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Filtering by Tag: New Music

Live Recap: BANKS Makes Her Chicago Comeback on the Eve of Third Album Release

The House of Vans Summer House Parties concert series always presents a wide array of different artists— from pop to hip hop and rock, the Summer House Parties give music fans in Chicago an opportunity to see some of their favorite artists or discover new ones.

This past Thursday night, the venue hosted an evening curated by one of my personal favorite artists: BANKS, who brought her raw and vulnerable R&B infused pop tunes to the stage in Chicago for the first time since 2017. The evening not only marked BANKS’ comeback to Chicago, but in general; With her third album being released at midnight the night of the show, this performance celebrated the beginning of a new era. Fans that had lined up around the block to attend this House of Vans performance were undoubtedly excited to hear some of the newer material performed in front of them for the first time ever, but they were also eager to revisit some of their old favorites from BANKS’ first two albums: Goddess and The Altar. When BANKS appeared on the dimly lit stage to an enthusiastic welcome, she delivered several throwbacks in the first section of the set; After opening with 2013’s “Waiting Game,” she followed up with “Fuck With Myself” and “Gemini Feed.” These songs, with their personable sentiment and their gut-wrenching sense of honesty, allow for fans to truly feel and connect with the music. In the live sense, that connection only intensified thanks to BANKS’ emotive and earnest vocals, which swirled together with moody lighting and theatrical dancing to create an immersive experience.

The production element of Thursday night’s show and BANKS’ stage presence in general seemed more developed since her last performance here— the singer appeared more at ease in front of an audience, even as she bared her soul through her lyrics. Just like her stage persona, BANKS’ new songs like “Gimme,” “Contaminated,” and “Look What You’re Doing To Me” from the new album all seem to have more intricate layers to them, signifying the growth that the songwriter has experienced in the last couple of years. As the night continued on and BANKS poured her energy into performing her songs from the past and present, the concert felt like a cathartic therapy session for both her and everyone in the crowd. When it came time for the show to end, the mood in the room was bittersweet, but BANKS’ return had been well worth the wait. After Thursday’s show, it’s clear that BANKS is back in full swing, and if you loved the show as much as I did, you don’t have to wait long for her return— BANKS will be performing at The Riviera Theatre in September with Kevin Garrett.

Photos of the BANKS House of Vans show-featuring special guest Anna Lunoe

Keep up with BANKS on Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Live Recap: A Rowdy Monday Night with Bleached, Refused and The Hives at The Vic Theatre

My week began with an action packed and adrenaline-pumping show from Bleached, Refused, and The Hives; a lineup that easily made for one of the rowdiest Monday night shows I’ve ever seen.

The evening kicked off with the sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin of Bleached taking their places on a dimly lit stage as a duo. Their first song started slow and led to a huge build up when the Clavins’ bandmates joined them onstage and bright lights kicked in while the music crescendoed. As the audience trickled into the Vic Theatre, Bleached quickly won the crowd over with their raucous guitar melodies that are laced with pop hooks and sibling-perfect harmonies. With a new album Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? due out July 12th, Bleached’s setlist heavily consisted of brand new songs— many of which they were playing live for the very first time, as Jennifer and Jessica announced about halfway through their show. During the beginning of their set, you could almost pick up on the newness of these songs just based on the Clavins’ body language, but a few songs in, you could also sense the weight of the uncertainty being lifted from their shoulders as they got into the groove and let loose. One of the new songs they performed, “Hard To Kill,” was just released as a single on April 30th and features a playful whistling loop over a funky melody, which really highlights the multifaceted sound that Bleached has honed in on over the years. They’ve got an extensive catalog which nods to glimpses of rock and roll influence from different decades; From the 1970’s Runaways to the 1990’s The Donnas and 2000’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs, it’s truly like Bleached took some of the best elements of rock music from different eras and put their own spin on it. Particularly with the new material, Bleached will keep fans on their toes and push their past boundaries, so make sure you take a listen to the album once it’s released.

When Bleached concluded their opening set with an explosive, extended jam, the room had mostly filled in and fans were buzzing for the upcoming sets from co-headliners Refused and The Hives. Bleached set the bar high as far as energy levels went, and Refused burst onto the stage, continuing to boost the morale of the room. Refused’s frontman and vocalist Dennis Lyxzén leapt off the stage during the first song to join fans in the mosh pit, and from there, the energy only escalated. An hour of strobe lights, microphone swings, and lots of jumping swirled together for an unforgettable set that ended in a standing ovation.

Then, just when I thought things couldn’t get any wilder, the five members of The Hives rushed the stage donning matching white suits for the final set of the night, and chaos immediately broke out. The Hives’ lead vocalist and frontman Per Almqvist (AKA Howlin' Pelle Almqvist) also didn’t shy away from leaving the stage to join the crowd, and within a few minutes, he was already crowd surfing. The iconic punk band truly lived up to their reputation and the audience’s expectations— after they dove right into mayhem without skipping a beat at the start of their set, they just kept delivering energy, leaving everything they had on the stage.

Check out Bleached’s upcoming tour dates here to see where else you can catch this trifecta of a lineup, and see photos from Monday night’s show below.

Keep up with Bleached on Facebook and Instagram

Live Recap: Aly & AJ Provide Sanctuary for Their Fans at House of Blues

In the past few years, it’s almost come to be expected that a movie from our childhood will be remade, a TV show from the 90’s will be rebooted, or a band whose poster we hung up in our room in high school will embark on a reunion tour. So when sisters Aly and AJ Michalka announced a new EP 10 years in 2017 and returned to touring after a bit of a hiatus, it came as no surprise that both long-term fans and new listeners alike flocked to support the duo in a new era. With yet another new EP, Sanctuary, dropping this Friday, May 10th, and another massive tour underway, it’s clear that Aly & AJ’s comeback offers so much more than just a token of nostalgia; there’s a genuine passion and an immense talent that shines through-- both on their latest releases and during their live shows.

On Sunday night, the sisters returned to Chicago to perform to a sold out crowd at The House of Blues, promptly returning to the city after their last live show here in July at Thalia Hall. As eager fans quickly filled up the historic theater to see the show, it was clear that Aly & AJ would be welcomed back to Chicago any time. The house lights dimmed and light poles that had been positioned around the stage glistened, blinking on and off, signifying the start of a journey that fans would experience during the show. That journey began with “Church,” the lead single from the upcoming EP, giving everyone a taste of the new music before diving into a setlist that would touch on every era of Aly & AJ’s sound.

Throughout the show, the sisters moved around onstage donning matching blue, sparkly suits and their lighting rig transitioned between different tones and hues for each song, giving the audience a spectacle that was just as visually enthralling as it was audibly. Aly & AJ’s close bond clearly translated as they played together, but they even had incredible chemistry with their other bandmates; their tightness as musicians spotlighted the time and thought that they all put into making the show the best possible experience. The great sound quality, production quality, and the sibling harmonies mixed with some refreshed and drawn out live arrangements really made for a special event and one of those shows where you just had to be there to explain the energy in the room. To top it all off, Aly & AJ also treated their fans to their own rendition of “Slow Burn” by Kacey Musgraves in between fan-favorites on their setlist, like “Rush,” “Potential Breakup Song,” and “Like Whoa.”

About their tour, Aly has said “Shows are a sanctuary for our fans. We find a lot of peace and healing comes with talking to them while on tour,” and after getting to experience one of their recent shows, there’s no denying the truth in that statement. The sisters have also partnered with the Trevor Project, which is a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people, on this tour. By taking some time to discuss the work that the Trevor Project does and collect donations, Aly & AJ further emphasized the point that their shows are safe spaces for all of their fans.

If you’re looking to experience you own Aly & AJ oasis, see where you can catch them on tour next here.

Photos of Aly & AJ at House of Blues 05.05.19

Pre-order Sanctuary here and listen to the latest single “Don’t Go Changing” below!

SXSW 2019 Highlights: The Best New Acts We Saw in Austin

As with most music festivals, I went into the week at SXSW having a list of artists I had seen before and wanted to see again, but the true beauty of any festival is stumbling across some gems that you’ve either never seen before, or never even heard of. With hundreds of showcases and more than a thousand artists, SXSW offers the best opportunities for music fans to discover their new favorite bands, and this year I definitely found a few new personal favorites. Read up on the nine best new bands I caught at SXSW 2019 below!


I caught a great set from Scottish rock band Fatherson on my first night in Austin, on March 12th at Seven Grand. The Kilmarnock-based trio fronted by Ross Leighton have actually been around since 2010 and toured with the likes of Biffy Clyro, Frightened Rabbit, Panic! at the Disco, and Enter Shikari, but this year marked their return to SXSW for the first time since 2015, and I finally got the chance to see them perform this time around. Throughout their set at Seven Grand, the bandmates seemed to have this sense of ease and chemistry between one another, which perfectly complimented Leighton’s powerful, yet silky vocals.

Listen to Fatherson’s 2018 album Sum of All Your Parts here and see where they’re playing next here.

For Fans Of: Foals, Twin Atlantic, Frightened Rabbit



Swedish musician Åsa Söderqvist— AKA ShitKid— took the stage at the wee hour of 1AM on March 12th at Cheer Up Charlie’s indoor venue, and while she and the audience theoretically should have been exhausted from a full day of music at that point, no one let on and the room buzzed with an electric energy during the entire set, proving you shouldn’t ever judge a band by their name. Söderqvist and her bandmate kept the crowd entertained throughout their set with different antics; whether it was dismantling the drum set on stage, climbing ledges around the room, or lifting their instruments above their heads, there was never a dull moment during the show. Unsurprisingly, the crowd begged for an encore song from ShitKid, but unfortunately the venue curfew didn’t allow for their demands to be granted.

Keep up with ShitKid’s upcoming tour dates here.

For Fans Of: Cherry Glazerr, Chastity Belt, Charly Bliss


Fontaines D.C.

Easily one of the most buzzed about bands at this year’s festival, the Dublin-based Fontaines D.C. put on a show well worth the hype. I had the pleasure of seeing them perform twice, for the first time on March 13th at Swan Dive, which drew a huge crowd and a line out the door. The band’s collective stage presence had this juxtapositional sense about it, with lead singer Grian Chatten coming across visibly anxious as he paced the stage on his tip toes and bit his fingernails, while his bandmates would thrash around the stage or climb up on the amps during the show. The dynamic worked really well and had everyone hooked, and towards the end of the set, a large mosh pit started going for the Irish punk band.

Fontaines D.C. returns to The States later this year for a tour with Idles— dates here, and you can listen to their latest single here.

For Fans Of: Idles, Iceage, Protomartyr


The Dunts

Another great export from across the pond at this year’s SXSW: Glasgow’s The Dunts. The four-piece formed in late 2016, but have already garnered plenty of buzz around their sound and live performances, which has earned them past slots at Reeding and Leeds festival and upcoming slots at UK Festivals this summer. Their guitar-driven tracks and rowdy stage presence blends perfectly with their catchy choruses and guaranteed-to-get-stuck-in-your-head melodies. Although this was their first ever SXSW, both of their performances that I caught (on 3/13 at The British Embassy and 3/16 at 720 Club) drew in very large crowds of enthusiastic fans.

Stay tuned for an interview with The Dunts coming soon, right here on ANCHR!

For Fans Of: The Vaccines, Shame, White Reaper


Black Belt Eagle Scout

I was lucky enough to catch Black Belt Eagle Scout, the project of singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Katherine Paul, on Friday, 3/15, when I arrived to a venue early for HÆLOS’ final set of the festival. While I had never had a chance to listen to Black Belt Eagle Scout’s music, Paul and her bandmates instantly won me over with their live show, which kept the audience on their toes with a dynamic performance. The set had more delicate, softer moments that lured the audience members in, but Paul and her bassist also didn’t pass up the opportunity to shred.

Black Belt Eagle Scout will tour with Julia Jacklin in April and May, including an already sold out show at Schubas Tavern on May 8th. Full dates here.

For Fans Of: Julia Jacklin, Miya Folick, The Beths



Montreal’s Pottery hasn’t been around long at all, but they had large crowds at both of their sets that I attended. Blending together elements of different genres—from surf rock to post-punk to krautrock— there’s a special element to their sound that you just can’t put your finger on, but it made the perfect soundtrack for Friday afternoon when I first saw them at a Cheer Up Charlie’s day party. So far Pottery has only released two singles, but based on their live shows, their future releases will be worth the wait.

See where you can catch the new band on tour next— upcoming dates here.

For Fans Of: The Districts, Omni, Ty Segall


Sir Babygirl

For the Father/Daughter Records showcase on Friday night, Sir Babygirl (the moniker for musician Kelsie Hogue) went all out with her stage presence; face paint, a full getup featuring a tutu-esque cape, and back up dancers. While that performance was completely captivating and demanded the audience’s attention for obvious reasons, I also had the chance to catch a solo, acoustic set from Sir Babygirl on Sunday afternoon, and Hogue’s stripped-back performance commanded the room just the same as the first time I saw her perform. As a songwriter and performer, Sir Babygirl exudes her message so clearly and so powerfully that you can’t help but listen and appreciate.

Keep up with Sir Babygirl updates here.

For Fans Of: Hand Habits, Caroline Rose, illuminati hotties


Native Sun

SXSW-goers packed in Cheer Up Charlie’s indoor room for a rambunctious show from New York’s Native Sun on Saturday night, 3/16. While the four-piece was another one of buzziest bands this year, my first time seeing them only exceeded my expectations. Between the crowd surfing that occurred in the low-ceiling venue and lead singer Danny Gomez jumping off stage while the rest of the band let loose onstage, I think it’s safe to say everyone in the room had their adrenaline pumping at the end of the set.

Keep up with Native Sun here and stay tuned for our interview with them.

For Fans Of: Acid Dad, Naked Giants, Twin Peaks



I got the chance to finally see one of Gnarcissists’ many SXSW sets on Saturday, 3/16, at Spider House, and besides being one of the best new bands I saw, their set was one of my all-time favorites at SXSW. Although this set was near the end of the long week, the band members cranked up the volume and still poured all of their energy into this performance. Refusing to remain confined to the stage set up outdoors at Spider House, the band jumped offstage to play amongst the crowd that had gathered to watch the care-free gig.

Keep up with Gnarcissists’ upcoming shows and announcements here.

For Fans Of: Cage The Elephant, Frankie and the Witch Fingers, Stuyedeyed


LIVE: James Bay Returns to Chicago's Metro With a Revamped Show

Following an insane show from Wolf Alice on Friday night, The Metro outdid itself with another sold out, stunning show from James Bay on Saturday night.

Way back in 2015, singer-songwriter James Bay played a sold out show at The Metro in Chicago during the height of success of his debut album, Chaos and the Calm. Now, after nearly three years, Bay returned to the same stage with new material and a new approach towards his older material. Although he'd taken a hiatus after he finished the touring cycle for Chaos and the Calm to finish his new album, when Bay and his band hit the stage on Saturday night, the jam packed venue full of loyal fans proved that their devotion to the singer had never wavered. Not only did the show sell out in a matter of minutes when it was announced earlier this year, but some fans lined up outside the venue as early as 9:30AM Saturday morning to get a coveted front row spot. 

The fans' patience all paid off when the set began around 9PM with unreleased song "Wasted On Each Other," which sits second on the track list of Bay's sophomore album Electric Light, out May 18th. Next up, the band brought the new album's second single "Pink Lemonade" to life; backup singers adding another layer to the full band's already rich sound. Following that quick taste of refreshing new material, the set dipped back into older material, the entire audience echoing the chorus of songs "Craving," and "When We Were on Fire" back to the stage.

As the night went on, the room lit up with a sense of recognition whenever Bay dropped in old favorites in between the few new tracks, but the show possessed a vibrant sense of revitalization. Songs like "Let It Go" and "Best Fake Smile" received new life when the band performed both with fleshed out and extended introductions, rearranging the familiar tunes into new molds. When the night began to come to a close, Bay introduced a refreshed version of his hit "Hold Back The River," beginning the track by repeatedly riffing the lyrics "lonely water" over a moody, chilled out introduction. The crowd cheered wildly when Bay and his band transitioned into the full song, their cheers blending into the song's first verse. 

The entire band left the stage for a short break following "Hold Back The River", and Bay returned for a stripped back encore performance of his ballad "Need The Sun To Break," giving the magical evening the perfect send off.

If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind performance and to hear James Bay's music revamped like you've never heard it before, do not miss the chance to see him in concert this year! Find more details on his upcoming tour dates below, and check out our photo gallery of his show at The Metro to get you pumped for the next concert.

Please credit @RachelZyzda on Instagram or Twitter if reposting photos

Find the rest of James Bay's upcoming tour dates here, and pre-order Electric Light here! Lastly, make sure you watch the music video for "Wild Love" to get even more hyped for the new album. 

Chicago, James will be back for Lollapalooza and for another headling show in October. Don't miss your chance to see his show!

PHOTOS: Blaenavon at Schubas on 6.4.17

The Set List:

1. Take Care

2. Let's Pray

3. My Bark Is Your Bite

4. Into The Night

5. Orthodox Man

6. I Will Be The World

7. Prague '99

Listen to Blaenavon's debut album That's Your Lot below, and check out their upcoming tour dates here. Chicago, they'll be back for Lollapalooza!

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Two Feet Delivers a Dynamic Debut Performance in Chicago

Wicker Park’s Subterranean is packed with a sold out, Saturday night crowd as Bill Dess (Aka Two Feet) takes the stage with his bandmate Huff.  After kicking off his short and sweet support set around 9PM with a new song called “Love is a Bitch,” Dess introduces himself to the crowd and reveals he’s out on his first tour ever. Although he hasn’t been playing shows for very long and he only released his debut EP in July 2016, Dess delivered a very polished set, showcasing his skills as both a songwriter and producer. The second song, “Quick Musical Doodles” perfectly combines Dess’s bluesy guitar riffs with full-bodied bass.

Dess also proves to be a natural with stage banter, mentioning that his brother works in Chicago and that his dad is in the audience before playing the next song. The following two songs, “Too Long” and “Twisted” are both unreleased tracks, and will be featured on Two Feet’s upcoming EP. Dess and Huff display incredible musicianship as they flawlessly performed these new tracks live, only further proving their adaptability when they played a cover of “Ain't No Sunshine” with a refreshing take on it. Before playing the Bill Withers cover, Dess mentioned that they just arranged the cover a couple of days prior in a hotel room on tour.

The set closed out with the viral track “Go Fuck Yourself,” which has gotten a nod from Martin Garrix and racked up nearly 20 million plays on Spotify. This year has already been a whirlwind for Two Feet, playing SXSW and being added to the Bonnaroo lineup, but we’re sure to be seeing much more from Two Feet after this tour and his upcoming EP. Stay tuned for an interview with Bill for even more on the EP and what we can expect from Two Feet in 2017, but for now listen to the debut EP First Steps:

Keep up with all upcoming Two Feet tour dates here.