ANCHR Magazine

Holding you down with the best new music

Filtering by Tag: Photo Set

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

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

PHOTOS: Your Smith and X Ambassadors at House of Blues 07.02.19

This past Tuesday night Your Smith and X Ambassadors put on a high energy show for a packed House of Blues. Check out photos from the show below, and keep up with Your Smith on Facebook // Twitter // Instagram.

PHOTOS: RVG and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever at Thalia Hall 6/04/19

It was a Melbourne takeover at Thalia Hall this past Tuesday night, with a lively show from both RVG and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. If you missed out, check out photos from the evening below!

PHOTOS: Glades and Frenship at Thalia Hall 05.29.19

Last Wednesday night, Frenship returned to Chicago for their biggest show yet, in honor of their debut album Vacation. The duo shared the Thalia Hall stage with Glades. Check out photos from both sets below, and see where you can catch Frenship on tour next here.

PHOTOS: Local Natives Spiral Choir Tour with Middle Kids at Thalia Hall

Last week Local Natives and Middle Kids took over Thalia Hall for two sold out shows on Thursday and Friday night. Check out photos from the Chicago stop of the Spiral Choir tour below.

See where you can catch Local Natives on tour next and listen to their fourth album Violet Street in full below!

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