Live Recap: 101 WKQX- The Nights We Stole Christmas 2021- Night #4: Evanescence, with support from Badflower & Cleopatrick
Night Number four of 101 WKQX's The Nights We Stole Christmas form the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago- and like last night with Kings of Leon- a pleasant surprise to see the 101 WKQX faithful coming out in droves for headliner Amy Lee and her band Evanescence.
A lot has happened with Amy Lee and Evanscence over the past few years, not all of it pandemic related- more of it band member related, in regards to getting the look and feel to push forth her vision and gifts for dynamic singing and songwriting, and doing her best to find the right fit to make things gel.
Have to say I was on the fence with this particular show out of the five nights of We Stole Christmas- I guess in reality not knowing what to expect production wise, band member wise and such, and how Amy will be performance wise.
All of that changed for me from reading Selena Fragassi's article in Wednesday's Chicago Sun Times, and the insightful background on not only Evanescence's latest release "The Bitter Truth", but also getting to know a bit where Amy's head is at in regards to her songwriting, and status on her current state of affairs, both on a personal level, and also a global pandemic level.
All of this being inspiring enough for me to feel satisfied a day before her headlining set at the Aragon Ballroom.
So for me, all you need is one spark of motivation to be all in and embrace the inevitable- especially when you're looking for that extra push to do right by the band, the radio station 101 WKQX, and especially JBTV.
Have to say you know things are going to be good three minutes prior to the band entrance, and everything stage wise is bathed in a dark shade of purple, and the PA is blasting a snippet of Queen's "We Are the Champions".
Opening to the instrumental title track from "The Bitter Truth"- "Artifact/ The Turn", and then Amy trailblazing her way though "Broken Pieces Shine", also from The Bitter Truth", and Amy has set the standard for tonight's performance, with pleasant surprises throughout.
Although for us photographers present it was a soundboard shoot- that really didn't matter.
The stage was decent enough for decent imagery of full band and isolated musicians, with the sophisticated 101 WKQX LED backdrop being crisp enough to show fire and brimstone as if it was true pyro, followed by brimstone.
And as for Amy Lee, decked out in black, with a silver / sparkly right shoulder shawl, she commanded both sides of the stage, and also front and center, in front of an elevated drum kit, and her voice....the high notes coming from her were giving me chills.
I haven't heard Amy sing that convincingly in ages- as if we were back to 2003 at the Metro Chicago, still seeing her trying to find her way as a new and upcoming band.
The setlist showcased lots from "The Bitter Truth", some seven songs in total, much of it equal to earlier releases, with lots of heavy and dark theatrical undertones, like you'd expect from an Evanscence album.
But song number three of the night- "Take Cover", into "Going Under", followed by "The Change"- no slouches here at all.
The whole set was riveting, and her band, consisting of bassist Tim McCord, lead guitarist Troy McLawhorn, drummer Will Hunt, and backing vocalist Jen Majura were up for the challenge as well, sensing that you know their must have been plenty of rehearsals to get this production right, and play as if seasoned veterans in the same camp.
Have to say I walked away stunned at just how good a show this was with Amy Lee and Evanscence, and how satisfying it is booking wise with 101 WKQK and these five shows for The Nights We Stole Christmas.
That goes for the openers as well, with equally blistering sets from both Badflower (who are JBTV alums by the way), and opener Cleopatrick- a dynamic fuzzed out rock n' roll duo from Canada.
As for Badflower, who to this day have a vision and presence that's the definition of badass in their own right- you know things are good and well and amped when you see Ali and Lauren from 101 WKQX taking in their performance from the pit with us photographers.
The show- all three bands- not a weak link in the bunch.
Now to try to get my composure and some measure of sanity before tonight's performance with headliner's Rise Against, which, as you and me know- is the definition of righteous insanity.
—Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Live Recap: 101 WKQX - The NightS We Stole Christmas 2021 - Night 3: Kings of Leon, with support from Dayglow & Almost Monday
Night Number three of 101 WKQX's The Nights We Stole Christmas— Their annual knock it out of the park at the renowned Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, featuring none other than Kings of Leon.
And from the looks of things from the back of the main floor minutes before the Kings hit the stage- a pretty much packed and close to a sellout show.
As well it should for Kings of Leon, with lead singer / guitarist Caleb Followill, along with his brothers, doing a few special shows for the winter season, before heading out early next year for a bigger tour overseas.
Which makes this show at the Aragon that much extra special, with a fine tuned setlist consisting of 18 songs, with all the hits, and then some.
The Followill brothers have certainly put in the hard work over the past few years, making a name for themselves with strong songwriting and musical chops to back it up, and yet gone through their fair share of hardships, resolved and came out the other end of that much healthier and in fighting spirit, and also found some time to re group during the ongoing pandemic and come out with a strong album back in March of 2021 titled "When You See Yourself".
They played a couple songs from their latest release, opening with the title track "When You See Yourself, Are You Far Away", a moody and slow build up of a song, with a solid plea of refrain from Caleb: "One more night, one more night will you stay here, One more night , one more night will you be safe dear", which, when you think of it, is a plea of sorts, with a melody that tugs at your heart to embrace the trust and also the grief, but also with some question and answer to resolution.
And the lighting for this opener of a song is low key and moody orange, the band highlighted, but barely visible.
Such is the thing with the Followill's and conjuring striking moods again and again - a band built with diversity, a band built for taking risks and following their own path and no one else's.
The rest of their set was concise and spot on- with "The Bucket" into the giant and never gets old "Supersoaker", followed by "Revelry", which of course, the main floor of the Aragon Ballroom was in revelry as well.
Of course the main hit songs were front and center about halfway through their eighteen song setlist, what with "Sex on Fire' making the Aragon go bonkers, along with "Radioactive", and "Pyro" as well.
But they saved their best for last encore wise, with "Use Somebody", an extended jam of punctual melody and awesome vocal from Caleb, before ending and exiting stage left.
Such a fantastical and wonderful and memorable evening with the Kings, making the world a better place for WKQX's TNWSC, and leaving us drained and yet oh so satisfied, especially with what we've all been up against the past year and a half or so.
Openers Dayglow from Austin Texas, and Almost Monday, a pop trio from San Diego, set forth with lighthearted moods of pleasant ear candy- not as brash as the Kings of Leon, but still entertaining nevertheless- as much as you'd expect with the celebrations as such for The Night We Stole Christmas.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
She Past Away with Twin Tribes and Wingtips - DJ's The Pirate Twins - Thalia Hall - Chicago - 12/1/21
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
Talk about a dark dance party- even on a late Wednesday night in Chicago, at the gorgeous and intimate Thalia Hall in Chicago.
The music? Provided by the headliners She Past Away, with support from Twin Tribes and Chicago's Wingtips.
And if that wasn't enough, before and in between bands and also after- DJ's Willam Faith and Sarah Rose (The Pirate Twins), with a splendid playlist from them as well.
And the faithful came out in droves, with what looked like a pretty crowded Thalia Hall, from the main floor to the balcony, everyone enthusiastically responding to all three bands throughout the night, making this event even more special, considering that Volkan Caner and Doruk Ozturkcan come all the way from Turkey- and considering the times that we're in, pandemic related and all, that getting visas to tour the USA ain't easy.
So that's what makes this a special night, with no hiccups, considering the last time She Past Away came through town, it was anything but easy- the poor band having to drive non stop from the east coast to make it in time for their show at the Chop Shop in Wicker Park.
As far as this night is concerned, the revelry between audience and band was high strung and enthusiastic throughout from my vantage point, with most of the audience within earshot reciting all lyrics to every song.
And the same can be said for Twin Tribes and the Wingtips sets as well. making this a memorable evening of some of the finest and polished Dark Wave and Post Punk music currently on the scene today.
And it goes without saying how cool this is between all three bands, considering that they're all duos.
All three bands visually had beautiful background lighting, with striking vertical white strobes from the ceiling down, twisting and turning to the melodic and hypnotic voice of Volkan from She Past Away, and Luis Navarro of Twin Tribes, and the same can be said for Vincent of Wingtips as well.
She Past Away- some 15 songs in total, all sung in there native Turkish- and that didn't matter. The Chicago faithful in attendance ate it up, from the opener "Durdu Dunya", into Katarsis", all the way to the end with "Insanlar".
Volkan and Doruk bring sophistication to their hypnotic performance, with eerie background visuals to make things even more exotically sinister.
Such a splendid set by them.
As far as Luis Navarro and Joel Nino, Jr of Twin Tribes- the same can be said for there set as well- all dark and mysterious, with dancing in place throughout from the faithful on the main floor of Thalia Hall.
And again from my vantage points- everyone within earshot knows the lyrics to every song, and were singing along enthusiastically in shadowy bliss.
All the way up to their heavy duty set closer- the song "Fantasmas", which in my opinion, is a captivating tune from beginning to end, with a swinging dark and sinister beat throughout, with added punch from Luis and his heavy and dark baritone. All songs- memorably crafted and throughout- no filler- just killer beats, and to the point. Twin Tribes is the kind of duo that get down to business, with memorable songs and lyrics to boot.
And as for Hannah Avalon and Vincent Segretario of Wingtips: These guys just keep on getting better and better and better, from their confidence and presentation while performing, down to their crafty songwriting, with the Chicago faithful spurring them on with chants and dancing from beginning to end.
And it should be said how cool it was to see the main floor packed for Wingtips set as well, and that the Chicago faithful arrived nice and early for their opening performance.
So all n' all, a wonderful and captivating evening of Dark Wave bliss, holding court in the perfect venue for accompaniment- Thalia Hall.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago
Photography by Bobby Talamine
Writing by Fiza Javid
Live at Cobra Lounge on Wednesday evening, Baroness prepared an incredible for the West Loop of Chicago. Fresh off the holidays, the excitement was in the air as I journeyed to the area, expecting a modest crowd, potentially in fear of COVID regulations.
I walked to the side of the venue and caught a glimpse of their gorgeous tour bus, with silver flames designed through the side. Knowing the awesome jam sessions that probably go on in there, I was even more excited to see them on a personal level.
To my amazement, and not to my surprise, Baroness yielded a massive crowd, packing the Cobra Lounge to the brim, with patrons unable to make it to the inside of the hall with the stage. From the far back, individuals pinched their camera on their smartphones, zooming towards the stage to catch a glimpse of what is to come. Even through the masks you could tell they were eager.
I slowly worked my way as close to the stage as possible, feeling like a Tetris piece trying to spot the right spot to fit to catch the action.
The way the stage lit up, with John Baizley emerging on the stage, was like a glorious sunrise. He is such a powerful front man, and this was the first time I was going to hear Baroness's incredible songs in person, in such an intimate, laid-back setting.
What an honor it was. The riffs of Ogeechee Hymnal" slowly took the crowd from a slow build up to pure underground rock n roll intensity.
The next songs they played were "Take My Bones Away", "Rays on Pinion" to "March to the Sea," and the way each song flowed to the next, I cannot think of a more pure rock experience. Fans around me seemed to just flow into the music as I was, some with their eyes closed, just taking in a moment with this band that wouldn't have been possible a year ago.
My favorites would have to be the acoustic session, which really made the experience that much more intimate. While the showmanship of John Baizley, Gina Gleason, Nick Jost and Sebastian Thomson was already perfect through the initial songs, but as someone who was experiencing this band for the first time, I didn't expect an acoustic guitar to be pulled out at all by anyone for this show. They did the songs "Cocainium" and "Foolsong" which felt like a complete 180 from what the of the set provided, significantly more folky, but still classic rock. These two songs really showed the depth of what this band is made of and their musicianship is incredibly intricate.
The set ended with "The Birthing" and "The Sweetest Curse," and honestly, it all felt like five minutes flew by. With the fears of the virus still looming, I was ready to get out of the sweaty packed crowd, but I still imagined Baroness coming back out for another 22 songs. They were so effortless in their showmanship that I am a hooked fan for life. There was no branded gimmick about this band, Baroness is truly the real deal and their musicianship shined through and through.
Thanks again Cobra Lounge for making this possible! Until next time,
Fiza Javid - JBTV Music Television
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
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.
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
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.