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.