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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

Pitchfork 2019: Local Spotlight

Pitchfork Music Festival kicks off this Friday, July 19th and as always, there’s no shortage of Chicago musicians and bands slated to perform this year. Before you head out to Union Park to experience another packed weekend of live music, brush up on our favorite Chicago artists performing this year.


Ric Wilson

Photo By Michael Salisbury

Photo By Michael Salisbury

Ric Wilson’s bouncy, disco-inspired raps have an infectious energy about them, which carries over to his charismatic stage presence. Blending funk, R&B, and smooth hip-hop, Wilson’s work on his EPs BANBA and Negrow Disco, as well as his latest single “Yelllowbrick,” offers a little something for everyone. While he’s able to connect with listeners through his lyricism, Wilson connects best with his audience during his interactive live performances— there’s no doubt he’ll have the full crowd dancing along to his Pitchfork set. Plus, with an extensive catalog of collaborations with fellow Chicago musicians, chances are we’ll have a special guest or two pop up during Wilson’s set.

For Fans Of: Kweku Collins, Joey Purp, Saba

Start With: “No Hands,” “Hang Loose,” and “Yellowbrick”

Where To Catch Him: Saturday, Red Stage at 1:45-2:25pm


Lala Lala

Photo By Alexa Viscius

Photo By Alexa Viscius


Fronted by London-born, Chicago-based singer songwriter Lillie West, Lala Lala has performed at just about every venue in the city and toured nationally, sharing the stage with bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Frankie Cosmos and Wolf Parade. Lala Lala’s music has connected with a wide-array of audiences thanks to West’s knack for honest and introspective storytelling through her lyrics and her fearless exploration of different sonic landscapes on the 2018 album The Lamb. Make sure you get to the festival early on Saturday to catch a set from West and her band, which will likely be packed with veteran musicians of Chicago’s scene.

For Fans Of: Madeline Kenney, Jay Som, Soccer Mommy

Start With: “Water Over Sex,” “Scary Movie,” and “I Get Cut”

Where to Catch Them: Saturday, Green Stage at 1:00-1:40pm


Tasha

Photo By Alexa Viscius

Photo By Alexa Viscius

Chicago singer-songwriter Tasha has been on a roll since releasing a stunning debut Alone at Last in 2018 via Father/Daughter Records. The record garnered praise from listeners and critics with Tasha’s blend of soothing vocals, gentle melodies and poetic lyrics. This year, Tasha has embarked on her first national tour, playing with artists like Helado Negro and Hand Habits, as well as performing at SXSW. Tasha’s self-described “bed songs” that combine indie pop with a soulful touch will ease Pitchfork goers into the third day of the fest, allowing for a tranquil moment to start the final day.

For Fans Of: Gia Margaret, Jamila Woods, Sir Babygirl

Start With: “Lullaby,” “New Place,” and “Winter Song IV”

Where to catch her: Sunday, Blue Stage at 2:45-3:30pm


Grapetooth

Photo by Alex Hupp

Photo by Alex Hupp

A collaboration between Twin Peaks’ Clay Frankel and producer/songwriter Chris Bailoni, Grapetooth’s synth-heavy, new-wave sound translates into a spirited and raucous live performance, which make the perfect Friday afternoon act to get everyone ready for the long weekend ahead. Since Frankel and Bailoni teamed up and released their first single in 2017, they’ve followed that up with a debut full length release via Polyvinyl Records and played sold out shows across the city. From Lincoln Hall to Thalia Hall, each of Grapetooth’s shows have no shortage of dancing and shenanigans— most of their shows have ended up with the audience joining the band onstage for their closing song, “Trouble.”

For Fans Of: New Order, Knox Fortune, Broncho

Start With: “Trouble,” “Blood,” and “Red Wine”

Where to Catch Them: Friday, Blue Stage at 4:00-4:45pm


Whitney

Photo By Olivia Bee

Photo By Olivia Bee

Whitney is returning to play their second Pitchfork, having first played in 2016 following the release of their debut album. Besides already playing Pitchfork, Whitney has also played Lollapalooza and sold out, back-to-back shows at venues like Thalia Hall, so chances are you’ve seen them play at one point or another. However, this show at Pitchfork marks their first Chicago performance of the new era; Whitney’s second album Forever Turned Around is slated for release on August 30th. Their set at the festival will undoubtedly feature the live premiere of some of the new music, so don’t miss out on the Chicago kick off for Whitney’s highly-anticipated new music.

For Fans Of: Kevin Morby, Durand Jones & The Indications, Courtney Barnett

Start With: “Giving Up,” “Golden Days,” and “No Woman”

Where to Catch Them: Sunday, Green Stage at 6:15-7:15pm


Full Pitchfork Festival Schedule 2019

Courtesy of Pitchfork Festival

Courtesy of Pitchfork Festival

Get your tickets to Pitchfork Music Festival here before it’s too late, and catch up on Pitchfork years past below!






Pitchfork 2019: Aftershow Picks

Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Union Park from July 19th-21st 2019. After the final act of the night finishes and you file out of the park, you can keep the P4K party going by attending some of this year’s aftershows. If you need help deciding where to end your nights during Pitchfork weekend, check out our picks of post-festival gigs below!

Friday Night, July 19th

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Grapetooth and Lala Lala at Metro Chicago

Metro will host a doubleheader by Chicago’s own Grapetooth and Lala Lala after P4K Fest Day 1. With Title TK DJing between sets, this show will undoubtedly be a dance party you don’t want to miss!

Where: Metro

Time: 9PM Doors // 10PM Show

Price: $20ADV // $25 Day Of

Ticket details here.

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Ric Wilson at Schubas

Schubas Tavern will host disco-rap extrodinaire Ric Wilson on Friday night, alongside Pixel Grip, Mia Gladstone, and Kiéla Adira. Wilson’s infectiously upbeat music and attitude will be sure to end your first night of the fest on a high note.

Where: Schubas Tavern

Time: 10PM Doors // 11PM Show

Price: $15

Ticket details here.




Saturday Night, July 20th

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Snail Mail at Thalia Hall

Snail Mail will return to Chicago to headline the Pilsen theater following the festival’s second day, with support from fellow Pitchfork artist Tirzah. Both singer songwriters will provide a captivating oasis for festival goers after two long days of music.

Where: Thalia Hall

Time: 9:30PM Doors // 10:30PM Show

Price: $20-$40

Ticket details here.

Black Midi at The Hideout

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London’s buzzed about Black Midi will headline The Hideout, alongside ONO, on Saturday night of P4K. The show is sold out already, so hopefully you managed to snag a ticket already!

Where: The Hideout

Time: 9PM Doors // 10PM Show

Price: $12

Ticket details here.







Sunday Night, July 21st

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Khruangbin DJ Set

Sleeping Village will host the final after party of the weekend with a DJ set from Khruangbin. During their last tour stop in the city, the trio had hosted their first hit DJ set at the Avondale venue, and this time is guaranteed to be just as great.

Where: Sleeping Village

Time: 10:30PM Doors

Price: $20

Ticket details here.


Don’t forget to grab your tickets to the festival here while you still can.

LIVE RECAP: Faye Webster at Schubas 06.19.19

Just a few short months ago, Faye Webster had warmed up the crowd at a sold out Stella Donnelly show at Schubas, captivating the packed room with just her dreamy vocals, her guitar, and the accompaniment of her pedal steel-player, Pistol.

When last Wednesday night rolled around, it almost felt like no time had passed since that night, but Webster’s return for her sold out headlining show included a full live backing band, as well as a fleshed out set list featuring songs from her latest album Atlanta Millionaires Club, released May 24th via Secretly Canadian. Webster’s band helped create a more full sound and bring songs like “Right Side of My Neck” and “Flowers” from the album to life. While the set primarily focused on the new material, it also mixed in songs from Webster’s 2017 self-titled album and a cover of Atlanta rapper Father’s “Cheap Thrills” that Webster played solo, sans her bandmates. Following a couple of solo songs, Webster welcomed not only her bandmates back onstage, but the yo-yo connoisseur Xion to the stage. Xion and Webster’s own yo-yo skills stole the show and got the audience amped up for the final few songs of the evening.

If you missed out on tickets to the show, see where you can catch Faye Webster next here, and check out photos from the show below.

Keep up with Faye Webster on Instagram and Facebook

PHOTOS: Kevin Morby With Sam Cohen at Thalia Hall

This weekend, Kevin Morby and Sam Cohen took over Thalia Hall on Friday and Saturday night. Kevin Morby brought along a full band (including a flutist and backing vocalists) to deliver a dynamic performance of his new album Oh My God, as well as some older favorites like “Parade” and “Harlem River.” Check out photos from the first of two shows below.

Keep up with Kevin Morby on Facebook and Instagram and listen to Oh My God 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

Live Recap: Molly Burch Makes Chicago Headline Debut at Schubas 05.16.19

After a handful of support slots for artists like Tim Darcy and Alex Cameron, Molly Burch finally made her headlining debut in Chicago this past Thursday night. The Austin-based singer songwriter instantly captivated the crowd at Schubas with her soulful and alluring sound that’s both reminiscent of the classics like Billie Holiday and Patsy Cline, yet refreshing and unique. Her dreamy vocals combines the perfect mix of croon with just a hint of twang.

Much like Burch’s dexterous singing capabilities, with a range that scales both powerful and delicate notes, her stage presence has an effortless grace about it. Burch remained cool and composed even when belting out the chorus of her debut album’s title track, “Please Be Mine.” That song has always been a favorite of mine from the album, but seeing it performed live by Burch and her bandmates (who lent some harmonious backing vocals to the tune) really brought the ballad to life. Thursday’s night set was also a special treat for me because I got to hear several songs off of Molly Burch’s sophomore album, First Flower, live for the first time, since this was the first time Burch had toured in Chicago since its October release date. The follow up to Please Be Mine stays true to Burch’s signature style but also shows a growth and exploration of new subjects and sounds, and the new songs translated very well in the live sense. It was nearly impossible not to sway along to every song throughout the night.

If you get a chance to catch a show from Molly Burch, don’t pass it up— see her upcoming tour dates here, and check out photos from her Chicago show below.

Listen to Molly Burch’s First Flower in full below.

Live Recap: Kevin Garrett Makes His Return to Lincoln Hall

The first time I saw Kevin Garrett perform was way back in 2015, when he opened up an X Ambassadors show at Lincoln Hall and he only had one EP (Mellow Drama) to his name. This past Sunday night, I got to see Kevin Garrett return to the very same stage—only this time he was headlining, and he had a lot of new material under his belt.

Between the first time and this most recent show, Garrett has been back to Chicago performing on several different stages, and he independently released 2017’s False Hope Ep and his 2019 full length debut Hoax. His debut album had been a long time coming, and it followed a significant touring hiatus. “Some people thought I died last year,” the singer had joked during his set when he mentioned his time away. While it may have been a significant break, fans old and new filled up the room, eager to soak in long-time favorites and brand new songs. Garrett and his live band beautifully delivered everything they had as they performed songs from the album for the first time and put a refreshing spin on some of the older material. They even performed “Pray You Catch Me,” which Garrett had written with Beyonce for 2016’s Lemonade. The dynamic setlist truly went full circle— beginning with the first track from Hoax, “Warn,” and ending with Garrett’s most popular track, “Coloring,” which is the first track off his debut EP. Throughout the 90 minute set, Garrett’s signature falsetto vocals never wavered, pulling the crowd in with the vulnerable and raw quality of his songwriting. Fans joined in on the cathartic singalong of course, which didn’t go unnoticed by Garrett. “I’m in Chicago and you guys are singing songs I wrote in my bedroom,” he said as he thanked the audience for their continued support throughout the years.

There’s an undeniable sense of authenticity to Kevin Garrett’s music and his live performances, and it’s clear that as long as that quality remains, Chicago will be showing up to support him for a long time. See where you can catch Kevin Garrett on tour next here, and see photos of his latest Chicago performance below!