Caribou - Tour North America 2021/22 - with opener Jessy Lanza, Riviera Theatre Chicago - Friday 11/19/21
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
Finally, finally, the wait is over to witness Dan Snaith and his band Caribou coming to Chicago, on his North American Tour for 2021.
Originally scheduled back in the spring of 2020- then the pandemic stopped the tour in its tracks, like so many others.
It's been a long wait I tell ya- the last time Dan Snaith and his band came through town was back in April of 2015 at the Metro Chicago- and that show in particular, in such a gorgeous venue and listening room, was oh- so- memorable, in so many ways.
When you become a seasoned and professional photographer after years and years of photographing virtually everyone, you pick up on a few things that stand out.
That- and being a music hound on top of it certainly helps.
The show at the Metro was cool, simply in the way Dan laid out his musical gear and equipment, with his band following suit.
The entire setup was center stage, laid out in a semi- circle, all band members within eye sight of each other, and also it was mainly lit from below the instruments on the floor in the center of the semi circle, creating this beautiful and amazing glow that would permeate and reflect throughout, changing vibrant colors depending on mood of whichever song.
I still remember this show like it was yesterday- myself, like so many other in the Metro, stood there transfixed throughout.
So now jump ahead some five and a half years later, and here we have Dan Snaith and band at the Riviera Theatre in Uptown. And again, throughout the show, depending on various vantage points for photography, the mood on the main floor, and in the balcony audience wise, is mellow, with people dancing in place, being cordial, mostly everyone I saw throughout the night wearing their masks.
It was simply a jovial and communal vibe, with everyone again transfixed with the visuals, let alone the gorgeous and hypnotic singing and songwriting from Dan Snaith and band.
Again, the band is center / front stage at the Riviera, albeit settled in on a larger floor than the Metro, and with a gigantic white backdrop for hypnotic usage, such is the case with the song "Sun", towards the end of the set, showing a small and tiny grayish circle slowly getting bigger and bigger and bigger, like a gargantuan sun, then going back down again.
Talk about setting the mood with a hypnotic and transfixing song, a song going way back with Caribou, back like in 2010.
Me- I stood there for a moment, putting down my camera, soaking it all in- eyes wide open, nodding to the upbeat and soothing and propulsive beats from "Sun".
It was like this throughout the show, with most of the setlist belonging to Caribou's latest release- "Suddenly", which actually came out back in late February of this year.
The tracks from "Suddenly" fit the mold of sophisticated songcraft from Dan Snaith, with more vocal and less instrumental, again, all soothing, all chill / rave danceable, and definitely catchy.
Opening the set with "Filtered Grand Piano", and into "New Jade", both from the album "Suddenly", and then forward into "Odessa", and the iconic "Our Love"- the assessment halfway into the show is so satisfying, so tranquil, so In- The- Moment memorable.
The lighting throughout was equal to the measure of whichever song in question- yes- we were occasionally blinded by bright white strobes, but still, even that added to the overall mood of un-categorization, which when you think of it, with repeated listens to all things Caribou, leads you to discover new nuggets throughout.
As far as Dan's band goes- Ryan Smith, Brad Weber and John Schmersal hold court with Dan with apparent ease, throwing the occasional smile between one another when they spot an instinctive groove that they totally dig.
Always love witnessing that firsthand, rest assured that nothing performance wise is simply dialed in.
Have to say again that the mood was contagious throughout, between audience and band members, knowing full well that Dan was so happy and grateful simply to be performing again.
There was a moment after the song "Sun", when the heavy and bright floor lit strobes were brandishing a fine white light throughout the stage to the audience, and Dan vacated to the propulsive beats from the band stage right, not disappearing, but letting his band have some fun instrumental wise, and I caught some pics of Dan playing with the light, refracting it, and looking at it through his hand, with a big smile on his face.
You can see he was enjoying the beats, swaying and slow dancing his way back to his perch with the other band members to get back into the song.
To me, that's what makes shows like this so memorable- enjoyment is had by all throughout, sending the fans home happy on a brisk and chilly Friday night, with huge smiles on their faces, equal to Dan Snaith and band.
Lets hope that Dan comes through town again sometime soon, and we all don't have to wait another five years for hypnotic dance revelry.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Live Review: CHVRCHES - Screen Violence North American Tour 2021 - Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom Chicago
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
The band Chvrches, fronted by their charismatic lead singer Lauren Mayberry, came through town on a Friday night at the Aragon Ballroom, still hungry to maintaining the claim of being a great and memorable live band.
Touring on the strengths of their intense fourth release- "Screen Violence", they rushed out of the gate with the song "He Said She Said" from their new album, a song like most from "Screen Violence", which has a dark edge and vivid imagery, with a sledge hammer groove.
The stage and backdrop are bathed in icy colors throughout the show, with distortion and vivid hues coming from their gigantic LED backdrop.
Lauren Mayberry commanded the stage from beginning to end, having now contemplated and convincingly becoming a seasoned performer, pacing herself from stage right to stage left and looking gorgeous / model like, but with a take no prisoners persona with a dark side.
And off we go from there, into "Forever", and then into "Leave a Trace", followed by "California".
Most of the set is spotlighted by songs from "Screen Violence", and embracing the theme of dark and twisted personas and fem fatales,
Unfortunately though, a day before their stop at the Aragon Ballroom, Chvrches made an announcement that despite following strict COVID safety protocols, Lain Cook, their keyboards and programming guru, had a positive COVID test result and was unable to perform in Chicago,
They had Lain's spot filled in by their tour tech Dave Simpson, who has worked extensively with the band for many years, along with the addition of their friend Sam Stewart, from the band Lo Moon.
So the band was filled out rather nicely, adding more oomph into the mix to convey the low underbelly of most of their recent songs from "Screen Violence".
Chvrches now, in the present day, a band with tons of passion in regards to live performance, full of fighting spirit, cutting through the noise of the mundane, and making a presence felt and known throughout this Friday night as a band that can pack a wallop, a band that will have you leaving with a vision ingrained in your head, that they just keep getting better and better, and are observant of the world's current claustrophobic state of affairs, and have the songwriting chops to back it up.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Dark Horse is the single from the forthcoming LP from Zero Balance. The single and full length have been remixed by Chrys Anthem, and produced by Sean McKee .
Recordings are from Chicago Traxx engineered by Dave Lulec. The band was a mainstay in Chicago clubs in the 90s, and is grateful to be releasing new music again.
ARC Arinova Rhythm Collective is the label group created by Vessy Mink , Roger Ebner and Chrys Anthem. Anthem (Chris Cronin) has recently and tragically passed away. ARC has released the song Dark Horse as a single in his memory, and it is dedicated to the Chris Anthem family. Courtesy of Zero Balance.
John Russell, Jim Rubino, Frank O'Reilly, Dean Boznos, and Peter Bowers.
Anthem was a loyal member of the JBTV Music family and creative force who inspired a wide and vast creative community in Chicago and California, In 2016,
Zero Balance premiered their feature film and soundtrack, Full Circle at JBTV Studios, to a full house. Produced and Directed By Bowers and Anthem.
Bowers, "He will be deeply missed by so many amazing people he touched in the creative arts community, but the label group ARC will continue on in his honor through the artists and musicians he inspired and his label mates, musicians; Roger Ebner, Vessy Mink, Dirk Flanigan, Kevin Hill, and many others who were a very special part of the groove collective that is ARC.. "
Zero Balance, will be releasing a full length album in the coming months and look forward to having Dark Horse out as a single and LP soon.
The Song is distributed by DISTROKID and available on Itunes, Spotify, and Apple. All proceeds go to the Cronin Family. Thank you and RIP Big Man.
Zero Balance is
Peter Bowers Vocals
John Russell Drums
Frank Oreilly Bass
Jim Rubino Guitar
Dean Boznos Guitar
Sean McKee Keyboards, Percussion