Although just a month after their last product launch event, Apple came out swinging today during their Unleashed stream, particularly in their music department. Apple events aren't normally in our wheelhouse, but given their emphasis on music, it warranted an article.
After a slightly humorous opening that documented a musician mixing a track from various Apple start up sounds, you know, the *dunnnn* sound when your computer starts? Then Tim Cook took the event that most assumed would be about their new MacBook Pro in a bit of a different direction — starting with music.
He quickly threw it over to DJ Zane Lowe to introduce a new Apple Music plan called "Voice". This new economic option gives one person all of Apple Music with only your voice to access it, but only on Apple devices.
After that Apple introduced their new 3rd generation AirPods. It's new shape makes for a supposedly better listening experience. Its also sweat and water resistant.
Finally, they announced a few new color skews for their HomePod Mini. Blue, Yellow and Orange now join Black and White. They really wanted to avoid that black white and red all over joke it seems....
For more info on all of this, head over to Apple's event page.
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
October 8, 2021
Outside the iconic Riviera Theatre in Chicago's Uptown Neighborhood, before the doors open within the hour on a Friday night for the band IDLES- I encounter a long line of fans waiting to get in. I like photographing the Riviera's marquee, all lit up in bright red, and flashing. And the line of fans waiting to get in to see whatever band is playing is equally fascinating. The line wraps around the outside of the Riviera, heading north on Broadway and then west on Lawrence to Magnolia.
Lots of ground to cover to witness and observe the IDLES faithful.
Lo and behold I find the perfect candidate that speaks volumes of the IDLES aesthetic, and what it means to love a band and wear your self created logo and symbols and patches proudly- a Latino man wearing a dark jean jacket, with a back logo of IDLES that's huge, in black and white, with a slogan at the bottom that reads "BE THE I IN UNIFY"- all in capital letters.
I catch him at the right moment looking up at the Riviera marquee, in anticipation of the doors getting ready to open.
I just hope that since this guy is like 10 people deep in the line, and that he's here early for a reason, that being making a dash to the main floor once in the building, that his cool jacket doesn't get a beat down from what's certain to be a very physical night, both from the band, and also the packed main floor. My suspicions were confirmed on the physical, that's for sure.
Even in the midst of a never ending pandemic, the band and audience are dying to unleash the hounds, and get into some serious physical revery. Even weeks before the show, with cancelations and postponements announced what seemed left and right- Ministry, Dead can Dance, amongst others- and with the post punk / hardcore punk / post hardcore stylings of IDLES- the question kept coming up again and again-
will their visas be approved, and will they be ready to bring their intensity to a packed Riv with all that's going on with the pandemic?
Personally, I'm glad things ended up positively for them, and for their faithful fans, me included.
I needed this.
I needed this with Joe Talbot and IDLES on many levels.
The tour for IDLES started actually in the Twin Cities the night before, with the Riv being the second stop on their "Beauty from Ashes US Tour".
How quaint- the title of the tour, when you think about it.
This band, fronted by Joe Talbot- angry, menacing, and with a pertinent message time and time again (pick whichever song from the setlist)- they clearly know how to incite a crowd and bring the heat to a packed Riviera Theatre on a Friday night.
Opening with "Colossus"- a song that builds and bullies with tension from the first distorted strings, with the refrain ever evident and repetitive lyric that's front and center: "Goes and it goes and it goes"- over and over and over -until by the end of the song with a bludgeoning, and Joe menacingly shouting and singing the ending lyric- "I'm like Stone Cold Steve Austin, I put homophobes in coffins, I'm like Fred Astaire- I dance like I don't care".
And I'm right there with him- 100 percent.
Along with the brethren and faithful packed on the main floor. And it goes heavier from there throughout the ninety or so minute set, with guitarists Mike Bowen and Lee Kiernan taking turns body surfing and mixing it up on the main floor, guitar chords intact, and rather lengthy chords to still play, all the way at the back of the main floor by the front of house sound booth.
It's like the roadies are used to this by now, even with two years off since playing a lengthy tour. And with the heavy rhythm section of Adam Devonshire on bass, and and Jon Beavis on drums- this band IDLES is intact- four on the floor.
Every song out of the gate is blast furnace ready to go: from number two "Mr. Motivator", into "Grounds", followed by "Mother", and "Anxiety", to let you know they are here to play with conviction, and that they don't take this performance lightly.
By the time of song eight- "Divide and Conquer", the crowd is ready for anything, including instructions from Joe Talbot, to divide up the main floor, to split it up, which he kept repeating them to do fervently until he was satisfied, and telling them to wait patient for the clue top go full on bludgeoning mosh within the song (which is obvious) - "Divide. Divide. Divide! (with a couple more thrown in until satisfied)- AND CONQUER!"
And so they did.
From my vantage point off the main floor- a full on violent confrontation straight out of the Streets of New York (without all the weapons of course).
That smile of success from Joe Talbot- soaked t shirt and all- was priceless.
And so the chaos ensued, all the way up to "Never Fight a Man With a Perm", which for all intent and purposes, is a song meant for a beat down- the stage floor attack from Joe Talbot, along with the fans enticed for more and more controlled chaos.
For me - a highlight of every IDLES show- case closed.
And the fans- with the constant body surfing and reverie- with the Chicago faithful showing strength in numbers, and that IDLES music will always prevail because of their working man's ethic, the black boot / no fuss / t shirt wearing don't give a shit about looks and stage presence and props / we're here to dismantle any notion of rock n' roll hierarchy and throw it in your face overall vibe and pronouncement-
I can't think of any other touring band playing today that comes close to how they push all of the above without having to make waves about it.
Either you care or you don't care.
They know that the people in the know about IDLES care, mostly by word of mouth, followed by press- in that order.
And IDLES prevails, with a message and music that's lean and mean.
Openers Gustaf- from Brooklyn, fronted by Lydia Gammill, had a short but inviting set, with Lydia making waves with a sound that brings up early Patti Smith and a band that chops its way through songs like early Gang of Four. Have to say they held court convincingly for their 30 minute or so set.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Music's modern day Renaissance man Dave Grohl strikes again! This time with the written word. His new book titled The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music came out earlier this week to positive reviews! You can buy the book now wherever you buy books!
From the author:
So, I’ve written a book.
Having entertained the idea for years, and even offered a few questionable opportunities (‘It’s a piece of cake! Just do four hours of interviews, find someone else to write it, put your face on the cover, and voila!’), I have decided to write these stories just as I have always done, in my own hand. The joy that I have felt from chronicling these tales is not unlike listening back to a song that I’ve recorded and can’t wait to share with the world, or reading a primitive journal entry from a stained notebook, or even hearing my voice bounce between the Kiss posters on my wall as a child.
This certainly doesn’t mean that I’m quitting my day job, but it does give me a place to shed a little light on what it’s like to be a kid from Springfield, Virginia, walking through life while living out the crazy dreams I had as young musician. From hitting the road with Scream at 18 years old, to my time in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, jamming with Iggy Pop or playing at the Academy Awards or dancing with AC/DC and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, drumming for Tom Petty or meeting Sir Paul McCartney at Royal Albert Hall, bedtime stories with Joan Jett or a chance meeting with Little Richard, to flying halfway around the world for one epic night with my daughters…the list goes on. I look forward to focusing the lens through which I see these memories a little sharper for you with much excitement.
It has been a while since Chicago added a music new venue to it's rotation, the most recent coming to mind is House of Van's in 2017. In February the City of Chicago approved a zoning change that will allow the old Morton Salt Factory to be converted into a music venue!
This new venue is being developed by 16 on Center (of The Empty Bottle, Thalia Hall, and Beauty Bar fame) and R2. In addition to two venues — one thats indoor, one thats outdoor — there may also be riverfront restaurant and shops added later.
Why is this news now? Well the developers plan on keeping the famed Morton Salt sign — sort of. This week, they started the process of removing the current roof and replacing it with a new, modern one. The new roof will have a new, updated Morton Salt logo according to a Block Club Chicago article.
We're looking forward to rocking out by the river soon.
Fear not Chicago! If you missed K.Flay at Riot Fest (shame on you) you'll get another chance soon. That's because she just announced she'll be playing Park West on February 26, 2022 as part of her The Inside Voices / Outside Voices tour!
Tickets and VIP passes are available now on her website. You CAN'T SLEEP on this one! (Get it? Song pun! No? Fine, whatever.)
Although their announcement may have been slightly over shadowed by Metallica playing the Metro on Monday, 101 WKQX has put together one hell of a holiday lineup! This year they're taking over The Aragon Ballroom for 5 days, December 6-10 for The Nights We Stole Christmas and the line up is crazy!
MONDAY DECEMBER 6TH
After seeing this line up, our only question is: Where is the 5-day pass? Like come on, TAKE MY MONEY!
Snag your tickets now if you still can, because this year's shows are sure to sell out, if they haven't already! Tickets available now here. Line up video is below!
HOLD EVERYTHING! Metallica is playing the Metro, TONIGHT!
Announced moments ago on the Metro's social media, getting a ticket will require some old school standing in line with a $20 bill! Tickets can only be purchased in person at the Metro box office, and are first come first serve. They will sell out, thats a guarantee, the question is how soon? (Are you running yet?)
For full event information, head on over to Metro's website
Riot Fest 2021 Day 4: The Flaming Lips, Devo, Slipknot, Machine Gun Kelly, Devo, Facs, Body Count, Anthrax, and K. flay
Photography by Bobby Talamine and Wesley Nott
Writing by Fiza Javid
Riot Fest Day 4 hit a tipping point of festival madness, and the party atmosphere was completely set in stone. With all caution was thrown at the wind, each performance proved that it was the final day to show out before life would resume as normal again.
Body Count's Ice T called the crowd a bunch of pu**ies for not moshing too hard, and the Metal fest was kicked into gear. Their set was immense and watching Ice T effortlessly rock the crowd into a frenzy was beyond unexpected.
What was remarkable was how quickly the mood could go from rage to a joyous 80s upbeat and colorful atmosphere.
On my way to watching Facs, I won the grand prize at Weedmaps and collected a free bandana. I had some deep fried oreos, and took in the fact that people travelled from around the country to be here.
Facs did not give a single fack, if I must be the one to say it. Facs began, with a striking red backdrop. They are a truly original band and are hands down one of Chicago's best bands. Their song "Teenage Hive" was a genuine jam, and they took indie-rock vibes up a notch with their abstract sound and performance.
K. Flay was another effortless joy to behold. She opened her set with "Good Girl" sporting a white wife beater and black shorts, and simply commanded the stage. For performing a song like "Good Girl" her air was purely badass. The crowd was genuinely wanting more when she got to her hit "Blood in the Cut" and finale "My Name Isn't Katherine" and honestly I felt her set was too short.
Then the real rock n roll came in the form of Anthrax. Anthrax began with a "Welcome to the 1970s amphitheater" spokesman, when a timer started ticking and then built up to kick drums and major head banging. 40 years of hair metal, devil horns and teasing the crowds. One guy stood still in the crowd with a suit as a circle pit surrounded him. Flying V guitar and power vocals, and the entire set flew by like the wind. They were the perfect buildup for what was to come, but honestly they could have headlined.
I couldn't talk enough about how groundbreaking Devo was. They opened with a video skit with their manager Red Rooter on an ellyptical in the 70s saying "Are we not men?" It was a Devo dolls commercial, and he continued, "We even got you jumpsuits!
It jumped into him in the future stating "Now we are about as popular as the Delta variant" then imparted some advice, "You look through your glasses, the rest of the world looks at them. Now my biggest regret, Devo," as he continues on his elliptical.
The video was straight out of 80s Germany Kraftwerk, which was definitely their influence. The keyboardist came running out jogging in place and they did "Don't shoot, I'm a Man."
Wearing all black suits, and their sound made me feel like the Berlin Wall hadn't fallen yet. The lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh wore signature glasses and middle part grey hair, but no way was their energy old. Audience members donned the red cone hat. When they finally reached "Whip It" they whipped some of the hats into the crowd.
Next was a transition into another skit about the solar system, and how we are all specks... and then there is "Devo." They costume changed into yellow spacesuits, black belts and it said Devo on them. The keyboardist was now the bassist. The guitarist making robotic movements on stage. They performed until "Mongoloid" until they ripped off their spacesuits and put on monkey masks. They truly converted the audience from dazed confusion to crowdsurfing, to a new-wave loving extravaganza. We all chanted "Are We Not Men?" By the end of it all.
Flaming lips had a very colorful and spacey vibe which was the perfect follow up to Devo, but at the Root's stage. They opened up with "Race for the Prize" and the immediate colorful backstop and showmanship was incredible. From parading around in a bubble suit, perfect choice in the COVID paranoid atmosphere, they also had an inflatable "Fuck Yeah, Riot Fest" balloon. Their props and performance was off the charts, and by the time we made it to "Do You Realize" we realized how much we didn't want this to end. The choice to not make them headline allowed the crowd to truly marvel in their performance without a concern of a curfew.
One of the headliners of the night was Machine Gun Kelly, who immediately struck some controversy with his words. He took a shot at Slipknot's Corey Taylor when he stated "I am so glad I'm not a 50 year old wearing a mask."
MGK was responding to Corey Taylor's statement in January about how certain artists are borrowing their artistry rather than being original, and when it comes to MGK's career, he wasn't wrong. In fact, that kind of constructive criticism is what MGK needs if he wants to be an original artist that doesn't build off of beef and controversy, or being in Pete Davidson's shadow.
MGK, I hate to break it to you, but Slipknot had the main stage for a reason, and deserved loved not flack. They made it there through pure originality and hardship, not by picking fights, not that Corey Taylor would care. Beyond MGK's classless statements, he put on a good show, and drew in a great crowd who lives for this kind of beef. He did originals like "kiss kiss" and covered "Misery Business" by Paramore. By the time he got around to his hit "Bloody Valentine" he was climbing the side of the stage. He delivered exactly what was expected of him.
His music wasn't fully recognized until his infamous beef with Eminem (which was probably a marketing tactic from their label, who knows), and until he started dating Megan Fox. Fans in the audience commented about it almost seems like he wears her like a bracelet, but I've always adored her for her bluntness and intelligence as well as her free agency, so I know she would think any fan's concern of his intentions is a crock of doodle. They are a power couple through and through, and his music has been the best it's ever been. He has taken dramatic risks with his career, is a phenomenal actor, and as long as Eminem worshippers like myself remain past the Rap Devil spiel, I will continue to look forward to the prospect of seeing him live again, while praying that he humbles up a bit. His songs are good enough, but his statements will set him back a ton.
Slipknot put on a life changing performance, and it was honestly one of the greatest performances Riot Fest has ever seen. JBTV was not able to photograph them, but I can describe it. From the TV SCREENS ON THEIR DRUM KITS, to a Goblin man scaring the crowd while holding a fire torch during "Duality." They played all their newer songs, but their second half was all for the love of the first album. I've never seen a crowd scream "People = Shit" or the lyrics of "Surfacing" in my life, and people were so lost in the moment...it was everything.
The night also belonged to their late drummer Joey Jordison, who died peacefully in his sleep on July 26, 2021. He was a legendary drummer known for drumming while hanging upside down and not missing a single beat. The crowd chanted his name to call for an encore. This was truly not the same without him, but all the drumming was still perfect during this set.
From head-banging until their necks were sore, and crowd surfing from all ages, Slipknot not only has the music, but the true cult-like connection that will forever go down in music history as necessary words to the masses. They are one of the last bands to ever truly speak from unconscious pain, and that alone is pure music therapy.
I could not begin to touch on everything, but then this will be a dissertation. This Riot Fest was notorious and unforgettable.
Until next year!
Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television
Riot Fest 2021 Day 3: Run the Jewels, Joywave, Vic Mensa, Rise Against, Gogol Bordello, and Dropkick Murphys
Photography by Bobby Talamine and Wesley Nott
Writing by Fiza Javid
Oh the joy of roaming the grounds, surrounded by walking human billboards for rock bands. What a great way to discover music.
Riot Fest entered Saturday and slipped into a pure Rage Fest, filled with star-studded performances from an incredible array of genres within the rock and rap atmosphere. The exploration of European influence brought out the ethnic roots in everyone, and I've never seen more shirt waving and "titanic dance scene" stomping in my life.
The glory it be to the people and me.
The day didn't start off that way. Before the drunken shenanigans of Gogol Bordello, Joywave hit the stage with a setlist of indie vibes, and they never disappoint. They opened with "Obsession" and "It's a Trip!" but I have to say the "Dangerous" cover by JBTV Alumni Big Data was also a real treat. Daniel Armbruster is so naturally cool, and even if they played a five hour set, it would be a wave of joy. They ended with "Destruction" and they truly live up to their name.
Les SavyFav truly took it up a notch and became a major Les Crowdfav. Tim Harrington stripped down to his skivvies from his Chicago shirt, holding a small bouquet of colorful fake flowers, covered in glitter and wearing a headband....the showmanship was off the charts. His song "The Sweat Descends" became figurative and literal in this moment.
It was one of those moments when all you can do is stare and revel in the experience that is being created, and the way Tim interacted with the audience definitely differed from the common "play through our songs and leave" perspective typically carried by rock bands. This band borders on Tenacious D theatrics, but the Art Punk sound adds an element never before felt before.
While yesterday's review covered nostalgia, by no means should we ever wish to truly enter a time machine and experience music back then. During the 90s, Chicago was notorious for having weed legalization protests at music festivals, so to see the first Riot Fest where crowds can enjoy the sale of THC gummies, I was amazed. This got me reflecting on the shifting atmosphere of the crowd, which was more laid back and enjoying the music, rather than having an all out mosh pit every chance they got.
It would be great to see a study on how the sale of THC has affected the entire vibe of the crowd. Still, even for a rock festival, it was nice to see everyone so mellowed out with big smiles on their face.
JBTV had a photo session with Ganser and Vic Mensa in the press area, and it was great to catch their music along with these moments. Both being excellent examples of Chicago artistry and the diverse range of music from this city, Ganser's post-punk vibes to Vic Mensa's spoken word rap style, it communicates so much about the perspectives that Chicago has to offer. Ganser did songs like "Avoidance" and "Marsh" and they were solid.
I had not seen Vic Mensa perform since he began in 2009 with Kids These Days, and he continues to do big things these days.
Back then, his bandmate Lane Beckstrom was in my Guitar class at Lane Tech, and we couldn't have been more proud to see Lane on Conan with Vic. I would see pictures of Vic everywhere back them with a ton of my classmates on MySpace and Facebook, and no one knew what the future would bring.
His former bandmates formed Marrow. Vic went on to work with Kanye West and Chance the Rapper, making a name in the Chicago scene.
These were my late high-school, early college days, where Kid's These Days performed at UIC's Spark in the Park Fest in 2012, and since it had been so long and I did not give myself a chance to listen to his music, I was worried fame might have made him lose his touch. I must say, I was floored. He is far from out of touch, and that is precisely why he is still in style. His spoken word, his message, his charisma, and his vocal performance as a rapper hasn't aged a day. In fact it's gotten significantly better. Even with all the success I think he's vastly underrated.
I adore Kanye west, appreciate Drake and also Chance the Rapper (particularly because Taylor Bennet is a 6x JBTV Alumni), but Vic? While he's a Chicago staple, and the crowd showed out, his success is only getting started. He performed at Lollapalooza recently with JBTV alumni Grandson for the Suicide Squad soundtrack, and his career is only going to go up. His songs "U Mad" to his 93Punx song "Fistfight!" he is not only a renegade rapper but a renegade punk rocker. I am a hands down fan now and for good.
It was impossible to cover everyone, but more notable mentions were Rise Against, who put on a spectacular show with all their hits. They performed on a set of box TVs and rocked out. This also includes Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Rancid, The Bollweavies, and Mayday Parade.
Gogol Bordello's set always wreaks of alcoholism, and that's the point. His Gypsy-Romani influence is an absolute hoot and a holler. With the intensive violin solos, dynamic range of instruments and musicianship. The crowd was drunk and happy to "Alcohol" and "Start Wearing Purple."
By all the crazy lines for food, Mayday Parade who quickly got drowned out by Rise against, and it was a terrible idea to make them go on at the same time.
Dropkick Murphys was absolutely groundbreaking. They With their openers "The State of Massachussetts" to "Worker's Song" and their smash hit "I'm Shipping Up to Boston", it is enough to make the entire audience want to embrace Celtic music for a lifetime. Throughout their set they had beautiful backdrops of lyrics along with landscapes of Ireland, and it was a traveling music lover's dream. They make you want to head off to Temple Bar in Dublin for a pint, smash the glass and start dancing.
Run the Jewels ran the entire night. EI-P and Killer Mike commanded the stage like legends, through their tracks "Legend Has It" to "Stay Gold" they echoed through the crowd with their glorious light backdrop, the finger-gun and fist floating set pieces, couples with the experience of their music, it was pure ecstasy.
Their beats were in tact, and they closed their set with "Lie, Cheat, Steal" and "Close Your Eyes" before coming out for an encore, which was the biggest treat. "Pulling the Pin" and "Run the Jewels" definitely made me wishing they could have stayed much longer, because they made it an absolute blast.
Until tomorrow - Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television
Riot Fest 2021 Day 2: Amigo the Devil, Meg Myers, Radkey, Fishbone, Living Colour, Sublime with Rome, The Smashing Pumpkins + Metro Clip from the JBTV Vault
Photography by Bobby Talamine and Wesley Nott
Writing by Fiza Javid
It smells like Riot Fest season, Chicago, and after missing you at the start of the new decade, this need to rock out boiling inside us has turned all the way up to 11.
We first caught Amigo the Devil, later at the press area, but first on stage. Seeing a Amigo the Devil himself, with a name like that, as I am completely new to his music, I expected an all out metal band. I was pleasantly surprised to find the man wielding his acoustic guitar like a sword, doing a Jimmy Buffet cover of "Pina Coladas" and still very metal titles to original songs like "Another Man's Grave" and "I Hope Your Husband Dies"
This perspective is what makes Amigo the Devil truly the most original artist of today's rock age thus far. He is defying all expectations on the polished acoustic guitar player and the sound expected from a title like "I Hope Your Husband Dies". The crowds heads were swaying back and forth in peace. He truly is a comical, self proclaimed "fat Dave Grohl" with the accent and all to follow, but honestly Amigo, you don't need to be in Grohl's shadow, you are a dark-minded force of your own.
The funniest moment is that he momentarily tried to have a heavy rock riff, halted it, and said "Eh.....we can try things, right?"
Keep experimenting, we loved you.
It's impossible for me to describe Meg Myers without noting that I was speechless too.
JBTV alumni Meg Myers came out with a Wonder Woman style backdrop, a hypnotic one piece, braids and a ukulele. The ukulele matched her outfit, and I must say, I have never seen any performer make any song with a ukulele sound so piercing. Her vocals are so ephemeral and hypnotic. It borders on erotic, but settles on melancholic. I have dug everywhere for the song she opened with, and I cannot find it anywhere. However, the lyrics will stay with me for eternity, and its rare an artist can invoke that kind of encoded memory into a fan unless they have one in a million talent...and she did that with a ukulele and a mic!
The lyrics were "I'm sensitive, I'm double-edged. Feeling more than I intend....See your spirit set me free" if anyone wants to comment below and help me figure it out. Meg also gave major Alanis Morissette vibes with her vocals, but honestly this song gives Alanis a run for her money (I love you too Alanis). She also did her hit song "Sorry" which beautifully echoed throughout the festival.
JBTV Alumni Radkey opened with "Evil Doer" and their solos and rock energy is exactly what Riot Fest fans needed. This is their second Riot Fest, and hearing them do "Dark Black Makeup" and "Underground" was such a thrill.
I had the pleasure to meet them in the press area, and they are truly wholesome, but don't let their kindness fool you into thinking they can't go all out on stage. The crowd gave them the love back and I wanted so badly to stage dive to their closing song "Romance Dawn."
Went off to Fishbone, where the rest of the day felt like major throwbacks.
While we all baked in the sun. Chicago being this hot in September is a pleasant surprise, minus the impending climate crisis of course. Fishbone started a little late, but they are groovy, energetic and timeless band that time doesn't even matter. They could have played the rest of the day and I would have been delighted. They played through "“The Reality Of My Surroundings” to commemorate its 30th anniversary, and I could not believe the reality of my surrounding this impeccable moment. From the horns to the drums and the guitar, where do we begin? The costumes? I realized that with music like theirs, they invented a time machine. They threw us right back into the 80s.
On the way to Living Colour I caught Pinegrove, who was in the middle of mentioning Democratic Socialism, with a relaxing voice midst all the chaos. He was singing "Orange" and beyond their liberal socialist views, which the band does not shy away from expressing, I appreciated this meditative musicianship coupled with the free speech. Whether you agree with them or not, they are good.
Next up was Living Colour. They got right into it as they shouted "CHICAGOLAND!"
The crowd adored them, particularly when they performed "Type Lyrics." From "Cult of Personality" to "Ignorance is Bliss" coupled with the neon suit, it was a pure show. Feeling the riffs reverberate through the crowd was pure rock therapy, making me think they should change their names from living colour to living sound.Cult of personality . Living colour, they are "The best in the world"
During their performance I had the chance to catch up with Matthew Churney, a notorious Chicago fan known for his dance moves in the crowd, his shoulder and knee pads, and his message. This man has been a professional fan for decades and you will find him dancing everywhere. He is proof that even fans can make a major statement.
I had a chance to record some of his PSA for the festival-goers.
If you truly want to know what the 90s vibe was all about, you need to know the difference between a "mook" and a "midriff." The "midriff" is the branding style popularized by Britney Spears, to describe the bordering child but sexy character she played on stage, while the "mook" is akin to Chaplin's "tramp," a jobless symbol of trying to get by. What made the "mook" unique was that he was a shrug wearing pot smoker, jobless, on his parent's couch (like Devon Sawa's character in his film Idle Hands), but their trademark was that being "obnoxious" was their brand. Think Blink-182. Heres the catch though...none of these were insults. If you were a 90s kids like me, you embraced both styles.
This was the vibe i was looking for as I came to see Sublime with Rome, and it was exactly what this 90s kids could have hoped for. The crowd sang along to "Smoke Two Joints" to "Pawn Shop," all the way to the radio hits like "Santeria" and "What I've Got."
If you really want to know what made Sublime so special, look no further than the fans. The crowd broke into what I call "mellow mosh pits" created by now stoned adults, and there was even a fan who flew all the way from Chile for this momentous occasion. He pulled out a permanent marker and gave all the audience members surrounding him a temporary tattoo, including myself.
My favorite line from Rome Ramirez was "Let's listen to stupid live music together," while original member Eric Wilson said, "It's not stupid it's political." This is a fact that tends to go over everyone's heads due to their "get high" vibes" but the song "April 29, 1992" is precisely what Riot Fest needed to reflect on. The song refers to the date of the Los Angeles Riots, and the comments for the song on YouTube during the George Floyd Protests were "who is here after hitting the streets." This song has become a historical time piece and people rarely know it!
That wasn't the craziest party...there were 10 year olds crowdsurfing, and Rome had to stop and say "Protect the children over there! You guys are the best."
Motion City Soundtrack "My Favorite Accident" and a crowd favorite "Everything is Alright," but they were more than alright! The sea of crowd surfing coupled with their cult following, they have continued to stand the test of time. They also performed with Radkey at Concord Music Hall. They ended their set with "The Future Freaks Me Out" and who could blame them. While the future seems freaky right now, they know how to make it exactly the opposite of that. They are truly a group of gems.
Notable mentioned are definitely JBTV alumni Lawrence Arms and Coheed & Cambria. During Coheed and Cambria's set it started pouring rain, and lightning was striking all around the festival. It was almost as though they rocked so hard that the devil was being summoned. The lightning only added to their incredible showmanship.
Still, the night belonged to JBTV Alumni The Smashing Pumpkins.
From an Orchestral open, Billy Corgan, who owns Chicago music fans hearts, at this point, came out like Emperor Palpatine, if Palpatine owned a tea shop and drew hearts on his face. They have come a long way since their 90s JBTV Metro performance during Siamese Dream, with "The Colour of Love," "Tonight, Tonight," "Today," "Eye" with Meg Myers, "1979," a live debut of "Ramona", what a spectacular show for them at home.
Billy Corgan is legendary for Chicago and considering all the incredible 90s artists who have passed on, seeing him on stage is a remarkable relief for rock music. No matter the opinions that exist, The Smashing Pumpkins always know how to put on a show. Fans from the audience flew in from Portland, Oregon, among other places around the country for this very moment, and JBTV couldn't be more proud of you guys.
I'll close this blog up with a clip from our 90s Metro show of The Smashing Pumpkins.
Until tomorrow, keep on rockin'!
Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television
Riot Fest 2021: Thursday Preview Party Featuring: Morrissey, Alkaline Trio, Patti Smith & Her Band, Joyce Manor, WDRL & Kristeen Young
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing by Bobby Talamine and Fiza Javid
A Gift from Riot Fest to all ticket holders for the three day event:
An extra day, with a chill and mellow vibe, featuring headliner Morrissey, along with Patti Smith and her band as highlights through the evening.
And so it starts (refreshingly), entering the hallowed Riot Fest grounds, taking in the scenery, the new layout with the two main stages- (instead of the Riot and Roots stages situated right next to each other, they're now interspersed about a football field apart from each other, opposite ends of the main part of the grounds).
Have to say the smaller crowd on a late afternoon through the evening on a Thursday was a nice vibe, with not much to deal with jam packed crowds wise, like I assume will be Friday through Sunday, and having to logistically mend your way from one stage to the next depending on the band and timing and such. A win win in my opinion, saying hello to the mighty fine staff of Riot Fest, catching up, giving hugs and giving support to one another going forward, especially during a pandemic.
As for the bookings for the preview party, starting with Morrissey and working down the list:
I'm not here for this short review to lay waste to Morrissey and his political stances and occasionally opinionated rants. I'm here to discuss his performance, and only his performance.
Outside of the surprising and last minute changes to the press photographers and the new location to photograph the show- (what was supposed to be the sides of the stage - take your pick- ended up being the herd of photographers sanctioned and plunked in the middle / dividing runway, with not much wiggle room to maneuver to say the least.
Cumbersome and lumber-some for the next three songs- Morrissey releasing the hounds of "How Soon is Now" to start the show, as he's done now for the past couple of years performance wise.
Lost count how many times I got dinged in the head telephoto wise by my photographer brethren, but that's part of the game with Morrissey's management making last minute decisions on where to place us, like it was a game to see how tough we are, and can we get the shot.
At least that's what was going through my head prior to Morrissey starting the show.
Well, I'm here to fight, stand my ground, and prove the Morrissey management that I can get the shot, and like so many other photographers corralled in the runway divider- we're gonna produce. Chicago press photographers are a tough lot- not easily intimidated.
As for Morrissey, looking jovial and ever the ageless crooner he aspires to be, he looked cool in his spiffy blazer, with a New York Dolls T shirt underneath, still whipping his microphone chord around like a bullwhip, taking some liberties with the refrain from : "How Soon is Now"- "I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does", and adding some convincing "Heys" and "Yeahs" immediately after to prove the point convincingly.
The song still carries weight and significance- a club favorite from back in the days of its release and beyond, really not a song in The Smiths and Morrissey's singing/ songwriting realm- a leap into hypnotic waves of sonic guitar, courtesy of Johnny Marr, and added oomph with Morrissey's detached view of things with his singing and meaning.
In other words- A Smiths song with risks. As for live, without Johnny Marr and co, it still holds and packs a wallop.
Then off we go into "Irish Blood, English Heart", from Morrissey's release "You are the Quarry" back in 2002, and into "Alma Matters" from "Maladjusted".
Have to say Morrissey is covering some serious solo ground here, like performances of yore, and he still sounds refreshing, as does his band. Morrissey's setlist, 18 songs in total, cover the gamut, but have to say walking the grounds after the onslaught of the first three songs packed in like sardines, it was nice to soak in song 5, "Everyday is Like Sunday", a solo favorite of mine from Morrissey, and soaking it all in, vibes and all
A pleasant and refreshing headlining performance from Morrissey, have to tell ya.
And to quickly bounce to Patti Smith and Her Band:
She never gets old. Patti and her longtime band mate Lenny Kaye are just riveting to not only photograph time and time again, but also convincingly cool with a message that's always so righteous and forthright.
Even fighting through the late afternoon blazing sun, which Patti made mention of, and commanding the faithful with "People Have the Power" to start things off- her 10 song set still trail-blazes, still moves you to your core, still commands your attention.
To hear later gold with "Dancing Barefoot", and "Because the Night" and ending with "Land/ Gloria"- I'm refreshed and rejuvenated.
Patti Smith and her band- Tirelessly and resoundingly the class of upper echelon rock n' roll, and with a Riot Fest crowd swaying and dancing in place, and cool, and rather mellow. The whole vibe during Patti's set was all of the above, like you didn't want her performance to end.
Matt Skiba, Dan Adriano and Derek Grant of Chicago's very own Alkaline Trio made most of their time performance wise, banging out short and concise anthems from front to back, with little fanfare, but with lots of performance chops and swagger, just like you'd expect from these guys.
As for Joyce Manor, led by Barry Johnson from Torrance California, they trailblazed as well with their 45 minute set in the late afternoon sun, with their emo/ punk rock songs so matter of fact and high octane.
WDRL, (We Don't Ride Llamas), all the way from Austin Texas, had a unique charm to them, still developing their sound with genres of music criss-crossing each other, and all four band members clearly enjoying their moment on the main stage, smiles throughout.
Opener Kristeen Young, appearing solo with just a synth and sampled keyboard, held court with a cabaret style and vibe, and blessed with a vocal range that can wail.
As much as she's a commanding kind of performer, performing in the late afternoon sun has its drawbacks, like Nick Cave for instance, and could have easily upped the ante had she performed after sunset, with a moody light show to back her up. Overall though, a terrific set.
So there ya go- Preview of Riot Fest now history and noteworthy, with the three full boat days awaiting.
- JBTV Music Television
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing by Fiza Javid
Here we are at day three of Pitchfork Music Festival 2021, and while the audience was exhausted, we were in for major surprises throughout the day. The first began with Special Interest from New Orleans, which through all the intense fatigue of the pilgrimage that is making it to day three, Alli Logout, the vocals of this punk band, hit us with a bang.
She was immediately fierce, industrial, and a dark wave synth, igniting a mosh pit as powerful as her vocals. The sound was heavy and transfixing, and her voice boomed to the crowd. Sure, we all scrambled to get to day three, it's hot and exhausting, until this band woke me up. She was the perfect rock n roll vibe, and she was humping the floor wedge, sending the audience on a frenzy.
She definitely is on my top 5 for this day. The day continued on with Oso Oso and Andy Shauf, who had a lovely set, definition of lo-fi.
Flying Lotus' EDM brought the noise with a DJ set, with incredible poise. This is what festival vibes is all about. As he finished his set, Thundercat came on and they gave each other big hugs. What was incredible about that moment is due to the fact that Flying Lotus mentored Thundercat through conceptual music and art, and to see them both on stage is an artistic feat, and they deserve all the recognition.
Mariah the Scientist? What can I say, she is another example of incredible music that fits the mold, and she gave the audience a lot to appreciate.
Throughout this day I was torn. Why? Two words: Yves Tumor. Yves was among the top 3 performances of the entire festival. Yves was KEY, huge, and as I was watching backstage, Yves was preparing for their set. Decked out with a Slipknot shirt, 6 feet tall, hot pants, thigh high boots, a fur jacket...becoming more renegade rock n roll as the moments passed. Yves was fronted by a full out rock band, and this is what got me. Timing.
Why on earth, at 5:15, was Thundercat scheduled the same time as Yves Tumor? Who can a photographer cover? Both were incredible.
I decided to photograph Yves Tumor first, and I think this was the correct move.
Here was the moment we were all waiting for, and boy were we waiting. Erykah Badu was running late, but thankfully we didn't wait too long. The time passed was transfixing and cool. She arrived at the Green Stage, which was around the time Flying Lotus ended their set. This made the crowd more anxious....until she arrived.
And you could hear a pin drop.
Everyone calmed down and was thrilled for her. Fans holding up pictures of her signature look, as she shined on stage. It was so silent and peaceful that the audience could hear the locusts and trees from afar. The audience was completely chill. That moment was everything and I began to take a deep breath and reflect.
Here we were, in this moment, still in the middle of a pandemic, and for a moment we all felt, "everything is going to be okay, even if it's just for these 20 minutes." She opened with a discreet video of bumble bees, since she's an avid environmental activist and she she also sees Veganism as the definition of soul.
I also thought back to Mavis Staples, who is more gospel, and was just as cool in 1964 as she is now. She and Erykah are timeless no matter the age. Erykah Badu exuded a world of goodness and empowerment. The ten gallon hat, the ornament tree, all the jewelry, and it is all on purpose. It's deliberately done for the art. The first picture of her is the moment she entered the stage. She turned her head right and just stayed in that pose to look at Pitchfork.
It was such a powerful entrance. She was finally present but she was ever so present, and boy was it a gift. She was so naturally cool.
She took a few steps and stopped to look around. She's a natural. Ephemeral. She is here with a statement. She is art, isn't fooling herself, she doesn't need social media or videos but she is a statement and a true artist. The way she stood still and looked at the crowd, only her head felt like a musical spell.
Through her originals, what was incredible was her cover as well. She covered "Hello It's Me", originally by Todd Rundgren in the early 70s. Rundgren himself was a very influential singer songwriter, unknown back then, and he stood out as a white guy attempting R&B. As Erykah sang that song, I knew it was that song immediately. It didn't matter who wrote that song, or race, she did it for the music. Race transcends all music, and she added more soul to it. That is not a knock on Rundgren though. It's a continuation of an incredible song, and he would have loved it, that this powerful woman covered this song. Major highlight of the festival. That moment was an ode to how music transcends time.
Other songs included "Soldier," "Love of My Life" (an ode to Hip Hop), "Appletree" and "Mr. Telephone Man." Among her finale songs were "Bag Lady" and "Tyrone," and again, it was such a transcending experience that the crowd was immersed in the beauty of the music.
I couldn't be more grateful to witness such a powerful end to Pitchfork's festival season.
Until next year,
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television
Pitchfork Music Festival 2021 - Day Two Recap: St. Vincent, Kim Gordon, Bartees Strange, Maxo Kream and more
Writing and Photography by: Bobby Talamine
Pitchfork in the sweltering sun with high energy sets from Bartees Strange, Rapper Maxo Kream, Kim Gordon, and headliner St. Vincent.
Unlike yesterday for day One of Pitchfork, and writing a review that was all over the place, thought I'd bring things back to normal, and discuss the headliner St. Vincent first, and go from there.
Annie Clark (St. Vincent) was without a doubt the most anticipated set of the three day festival, and her audience frothing with excitement in regards to her production in relation to her latest release from back in May- "Daddy's Home". Yes, the critical acclaim for "Daddy's Home" was positive, with most top notch reviewers praising "Daddy's Home' and at the underlying sophistication and overall vibe of the album, worthy of discovery with repeated listens. But for this guy, having followed the career of St, Vincent from way back when- I got stoked when Annie gave a couple interviews to hype up "Daddy's Home', and stating that she found herself immersed in seventies soul and R&B jams, finding herself listening and absorbing lots of Sly & The Family Stone in particular.
That made me stop right there, bringing up Sly and his amazing catalog from the seventies, thinking that Annie was going to incorporate that vibe with "Daddy's Home", assuming the album would be a full on party anthem / trailblazing/ rip roaring affair, as Sly was so capable of recording at a moment's notice. And then the album came out, and upon first and second listens- it sounded so sleepy to me. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.
However, I do agree with most reviewers, that it does has its charms with repeated listens, and stellar musicianship and songwriting.
And now bounce forward to St Vincent's headlining set on day two of Pitchfork- and the build up to Annie performing on the Green Stage at 8:30 pm, to play an hour and twenty minute set... and questions.
Can she top herself from her "I Am a Lot Like You! Tour" from back in 2018-19? What kind of vibe and fashions will she incorporate from the seventies? From lighting and backdrops from seventies productions- (Like Sonny & Cher, or The Midnight Special)?
And her setlist, and blending in previous songs with a clearly different vibe and mood from "Daddy's Home"? Is this even necessary to discuss, since It's St Vincent, and you already know damn well that Annie doesn't F around when it comes to sophistication and production.
All of this was laid to rest with me, and have to say her show was satisfying and gratifying.
How's this for a barn burner opening volley of three songs- she opens with "Digital Witness", into "Down", from "Daddy's Home", into "Actor Out of Work", and all three are meshed and blendered up 1970's style- sounding particular, but with a whole new vibe and feel. So yes, I'm convinced yet again, that Annie Clark is without peer in regards to a shapeshifter of sound, and consistently re-inventing herself, over and over and over, like David Bowie over the course of his illustrious career. So yes, her production sucked in a lot of the juice that was so seventies, which was a good thing, with her background singers slinking out to the sensual intro beat from stage left, then settling front and center, followed by what looked like Annie herself, blonde wig n' all- and from my vantage point, was completely fooled by this photographer, (the others too), with the barrage of shutters going off, and everyone assuming it was Annie, only it wasn't Annie.
Annie came out and stood on a little podium, looking so slyly at the fake Annie, and once everyone settled into their respective places- off we go into a trailblazing 18 song set that meshed and melded and gelled. Annie, ever so sexy with seventies makeup / wig and overall vibe, wearing a sporty and tight black jacket with the word "Daddy" speckled on the back, and with an exposed black bra underneath.
Simply the air of classiness and cool, her throwback direction so well and intact for this show at Pitchfork. Flawless harmonies, a whipsmart backing band to punch through the funk- inspired set, tight choreography throughout, and further providing humor and slight discord (with a wink) to Pitchfork, and their review of "Daddy's Home, which gave her release a "6.8", enticing the crowd to join her in the WTF- but done elegantly I might add.
So there you have it- a headlining set from St Vincent front and center, and oh so memorable.
As for getting to Pitchfork in time for Bartees Strange, who went on at 1:45pm- have to say Bartees was one of the most anticipated performers for Saturday as well. This guy is light years ahead of his time cool. From his band, his songs, to his demeanor and guitar playing- and even before he played a note he said how much he was looking forward to playing Pitchfork- like weeks and weeks ago, and you can tell he was excited as all get out.
Divino Nino in the blazing afternoon sun was cool as well- a vibe that meshed like Miami via Mexico via Columbia alternative vibe with some retro and Latin grooves added in for good measure.
Then off I go to catch the rapper Maxo Kream, who certainly knows how to get the dustbowl of mosh going at a moment's notice, even going shirtless two songs in from the sweltering heat, and mixing things up like a heavyweight boxer you don't want to F with.
As for Katie Crutchfield and her band Waxahatchee- the delicate vibes and feel on a hot summer day were transfixing, with her audience so silent and observant of her singing / songwriting.
Made it in time to catch Faye Webster's set from the Blue Stage, with her singing and mid tempo song selections a pleasant surprise on this Saturday afternoon.
And as for Ty Seagull and his Freedom Band- He never disappoints- incorporating mountains of feedback and twisted distortion throughout his set, bringing up the vibe and feel of Matt Pike's band Sleep, or better yet, Mike Scheidt of Yob- which is a good thing in my opinion.
Sonic Youth's legendary Kim Gordon commanded attention with her set as well, ever looking the part of the fairy godmother of alternative and indie, with a set meshed in wicked coolness, and a look that was the female version of Iggy Pop- a don't F with me attitude- take it or leave it. Such a highlight for me on Saturday was Kim Gordon, and all things badass.
Angel Olsen was a delight as well, going on just before St Vincent's set, and her awesome and tight-knit band not the worse for wear, playing together like their was no pandemic, and touring throughout.
That's saying something, along with adding a cello and violinist to flush out her sound as well, let alone the underlying and poignant bass grooves from Emily Elhaj.
And that upper register of Angel Olsen...gives you goosebumps. So cool to see Sharon Van Etten come out for Angel's last song of the evening and sing alongside her as well.
Such a convincingly awesome Day Two from Pitchfork. Now off to cover day three as well.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Writing and Photography by: Bobby Talamine
Welcome back Pitchfork Music Festival Chicago - we missed you.
Right off the bat, I have to make it clear to you that I only got two hours of sleep- found myself nodding off at 2:30 am at my laptop attempting to write a recap. Not a good sign for me for two more days to come, and the excitement of covering so many quality acts that is typically booked for Pitchfork year in and year out. So this review will be all over the place, kinda like Black Midi's set from Friday, where they were hurling out static and conceptual noise one minute, then blast furnace era King Crimson riffs the next, into Math Rock, and so on.
Hard to keep up with these guys, which makes you want to see them perform live again. To start their set, out came a full couch, then a rolling three piece suit cart with various clothing attached, and also a fake plastic plant in front of the drum kit.
What can you assess from that- we've got surprises in store for the next 50 minutes.
Bumped into Geordie Greep, their guitarist and vocalist about an hour after his set, still in his three piece suit and shades, and still soaked from head to toe.
Yeah, that's right- temps on the Pitchfork grounds on mid afternoon on Friday, with blazing unobstructed sun all day, equals temps hovering around 87 degrees or so.
I bring up Black Midi right off the bat because it was in my opinion, one of the highlights from day one for me. All you had to do was look at the manic and pogoing crowd to give you an indication- the dust cloud over in front of the main stage was getting intense.
Another highlights from day one before headliner Phoebe Bridgers took the stage:
I felt bad for Avey Tare and the boys- what with still the late afternoon sun beating down on them, and not performing at night like I usually see them, where their visuals become front and center, equal to their transfixing sounds. Nevertheless, audio wise, they produce an other-wordly and sophisticated mix, even with Geologist bringing out a Hurdy Gurdy a couple songs into their set to add more wayward coolness.
And to start day one for me: local band Dehd, a three piece, fronted by bassist and lead singer Emily Kempf, ever looking the part of punk fashionista, with the vocal chops and stage presence to prove it. Their set was forty five minutes in length, but it could've been so much more, what with steady drumming from Eric McGrady and manic guitar from Jason Bella.
Philadelphia based Hop Along, performing at 3:20 in the afternoon had a cool folk leaning and wailing sound, fronted by bandleader Frances Quinlan. Their set had a light as air vibe throughout, and yet there's an intensity underpinning everything with them and about them, which was cool.
How about from the Blue Stage from the southern end of the festival grounds, with none other that Ela Minus. Working from a platform with a couple samplers and synths- her sound and overall presence was captivating and dark and chill throughout her set.
Somehow she's been lumped in description with Industrial Music- and in my opinion, her sound and mystique is anything but.
Ela Minus is more drenched in Darkwave and Dark Synthpop, with some Trance added for good measure, allowing Ela to leave her podium of synths and sway, while transfixed to the beats. Definitely Ela Minus was again one of the highlights for me from day one.
So glad to see Mathew and Eleanor Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces back in the fold- it seems like forever since we saw them last- like ten years ago I believe, and their sound- still on fire, with Eleanor front and center, backed by two drummers and an additional keyboardist, which only amped up their attack that much more.
The Fiery Furnaces- again, one of the highlights and most anticipated performances from day one.
Following them, we had Kelly Lee Owens from the Blue Stage, a Welsh producer and Musician, cloaked at first in a long black raincoat with a hoodie, which she brandished quickly to show a tight-fitting body suit with mosaic designs, exemplifying her overall vibe and sound. Ethereal beats and mixes permeated throughout her set, adding to a transfixing mood, with most of her music allowing her to sway to song after song and her danceable grooves.
Brooklyn based Big Thief, fronted by the ever chill Adrienne Lenker, held court with her bandmates for an hour of captivating and quality lo-fi vibes, with the occasional and sophisticated guitar flourishes from Buck Meek.
How about the coolness and mellow rap style slash trance from Korean- American Yaeji- so stylish and chill, closing out the Blue Stage for the evening with somber and dreamy coolness.
And finally, the headliner Phoebe Bridgers from the Green Stage, with Phoebe and her bandmates walking out onstage wearing Halloween one- piece skeleton bones pajamas, which seems to be her performing outfit as of late from previous shows. Phoebe, all smiles throughout, with an enraptured crowd reciting every lyric to every song alongside her.
The last time I felt that vibe and kismet between crowd and transfixed audience was witnessing Billie Eilish back in the day, in the late afternoon at Lollapalooza, and also the rabid fan base of Lana Del Ray as well.
Now that's saying something, commanding an audience like that, with little fanfare, just terrific songwriting that sends a distinct message, with a keen sense of comfort and solace permeating throughout her set. The open book visuals behind Phoebe from the gigantic LED screen were extraordinary and finely detailed, adding a sophistication to compel emotions with serious songs all the while showcasing some serious craftsmanship and panache.
Her latest release "Punisher" was highlighted throughout her set, worthy of attention and performing live since the pandemic thwarted that chance back in 2020.
Have to say I left the festival grounds last night taking a deep breath and realizing all is good in the indie and alternative music worlds.
Thank you Pitchfork- can't wait for days two and three.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Writing and Photography by: Bobby Talamine
Pritzker Pavilion - Millennium Park Chicago
What a welcome return to Chicago with Jeff Tweedy and Wilco, along with special guest and co- headliner Sleater-Kinney. We can all breathe a sigh of relief to actually attend an event of significance- albeit outdoors at the gorgeous Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park Chicago.
How significant- with two awesome and co- headlining bands? None other than Marty Lennartz from WXRT Chicago- Introducing Wilco to the stage, stated as such at how much he was so looking forward to this special show and getting back to some kind of normalcy, witnessing great live music, with two special bands and getting communal with like minded folk.
Marty meant it - all from the heart- no script.
And if that wasn't enough- Jeff Tweedy of Wilco chimed in as well, after their second song, stating: "WE missed this. WE missed that. But WE definitely missed this."
And the audience laughed out loud at the comedic sentiment- from the heart like Marty Lennartz, but with a joyous laugh at all things that got us to our current state of affairs.
And to have this show at Pritzker close out their summer tour- that too brought out the performances as well- with Jeff and Sleater-Kinney all smiles from my vantage point, along with lead guitarist Nels Cline, who usually stoic by nature and by- the- book- walks out on stage bowing with hands held in prayer to his guitar spot perch, and receiving the loud and joyous applause, and also all smiles in reciprocation.
That kind of introduction makes you feel good all over, and looking out at the vastness of the crowd- all jubilant and excited and standing and stomping their feet, even before a note has been played...man oh man- you stand there like the band and soak it all in.
And as far as the actual show- let's just bounce back and forth between the two headliners to give you an idea of the excitement and overall positive feel goods throughout.
Because when you think of it, both bands have foundational members, both bands have terrific musicianship, both bands have a vast catalog of songs to pick and choose from, and both bands have had their fare share of tumultuousness and have come out the other side- somewhat unscathed.
Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker of Sleater- Kinney: throughout their set, they looked like and felt like they had a blast being up onstage and performing to a raucous crowd, which was provoked by Carrie two songs in, when she motioned the audience to come forward and party close to the stage, since she noticed there was no pit barricade set up at all, making this photographer get boxed like the other five photographers to get some decent shots for the first three songs of their set.
It wasn't as bad as I expected- mostly jubilant fans surrounded me and were dancing in place, singing to Carrie and Corin and reciting every lyric throughout.
And the fans were allowed to stay there for Sleater's entire set, making it feel like a club set at the venerated Metro Chicago from back in the day.
As for Sleater Kinney's set: 19 songs in total, even with a guest appearance from none other than Fred Armisen towards the end of their set, standing next to the keyboard player on a riser and banging out a beat on a tambourine.
Their set- opening with "High in the Grass", and bolting into "Hurry on Home" and then into "Price Tag"- a one- two- three punch of volatile fun, with Carrie maniacally shredding notes at a fevered pace.
The band has expanded a bit since the last time through town, with three guitarists in total banging and clanging off one another, enhancing their sound, flushing out their sound, and adding a dimension of ping pong craziness which harked back to their chaotic and crazy younger days.
Sleater's set was like this throughout, with a fierce commitment to showmanship along with brash interpretations to elevate the songs to heightened po- going frenzy.
Have to say I was transfixed throughout, as when their set dug deeper, with songs such as "Path of Wellness" and "Worry with You" being highlights, let alone the amped up "Entertain" to close out their set.
Entertain? Indeed. In spades.
As far as Wilco's set- why not bring out Carrie and Corin to sing backup vocal right off the bat, with the song "A Shot in the Arm"- both looking so happy to perform it with Jeff and the boys, giddy and having a blast stage left / audience right.
And then into "Random Name Generator"- a song with such swing and energy, made more poignant and refined with cool from Nels and his guitar fills, intertwined with the tweaked and awesome yin and yang notes from Jeff.
All smiles these two- stated again, and such a pleasure to see these two cast of characters having a blast trading notes with one another, barreling through their catalog of awesomeness.
"Love is Everywhere" into "Via Chicago"- again a momentous moment of classiness and swing, and outright shock and awe- with pummeling backbeats worthy of more hard rock, and yet polished nice and clean when played by the Wilco participants.
Drummer Glenn Kotche looked like he was having a blast throughout the set, with unbalanced and wayward hits that mixed in nicely to whichever song you so choose, as if making a statement time and time again that Wilco's catalog of songs are meant for interpretation and most of all improvisation.
Everything about this special night to close out the tour in Chicago was so warm and inviting, with Wilco's audience at one with the band, and reciprocating in kind, all the way up to and into the encore, with "The Late Greats" and "Outtasite (Outta Mind)" to close out their set.
As for the future- going forward with this pandemic and fighting through the variants, and making our way hopefully and successfully into 2022 and beyond:
More Wilco and Sleater-Kinney please.
As for Chicagoan and opener Nnamdi Ogbonnaya- his set was uplifting and enlightening, even with a wounded wrist and forearm. Nnamdi is blessed with an innocent demeanor, topped with openhearted vocals that mix succinctly with the worldbeat musicianship of his whip-smart band.
Photography by: Bobby Talamine
Writing by: Fiza Javid
JBTV Alumni, Grandson, literally soared to new heights on and off stage at Lollapalooza 2021. He gave one of the most iconic performances of the festival season at the T-Mobile stage.
JBTV Photographer, Bobby Talamine, had the opportunity to meet up with Grandson singer, Jordan Edward Benjamin, for an exclusive photoshoot, almost getting stomped by Jordan himself, and it couldn't have been more worth it.
Grandson is truly hitting peaks with his career, and the only way to go is up. He has been compared to many artists ranging from Rage Against the Machine to Twenty One Pilots, but here at JBTV, we know he is truly a powerhouse of his own.
For Grandson, music isn't just a way to rock out, it's a way to send an important message. To be responsible enough to use art to reflect the times you are living in. Beyond his incredible hits "Blood//Water" and "Best Friends," his songs have covered important topics ranging from gun laws ("Thoughts and Prayers") to police brutality ("6:00"). Grandson has also performed in the fundraising campaign for Bernie Sanders.
Back in Sept 2018, Grandson not only performed his hit songs, but also used the stage to talk about the importance of awareness on a range is social issues, including the issue of becoming desensitized to the violence that plagues America:
Well Jordan, if we weren't woken up before, we certainly are now! You are creating an incredible legacy and soundtrack to the movement.
His latest album "Death Of An Optimist" is out now! Be sure to follow Grandson for more information on upcoming albums and tour dates.
Lollapalooza 2021 - Jerry Interviews Radkey, Plus Day Four highlights: Princess Nokia, G Herbo, Modest Mouse, the Foo Fighters and more
Photography by: Bobby Talamine
Writing by: Fiza Javid
Witnessing Lollapalooza this year, which was declared one of the biggest festivals of the world, was remarkable. These artists are like countries, with their own population of people who would figuratively die for them. They create generations of shifting culture and Lollapalooza is the epitome of a mass migration in real time.
The day began with a statement from Lollapalooza:
"Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight. Young Thug will now perform at 9:00pm on the Bud Light Seltzer Stage, and G Herbo will perform at 4:00pm on the T-Mobile Stage."
This was one of the best statements for festival goers to hear, as the comments section of Lollapalooza was consistently calling out for his cancellation following his homophobic comments at Rolling Loud.
Sir Chloe, wearing a Björk shirt gave transient energy with the grittiness of Hole. Dogs on the screen. They were ideal to open up the deal and keep the stress levels down.
Audience camped out as early as 11:30 to make sure they don't miss Foo Fighters by the end of the day.
Beyond the star-studded headliners, JBTV was ready to cover Radkey, American punk rock band from St. Joseph, Missouri who formed in 2010 by brothers, Dee, Solomon, and Isaiah Radke.
Radkey came in Saturday afternoon for an interview at the JBTV studio, where they talked about how they got their start, going on tour with the Foo Fighters, and performing with L7. This clip also contains an exclusive JBTV clip of Foo Fighters at the Metro in 1995, straight from the JBTV vault.
Radkey rocked out with notable songs "Evil Doer, "Dark Black Makeup" and closed out with "Romance Dawn" while the audience stomped and clapped along. Be sure to check them out on tour!
"I started in the New York City underground rave scene, and this is the exact same outfit I wore to my first rave when I was underrage." Her beautiful Kandie infused outfit added to her dynamic performance, which also tied back to her roots. She attempted to crowd surf but stated "I wanted to but you all had your phones," which was honestly a wake up call for me to put my phone away too.
She is an incredible artist who stays true to her roots, but there was a sample that caught myself and the audience off guard. She briefly sampled "Pardesi, Pardesi" line "Mujhe Chod Ke," meaning "leaving me behind," from the hit Bollywood movie "Raja Hindustani" starring Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor. I am going to attribute this to her potential love of Bollywood, which would be exciting, but I hoped she would talk about it to help ease the confusion of the Desi fans, like myself, in the audience.
More notable performances included CHIIILD, the Aquadolls, Sofia Valdez, Dr. Fresch, Brittany Howard, Sullivan King, The Front Bottoms, Brockhampton, Band of Horses and Yellow Claw.
Modest Mouse played their hits which included "Float On", and pulled out a banjo for "Satin in a Coffin", wearing red jumpsuits. They were simply put, satisfying.
G Herbo replaced Young Thug, who scored a headlining set at the Bud Light Seltzer stage, replacing DaBaby. The audience had a ball as he brought out who may have been Marshmallow, as well as Chance the Rapper, who helped him perform "PTSD" for a fan-girl excited audience. He ended his set walking through the crowd, delighting fans who didn't expect to see him at the festival this year.
"One of my first shows was when I was 13 years old at the Cubby Bear. I saw a punk rock band called Naked Raygun," said Dave Grohl as hyped up the audience.
I have a theory. Rock never died. It's just that no one has been able to rock harder than Dave Grohl for a while. After watching the Foo Fighters close out Lollapalooza, with Taylor Hawkins a drum kit with Barry Gibbs face on it, the experience was pure rage and catharsis.
They played through some "old songs for the oldies in the crowd," who was happy to take the beating. It also seems that the Foo Fighters were the first band to recognize essential workers through their classic song "My Hero." One of the opening songs was an extended version of "Pretender."
It is obvious that Dave is one of the few rock legends left, carrying the burden of the rock music industry, however, when he let his daughter Violet Grohl on stage to do a song, he was paving the way for the future as well.
She was very reminiscent of a young Courtney Love, and the name Violet only made that more striking. She definitely has the same vocal power as her dad. The two did a cover of a punk song called "Nausea" by a band called X, who happens to be related to Dave through his grandmother "Bonebrake." I can't think of a more punk rock maiden name.
Lollapalooza 2021 - Day Three Highlights: Post Malone, Limp Bizkit, Megan Thee Stallion, Young the Giant, Angels and Airwaves, Journey & Marc Rebillet
Photography by: Bobby Talamine
Writing by: Fiza Javid
Welcome to day three of Lollapalooza, where the sun was beating along with the drums. The day was so relaxing that it almost felt like the start to day one. Little did everyone know that the theme would quickly shift from clean and COVID friendly to the world's biggest raunch-themed festival. Believe it or not, that is precisely what made it thrilling.
The lineup today was truly exceptional, with the old and the new, this audience was taken through a journey of hits, with a day that literally ended with Journey.
Love was in the air as The Backseat Lovers flowed through the T-Mobile stage. They rocked their long hair, their amps were turned up to 11, they stomped on the stage as they head-banged and rocked back and forth, letting the music rock the audience with them.
Young the Giant is a rarity and deserves to go to the moon in his career, even with their 10th anniversary approaching, their songs are still timeless. They shocked the audience by not only playing their hits like "Cough Syrup" but shifting to "Hot in Here" by Nelly (remember how I said the theme was raunch?), and "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac. With Sameer's vocals, the audience was in pure bliss, however, as he moonwalked through the stage through the screen visual affects, it was pure art.
I must say, identity is a key aspect of what is driving many artists careers these days, and I couldn't think of a bigger inspiration than Sameer, who commanded the stage with his melodic vocals. Although he is a California native, he is one of the rare Desi frontmen you will find in an industry that had yet to fully represent ethnically south asian artists. Here I am, a Desi writer, in complete awe of that fact, and he is going to pave the way for more diversity.
Megan Thee Stallion was a true badass and a goddess, and it was her set that truly shifted the festival into the "Hot Girl Summer" it needed to be at. She was wearing a powerful corseted bodysuit with patches of rock T-Shirts sewn together ranging from AC/DC, Ramones, and Iron Maiden. She twerked through all her major hits from "Savage" to "WAP" alongside her powerful dancers who truly got to strut their stuff.
During her performance it was also Megan heaven, as Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly strolled past the stage to watch her perform. They were shortly followed by Chance the Rapper and Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why, and frontman for band Wallows).
Watching Limp Bizkit was surreal. I had to pinch myself and figure out if it was 1999, and it was deeply exciting. Building up to the set, it was unnerving to know if today's generation would accept him, but when he opened with "Break Stuff," the response was one of the greatest feats for rock that Lollapalooza hasn't seen in years. Three mosh circles formed, men took off their shirts, crowd-surfers jumped into the crowd and it was an all out rage fest. He played his hits "My Way," "Nookie," but along with DJ Lethal did his classic House of Pain "Jump Around," "DMX's "Up in Here," Naughty by Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray," and Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Brain."
That wasn't the best part. He ended his set with a debut new song "Dad Vibes." He then ran into the audience handing out T-Shirts, running into Marc Rebillet. It was a riot after the crowd watched these two legends hug, and the future was immediately palpable.
Rock is going to come back with major revenge.
Genuinely honorable mentions were Angel's and Airwaves, JBTV Alumni Whitney, Cannons, Cavetown, Jessica, Porches, Michigander, Vnnsa, Jake Wesley Rogers, Vintage Culture, and Tate McRae.
But then there was Marc Rebillet.
Marc Rebillet closed out the GrubHub stage and was the most original, collaborative artist in the entire festival. Rebillet aka "Loop Daddy," who is surely owed a headline at Lollapalooza in the coming years, has made an astronomic rise in the shortest time in the most unprecedented way. He created his career, entirely on his own, starting in 2016, and has since become the king of fan-powered YouTube live-steaming. Within the 5 years, he has garnered nearly 79 million views and 1.7 million subscribers. He is the future of music, and I will tell you why.
What really gets the audience going about him is the fact that he improvises everything, and every single set is unplanned and different. I can't think of any other artist brave enough to man their own stage at one of the biggest festivals in the world, bringing in a true love of music, however, what truly adds the flavor to his performance is his ability to use carnal sexuality as his strength.
Throughout his performance, the screen behind him had sexually suggestive imagery, and I have never seen a crowd of grown men shout "daddy" or "take it off" to a male artist as much as I have here. They were so hyped that Marc went past curfew, ending his set with a loop called "Let Me in I'm Trying to F***." He let a fan on stage who popped a champagne bottle into the audience and toasted with Marc himself. This man can carry a sea of people into the wildest places with the press of a button and true musicianship.
Be sure to look out for him. With how far he has come in a short period of time, he will be everywhere before we know it, and you don't want to miss a future show.
Post Malone closed the night out at the T-Mobile stage to an audience that was camping since 2pm. He truly proved that you can headline without having to be theatrical, with a trove of dancers or anything. He showed up on stage with his music and his star-power alone, and it was truly satisfying. He opened his set with "Wow" to a jaw dropped crowd, effortlessly flowing through his set.
He got the crowd going when he pulled out his acoustic guitar and teased "Seven Nation Army" sending the crowd into a chanting session like a football game. "Sunflower" was truly the moment everyone was waiting for, as the song was a constant during the pandemic. He ended his set to "congratulations" as the crowd screamed along.
Meanwhile at the Bud Light Seltzer stage was a phenomenal throwback, Journey serenaded an audience that was happy to sing right back. Saturday was truly a beast, and while I was not able to catch every single performance, Bobby was able to get the full story through photographs, immortalizing the most memorable festival night of the year.
Cheers to another successful festival day and night! Until tomorrow, Lollapalooza!
Lollapalooza 2021 - Day Two Highlights: Tyler the Creator, Grandson, Black Pistol Fire, Tai Verdes, Mick Jenkins, Rookie, Giveon, Roddy Ricch and Honorable Mentions
Photography by: Bobby Talamine
Writing by: Fiza Javid
Going into the second day of a major festival starts to feel like a permanent reality, but hey, this one sends you to la la land, or better yet, la la palooza, and day two was the epitome of festivals thanks to all the remarkable performers.
The day started with Rookie, a modern American rock band who gave major Kiss vibes and what they describe as a touch of "cosmic country" and incredible vocals. Their song, particularly "Sunglasses" bring the kind of groove that inspire a generation of musicians to pick up an instrument.
It was so refreshing to hear this sound in Chicago, with hints of blues sounds in a sea of electronic. Although, the remainder of the festival was a truly won by Rap, R&B, Soul and Hip-Hop.
"This is my first time at a concert, I've never even step foot at a festival," said Tai Verdes as he joined the Bud Light Seltzer stage to what would equate to a sold out show. The crowded chanted to his vast array of hits from "Drugs" to "A-O-K." That was when he stated "this is the first song I ever memorized on my iPod," busting out with a cover of "Beverly Hills" by Weezer.
Following Tai at the Tito's Stage, Canadian born, Austin based rock duo, Black Pistol Fire came out like arsons, from "Look Alive" to "Wildfire, they sent their explosive sound over a sea of screaming rock fans, and their diversity of sound was truly remarkable. They even threw in a cover of "Redbone" by Childish Gambino.
That's when the fans truly started camping out by Bud Light Seltzer stage. Legendary Mick Jenkins, an Alabama native whose music career originated in Chicago, came through with his effortlessly irreverent, aggressive rap style analogous to Tyler the Creator. These two, both listed in this top ten MC list, were in a spectrum of incredible rap music presented to Lollapalooza, with Mick opening the day and Tyler anticipated to close it, and it couldn't be more perfect.
Parallel to Mick Jenkins at the T-Mobile stage was JBTV Alumni Grandson, who never fails to get a crowd wild. With elements of what I would call political rock/rap, reminiscent to Rage Against the Machine, he excited the crowd from "In Over My Head" to "Oh No!!!" featuring Chicago's beloved Vic Mensa (Who I remember because I graduated with his original band Kids These Days). Grandson was electric from beginning to end, finishing up his set with "Blood//Water."
I could go on for hours about day two. Honorable mentions were Elephant Heart, White Reaper, Boy Pablo, Oston and Njomza.
Giveon serenaded the crowd and I've never seen an audience swoon more. He is a heartbreaker as well as a rising R&B artist who is on the path to a headlining sooner than we can imagine.
Roddy Ricch put on an award worthy performance with special guest DJ Mustard. With his diamond studded necklace and equally star studded perfomance on top of a high rise stage. He gave an ode to Nipsey Hussle to an adoring crowd. "Lemonade" was a genuine crowd favorite and through each song he was surrounded by hip-hop dancers as well as pyrotechnics. He was the perfect opener for what was to come.
Tyler the Creator was the performance of a lifetime. One that you would want to relive over and over again, and it would still feel like the first time.
Super-fans camped out for Tyler the Creator, whose team worked hard building his set prior to his headlining performance. The crowd watched in awe as they added a boat, a deck, and what looked like one of those luggage carts you see at a hotel. The full theatrical display only made the suspense more nerve-wracking. There was also a sign on the stage with his album title "Call Me if you Get Lost."
When "Sir Baudelaire" started, Tyler came out pushing the full luggage cart dressed as a bellhop, full get-up and all. He opened one of the suitcases, changed his clothes into his classic white fur 'ushanka' hat and comfy tee and leopard button up, with a diamond studded necklace.
The transition between each song flowed as smooth as butter. His theatrical timing added to the experience of the music x10. From "Corso" to the throwback to "She" and "Yonkers." That wasn't even the best part. He jumped on top of his rocking boat as he performed "Lemonhead," and moonwalked through pyrotechnics. He even made a costume change to his unforgettable Grammy's performance outfit with the wig and send the crowd flying to "New Magic Wand." He also told a story about going to a Starbucks drive-thru in a Rolls Royce that flowed right into "Lumberjack."
I hate to be the one to say 'you had to be there,' but the best part about festivals like Lollapalooza is that it gives you a sneak peak into what you can see in the major tours of a wide variety of artists. Highlights here are enough to set you for life.
Until day three, Keep on rockin'!
Lollapalooza 2021 - Day One Highlights - Miley Cyrus, Orville Peck, Aly & AJ, Post Animal, Black Pumas, and Christian French
Photography by: Bobby Talamine
Writing by: Fiza Javid
Lollapalooza, it feels so good to be back.
"You are attending the largest music festival in the world, in Chicago, the greatest music capital in the world," said Lori Lightfoot to a delighted audience, right before presenting Black Pumas.
Day one of Lollapalooza 2021, in the heart of the Windy City, kicked off with clear blue skies, a beautiful lakefront breeze and music in the air.
JBTV Alumni, Post Animal, began their soundcheck 11:30am at the Tito's stage to a crowd with rock n roll getup and colorful hair. There were sleepy eyes when 12:30 rolled around. Suddenly "Gelatin Mode" started, and the crowd started pushing to the front. This band stays true to their roots and utilizes the power of their instruments in creating that raging vibe this crowd needed.
Who said rock n roll was dead?
Christian French was a real crowd pleaser and a genuine pop-star. At 12:15pm at the Lakeshore Drive stage. Adoring fans ran from Tito's to the other side. He grooved through the stage and worked the front row as he performed a notable new hit "Avalanche" and "Good Things Take Time" among many.
Former Disney stars were coincidentally a focal point of day one of Lolla. The T-Mobile stage laid vacant until Aly & AJ hit the stage. They played through songs off their new album that sets the record for longest title, "a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun." The beachy, indie vibes of this album swayed through the crowd. It was clear that the audience was new to the music, but they responded with genuine admiration. A highlight of their new album was "Personal Cathedrals," which felt holy and peaceful in the midst of all the festival chaos. The bliss was broken as the crowd screamed into a frenzy as they ended their set with the explicit version of "Potential Breakup Song.
The audience proved to be incredibly diverse. Talking to audience members, there were fans that came from Texas, New Orleans, Baltimore, Southern Illinois, Florida, Seattle, etc, and T-Mobile was their hot spot for the night.
Following Aly & AJ there was Orville Peck, who switched all the pop vibes from the early day to a real country croon. I wasn't sure how well Chicago would respond to country music, but his stage presence, powerful voice and showmanship proved earned him the title as one of the major favorites of the festival season. I watched an audience member cry as he performed "Roses are Falling."
That was when Lori Lightfoot came out and did a speech, before declaring Black Pumas the greatest artist of Lollapalooza who "has a mix of Rock, R&B, Jazz, and everything." She was not wrong in the slightest. Black Pumas carried through his set with the single most powerful voice that reverberated from a mile away. From "Next to You" to "Mrs. Postman" and "Black Moon Rising," it was impossible to pick a favorite.
Throughout the festival day, it was impossible to know who the best artist was, not that there should be. Until Miley Cyrus went on, that fact was indisputable. She shined on stage, literally, in her custom made Gucci romper, covered in red rhinestones, with knee high boots that looked covered in diamonds on stage. Miley was reminiscent to Joan Jett with her rocker attitude, but she also shined like a true queen superstar.
It is impossible to describe which part of her set was the best because it was riveting through and through. She opened her set with "Can't Stop" to an audience genuinely shocked to see her. Other notable originals were "Malibu" and "See You Again, " but you can't be Miley without equally chart topping covers. She covered "Where is my Mind" by the Pixies, "Heart of Glass" by Blondie and "Bang Bang" by Nancy Sinatra.
To a stunned audience, in came Billy Idol to help Miley perform "White Wedding." The star-power alone was phenomenal. But she could not perform in front of Chicago without performing "23," alongside special guest Juicy J and Wiz Khalifa, with a tweking Benny the Bull dancing in front of a screaming audience. Through the flash of her songs there were also a promise that she kept for her Instagram fans that she fulfilled: showing undying support for Britney Spears and the #freebritney movement. The words flashed across the screen right as she performed "SMS (Bangerz)".
It all sounds crazy, but that didn't even cover all the details of her set, not to mention that this was only day one. The diversity of fans and music genres is what made Thursday truly special, and the chart topping performances set an incredibly high standard for the remainder of the weekend.
Until tomorrow, Chicago!
Lollapalooza 2018 highlights - Billie Eilish, Clairo, Taylor Bennett, Tyler, The Creator, Greta Van Fleet
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing by Fiza Javid
Friday August 2-3rd, 2018
Grant Park, Chicago
The sun was shining, the skyline was beaming, and the stars were rocking away, showcasing some notable favorites and paving away for a new generation of music.
At JBTV, we are all about spotlighting the up-and-coming artists, and this festival season couldn't have kicked off with a better start, with none other than Billie Eilish.
This young artist put her heart on the stage, performing her new hits "Bellyache" and Copycat," she rocked out with mixed hip-hop and pop elements, and the crowd had a reason to keep jumping. Her energy and passion could be felt from far away. The crowd was laden in Billie crowns while she commanded the stage.
Off to Tito’s stage, JBTV caught some of the remaining set of Clairo, who kept the crowd vibing. Another incredible artist who is also setting the standard for a new generation of music.
By the Perry’s Stage, we caught 5x JBTV Alumni, Taylor Bennett, from the crowd. Crowd certainly adored him and his Chicago Bulls jersey, as he worked the crowd into a fever pitch.
Having witnessed Taylor performing live a few times now, and I have to say, it’s definitely celebratory and he is a Chicago staple.
At the Grant Park Stage all the way south to catch the one and only Tyler, the Creator. JBTV was looking forward to Tyler’s set for weeks prior to Lollapalooza. He’s such a forward thinking rapper, who crosses over genres at a moment’s notice, working the massive Grant Park Stage left to right, enticing the crowd for sing alongs and chants, dressed in a tropical and flowery shirt and shorts, he is a truly accomplished artist with cool vibes. Tyler is one of the coolest acts at Lollapalooza day two.
At the American Eagle Stage, the one and only Greta Van Fleet, came bearing wings with legendary classic sound, ready to rock to the masses. Crazy band equals equally crazy fans, from the first note forward. This band is one of the most anticipated acts to appear at Lollapalooza this year. Simply look at the amount of photographers covering Greta: must be 30 in the packed pit waiting for them to hit the stage, and they do not disappoint. Greta Van Fleet is ready to rock, and then some.
The Kiszka brothers- Josh Kiszka on Lead Vocal, Jake Kiszka on Guitar, Sam Kiszka on Bass, and Danny Wagner on Drums. These guys are incredible and unveiling a classic rock sound to a new generation. Their set is a barnburner, all the way to Josh flaying around with a Tambourine for a song, then breaking it into pieces and tossing them into the crowd. All band members dressed as if they were cloned from 1976, bare midriffs and all. These Michigan artists know how to rock. An anticipated set equals a great set, and the crowd loved it.
This is JBTV with the exclusive coverage, stay tuned for updates from day three!
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
I have to say, when the band Ganser announced their three night residency at the Empty Bottle back in May, the news couldn't have come at a more opportune time to officially christen witnessing and appreciating live music again, especially in an intimate and iconic venue such as the Empty Bottle.
But the nagging questions up to the event: will everyone entering be vaccinated? How are the shows going to be socially distanced- chairs or no chairs? And the capacity limits? You can go on from there with the 2am questions while trying to get a good nights sleep, and thinking things through to the benefit of the band, the Empty Bottle, and to this review and the pictures.
You want to do right by all. You want to not be intrusive, get quality images, and also soak it all in, but with such a good band as Ganser- a band that's going places that's solid. A band that is fighting the fight through a pandemic and some unfortunate circumstances that have put them behind the eight ball on more than one occasion over the past year.
And yet--here we are--on night one of their three night residency. Everything is well and good. Easy going, with a protocol of soundcheck, the Empty Bottle staff going about their business as if it's business as usual; the past year as a blip on the radar and nothing more.
Make no mistake- witnessing live music again in an intimate venue such as the Bottle was so gratifying, even on a Thursday night, and Ganser did not disappoint. The doors opened at 7:30pm, and the show beginning at around 9:30pm.
The real buildup for the show for me was documenting Zoe- the Production Manager of the Bottle, writing out the Thursday night event on the front door chalkboard of the Bottle- and knowing that this show is official, and it's going to happen.
So it's Ganser for tonight's show, and only Ganser, with no opening acts.
Ganser played a little over an hour's set- 16 songs in total- highlighting last year's release of there 2nd album- "Just Look at that Sky". They opened with "Pyrrhic Victory", and going into "Self Service"- a one- two punch of '90's style art punk, with guitar jabs and shreds and sounds coming in waves from Charlie Landsman, sonic metronome beats from Brian Cundiff, restrained and sustained vocals with an added flair of synth and keyboard from Nadia Garofalo, and the much needed propulsive and complete bass grooves with additional vocal from Alicia Gaines.
Ganser performing live: rhythmically driven and focused, they are a band that commands your attention. They share in a powerful kind of communion that makes you wonder if things are going to go off the rails mid whichever song, and yet with all the ying and yangs that come from all four committed band members, everything stays intact and spot on, time and time again. Most of the songs performed live from "Just Look at That Sky" are performed with an edge, sharing with the audience some raw and basic emotions, but delivered in such a way that's kind of like a brush off, like their perceptions on viewing their world are magnified and you should pay attention, but also let's view some of this observance from the sidelines and document the craziness of living and surviving and all.
I can go on and on with the outward explanations, but that belittles the point about Ganser, and what they each individually bring to the table in constructing these songs they create, and quite identifiably going about them that makes them kind of unclassifiable.
It's not as easy as it sounds, I suppose, when crafting these songs from scratch.
Suffice it to say, that Ganser on record requires repeated listens. As for performing live- Ganser requires repeated viewing and attendance- and then some.
As for me- you can't get more cooler than that. You'll want to see a band like Ganser succeed, even in the more dire of times, and you'll keep coming back for more.
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing by Fiza Javid
The sun shined on day two of the 2021 Pride in the Park Festival, bringing in more excitement and less mud slides to dance on. Day two proved that fashion is just as much a necessary staple to performance and that a festival could never have too many DJs.
GRAMMY-winning and lesbian electronic dance music DJ, Tracy Young kicked off the festivities at the GoPuff pride stage with fellow hype dancers, performing her electrifying remixes. Tracy Young won the GRAMMY for her pride remix to Madonna's "I Rise," earning her not only the award, but a personal congratulations from Madonna herself.
On the other side of the festival in the land of the groove, the CircuitMOM Grooveland stage carried equally notable DJ sets. DJ Matt Suave remixed the top pop hits of Ariana Grande. Matt was followed by Lady D, a trailblazing female DJ who shined through with her house, disco and open-format remixes. Karsten Sollars was also a major highlight of the DJ set finale, bringing the vibes as he showcased his most notable mixes, closing the Grooveland stage for the festival season.
American Transgender singer Mila Jam opened the main performances at the GoPuff stage with incredible fire. She performed her original song "Fierce," a notable collaboration that was created alongside Angelica Ross from the hit FX series Pose. With classic ballroom culture dance moves, Mila moonwalked through the stage and genuinely turned heads. Fierce was followed by a slow ballads, a theatrical skit. She closed out her set with her hit song "Better Days."
The next performer, Tenderoni, truly brought the crowd back to the 90s, doing the running man on stage to "Poison", by Bel Biv Devoe and sporting a bedazzled zebra print suit, he stripped and twerking on stage, landing in a splits until he walked right out. He later returned to the stage following The Vixen, doing dressed as Powerline from the Goofy movie, performing the hit song "Stand Out", followed by Gangnam style and an electrifying Michael Jackson cover.
Next up was The Vixen, notable for being Season 10 contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race, was a true fashionista. Performing original songs such as "Tea Party," "The Vixen," and a major crowd banger "Chicago" in a draping hot pink boa laden dress, with a matching pink flower crown, she flowed through the stage effortlessly alongside her dancers, who had colorful flowy wings as the backdrop. The backdrop included a childhood photo. She performed her songs with a scarf that blew through the wind as she moved through the stage. In her second set, she returned with with colorful umbrellas and an incredible checkered outfit, with a black latex skirt.
Kinley Preston took the stage doing Dua Lipa covers in an incredible four section trail that fanned the stage, held by her dancers. She took off the trail to reveal a stunning shimmering gold pom-pom laden bathing suit, keeping the crowd dancing.
Chaka Khan's set began with a beautiful surprise. The daughter of the soulful legend herself, Indira Khan showcased her original songs and edged in a new era for her family. She effortlessly swapped styles with her soulful voice as well as rapping. She is definitely making a name for herself, and we couldn't wait for more.
"It feels good to be home," exclaimed Chaka Khan. The crowd went wild when Chaka Khan was announced on stage, as the team members in the office of the mayor was giddy with excitement. As she performed hits such as "Tell me Something Good" and "I'm Every Woman," there were tears in the eyes of both media outlets and the front row.
The night closed out with Gryffin, who sent the crowd into a frenzy. The crowd jumped and head banged to his remixes that covered "The Pursuit of Happiness" by Kid Cudi and "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers.
This post COVID festival for Chicago was a wild success that not only allowed nearly 13,000 Chicagoans to experience pride but also celebrate each other's diversity, and that couldn't have been displayed more through the music. 2021 Pride in the Park was one for the books with a colorful future ahead for the coming years.
Writing by: Fiza Javid
Photography by: Bobby Talamine
With every storm, we are sure to see a rainbow. On Saturday afternoon, day one at the 2021 Pride in the Park Festival, Grant Park was flooded with a sea of colorful rainbow umbrellas, costumes and a crowd ready to kick off their first post-pandemic festival. Enthusiastic crowds in speedos, and corsets were ready to dance through the rain and get down in the mud.
“Rain or shine, this was going to happen, not just because of the challenging year we’ve had, but because we are some proud motherf**kers!” Exclaimed Naysha Lopez, during her performance at the GoPuff Pride Stage, which was the main stage for the day.
After a two-hour delay, the festival kicked off with a Ballroom set on the GoPuff Pride stage. For those that don’t know, the Underground Ballroom Culture officially developed in the 1920s-1960s as a counterculture. It originated in New York City and consisted of “walks” or competitions with mixed performances such as modeling, dancing, and lip syncing. The Pride Parade itself also developed as a protest to advocate for same-sex marriage.
There was also a secondary stage entitled Circuitmom Grooveland, which featured DJ sets from Hector Fonseca, CircuitMOM, Denali Foxx, Chamilla Foxx, and gogo dancers.
Chicago’s Pride in the Park commemorated all of the aspects of both the parade and Ballroom Culture, which were further exemplified with the main stage performances.
Renowned Chicago DJ Derrick Carter kept the crowd moving smoothly throughout the day.
The main performance went off with a bang with Miss Toto, who stunned the crowd with Beyonce impersonation with the choreography and fashion en pointe. She stunned the crowd as she joined the stage twice with a Madonna themed bustier and a glamorous belly dance skirt, gliding through the stage to “Supermodel” by RuPaul. She brought it back to 2009 dancing to “Took the Night” by Chelley and more.
Naysha Lopez brought the theatre with group choreography as she lip sang “Boys” by JBTV alumni Charli XCX, and other classics like “Milkshake,” “Jump On It” and Britney Spears’ “Boys.”
The #Free Britney campaign was also a prevailing statement with a number of guests, as well as Tiesto, honoring the singer by wearing Britney Spears shirts.
Alyssa Edwards stunned the crowd with an incredible cover of “Proud” by Heather Small.
Betty Who performed original songs alongside dancers Joshua and Shawn, and uplifted the spirits of the audience, reminding everyone how much has been overcome.
"It is genuinely the best day of my life thank you very much, it's been a long pandemic, it's taken its toll on me, but here we are! I want you to have the night of your lives, who cares if it rains on us!”
Mascots Benny the Bull and Tommy Hawk excited the whole front row as they threw Tiesto hats and t-shirts into the audience. By the end of the night, pride shone through the crowd, who couldn’t have been more electrified for Tiesto, which ended the night like a firecracker.
Pride in the Park is on the track to becoming one of the most popular festivals in the country, and Chicago is ready for it. No matter that mother nature wanted to rain on this parade, Pride in the Park was not just a smooth sail, it was a success. Filled with love, commemorations, glitter, and stunts, day one was truly one for the books.
Stay tuned for day two, with coverage on the performances of Chaka Khan and Gryffin!
Words + Photos by Bobby Talamine
Hardcore and punk intertwine with American Nightmare, a band that started back in 2000 with singer Wesley Eisold, also known by his other popular band Cold Cave. American Nightmare is nothing like Cold Cave in sound and presentation- this is all for intents and purposes, a bare bones kinda set, with minimal load in.
Simply arrive at whatever venue for the evening, unload the musicians and their instruments, and that's it.
Should have known and investigated a bit further on the amped up nature of American Nightmare fans. Simply for the fact that I'm getting older, and physical punishment from all angles to my body is just not as fun as it used to be back in the day.
I was perched on the lip of the stage front and center, surrounded by other photographers and patrons, when not even thirty seconds into American Nightmare's first song "Love American," I was pummeled and crushed repeatedly.
I made the mistake of vacating said spot in front of the stage to the center of the opened mosh pit, to kids going counter clockwise in full tilt by the dozens, not relinquishing their forward march for anybody, especially this photographer.
American Nightmare? Indeed. On many levels.
From the relative safety of stage left audience right, I got my composure to get some decent shots of Wesley and his band, then went up to the balcony to see the rest of the show from there.
I'm not much of a hardcore / punk guy myself to be honest. I do know of some bands in the genre that I've photographed in days of yore, such as GBH, Black Flag, Minor Threat, and of course The Dead Kennedys and The Misfits.
The scene was (and still is), a band / audience communion, with a relentless release of energy to everyone's mutual satisfaction.
I guess I didn't want to investigate further, knowing Wesley from Cold Cave over the years, and frankly, just loving everything he sets his mind to tour and perform with.
And since we had Ceremony in our JBTV studios a few years back, I figured to some extent there'd be some aggression, but nothing I can't handle.
From the balcony watching the show, I get the connection with Wesley and the audience at the front of the stage. When Wesley, dressed in black, including a black baseball cap that shrouded his face, wasn't whirling around the stage or standing on the drum riser, he was kneeling front and center within inches of his audience most of the time. Everyone involved in the sing along and companionship.
This was made more so, because there was no barricades at all for this show.
It was fun to behold, this simple set with simple lighting, and music having to be pushed that much further into the forefront to everyone's satisfaction.
The same holds true with the opening band Ceremony from California.
Although not as relentless as American Nightmare, they still have quite a few songs in their catalog that are in the genre of hardcore, with singer Ross Farrar for the most part swinging his microphone with physical might from his shoulders to the ground with relentless and physical might, over and over and over again.
With Anthony Anzaldo on guitar, Justin Davis on bass, Andy Nelson on guitar, and Jake Casarotti on drums, they're are definitely an odd looking bunch, with no one in the band truly playing the part of a rock n' roller, more like a bunch of cab drivers convening in a garage after a shift to work on some songs.
Trust me when I say that's not a bad thing, because these guys are tight and can play. Ross loved the communion with the audience, equal to Wesley and American Nightmare.
Have to say both bands brought the heavy, with plenty of angst, and yet, there's some solid songwriting chops in the songs for both bands.
Kind of unique having this show at Thalia Hall as well. Nice to know the venue can hold up and take a pummeling from the relentless mosh pits from show beginning to show's end.