Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photos by Bobby Talamine
Potty Mouth came back better than ever. Their first JBTV performance took place back in 2016 when they played at Lollapalooza. Since then, the power punk trio has gone on to play Riot Fest and to open for artists such as The Go-Go’s and JBTV alum Andrew W.K.
Potty Mouth consists of Abby Weems on guitar and vocals, Ally Einbender on bass, and Victoria Mandanas on drums. The three-piece band formed in Massachusetts out of a series of jam sessions. They were joined by their friend Ada Brumback.
L-R: Ada Brumback, Abby Weems, Jerry Bryant, Victoria Mandanas, Ally Einbender
Driving in from Ohio that day, they came straight to our studio. They were exhausted but put on an amazing show.
The show was intimate, but the stage was still electric with punk energy. The intimate feel allowed them to interact with the crowd.
After a little interaction with a fan about the name of their latest album, Snafu, they said that “Snafu backwards is U Fans” and they do it all for you, the fans.
All of their songs have straightforward lyrics. There’s no hiding what the intention was behind the song. Each song is one to bang your head and dance to.
“Smash Hit” was the opener song. It’s about the music industry only wanting hits and being about making money. It was a strong start to a strong set.
During the interview, they said that everyone hears something different in the guitar riff. People have gotten everything from a Creedence Clearwater Revival vibe to an All American Rejects feel from that riff.
The rock and roll energy filled the entire stage and audience, with everyone dancing and rocking out. Weems played her guitar behind her head and even got on the ground to jam.
“I Wanna” was a great song to end the set with. It was high energy and easy to sing and dance along to. Weems said that it’s like every Ramones song and that’s why they like it. It’s about going after what you want.
After the set, the members came out to mingle among the fans who came. They brought some merch, such as the usual array shirts and albums and CDs. A fun twist that they have is that their merch for sale includes a “Dog Song” pillowcase.
During the interview, Weems said she writes a majority of their songs. She compares songwriting to completing a puzzle. It’s therapeutic for her to write songs because she has had time to work it out and process everything that she’s writing about.
Although she writes a majority of their songs, she doesn’t write all of them alone. During a series of songwriting sessions, she got hooked up with Gina Shock of The Go-Go’s and they co-wrote “Fencewalker.”
Through that meetup, Potty Mouth was able to open for a few The Go-Go’s shows. Shock loves their band.
Potty Mouth would like for people to watch the music video for their song “Liar.” It’s their favorite one that they’ve done. It’s funny and features them as superheroes. They like the campy feel to it.
1. Smash Hit
3. Do It Again
4. Fence Walker
5. Dog Song
7. I Wanna
Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photos by Jordan Swanson
The third show in The House of Vans summer season was curated by Julien Baker, featuring performances from Macseal, Wye Oak, and herself headlining, with art by Ariel Wolfe Baldwin and Lauren Asta. This show was sold-out, so the venue was absolutely packed.
As people began to pile inside, those already inside sipped on their free Goose Island beer as they looked at the art installed. It was a mix of abstract art and pop art based on Baker’s songs. A few people braved the rain to buy food from the food truck outside, enjoying it under some tents set up.
Macseal started off the night. The pop punk band, who hails from Long Island, has a sound that’s ripped from 2006. They recorded an LP back in March and announced that it’ll be dropping soon, but didn’t give a date. Catch Macseal back in Chicago at the Subterranean on September 11th!
The second band was Wye Oak. The electronic indie pop-rock duo was founded in Baltimore in 2006. Their fifth album, The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs was released in February 2018. Halfway through their amazing performance, they said that this was their first performance in 8 months. Amazingly, the band still sounded extremely tight.
The crowd was starting to get anxious while they waited. The suspense was building up for Julien’s performance. The 23 year old, who’s opened for artists such as Death Cab for Cutie and Paramore, just walked out and started to play.
She had great stage presence, a hush falling over the crowd as soon as she stepped on stage. The House of Vans, packed to capacity, had fallen silent.
She started playing her sad songs, occasionally stopping to take a sip of tea or to great the crowd. After receiving a lot of applause near the end of her set, she said “Thanks for clapping and physically showing your enthusiasm” which led to more clapping.
It was just her and her guitar for about half of the show. Baker swapped out her acoustic guitar on a few songs for a piano. She was not alone on stage for the entire time, though. She had a violinist join her for a few of her songs.
Words + Photos by Bobby Talamine
From the soggy confines of the Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Tinley Park, another edition of the annual 101WKQX PIQNIQ occurred on Saturday, June 15th. The day started with steady rain for all the acts appearing on the second stage, which forced me to miss The Strumbellas, The Glorious Sons, Shaed, and opener Friday Pilots Club.
With nowhere to stay covered for the opening acts, I didn't even attempt to go in the venue to start reviewing and shooting the show. Safe to say, soggy, wet consistent rain and expensive camera gear are not a good combination.
Although, I did venture to the second stage for the headliner Blue October, a cool alternative American rock band from Houston Texas. The band didn’t seem to mind the rain that was now a consistent drizzle, which at least made it tolerable to shoot something from the second stage. Blue October even seemed to enjoy the gloomy weather, playing with excitement and verve to make the performance that more special. Lead singer Justin Furstenfeld is a charismatic performer, and worked the sloppy and wet stage from left to right. not caring about the rain and chilly weather. A nice way to get the 101WKQX PIQNIQ off the ground for me.
By now we had the protection of the pavilion for the main acts, starting with AJR, a band made up of three brothers from Manhattan. The kids sure did like them, knowing the lyrics to every song, with their infectious mix of Indie Pop, a bit of white boy dubstep, and some doo wop. Which when all thrown into the kitchen sink, makes this photographer think of high school glee club, and this is the final assignment of the year.
Harsh as that sounds, the kids dug them (LOTS). Maybe I'm out of the loop or something. Nevertheless, they were quite the performers, and they made most of their 30 minute ish set.
Now we're back to business with heavy guitar and showmanship, with Tom Morello starting his set unannounced from the GA floor pit, enticing the crowd with his riffs of heavy metal / punk hybrid- inspired sounds. Morello relished in his verve for political activism, brandished with his trusty guitar that stated "Arm the Homeless," and wearing a hat that states "MADIBA"- referring to Nelson Mandela.
Outside of Morello's obviously renowned guitar playing, his way of enticing audiences to reach out, rise up, and not take crap from anyone never gets old. An all too brief set, clocking in under 45 minutes, with a surprise appearance from Tim Mcllrath of Rise Against handling some of the vocal duties for the Rage and Audioslave songs. Midway through the set, Morello did his rendition of Springsteen's "Ghost of Tom Joad," making the song more relevant, and downright gloomier than Sprinsgsteen's version. To start the show with audience accompaniment, and end with audience accompaniment from the stage, it just goes to show Tom Morello is a man of the people.
Up next, Catfish and the Bottlemen from Wales, who the day before played at Bonnaroo, and made it in time for PIQNIQ.
They were full on from the first note, with a neon sign all vertical and lit up right behind the boys, a design from their recent album release The Balance, with lead vocalist/ guitarist Van McCann wailing away from the get go, swinging his microphone with stand all over the place, a sweaty mess even after the first song. The boys of Catfish were unrelenting from then on, all downhill song after song, showing once again how badass these guys are, and how cool to say that we at JBTV had them play on our intimate stage back in the day.
A band that's unmistakable in sound and fury and might, and oh so convincing.
The mellower (but still cool) vibes of Irvine California's Young the Giant were next onstage. The crowd at PIQNIQ totally dug their music and moved to the beats provided from these dudes. All over the venue I looked and everyone was dancing and swaying in their seats to Young the Giant, with Sameer Gadhia providing the necessary lead vocals and stage presence needed to elevate and captivate the masses. Young the Giant- a band that commands your attention, commands you to listen. This adage was apparent by the performance the band gave at PIQNIQ.
Now on to the headliner. From Denver Colorado, The Lumineers were dressed like they were right out of a tavern from 1867, with the only thing missing from the set was tumbleweeds.
A very popular band, with a mix of folk rock and Americana that's hard to ignore. Wesley Schultz lead the way with upper register vocals, the occasional foot stomp, and big bodied guitar sounds intact.
Jeremiah Fraites provided the steady backbeat, Lauren Jacobson the violin, Byron Isaacs the vintage/cool bass, and Brandon Miller the guitar/ Mandolin and some percussion. This band truly lives in a bevy of influences that defy their age, and make music that is cinematic in scope, with a soulfulness that comes off sincere and definitely not fake by any measure.
So all n' all, a nice cross section of past and current indie/alternative music to spend a Saturday in Tinley Park.
Until PIQNIQ 2020....
Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photos by Patrick Luhrs
The 2019 season of the House of Vans House Parties continued to go strong with their second show on June 15th. This show was curated by The Breeders, with Divino Niño and Palehound opening and an art installation by Chris Bigg.
Upon first viewing, the House of Vans appeared charmingly small. A beautiful concert space, but nothe most optimal for max-capacity crowds. Eventually, the place was packed with people, thus proving me wrong. As more people filtered in, the show’s aura and energy became undeniable. We were in for a great show.
Before the show and in-between sets, the audience enjoyed their free Goose Island while wandering around, admiring the curated art. Some lounged in bean bag chairs, some were at the merch table picking up their free House of Vans shirt. The art, covering the brick walls, was based on different album covers by The Breeders.
Chicago-based Divino Niño went on first. Their 60’s surf-rock vibe make for a warm, nostalgic sound that many can enjoy. Their new album “Foam” is out June 21st. Catch them at The Empty Bottle on June 21st and their return to Chicago November 6th to perform at Thalia Hall.
Next up was the Boston band Palehound. This indie group has already built quite a resume from performing with artists like Courtney Barnett. This is all super impressive considering the band’s lead singer Ellen Kempner just turned 25. Palehound recently released their third album “Black Friday.” They’ll be back in Chicago on October 18th at The Metro.
Finally, The Breeders came on. Almost 30 years after their debut album, they still commanded the stage with a dominant energy. The crowd, both young and old, was engaged from the get-go. Whether they were fans since the release of “Pod” in 1990 or people who had just recently stumbled upon the group, there was a palpable excitement amongst the crowd. A woman next to me told me that she had to get her husband to hold her beer and purse so she could come into the pit like she did when she first saw the Breeders in the ‘90s. Her enthusiasm certainly was appreciated by many.
The Breeder’s brand of indie grunge made for quite a diverse show. With a few high energy songs opening up pits, there was a slower song thrown in every once in a while to give the pit a break.
With the setlist including both old and new songs, like “I Just Wanna Get Along” and “Nervous Mary,” all fans felt involved. A native to Ohio, Kim Deal even gave a shout out to all of the Ohioans who came to Chicago for the show, and there were a lot of them.
The show set a very high standard for the rest of the House Party season. But with artists such as Taking Back Sunday and Anderson. Paak, it should be a great season.
The Breeders Set List
Wait In The Car
I Just Wanna Get Along
Driving On 9
40 Years of Machine Gun Etiquette: The Damned Live At House of Blues Chicago With X and The Detroit Cobras
Words + Photos by Bobby Talamine
When Punk was truly PUNK, The Damned formed in 1976.
Fast forward to now, the band is currently on a tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of their third album Machine Gun Etiquette, which brought The Damned to House of Blues Chicago on Thursday, May 30th.
Still as debonair and renegade cool as he was back then, lead singer Dave Vanian showed he still has that dangerous, sonic baritone at age 62. Softening Vanian’s dangerous vocals were lead guitarist Captain Sensible’s goofy and light hearted stage antics and keyboardist Monty Oxymoron’s eccentric looks and otherworldly hair. Finishing off the lineup with Pinch on drums and Paul Gray on bass, The Damned are still relentless in approach and might. Pushing forth with the terrific songs from Machine Gun Etiquette, and then onto other Damned nuggets such as "Liar,” "So Messed Up," and of course the iconic "Street of Dreams." Man, what a show.
For opener X, an awesome band from Los Angeles, celebrated over four decades of quintessential L.A punk with their performance. John Doe, Exene Cervenka, D.J. Bonebrake on drums, and rockabilly veteran Billy Zoom on guitar firing off riff and riff like he's channeling Chet Atkins and Eddie Cochran all rolled up into one-- left the audience in complete, splendid awe.
And with Billy Zoom coming off his stool for a bit on baritone sax, and some vibraphone added in to close their set, it left the audience wondering- what the hell just happened? Can we all just take a breath and rewind the tape for a minute?
Confounding and awesome confusion prevails, because the experiment and intuitive improvisation works- on many levels. The X are it man, making for a double whopper of music along with The Damned. X is always a blast, like last summer for Riot Fest Chicago, John Doe and Exene Cervenka gave one of the best interviewers JBTV did for the festival. They never ever disappoint.
As for the other openers The Detroit Cobras, let's just say things get outta hand quickly. From the first couple of notes onstage, lead singer Rachel Nagy literally tumbled right into me. Laughing out loud, kinda embarrassed and smiling, she proceeded to sing the first song lying down on the stage.
Nagy is something else. All party and not much stage banter talk. She apologized for the fall from the drum riser, and blamed the fall on her high heel boots. Which she took off, socks included, and proceeded the rest of the set barefoot. With other original player Mary Ramirez on all things rockabilly guitar, they more than made up for all the miscues.
After all, it's rock n' roll baby.