Words + Photos by Ava Butera
On February 7th, I finally had the opportunity to witness not only one of my favorite bands live, but a vital piece of New York City music history. As I was growing up and beginning to discover my own likes music-wise -- not just the same old same old classic rock my parents played during my childhood, and later my young adulthood -- I went through many different genre phases. This included punk, new wave, modern alternative rock bands, until I ultimately stumbled upon the early 2000’s indie rock bands. Though many of the bands from said scene derive different influence from one another and sound drastically unique, I considered this a genre. Having been born and raised in South Florida, I often dreamed of getting a chance to even slightly relive that gracious time period of rock and roll in one of my favorite cities ever. For the time being, I continuously read Meet Me in the Bathroom, a book detailing the oral history of that NYC indie rock scene. One band that continued to stand out to me due to their versatility and artistry was Interpol.
Unlike any of these other bands from this scene, Interpol has continued to stay relevant, while also somewhat flying under the radar. They’re still generous to their fans -- this can be shown in their diverse setlist, which caters to fans at all walks of life. They genuinely enjoy making music. It’s obvious they absolutely love performing. And most importantly, they have remained an important pioneer in the indie rock scene.
Entering the Chicago Theater on February 7th, I was awestruck by the beauty of the venue and also by the fact that I would finally be seeing Interpol. The juxtaposition between a rock band like Interpol and the beautiful historic landscape was breathtaking. However, before the band took the stage, opener Sunflower Bean did the deed of winning over the crowd as the opener. Though both groups derive influence from different areas, they have one thing in common -- they love to rock, but again, in different ways. Sunflower Bean are probably the only band in the alternative rock music scene at the moment who is truly doing the rock and roll genre justice. They incorporate long guitar solos into their set, lead singer Julia Cumming struts around the stage like a superstar, guitarist Nick Kivlen wears sunglasses and 70’s-esque garb and oozes an effortlessly cool attitude, and they include catchy drum hooks, thanks to drummer Jacob Faber.
As Interpol graced the stage at 9PM sharp, the lights went dim and stayed dim. Only the soft light of a sole disco ball became the light source for the duration of the first two songs. Though difficult to photograph, it was wondrous to view in person. Between the stunning performance from Interpol and the detailed light show, the crowd was absolutely astonished. Interpol fans are loyal— though the crowd tended to be a lot older than me, the fans came out early and stayed late, a truly dedicated sold-out crowd.
Opening with “Pioneer to the Falls,” a moody yet crescendoing track from my favorite album from the band, Our Love To Admire, Interpol gradually eased into their anthemic setlist. Next, the band quickly transitioned into “C’mere” from the fan-favorite, Antics, before then introducing some newer tracks from Marauder, like “If You Really Love Nothing,” “Complications,” and the exceptional single, “The Rover."
Toward the end of the band’s set, they played iconic tracks from El Pintor as well as Antics, like “All the Rage Back Home,” “Not Even Jail,” and “Slow Hands.” Before ultimately smashing their encore by playing “Lights” and “Obstacle 1,” fan-favorites from the band’s debut, Turn On the Bright Lights.
The show tonight reminded be of how great the New York City rock scene truly is. Interpol, a dark, brooding, yet well-versed band alongside newcomers, Sunflower Bean fresh out of the Brooklyn DIY scene. Although both are different, they both are part of Renaissances within rock music. It’s truly unfathomable how important these rock Renaissances are and thanks to pivotal bands like Interpol and bands that are keeping the flame alive like Sunflower Bean, we will continue to witness this rebirth of music and culture happen right before our eyes.
1. Pioneer to the Falls
3. If You Really Love Nothing
4. Public Pervert
7. Say Hell to the Angels
9. Take You on a Cruise
10. The Rover
11. Number 10
12. Rest My Chemistry
14. Flight of Fancy
15. The New
16. All the Rage Back Home
17. Slow Hands
19. Not Even Jail
20. Obstacle 1
Brendon Urie and his band Panic! at the Disco. Always changing. Always evolving. All for the better, especially when it comes to live performance.
Since the departures of guitarist Ryan Ross, Bassist Jon Walker and drummer Spencer Smith- it’s down to Lead vocalist / Songwriter Brendon Urie to carry all things Panic! by his lonesome.
And that he does in spades, what with a second stop in Rosemont (Chicago) since back in the fall of 2018, on his “Pray for the Wicked” tour.
It’s basically the same show since the first time around, but with some tweaks and extra polish- more to add in regards to the Las Vegas glitz and showmanship throughout.
The screaming kids don’t mind, with parents in tow, what with his wholesome sense of humor and obvious good looks: a boy next door who makes it big and doesn’t forget his roots or where he comes from.
That said, you can tell Brendon Urie puts a lot of time and energy into this touring production: sophisticated lighting, terrific staging, a band that blasts away at a moment’s notice, down to a horn section that can tear the roof off of the Allstate Arena when full on, as is the case with the song “Crazy=Genius”: a fire infested number that has everyone in the venue on their feet and dancing madly in place.
All things considered with Brendon and Panic! at the Disco: anything is possible in the presentation of his music, and it definitely packs a wallop.
Even when Brendon brought his band to JBTV Music Television back in 2015- he scoped out our listening / taping room during soundcheck to get a feel from every possible angle if you were an audience member, to make you feel welcome, and part of the family, and part of the party.
I guess that since then, nothing’s changed in his approach prior to performance, only on a much grander scale: how do you reach and engage the persons sitting in section 215 and 216, the furthest reaches to the Allstate Arena?
It wouldn’t surprise me if Brendon himself ventured up there to give it a look from that perspective. That’s just the kind of guy he is.
So during the show you have to ask the question: how the hell does he hit those high notes each and every night? I swear the place goes crazy each and every time he does, and successfully.
And those damn catchy songs. During the show, there’s not one weak link in the bunch, and there’s plenty of songs to go through, over 28 in all, counting the encore.
Over the years, Brendon has metamorphosed into the definition of a showman’s showman: a ringleader of constant positive energy with an attitude to kick all ass.
Lets’s keep it simple: Go see the show. You won’t be disappointed — from beginning to end.
Also, openers Two Feet and Betty Who brought the synth pop to the masses who showed up early in their abbreviated sets.
Panic! at the Disco’s setlist:
1. (Fuck A) Silver Lining
2. Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time
3. Ready to Go (Get me out of My Mind)
4. Hey look Ma, I Made it
5. LA Devotee
8. The Ballad of Mona Lisa
9. Nine in the Afternoon
10. One of the Drunks
11. Casual Affair
12. Vegas lights
13. Dancing’s Not a Crime
14. This is Gospel
15. Death of a Bachelor
16. I Can’t Make You Love Me — (Bonnie Raitt cover)
17. Dying in LA
18. The Greatest Show
19. Girls/Girls/ Boys
20. King of the Clouds
21. High Hopes
22. Miss Jackson
23. Roaring 20s
24. Bohemian Rhapsody — (Queen cover)
25. Emperor’s New Clothes
26. Say Amen (Saturday Night)
27. I Write Sins Not Tragedies
Filed by Bobby Talamine
Photos by Bobby Talamine
The Soft Moon
Criminal Tour 2019 - with HIDE and Thoom
Also DJs The Pirate Twins
Thalia Hall Chicago
JBTV Alumni Luis Vasquez and his band The Soft Moon start their performance at Thalia Hall in Chicago with an all out assault on all things heavy percussion and beats with the song “Deeper”, a majestic stab of scattershot rhythms and wicked vocal, the perfect song on a cold and dreary winter’s evening in Chicago.
Have witnessed The Soft Moon performing live a multitude of times by now, and without question, Luis Vasquez and his band- Luigi Pianezzola on Bass, Matteo Vallicelli on drums and electronic percussion, just keep getting better and better and better.
Most of Luis Vasquez’s songs revolve around pain and sorrow and anger, but undeniably the songs are mostly cathartic, especially when performed live, with an enthusiastic rumble and might which revs up the crowd, no matter what day of the week it is.
The show itself delved into Luis Vasquez’s most recent release “Criminal” with the painstakingly gorgeous and frenzy of a song “Burn” being front and center the third song in.
I bring this song up for a reason. “Burn” along with “Far”, from the album “Deeper”, are staples of all things that consist of “Industrial Swing”, a term that’s a throwback of Wax Trax! days of old, a blend of dance, with heavy beats and might.
Songs like these two never get old, and make you thirsty for more and more.
A Soft Moon show is a performance diving into wicked disorientation, not knowing what comes next speeding along, with no sympathy if you can’t hold on for the ride.
The strengths of this band are clearly evident, mostly in the musicianship and jovial fun between Luis, Matteo and Luigi, but also in the presentation, down to the lighting, and not having Matteo’s drum kit buried in the back, but stage right and visible.
If ever there was a show to cleanse the soul and make you feel whole, and that you’re back on track, and that for the most part all things are well and good, its a Soft Moon show.
This photographer and reviewer simply can’t get enough, and doesn’t mind singing the praises of Luis Vasquez and his band the Soft Moon.
Opener HIDE, a Chicago industrial / electronic duo consisting of vocalist and all around mesmerizing performer Heather Gabel and Seth Sher providing all the necessary beats and samples, are unrelenting in their performance, down to lighting only provided by floor standing white strobes, blinding when on for that brief second of time, and completely dark on stage when not.
A multi-sensory experience without question from beginning to end, punctuated by the steely and fierce Heather Gabel, who prowls the stage in cathartic fury that has to be seen to be believed.
Heather takes nothing for granted performing live, a menacing presence when visible through the blinding strobes and heavy fog, like a praying mantis just waiting to devour you in one big gulp.
Hide are a momentous live act, perfect for these times we’re in, with everything oh so unpredictable, and everyone walking around angry, ready to snap at any given moment.
We need to hear more from HIDE, sooner rather than later.
Opener Thoom started the show off with intoxicating samples and beats with scorching vocal, followed by Middle Eastern rhythms and exotic otherworldly dance moves.
Chicago’s very own DJ’s The Pirate Twins ( Scary Lady Sarah & William Faith) provided the perfect mixes before and in-between the sets.
Filed by Bobby Talamine
Photos by Bobby Talamine
On November 30th, I had the pleasure to witness recent JBTV alums, The Regrettes take the tiny stage at Wicker Park’s very own -- Subterranean. Despite the small size of the venue as a whole The Regrettes made sure the make it feel like a huge crowd, not letting the intimate setting affect their stage presence and show. Having only been on the Sirius XM AltNation Advanced Placement Tour for two days prior, I had yet to see any praise regarding each artist on the tour. But I knew The Regrettes would put on a stellar show regardless.
After watching openers, Micky James and Welles, hype up the crowd and put on equally great sets, the crowd was anxious for The Regrettes take the stage. Once the clock hit nine, the lights dimmed and each member walked onto the stage with “Dancing Queen” by ABBA blaring. The band was welcomed by the crowd shouting the lyrics, each fan ready for a good ole’ punk show.
The Regrettes opened with one of their newest songs, “California Friends”. Although the song shows the band playing around with new sound elements and doesn’t necessarily fit the band’s old sound of punk & doo-wop, it’s a refreshing track about friendship and love. After listening to it way too many times on Spotify, it was a nice feeling to scream the lyrics and dance around, while also watching The Regrettes dance around and feel out the crowd’s energy.
The band then went on to play fan favorites from their debut album, Feel You Feelings Fool! “Lacy Loo” and “Picture Perfect”, both featuring lead vocalist, Lydia Night having complete control over the audience. During “Picture Perfect” -- one of my favorite Regrettes’ songs -- Night even demanded the audience make an all-female mosh pit -- a staple at Regrettes shows. Although I could not participate in the mosh pit full of badass women, mainly due to me not wanting to damage my camera, I was sure to step onto the stairs and capture some sick shots of the crowd having a good time.
They then transitioned into another one of my favorite songs, “Come Through”, from their EP, Attention Seeker. “Come Through” is super fun and interactive live, I noticed crowd members singing to strangers and dancing with one another during this track. The Regrettes then played “Whatta Bitch”, “A Living Human Girl”, and “Red Light,” all three songs garnering praise from the audience.
For the rest of the set, the crowd never seemed to die down. By the time the band started their final song, “You Won’t Do”, the entire venue was singing along to the opening, “Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh Oh!” Shortly after the band departed from the stage after the infectious performance, they came back for a two song encore featuring a new track, “Pumpkin” and a fan-favorite, “Hot -- one they also played here at JBTV.
By the end of the show, a smile stayed plastered on my face. Not only is The Regrettes a band that discusses current topics within their lyrical content, but they also know exactly how to please their fans. Be sure to catch The Regrettes on The Advanced Placement tour in a city near you.
Filed by Ava Butera
Photos by Ava Butera
INTERVIEW WITH PUBLISHER DAVE RITZLIN ON SWORDS OF STEEL--HIS FANTASY ANTHOLOGY SERIES WITH HEAVY METAL TIES
To many, the genre of fantasy is generalized by any story with magical elements, but to many fans, that is an oversimplified definition. Fantasy has multiple subgenres and subcultures that often get swept under the Lord of the Rings umbrella, and causes many niche fantasy fans to painstakingly navigate the popular titles for stories that fit their tastes.
Music is no exception. Everybody has different takes on what is considered hip-hop, rock, pop, and heavy metal. For the music genre purist, it can be hard to find music that aligns with your criteria. Luckily for hardcore, heavy metal fans and fans of pulpy fantasy from yesteryear, publisher Dave Ritzlin merges these two groups into his fantasy anthology series Swords of Steel.
“All the stories are written by members of heavy metal bands,” Dave Ritzlin said during his JBTV interview with Jerry Bryant on September 21st, 2018. “Some of [the bands these authors are from] are new, but in the underground scene some are pretty well known—like Manilla Road, who’s been around since the late 70’s, ” he added.
From the authors penning the stories to even the books’ artwork, “Martin Hanford is an artist from England and does a lot of album covers for the band Bal-Sagoth—who’s one of the bands [featured] in the book [series],” every aspect of Ritzlin's book series is rooted in heavy metal.
Now, we at JBTV Music had to get heavy metal recommendations from Ritzlin while he was in the studio, and he was happy to oblige. Ritzlin graciously brought in a video of Canadian, heavy metal band Gatekeeper’s song “Blade of Cimmeria.” Ritzlin connected with Gatekeeper through happenstance, “I met the guitarist [Jeff Black] at Chicago’s Legions of Metal music festival, and he's also a fan of these kinds of stories. Turns out, he had already been writing stories, so it was a perfect match.” Watch Gatekeeper's "Blade of Cimmeria" video below and read Jeff Black’s short story “Blue Mistress” in the first volume of Swords of Steel.
Another music recommendation Ritzlin had was another metal band tied to Swords of Steel--Eternal Champion, a Texas band whose name comes from Michael Moorcock’s Corum book series. “When I saw the name for the band, I figured they’re on the same page as me, and their singer [Jason Tarpey] wrote one of the most popular stories of the book,” Ritzlin said while donning an Eternal Champion shirt. You can listen to Eternal Champion below—and like Jeff Black’s story—you can read Jason Tarpey’s short story “Vengeance of the Insane God” in the first Swords of Steel.
For Ritzlin, this all started by being a frustrated consumer; “I’m a fan of not just the music, but also this type of fiction. In the past thirty or so years, there hasn’t been much [that] I liked. It’s either too weird, or just not good. So I figured people who are into heavy metal, they stick to traditions…they understand what it’s all about. So I asked them to write these kinds of stories and they delivered.”
With Swords of Steel having three volumes of stories currently available for purchase, it is an anthology series that continues to deliver for heavy metal fans and pulp fantasy lovers.
If you want to read a sample of Swords of Steel, go to dmrbooks.bandcamp for excerpts of all three books plus music from bands featured in the series.
Order all three volumes of Swords of Steel on DMRBooks.com and Amazon now!
Watch the full JBTV Interview with Dave Ritzlin below.
Filed by Alex Ghere
Thom Yorke / Tomorrow's Modern Boxes
- - -
Thom Yorke writhes, shakes and moves when he performs on stage, like he wants to shed out of his own skin and morph into someone else altogether. Fans of all things Radiohead knew what to expect from Thom's solo production, and that is the exact opposite of a Radiohead show.
The performance had elements of a sophisticated electronic / minimalist production, but with five giant vertical LED walls behind the musicians from stage left to stage right, this was something different entirely. Minimalist indeed, with Thom accompanied by longtime collaborator and producer Nigel Godrich, and artist Tarik Barri--who created striking and crisp visuals that weren't overblown or too pushy. The visuals moved to the beat of Thom's samples and synths like ink wading it's way through water and oil. It may seem like a lot to take in, but suffice to say, it works when seen live and in person. It's trance inducing.
From the first song to the last, I was amazed at how well behaved audience was in attendance. No shouting out of songs, or talking over one another, just eerie silence throughout the main floor of the Chicago Theatre. Everyone was standing as far as I could see, swaying to the beats, and keeping in place. This just added to the cool ambience throughout the nearly two hour show, witnessing a sophisticated production, with like minded music hounds.
Beyond Thom's ready made beats, we also had the occasional live bass, guitar and piano. All musicians taking turns playing each other's instruments, seamlessly moving about in a methodical and groove heavy order, not intruding in any way at all, but each contributing to the songs and making them whole.
This current tour is based on Thom Yorke's solo album Tomorrow's Modern Boxes. An album that didn't quite take off when released, but yet still holds some captivating music embracing electronica and ambient beats and samples. Visually, the music from Tomorrow's Modern Boxes sucks you in with artistic programming showing striking detail of flower petals, orange balls dropping or rising vertically, and waves crashing into a psychedelic maze. The imagery only enhances the listening experience, making you once again go back and listen to Tomorrow's Modern Boxes one more time, and connect the music of the live performance.
Many of the songs that Thom performed were detached, with little in the way of constant repetitive beats or hooks, but more mellow and subtle. All the more to suck you into the improvisation. This is clearly not your normal live show of extravagance with a party atmosphere, like when we at JBTV Music Television documented Radiohead's live performance at the Metro when the band was starting out. And for this listener, that is a welcomed change indeed.
"Atoms For Peace" played during the encore, and looked and felt like an electronic lullaby with the song's gentle overtones. Like most of this show, it was a somber moment, preceded with many just like it.
Hard to totally grasp exactly what this reviewer just took in. I have the visuals from shooting the show as record of this live performance, but I feel like if this was a two or three night residency, I would have to go see all the shows, just to pick up on things I might have missed the first time out.
Everything about this show was a little different, and most compelling.
Probably the way Thom Yorke likes it.
Thom Yorke Setlist from the Chicago Theatre:
2. A Brain in a Bottle
3. Impossible Knots
4. Black Swan
5. I Am a Very Rude Person
6. Pink section
7. Nose grows Some
8. Cymbal Rush
9. The Clock
10. Two Feet Off the Ground
12. Not the News
13. Truth Ray
16. Reckoner (Radiohead Song)
17. The Axe
18. Atoms for Peace
With our dedicated founder, Jerry Bryant, continuing his daily battle with stage four cancer, we at JBTV have started to seek out different foundations and local health awareness outlets to promote. A little while back, Jerry conducted an interview with founder of local non-profit organization, Imerman Angels. This Chicago-based cancer support community urges cancer fighters to join, in that this non-profit provides personalized one-on-one support not only to fighters, but also survivors and caregivers.
Each person with cancer who chooses to enroll in the free program is paired up with a cancer survivor -- called Mentor Angels -- the same age and gender as them, as well as someone who possesses similar interests as them.
Founder, Jonny Imerman was diagnosed with testicular cancer at 26 years old and was let down that he struggled to find people the same age as him who was struggling with or had struggled with cancer. Although he had the support of his family and friends, he wanting to confide in someone who knew exactly how his current situation felt. In 2003, he came up with the idea for this non-profit organization and he later founded Imerman Angels. The core values of the organization are as follows: mission first, people first; create awareness and inspiration; fundraising as mission focused; create community; build alliances; stay relaxed and have fun; stay innovative and improve; be humble. Each operating philosophy of the organization is in place to help guide each Imerman Angel and Mentor.
However, with the help of Imerman Angels’ dedicated supporters and contributors, they have had the opportunity to expand to Michigan, Los Angeles, and New York. This will further help people with cancer have the motivation and strength to continue fighting their fight.
Even if you have not survived cancer nor are suffering from the disease, you are still encouraged to help out at Imerman Angels. The organization allows volunteers to join. The volunteer application is on the website, as is the directions to the Headquarters for orientations.
You can donate money to and help out Imerman Angels by visiting their website, www.imermanangels.org.
Filed by Ava Butera
Photo by Imerman Angels
The days leading up to Laura Jane Grace & Devouring Mothers’ much anticipated performance on the JBTV Stage were ones filled with an anxious me, eager and ecstatic to get to witness the band live in action. In preparation, I watched a ton of Devouring Mothers’ music videos, streamed their music, fell in love with their sound, and read tons of articles about the band -- to say that I was excited for the show on Nov. 7th was an understatement.
As soon as the band arrived to the studio, gear in tow, I was dreaming of 12:30 -- the time they were set to grace the stage. With each member showing gratitude for the invite to play on the JBTV Stage and extending their cordialness to each staff member, it further solidified my new love for Laura Jane Grace & Devouring Mothers.
As a casual fan of Against Me! and knowing their immense contribution to the punk community, rock music, and later the LGBTQ+ community, I partially knew what to expect from Devouring Mothers, knowing rock legend, Laura Jane Grace would definitely add her musical flare and insane talent to the new band. I did not realize though that I would be highly anticipating the release of Devouring Mothers’ debut album, Bought to Rot, shortly after the band’s performance ended. However, knowing prior that the band’s debut would be released through Chicago’s own, Bloodshot Records, I was extremely hopeful since the label is highly regarded, not only in the music industry but in the Windy City itself.
During the band’s soundcheck, I had the pleasure to sit through it and witness a sneak peek into their performance. In the past, most bands who have played JBTV simply soundcheck individual elements and maybe play one song. However, after checking their individual instruments and ensuring everything was properly working for the show, Devouring Mothers’ played four full songs during their soundcheck. This made the entire staff of JBTV hyped up for the performance.
After the room filled up to maximum capacity and the entire crowd filled in, the anticipation further heightened. Moment later, Laura Jane Grace & Devouring Mothers walked onto the JBTV Stage and applause erupted amongst everyone present. They kicked off their set with the track, “Manic Depression.” Although it sounds upbeat and fast-paced, when examining the lyrics, it details the story of a protagonist dealing with the issue. Songs like these -- although can be touchy at times -- help listeners realize that they are not alone in times of loneliness and worthlessness and that even musicians struggle with mental health issues.
The band then zipped through songs like “Reality Bites”, “Friendship Song”, and “Born in Black”. All great new tracks from their debut album. They then also included “Hotel Song” and “Amsterdam Hotel Room” -- two track obviously detailing Laura’s experience in hotels. Before playing the songs, she explained how most of her life she spent long periods of time living in hotel rooms, due to life on the road and vast amounts of touring.
Before playing every song, Laura made sure to explain the meaning behind each one, where she wrote them, and what they meant to her. I especially loved her choice to inform the crowd and fans on the true meaning behind Devouring Mothers’ music. Barely any of the artists and bands I’ve witnessed live have ever shared the meaning behind their music with attendees, but Laura made sure to.
As Devouring Mothers’ performance was coming to a close, I was still ready for more. Between drummer, Adam “Atom” Willard’s mesmerizing drummer technique, bassist Marc Jacob Hudson’s insanely catchy bass lines, and of course Laura’s passion and willpower, I was considering making it out to the band’s show at Cobra Lounge later that evening. However, I very surprised to hear the last song the band had in store for all of us, one titled “I Hate Chicago”.
Since I am a Florida-native myself, just like Laura Jane Grace is, and moved to Chicago, like her too, I was shocked to discover a song detailing the grievances about the city I dreamed about living in since I was a child. However, by the end of the song, I was whipping out my phone and downloading it. Instead of a negative, in-your-face song, it was more of a fun song. I found myself laughing at the lyrics, due to the relatability of each phrase spoken. Because yeah, as a recent Chicago transplant, I hate O’Hare, don’t necessarily care about the Smashing Pumpkins, and could care less about the Cubs, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, or the Bulls!
All in all, Laura Jane Grace & Devouring Mothers put on an incredible performance on the JBTV Stage.One I will remember for a long time!
Be sure to stream and purchase their debut album, Bought to Rot, which is out now!
Filed by Ava Butera
Photos by Katie Hovland & Ava Butera
“What’s more rock n roll than participating in the democratic process, am I right?”
When the word grandson comes to mind, reassuring cheek pinches or home made cookies may be the initial thought, but New Jersey born, Toronto raised musician Grandson slaps those pinches away, and crumbles up those cookies to demand accountability from those in power.
“We’re being force fed culturally into a sense of apathy,” remarked Grandson during his interview with Jerry Bryant after his JBTV debut on September 13th, “but I do think that they’re people that care and [are] trying to imagine a system that is held accountable. Untethered from the best interests of corporations or big money, and responsible to their voters that elected them there in the first place.”
Grandson is often compared to Rage Against the Machine given the highly political subject matter touched upon in his songs, but unlike his predecessor, Grandson offers more optimistic and constructive ways for his audience to utilize their anger to make needed changes in their communities. This is not an indictment of Rage Against the Machine; they are one of the greatest bands of all time, but in this current political climate in America—where subtlety lands on deaf ears—people need more from artists other than shared anger. What people need is an artist like Grandson, who not only creatively articulates people’s anger and sadness, but also gives them a road map on how to transform those emotions into empowerment and hope.
“I’m excited about being able to go city to city and talk to these kids. I do believe that there is this incredibly, exciting, progressive wave of young people that care and are pissed off, and I’m just trying to give them a soundtrack,” remarked Grandson. Not only is Grandson giving these young people a soundtrack, he is giving them one with incredible musicianship and stage presence—evidently seen in his first song that he performed on the JBTV stage “6:00.” The song starts off with a mournful riff from guitarist Ramón Blanco that quickly gets interrupted by David Rehmann’s drumming, Renzo Bravo’s keyboards, and Grandson’s lyrics. “6:00” is an audible blitzkrieg of festering anger and clenched fists.
While one could easily appreciate the song simply for its ability to make a crowd mosh and take the title at face value, Grandson Trojan horse’s social commentary on how apathetic the evening news has become reporting on racial injustice. “I wanted to create an urgent backdrop around this headline that is coming across the 6 o’clock news of ‘A Man Dying’ someone like Eric Garner being choked to death in broad daylight,” explained Grandson. “I was frustrated and confused as to what it means to be an American. What it means to be an ally for people that are being persecuted, disproportionately.”
It’s true. While many people do want to help eradicate these horrid occurrences from happening, many people—specifically white people—get confused on how to help out. For some, that confusion leads to researching how they can help diminish systemic oppression, but for most, that confusion leads to indifference as a way to self preserve their emotional well being. With lyrics like “how can we stand by” and “he held his hands high,” Grandson says fuck your well being and do your part.
After Grandson’s call to arms against police brutality, he tackled another issue in his next song that is plaguing America—drug addiction. Beginning with a strung out bass line and the withdrawn lyrics of “I was higher than the nosebleed,” “Overdose” musically sounds like the beginning of a drug stupor with no end in sight. “[It’s] a song about our relationship to addiction as a form of escapism.” Although the song paints drugs in a negative light, Grandson’s not trying to demonize users. “It’s not to vilify people that naturally find themselves in this situations. The more empathy we can have and understanding of how people got to that point, we can understand how to help them get out of it. Addiction is a mental health issue—which shouldn’t be incarcerating people that have addiction to narcotics or illicit substances. We should be helping them through rehabilitation.” Instead of running from our problems using drugs as a source of transportation, Grandson’s suggests through the atmospheric “Overdose” that we face our problems head on and help others that are still riding the rail.
His next songs on the JBTV stage were “Bills,” “Despicable,” and “Best Friends” and discussed the more internal journeys we all face. Whether it’s the stresses that never-ending “Bills” cause, navigating self hatred in “Despicable,” or cutting off toxic people in “Best Friends,” Grandson knows that in order to expect change in the world, one has to do change within themselves. “You can be your best self, I believe in you, but sometimes you might have to cut off some people in your life that are holding you back.”
Following this detour into inner struggles, Grandson returned to his social commentary with “Thoughts and Prayers”—an ode to the complacency of America’s relationships to guns and mass shootings. He introduced the song with “I can’t wait until this song is no longer relevant and is up in a museum somewhere.” The crowd could hear the anger and desperation in Grandson’s voice as he belted out “Another press conference/Nothing gets accomplished/The shooter's an accomplice/Money is the motive/The wars in the street/Watch history repeat.” The repetitive nature of the lyrics and music of “Thoughts and Prayer” critique the cyclical nature and frequency of these travesties. “At what point do your thoughts and prayers lead to tangible change being made to mitigate what is now an unprecedented epidemic?” Sadly as an attempt to answer Grandson’s question raised during his interview— months prior to the most recent Pittsburgh synagogue shooting—we have yet to reach that point.
Grandson ended his set with “Stick Up” and his most famous song “Blood // Water.” With their blood pumping bass lines, guitars, and passionate singing by Grandson, “Stick Up” and “Blood // Water” caused the JBTV crowd to mosh to the point that Grandson jumped offstage to join the pit. Both songs deal with the desperation we all feel with the politicians in power, but instead of wallowing in that desperation; Grandson energizes the listener to use their individual power to change the cultural landscape.
Reform. Rehabilitation. Power. Accountability. These are all reoccurring themes in Grandson thunderous songs and lyrics. Whether it’s regarding the institutions of society, or the journey through self-reflection and self-acceptance, Grandson’s music is not for the stagnant. He holds a mirror to society while also holding one up to your face and his own. Society is made up of individuals, and while Grandson addresses the overarching issues with society, he wants us to hold ourselves accountable. Grandson is America’s canary in the coal mine regarding issues of race, class, addiction, and gun control in America. We are fortunate that this canary isn’t waiting to keel over to tell us we are in trouble.
While introducing “Stick Up,” Grandson exclaimed the importance of voting to the audience, “[Find the] candidates out there with your best interests in mind, that are not influenced by corporate money. That’s something I’m passionate about, it’s a part of having this power, we gotta use it, and make the world just a little bit of a better place. Can we do that?” The JBTV crowd answered with motivated cheers. Grandson followed this comment with a slight joke, “What’s more rock n roll than participating in the democratic process, am I right?”
Although it was meant to be taken as a joke of sorts, there is nothing more rock ‘n’ roll than participating in the democratic process by voting. Giving a voice to the voiceless and allowing people to address problems within their communities in a cathartic, constuctive way—applies to both rock ‘n’ roll and voting.
Hopefully you allowed your voice to be heard by voting in the Midterm Elections. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer Grandson to have a harder time finding subject matter for his music—and I’m sure he would agree.
Filed by Alex Ghere
Photos by Bobby Talamine
Welsh alternative band, The Joy Formidable graced the JBTV stage for the third time this past weekend, not only to a packed venue, but also to an extremely eager crowd, anxious to witness the band’s Chicago return. The band themselves were very excited to play at JBTV, and gushed about how much they enjoy being in Chicago, since based on their experience, the Chicago music fans truly enjoy the music and have a love for it, unlike the fans in any other city they’ve played in previously.
Unlike The Joy Formidable’s past two JBTV performances, lead singer Ritzy Bryan and bassist and vocalist Rhydian Dafydd decided to employ acoustic guitars and foot drums for this stripped down performance -- something quite different for the band, but definitely a treat to all present at the show. Having to leave drummer Matt Thomas in Minneapolis due to a logistics issues and almost not making it to the studio themselves, Ritzy and Rhydian utilized what instruments they brought with them. Ritzy even saying herself that it was nice to switch it up, but sad to not have Matt with them for the performance.
Since the band just released their sixth studio album, Aarth, fans were unsure whether to expect a set full of new material or one filled with old favorites. But to everyone’s surprise, The Joy Formidable perfectly chose a mix of old and new songs to create an awesome set. Not to mention each song having a different vibe, due to them being played acoustically.
The set kicked off with the raring and foreboding song, “Little Blimp,” a fan-favorite from the band’s album, Wolf’s Law. When played normally with a full band, it’s a loud and boisterous one however, even played acoustically, The Joy Formidable brought the heat and had the entire crowd off their feet and excited for the rest of songs they had in store.
Next the band played older tracks, “Whirring” and “The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade”, both from their sophomore effort, The Big Roar. Between Ritzy’s soft vocals and Rhydian’s exceptional guitar skills, both songs sounded effervescent and beautiful in their reimagined acoustic form.
When The Joy Formidable transitioned into their next song, “Y Bluen Eira”, the crowd danced along, but soon realized that it was not in fact in English but instead entirely in Gaelic, Rhydian’s first language and Ritzy’s second. Despite fans not understanding what it meant, The Joy Formidable continued to play the song from their newest album. Afterwards, they explained that the track was in their native language and informed the crowd on some facts about Wales and Gaelic.
The Joy Formidable then went on to play another new song “Dance of the Lotus”, which received a very positive reaction amongst the crowd, as well as the staff here at JBTV. Lead singer Ritzy also discussed the different approach they took when choosing a music video idea of the song, when chatting with Jerry. The band decided to collaborate with Boston-based animation company, TRLLM to bring this track to life in the visual form.
For the rest of the band’s set, they continued to mix it up between old favorites and new releases, surprising fans with each song played. The entire crowd was floored by The Joy Formidable’s superb performance and were left wanting more, long after the band left the stage
Filed by Ava Butera
Photos by Ava Butera
Nine Inch Nails
The Jesus and Mary Chain
with Gabe Gurnsey
Cold and Black and Infinite
North America 2018
Night #1 from the Aragon Ballroom Chicago
- - -
Trent Reznor took the stage commandingly for the first of a three night residency at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, to the strains of "The Firemen", a song from Angelo Badalamenti, an American composer best known for his work scoring films for David Lynch.
How fitting. And that's so badass, and so unmistakably Trent.
The opening salvo for night number one is unrelenting- a full on onslaught of the aggressive and in your face Nine Inch Nails. "Mr. Self Destruct" into "The Perfect Drug" into "Wish".
I mean Jesus.
Trent's shirt and hair were soaked through even after Mr. Self Destruct". The blinding white strobes front / center / back and both sides of the stage may have had something to do with as well. This is truly live performance to extremes, and that says something for a guy who's over the age of fifty.
Easy songs to perform righteously and with unrelenting abandon? I think not. Most of Trent's early back catalog when performed live, have a look and feel of a "pain driven stage act", acted out accordingly. Although, we're far removed form the days of throwing mics and mic stands, smashing guitars to bits, and tossing synths and keyboards into the drum kit.
Still, the look and feel of dread is in the air. You can smell it. You can taste it. You cannot fake that delivery of passion and pain. The songs command it front and center.
And for the first of three nights, we're blessed to hear "The Perfect Drug" performed live for the first time ever on this current North American tour, a song that buries itself in pain and utter defeat. And with a break midway through which has an experimental freeway jam of punishing drums, courtesy of Ilan Rubin.
Ilan is one multi talented dude. Not only an accomplished and excellent drummer, but he also fronts his own band The New Regime, on lead vocals and guitar. We actually have had his band play on our JBTV stage a couple of years ago.
So even on the first of three nights at the Aragon, everything performed live is still unexpected, and to extremes.
What an electrifying show from beginning to end, and guess what? We're graced midway through the show with Trent playing a saxophone, for the song "God Break Down the Door", a song from recently released EP "Bad Witch".
It's fits the freestyle swing that some of Trent's new songs are all about. Not necessarily out there like an Ornette Coleman or Charlie Haden, but still you can't help but hear some of that when it comes to instrumentals and free jam solos.
The whole night is so full of surprises, such as guitarist Robin Finck giving it a go singing vocal , singing his lungs out for "Shit Mirror', and convincingly as well. How about bringing out David Bowie's "I'm Afraid of Americans"? Well done again., with a blistering guitar solo from Robin Finck.
The whole night, wonderful and exhausting, mentally, physically and spiritually.
But it has to come to close sometime, and before the encore, prepare yourselves for the bludgeoning from "Head Like a Hole".
Some minutes later, the encore blasts away with three songs, ending with "Hurt".
"Hurt" all over and by this time exhausted. That is me. And so well worth it.
The Jesus and Mary Chain make full use of their 45 minute set to open the show, with not much stage banter, but plenty of piss and vinegar from their first release "Psychocandy", dating back to 1985, and opening with "Just Like Honey".
Nice to see the brothers Reid attempting to get along as well.
This is a feedback laden times ten wall of sound that they produce, with Bill Reid cranking his Orange amps to 11, and Jim Reid all chameleon like, wrapping his long vocal chord into a bundle along with his mic.
A set from Jesus and Mary Chain so concise and on point, with nothing but pure noise rock delights one after the other, and bathed in solid blues and reds, punched with some white strobes to add flair to the mix.
A true feedback lover's dream, and a great way to open the show.
The Firemen (band intro)
1. Mr. Self Destruct
2. The Perfect Drug
4. Less Than
5. March of the Pigs
6. The Lovers
7. This Isn't the Place
9. Shit Mirror
10. Ahead of Ourselves
11. God Break Down the Door
12. Copy of A
13. Gave Up
14. I'm Afraid of Americans (David Bowie cover)
15. The Hand That Feeds
16. Starfuckers, Inc
17. Head Like a Hole
18. All the Love in the World
19. Over and Out
Jesus and Mary Chain Setlist:
1. Just Like Honey
2. Head On
4. Between Planets
5. All Things Pass
6. Some candy Talking
7. April Skies
8. The Living End
9. Cracking Up
10. Teenage Lust
11. I Hate Rock n' Roll
Filed by Bobby Talamine
Photos by Bobby Talamine
John Lydon and his band, Public Image Ltd. played Thalia Hall on October 22 and featured no opening acts -- as it should be. The band came on a little after 8:45, to strong applause and adulation, one by one first with guitarist Lu Edmonds, then drummer Bruce Smith, then bassist Scott Firth, and lastly, the man everyone wanted to see -- John Lydon.
John, in a long trench coat, with his notebook of lyrics at the ready and front and center, still had the look of punk and anti-authority about him, even at the age of 60.
As I looked back at photo I took from that night when editing, I noticed that his reading glasses had a safety pin ever present keeping them intact, like an homage to the past when his band, the Sex Pistols who broke into the mainstream in 1977.
As much as the band is tight throughout, and spot-on in regards to accompaniment, the main focus was on John Lydon, and his signature yelps, yells, and rants to end every lyric he sang, no matter what song he was playing.
From the start it seemed as though John's style of singing is beginning to take a toll on his vocal chords. From the first song "Deeper Water', a new song form their album This is PIL, you can clearly see that John is singing low-key and not blasting audience members right away. I also noticed that on the drum riser, John kept his bottle of Pedialyte there and drank from it in between songs, for what reason god only knows, but maybe it has something to do with soothing his vocal chords whilst staying hydrated.
From there, the momentum builds with each and every song played, with John getting more lively and angry, and the band following in lockstep time.
I can't say enough about guitarist, Lu Edmonds and his many many talents. A guitarist and contributor to the mighty Mekons, which is an art collective of coolness if their ever was a term for them, which also features Sally Timms and Jon Langford. Lu Edmonds and his approach to guitar playing is intricate, yet brash, just what Public Image Ltd. needs to stay afloat and ever present.
Drummer, Bruce Smith also brings a lot to the table when performing with Public Image Ltd, having drummed with The Slits, The The, and also Bjork. Bassist, Scott Firth who also plays keyboards has played with The Spice Girls believe it or not, along with Toni Braxton, Steve Winwood, Julia Fordham and Joan Armatrading, to name a few. To put it simply, these guys can play, which shows how much Public Image Ltd. is a band's band.
Toward the end of the show, the hits came, one by one, with "Memories" into "The Body", followed by "Disappointed" into the "Warrior", building up to the finale before the encore with "Flowers of Romance" and of course "This Is Not A Love Song", into the anthemic "Rise". By this time, John's bottle of Pedialyte was finished, and his voice was sounding great with no break or sign of fraying.
All in all, spending the night with Public Image Ltd. was a great way to spend my Monday evening, with the post-punk diehards out in full force to witness the band first hand.
Filed by Bobby Talamine
Photos by Bobby Talamine
To quote the rapper Yo Gotti, "it goes down in the DM." After Givers gave a great performance at JBTV on September 10th, we received this Instagram direct message from Wolfmother later that night:
Having heard horror stories about the cesspool that is direct messages, we at JBTV are happy to say this is a DM success story. And to answer your question Andrew Stockdale, of course we remember Wolfmother!
With no time to waste, the JBTV team and Wolfmother organized a show for Friday, September 14th at 1pm. However, while on the way to JBTV studios, Stockdale realized the band's first song on their set list was "Lazy," a single off of his new solo record Slipstream, which features a predominate saxophone riff. The problem? Wolfmother doesn't have a saxophone player. So in true rock 'n' roll fashion, and mirroring how Stockdale booked the show, he posted this video on Instagram:
Luckily, Stockdale received a phone call from one of Riot Fest's stage managers that got him in contact with Chicago's own Bruce Lamont. Lamont rushed to the JBTV studio, learned the song minutes before the show, and rocked the place with his saxophone skills. "[Bruce Lamont] gave the song something else," Stockdale added later in the JBTV interview with Jerry Bryant. Not only did Lamont perform with them at JBTV, he performed with them for their Riot Fest set that following weekend! Check out the great addition Bruce Lamont made to Wolfmother's set below:
Next, Wolfmother played "Slipstream," another song off of Stockdale's latest solo album of the same name. With Stockdale's iconic voice and Wolfmother guitar riffs that rock fans adore, "Slipstream" kept the momentum of the set going to a highly energized crowd. To add another rock 'n' roll layer to this set, Wolfmother did not have a guitar slider for this song. During soundcheck, Stockdale was using a pint glass to create the desired slider effect.
Our leader Jerry came to the rescue by providing the band a transformer--a piece of studio equipment used to change impedance between microphones. The sheer talent of this band and the DIY spirit of how they create their distinctive sound is a true spectacle that needs to be seen.
Wolfmother continued to awe the audience with their next song "Sweet Spot," a song that according to Stockdale is about "Find[ing]...the way you want to live [your life]." He explained this notion further by comparing the sweet spots of surfing and music, "in music you can find a sweet spot, and in surfing once you take off and you pull back in you sorta just--it's a pocket. That flow is what you want to get in your life." Like a wave organically forming and crashing, Wolfmother's "Sweet Spot" whisked the audience away and took them for a ride that would compete with the best waves you can catch on the beaches near Stockdale's hometown of Brisbane.
After showcasing some of their newer music, Wolfmother played a slew of hits from previous albums ranging from "Gypsy Caravan" off of their 2016 Victorious album, to 2009 Cosmic Egg's "New Moon Rising." Of course, longtime fans wanted to hear songs from their 2006 self-titled debut album, and Wolfmother did not disappoint. As soon as the familiar "Woman" guitar riff began to echo from Stockdale's guitar, the place erupted with jovial head bangs and excitement.
Once "Woman" ended to thunderous applause, Wolfmother continued to play songs off of their debut with "White Unicorn," Vagabond," and "Colossal"--drummer Hamish Rosser's favorite song to play. "It's slow, but really heavy, tuned down, doubles up and gets fast, I really enjoy this one," Rosser added.
Having giving the audience rocking set mixed with old and new fodder, Wolfmother ended their epic set at JBTV with their smash hit and one of our Jerry Bryant's favorite songs "Joker and the Thief." "[The song has] taken a life of its own, it's powerful and we always finish with that one," Stockdale added in the JBTV interview. See the raw power the song has over the JBTV crowd below!
Wolfmother has carved their place in rock 'n' roll history, and we were all happy to have them stop by the JBTV studio for the second time. Feel free to DM us on Instagram anytime, Wolfmother!
See Wolfmother on the tail end of their Slipstream Tour now!
Watch the rest of their awesome set at JBTV by going to our YouTube!
Filed by Alex Ghere
Photos by Bobby Talamine & Wolfmother
Saturday night was one for the books as we joined TWO JBTV alumni, The Districts, and Hippo Campus for the BAMBI Tour at the Riviera Theatre. Following the release of their sophomore album, Bambi, the boys immediately hit the road to share their new tunes! On Saturday, October 6th, we were in for a treat as we joined the boys in Chicago for just the second day of tour!
Starting off the night, The Districts took the stage. The five piece greeted Chicago with , the hit single, “Nighttime Girls”, making a lasting impression on the new audience. Reminiscent of 80’s classic rock and roll, the band welcomed new eyes and ears to their nostalgic sounds, exciting the audience for what was yet to come. The way the band took the crowd by storm was no surprise to us, at JBTV. Earlier on in their career, the band took to our HD stage and showcased their star talents to a mere crowd of 100 people. Immediately, we knew these rockstars had a bright future ahead. Fast forward two years, and the band is back, louder than ever, playing to crowds more than fifty times the size, all across the nation.
Hippo Campus then took the stage, opening with their title track, “Bambi”. For familiar fans, this release introduced a new side of Hippo Campus. In contrast to their previous releases, Bambi, leans toward an experimental genre with elements from Landmark sprinkled in. After a first listen, one would surely be curious to know how this new style would be paired with prior works, but like always, the boys did an excellent job of melding the new album into the show! Intertwined with works from Landmark and their previous EP, the band performed, their latest single, “Golden,” as well as rising song, “Why Even Try,” and “Doubt.” From start to finish, the setlist was seamlessly blended with the old and new, giving a refreshing spin to their traditional lineup! Tour has just begun for these boys, so it can only get better from here! Make sure to catch them at a venue near you!
Filed by Jade Trazo
Photos by Jade Trazo
Electrifying indie-pop band, St. Lucia graced the JBTV stage for the second time and gave an energetic performance to a packed studio on October 3, 2018 — just hours before their sold out show at Concord Music Hall.
Prior to St. Lucia’s set, for the duration of the soundcheck lead singer, Jean-Philip Grobler, and multi-instrumentalist, Patti Beranek’s son, Indy, took center stage at JBTV -- most of the staff noting his high level of energy and future in the music industry, despite being nine months old. Indy was definitely a nice addition to the day’s activities at JBTV; Grobler noting that his son has already shown signs of being very musical.
Having just embarked on the North American tour for their newest effort, Hyperion, fans didn’t know what exactly to expect of the band, in regards to new material and new antics contained within the band’s performance. However, all in attendance were pleasantly surprised to witness an amalgamation of old and new songs, including some ballads as well as upbeat ones.
Blending elements from their older work by incorporating fan-favorites into their set such as “Elevate” and “Before the Dive” and adding in newer songs like “Next to You” and “Bigger”, St. Lucia’s set was truly a memorable one at JBTV. Not to mention that fact that the band restarted “A Brighter Love” three times due to a malfunction of drummer, Dustin Kaufman’s drum machine equipment as well as playing dancey hit, “Dancing on Glass” twice because of an instrument malfunction from keyboardist, Nicky Paul. While most bands would shrug off the mistake and play on, St. Lucia made sure to perfect each song played within their set, which just goes to show the band’s dedication to their craft.
Opening their set with, “Before the Dive,” one of the band’s oldest songs from their first EP, audience members were absolutely shocked by the choice to open with this song, in that St. Lucia does not usually include this track in their live shows. I, myself, was rather shocked by this choice, since I have seen the band a handful of times and they’ve never played it at the shows I attended. As the moody song progressed, as did the set. St. Lucia quickly transitioned into new song, “A Brighter Love” off of Hyperion -- a track featuring unique drum machine elements and effervescent harmonies between band members. According to Grobler, “A Brighter Love” is about searching for something deeper and more meaningful in the current world.
As the set gained more energy, St. Lucia quickly shifted gears when transitioning into “All Eyes on You,” another classic track from the five-piece which happens to contain an infectious bass line from bassist, Ross Clark, as well as smooth vocals from Grobler. By this point, everyone in the crowd was singing, clapping, dancing, and having a great time. St. Lucia always seems to put on a phenomenal show, no matter the location or audience size. As I mentioned before, I am a huge St. Lucia fan. I’ve seen them at festivals with crowds of over 20,000 people, in venues that hold 1,000, and now at JBTV where the maximum capacity is a little over 125 people. I can assure you that no matter what the circumstance, the band always delivers a stellar performance.
The audience was truly on a musical journey with the band, being that each song played possessed a different vibe. Although St. Lucia’s songs clock in a little over 5 minutes each and flow nicely together, the set the band played at JBTV alternated between slow and upbeat songs, which resulted in a memorable show.
Filed By Ava Butera
Photos By Bobby Talamine & Ava Butera
JBTV alumni BTS gave a speech at the United Nation's "Youth 2030" event in New York on Monday, September 24th, 2018. The event was held to launch Generation Unlimited, a UNICEF initiative “that aims to ensure that every young person is in education, learning, training or employment by 2030.”
The Korean-pop supergroup addressed the UN with a powerful speech empowering young people to love themselves and to find their voice. They are the first K-pop group to speak at the United Nations.
Leader Kim Nam Joon, or better known as "RM," took to the mic, joined by his six fellow members -- Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook.
During the speech, RM shared his personal story of finding self-actualization after fighting through adversity. “I tried to jam myself into the other molds that other people made,” he said. “Soon, I began to shut out my own voice and listen to the voice of others. No one called out my name and neither did I. My heart stopped and my eyes closed shut. Like this, I—we—all lost our names. We became like ghosts. But I had one sanctuary, and that was music.”
RM also talked about the hardships BTS faced when they were first started out in the industry. “Even after making the decision to join BTS, there were a lot of hurdles,” he said. “Some people might not believe but most people thought we were hopeless, and sometimes I just wanted to quit.”
With their incredible worldwide success, it is difficult to imagine that BTS was ever a struggling group. Formed in 2013, BTS is now K-pop’s most successful group, selling out stadium shows and receiving an abundance of love and support from their "ARMY" fanbase.
Despite the group's colossal success, RM said he is “still an ordinary 24-year-old guy.” “Yesterday's me is still me,” he said. “Today I am who I am with all of my faults and my mistakes. Tomorrow I might be a tiny bit wiser and that would be me too. These faults and mistakes are what I am, making up the brightest stars in the constellation of my life. I have come to love myself for who I am, for who I was, and for who I hope to become.”
The speech went viral as the hashtag #BTSxUnitedNations trended worldwide on Twitter for several hours.
BTS is currently on the North America leg of the BTS World Tour: Love Yourself. They will perform at the United Center in Chicago, IL on October 2nd and 3rd.
Watch the full speech below, via The Washington Post.
Filed By Natalie Baltierra
Photos By Bobby Talamine
Heeeeeere’s Jerry! While not being able to attend JBTV’s Let’s Eat Grandma show because of chemotherapy, Jerry took his rightful place back behind the jib camera for JBTV’s September 10th live show of Givers. Originally from Lafayette, Louisiana and making their debut on the JBTV stage, Givers gave the intimate audience a taste of what the Big Easy has to offer. Creating groovy guitar riffs, soulful drums, and a calming tempo, Givers presented a performance that would shake the United Center’s rafters and even make Red Forman from That 70’s Show smile and shake his ass—instead of threatening to put his foot in others.
Although Givers beam nothing but good vibes, dire circumstances brought them together. While living together and studying jazz at The University of New Orleans, Tiffany Lamson and Taylor Guarisco were flooded out of their apartment during Hurricane Katrina. After losing valuable music equipment and their apartment, Lamson and Guarisco made the journey back to their hometown of Lafayette. Shortly after the move, Lamson and Guarisco started skipping class to jam at their friend Kirby Campbell’s place—former band member of Givers.
These jam sessions led to the creation of “Saw You First,” the first song of Givers’ set at the JBTV stage. With a twangy guitar riff from Guarisco and Lamson’s skills on the ukulele—“Saw You First” lulled the crowd into comfort and ease. This feeling of relief was brought together from Lamson and Guarisco’s joyous singing that radiated the JBTV stage. Like lyrics from the song, Givers put the audience collectively “in a dream”—a dream that the audience was not ready to wake up from yet.
After “Saw You First,” Givers went into their next song “Meantime” a song that distills the cheerful, spirit of their hometown of Lafayette. Having never written a pop song before this 2011 song, Guarisco said in the JBTV interview with Jerry Bryant that the sole purpose of “Meantime” was to “get people moving.” Nurturing the jazzy sound from Lafayette and the city’s desire to dance, Givers successfully transcribed a sonic road map of Lafayette. A song whose lyrics have positive affirmations like “love and happiness is growin’ in your vase” and “don’t get stuck in the meantime,” Givers generously offer the listener reasons to be optimistic and filled with joy.
The afro-pop polyrhythm influences of Givers really came to fruition in their next song “Movin On”—a song off of their new album of the same name. Starting out with a Caribbean fused baseline, “Movin On” was Tiffany Lamson's time to shine.. Singing and performing on a percussion kit that looked like a collapsed Guitar Center aisle, Lamson juggled tambourine, bongos, and maracas all the while maintain the easy breezy vibe of the song. Givers’ performance of “Movin On” at the JBTV stage was a prime example of why more people need to discover this band. The amount of talent that each member possesses would awe the most jaded audience member.
The last two songs of Givers’ set list were “Love is Like a Fire” and “Collide.” “Love is Like a Fire” was another song that illustrated Lamson’s talent, by making her vocal range the forefront of the song. Lamson’s ability to manipulative her voice through peaks and valleys, “Love is Like a Fire” ignited the already positive energy that radiated in the JBTV studio from their performance. With a folky, guitar riff and Guarisco and Lamson’s poppy vocals, “Collide” ended the show on the highest, most positive note.
Look, I can sit here and go on about how positive Givers’ energy was in the studio, how talented they are, and how catchy their songs are—but if you take anything from this write up—GO SEE GIVERS LIVE! You won’t regret it! Having already been on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Givers is without a doubt one song away from ambushing the charts. Don’t just take my word for it—take Neil Young’s.
That’s right. You’re read that correctly. Neil. Fucking. Young. In his latest autobiography Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream, Neil Young lists Givers as one of his favorite bands after seeing them on Fallon and Kimmel. So if think my opinion doesn’t hold weight, how about Neil Young’s?
And if that’s not convincing enough, how about the fact that Givers’ music helped keep a person alive? Marc Pagani, a New Orleans based photographer, was on an assignment to take photographs of the Himalayas in 2011. With Nepal experiencing warmer weather and a longer monsoon season than normal, Pagani and his climbing partner became trapped after multiple avalanches demolished their campsite for the night.
Stuck in between their two campsites in brutal weather conditions, Pagani and his colleague made a makeshift campground and showed each other songs on their iPhones to distract themselves from their current situation. Having saved Givers on his iPhone after seeing them perform at NOLA venue One Eyed Jacks, Pagani played Givers’ song “Up Up Up.” Once the vibrant music of “Up Up Up” blasted from Pagani’s iPhone speakers, morale was boosted immediately. “It slowly became the theme song for the trip…and gave us hope that we would make it through the night,” Pagani recalled of the trip. Once a long night of cascading snow turned into a still morning, Pagani and company made the trek down the mountain with their morale intact—thanks to “Up Up Up.” You can check out some of the photographs Pagani got from this experience in his book Fearless Photographer: Travel.
Now, you don’t have to go to the Himalayans and have a near death experience to fully appreciate Givers. The band’s mission statement is to “bring something positive where there wasn’t before,” and if you could use a higher dosage of positivity, you should experience Givers for yourself.
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Filed By Alex Ghere
Photos By Bobby Talamine
On a rainy Thursday afternoon, the Norwich band Let’s Eat Grandma—whose name is a comma away from being a familial invitation versus a proposition in ancestral cannibalism—graced the JBTV stage. With our beloved leader Jerry not in attendance due to chemotherapy, the JBTV family pressed on and maintained the energy the space possesses when Jerry is behind the camera.
Rocking stylish and comfy clothes, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth of Let’s Eat Grandma started their set with their single “Hot Pink.” With it’s high energy beats and catchy lyrics, the crowd bobbed their heads to a song the band describes as debunking “the assumptions people make about gender and feminism, and how there’s nothing wrong with being feminine or not at all.” Through the hypnotic synth and entrancing chorus, the crowd fell under the Let’s Eat Grandma trance immediately.
Following “Hot Pink,” Let’s Eat Grandma kept the positive, upbeat energy with their song “It’s Not Just Me”—a song that sounds straight out of a John Hughes movie that was never made. Friendship is a common theme in Let’s Eat Grandma’s catalogue, and “It’s Not Just Me” is no different. The song illustrates the hardships of maintaining relationships as one gets older, and the importance of keeping those friendship alive. A beat and tempo that has the familiar comfort of an inside joke between close friends; it made this writer realize he needs to stay in better contact with his friends. Seriously people, let your friends know how important they are to you.
“Falling Into Me” and “I Will Be Waiting” solidified the sheer talent that Walton and Hollingworth possess musically through their constant shifting from instrument to instrument with the ease of seasoned performers. Both Walton and Hollingworth have the young, carefree energy of nineteen-year-old performers, and yet harness the music comprehension, stage presence, and musical complexity of artists who have a backlog of greatest hits.
The musical opus of the show was the last song “Donnie Darko”—a song that’s partly about the movie and partly about the awkwardness of coming of age. Clocking in at over eleven minutes, “Donnie Darko” took the audience on a journey filled with highs and lows. Let’s Eat Grandma further extenuated this ebbing and flowing by starting their performance on the floor with Walton playing the guitar. As the song ramped up and built to a euphoric crescendo, the energy onstage catapulted Let’s Eat Grandma to bring audience members onstage to gel with the rising and falling of the epic song. Like the movie that inspired the song title, “Donnie Darko” leaves the listener with no concrete answers, but ends on a cyclical note with Let’s Eat Grandma wilting back onto the stage floor.
After the audience gradually exited the space, JBTV’s Greg Corner interviewed Let’s Eat Grandma. Through this candid conversation, we learned that Walton and Hollingworth have known each other for the majority of their lives, since they were four, and also have someone close to them battling cancer like Jerry. Their friend Billy is battling a rare form of bone cancer that affects young adults, and if you would like to help with Billy’s fight, donate.
Let’s Eat Grandma has a sound that bundles the synthesized sound of 80s pop, but with the unique, perplexing mood that permeates into a new frontier. The sonic mutation of the familiar that Let’s Eat Grandma peppers into their sound and lyrics, keeps an audience hungry for more. If you want to experience Let’s Eat Grandma for yourself, you can catch them on tour opening for Chvrches starting in November. To learn more about the band, check out their website.
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Photo Credit: Bobby Talamine
SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN