Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing by Fiza Javid
It was All Hallow's Eve when Wolfbats roamed the costume laden crowd of the House of Vans Chicago Warehouse. Liquid Death was served to patrons, with the choice of free beer, a free mask, pin and earplugs, because nothing would be scarier than getting Covid AND going deaf of course.
Chicago graced us with perfect fall weather, which allowed the crowd to arrive decked out in their best costumes. I spotted Edward Scissorhands, a Piñata, a Construction Worker, and scariest of all, a man with the shirt that said "Adult" on it.
Beyond the spooky costumes was a set decked with the Wolfbat's themselves, which was created by Brooklyn Artist Dennis McNett, the creator of Wolfbat Studios, whose genuinely incredible display surrounding the venue, including the 'godzilla' sized puppets working through the crowd during performances.
Heavy Temple was the first to take the stage, and they truly set the tone for the night with their incredible set. The psychedelic doom trip loomed over the crowd and helped all the nervous patrons break the ice as they got acquainted with their surroundings.
The excitement truly built up in genuine Halloween spirit when Coven arrived, and even though the crowd was especially excited for the Melvins, my anticipation was for the High Priestess, Original Wicked Woman and true pioneer of metal AND the Devil Horns, Jinx Dawson, and she showed who the night truly belonged to. Coven is the real deal with Jinx being the only remaining original member, she was more than prepared to carry on the spirit of her work. Jinx truly created the standard with Coven's album "Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls in 1969, and while some of the newer members of the crowd might mistake her entrance as a Halloween spectacle, it is important to note that she is the real deal. My response to that? I arrived dressed as a the purple devil emoji 😈, ready to say 'Hail Satan'. What an honor to finally see Coven in the season of the witch.
Let me attempt to paint the full Magickal Musick experience, with the complimentary taste of Dennis McNett.
Right before she entered the stage, there were costume laden WolfBats spooking through the crowd. At first I thought this was intentional, and I didn't know whether to fixate on the crowd or the stage. That is when it began. The projection screen on the stage began playing a Satanic mass ritual, and Coven emerged with a coffin on stage.
The crowd might have expected her to emerge in rot and dirt, but after a Satanic ritual summoned her, Jinx carefully stepped forward wearing a badass studded mask, with matching gloves, ready to rock out.
Every song was a treat. From "Out of Luck" to "Black Sabbath," to "Black Swan" and "Blood on the Snow," Jinx's operatic style and natural charisma truly made the night. All the details presented by Jinx and Coven were intentional. From the lantern in her right hand, the crystal rob strobe ball, the skull when Coven began... I love the Melvins, but Coven should have headlined.
Still, Buzz stood on the side supporting this incredible band. After Coven completed their set, the crowd grooved through the Halloween tracks. Then the Melvins arrived, making grunge and sludge the 2021 sound for the Halloween season.
The Melvins is another band that also deserves more pioneering credit. There are plenty of people who equate the Melvin's to Nirvana (who adored the work of Jinx Dawson, might I add), but Nirvana is better off being equated to the Melvins.
Aside from a drummer, The inspiration they, along with Foo Fighters, took from the Melvins reigns true, and no one does it so originally as Buzz. With the Duff caps and the Buzz costumes in the crowd, we rocked out to "Honey Bucket" among other kickass songs, as McNett's giant puppets worked through a thrashing crowd.
It all truly went by so quickly. Thank you House of Vans for making this the most special spooky HalloWolfBat to date!
Until next time, keep on rocking and have a safe Halloween.
Fiza ---- JBTV Music Television
Although just a month after their last product launch event, Apple came out swinging today during their Unleashed stream, particularly in their music department. Apple events aren't normally in our wheelhouse, but given their emphasis on music, it warranted an article.
After a slightly humorous opening that documented a musician mixing a track from various Apple start up sounds, you know, the *dunnnn* sound when your computer starts? Then Tim Cook took the event that most assumed would be about their new MacBook Pro in a bit of a different direction — starting with music.
He quickly threw it over to DJ Zane Lowe to introduce a new Apple Music plan called "Voice". This new economic option gives one person all of Apple Music with only your voice to access it, but only on Apple devices.
After that Apple introduced their new 3rd generation AirPods. It's new shape makes for a supposedly better listening experience. Its also sweat and water resistant.
Finally, they announced a few new color skews for their HomePod Mini. Blue, Yellow and Orange now join Black and White. They really wanted to avoid that black white and red all over joke it seems....
For more info on all of this, head over to Apple's event page.
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
October 8, 2021
Outside the iconic Riviera Theatre in Chicago's Uptown Neighborhood, before the doors open within the hour on a Friday night for the band IDLES- I encounter a long line of fans waiting to get in. I like photographing the Riviera's marquee, all lit up in bright red, and flashing. And the line of fans waiting to get in to see whatever band is playing is equally fascinating. The line wraps around the outside of the Riviera, heading north on Broadway and then west on Lawrence to Magnolia.
Lots of ground to cover to witness and observe the IDLES faithful.
Lo and behold I find the perfect candidate that speaks volumes of the IDLES aesthetic, and what it means to love a band and wear your self created logo and symbols and patches proudly- a Latino man wearing a dark jean jacket, with a back logo of IDLES that's huge, in black and white, with a slogan at the bottom that reads "BE THE I IN UNIFY"- all in capital letters.
I catch him at the right moment looking up at the Riviera marquee, in anticipation of the doors getting ready to open.
I just hope that since this guy is like 10 people deep in the line, and that he's here early for a reason, that being making a dash to the main floor once in the building, that his cool jacket doesn't get a beat down from what's certain to be a very physical night, both from the band, and also the packed main floor. My suspicions were confirmed on the physical, that's for sure.
Even in the midst of a never ending pandemic, the band and audience are dying to unleash the hounds, and get into some serious physical revery. Even weeks before the show, with cancelations and postponements announced what seemed left and right- Ministry, Dead can Dance, amongst others- and with the post punk / hardcore punk / post hardcore stylings of IDLES- the question kept coming up again and again-
will their visas be approved, and will they be ready to bring their intensity to a packed Riv with all that's going on with the pandemic?
Personally, I'm glad things ended up positively for them, and for their faithful fans, me included.
I needed this.
I needed this with Joe Talbot and IDLES on many levels.
The tour for IDLES started actually in the Twin Cities the night before, with the Riv being the second stop on their "Beauty from Ashes US Tour".
How quaint- the title of the tour, when you think about it.
This band, fronted by Joe Talbot- angry, menacing, and with a pertinent message time and time again (pick whichever song from the setlist)- they clearly know how to incite a crowd and bring the heat to a packed Riviera Theatre on a Friday night.
Opening with "Colossus"- a song that builds and bullies with tension from the first distorted strings, with the refrain ever evident and repetitive lyric that's front and center: "Goes and it goes and it goes"- over and over and over -until by the end of the song with a bludgeoning, and Joe menacingly shouting and singing the ending lyric- "I'm like Stone Cold Steve Austin, I put homophobes in coffins, I'm like Fred Astaire- I dance like I don't care".
And I'm right there with him- 100 percent.
Along with the brethren and faithful packed on the main floor. And it goes heavier from there throughout the ninety or so minute set, with guitarists Mike Bowen and Lee Kiernan taking turns body surfing and mixing it up on the main floor, guitar chords intact, and rather lengthy chords to still play, all the way at the back of the main floor by the front of house sound booth.
It's like the roadies are used to this by now, even with two years off since playing a lengthy tour. And with the heavy rhythm section of Adam Devonshire on bass, and and Jon Beavis on drums- this band IDLES is intact- four on the floor.
Every song out of the gate is blast furnace ready to go: from number two "Mr. Motivator", into "Grounds", followed by "Mother", and "Anxiety", to let you know they are here to play with conviction, and that they don't take this performance lightly.
By the time of song eight- "Divide and Conquer", the crowd is ready for anything, including instructions from Joe Talbot, to divide up the main floor, to split it up, which he kept repeating them to do fervently until he was satisfied, and telling them to wait patient for the clue top go full on bludgeoning mosh within the song (which is obvious) - "Divide. Divide. Divide! (with a couple more thrown in until satisfied)- AND CONQUER!"
And so they did.
From my vantage point off the main floor- a full on violent confrontation straight out of the Streets of New York (without all the weapons of course).
That smile of success from Joe Talbot- soaked t shirt and all- was priceless.
And so the chaos ensued, all the way up to "Never Fight a Man With a Perm", which for all intent and purposes, is a song meant for a beat down- the stage floor attack from Joe Talbot, along with the fans enticed for more and more controlled chaos.
For me - a highlight of every IDLES show- case closed.
And the fans- with the constant body surfing and reverie- with the Chicago faithful showing strength in numbers, and that IDLES music will always prevail because of their working man's ethic, the black boot / no fuss / t shirt wearing don't give a shit about looks and stage presence and props / we're here to dismantle any notion of rock n' roll hierarchy and throw it in your face overall vibe and pronouncement-
I can't think of any other touring band playing today that comes close to how they push all of the above without having to make waves about it.
Either you care or you don't care.
They know that the people in the know about IDLES care, mostly by word of mouth, followed by press- in that order.
And IDLES prevails, with a message and music that's lean and mean.
Openers Gustaf- from Brooklyn, fronted by Lydia Gammill, had a short but inviting set, with Lydia making waves with a sound that brings up early Patti Smith and a band that chops its way through songs like early Gang of Four. Have to say they held court convincingly for their 30 minute or so set.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Music's modern day Renaissance man Dave Grohl strikes again! This time with the written word. His new book titled The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music came out earlier this week to positive reviews! You can buy the book now wherever you buy books!
From the author:
So, I’ve written a book.
Having entertained the idea for years, and even offered a few questionable opportunities (‘It’s a piece of cake! Just do four hours of interviews, find someone else to write it, put your face on the cover, and voila!’), I have decided to write these stories just as I have always done, in my own hand. The joy that I have felt from chronicling these tales is not unlike listening back to a song that I’ve recorded and can’t wait to share with the world, or reading a primitive journal entry from a stained notebook, or even hearing my voice bounce between the Kiss posters on my wall as a child.
This certainly doesn’t mean that I’m quitting my day job, but it does give me a place to shed a little light on what it’s like to be a kid from Springfield, Virginia, walking through life while living out the crazy dreams I had as young musician. From hitting the road with Scream at 18 years old, to my time in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, jamming with Iggy Pop or playing at the Academy Awards or dancing with AC/DC and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, drumming for Tom Petty or meeting Sir Paul McCartney at Royal Albert Hall, bedtime stories with Joan Jett or a chance meeting with Little Richard, to flying halfway around the world for one epic night with my daughters…the list goes on. I look forward to focusing the lens through which I see these memories a little sharper for you with much excitement.
It has been a while since Chicago added a music new venue to it's rotation, the most recent coming to mind is House of Van's in 2017. In February the City of Chicago approved a zoning change that will allow the old Morton Salt Factory to be converted into a music venue!
This new venue is being developed by 16 on Center (of The Empty Bottle, Thalia Hall, and Beauty Bar fame) and R2. In addition to two venues — one thats indoor, one thats outdoor — there may also be riverfront restaurant and shops added later.
Why is this news now? Well the developers plan on keeping the famed Morton Salt sign — sort of. This week, they started the process of removing the current roof and replacing it with a new, modern one. The new roof will have a new, updated Morton Salt logo according to a Block Club Chicago article.
We're looking forward to rocking out by the river soon.