tyler Hilton, who took the stage by himself armed with an acoustic guitar. Hilton had a short but sweet set, and while he has a new album out now, he didn’t shy away from taking the trip down memory lane to perform some older favorites. Hilton took some fan requests and since the room had several One Tree Hill fans, he treated everyone to a solo rendition of “When The Stars Go Blue,” which he had performed on the show with actress Bethany Joy Lenz.

Next up, Ryan Cabrera took the stage; Like Hilton, he performed sans backing band for this tour. This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of Ryan Cabrera’s debut album Take It All Away, and his entire set paid homage to the album, keeping up with the theme of nostalgia. Between performing the hits from the album like “True,” “Shame on Me,” and of course “On The Way Down,” Cabrera recited anecdotes about the songs’ lyrics and his muses. Cabrera also showed off his chops as an entertainer when he threw in a medley of cover songs, which included The Goo Goo Dolls, Justin Bieber and Third Eye Blind.

Aaron Carter and his live ensemble were up next, and after opening with the hit he had in 2000, “I Want Candy,” Carter’s set remained a steady mix of new material with just a few throwbacks. Carter talked about his 2018 album LØVË and performed singles like “Fool’s Gold” and “Dearly Departed,” which both had the crowd singing and dancing along. By the end of his energetic set, the crowd was fully ready for O-Town to hit the stage. 


Headliners O-Town didn’t disappoint in terms of nostalgia--opening up with their hit “Liquid Dreams.” While they were able to take the audience back to the days of TRL and Making The Band with their dance moves and classic songs, the band also announced that they had new music on the way this month, thanks to crowd-funding that allowed them to record brand new music. The set of course included some of the new material, but they drove home the hits of the early 2000s era by closing the night with not one, but two covers of *NSYNC songs ahead of their final song, “All Or Nothing.” Their finale was definitely the highlight of the night-- between Lance Bass making an appearance to do the choreography to “Bye Bye Bye” with the O-Town band members and the entire room belting along to the closing ballad, the entire night ended with a bang.


Photo of Tyler Hilton, Ryan Cabrera, Aaron Carter, O-Town and Lance Bass