On November 30th, I had the pleasure to witness recent JBTV alums, The Regrettes take the tiny stage at Wicker Park’s very own -- Subterranean. Despite the small size of the venue as a whole The Regrettes made sure the make it feel like a huge crowd, not letting the intimate setting affect their stage presence and show. Having only been on the Sirius XM AltNation Advanced Placement Tour for two days prior, I had yet to see any praise regarding each artist on the tour. But I knew The Regrettes would put on a stellar show regardless.
After watching openers, Micky James and Welles, hype up the crowd and put on equally great sets, the crowd was anxious for The Regrettes take the stage. Once the clock hit nine, the lights dimmed and each member walked onto the stage with “Dancing Queen” by ABBA blaring. The band was welcomed by the crowd shouting the lyrics, each fan ready for a good ole’ punk show.
The Regrettes opened with one of their newest songs, “California Friends”. Although the song shows the band playing around with new sound elements and doesn’t necessarily fit the band’s old sound of punk & doo-wop, it’s a refreshing track about friendship and love. After listening to it way too many times on Spotify, it was a nice feeling to scream the lyrics and dance around, while also watching The Regrettes dance around and feel out the crowd’s energy.
The band then went on to play fan favorites from their debut album, Feel You Feelings Fool! “Lacy Loo” and “Picture Perfect”, both featuring lead vocalist, Lydia Night having complete control over the audience. During “Picture Perfect” -- one of my favorite Regrettes’ songs -- Night even demanded the audience make an all-female mosh pit -- a staple at Regrettes shows. Although I could not participate in the mosh pit full of badass women, mainly due to me not wanting to damage my camera, I was sure to step onto the stairs and capture some sick shots of the crowd having a good time.
They then transitioned into another one of my favorite songs, “Come Through”, from their EP, Attention Seeker. “Come Through” is super fun and interactive live, I noticed crowd members singing to strangers and dancing with one another during this track. The Regrettes then played “Whatta Bitch”, “A Living Human Girl”, and “Red Light,” all three songs garnering praise from the audience.
For the rest of the set, the crowd never seemed to die down. By the time the band started their final song, “You Won’t Do”, the entire venue was singing along to the opening, “Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh Oh!” Shortly after the band departed from the stage after the infectious performance, they came back for a two song encore featuring a new track, “Pumpkin” and a fan-favorite, “Hot -- one they also played here at JBTV.
By the end of the show, a smile stayed plastered on my face. Not only is The Regrettes a band that discusses current topics within their lyrical content, but they also know exactly how to please their fans. Be sure to catch The Regrettes on The Advanced Placement tour in a city near you.
Filed by Ava Butera
Photos by Ava Butera
INTERVIEW WITH PUBLISHER DAVE RITZLIN ON SWORDS OF STEEL--HIS FANTASY ANTHOLOGY SERIES WITH HEAVY METAL TIES
To many, the genre of fantasy is generalized by any story with magical elements, but to many fans, that is an oversimplified definition. Fantasy has multiple subgenres and subcultures that often get swept under the Lord of the Rings umbrella, and causes many niche fantasy fans to painstakingly navigate the popular titles for stories that fit their tastes.
Music is no exception. Everybody has different takes on what is considered hip-hop, rock, pop, and heavy metal. For the music genre purist, it can be hard to find music that aligns with your criteria. Luckily for hardcore, heavy metal fans and fans of pulpy fantasy from yesteryear, publisher Dave Ritzlin merges these two groups into his fantasy anthology series Swords of Steel.
“All the stories are written by members of heavy metal bands,” Dave Ritzlin said during his JBTV interview with Jerry Bryant on September 21st, 2018. “Some of [the bands these authors are from] are new, but in the underground scene some are pretty well known—like Manilla Road, who’s been around since the late 70’s, ” he added.
From the authors penning the stories to even the books’ artwork, “Martin Hanford is an artist from England and does a lot of album covers for the band Bal-Sagoth—who’s one of the bands [featured] in the book [series],” every aspect of Ritzlin's book series is rooted in heavy metal.
Now, we at JBTV Music had to get heavy metal recommendations from Ritzlin while he was in the studio, and he was happy to oblige. Ritzlin graciously brought in a video of Canadian, heavy metal band Gatekeeper’s song “Blade of Cimmeria.” Ritzlin connected with Gatekeeper through happenstance, “I met the guitarist [Jeff Black] at Chicago’s Legions of Metal music festival, and he's also a fan of these kinds of stories. Turns out, he had already been writing stories, so it was a perfect match.” Watch Gatekeeper's "Blade of Cimmeria" video below and read Jeff Black’s short story “Blue Mistress” in the first volume of Swords of Steel.
Another music recommendation Ritzlin had was another metal band tied to Swords of Steel--Eternal Champion, a Texas band whose name comes from Michael Moorcock’s Corum book series. “When I saw the name for the band, I figured they’re on the same page as me, and their singer [Jason Tarpey] wrote one of the most popular stories of the book,” Ritzlin said while donning an Eternal Champion shirt. You can listen to Eternal Champion below—and like Jeff Black’s story—you can read Jason Tarpey’s short story “Vengeance of the Insane God” in the first Swords of Steel.
For Ritzlin, this all started by being a frustrated consumer; “I’m a fan of not just the music, but also this type of fiction. In the past thirty or so years, there hasn’t been much [that] I liked. It’s either too weird, or just not good. So I figured people who are into heavy metal, they stick to traditions…they understand what it’s all about. So I asked them to write these kinds of stories and they delivered.”
With Swords of Steel having three volumes of stories currently available for purchase, it is an anthology series that continues to deliver for heavy metal fans and pulp fantasy lovers.
If you want to read a sample of Swords of Steel, go to dmrbooks.bandcamp for excerpts of all three books plus music from bands featured in the series.
Order all three volumes of Swords of Steel on DMRBooks.com and Amazon now!
Watch the full JBTV Interview with Dave Ritzlin below.
Filed by Alex Ghere
Thom Yorke / Tomorrow's Modern Boxes
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Thom Yorke writhes, shakes and moves when he performs on stage, like he wants to shed out of his own skin and morph into someone else altogether. Fans of all things Radiohead knew what to expect from Thom's solo production, and that is the exact opposite of a Radiohead show.
The performance had elements of a sophisticated electronic / minimalist production, but with five giant vertical LED walls behind the musicians from stage left to stage right, this was something different entirely. Minimalist indeed, with Thom accompanied by longtime collaborator and producer Nigel Godrich, and artist Tarik Barri--who created striking and crisp visuals that weren't overblown or too pushy. The visuals moved to the beat of Thom's samples and synths like ink wading it's way through water and oil. It may seem like a lot to take in, but suffice to say, it works when seen live and in person. It's trance inducing.
From the first song to the last, I was amazed at how well behaved audience was in attendance. No shouting out of songs, or talking over one another, just eerie silence throughout the main floor of the Chicago Theatre. Everyone was standing as far as I could see, swaying to the beats, and keeping in place. This just added to the cool ambience throughout the nearly two hour show, witnessing a sophisticated production, with like minded music hounds.
Beyond Thom's ready made beats, we also had the occasional live bass, guitar and piano. All musicians taking turns playing each other's instruments, seamlessly moving about in a methodical and groove heavy order, not intruding in any way at all, but each contributing to the songs and making them whole.
This current tour is based on Thom Yorke's solo album Tomorrow's Modern Boxes. An album that didn't quite take off when released, but yet still holds some captivating music embracing electronica and ambient beats and samples. Visually, the music from Tomorrow's Modern Boxes sucks you in with artistic programming showing striking detail of flower petals, orange balls dropping or rising vertically, and waves crashing into a psychedelic maze. The imagery only enhances the listening experience, making you once again go back and listen to Tomorrow's Modern Boxes one more time, and connect the music of the live performance.
Many of the songs that Thom performed were detached, with little in the way of constant repetitive beats or hooks, but more mellow and subtle. All the more to suck you into the improvisation. This is clearly not your normal live show of extravagance with a party atmosphere, like when we at JBTV Music Television documented Radiohead's live performance at the Metro when the band was starting out. And for this listener, that is a welcomed change indeed.
"Atoms For Peace" played during the encore, and looked and felt like an electronic lullaby with the song's gentle overtones. Like most of this show, it was a somber moment, preceded with many just like it.
Hard to totally grasp exactly what this reviewer just took in. I have the visuals from shooting the show as record of this live performance, but I feel like if this was a two or three night residency, I would have to go see all the shows, just to pick up on things I might have missed the first time out.
Everything about this show was a little different, and most compelling.
Probably the way Thom Yorke likes it.
Thom Yorke Setlist from the Chicago Theatre:
2. A Brain in a Bottle
3. Impossible Knots
4. Black Swan
5. I Am a Very Rude Person
6. Pink section
7. Nose grows Some
8. Cymbal Rush
9. The Clock
10. Two Feet Off the Ground
12. Not the News
13. Truth Ray
16. Reckoner (Radiohead Song)
17. The Axe
18. Atoms for Peace