Lollapalooza Day 3: Idles, Kaskade, Dashboard Confessional, J-Cole, Crawler, Alexander 23, Lil Durk, Surf Mesa, Pom PoM Squad, tOMORROW x AND MORE
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing by Fiza Javid
Grant Park - July 30, 2022
As festival goers were reeling from the disco themed vibe of day two, day three offered a wide array of artists, both renowned and new. It was interesting to see the migration from Bud Light to T-Mobile on a constant basis. I must say, hip-hop and EDM took the day this day, along with some notable alternative rock with a mix of indie-pop.
First up was CRAWLERS, with Holly Minto on vocals and trumpet, Amy Woodall on lead guitar, Liv Kettle on bass guitar and Harry Breen drums. This university united troupe were the perfect mix to start the day.
They offered such a unique mix of sounds, and Holly's vocal range was mind boggling. They opened with "MONROE" and I felt like I was getting the Hole concert I always wanted, because their renegade style definitely reminded fans of the cavalier attitude that Courtney Love made famous. But when they hit the song "Fuck Me," they went right for the punch, with Holly's addictive, mature vocals, reminiscent of early Fiona Apple. They play every single song from the heart, and they touch on touchy subjects ranging from alcohol abuse to body dysmorphia, and the honesty was the perfect bit of appreciation for their first chance at the Lolla stage.
Alexander Glantz aka Alexander 23 from Deerfield, IL, opened acapella. Sporting a kurta, he was a comforting presence on stage. He opened with "Cosplay" and "Girl," which along with the other songs, are the perfect songs to have on repeat during a road trip, or dancing with a significant other. His music definitely gives off pop vibes similar to Olivia Rodrigo, but he truly stands out by owning his particularly powerful, feminine vocal style. The audience genuinely was fawning for him once he did "Since U Been Gone" which is enough to get anyone screaming alone. What a show man!
Scores of cheerleaders came out to support Pom Pom Squad. Hailing from Brooklyn, fronted by Mia Berrin, this indie/grunge tribe provided the ultimate chill-bit-rugged comforting sound. Their sound almost feelings like being in the hallways of high school again at the end of a senior year, with the angst powering through the effortless guitar and drums. Opening with "LUX" was the power riff intensity to wake everyone up, and Mia's vocals have this fast-paced, feminine touch, with powerful screams and singing mixed, it was impossible to not have fun. "Lux," "Drunk Voicemail," belongs up there with the Seattle grunge scene, and I'm pretty sure this crowd wanted to break things to this music, or drive fast. Pom Pom Squad may have a cheerleader style name, with their signature outfits shining on stage, but their sound makes them turn into the quarterback, powering through a goal line. By the time we got "Heavy, Heavy," we were grooooving.
Other amazing artists from this day included Meet Me at the Altar, who TRULY rocked out with "Now or Never" which is beyond worth checking out. Her yellow braided hair flipped through the stage like a colorful masterpiece. Also, Coin, and Surf Mesa, Lil Durk, who was absolutely nuts opening with "AHHH HA." This is a song to get any Chicago party started, and the beat is an absolute mood. He beamed with a smile and everyone was wildin out like no other. Other notable songs included "Backdoor," "Turkey Season" and he closed with "Blocklist" among others.
Surf Mesa was the first artist of the day to get the EDM vibes going, whose hit "Ily (I love you baby)," featuring Emilee, was the dance-pop hit of the summer of 2021, but its a mix that will certainly carry his career into beautiful places. It covers Frankie Valli's "I Love You Baby" which is a timeless classic, but for the Lolla stage, it was the ultimate festival song. This song along with "Somewhere" and "Another Life" felt like such a gift for these young festival teens especially, who came decked out in elaborate glitter outfits and braided hair. They came for music like this, to just get lost into. Surf Mesa was a straightforward artist, and he delivers like no other.
A maaaajor throwback came in the form of Dashboard Confessional, and I confess, I was losing my mind with joy. Their music brought everyone back to 2002's MTV Unplugged version of "Hands Down" and other notable places in which we have found their music in the past. This was their closing song and it was so perfect. They are one of the few older artists to hit the Lolla stage this year, alongside Green Day and Metallica of course, which is not a bad group to be part of. The nostalgia hit right away when they began with "Brilliant Dance" and the emo tears pushed through as though they were held back this whole time. What an absolute treat, and this audience was genuinely grateful to finally experience them.
IDLES, IDLES, IDLES. I am still reeling, speechless from this band. Joe Talbot, Adam Devonshire, Mark Bowen, Lee Kiernan, and Jon Beavis. What an absolutely show-shopping performance from a rock band that the Bud Light stage needed for this fine Saturday. There seriously must have been a nod to a powerful feminine reckoning and a Kelly Clarkson reference this day, because just like Alexander 23, they covered "Since U Been Gone." Never in a million year did I ever think I'd see two incredible artists provide two unique renditions of this popular song, but from Idles, who are a group of truly lumberjack, rugged men, even with one of the members rocking a dress like no other, it was probably the greatest cover I've ever seen in my life time.
And they did NOT stop there.
They came out swinging....with Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You."
Look, we KNEW this was going to be a good show, and we were definitely looking forward to "Never Fight a Man with a Perm," but it was clear that after they played Metro, post-Metallica on Thursday night, they were on fire for Saturday. They had so much fun on stage, and the way they engage with the audience was like no other. We absolutely demand more of them in the future.
Ahhhhh so many incredible artists though. Mariah the Scientist and Turnstile were the go-to's right before Kaskade. Mariah the Scientist was the one R&B artist we managed to find for this day, and her song "Revenge" was a colorful, vocal masterpiece. She could manage a crowd with her voice alone and that is exactly what she did.
Turnstile may have been the only hardcore-punk band, and their major treats were definitely "MYSTERY" and "BLACKOUT." When he got on stage, it was almost impossible to comprehend what Brendan Yates would do, but once his scream hits, its an uplifting rage-fest, which is a rare combination. They are danceable as a hardcore band, which, again, is a rare combination! But this crowd jumped to every drum beat and head banged to their hearts desire.
While we did get to vibe to J-Cole, whose crowd was absolutely willing to fight for the front-row experience, Kaskade offered a cathartic release from anyone looking for a break from the hip-hop that was dominating the main stage. The rap music this year has been absolutely phenomenal, and Big Sean even had a pregnant Jhene Aiko come out, and it was truly beautiful to see this couple on stage for everyone to appreciate. "No Role Modelz" was a cherry on top.
Tomorrow X was like there was no tomorrow. Considering this is the day prior to J-Hope hitting the stage, we were truly ready for them. Also known as TXT, Yeonjun, Soobin, Beomgyu, Taehyun and HueningKai truly showed how they are "Good Boys Gone Bad" with the ultimate Korean boy-band experience. They were almost cinematic on their presence, and the crowd was in a frenzy. Their edgy attitudes were leaving the front row fans just in pure shock. Lollapalooza was due for a true Korean music experience and TXT were perfection.
But Kaskade, was BEAMING. Literally. He gave a spectacular light show to "Eyes," "Raining" and once "4 AM" hit, its almost as though time did not exist. This was perfect for the Perry stage, and this audience could have stayed with him all night.
What a spectacular and diverse Saturday. We couldn't be more excited for Green Day and Charli XCX tomorrow, thats for sure.
Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television
Lollapalooza 2022 Day Two: Taipei Houston, Glass Animals, The Regrettes, Gata, Wet leg, Rezz, royal blood, Machine Gun Kelly, Dua lipa & more
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing by Fiza Javid
Grant Park - July 29, 2022
Lollapalooza day two, still reeling from the incredible acts of day one, went from metal themed to disco in a groovy heartbeat. There were so many incredible acts to cover, and while not everyone could be photographed, the impression they made deems your favorite pair of headphones and genuine appreciation.
Could not have thought of a better way to start this review than to give accolades to Taipei Houston. While it is true that they are Lars Ulrich's kids, holy rock n roll they certainly caught an original rock bug of their own. While they inherited a deep rooted talent from their father, which I could see from the drumming style of Myles Ulrich, it was their charisma and originality that blew the audience's hair back. While the pair have only just released their debut single "As the Sun Sets," a few days and they showcase the showmanship and talent of a band that has toured for decades.
Layne Ulrich, the band's frontman and bassist, has a truly distinctive voice. He was doing what many front men have not done, which is rock a bass. Sure we can also put Paul McCartney and Thundercat in that list, but Layne is quickly settling into that family like its a walk in the park, alongside looping to add extra dynamic effect. It is almost as though their live set could ease into a mixed record in a matter of minutes. Myles is already making a name for himself as a machine of a drummer, with Layne stating that Myles is also a skilled guitarist. They played songs their single word titled songs "Respector," "Jellybean," and "Welder," but they may be the only band with a full noise cover of Eleanor Rigby. This is the edge that the Beatles may have always craved for, but if only the Beatles were raised by one of the most legendary metal drummers in music history.
Wet leg had a massive crowd upon arrival. They began with Lord of the Rings score induced entrance.
This British indi-rock duo, whose hit song "Chaise Lung" hit 3 million streams which truly set their career on a powerful trajectory. Lollapalooza was graced with the first taste on U.S. grounds.
“We’re called Wet Leg, and this is our first festival in the states" they said, as they played through uniquely titled songs "I Want to be Abducted (By a UFO)." Well we were abducted by your sound, and along with Taipei Houston, they truly deserve the main stage. Their eclectic sound, their doll-like presence is simple enough, and their music is lively.
Next, I managed to catch Gata at the BMI stage, who is widely known as the hype man for Lil Dicky on the popular Hulu series "Dave." However, Dave has allowed himself to showcase his presence and musical abilities that not that many artists get the opportunity to do. Not only was it apparent that Lollapalooza festival goers have a Hulu subscription, but that they are definitely in it to watch him. The show aside, he has managed to carve artistry out of equally authentic acting chops. He just got off doing a film with Machine Gun Kelly in "Good Mourning", and Lollapalooza was the perfect opportunity for him to showcase his musical abilities, and he delivered MAJOR fun.
“It’s my first time at Lollapalooza, I’m really geeked out. Being an artist has been a dream of mine for a long time, so I appreciate you all showing out.”
His audience members included notable band The Untold. Another audience member started a “Gata” chant, as Gata's team threw inflatable alligators into the audience.
“Life can get real sometimes, so this song is called real life.”
With the lyrics, “I’m stressed, I’m blessed,” we couldn't think of a better mantra for the times we are living in. He humbly showcased his appreciation for the audience while he also provided a moment of silence for Highland Park victims. All in all, this crowd adored him so much that he did a second set at the Toyota stage.
JBTV Alumni the Regrettes shined at the Tito's stage, with originals and a cover of Lily Allen's "Smile." They have a particular way of having so much fun on stage, that their energy is intoxicating and addictive to watch. When their songs like "Dress Up," Monday," or "Rosy," played, their punk sound and Los Angeles attitude shined through. Lollapalooza offered a wide-variety of talented British artists, so seeing artists like the Regrettes continue to make their mark, particularly in a genre that is seldom discussed these days, is its own joy. They had the audience dancing like no other. Lydia, Genessa, Brooke and Drew, we love you.
The dance moves then made way for head banging as Royal Blood took the stage. Everyone took notice of a massive gong on stage, and did not know what to expect, or how they may manage to fit that into a song. They game our like renegades, with a Hard British rock sound, and a crowd screaming to "Lights Out" which was certainly their powerful hit of their set, alongside, "Boilermaker" and Little Monster." Mike Kerr held down the vocals and bass with his wayfarers, and he looked as cool as ever. But the real kicker came in the form of the drummer, Ben Thatcher, taking swigs out of a bottle of Patron, giving the audience the most perfect "drum solo of life" (as referenced by Aqua Teen Hunger Force for LIFE CHANGING drum solos), while then led to a countdown.
"FIVE-Four-Three-two-one...." *gong smash* and the crowd just became a roar of joy. Loud noise and rugged excitement is what Lollapalooza is all about.
I gotttttta talk more about Glass Animals. We all were a little relieved that they couldn't throw their signature pineapple into the audience, but hands down, Lollapalooza has never seen an artist have more fun on stage than Dave Bayley.
“Lollapalooza is always the best one,” he said to the crowd, who was just losing it. Their music is almost like a trance, as you don't realize how quickly time as gone by when they perform, because songs like "Deja Vu" just beg to be danced to. The crowd was damn near praying to have more space to spin-dance and jam out the way he gets to on stage, but watching him may have been enough.
The Chicago sun, while it was mostly chill weather throughout the day, suddenly began to beat down some serious heat during this set, and Dave was definitely one to mention it, but its almost like mother nature wanted the perfect transition into the song "Heatwaves." Rest assured, his cool attitude made it worth sweating bullets and the heart pounding to.
Before I mention the primary artists that JBTV covered, I gotta talk about Machine Gun Kelly achieving the rock star status he has been fighting for on the Bud Light main stage. While his performance referenced the hate he gets as an artist, from his switch from rap to rock, the question of his ability to play guitar, and whatever other insults have been thrown his way, he managed to squash all of it with his persona alone. He doesn't need to be a virtuoso, he has some of the most talent artists on stage alongside him, one being his childhood friend as his keyboard player, who excited the audience with a quick nod to "Still Dre" by Dr. Dre. It was the outfit changes, the appearance of Avril Lavigne, and the moment where he
"Creed at the MTV Movie Awards" CLIMBED THE SOUND STAGE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AUDIENCE to perform for the entire audience, where he truly won any skeptical minds over. Beyond that moment, it was the moment that he had an outfit change, covered the eyes of his drummer, all while casually smoking a cigarette that was when he achieved the rock star status that Travis Barker described of him. While some may like it or not, he IS the rock star of today's generation, while still being the 90s kid at heart who truly understands what it was like to grow up with the first real wave of emo-punk rock. He is managing to do this while adding the controversial flare that existed predominately in the 80s, with the inability to predict what he might do next.
I must say though I am amazed that he does not include his original rap song "Till I Die" or "Breaking News." If he burst out into any of those songs, there is no doubt that Chicago would have absolutely lost it. He did have a brief moment where he fast-rapped enough to, in my honest opinion, blow Eminem out of the water. I am a die hard Eminem fan, but MGK deserves way more credit for being the wildly talented freestyle rapper that he is, and there are hints in his rock persona that point to this, particularly in his swag. MGK, for the love of god, we love the "I'm a rockstar" situation he has going, but he can rap like no other, and its about time he stopped throwing that image away. He has managed to break into multi-genre audiences, while scoring the fans of Megan Fox, so as far as music goes, he might as well strut where his musical talent is, along with bopping the audience into "Tickets to My Downfall." Everyone knows he can act too, and while he continues to be an image, he needs to embrace where his respect is, and the respect can only come from the music. He put on an unforgettable show at Lollapalooza and people should be jealous if they missed this one.
I caught major moments of Dua Lipa, who was a walking star. Her skin tight glimmering body suit, as she cat-walked through the stage, was a power move. Her disco-style "Nostalgia" hits may seem on the nose, but she provides an anthem for women and girls of all ages. With "New Rules" and "Levitating" it almost feels like everyone is back in the 70s disco era, while simultaneously experiencing 80s nostalgia. It was a true gift for many of the crowd to close the night feeling as though they were at the Grammys.
"Boys will be boys, but girls will be women" were the lyrics this audience danced to, as Dua also announced how important it is to support women during the tumultuous times in America. Rest assured, she provided the perfect cathartic escape, paradoxically.
Finally the major highlights go to Girl in Red and Rezz.
Girl in Red was definitely the opposite of Dua in stage presence, and she come out with "You Stupid Bitch" which was so perfectly edgy, She was so direct in her style, and with songs like "Did You Come?" and "Serotonin" she gave the audience less persona and more authenticity in terms of a "this is my music, and you don't need to know anything more from me to love me" perspective. Well they loved her, and she will go far.
Rezz was the DJ set of a lifetime. Mentored by Dead Mau5, Rezz came out with a cryptic backdrop that stated "They will understand, they will communicate in the same way." Which made the front row a little scared, but also curious if we were about to be abducted. This Canadian DJ has the look of the "Limbo" video games series, which is so freaking exciting, and then the music blasts in your face. The opening song "Menace" was electric, with a backdrop that looked like it was hacked. Rezz paced the stage looking like a cartoon silhouette. The songs "Edge" and "Hypocurrency" had everyone on the edge of insanity, and it was the most mind blowing way to finish out Friday night.
I couldn't be more excited for the rest of the weekend. Until then,
Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television
Lollapalooza 2022 Day One: Caroline Polachek, The Wombats, Tove Lo, Metallica, Emmy Meli, Underscores, 100 Gecs, & more!
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing and Editing by Fiza Javid
Grant Park - July 28, 2022
Metallic makeup and a Metallica shirts, we’re here for it Lollapalooza Day One!
Troves of festival goers arrived while being handed free reusable “Prince: the Immersive Experience” water bottles near the entrance. While there were no expectation of a Prince impersonator, a mix of old and new artists were on the agenda for many to discover and appreciate.
Emmy Meli was first on JBTV’s list at the Coinbase stage, and I must say, while the pressure may be high for the larger acts to put on an unforgettable show stopper, the pressure of being first up on one of the prominent stages is may have artists sweating bullets as it may be the first impression of first time Lolla visitors. Rest assured Emmy Meli deserves an Emmy and potentially a Grammy for being the performer that she is. Her melodic voice, and the incredible range of notes she hits in the prospect of delivering one line, particularly in "I Am Woman" was unlike anything that had ever hit a Lolla stage before.
Devon Karpf of Underscores was next, and they were remarkable in their ability to cover a wide variety of genres and cover of one of Lollapalooza, and JBTV’s most memorable guest. They covered No Doubt's "Hella Good," Avril Lavigne's "Sk8er Boi" and Williams Crook's "Drive it Like You Stole It." However, it was their originals like "Everybody's Dead!" and "Trustfall!" that were booming the audience with a backdrop of 90s computer games while she playfully danced and sang to the audience. This HTML Hyperpop musical perspective expands the horizons of what future music could hold. With the mix of meme culture melting into more avenues, it did not surprise me that the audience enjoyed this switch into a "We're in the middle of nowhere” clip of Squidward, because we gotta feed that need for another meme somewhere. It’s incredible how Lollapalooza evolves with the times and responses to generations of new audiences. Underscores was a playful reminder of the current evolution being witnessed among the musical acts of this generation. They certainly created more excitement for the upcoming day.
As I walked over to catch the Last Dinosaurs, as they were already performing on the Bud Light stage, I was amazed to find an actual temporary Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant right by the Buckingham Fountain. Not nearly a typical setup for a smaller festival, but Lollapalooza truly delivers. The Buckingham fountain is the nucleus of the entire event, and a marketplace for Lolla merchandise, cell phone charging, supply buying (for anyone like me who forgot to bring a pair of sunglasses on a genuinely hot day). It was nice to grab some jerky while I was at it.
While I destroyed a piece of jerky, I removed my sunglasses in pure Alan Grant style when I beholded Last Dinosaurs. If only Grant was a rock music enthusiast. I could tell this band was not only made for 90s kids and the new "20s" kids. The right audience who loves a good mention of anything dinosaur related, but more importantly, an effortlessly talented, down to earth band who lets the music speak for itself.
Lead singer Sean Caskey, who was rockin it with his blonde hair, truly owned the crowd with "Andy." His voice has a California accent hidden in there somewhere which just makes their sound more beachy, but was fitting considering they are an Australian band. Their crisp guitar work, uplifting, danceable sound, almost leaning toward disco vibes. You could see the disco attitude in the dance moves of the audience. But the chorus switch into hard riffing alternative. Their dynamic sound mixed perfectly with the cool lakefront.
“So we got an album coming out, From Mexico with Love.” Sean then pulled out a gorgeous electric guitar.
“One of you guys could win this guitar.” That’s a line to make anyone go extinct. I couldn’t catch the type of guitar it was but it certainly didn’t look cheap. These guys are one to compete with.
In a sea of computers, they come out with pure musicianship and a lot of love to give.
Next up was Sam Fender, who is an artist who managed to get the crowd going before even stepping on stage. The audience began singing one of his songs in unision as they chanted his name just minutes before his appearance was scheduled to begin. That was until an airport-style announcement blasted through the intercoms to inform the audience that of a slight delay, but that he would be there soon. Thankfully it was only enough to make a couple people boo, but everyone else continued on with a sea of “olllaaayyyyyy”, damn near chanting like it was a soccer game. I think it’s time Sam moved up the bill if this is truly how dedicated his fan base it.
Just when they thought he was late, it seemed at first assumption that he was teasing the crowd, as they noticed him standing near the back entrance of the stage, which just the promise of his appearance was consequential, because the crowd was suddenly a screaming pit. He came out to announce that while they sort out their technical difficulties, he would play the crowd some tunes. “Let’s go!” *clap-clap, clapclapclap* While he tuned his guitar. “Is there a chance we are going to get this stuff working?” He said, reckoning to the backstage area. He began performing "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen to hold everyone over. His voice resonated with such purity and grace, and while it calmed everyone down, it the set of we ultimately doomed. Unfortunately Sam Fender was 30 minutes past his start time, and we were not able to catch the set. I guess Sam will have to make it up to these Lolla fans next time around.
After scoring a hot dog with Bobby, we worked our way to the Wombats. The Wombats are JBTV Alumni, and Jerry genuinely has a special place in his heart for them, as their music played during his life-saving surgery when he had stage four cancer.
They never disappoint. When life gives them lemons, they write songs about them. They performed “I Brought A Lemon to a Knife Fight.”
“I'm going to sing a song about my favorite fruit," said Matthew Murphy. And they were truly playful the whole way through. Other notable songs were certainly "Pink Lemonade" and Method to the Madness."
I would love to get into detail about every artist covered, but notable mentions included: Still Woozy, whose "Lucy" and Whoopie" songs were definitely the balanced, subtle vibe, and transcending musical experience that a ton of new ears got a chance to grasp. 100 Gecs, who came out powerfully with "Hey Big Man." Their wizard-like outfits and theatrical appearance couples with the down-to-earth feel of their rock-pop feel was a major jam.
Remi Wolf with "Disco Man", Lorna Shore with "Cursed to Die" (which was such a great pre-curser before Metallica), Black Coffee with the DJ set in "Flava" are other notable mentions that I wish I could go more into detail for.
Hung out at the Hulu motel for some A/C, they has some couches, music and swag. It was the perfect pick-me-up before heading back to the Bud Light Stage for Tove Lo.
Tove Lo was an absolute goddess. Songs “Bikini Girl," "Cool Girl," "Disco Tits," and ofcourse the crowd favorite, "Stay High." She’s the pop star of this generation.
She came out in an all jean iconic outfit, that also had "Madonna from 'Hung Up" vibes. The jean bottoms were cheeky, which allowed for more free expression for her dance moves, as she wiggled for a screaming audience of fan girls and fan boys alike. Her gogo boots also added extra flair. It felt like the perfect club setting as she also played a new song. Then during "Talking Body" she slowly pulls the string on her top and flashed the audience quickly.
Tove truly embodied not only an uncanny ability to sing genuinely, but while maintaining a sexually free spirit of her own. The backdrop of her performance included
cartoon breasts, booty, and vaginal symbols, which I imagine was also a way to further celebrate herself as well as other women in the audience. She also had a clip of herself cat walking toward the audience as it sang in sync with her singing to the audience, which was immensely dynamic. Tove, we absolutely adore you.
Still, the true power house performers of the night were certainly Metallica and Caroline Polachek. Metallica was at the T-Mobile Stage to close out the night, and they embodied the rock level rage that had been missing from Lollapalooza in such a long time, but it probably only felt that way because there is truly no other band like Metallica. They played their classics like "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Enter Sandman" while also surprising the audience with the b-side from "St. Anger."
Metallica always manages to make the audience feel like family. As they are 41 years strong, their true love of their craft and their fans reigns true. James Hetfield made sure to handle the subject matter with genuine care as he discussed how their music may also deal with the topic of suicide. He was sure to mention that it is vital to speak to a friend if anyone in the audience is struggling with those thoughts. He effortlessly includes these truly caring moments, while managing to riff like a true rock god. Lars handled the drums like he ages backwards, and their talent is *chefs kiss*. They are legends for a reason.
Caroline Polachek was absolutely perfect for closing the Bud Light Stage. She opened for Dua Lipa in February, and considering Dua will be in Lollapalooza during this weekend, it was great to see Caroline score a prominent stage. Caroline was a siren in modern day form, and the peaks she hit with her voice, as well as her connection with the audience, was legendary. "Ocean of Tears" is where her voice carries her across the stage like a mythical figure. "Breathless," "Sunset," and "Bunny is a Rider" were genuine favorites.
Lollapalooza 2022 day one will certainly be difficult to top, and while the weekend is just getting started, the memories of this day are already one to get festival-goers excited for many years to come.
Until tomorrow, this is Fiza with JBTV Music Television at Lollapalooza.
Lollapalooza 2022, Metallica, Tove Lo, The Wombats, Emmy Meli, 100 Gecs, Last Dinosaurs, Sam Fender, Underscores
Taylor Bennett: Coming of Age ft. Cassius Tae, Recoechi, Baha Banks, Chanelle Tru & Surprise Guest Tom Higgenson
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing and Editing by Fiza Javid
7/22/22 - Lincoln Hall Venue, Chicago
If there is anything crazier than the realization of a free show, it's a free show to someone who would very well have the capability of selling out a massive venue.
This artist in question is Taylor Bennett, who may have started as being well known for being the younger brother of Chance the Rapper, but is very quickly making a name for himself as not just a talented rapper, but a multi-genre, bisexual artist with an ear for music, a mind for business and a heart of gold.
From start to finish, Taylor's show not only showcased the genuine character an artist that he is, but the ways in which an intellectual mind and business mind can come together to create a ground-breaking show that opens the floor for true Chicago artistry.
Taylor, being an artist from the south-side of Chicago, gathered a group of incredibly talented openers as well: Cassius Tae, Recoechi, Baha Banks and Chanelle Tru, who all came together to showcase the spirit of south side, west side, east side talent, and powerhouse music voices that shine through these neighborhoods. These artists are the very essence of the Chicago music scene.
Prior to the show, Jerry Bryant arrived along with JBTV's on staff local Aussie and Cameraman Wesley Nott, and JBTV photographer Bobby Talamine, at Lincoln Hall to interview Taylor. Together they had an exclusive interview with Taylor as well as caught the action of the sound check. To the surprise of the crew, JBTV Alumni Tom Higgenson of Plain White T's showed up and joined Taylor on stage to do some sound checking as well, which hinted a very unexpected live performance.
The soundcheck alone was a testament to Taylor's hard work the dedication. He kept a watchful eye on all the logistics, timing, as well as the overall feel of the show. Taylor had a street team promoting the event at Pitchfork leading up to this day, and they were prepared to sound check all the way until the minute before doors. Hell, Taylor was even doing push-ups while the sound check was going on.
Each performer was set to showcase one song to give the audience a taste.
First up was Cassius Tae, and if you haven't checked out his music video "WAVERUNNER" you're in for it. His poetic and illustrative lyrics in that song came to life on the stage. We caught the 'sound waves' running, with the hard snare beat, through the audience. This drove the crowd into the right vibe to get the party started.
Chanelle Tru was up next, and the moment her song started, we were hit with strong rock and R&B vibes, which is seldom showcased, but perfect for the theme that Taylor hints with his music. She was the perfect opener, and a show stopper. Sporting army pants with a white bandeau top and voluminous hair, she was bossed up to make sure the sound check was solid, and her voice was truly powerful. Check out "Complicated" by her and Black Wealth Media Group, and you will already know that in a trailblazing song and she’s an en pointe dancer to match it. I must add, the turn out for this crowd was so strong, that it even got the support of managers and artists alike from the Chicago music scene. Among this included the manager of another up-and-coming rapper Brandon Musa who came out as a big fan of Chanelle Tru.
Baha Banks said "TAKE ME TO THE BANK" and truly came out making a name for herself. She is one of the powerful voices that we need for women in hip hop, and I know I don’t even need to bring gender into it. She came out with her backup dancers and their choreography was truly in line and got the crowd into a frenzy. Her beat, her flow, her effortless confidence, and the way she tied her dance moves into the twerk session of her dancers, who did splits and turned their body in ways that I did not think was possible in such a constricted space. If you check out her video "Top 5ive," you already know she means business.
"They put us in the cages for what they made legal, that shit a scam." These words came from, Recoechi who began his set with incredible spoken word about the life of the streets that definitely reminded the room just how necessary these shows are. At the end of the day, the showcase was a testament to the talent that comes through the usually grim picture painted of Chicago neighborhoods. Recoechi's words highlighted that the hardship of growing up in parts of Chicago is still a stark reality that many people in Chicago have to endure, but the way in which these realities get channeled into the poetry and music, that is how these hardships turn into something powerful enough to impact change.
Recoechi is an effortless flow of a narrative rapper, with a crisp and masculine voice, particularly in his song "Want that Feelin." It was a gift to hear his voice reverberate through the audience as a reminder of how important these events are.
Recoechi's song was a powerful note to end the opening act with, and it switched over to a DJ set by DJ Preme and DJ Mike, two master mixers involved with 107.5 WGCI. Together they kept the audience dancing, feeling like they are at an exclusive house party event. One of the highlights of this set was the tribute to Juice WRLD, who DJ Mike used to tour with, along with more tributes to late and great artists like XXXTENACION, and a regular tribute to Travis Scott's music.
The mix of rock and rap in the audience seemed to really push through, and the DJ set was when the party really got started. The room felt like it was bouncing. DJ Mike also through in a Chicago footwork, West Side, South Side ode, which was started by 9pm.
Chicago twerk music is always a classic, like "Bounce and Break your Back" but its hard not to think of Perkulator or K-Swiss if you grew up hearing this as a regular Chicagoan, no matter which neighborhood you were in.
When Taylor's set began at 9:30, the crowd was definitely restless, but watching the bassist and the guitarist get settled on stage was the cue for some audience members to start pushing to the front.
The classic rock graphics shined on the projection screen, with TV screens, vinyls,
an animated Taylor, and a 3D car. There was a feel that this was meant to be in a larger stadium venue.
“I wanted the show to be free because there used to be a free show every week," said Taylor, in classic, humble fashion. It made the show that much better.
His bassist, who is the music director of Taylor's newly released project "Coming of Age" began grooving, as the drummer and guitarist also contributed to the genre switch from rap openers to a rock audience. As I looked over to the audience, I noticed a mix of audience members bobbing their hands like it was a rap show, while the other half was ready to mosh.
Taylor was rocking a shiny TBG, diamond encrusted chain, but again, his humility is what made the vibe right. He opened with "Broad Shoulders" and "Kick Back" before introducing his album. Major highlights were definitely "Favorite Colors," "Fall Short," and "Today." By 10pm the crowd was chanting his name. He even pulled out a trampoline for his second song, which allowed him to jump along with the audience.
"I am an independent artist, and we've been here with the street team, and its beautiful to realize it all still works. We did Good Morning America, Kelly Clarkson, Sirius Vibe, we've been moving man" prior to the start of the album intro.
After a couple songs he made a PSA before "Today." "Mental health is so important and it is something we don't talk about enough. The song I am about to perform is described to be the perfect day versus what be going on. I would like to do this song for you guys, it's very special to me." The audience put one hand up and truly showed their appreciation.
By mid show and the crowd was hollering, Tom Higgenson jumps onto the stage to a screaming audience. No one anticipated the timing at all, and Tom is aging backwards. Tom sang part of "Today" with him and no one knew what to expect. When the song ended, that was when Taylor asked Tom to perform "Hey There Delilah."
"Are you guys ready to sing Hey There Delilah with Tom Higgenson?"
Genre switch again! But the audience lived for it, and everyone knew the words to every bit of that song.
Taylor performed "Don't Wait Up," "Be Yourself," "Dancing in the Rain," "Sunset Falls" the album outro and closed with "Easy Outside." I'd say by this point half the audience lost their voice and had an absolute blast. As for myself, I feel lucky to have had the first listen of this album live, and if you have a chance to check out Taylor Bennett when he returns to Chicago, whether you are a rock or rap fan, he truly has something for everyone.
Be sure to check out the exclusive JBTV interview with Jerry Bryant and Taylor Bennett soon! Full marathons of JBTV will be on VPODTV on Fridays and Saturdays from midnight-2am. Until next time, this is Fiza with JBTV Music Television.
Coming of Age
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
Edited by Fiza Javid
For Day Three of all things Pitchfork 2022- Have to say yet again Pitchfork knows how to blend things eclectic, and following some kind of theme (in my opinion), making usually the final day a somewhat "chill" event in regards to the bookings.
All fine and dandy- it's music and performing artists covering the map globally, and musical styles and fashion reflecting that mood.
Two things happened when I arrived early before the gates even opened- first- while prepping and getting my gear together for the interview session with Elia Einhorn of Pitchfork with none other than George Clinton, inside the press tent was another interview happening with Xenia Rubinos, a unique artist and multi instrumentalist whose heritage covers the map from Cuban and Puerto Rican descent, reflecting passion and conviction to performance, so I heard with her interviewer.
And on her right arm, she was wearing a bright fire engine red up to her elbow glove, with half of it reflected with a mirror.
Cool as all get out, even for an interview at noon.
All that did was amp up my curiosity for her set at the Blue Stage later in the afternoon- which by the way, was a performance with some hiccups tech wise before her show, and then more than made up during her show, with saran wrap coverings, musicians shrouded in white veils when setting up onstage, and Xenia herself knowing full well how to use props to full effect, such as a bright red cloth, which horizontally from stage left to stage right, acted as a barrier from her desires of trying to reach out to her audience, and yet held back by the barrier of cloth.
For such an intimate stage, a maximum use to full effect of making this performance so memorable, even at 5:30 in the afternoon.
And then of course the said interview session with Elia and George Clinton, which in and of itself was so intriguing and informative and downright fun to be a part of.
These two cats- Elia and George- God bless the both of them- for maintaining the spirit of music discovery, and acting as wise old souls who still have that bit of kid in them.
Plusses throughout Day Three, From the hypnotic meditations with L' Rain, let alone intricate musicianship and compositions that are delicate, and yet complex, reflecting the chill mood throughout for Day Three.
This mood persists, as eclectic as all get out, from Chicago rapper Noname, looking ever so confident in her delivery and relaxed mood- even stopping her set for a bit to let paramedics come in the main floor grounds in front of her stage to attend to a patron in need of hydration.
Noname speaks volumes in care and judgement, reflected also in her writings and delivery- ever keeping front and center that the message can still be delivered with a modicum of understanding and empathy combined.
Same holds true for singer / songwriter Kaina, also hailing from Chicago, with her soft and savory voice and gentle vibe, even on an overcast day.
And even the experimental hip hop group of Injury Reserve- even though their beats and message are a bit more amped than the other artists performing on Day Three- their mood is not all crazed indifference- their message is still strong, but just more with a dialed down delivery, which is memorable in my opinion.
And of course there's Earl Sweatshirt, equally fitting the overall mood of the day, a bit late to start his set, and stopping after the second song to take in the gigantic mud pit from the rains stage right / audience left.
He didn't rush things- he needed some time to take that all in, the mud covered crowd, the mud covered lawn in that section of real estate.
He's again chill as all get out, with a message that runs deep, but with no big splash and amped up attitude.
Makes you stand and pay attention- Earl's words are equally important to the overall presentation.
And again, same holds true with Toro Y Moi, who certainly knows how to pivot in musical direction, let alone taste in clothing reflecting whichever mood he's in.
A vibe for Pitchfork and performance? Looking like he could easily fit in with Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak of Silk Sonic, what with the chill and sophisticated instrumentation, let alone a suit and coloring that looks like he came out of the late seventies.
This by no means is a knock- it's just a reflection on songwriting and attitude that in my opinion reflects inspirations that encompass chill wave, with dollops of ambient electronica thrown in for good measure.
And then off we go to catch Welsh musician Cate Le Bon's set who has eclectic and sophisticated style sense, along with her keen songwriting and performance productions aesthetics, which she certainly knows a thing or two about, to match her moods and tastes.
She's a riveting to watch kind of performer, and equally astounding musician as well.
A very underrated guitar player in my opinion, with a sense of when and where to strike a single chord that's suspenseful and yet so heartfelt.
One of the best performances from Day Three.
Followed at last with the headliner The Roots- a band that knows a thing or two about all things "Late night party", even on a Sunday evening in Union Park Chicago.
They can fill a stage with musicianship, that's for sure, even when doing house band duties with Jimmy Fallon on late night NBC.
Too many musicians to name here, and you already know most of them anyway.
If you don't - start discovering.
Can't think of another band that can bash out "Jungle Boogie" from Kool & the Gang, and make it their own, then trail blaze off in another direction with "Got My Mind Made Up" from 2Pac, and also make it their own.
That's the definition of bad ass folks.
Their own songs- and cover songs...they have their hearts in the right place.
They have musical knowledge that expands outwards to the great beyond.
What a day, for all things Day Three of Pitchfork- all plusses, all of the above.
The minuses? Just the rain man.
Even a soaking drizzle off and on in the late afternoon on Sunday puts a damper on things. But that's not Pitchfork's fault.
It is what is. But covering camera gear off an on, let alone your person...just slows everything down a bit.
Having said that- no matter. It's a chill kinda day and evening anyway.
Loved receiving the Pitchfork text at the end of the evening stating "That's a wrap folks! Looking forward to seeing everyone at Pitchfork 2023!".
Guess what- I am too.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Writing and Photography By Bobby Talamine
Edited by Fiza Javid
Yes, you heard that right, when covering Day Two of all things Pitchfork Music Festival '22- No methodical order of recaps of bands, from first to last or last to first.
And yes one more time: Mitski was undeniably a transformational kinda show, headliner on Day Two well noted. We'll get to Mitski in a moment.
However, so was The Armed- A hardcore / thrash punk / metalcore (throw more definitions here) collective from Detroit, Michigan.
Their set, which began wholeheartedly around 2:45pm, stayed in my head for the rest of the day, up to writing this recap.
Yeah- they were THAT GOOD.
To the point of staying around to catch their full and unhinged set- which if you can take a wild guess, is impossible festival wise, what with so much to cover and such. Stayed I did.
I mean sweet baby Jesus....these hooligans know how to throw a party and maximize the Blue Stage with every inch of real estate utilized by what seemed like 12 band members (maybe more).
Lost count amidst the deep sea of fog machines making even fellow photographers disappear in the pit, it was that thick.
It's like every bit of their production is thought out full throttle.
And the songs- all armed with hellfire and hellbent for interaction sweat.
From "ALL FUTURES', to "Night City Aliens", to "AN ITERATION", and then "A LIFE SO WONDERFUL"- (most songs written out on their setlist in capital letters for maximum effect)- well even a pleasant title for a song which is volatile as the rest, with a clear path to unhinged destruction.
Now supposedly the band loves to confuse, to remain somewhat anonymous with various band members throttled in and out of the band accordingly, just to shake things up and embrace all things "misconstrued".
Well fine by me.
There is a central core of members apparently, to try to keep some semblance of order through the chaos, which again, diving deep into this takes away from the actual memorable punishment that I witnessed, whether it be repetitive stage diving, body surfing, singing your lungs out from the pit and subwoofer risers, or even throwing your heavy duty microphone stand into the stage constantly, or whatever.
Technically, all of that doesn't matter, because it's obvious to me that the band pow wow prior to performing has to be something of a group huddle with words like 'Fun, but unhinged chaos is the order of the day", followed by lots and lots of fog.
So this shows once again, Pitchfork knows a thing or two to blast away on all things "guitar orientated", for Day Two.
Worked up a sweat writing that segment, and reliving the tapes in my head.
Not to knock the other acts worth noting- but "all over the map' serves a purpose- but yet how to convey the before and afters of Day Two without building up to The Armed?
In my opinion, next to impossible.
However, bands like The Linda Lindas deserve notice, with their fun indie punk kinda style, even with bassist Eloise Wong done up with cat whiskers, and a bright turquoise shirt, with the other band members dressed uniquely different reflecting personalities, but as a whole, embracing their brand of "damn good fun".
Or how about Dry Cleaning in the late afternoon, with Florence Shaw's narrations mixing ever so nicely with her bandmates- through an eleven song set, ending with the blistering "Scratchcard Lanyard", with Florence maintaining her composure like always, while her bandmates are drowning in scathed feedback bansheeness.
Or how about the hypnotic sounds and visuals and fashions and makeup with Yeule, a performer with unclassifiable cyber dimensions interspersed with mixes of trance ambient, glitch pop, or even a bit of light hearted goth.
First thing I thought of with Yeule was how she would fit in nicely on the main floor of the Metro, dancing away to all things "Nocturna", courtesy of Scary Lady Sarah.
And then there's Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast on the Red Stage at 7:30 ish, making great use of the stage, along with her flowers embraced gong front and center, with hypnotic bashes to said gong during opener "Paprika", and the crowd just eating it up- and eating up her entire set frankly, even with the appearance of Jeff Tweedy, sharing vocal duties to "Kokomo, IN", along with "Jesus, Etc", a Wilco cover.
So charming to hear how much Michelle adores Jeff and his unique singing / songwriting.
A wonderful set, with Japanese Breakfast.
And of course there's LOW, fronted by Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, who know a thing or two about "blended distortion", followed by walls of feedback mixed through guitar pedals. Look no further than their latest release- "Hey What", and the opening track which also opened their set- "White Horses". That song can go on for hours in my opinion, the beauty of distorted melody, followed by walls of sound and sustained and distained notes with hypnotic counterpoint vocals, fighting to be heard amidst the crushing sound. The stuff of genius, which never ever gets old.
We can't forget Magdalena Bay, the sophisticated and sincere as all get out synth pop duo consisting of Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin, who know a thing or two about set production embracing all things "middle eighties", all the way down to pajama onesies with assorted hues of off blue and off pink ish colors.
Let this by no means take away from their sophisticated songwriting and sound palettes- they are ever so crafty in blasting out melodies, to the likes of "Chaeri" in particular. All you had to do was look around the grounds of the Red Stage- virtually everyone was dancing in place from beginning to end.
And of course the Danish band Iceage, who with frontman Elias Ronnenfelt know how to present a song or two unabashed, even while performing after The Armed had been done earlier.
They sound cool, they look ultra cool, they play ever so cool, through a set consisting of nuggets such as "Dear Saint Cecillia", and "Vendetta", or even "Thieves Like Us". Well done fellas- embracing all things noise rock and post punk or whatever- doesn't matter, subgenres be damned with these guys, which is a good thing.
As for CupcakKe- she commands, ladies and gentlemen. A packed crowd in the early afternoon via the Red Stage, with raps and discussions on all things "vagina this", "vagina that", amongst other necessary expletives.
She knows a thing or two about this, rapping with the occasional wicked smile, and demanding your undivided attention.
As for headliner Mitski- HOLY SHIT.
The buildup to her performance- the crowd- her audience, ate it up. They ate up everything- her occasional leg kicks, the witnessing of her knee pads under her dress, her fits and starts moves, acting out whichever song, from opener "Love Me More", into "Working for the Knife" in particular, with fictitious thrashes to her arms bringing out yelps and screams and hollers from her faithful audience, and into "I Will" a slow burn of a song with ultra cool hypnotically ladened synths.
Her entire set- from delicate to unabashed- the audience ate it up, even sharing lyrics out loud most of the night, riveted to her every move and nuance.
Mitski's the real deal- putting thought and care into everything production wise, even on a minimal scale, to reflect the moods of Mitski, with no distractions.
In my opinion, not many artists can pull that off, without showing weaknesses and spotty issues.
Not the case with Mitski, who lives and breathes her world, and clearly knows how to share it with the rest of us.
Going to go down as one of the best performances of the year, on year end lists- it was that amazing- that good- that memorable.
Here's to Pitchfork- knocking Day Two out of the park yet again.
Bobby Talamaine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
Edited by Fiza Javid
Off and on Rain.
Sometimes persistent and heavier kind of rain, followed by a lighter version of that.
And this scenario played out off an on up until Jason Pierce of Spiritualized and his set later in the early evening.
Rain is not a friend to photographers.
You literally have to cover everything, just to at least keep picture taking manageable to some extent, let alone your person.
But there's lots to be grateful for- you're not alone in this latest edition of the Pitchfork Music Festival, and by all accounts, the demeanor of said fellow photographers and fellow writers is glass half full, not glass half empty.
So we're going to start from the bottom up to the headliner The National, giving you a brief account of the festivities, and bands of note.
Have to start off with SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE- A band revered not just by fellow music hounds, but also fellow bands and artists as well.
They can cover lots of ground when performing live- morphing into way so cool post punk territory one minute, then veer into experimental noise the next.
And also while not sounding the least bit fake- it's clear their hearts in all this is in the right place when attempting all of these genres of music with a set that left me intently focused for most of their set before having to vanish off to catch some of Monaleo at the Blue Stage.
Which yet again, you have to give the fine folks at Pitchfork a round of applause to book meaningful bands early in the schedule, year in and year out, making each and every day attending Pitchfork a real treat.
As far as Monaleo- a late edition to replace Tkay Maidza- She's honest- I'll give her that. Nervous veering out to soak in the audience in attendance before she even plays her first song, taking some deep breaths, then doing her best to command the stage, prancing about to her major hit "Beating Down Yo Block", amongst others. Even at an early age, she knows how to come out of the gates swinging, even with a persistent rain taking hold.
Up next is Wiki, a rapper and record producer hailing from New York City, with an attitude that comes off laissez faire- but in reality is anything but.
And the crowd for Wiki- pretty impressive, even amongst the raindrops, performing at 3:30 in the afternoon.
Up next is Spelling, which is actually Tia Cabral- an experimental pop musician from Oakland California, who embraces a wide variety of musical tastes, as evidenced with serious background vocalists, let alone a crafty band to flush out her progressive and electronic leanings, done with great taste, and a dark fashion sense to boot.
Then off I go to dry off a bit, regain my composure, and head back to the Blue Stage to catch a bit of Camp Cope's set- an Australian alternative rock trio fronted by fearless Georgia Maq McDonald- and as a trio, know how to swing for the fences with a steady and sturdy best of indie, mixed with a bit of punk thrown in for good measure. And that voice from Georgia Maq- can go full throttle at a moment's notice.
Then a breather between rain drops to get my senses back, and off to Tierra Whack- a rapper from Philadelphia, who even though felt somewhat uncomfortable performing in the rain, made it clear she was having a hard time dialing down her performance without slipping and sliding on the Red Stage- to the point where the Pitchfork crew periodically came out to weegee the rain off the stage as best they could.
But perform she does, to the point of stopping sporadically to announce birthday wishes from stage left to stage right.
Clearly Tierra Whack is an inspired gal- and motivated no matter what the circumstances mother nature throws at you.
Now comes one of the highlights for me for the day- Parquet Courts from New York City- a band that has played Pitchfork before, and a band that knows how to squeeze out noise pop mixed with electronic noise followed by feedback mixed with disdained vocal with nary a weak link in the bunch.
And the crowd in attendance knows this too- veering off into demented land, courtesy of Andrew Savage, who can talk over anything sound wise, followed by brief yelps of what the fucks.
As much as they can be contained a bit between whichever song, they also can at a moments notice unleash the hounds when provoked, especially with heavy hitter songs in your catalog such as "Stoned and Starving".
Songs such as this never get old, including newer material such as "Plant Life", which is in the mold of straightforward Parquet Courts.
Then comes Dawn Richard, hailing from New Orleans, with red blazing hair down to "here", and with a fashion sense that is sophisticated nasty, as well as her performance, with two backup dancers that push the envelope with moves, even on such a minimal stage in yet more rain.
As far as Jason Pierce and his band Spiritualized- although minimal photographers allowed- listened to some of his set from the audience, and like past years when performing in Chicago, he still sits down when performing, and plays as best he can, what with all of his health issues the poor guy has faced over the years.
To even see him walk out onto the stage is a treat in itself, let alone start off with "Hey Jane", into "She Kissed Me (It Felt Like a Hit)', which is improvising daydream / intense kind of stuff.
Finally back to the Blue Stage, to catch the multi-faceted Amber Mark, who knows how to command a stage and swing to sophisticated R&B, and all around catchy alternative R&B.
And finally we hit the headliner of Day One- The National, a band to this very day have set the mark with unabashed sincerity and honesty, with a songcraft that holds up without sounding and feeling dated.
And that says lots, between the Dessner brothers and the Devendorf brothers, fronted by Matt Berninger.
Yes, they have a sophisticated LED backdrop and specialized lighting kind of show- but it says something altogether when you can turn your head away from the stage and look out at the large audience, and soak in a song such as the heartfelt "I Need My Girl", and visualize your own personal scope of things music wise, personal feelings wise- not performance wise.
It's magical songwriting, done with thought in mind, like most of The National's songs, with words and imagery that make you disappear and forget and immerse- like reading a captivating novel, and you don't want to be disturbed.
Opening with their standards "Don't Swallow the Cap", into "Mistaken for Strangers", and then of course "Bloodbuzz Ohio"- how's that for a one/ two/ three punch!
17 songs in total, and then before you know it, the show is over.
Nothing like dark and heartfelt melancholy on a Saturday night, especially after a day of on and off rain followed by misty humidity.
Have to say Day One of Pitchfork 2022 was memorable- all positives (rain included) - not negatives.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
Edited by Fiza Javid
And so here we are at the Chicago Theatre, the glorious and iconic marquee all lit up on all sides- emblazoned for all to see, and giddy with excitement thereof: "Jam Presents Puscifer- This Saturday July 2".
And the crowd, already lined up since 10 am apparently.
Found that odd, since it's a reserved seating kind of theatre.
So when I arrived, I had to ask. It turns out that every date of this Existential Reckoning Tour, a unique one of a kind poster is made for the event, somewhere in the neighborhood of around fifty total.
But the line- has to be close to three hundred or so and an hour before doors open, stretching south on State Street to the alley, and then going east to Wabash.
Just goes to show yet again, like anything Tool related merch wise, is equal with all things Puscifer merch wise- a rabid fan base that devours anything and everything Maynard related.
And with Puscifer, there's a lot to take in that's downright funny, that's downright macabre, that's downright sophisticated cabaret production wise, along with smidgeons of absurdist theatre thrown in for good measure.
It technically starts in my opinion for the promotion for said Existential Reckoning Tour 2022- at the bottom of the scheduled date announcements with this little bit of news: "PREPARE TO BE PROBED", with of course the prehistoric- ish alien pencil and ink illustration added in for good measure.
That should give you lots of intel right then and there.
And if you need to cut to the chase on absurdist comedy from a legit photographer's perspective- yes, having covered Tool since their inception, let alone A Perfect Circle and on and on, you get to know the photo policies like the back of your hand.
But it became downright comical a half of the way through their first song of the night- "Bread and Circus", when both Maynard (aka Special Agent Dick Merkin) and Carina Round stop in their tracks and yell "Spam! Spam! Spam!"- and point to one individual in particular, which is code word for banned cell phone usage, which leads to eviction from the venue.
All this did was incite a couple patrons around my purview, pointing to me and yelling the same thing, as if to pounce because of my camera gear and photography taking, although authorized, and with clear as the present day photo pass.
Had to show that pass what seemed like multiple times to anyone and everyone for that two songs allotted, which is not a complaint really, it just goes to show how the audience follows said rules from said band, and everyone please act accordingly.
Enough of that though, as funny as it was- bottom line from that to the actual show, there's a lot of comedy to go around, courtesy of Special Agent Dick Merkin, on the scene as always, seeking out extraterrestrials, who are apparently living among us, mostly hybrid celebrity related, with mutant offspring mixed together to make the likes of Justin Bieber, Wendy O Williams, and so on.
The videos with Agent Merkin offhandedly and matter of factly explaining said macabre extraterrestrials, with Max Headroom video glitches thrown in for good measure are as funny as all get out- With matter- of- fact statements such as they have discovered and "identified a hidden mobile cloning facility that is alien owned and operated, and which appears to be run by a combination of genetic engineers, public relation biologists, booking agents and oh so smug social media influencers, all extraterrestrial in nature. The purpose of the clones is still a mystery, but it appears that the aliens are either downright duplicating and or replacing red carpet celebrities that have been deemed mediocre or without outdated fashion sensibilities".
So you see when you have too much time on your hands, and you morph into other characters and offshoots of your wicked man when your main occupation is on a bit of a vacation?
You write about the absurdity of it all, exposing what we all know, if you're the occasional watcher of anything B related daytime TV, or "Entertainment Tonight", "Access Hollywood", or even Tucker Carlson related- that all of it is worthy of lampooning, and twisting to your point of view for putting on a show.
And a show it is, sophisticated for such an intimate theatre such as the Chicago Theatre, with good use of scaffolding, giant sized LED screens stage left and stage right, with lighting to add a moody punch to the whole affair.
And the core Puscifer force, backing up Agent Merkin, along with Carina Round, you have Mat Mitchell, on guitar. bass and keyboards, and of course Josh Moreau on bass, and Gunnar Olsen on drums.
The band is tight, aloof, going about their business without much visible emotion, acting as the "Men in Black" to the "Man in Black".
The themes abound, clearly obvious and visible, but done with a fans point of view, to prompt further discussion and evidentiary dialog on all things "Maynard", and can you decipher "Maynard", which apparently you can, and you can't.
Which is the whole point I guess- living in this day and age, and easy access to conspiracy theories, let alone anything "Q" related, makes you take note of the dimwitted, and write about the dimwitted.
And no one better than Maynard knows how to instinctively skewer that at his beck and call, making note of anyone in a position of elected power- "If I only had a brain", whistling like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz, and the buffoon of a senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
So yes, there's plenty of fodder on a daily basis to chew on, especially if you're an entertainer of the level of a Maynard- a guy who knows how to perform and immerse himself in multiple characters, with a bit of modern day George Carlin thrown in for good measure.
All of it makes sense to some extent, provoking your devoted audience and fan base to essentially take a deep dive into investigating further the deciphering of all the "DaVinci Code" like antics from said wicked showman / comedian.
The setlist- covered entirely "Existential Reckoning", with plenty of fodder in Maynard's other alter character, Billy D, and all things "V is for Vagina", and "Conditions of my Parole", let alone "Money Shot".
Some seventeen songs in total, all done with no skimping, or let's say "no spam involved".
All rich, all fresh and clean.
Have to say it's not wayward with Maynard. The comedy- the theatrics- the swinging the hips like an old man movements- the downright 1950's aliens in three piece suits- all of it makes absurdist sense, for absurdist comedy, for the absurdist world we find ourselves in.
So when we get close to the time of the end of the world, and we all have to "tribe up" Mad Max style, and I'm alive and have to seek out a guy like Maynard and profess that I belong with said tribe, I've got my speech ready. It involves a modicum of comedy, along with existential gunplay, followed by a dash of wisdom with an "I don't care" kind of attitude.
That- and know how to multi- task at a moment's notice.
Let's go forward please.
Until then- embrace the absurdist comedy ever present in the day and now, with guys like Maynard, and bands like Puscifer.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
Edited by Fiza Javid
You can tell that this show with Failure, this current tour with Failure is going to be a treat on a couple of accounts-
First, with the setlist- some 19 songs in total, opening with "Submarines", from their latest release "Wild Type Droid"- a song with like most of Failure's catalog- based on untrammeled observations and exposed detriment, followed by dusting yourself off, and trying to get on approaching life with a glass half full.
I know that says lots- but welcome to a life lived during the time of a great band such as Failure.
Will dig deep a bit more on all things "setlist" in a minute-
But now onto the second bit of news- which is their merchandise, and the amount of care they show to their fans.
The Bottom Lounge has a long hallway to the east side of the main room, and one side of the wall is devoted to merch, the other side is the posters of the future Bottom Lounge show announcements.
As far as the show announcements- I had to come to the venue earlier for soundcheck, just to see firsthand the layout of all three on the main stage, and the configuration of the band layout in relation to the pit and audience, to seek out the the sweet spot in advance to get a decent shot of all three along with separate shots of Greg, Kellii and Ken.
Not much room to work with pit wise- and knowing their devoted audience, didn't want to make things difficult there as well.
But once the sweet spot was found- all was good to handle the confines of an intimate venue such as the Bottom Lounge.
So I saw upon entering the Bottom Lounge four Failure posters of tonight's show- one along the hallway by the merch, two others in the men's bathrooms, and the last one by the main door entrance by the restaurant dining area.
All four were long gone by the time the doors opened for the show.
But their merch- well let's just say there's lots and lots of Failure merch catering to the rabid Failure Fan.
And the line for Failure merch was quite extensive, even during their performance, which should tell you lots.
So yes- it's beyond refreshing to see them perform live again, and rekindle in my soul the beauty of muscular tracks written from all angles and various themes of all kinds of subject matter.
Again- sorry fro the long displays of fitting into one sentence what you dearly love about a band such as Failure, and try not to get all discombobulated.
But for those in the know, the new friends you easily make while waiting for one of your favorite bands to go on, and talking with people for a couple hours of distinct dissection of "Failure this- Failure that"- well, you'd get the gist.
New songs, old songs- it doesn't matter.
It's all Failure worthy good.
Of course they save the sweet stuff for the encore- six songs in total, but you can't help but feel the glow of good listening yet again to "Segue 3" into "The Nurse Who Loved Me" into "Another Space Song" into "Stuck on You" yet again.
Those four beasts never get old.
But then followed up by "Heliotrpic", and closing with "Daylight"- all of which come from their brilliant release "Fantastic Planet"- such a whiz bang smack to the back of your head to realize just how majestic this all is - everything Failure- nothing but Failure.
Of course "Fantastic Planet" is incomparable, and withstood the test of time, and maintained all relished revelry from die hards and fellow musicians both insanely popular, and ones up and coming.
That's why you take note of the thirty minute opening documentary before their show, and listening intently to the likes of Hayley Williams, Maynard James Keenan, Butch Vig, Tommy Lee and the like.
They talk about all things Failure with such honesty- such sincerity.
You can hear it in the tone of their voices, the deep regard, like a true fan, of what they hold dear to Failure, and what they've created over the years.
It's the kind of thing that tugs at your heartstrings, to see them kick things around yet again, survive all that's been thrown at them and still create on their own terms, and only when they're ready.
Their fans well know this inside and out.
At the Bottom Lounge, their fans came from all over, and also have been going to multiple shows throughout this tour, dozens of fans had told me.
So it's clear that from all perspectives that this whole deal was going to be memorable, and a show to compare to all the others you've seen over the years, with not many mistakes, if there's mistakes at all.
And as for songs that are new (and newer) from "Wild Type Droid", let alone "The Heart Is a Monster" and also "In The Future Your Body Will Be The Furthest Thing From Your Mind"- all three well represented setlist wise- all three represented pleasantly performance wise, what with "Atom City Queen" and "Counterfeit Sky" taking hold, along with "Force Fed Rainbow being on point, and all things Failure.
And as for Greg, Kellii and of course Ken- a big thank you- if for anything in this ultra weird day and age, the true definition of perseverance.
Damn do I love this band.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago