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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

PHOTOS: Johnny Marr at The Vic Theatre 05.13.19

On Monday night Johnny Marr put on a spectacular show at Chicago’s The Vic Theatre, performing an extensive setlist that featured songs from Marr’s solo work as well as his Electronic and The Smiths catalog. Check out photos from his electrifying performance below, and see where you can catch him on tour next here.

Keep up with Johnny Marr on Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Live Recap: Overcoats Open Up The Vic Theatre for Mitski 10.25.18

The Brooklyn best friend duo of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell, AKA Overcoats, has been to Chicago several times over the past couple of years, each time sharing their cleverly crafted mix of electronic and folk music from their 2017 debut album Young. They’ve performed everywhere from Schubas, Lincoln Hall, The Metro, festivals, and so on. As it turns out, their show at The Vic on Thursday, October 25th created a full circle moment for Overcoats, brining Elion and Mitchell back to the same stage they’d first performed on in this city in 2016, opening for Matt Corby. Towards the end of their set last week, the pair recalled their first time at The Vic, Elion joking “We used to travel by Megabus. Now we’re adults and we rent mini vans.”

While their mode of transportation may have matured, Overcoats also continues to grow tremendously in their stage presence and their sound. When I saw Overcoats perform as headliners at Schubas Tavern in May 2017, shortly after the release of their album, Elion and Mitchell brought a full show of coordinated outfits and choreography to the small and humble stage at the Lakeview tavern. The pair has always had that sense of synchronization in their show, but they’ve managed to adapt those aspects of their show to scale as they move up to bigger stages, all while managing to keep a strong focus on their message. One of Overcoats’ primary messages is lifting each other up as women, and on Thursday night, Mitchell made that known by saying “The future is believing women” at the beginning of their set. The crowd eagerly absorbed what Overcoats had to tell them both between songs and during their songs, cheering their empowering speaking points and cheering their choreography. Some of the audience at The Vic joined along in singing some of Overcoats’ songs like “Nighttime Hunger” and “Hold Me Close,” and they also responded enthusiastically to the couple of new songs performed by Overcoats last week. One of the new songs, called “The Fool,” sounded a little edgier with a shouty chorus that channeled Le Tigre vibes. This new twist to their already complex dynamic that blends different genres together showcases Elion and Mitchell’s fearlessness as artists.

Perhaps the biggest nod to Overcoats’ talent and showmanship, though, was their ability to keep the show going on Thursday despite technical difficulties. Early on in the night, loud feedback could be heard in the house and in the band’s monitors, and it took the venue staff more than fifteen minutes to make it stop. Rather than put the set on hold, Elion and Mitchell played through the noise, determined to keep the show rolling. “We’ll just have to play louder,” they joked. Finally, at the end of the set, the feedback noise stopped, and the duo were able to wrap up their set with “Leave The Light On,” which once again highlighted their dance moves.

After coming full circle since their fist time in Chicago, it’s only a matter of time before Overcoats are not only playing, but headlining bigger stages across the country. Keep an eye out for new music and a second album from the pair, and check out photos of their’s and Mitski’s set on October 25th below.

Catch Overcoats in a city near you—upcoming tour dates here.

Live Recap: Years & Years Brings Palo Santo Tour to The Vic Theatre, 10.15.18

British electro-pop trio Years & Years and pop singer songwriter CYN kicked off the week with a sold out show at Lakeview’s The Vic Theatre.

Following a quick opening set from Australian singer-songwriter Jess Kent, CYN took the stage to shake things up and get everyone in the packed theatre ready for Years & Years’ long-awaited return to Chicago. In a way, CYN’s show on Monday evening acted as a homecoming; after growing up in the neighboring state of Michigan, CYN had attended and graduated from DePaul University. CYN’s short but sweet set began with a bang as she burst onto the stage with a rush of energy to perform her single “Believer,” a dance tune that features a bass line groovy enough to get everyone’s hips shaking. While playing some familiar singles which have racked up millions of plays on Spotify, CYN also introduced the crowd to some brand new, unreleased material, like “Bubble Bath,” which teased what her upcoming debut EP might sound like. About half way through CYN’s set, the energy slowed a bit for the performance of her newest single “I’ll Still Have Me” which juxtaposes the usual funky tones to CYN’s songs with its gentle, lulling guitar melodies and CYN’s hypnotizing vocals. CYN dedicated the song to one of her best friend’s moms before starting it, mentioning that so many of her best friends were in the audience that night. While speaking about Chicago, CYN took a moment to tell the crowd how much this show was a full-circle moment to her because just a few years ago, she had seen some of her favorite artists (Sam Smith and Kiesza) perform on the very same stage. CYN closed out her set with a few higher energy songs, closing with what she mentioned will be her new single; “Holy Roller.”

Next, after a 30 minute changeover, it was finally time for Years & Years to perform in Chicago for the first time in years (and years). The eager audience full of dedicated fans of Olly Alexander and his bandmates Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen last had the chance to see the band perform in town at 2016’s Lollapalooza. Before that, Years & Years had performed another sold out headline show in 2015 at Park West, which highlighted songs from the group’s debut album. Now, the trio was back and bigger than ever to celebrate their sophomore album Palo Santo, which was released July 6th this year. For the Palo Santo Tour, Alexander, Goldsworthy, and Türkmen set themselves up for the best possible live show, bringing a backdrop that featured theatrical lights, steps and a platform for Alexander to dance along to their music. They also brought along a drummer to help recreate their production-heavy songs in an authentic, live setting and two backing vocalists to add a richness and depth to Alexander’s silky smooth vocals. The full band helped bring newer songs like “Sanctify” and “Karma” to life, but they also put a fresh spin on the older songs that had led many fans to first discover Years & Years, like “Shine” and “Desire.” With the fullness that the band provided to the live show and Alexander’s flawless vocal performance that never faltered, even through energetic dance moves, the momentum of the night never hit a lull. Even during the band’s one slower song, “Eyes Shut,” which featured Alexander stationed at a keyboard in the center of the stage, the energy remained high as the crowd loudly sang the all the words back. When it came time for the band to exit the stage at the end of the night, the crowd demanded an encore with an overwhelming thunder of applause and cheers for Years & Years’ comeback show. The night wrapped up with an encore of “All for You” and “King;” and the latter had everyone in the room on their feet, dancing it out one last time.

If you missed out on the dance party, check out photos of CYN and Years & Years below!

Catch the Palo Santo tour in a city near you—dates here, and listen to the album in full below.

Live Recap: The Kooks and The Academic at The Vic Theatre 5.30.18

This past Wednesday, The Kooks returned to Chicago for a sold out show at The Vic Theatre, returning for the first time since 2015 when they played the same stage. The show had originally been slated for October 2017, but the band pushed the gig back to May in order to work on completing their fifth studio album Let’s Go Sunshine, which will be this August. 

Following a short but sweet set from The Academic that warmed up the crowd, The Kooks made their highly anticipated return to the Vic's stage, opening their set with "Eddie's Gun" from their 2006 debut album Inside In/Inside Out. The band made the wait for their comeback worth it by not only playing fan favorites like "Ooh La" and "Bad Habit" from their expansive discography, but by sprinkling in brand new songs throughout the set in order to showcase what they had been hidden away working on the past few years. Frontman Luke Pritchard expressed the band's gratitude for their fans, calling out all the different The Kooks t-shirts from the past years in the audience. When he wasn't expressing gratitude to the crowd, Pritchard often chatted between songs, providing backstories about the lyrics. During the songs, Pritchard pranced around the stage, making sure that he connected with the entire room by working his way across the whole stage. 

While the set remained high energy, the mood remained dynamic with the band occasionally switching up the pace by having Pritchard perform a song at the keyboard, or by having guitarist Hugh Harris perform a song on his own. After the first part of the set, Pritchard returned on his own to sing "Seaside" as the opener of a 3-song encore, asking the crowd if they were up for a sing along before beginning. Judging by the echoes of the lyrics coming from all parts of the venue, the crowd was definitely into singing along, as they had been most of the evening. The set wrapped up on a high note with "Always Where I Need to Be" and "Naïve," the group leaving the stage to thundering applause. 

Check out our photo gallery of the evening below, and see which cities The Kooks will be hitting next on this tour here. 

Preorder Let's Go Sunshine here and keep up with The Kooks on Facebook + Twitter + Instagram 

Live Recap: Unknown Mortal Orchestra at The Vic 5.3.18

This past Thursday night, Unknown Mortal Orchestra returned to Chicago for the first time since 2016, touring in support of their latest record Sex & Food, out April 6th via Jagjaguwar Records. 

The 90 minute set started off heavy with songs from Unknown Mortal Orchestra's early catalog, easing the crowd into their new material. The night kicked off with"Ffunny Ffrends," a track from the band's debut, self-titled record, which was followed by "Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)" from their second album. As the setlist weaved through the band's diverse discography, frontman Ruban Nielson and the rest of the band maintained an incredibly tight sound throughout the entire show. While the performance remained incredibly sharp, the band also had a relaxed and infectious energy about them, often extending out their tracks with instrumental breaks that added depth to the live experience of their records.

Early on in the evening, during "From The Sun," Nielson actually jumped into the crowd with his guitar and played his way through the entire room, even making it up to the balcony. From that moment on, the crowd's eyes clung to the stage, the audience eager to soak up the showmanship and musicianship that Unknown Mortal Orchestra has expertly honed in on over their years together. While the band exuded an incredible stage presence, an intricate lighting show backed them, adding another facet to their live production. Between the production quality, the setlist selection, and the chemistry of the band members, Unknown Mortal Orchestra put on the perfect show.

If you get the chance, do not miss Unknown Mortal Orchestra on this tour--see the remaining dates here

Photos of Unknown Mortal Orchestra at The Vic, May 3rd, 2018

Lastly, listen to Sex & Food in full below, and keep up with UMO on Instagram and Facebook.

Albin Lee Meldau and Jessie Ware at The Vic 4.30.18

Swedish singer Albin Lee Meldau hit the stage at The Vic Theatre on Monday night for his first ever performance in Chicago. Meldau's soulful vocals perfectly complemented headliner Jessie Ware's blend of R&B, pop, and alternative music, quickly winning over the Chicago audience. Meldau's short but sweet set highlighted his diverse catalog and his raw, powerful voice that instantly grabs your attention. 

Check out photos from the show below, and see where you can catch Albin Lee Meldau in a city near you here

You can also pre-order Albin Lee Meldau's debut album About You here (out June 1st), and keep up with him on social media below!

Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

LIVE: Night Beats and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club 2/10/18

Night Beats got the energy flowing at The Vic Theatre on Saturday, warming up the eager crowd full of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club fans. The band's frontman Danny "Lee Blackwell" Rajan Billingsley smoothed and swayed the crowd with his deliverance of songs like “Playing Dead," while  drummer James Traeger sizzled his hi-hat and bassist Jakob Bowden kicked the air as he provided the groove of each track. The lighting complimented the trio's psychedelic garage rock sound with fading solid colors that cut through an immense fog.

Night Beats has been nonstop since their formation in 2009, up until now with their massive tour supporting Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The trio surfed through hits from their 3 albums and multiple EP’s without any disappointments on Saturday night. The big bang came near the closing of their set with “Puppet On a String," which boasts echoing vocals, bass drum stomping, smooth bass licks, and twangy riffs.  

After the incredible introductory set by Night Beats, strobe lights illuminated the back of the stage all while the fog continued to build upon itself. BRMC's vocalist Peter Hayes strummed his first riff of the night introducing “Spook" from their 2018 album Wrong Creatures. Leah Shapiro, drummer, beat the next the song of their set “Little Things Gone Wild” into fruition, while Robert Been dished out some spine tingling chills with his harmonica playing, completely owning “Beat The Devil’s Tattoo” with deep bass chords that would scare off any demon.

Most of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s set featured new tracks from their eighth album Wrong Creatures. Some highlights included “Echo," which pulled at the heartstrings of the soul, and “King of Bones” giving the crowd fuel to strengthen their hearts, as well as the crowd loudly singing along to "Spread Your Love." The band played “Whatever Happened To My Rock and Roll” at the end of their set, leaving us to wonder, what will get from rock and roll next?Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’ and  Night Beats are promising signs that rock and roll is still here to stay.

Relive the rock and roll energy of the evening with our photo galleries from the show below!

 

Night Beats

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

You can still catch Night Beats and BRMC out on the road through the end of the month. Check out the tour poster below, and keep updated on both bands by following them on Social Media!

Night Beats: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

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PHOTOS: Slowdive with Cherry Glazerr 11.05.17

Cherry Glazerr and Slowdive played a sold out show at The Vic Theatre on Sunday night. See photos from the show below, and keep up with the rest of Slowdive's tour dates here

You can also listen to Slowdive's latest self-tilted record in full below!

LIVE: Conor Oberst Puts on Stunning Performance at The Vic

Following Phoebe Bridgers opening set, consisting of some of her own stuff and even a Bright Eyes song, Conor Oberst took the stage at the Vic Theatre. Oberst’s career-spanning set was backed by The Felice Brothers. Opening with “Barbary Coast (Later)” off his 2016 album Ruminations, Oberst then played the first Bright Eyes songs of the night, “Four Winds”. He then jumped back into playing some of his solo stuff such as “Get-Well-Cards” and “Afterthought” which is off his most recent album Salutations. The set even included some of Oberst's other side projects, “Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Bands." 

Next, Oberst played quite a few Bright Eyes songs, like  “Something Vague”, “Southern State”, and “Well Whiskey”. Following that, The Felice Brothers exited the stage, leaving behind the accordion player. Phoebe Bridgers walked out to perform “Lua” with Oberst before the Felice Brothers reappeared to perform a cover of their own song, “Jack at the Asylum”. In between songs Oberst went on a rant about the current political situation happening in America and then returned back to playing “Artifact #1” and “Salutations”. As the lights dropped the first notes of “First Day of My Life” took over the audience. Oberst finished the first part of his set with “A little Uncanny," returning later for an encore that began with him alone at the piano playing an unreleased song he called “No One Is Going to Change”.

He closed out his set with Bright Eyes' “Make War” and his solo song “Napalm”. With powerful lyrics and great instrumentals, Conor Oberst puts on an amazing show with changes to the setlist each night, making each show unique in its own way. Conor is currently on tour with The Felice Brothers and will be all around the United States. For tickets and more information click here.

Listen to Connor Oberst's latest album Salutations in full below!