Fear not Chicago! If you missed K.Flay at Riot Fest (shame on you) you'll get another chance soon. That's because she just announced she'll be playing Park West on February 26, 2022 as part of her The Inside Voices / Outside Voices tour!
Tickets and VIP passes are available now on her website. You CAN'T SLEEP on this one! (Get it? Song pun! No? Fine, whatever.)
Although their announcement may have been slightly over shadowed by Metallica playing the Metro on Monday, 101 WKQX has put together one hell of a holiday lineup! This year they're taking over The Aragon Ballroom for 5 days, December 6-10 for The Nights We Stole Christmas and the line up is crazy!
MONDAY DECEMBER 6TH
After seeing this line up, our only question is: Where is the 5-day pass? Like come on, TAKE MY MONEY!
Snag your tickets now if you still can, because this year's shows are sure to sell out, if they haven't already! Tickets available now here. Line up video is below!
HOLD EVERYTHING! Metallica is playing the Metro, TONIGHT!
Announced moments ago on the Metro's social media, getting a ticket will require some old school standing in line with a $20 bill! Tickets can only be purchased in person at the Metro box office, and are first come first serve. They will sell out, thats a guarantee, the question is how soon? (Are you running yet?)
For full event information, head on over to Metro's website
Riot Fest 2021 Day 4: The Flaming Lips, Devo, Slipknot, Machine Gun Kelly, Devo, Facs, Body Count, Anthrax, and K. flay
Photography by Bobby Talamine and Wesley Nott
Writing by Fiza Javid
Riot Fest Day 4 hit a tipping point of festival madness, and the party atmosphere was completely set in stone. With all caution was thrown at the wind, each performance proved that it was the final day to show out before life would resume as normal again.
Body Count's Ice T called the crowd a bunch of pu**ies for not moshing too hard, and the Metal fest was kicked into gear. Their set was immense and watching Ice T effortlessly rock the crowd into a frenzy was beyond unexpected.
What was remarkable was how quickly the mood could go from rage to a joyous 80s upbeat and colorful atmosphere.
On my way to watching Facs, I won the grand prize at Weedmaps and collected a free bandana. I had some deep fried oreos, and took in the fact that people travelled from around the country to be here.
Facs did not give a single fack, if I must be the one to say it. Facs began, with a striking red backdrop. They are a truly original band and are hands down one of Chicago's best bands. Their song "Teenage Hive" was a genuine jam, and they took indie-rock vibes up a notch with their abstract sound and performance.
K. Flay was another effortless joy to behold. She opened her set with "Good Girl" sporting a white wife beater and black shorts, and simply commanded the stage. For performing a song like "Good Girl" her air was purely badass. The crowd was genuinely wanting more when she got to her hit "Blood in the Cut" and finale "My Name Isn't Katherine" and honestly I felt her set was too short.
Then the real rock n roll came in the form of Anthrax. Anthrax began with a "Welcome to the 1970s amphitheater" spokesman, when a timer started ticking and then built up to kick drums and major head banging. 40 years of hair metal, devil horns and teasing the crowds. One guy stood still in the crowd with a suit as a circle pit surrounded him. Flying V guitar and power vocals, and the entire set flew by like the wind. They were the perfect buildup for what was to come, but honestly they could have headlined.
I couldn't talk enough about how groundbreaking Devo was. They opened with a video skit with their manager Red Rooter on an ellyptical in the 70s saying "Are we not men?" It was a Devo dolls commercial, and he continued, "We even got you jumpsuits!
It jumped into him in the future stating "Now we are about as popular as the Delta variant" then imparted some advice, "You look through your glasses, the rest of the world looks at them. Now my biggest regret, Devo," as he continues on his elliptical.
The video was straight out of 80s Germany Kraftwerk, which was definitely their influence. The keyboardist came running out jogging in place and they did "Don't shoot, I'm a Man."
Wearing all black suits, and their sound made me feel like the Berlin Wall hadn't fallen yet. The lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh wore signature glasses and middle part grey hair, but no way was their energy old. Audience members donned the red cone hat. When they finally reached "Whip It" they whipped some of the hats into the crowd.
Next was a transition into another skit about the solar system, and how we are all specks... and then there is "Devo." They costume changed into yellow spacesuits, black belts and it said Devo on them. The keyboardist was now the bassist. The guitarist making robotic movements on stage. They performed until "Mongoloid" until they ripped off their spacesuits and put on monkey masks. They truly converted the audience from dazed confusion to crowdsurfing, to a new-wave loving extravaganza. We all chanted "Are We Not Men?" By the end of it all.
Flaming lips had a very colorful and spacey vibe which was the perfect follow up to Devo, but at the Root's stage. They opened up with "Race for the Prize" and the immediate colorful backstop and showmanship was incredible. From parading around in a bubble suit, perfect choice in the COVID paranoid atmosphere, they also had an inflatable "Fuck Yeah, Riot Fest" balloon. Their props and performance was off the charts, and by the time we made it to "Do You Realize" we realized how much we didn't want this to end. The choice to not make them headline allowed the crowd to truly marvel in their performance without a concern of a curfew.
One of the headliners of the night was Machine Gun Kelly, who immediately struck some controversy with his words. He took a shot at Slipknot's Corey Taylor when he stated "I am so glad I'm not a 50 year old wearing a mask."
MGK was responding to Corey Taylor's statement in January about how certain artists are borrowing their artistry rather than being original, and when it comes to MGK's career, he wasn't wrong. In fact, that kind of constructive criticism is what MGK needs if he wants to be an original artist that doesn't build off of beef and controversy, or being in Pete Davidson's shadow.
MGK, I hate to break it to you, but Slipknot had the main stage for a reason, and deserved loved not flack. They made it there through pure originality and hardship, not by picking fights, not that Corey Taylor would care. Beyond MGK's classless statements, he put on a good show, and drew in a great crowd who lives for this kind of beef. He did originals like "kiss kiss" and covered "Misery Business" by Paramore. By the time he got around to his hit "Bloody Valentine" he was climbing the side of the stage. He delivered exactly what was expected of him.
His music wasn't fully recognized until his infamous beef with Eminem (which was probably a marketing tactic from their label, who knows), and until he started dating Megan Fox. Fans in the audience commented about it almost seems like he wears her like a bracelet, but I've always adored her for her bluntness and intelligence as well as her free agency, so I know she would think any fan's concern of his intentions is a crock of doodle. They are a power couple through and through, and his music has been the best it's ever been. He has taken dramatic risks with his career, is a phenomenal actor, and as long as Eminem worshippers like myself remain past the Rap Devil spiel, I will continue to look forward to the prospect of seeing him live again, while praying that he humbles up a bit. His songs are good enough, but his statements will set him back a ton.
Slipknot put on a life changing performance, and it was honestly one of the greatest performances Riot Fest has ever seen. JBTV was not able to photograph them, but I can describe it. From the TV SCREENS ON THEIR DRUM KITS, to a Goblin man scaring the crowd while holding a fire torch during "Duality." They played all their newer songs, but their second half was all for the love of the first album. I've never seen a crowd scream "People = Shit" or the lyrics of "Surfacing" in my life, and people were so lost in the moment...it was everything.
The night also belonged to their late drummer Joey Jordison, who died peacefully in his sleep on July 26, 2021. He was a legendary drummer known for drumming while hanging upside down and not missing a single beat. The crowd chanted his name to call for an encore. This was truly not the same without him, but all the drumming was still perfect during this set.
From head-banging until their necks were sore, and crowd surfing from all ages, Slipknot not only has the music, but the true cult-like connection that will forever go down in music history as necessary words to the masses. They are one of the last bands to ever truly speak from unconscious pain, and that alone is pure music therapy.
I could not begin to touch on everything, but then this will be a dissertation. This Riot Fest was notorious and unforgettable.
Until next year!
Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television
Riot Fest 2021 Day 3: Run the Jewels, Joywave, Vic Mensa, Rise Against, Gogol Bordello, and Dropkick Murphys
Photography by Bobby Talamine and Wesley Nott
Writing by Fiza Javid
Oh the joy of roaming the grounds, surrounded by walking human billboards for rock bands. What a great way to discover music.
Riot Fest entered Saturday and slipped into a pure Rage Fest, filled with star-studded performances from an incredible array of genres within the rock and rap atmosphere. The exploration of European influence brought out the ethnic roots in everyone, and I've never seen more shirt waving and "titanic dance scene" stomping in my life.
The glory it be to the people and me.
The day didn't start off that way. Before the drunken shenanigans of Gogol Bordello, Joywave hit the stage with a setlist of indie vibes, and they never disappoint. They opened with "Obsession" and "It's a Trip!" but I have to say the "Dangerous" cover by JBTV Alumni Big Data was also a real treat. Daniel Armbruster is so naturally cool, and even if they played a five hour set, it would be a wave of joy. They ended with "Destruction" and they truly live up to their name.
Les SavyFav truly took it up a notch and became a major Les Crowdfav. Tim Harrington stripped down to his skivvies from his Chicago shirt, holding a small bouquet of colorful fake flowers, covered in glitter and wearing a headband....the showmanship was off the charts. His song "The Sweat Descends" became figurative and literal in this moment.
It was one of those moments when all you can do is stare and revel in the experience that is being created, and the way Tim interacted with the audience definitely differed from the common "play through our songs and leave" perspective typically carried by rock bands. This band borders on Tenacious D theatrics, but the Art Punk sound adds an element never before felt before.
While yesterday's review covered nostalgia, by no means should we ever wish to truly enter a time machine and experience music back then. During the 90s, Chicago was notorious for having weed legalization protests at music festivals, so to see the first Riot Fest where crowds can enjoy the sale of THC gummies, I was amazed. This got me reflecting on the shifting atmosphere of the crowd, which was more laid back and enjoying the music, rather than having an all out mosh pit every chance they got.
It would be great to see a study on how the sale of THC has affected the entire vibe of the crowd. Still, even for a rock festival, it was nice to see everyone so mellowed out with big smiles on their face.
JBTV had a photo session with Ganser and Vic Mensa in the press area, and it was great to catch their music along with these moments. Both being excellent examples of Chicago artistry and the diverse range of music from this city, Ganser's post-punk vibes to Vic Mensa's spoken word rap style, it communicates so much about the perspectives that Chicago has to offer. Ganser did songs like "Avoidance" and "Marsh" and they were solid.
I had not seen Vic Mensa perform since he began in 2009 with Kids These Days, and he continues to do big things these days.
Back then, his bandmate Lane Beckstrom was in my Guitar class at Lane Tech, and we couldn't have been more proud to see Lane on Conan with Vic. I would see pictures of Vic everywhere back them with a ton of my classmates on MySpace and Facebook, and no one knew what the future would bring.
His former bandmates formed Marrow. Vic went on to work with Kanye West and Chance the Rapper, making a name in the Chicago scene.
These were my late high-school, early college days, where Kid's These Days performed at UIC's Spark in the Park Fest in 2012, and since it had been so long and I did not give myself a chance to listen to his music, I was worried fame might have made him lose his touch. I must say, I was floored. He is far from out of touch, and that is precisely why he is still in style. His spoken word, his message, his charisma, and his vocal performance as a rapper hasn't aged a day. In fact it's gotten significantly better. Even with all the success I think he's vastly underrated.
I adore Kanye west, appreciate Drake and also Chance the Rapper (particularly because Taylor Bennet is a 6x JBTV Alumni), but Vic? While he's a Chicago staple, and the crowd showed out, his success is only getting started. He performed at Lollapalooza recently with JBTV alumni Grandson for the Suicide Squad soundtrack, and his career is only going to go up. His songs "U Mad" to his 93Punx song "Fistfight!" he is not only a renegade rapper but a renegade punk rocker. I am a hands down fan now and for good.
It was impossible to cover everyone, but more notable mentions were Rise Against, who put on a spectacular show with all their hits. They performed on a set of box TVs and rocked out. This also includes Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Rancid, The Bollweavies, and Mayday Parade.
Gogol Bordello's set always wreaks of alcoholism, and that's the point. His Gypsy-Romani influence is an absolute hoot and a holler. With the intensive violin solos, dynamic range of instruments and musicianship. The crowd was drunk and happy to "Alcohol" and "Start Wearing Purple."
By all the crazy lines for food, Mayday Parade who quickly got drowned out by Rise against, and it was a terrible idea to make them go on at the same time.
Dropkick Murphys was absolutely groundbreaking. They With their openers "The State of Massachussetts" to "Worker's Song" and their smash hit "I'm Shipping Up to Boston", it is enough to make the entire audience want to embrace Celtic music for a lifetime. Throughout their set they had beautiful backdrops of lyrics along with landscapes of Ireland, and it was a traveling music lover's dream. They make you want to head off to Temple Bar in Dublin for a pint, smash the glass and start dancing.
Run the Jewels ran the entire night. EI-P and Killer Mike commanded the stage like legends, through their tracks "Legend Has It" to "Stay Gold" they echoed through the crowd with their glorious light backdrop, the finger-gun and fist floating set pieces, couples with the experience of their music, it was pure ecstasy.
Their beats were in tact, and they closed their set with "Lie, Cheat, Steal" and "Close Your Eyes" before coming out for an encore, which was the biggest treat. "Pulling the Pin" and "Run the Jewels" definitely made me wishing they could have stayed much longer, because they made it an absolute blast.
Until tomorrow - Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television
Riot Fest 2021 Day 2: Amigo the Devil, Meg Myers, Radkey, Fishbone, Living Colour, Sublime with Rome, The Smashing Pumpkins + Metro Clip from the JBTV Vault
Photography by Bobby Talamine and Wesley Nott
Writing by Fiza Javid
It smells like Riot Fest season, Chicago, and after missing you at the start of the new decade, this need to rock out boiling inside us has turned all the way up to 11.
We first caught Amigo the Devil, later at the press area, but first on stage. Seeing a Amigo the Devil himself, with a name like that, as I am completely new to his music, I expected an all out metal band. I was pleasantly surprised to find the man wielding his acoustic guitar like a sword, doing a Jimmy Buffet cover of "Pina Coladas" and still very metal titles to original songs like "Another Man's Grave" and "I Hope Your Husband Dies"
This perspective is what makes Amigo the Devil truly the most original artist of today's rock age thus far. He is defying all expectations on the polished acoustic guitar player and the sound expected from a title like "I Hope Your Husband Dies". The crowds heads were swaying back and forth in peace. He truly is a comical, self proclaimed "fat Dave Grohl" with the accent and all to follow, but honestly Amigo, you don't need to be in Grohl's shadow, you are a dark-minded force of your own.
The funniest moment is that he momentarily tried to have a heavy rock riff, halted it, and said "Eh.....we can try things, right?"
Keep experimenting, we loved you.
It's impossible for me to describe Meg Myers without noting that I was speechless too.
JBTV alumni Meg Myers came out with a Wonder Woman style backdrop, a hypnotic one piece, braids and a ukulele. The ukulele matched her outfit, and I must say, I have never seen any performer make any song with a ukulele sound so piercing. Her vocals are so ephemeral and hypnotic. It borders on erotic, but settles on melancholic. I have dug everywhere for the song she opened with, and I cannot find it anywhere. However, the lyrics will stay with me for eternity, and its rare an artist can invoke that kind of encoded memory into a fan unless they have one in a million talent...and she did that with a ukulele and a mic!
The lyrics were "I'm sensitive, I'm double-edged. Feeling more than I intend....See your spirit set me free" if anyone wants to comment below and help me figure it out. Meg also gave major Alanis Morissette vibes with her vocals, but honestly this song gives Alanis a run for her money (I love you too Alanis). She also did her hit song "Sorry" which beautifully echoed throughout the festival.
JBTV Alumni Radkey opened with "Evil Doer" and their solos and rock energy is exactly what Riot Fest fans needed. This is their second Riot Fest, and hearing them do "Dark Black Makeup" and "Underground" was such a thrill.
I had the pleasure to meet them in the press area, and they are truly wholesome, but don't let their kindness fool you into thinking they can't go all out on stage. The crowd gave them the love back and I wanted so badly to stage dive to their closing song "Romance Dawn."
Went off to Fishbone, where the rest of the day felt like major throwbacks.
While we all baked in the sun. Chicago being this hot in September is a pleasant surprise, minus the impending climate crisis of course. Fishbone started a little late, but they are groovy, energetic and timeless band that time doesn't even matter. They could have played the rest of the day and I would have been delighted. They played through "“The Reality Of My Surroundings” to commemorate its 30th anniversary, and I could not believe the reality of my surrounding this impeccable moment. From the horns to the drums and the guitar, where do we begin? The costumes? I realized that with music like theirs, they invented a time machine. They threw us right back into the 80s.
On the way to Living Colour I caught Pinegrove, who was in the middle of mentioning Democratic Socialism, with a relaxing voice midst all the chaos. He was singing "Orange" and beyond their liberal socialist views, which the band does not shy away from expressing, I appreciated this meditative musicianship coupled with the free speech. Whether you agree with them or not, they are good.
Next up was Living Colour. They got right into it as they shouted "CHICAGOLAND!"
The crowd adored them, particularly when they performed "Type Lyrics." From "Cult of Personality" to "Ignorance is Bliss" coupled with the neon suit, it was a pure show. Feeling the riffs reverberate through the crowd was pure rock therapy, making me think they should change their names from living colour to living sound.Cult of personality . Living colour, they are "The best in the world"
During their performance I had the chance to catch up with Matthew Churney, a notorious Chicago fan known for his dance moves in the crowd, his shoulder and knee pads, and his message. This man has been a professional fan for decades and you will find him dancing everywhere. He is proof that even fans can make a major statement.
I had a chance to record some of his PSA for the festival-goers.
If you truly want to know what the 90s vibe was all about, you need to know the difference between a "mook" and a "midriff." The "midriff" is the branding style popularized by Britney Spears, to describe the bordering child but sexy character she played on stage, while the "mook" is akin to Chaplin's "tramp," a jobless symbol of trying to get by. What made the "mook" unique was that he was a shrug wearing pot smoker, jobless, on his parent's couch (like Devon Sawa's character in his film Idle Hands), but their trademark was that being "obnoxious" was their brand. Think Blink-182. Heres the catch though...none of these were insults. If you were a 90s kids like me, you embraced both styles.
This was the vibe i was looking for as I came to see Sublime with Rome, and it was exactly what this 90s kids could have hoped for. The crowd sang along to "Smoke Two Joints" to "Pawn Shop," all the way to the radio hits like "Santeria" and "What I've Got."
If you really want to know what made Sublime so special, look no further than the fans. The crowd broke into what I call "mellow mosh pits" created by now stoned adults, and there was even a fan who flew all the way from Chile for this momentous occasion. He pulled out a permanent marker and gave all the audience members surrounding him a temporary tattoo, including myself.
My favorite line from Rome Ramirez was "Let's listen to stupid live music together," while original member Eric Wilson said, "It's not stupid it's political." This is a fact that tends to go over everyone's heads due to their "get high" vibes" but the song "April 29, 1992" is precisely what Riot Fest needed to reflect on. The song refers to the date of the Los Angeles Riots, and the comments for the song on YouTube during the George Floyd Protests were "who is here after hitting the streets." This song has become a historical time piece and people rarely know it!
That wasn't the craziest party...there were 10 year olds crowdsurfing, and Rome had to stop and say "Protect the children over there! You guys are the best."
Motion City Soundtrack "My Favorite Accident" and a crowd favorite "Everything is Alright," but they were more than alright! The sea of crowd surfing coupled with their cult following, they have continued to stand the test of time. They also performed with Radkey at Concord Music Hall. They ended their set with "The Future Freaks Me Out" and who could blame them. While the future seems freaky right now, they know how to make it exactly the opposite of that. They are truly a group of gems.
Notable mentioned are definitely JBTV alumni Lawrence Arms and Coheed & Cambria. During Coheed and Cambria's set it started pouring rain, and lightning was striking all around the festival. It was almost as though they rocked so hard that the devil was being summoned. The lightning only added to their incredible showmanship.
Still, the night belonged to JBTV Alumni The Smashing Pumpkins.
From an Orchestral open, Billy Corgan, who owns Chicago music fans hearts, at this point, came out like Emperor Palpatine, if Palpatine owned a tea shop and drew hearts on his face. They have come a long way since their 90s JBTV Metro performance during Siamese Dream, with "The Colour of Love," "Tonight, Tonight," "Today," "Eye" with Meg Myers, "1979," a live debut of "Ramona", what a spectacular show for them at home.
Billy Corgan is legendary for Chicago and considering all the incredible 90s artists who have passed on, seeing him on stage is a remarkable relief for rock music. No matter the opinions that exist, The Smashing Pumpkins always know how to put on a show. Fans from the audience flew in from Portland, Oregon, among other places around the country for this very moment, and JBTV couldn't be more proud of you guys.
I'll close this blog up with a clip from our 90s Metro show of The Smashing Pumpkins.
Until tomorrow, keep on rockin'!
Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television
Riot Fest 2021: Thursday Preview Party Featuring: Morrissey, Alkaline Trio, Patti Smith & Her Band, Joyce Manor, WDRL & Kristeen Young
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing by Bobby Talamine and Fiza Javid
A Gift from Riot Fest to all ticket holders for the three day event:
An extra day, with a chill and mellow vibe, featuring headliner Morrissey, along with Patti Smith and her band as highlights through the evening.
And so it starts (refreshingly), entering the hallowed Riot Fest grounds, taking in the scenery, the new layout with the two main stages- (instead of the Riot and Roots stages situated right next to each other, they're now interspersed about a football field apart from each other, opposite ends of the main part of the grounds).
Have to say the smaller crowd on a late afternoon through the evening on a Thursday was a nice vibe, with not much to deal with jam packed crowds wise, like I assume will be Friday through Sunday, and having to logistically mend your way from one stage to the next depending on the band and timing and such. A win win in my opinion, saying hello to the mighty fine staff of Riot Fest, catching up, giving hugs and giving support to one another going forward, especially during a pandemic.
As for the bookings for the preview party, starting with Morrissey and working down the list:
I'm not here for this short review to lay waste to Morrissey and his political stances and occasionally opinionated rants. I'm here to discuss his performance, and only his performance.
Outside of the surprising and last minute changes to the press photographers and the new location to photograph the show- (what was supposed to be the sides of the stage - take your pick- ended up being the herd of photographers sanctioned and plunked in the middle / dividing runway, with not much wiggle room to maneuver to say the least.
Cumbersome and lumber-some for the next three songs- Morrissey releasing the hounds of "How Soon is Now" to start the show, as he's done now for the past couple of years performance wise.
Lost count how many times I got dinged in the head telephoto wise by my photographer brethren, but that's part of the game with Morrissey's management making last minute decisions on where to place us, like it was a game to see how tough we are, and can we get the shot.
At least that's what was going through my head prior to Morrissey starting the show.
Well, I'm here to fight, stand my ground, and prove the Morrissey management that I can get the shot, and like so many other photographers corralled in the runway divider- we're gonna produce. Chicago press photographers are a tough lot- not easily intimidated.
As for Morrissey, looking jovial and ever the ageless crooner he aspires to be, he looked cool in his spiffy blazer, with a New York Dolls T shirt underneath, still whipping his microphone chord around like a bullwhip, taking some liberties with the refrain from : "How Soon is Now"- "I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does", and adding some convincing "Heys" and "Yeahs" immediately after to prove the point convincingly.
The song still carries weight and significance- a club favorite from back in the days of its release and beyond, really not a song in The Smiths and Morrissey's singing/ songwriting realm- a leap into hypnotic waves of sonic guitar, courtesy of Johnny Marr, and added oomph with Morrissey's detached view of things with his singing and meaning.
In other words- A Smiths song with risks. As for live, without Johnny Marr and co, it still holds and packs a wallop.
Then off we go into "Irish Blood, English Heart", from Morrissey's release "You are the Quarry" back in 2002, and into "Alma Matters" from "Maladjusted".
Have to say Morrissey is covering some serious solo ground here, like performances of yore, and he still sounds refreshing, as does his band. Morrissey's setlist, 18 songs in total, cover the gamut, but have to say walking the grounds after the onslaught of the first three songs packed in like sardines, it was nice to soak in song 5, "Everyday is Like Sunday", a solo favorite of mine from Morrissey, and soaking it all in, vibes and all
A pleasant and refreshing headlining performance from Morrissey, have to tell ya.
And to quickly bounce to Patti Smith and Her Band:
She never gets old. Patti and her longtime band mate Lenny Kaye are just riveting to not only photograph time and time again, but also convincingly cool with a message that's always so righteous and forthright.
Even fighting through the late afternoon blazing sun, which Patti made mention of, and commanding the faithful with "People Have the Power" to start things off- her 10 song set still trail-blazes, still moves you to your core, still commands your attention.
To hear later gold with "Dancing Barefoot", and "Because the Night" and ending with "Land/ Gloria"- I'm refreshed and rejuvenated.
Patti Smith and her band- Tirelessly and resoundingly the class of upper echelon rock n' roll, and with a Riot Fest crowd swaying and dancing in place, and cool, and rather mellow. The whole vibe during Patti's set was all of the above, like you didn't want her performance to end.
Matt Skiba, Dan Adriano and Derek Grant of Chicago's very own Alkaline Trio made most of their time performance wise, banging out short and concise anthems from front to back, with little fanfare, but with lots of performance chops and swagger, just like you'd expect from these guys.
As for Joyce Manor, led by Barry Johnson from Torrance California, they trailblazed as well with their 45 minute set in the late afternoon sun, with their emo/ punk rock songs so matter of fact and high octane.
WDRL, (We Don't Ride Llamas), all the way from Austin Texas, had a unique charm to them, still developing their sound with genres of music criss-crossing each other, and all four band members clearly enjoying their moment on the main stage, smiles throughout.
Opener Kristeen Young, appearing solo with just a synth and sampled keyboard, held court with a cabaret style and vibe, and blessed with a vocal range that can wail.
As much as she's a commanding kind of performer, performing in the late afternoon sun has its drawbacks, like Nick Cave for instance, and could have easily upped the ante had she performed after sunset, with a moody light show to back her up. Overall though, a terrific set.
So there ya go- Preview of Riot Fest now history and noteworthy, with the three full boat days awaiting.
- JBTV Music Television
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing by Fiza Javid
Here we are at day three of Pitchfork Music Festival 2021, and while the audience was exhausted, we were in for major surprises throughout the day. The first began with Special Interest from New Orleans, which through all the intense fatigue of the pilgrimage that is making it to day three, Alli Logout, the vocals of this punk band, hit us with a bang.
She was immediately fierce, industrial, and a dark wave synth, igniting a mosh pit as powerful as her vocals. The sound was heavy and transfixing, and her voice boomed to the crowd. Sure, we all scrambled to get to day three, it's hot and exhausting, until this band woke me up. She was the perfect rock n roll vibe, and she was humping the floor wedge, sending the audience on a frenzy.
She definitely is on my top 5 for this day. The day continued on with Oso Oso and Andy Shauf, who had a lovely set, definition of lo-fi.
Flying Lotus' EDM brought the noise with a DJ set, with incredible poise. This is what festival vibes is all about. As he finished his set, Thundercat came on and they gave each other big hugs. What was incredible about that moment is due to the fact that Flying Lotus mentored Thundercat through conceptual music and art, and to see them both on stage is an artistic feat, and they deserve all the recognition.
Mariah the Scientist? What can I say, she is another example of incredible music that fits the mold, and she gave the audience a lot to appreciate.
Throughout this day I was torn. Why? Two words: Yves Tumor. Yves was among the top 3 performances of the entire festival. Yves was KEY, huge, and as I was watching backstage, Yves was preparing for their set. Decked out with a Slipknot shirt, 6 feet tall, hot pants, thigh high boots, a fur jacket...becoming more renegade rock n roll as the moments passed. Yves was fronted by a full out rock band, and this is what got me. Timing.
Why on earth, at 5:15, was Thundercat scheduled the same time as Yves Tumor? Who can a photographer cover? Both were incredible.
I decided to photograph Yves Tumor first, and I think this was the correct move.
Here was the moment we were all waiting for, and boy were we waiting. Erykah Badu was running late, but thankfully we didn't wait too long. The time passed was transfixing and cool. She arrived at the Green Stage, which was around the time Flying Lotus ended their set. This made the crowd more anxious....until she arrived.
And you could hear a pin drop.
Everyone calmed down and was thrilled for her. Fans holding up pictures of her signature look, as she shined on stage. It was so silent and peaceful that the audience could hear the locusts and trees from afar. The audience was completely chill. That moment was everything and I began to take a deep breath and reflect.
Here we were, in this moment, still in the middle of a pandemic, and for a moment we all felt, "everything is going to be okay, even if it's just for these 20 minutes." She opened with a discreet video of bumble bees, since she's an avid environmental activist and she she also sees Veganism as the definition of soul.
I also thought back to Mavis Staples, who is more gospel, and was just as cool in 1964 as she is now. She and Erykah are timeless no matter the age. Erykah Badu exuded a world of goodness and empowerment. The ten gallon hat, the ornament tree, all the jewelry, and it is all on purpose. It's deliberately done for the art. The first picture of her is the moment she entered the stage. She turned her head right and just stayed in that pose to look at Pitchfork.
It was such a powerful entrance. She was finally present but she was ever so present, and boy was it a gift. She was so naturally cool.
She took a few steps and stopped to look around. She's a natural. Ephemeral. She is here with a statement. She is art, isn't fooling herself, she doesn't need social media or videos but she is a statement and a true artist. The way she stood still and looked at the crowd, only her head felt like a musical spell.
Through her originals, what was incredible was her cover as well. She covered "Hello It's Me", originally by Todd Rundgren in the early 70s. Rundgren himself was a very influential singer songwriter, unknown back then, and he stood out as a white guy attempting R&B. As Erykah sang that song, I knew it was that song immediately. It didn't matter who wrote that song, or race, she did it for the music. Race transcends all music, and she added more soul to it. That is not a knock on Rundgren though. It's a continuation of an incredible song, and he would have loved it, that this powerful woman covered this song. Major highlight of the festival. That moment was an ode to how music transcends time.
Other songs included "Soldier," "Love of My Life" (an ode to Hip Hop), "Appletree" and "Mr. Telephone Man." Among her finale songs were "Bag Lady" and "Tyrone," and again, it was such a transcending experience that the crowd was immersed in the beauty of the music.
I couldn't be more grateful to witness such a powerful end to Pitchfork's festival season.
Until next year,
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television
Pitchfork Music Festival 2021 - Day Two Recap: St. Vincent, Kim Gordon, Bartees Strange, Maxo Kream and more
Writing and Photography by: Bobby Talamine
Pitchfork in the sweltering sun with high energy sets from Bartees Strange, Rapper Maxo Kream, Kim Gordon, and headliner St. Vincent.
Unlike yesterday for day One of Pitchfork, and writing a review that was all over the place, thought I'd bring things back to normal, and discuss the headliner St. Vincent first, and go from there.
Annie Clark (St. Vincent) was without a doubt the most anticipated set of the three day festival, and her audience frothing with excitement in regards to her production in relation to her latest release from back in May- "Daddy's Home". Yes, the critical acclaim for "Daddy's Home" was positive, with most top notch reviewers praising "Daddy's Home' and at the underlying sophistication and overall vibe of the album, worthy of discovery with repeated listens. But for this guy, having followed the career of St, Vincent from way back when- I got stoked when Annie gave a couple interviews to hype up "Daddy's Home', and stating that she found herself immersed in seventies soul and R&B jams, finding herself listening and absorbing lots of Sly & The Family Stone in particular.
That made me stop right there, bringing up Sly and his amazing catalog from the seventies, thinking that Annie was going to incorporate that vibe with "Daddy's Home", assuming the album would be a full on party anthem / trailblazing/ rip roaring affair, as Sly was so capable of recording at a moment's notice. And then the album came out, and upon first and second listens- it sounded so sleepy to me. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.
However, I do agree with most reviewers, that it does has its charms with repeated listens, and stellar musicianship and songwriting.
And now bounce forward to St Vincent's headlining set on day two of Pitchfork- and the build up to Annie performing on the Green Stage at 8:30 pm, to play an hour and twenty minute set... and questions.
Can she top herself from her "I Am a Lot Like You! Tour" from back in 2018-19? What kind of vibe and fashions will she incorporate from the seventies? From lighting and backdrops from seventies productions- (Like Sonny & Cher, or The Midnight Special)?
And her setlist, and blending in previous songs with a clearly different vibe and mood from "Daddy's Home"? Is this even necessary to discuss, since It's St Vincent, and you already know damn well that Annie doesn't F around when it comes to sophistication and production.
All of this was laid to rest with me, and have to say her show was satisfying and gratifying.
How's this for a barn burner opening volley of three songs- she opens with "Digital Witness", into "Down", from "Daddy's Home", into "Actor Out of Work", and all three are meshed and blendered up 1970's style- sounding particular, but with a whole new vibe and feel. So yes, I'm convinced yet again, that Annie Clark is without peer in regards to a shapeshifter of sound, and consistently re-inventing herself, over and over and over, like David Bowie over the course of his illustrious career. So yes, her production sucked in a lot of the juice that was so seventies, which was a good thing, with her background singers slinking out to the sensual intro beat from stage left, then settling front and center, followed by what looked like Annie herself, blonde wig n' all- and from my vantage point, was completely fooled by this photographer, (the others too), with the barrage of shutters going off, and everyone assuming it was Annie, only it wasn't Annie.
Annie came out and stood on a little podium, looking so slyly at the fake Annie, and once everyone settled into their respective places- off we go into a trailblazing 18 song set that meshed and melded and gelled. Annie, ever so sexy with seventies makeup / wig and overall vibe, wearing a sporty and tight black jacket with the word "Daddy" speckled on the back, and with an exposed black bra underneath.
Simply the air of classiness and cool, her throwback direction so well and intact for this show at Pitchfork. Flawless harmonies, a whipsmart backing band to punch through the funk- inspired set, tight choreography throughout, and further providing humor and slight discord (with a wink) to Pitchfork, and their review of "Daddy's Home, which gave her release a "6.8", enticing the crowd to join her in the WTF- but done elegantly I might add.
So there you have it- a headlining set from St Vincent front and center, and oh so memorable.
As for getting to Pitchfork in time for Bartees Strange, who went on at 1:45pm- have to say Bartees was one of the most anticipated performers for Saturday as well. This guy is light years ahead of his time cool. From his band, his songs, to his demeanor and guitar playing- and even before he played a note he said how much he was looking forward to playing Pitchfork- like weeks and weeks ago, and you can tell he was excited as all get out.
Divino Nino in the blazing afternoon sun was cool as well- a vibe that meshed like Miami via Mexico via Columbia alternative vibe with some retro and Latin grooves added in for good measure.
Then off I go to catch the rapper Maxo Kream, who certainly knows how to get the dustbowl of mosh going at a moment's notice, even going shirtless two songs in from the sweltering heat, and mixing things up like a heavyweight boxer you don't want to F with.
As for Katie Crutchfield and her band Waxahatchee- the delicate vibes and feel on a hot summer day were transfixing, with her audience so silent and observant of her singing / songwriting.
Made it in time to catch Faye Webster's set from the Blue Stage, with her singing and mid tempo song selections a pleasant surprise on this Saturday afternoon.
And as for Ty Seagull and his Freedom Band- He never disappoints- incorporating mountains of feedback and twisted distortion throughout his set, bringing up the vibe and feel of Matt Pike's band Sleep, or better yet, Mike Scheidt of Yob- which is a good thing in my opinion.
Sonic Youth's legendary Kim Gordon commanded attention with her set as well, ever looking the part of the fairy godmother of alternative and indie, with a set meshed in wicked coolness, and a look that was the female version of Iggy Pop- a don't F with me attitude- take it or leave it. Such a highlight for me on Saturday was Kim Gordon, and all things badass.
Angel Olsen was a delight as well, going on just before St Vincent's set, and her awesome and tight-knit band not the worse for wear, playing together like their was no pandemic, and touring throughout.
That's saying something, along with adding a cello and violinist to flush out her sound as well, let alone the underlying and poignant bass grooves from Emily Elhaj.
And that upper register of Angel Olsen...gives you goosebumps. So cool to see Sharon Van Etten come out for Angel's last song of the evening and sing alongside her as well.
Such a convincingly awesome Day Two from Pitchfork. Now off to cover day three as well.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Writing and Photography by: Bobby Talamine
Welcome back Pitchfork Music Festival Chicago - we missed you.
Right off the bat, I have to make it clear to you that I only got two hours of sleep- found myself nodding off at 2:30 am at my laptop attempting to write a recap. Not a good sign for me for two more days to come, and the excitement of covering so many quality acts that is typically booked for Pitchfork year in and year out. So this review will be all over the place, kinda like Black Midi's set from Friday, where they were hurling out static and conceptual noise one minute, then blast furnace era King Crimson riffs the next, into Math Rock, and so on.
Hard to keep up with these guys, which makes you want to see them perform live again. To start their set, out came a full couch, then a rolling three piece suit cart with various clothing attached, and also a fake plastic plant in front of the drum kit.
What can you assess from that- we've got surprises in store for the next 50 minutes.
Bumped into Geordie Greep, their guitarist and vocalist about an hour after his set, still in his three piece suit and shades, and still soaked from head to toe.
Yeah, that's right- temps on the Pitchfork grounds on mid afternoon on Friday, with blazing unobstructed sun all day, equals temps hovering around 87 degrees or so.
I bring up Black Midi right off the bat because it was in my opinion, one of the highlights from day one for me. All you had to do was look at the manic and pogoing crowd to give you an indication- the dust cloud over in front of the main stage was getting intense.
Another highlights from day one before headliner Phoebe Bridgers took the stage:
I felt bad for Avey Tare and the boys- what with still the late afternoon sun beating down on them, and not performing at night like I usually see them, where their visuals become front and center, equal to their transfixing sounds. Nevertheless, audio wise, they produce an other-wordly and sophisticated mix, even with Geologist bringing out a Hurdy Gurdy a couple songs into their set to add more wayward coolness.
And to start day one for me: local band Dehd, a three piece, fronted by bassist and lead singer Emily Kempf, ever looking the part of punk fashionista, with the vocal chops and stage presence to prove it. Their set was forty five minutes in length, but it could've been so much more, what with steady drumming from Eric McGrady and manic guitar from Jason Bella.
Philadelphia based Hop Along, performing at 3:20 in the afternoon had a cool folk leaning and wailing sound, fronted by bandleader Frances Quinlan. Their set had a light as air vibe throughout, and yet there's an intensity underpinning everything with them and about them, which was cool.
How about from the Blue Stage from the southern end of the festival grounds, with none other that Ela Minus. Working from a platform with a couple samplers and synths- her sound and overall presence was captivating and dark and chill throughout her set.
Somehow she's been lumped in description with Industrial Music- and in my opinion, her sound and mystique is anything but.
Ela Minus is more drenched in Darkwave and Dark Synthpop, with some Trance added for good measure, allowing Ela to leave her podium of synths and sway, while transfixed to the beats. Definitely Ela Minus was again one of the highlights for me from day one.
So glad to see Mathew and Eleanor Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces back in the fold- it seems like forever since we saw them last- like ten years ago I believe, and their sound- still on fire, with Eleanor front and center, backed by two drummers and an additional keyboardist, which only amped up their attack that much more.
The Fiery Furnaces- again, one of the highlights and most anticipated performances from day one.
Following them, we had Kelly Lee Owens from the Blue Stage, a Welsh producer and Musician, cloaked at first in a long black raincoat with a hoodie, which she brandished quickly to show a tight-fitting body suit with mosaic designs, exemplifying her overall vibe and sound. Ethereal beats and mixes permeated throughout her set, adding to a transfixing mood, with most of her music allowing her to sway to song after song and her danceable grooves.
Brooklyn based Big Thief, fronted by the ever chill Adrienne Lenker, held court with her bandmates for an hour of captivating and quality lo-fi vibes, with the occasional and sophisticated guitar flourishes from Buck Meek.
How about the coolness and mellow rap style slash trance from Korean- American Yaeji- so stylish and chill, closing out the Blue Stage for the evening with somber and dreamy coolness.
And finally, the headliner Phoebe Bridgers from the Green Stage, with Phoebe and her bandmates walking out onstage wearing Halloween one- piece skeleton bones pajamas, which seems to be her performing outfit as of late from previous shows. Phoebe, all smiles throughout, with an enraptured crowd reciting every lyric to every song alongside her.
The last time I felt that vibe and kismet between crowd and transfixed audience was witnessing Billie Eilish back in the day, in the late afternoon at Lollapalooza, and also the rabid fan base of Lana Del Ray as well.
Now that's saying something, commanding an audience like that, with little fanfare, just terrific songwriting that sends a distinct message, with a keen sense of comfort and solace permeating throughout her set. The open book visuals behind Phoebe from the gigantic LED screen were extraordinary and finely detailed, adding a sophistication to compel emotions with serious songs all the while showcasing some serious craftsmanship and panache.
Her latest release "Punisher" was highlighted throughout her set, worthy of attention and performing live since the pandemic thwarted that chance back in 2020.
Have to say I left the festival grounds last night taking a deep breath and realizing all is good in the indie and alternative music worlds.
Thank you Pitchfork- can't wait for days two and three.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago