Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photography by Bobby Talamine
The line outside of the House of Vans was long. Doors were at 7, but people had started to line up as early as 3. The BANKS show was sold out and everyone with a ticket wanted to secure their entry.
As people began to file inside, they spread out everywhere. Some went to get free Goose Island beer, some to the merch table, and some to look at the poetry. A few people made sure they were front and center for the show.
The poetry installment by Jillian Banks was an interest for most people. Her poems and drawings were printed on large sheets of crumpled paper, individually lit with colors that reflect the mood of the poem. The entire room was filled with low light and paper.
The merch table had an incredibly long line for the free “BANKS at the House of Vans” shirt that they were giving out. Next to the free shirt line was some merch for Samoht, one of the openers. They were giving out free fans because it was very hot inside.
Samoht was the very first opener for the evening. On stage, it was just him and his drummer. The microphone was hidden in a bouquet of flowers. The Brooklyn artist released his sophomore album, Exit, in June.
The second opener was billed as a surprise guest, so nobody knew who it was going to be.
BANKS’ friend, DJ Anna Lunoe, was the surprise guest. After playing a set of remixes, she began to perform songs off her album, Right Party.
The crowd was buzzing, waiting. BANKS was up next and nobody could wait. The entire space was filled. The energy in the air was electric.
Accompanied by two backup dancers, BANKS came on. They were backlit, dark figures against a bold red background. They had sharp movements, forming beautiful pictures with their bodies.
For most of the show, she was backlit. The band was hidden behind the bright lights, colored in bold hues of blue and green and red. It was a beautiful aesthetic.
For the songs that she did not have dancers on stage, she was also front-lit so the audience could see her.
She played a mix of songs from her old albums and a few newer ones. Her new album, III, came out July 12.
Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Pictures by Bobby Talamine
Culture Abuse proved that there is no wrong time for a punk rock show. On a Thursday afternoon, their hard rock energy was brought. On their first day off in three weeks, Culture Abuse put on a show that was not on their official tour.
(L-R) Nick Bruder, David Kelling, Shane Plitt, June Bug, Anaiah Lee
The five piece group hails from California and have toured with names like Nothing and Green Day. The band is made of David Kelling on vocals, June Bug on guitar, Shane Plitt on bass, Anaiah Lee on drums, and Nick Bruder on guitar. Culture Abuse has a surf punk vibe and sound. The band formed in 2013 and recently had their 6 year anniversary of their first show.
A strong crowd came out to the show, including the bands that they have been touring with. Most of the crowd had bought tickets to their show at the Subterranean.
Kelling brought a film camera on stage and took a few pictures during the performance. He had been taking some around the studio and during set up and later took some during the interview.
They started off their set strong, with the titular track off of their latest album Bay Dream. The song is about being on the road and away from home. The crowd went nuts for it.
Their track list included a cover of “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash.
Their final song, “Turn It Off” was off of their first album, which they were hesitant to do. They didn’t want to give any royalties to that company. But they decided that they’ll “give them the 25 cents and play it anyway.”
Kelling occasionally made some interjections between the songs. He talked about everything from how nervous they were to be filming a television show to their first record label.
They had a bad contract on their first label and were being taken advantage of. For the release of Bay Dream, they have switched labels and been able to prosper.
After the set they came out and mingled with the crowd who came. They were selling vinyls of Peach and Bay Dream and autographing them.
During the interview, Kelling revealed that “Bay Dream” was about leaving his mother who has a terminal illness while he’s on tour. He doesn’t know if he should sing the meaning or go with the music because it’s a very personal song.
They signed the first contract offered to them, which was not a good one. They got a tour offer and when they reached out for money to help get a tour van, they were told to “sell more records” by the company. It’s hard to be just about the music when there’s a business side to it as well.
Their set in Chicago was the next day, at the Subterranean. It was an entirely different environment than the intimate show the day before. The crowd starting filtering in for the first opener, Buggin Out.
Buggin Out is a Chicago-based hardcore band who joined Culture Abuse during their show at the Subterranean. Several members had their parents’ in the audience and the lead singer’s mom was filming the entire act on her phone.
DARE OC STRAIGHT EDGE is an LA-based hardcore band. Lee, who performs with Culture Abuse as their drummer, is in DARE.
Young Guv and Tony Molina were both great transitions to Culture Abuse. They are both surf rock bands. They brought the crowd down from the hardcore screamo music that Buggin Out and DARE brought, but kept the crowd hyped enough for Culture Abuse.
Around 11 p.m. Culture Abuse finally came on and immediately everyone began to lose their mind.
Because of the lack of barrier, people were going up on stage to throw themselves into the crowd to crowdsurf. Bodies were flying everywhere.
Kelling was sharing the use of the mic. He was throwing it up to the balcony, and having people who came up stage sing into it.
There was a never ending mosh pit. The audience were screaming all of the lyrics while throwing themselves around.
The crowd was super friendly and helpful throughout the chaos. One guy lost his glasses so people were looking on the ground for the glasses and the lens that had popped out. Both were unharmed.
At one point someone got thrown into Kelling, who has cerebral palsy. Both went down onstage and people immediately jumped up to help them both up and make sure they were both ok.
1. Bay Dream
2. So Busted
3. Be Kind To The Bugs
5. Calm E
6. Should I Stay Or Should I Go
7. Rats In The Walls
8. Turn It Off
Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photos by Bobby Talamine
Potty Mouth came back better than ever. Their first JBTV performance took place back in 2016 when they played at Lollapalooza. Since then, the power punk trio has gone on to play Riot Fest and to open for artists such as The Go-Go’s and JBTV alum Andrew W.K.
Potty Mouth consists of Abby Weems on guitar and vocals, Ally Einbender on bass, and Victoria Mandanas on drums. The three-piece band formed in Massachusetts out of a series of jam sessions. They were joined by their friend Ada Brumback.
L-R: Ada Brumback, Abby Weems, Jerry Bryant, Victoria Mandanas, Ally Einbender
Driving in from Ohio that day, they came straight to our studio. They were exhausted but put on an amazing show.
The show was intimate, but the stage was still electric with punk energy. The intimate feel allowed them to interact with the crowd.
After a little interaction with a fan about the name of their latest album, Snafu, they said that “Snafu backwards is U Fans” and they do it all for you, the fans.
All of their songs have straightforward lyrics. There’s no hiding what the intention was behind the song. Each song is one to bang your head and dance to.
“Smash Hit” was the opener song. It’s about the music industry only wanting hits and being about making money. It was a strong start to a strong set.
During the interview, they said that everyone hears something different in the guitar riff. People have gotten everything from a Creedence Clearwater Revival vibe to an All American Rejects feel from that riff.
The rock and roll energy filled the entire stage and audience, with everyone dancing and rocking out. Weems played her guitar behind her head and even got on the ground to jam.
“I Wanna” was a great song to end the set with. It was high energy and easy to sing and dance along to. Weems said that it’s like every Ramones song and that’s why they like it. It’s about going after what you want.
After the set, the members came out to mingle among the fans who came. They brought some merch, such as the usual array shirts and albums and CDs. A fun twist that they have is that their merch for sale includes a “Dog Song” pillowcase.
During the interview, Weems said she writes a majority of their songs. She compares songwriting to completing a puzzle. It’s therapeutic for her to write songs because she has had time to work it out and process everything that she’s writing about.
Although she writes a majority of their songs, she doesn’t write all of them alone. During a series of songwriting sessions, she got hooked up with Gina Shock of The Go-Go’s and they co-wrote “Fencewalker.”
Through that meetup, Potty Mouth was able to open for a few The Go-Go’s shows. Shock loves their band.
Potty Mouth would like for people to watch the music video for their song “Liar.” It’s their favorite one that they’ve done. It’s funny and features them as superheroes. They like the campy feel to it.
1. Smash Hit
3. Do It Again
4. Fence Walker
5. Dog Song
7. I Wanna
Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photos by Jordan Swanson
The third show in The House of Vans summer season was curated by Julien Baker, featuring performances from Macseal, Wye Oak, and herself headlining, with art by Ariel Wolfe Baldwin and Lauren Asta. This show was sold-out, so the venue was absolutely packed.
As people began to pile inside, those already inside sipped on their free Goose Island beer as they looked at the art installed. It was a mix of abstract art and pop art based on Baker’s songs. A few people braved the rain to buy food from the food truck outside, enjoying it under some tents set up.
Macseal started off the night. The pop punk band, who hails from Long Island, has a sound that’s ripped from 2006. They recorded an LP back in March and announced that it’ll be dropping soon, but didn’t give a date. Catch Macseal back in Chicago at the Subterranean on September 11th!
The second band was Wye Oak. The electronic indie pop-rock duo was founded in Baltimore in 2006. Their fifth album, The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs was released in February 2018. Halfway through their amazing performance, they said that this was their first performance in 8 months. Amazingly, the band still sounded extremely tight.
The crowd was starting to get anxious while they waited. The suspense was building up for Julien’s performance. The 23 year old, who’s opened for artists such as Death Cab for Cutie and Paramore, just walked out and started to play.
She had great stage presence, a hush falling over the crowd as soon as she stepped on stage. The House of Vans, packed to capacity, had fallen silent.
She started playing her sad songs, occasionally stopping to take a sip of tea or to great the crowd. After receiving a lot of applause near the end of her set, she said “Thanks for clapping and physically showing your enthusiasm” which led to more clapping.
It was just her and her guitar for about half of the show. Baker swapped out her acoustic guitar on a few songs for a piano. She was not alone on stage for the entire time, though. She had a violinist join her for a few of her songs.
Words + Photos by Bobby Talamine
From the soggy confines of the Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Tinley Park, another edition of the annual 101WKQX PIQNIQ occurred on Saturday, June 15th. The day started with steady rain for all the acts appearing on the second stage, which forced me to miss The Strumbellas, The Glorious Sons, Shaed, and opener Friday Pilots Club.
With nowhere to stay covered for the opening acts, I didn't even attempt to go in the venue to start reviewing and shooting the show. Safe to say, soggy, wet consistent rain and expensive camera gear are not a good combination.
Although, I did venture to the second stage for the headliner Blue October, a cool alternative American rock band from Houston Texas. The band didn’t seem to mind the rain that was now a consistent drizzle, which at least made it tolerable to shoot something from the second stage. Blue October even seemed to enjoy the gloomy weather, playing with excitement and verve to make the performance that more special. Lead singer Justin Furstenfeld is a charismatic performer, and worked the sloppy and wet stage from left to right. not caring about the rain and chilly weather. A nice way to get the 101WKQX PIQNIQ off the ground for me.
By now we had the protection of the pavilion for the main acts, starting with AJR, a band made up of three brothers from Manhattan. The kids sure did like them, knowing the lyrics to every song, with their infectious mix of Indie Pop, a bit of white boy dubstep, and some doo wop. Which when all thrown into the kitchen sink, makes this photographer think of high school glee club, and this is the final assignment of the year.
Harsh as that sounds, the kids dug them (LOTS). Maybe I'm out of the loop or something. Nevertheless, they were quite the performers, and they made most of their 30 minute ish set.
Now we're back to business with heavy guitar and showmanship, with Tom Morello starting his set unannounced from the GA floor pit, enticing the crowd with his riffs of heavy metal / punk hybrid- inspired sounds. Morello relished in his verve for political activism, brandished with his trusty guitar that stated "Arm the Homeless," and wearing a hat that states "MADIBA"- referring to Nelson Mandela.
Outside of Morello's obviously renowned guitar playing, his way of enticing audiences to reach out, rise up, and not take crap from anyone never gets old. An all too brief set, clocking in under 45 minutes, with a surprise appearance from Tim Mcllrath of Rise Against handling some of the vocal duties for the Rage and Audioslave songs. Midway through the set, Morello did his rendition of Springsteen's "Ghost of Tom Joad," making the song more relevant, and downright gloomier than Sprinsgsteen's version. To start the show with audience accompaniment, and end with audience accompaniment from the stage, it just goes to show Tom Morello is a man of the people.
Up next, Catfish and the Bottlemen from Wales, who the day before played at Bonnaroo, and made it in time for PIQNIQ.
They were full on from the first note, with a neon sign all vertical and lit up right behind the boys, a design from their recent album release The Balance, with lead vocalist/ guitarist Van McCann wailing away from the get go, swinging his microphone with stand all over the place, a sweaty mess even after the first song. The boys of Catfish were unrelenting from then on, all downhill song after song, showing once again how badass these guys are, and how cool to say that we at JBTV had them play on our intimate stage back in the day.
A band that's unmistakable in sound and fury and might, and oh so convincing.
The mellower (but still cool) vibes of Irvine California's Young the Giant were next onstage. The crowd at PIQNIQ totally dug their music and moved to the beats provided from these dudes. All over the venue I looked and everyone was dancing and swaying in their seats to Young the Giant, with Sameer Gadhia providing the necessary lead vocals and stage presence needed to elevate and captivate the masses. Young the Giant- a band that commands your attention, commands you to listen. This adage was apparent by the performance the band gave at PIQNIQ.
Now on to the headliner. From Denver Colorado, The Lumineers were dressed like they were right out of a tavern from 1867, with the only thing missing from the set was tumbleweeds.
A very popular band, with a mix of folk rock and Americana that's hard to ignore. Wesley Schultz lead the way with upper register vocals, the occasional foot stomp, and big bodied guitar sounds intact.
Jeremiah Fraites provided the steady backbeat, Lauren Jacobson the violin, Byron Isaacs the vintage/cool bass, and Brandon Miller the guitar/ Mandolin and some percussion. This band truly lives in a bevy of influences that defy their age, and make music that is cinematic in scope, with a soulfulness that comes off sincere and definitely not fake by any measure.
So all n' all, a nice cross section of past and current indie/alternative music to spend a Saturday in Tinley Park.
Until PIQNIQ 2020....
Words by Hillary Hedstrom | Photos by Patrick Luhrs
The 2019 season of the House of Vans House Parties continued to go strong with their second show on June 15th. This show was curated by The Breeders, with Divino Niño and Palehound opening and an art installation by Chris Bigg.
Upon first viewing, the House of Vans appeared charmingly small. A beautiful concert space, but nothe most optimal for max-capacity crowds. Eventually, the place was packed with people, thus proving me wrong. As more people filtered in, the show’s aura and energy became undeniable. We were in for a great show.
Before the show and in-between sets, the audience enjoyed their free Goose Island while wandering around, admiring the curated art. Some lounged in bean bag chairs, some were at the merch table picking up their free House of Vans shirt. The art, covering the brick walls, was based on different album covers by The Breeders.
Chicago-based Divino Niño went on first. Their 60’s surf-rock vibe make for a warm, nostalgic sound that many can enjoy. Their new album “Foam” is out June 21st. Catch them at The Empty Bottle on June 21st and their return to Chicago November 6th to perform at Thalia Hall.
Next up was the Boston band Palehound. This indie group has already built quite a resume from performing with artists like Courtney Barnett. This is all super impressive considering the band’s lead singer Ellen Kempner just turned 25. Palehound recently released their third album “Black Friday.” They’ll be back in Chicago on October 18th at The Metro.
Finally, The Breeders came on. Almost 30 years after their debut album, they still commanded the stage with a dominant energy. The crowd, both young and old, was engaged from the get-go. Whether they were fans since the release of “Pod” in 1990 or people who had just recently stumbled upon the group, there was a palpable excitement amongst the crowd. A woman next to me told me that she had to get her husband to hold her beer and purse so she could come into the pit like she did when she first saw the Breeders in the ‘90s. Her enthusiasm certainly was appreciated by many.
The Breeder’s brand of indie grunge made for quite a diverse show. With a few high energy songs opening up pits, there was a slower song thrown in every once in a while to give the pit a break.
With the setlist including both old and new songs, like “I Just Wanna Get Along” and “Nervous Mary,” all fans felt involved. A native to Ohio, Kim Deal even gave a shout out to all of the Ohioans who came to Chicago for the show, and there were a lot of them.
The show set a very high standard for the rest of the House Party season. But with artists such as Taking Back Sunday and Anderson. Paak, it should be a great season.
The Breeders Set List
Wait In The Car
I Just Wanna Get Along
Driving On 9
40 Years of Machine Gun Etiquette: The Damned Live At House of Blues Chicago With X and The Detroit Cobras
Words + Photos by Bobby Talamine
When Punk was truly PUNK, The Damned formed in 1976.
Fast forward to now, the band is currently on a tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of their third album Machine Gun Etiquette, which brought The Damned to House of Blues Chicago on Thursday, May 30th.
Still as debonair and renegade cool as he was back then, lead singer Dave Vanian showed he still has that dangerous, sonic baritone at age 62. Softening Vanian’s dangerous vocals were lead guitarist Captain Sensible’s goofy and light hearted stage antics and keyboardist Monty Oxymoron’s eccentric looks and otherworldly hair. Finishing off the lineup with Pinch on drums and Paul Gray on bass, The Damned are still relentless in approach and might. Pushing forth with the terrific songs from Machine Gun Etiquette, and then onto other Damned nuggets such as "Liar,” "So Messed Up," and of course the iconic "Street of Dreams." Man, what a show.
For opener X, an awesome band from Los Angeles, celebrated over four decades of quintessential L.A punk with their performance. John Doe, Exene Cervenka, D.J. Bonebrake on drums, and rockabilly veteran Billy Zoom on guitar firing off riff and riff like he's channeling Chet Atkins and Eddie Cochran all rolled up into one-- left the audience in complete, splendid awe.
And with Billy Zoom coming off his stool for a bit on baritone sax, and some vibraphone added in to close their set, it left the audience wondering- what the hell just happened? Can we all just take a breath and rewind the tape for a minute?
Confounding and awesome confusion prevails, because the experiment and intuitive improvisation works- on many levels. The X are it man, making for a double whopper of music along with The Damned. X is always a blast, like last summer for Riot Fest Chicago, John Doe and Exene Cervenka gave one of the best interviewers JBTV did for the festival. They never ever disappoint.
As for the other openers The Detroit Cobras, let's just say things get outta hand quickly. From the first couple of notes onstage, lead singer Rachel Nagy literally tumbled right into me. Laughing out loud, kinda embarrassed and smiling, she proceeded to sing the first song lying down on the stage.
Nagy is something else. All party and not much stage banter talk. She apologized for the fall from the drum riser, and blamed the fall on her high heel boots. Which she took off, socks included, and proceeded the rest of the set barefoot. With other original player Mary Ramirez on all things rockabilly guitar, they more than made up for all the miscues.
After all, it's rock n' roll baby.
They grow up so fast. Riot Fest turns 15 this year. To think, they've had teenage angst since they were pre-teens. We all knew it could get wild when they really blossomed into full high school angst but for f**k's sake, look at that lineup! If you're one of those people that really needs to see the line-up before you go to Riot Fest, this should be all you need to put your mind at rest and your money on the table. We're not even saying that because our logo is on the poster, we really mean it!
Blink-182 is making good on their promise to play Riot Fest this year after needing to cancel last year due to health reasons. Slayer is closing out their Chicago & Milwaukee performance days at Douglas Park. Jack White will be there with The Raconteurs, Rise Against will return for the first time since playing the inaugural outdoor fest, oh, and BIKINI KILL! Need we say more. (The full line up is below, gawk for yourself!)
Full Album Performances
As Riot Fest as a reunion, the full album performance is a staple of this festival. Our good friend Wayne Coin and The Flaming Lips will be playing Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot in its entirety. Against Me! is doing a double wammy with Reinventing Axl Rose and Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Avail will be playing Over The James, Bloc Party, in celebration of it's 15th birthday, will be playing Silent Alarm. Dashboard Confessional playing The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most, Glassjaw with Worship and Tribute, The Selecter shredding Too Much Pressure. Senses Fail will also be doing a double feature including From the Depths of Dreams and Let It Enfold You as well as Taking Back Sunday with Tell All Your Friends and Louder Now. Oh, and Ween is playing The Mollusk in full, so thats something.
PLEASE STOP READING, WE'RE SUPPOSE TO BE AN ILLITERATE NATION, JUST CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS TO RIOT FEST 2019
WHAT: Riot Fest's 15th Birthday Party
WHERE: Douglas Park — Chicago Illinois
WHEN: September 13th - 15th
WHY: Because it would finally make your parents proud
HOW: Buy a ticket by clicking here
WHO: All of these fine folks
WHAT THE HELL? WHY HAVEN'T YOU BOUGHT TICKETS YET?!?!?!?!? WHATS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!?!?!?!?! I'M NOT SURE YOU EVEN CAN MAKE YOUR PARENTS PROUD AT THIS POINT! BUT YOU CAN CLICK HERE TO TRY ANYWAYS, THEY'D PROBABLY APPRECIATE SOME EFFORT
MORE TO RIOT ABOUT
We've been round the block a few times, if you want to see some of our past Riot experiences, click here. We have some cool interviews, pretty pictures, vulgarity — a good time all around.
Words + Photos by Bobby Talamine
Even with an early downpour of lightning and thunder, day two of Chicago Open Air had all the bands perform. No cancellations.
Alien Weaponry was the first up to perform. Their drummer started the show with a Maori War Dance and chant from behind the drum kit and displayed a tribe's pride--showing the unity and strength within this band. For such young dudes, they have presence times ten.With some of their songs spoken in their Maori language from Waipu New Zealand, it was a short and riveting set.
The Black Dahlia Murder were next up, and presented great guitar playing from Brandon Ellis and Brian Eschbach. Although in regards to vocalist Trevor Stmad, things fell flat. Almost like a phoned-in set from these guys.
Wicked as wicked comes was Fever 333’s set. Definitely one of the highlights of the day, with all three band members going apeshit at any given moment. Unpredictable to the core, making the most of their 35 minute - ish set, with vocalist Jason Aalon Butler worked his way into the crowd, and on top of the roof of the two story building stage left to belt out the last song. Drummer Aric Improta did lots more than drumming by jumping around and standing on top of his kit to get the crowd riled up (as if it's even necessary). Guitarist Stephen Harrison also worked his way into the crowd playing guitar in the middle of a heavy mosh pit. Fever 333. Crazy. Nutty. Awesome.
The next band on the lineup was In this Moment. In This Moment’s set was like a scene from Spinal Tap. It took what seemed like forever for the roadies to adjust and tweak the stage props, fog machines, and whatnot. And for what? To open the set with a David Coverdale / Whitesnake tune, followed by a hallowed occult instrumental to actual band--equals awkward. And for what?
Lead singer of In This Moment, Maria Brink, has the vocal chops, but with the stage cluttered with too many distracting props, it was hard for her to maintain the audience’s attention. Even for a brief 40 minutes.
Onto the mighty Gojira, lead by brothers Joe and Mario Duplantier. The Duplantier brothers--who hail from Bayonne, France--brought the fierceness like Meshuggah did on day one. Gojira was relentless from beginning to end with a vertical pyro...I mean jesus! No skimping with these guys. Gojira: caffeinated times ten.
Then comes The Cult, lead by Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy with accompaniment by drummer John Tempesta, which was cool. But talk about falling flat...what a bummer. Yeah, the music's still there, sort of. Hard to screw up and sink the ship with Billy Duffy, that's for sure. What was irritating during the show was mid performance, Astbury expressed trepidation with Chicago fans by explaining the lack of community and brotherhood he felt from Chicago to a rather tepid audience. With the lukewarm enthusiasm from said band, which for all intents and purposes- is flat with a capital "F.” News flash to Ian Astbury, don't piss off Chicago. Come to play, and do your damnest to try to sing upper register if at all possible please.
Now all things TOOL. Sophisticated with a simple and striking production, aided by vivid vertical LED backdrops, and solid musicianship still intact. Danny Carey came out in his trusty Kansas basketball jersey to the drumkit, followed by Justin Chancellor in a fine vest and long sleeve shirt, looking clean cut, but played as wicked and as heavy as ever. Hermit looking Adam Jones came onto the stage, hoodie up, all eyes down to guitar pedals and ready to go. Maynard James Keenan was the last one to get onstage, costumed up from head to toe in a wicked leather jacket emblazoned on the front with some alien ish cartoon, a red and black checkered tight fitting pants, sporting a shaved head mohawk of mohawks, and wicked joker makeup that gives you the feeling of dark and sinister. Keenan’s get up screamed “don't fuck with me.”
I'm exhausted in writing that, without even getting to the music of TOOL, opening with "Aenema" and "Learn to Swim" in refrain over and over and over. I'm in full bore, with Tool heading directly into "The Pot," followed by "Parabola" and "Descending"--a new song Tool has added to their setlist--along with one other new song "Invincible," which is appropriately titled.
Again - utter exhaustion from this lengthy edit for JBTV Music Television, but nevertheless...TOOL rules.
A splendid day of assorted metal, with a few hiccups, but still - oh- so- cool.
Words + Photos by Bobby Talamine
Thunderstorms, high winds, and lightning win the first couple hours of Chicago Open Air Day One, delaying the opening time from 2:30pm until approximately 4:30 pm, and delaying fans from entering Seatgeek Stadium to start the show.
The first three opening acts got knocked off the bill: Code Orange, Knocked Loose, and Vein. Leaving four remaining once the storms cleared: System of a Down, Ghost, Meshuggah, and Beartooth.
System of a Down were the usual volatile and relentless self. A long set with plenty of piss and vinegar, and the crowd eating it up and wanting more. Unfortunately there were no photos for this performance, just the quick review, and the fact that System of a Down, even though playing just a few festival dates, still brandish a mighty wallop.
Before System of a Down: Cardinal Copia and the Ghouls of Ghost. This version of Ghost front and center- showmanship. Lots and lots of showmanship, a stage dressed up with steps like a mantel to a cathedral. Heavy on backlit murals that looked like stained glass windows of sophisticated dark imagery. Musically, these guys are spot on with Cardinal Copia who lashed out vigorously from the first song "Rats" by hanging on to the last vowels with the "T" to no end, sending chills down your spine. Cardinal Copia worked the stage left and right, preaching to the masses all things dark and sinister. And so it goes with the said showmanship, with all the Ghouls making their mark with heavy guitars and drums and bass and keyboards. Nasty and oh so polished - that's Ghost.
How about Meshuggah and their version of extreme and mathematical metal? Still as fiendish and unrelenting as ever. No one comes close in the onslaught of all things Meshuggah, with Tomas Haake heavy on the backbeat and percussion, one song blasting into the next, with Jens Kidman front and center with the howl of deep throated vocals, and never losing his range or his might in song after song. The mindbending guitars of Marten Hagstrom and Fredrik Thordendal, still wildly inventive and tight as ever. Vicious- these two, both in improvisation, and physical might of said song, with Dick Lovgren holding down the fort in all things low end and complicated bass.
Openers Beartooth provide wicked party time, with the rain soaked crowd in attendance bursting forth with mosh pits after mosh pits.
As for the four bands on Day One of Chicago Open Air: It is what it is.
That said- you can never go wrong with Meshuggah and Ghost.
Might mighty fine players, these dudes.
Words + Photos by Bobby Talamine
The 1975 have come a long way since appearing at JBTV Music Television in the summer of 2014, and that was made clear during their headlining performance at the United Center in Chicago on Wednesday, May 8th with openers No Rome and fellow JBTV alum Pale Waves.
London-based musician No Rome started the show with a performance that radiated chill and laid back vibes; while Pale Waves gave a live performance that bursted with confidence that matched their Goth/Rock/Pop vibe. With Heather Baron-Gracie fronting the band, Hugo Silvani on guitar, Charlie Wood on bass, and Ciara Doran on drums, it was great to see Pale Waves have a stage and audience size that matched their talent.
Shortly after Pale Waves’ set, The 1975 graced the stage and gave the audience a multi-sensory, visual experience. Bold and vivid colors washed across the massive backdrop of LED screens behind the band as the first notes of "Give Yourself a Try" from their most recent release, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, started to take shape.
Theatrics and sophisticated visuals can fall flat if the musicianship is not there, and that is far from the case with The 1975. Each band member plays multiple instruments with Adam Hann on lead guitar, keyboards and synths, Ross MacDonald on bass, keyboards and synths, and George Daniel rounding it off with drums and percussion.
Bathed in mostly magenta and light purple hues, The 1975 frontman Matt Healy worked the front of the stage with awkward delight, donning a fine two piece suit with black sneakers. Healy contorted his body with his tongue hanging out throughout the set, as if in on the joke of the definition of what "rock n' roll star" means in this day and age. The young teenage girls packed at the front gate ate it up, knowing the lyrics to every song, and dancing in wide eyed delight. Matt Healy worked the crowd like a true frontman, even taking moments to say how the band and him loved Chicago. Healy professed his love for Chicago by sharing a story on how he experienced the worst hangover on record right here in Chicago, with all the pain that ensues in trying to recover from an epic night out.
Hangover-riddled anecdotes aside, Healy’s already commanding stage presence was supplemented by the stage configuration and the crafty, back up dancers Taitlyn and Kaylee Jaiy--known professionally as the Jaiy twins. The front lip of the stage had a slow, moving walkway that added showmanship and emotion to every song that was aided by the dance moves of the Jaiy twins. With the multi-talented band members, the cheeky antics of Matt Healy, the dynamic nature of the stage, and the Jaiy twins’ skilled choreography; The 1975 gave the United Center a show that demanded the audience’s full, undivided attention.
See The 1975 perform live on their current North American Tour and buy their latest album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships!
It’s been a bit since the famed Midwestern indie rock band, Hippo Campus stopped by the JBTV Studio for a performance. To be exact, the last time they came was in 2015 and at the time they only had two EPs out. Now, in 2019 when I had the chance to see them live in concert for the second time, they’ve grown, matured, and ultimately found their sound as a band and have two ALBUMS out into the world. To say that they’ve come a long way would be a gross understatement.
It’s been such a pleasure to watch this band grow up, and I feel as though I’ve grown up with them. At the time when I first discovered their perky, upbeat, and infectious Bashful Creatures EP in 2015, I instantly felt electrified. I didn’t realize music could be so fun yet so meaningful until I found Hippo Campus. But even as members Jake Luppen (lead vocals and guitar), Zach Sutton (bass and keys), Nathan Stocker (guitar), Whistler Allen (drums), and DeCarlo Jackson (trumpet) matured, so did their music. In 2016, the now-five piece band dropped their debut album Landmark, which went on to receive massive amounts of praise. The album was placed on album of the year lists as well as many ‘bands you need to keep on your radar’ lists. Though this was just the beginning of Hippo Campus’ accolades.
Right when it seemed as though they were being fit into a cookie-cutter classic indie-rock sound, the band did a 180 on listeners and critics with the release of their 2018 effort Bambi. This album proved to be experimental and polar opposite of what they seemed to have perfected on Landmark. Though true fans stuck with the band and traded in their Doc Martens and Pavement records for pink-tinged outfits matching the album’s aesthetic, others weren’t as keen and were more so confused as to what the band was trying to hone in on (myself included). However, after multiple listens and witnessing Hippo Campus perform these new songs live on The Bambi Tour, I can attest to the fact that this album and era is truly coming-of-age and is brilliantly done.
On April 26th, and after many months of anxiously (no pun intended here) waiting, I ventured back up to Madison, WI to see Hippo Campus play my favorite venue, The Sylvee. It just seems as though I’ve been so inspired by these said ‘Wisconsin pines’ that the band sings about in their song “Way It Goes”, that I’m always caught going out of my way to see them in Wisconsin. It’s an odd coincidence, but I thought I’d bring that to your attention, reader.
First up for the night was indie-pop songstress, Samia. In the weeks leading up to the show, I was eager to witness this promising young singer grace the stage. After hearing praise for her on her recent tour with the fabulous Donna Missal, my hopes were rather high. As the lights dimmed and Samia’s band ran on stage, her lead guitarist opened with a revving riff of Heart’s “Barracuda” and Samia immediately bounced out and the crowd was instantly hooked on her and her band’s positive energy. After playing a mix of sad songs and upbeat ones and closing her set with a powerful, full cover of “Barracuda”, the crowd was left breathless and excited for Hippo Campus’ performance.
At 9:45 sharp, one-by-one the members of Hippo Campus waltzed onto the stage to play to a sold-out crowd filled with long-time fans, new listeners, natives of Madison, along with a ton of dedicated Minnesotan fans traveling solely to see their favorite band live. Instantly, they burst into the catchy and synth-heavy title track from Bambi. From there they quickly transitioned into the warm “Golden” and the iconic “Way It Goes”. Looking back at the crowd, each person was off their feet - either jumping or dancing. Regardless, everyone in attendance was having a fantastic time, even three songs in.
Soon enough, the band surprised the crowd by completely switching up their setlist from the few nights prior by sprinkling in the catchy “Baseball”, my favorite song of theirs “Vines”, the more somber “Monsoon”, and one of the lead singles off of Bambi, “Doubt”. They also played my favorite deep cut from the new album, “Honestly”, a summery jam with prevalent guitars and a quirky “I suck, I suck, I suck” from Jake at the beginning of the song. Then midway through their set, Hippo Campus whipped out the crowd-favorite “South” which had everyone screaming a the top of their lungs “you go down south, south” on an endless loop before the song commenced. And soon after, they instantaneously transitioned into “Simple Season” a cute little song (another one of my favorites of their’s) that’s been absent from their live shows for a while.
For the duration of their set, their lighting was spectacular and romantic as warm ambers, cool purples, and bright pinks all glowed during their captivating performance. Between the phenomenal music and stage presence from Hippo Campus that was the main draw of the night, the soft lights were a nice accompaniment.
After leaving Madison with a smile plastered to my face and new songs I hadn’t delved into prior playing in the back of my head, I was pleased with my evening with Hippo Campus. If you get a chance, go out to a date of The Bambi Tour!
Words + Photos by Ava Butera
House Of Vans Hosts Show Honoring Wax Trax! Records With Film Screening And Performances By Cold Cave & Ministry
On Saturday April 13th, the city of Chicago had quite the special Record Store Day thanks to the House of Vans hosting a documentary film screening of Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records. The screening not only had a panel discussion and Q&A after the film, but a live music performances by opening act Cold Cave and headliner Ministry.
For those not necessarily in the know, Julia Nash, daughter of the founder of Wax Trax! Records Jim Nash, along with her husband Mark Skilicorn, produced and directed this mighty fine documentary. The documentary is a beautiful and insightful record of Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher, founders/owners of Wax Trax! Records, and the story behind the iconic label and record store.
How special is it for the city of Chicago, to have these two wisecracking pioneers relocate from Denver to Lincoln Park, and single handedly create and become the forward thinkers to releasing records devoted to a new genre of music: "Industrial" or better yet- "Industrial Swing," or better still- "Wicked Industrial Disco"-- as I like to call it.
Wax Trax! Records’ fourth release was from Front 242, a band that had a profound influence on Industrial Music, or what they liked to call "Electronic Body Music."
For a period of about 15 years after the 242 release, Wax Trax! would sell over a million records by Ministry, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Revolting Cocks, KMFDM, and 1000 Homo DJ's, just to name a few.
Yes, there's sadness to this story- the demise of the record label, let alone the record store from Lincoln Avenue, and its inevitable end at Damen in Wicker Park.
We’re not here to dwell on that, as this night is a celebration of Wax Trax!’s influence to music. To have the bands, the players behind the scenes, and the devoted fans reconvene at House of Vans on Record Store Day for a film screening and show honoring the store and label, it is clear that Wax Trax! Records does not need a formal address. For it lives on, and will continue to live on, through the people it impacted.
Ministry, fronted by the mighty Al Jourgenson, headlined the Record Store Day event at House of Vans.
At soundcheck, it was hard to make heads or tails on what to expect setlist wise. Outside of Chris Connelly working out vocal duties alongside Al, not much time was given to early Ministry/Wax Trax! releases.
What inevitably transpired during the performance was a set heavily devoted to early Ministry and it's side projects. Ministry’s set included "The Land of Rape and Honey," "The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste," and "Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs." Their set was also peppered with songs from the Revolting Cocks and 1000 Homo DJ's. The four songs with Chris Connelly adding vocals, elevated the performance to a whole other level. Towards the end of an acoustic version of "Everyday is Halloween," the audience devotedly sang along with the refrain and the chorus.
Openers Cold Cave, even with some projector problems and a short set, did not disappoint.
Wesley Eisold and Amy Lee have such solid musicianship performing live that the songs truly speak for themselves with a blast furnace swing and might throughout.
An incredible band, that is Cold Cave.
Relentless in scope and might, and considering the tidy and cozy confines of House of Vans, that is saying something. A truly trailblazing show from beginning to end. This was the best I've heard full on Ministry in years.
This show from Ministry still resonates in my head days after, and trying to comprehend what I just witnessed leaves me drained, in a good way.
A most splendid time all around.
As for Wax Trax!, the brand, the documentary, Julia Nash and Mark Skilicorn...we have no problem singing their praises time and time again.
The label lives on, and the devoted fans show no letup in the love and support that is righteously reciprocated at any and all events.
What a magical evening from beginning to end.
1. The Missing
4. Jesus built My Hotrod
5. Just One Fix
8. Burning Inside (with Chris Connelly)
9. So What (with Chris Connelly)
10. No Devotion (Revolting Cocks cover with Chris Connelly)
11. Supernaut (1000 Homo DJ's cover from original song from Black Sabbath)
12. The Land of Rape and Honey
13. Every Day is Halloween (Acoustic version with Chris Connelly)
Words + Photos by Bobby Talamine
On a chilly and calm Spring night, I made the trek up to Madison, WI to witness one of the best tours of the 2010’s -- including co-headliners Pixies and Weezer. Last summer, I had the chance to see this astonishing lineup in my hometown of South Florida. That show last June left me awestruck by both bands’ stage presence, live show, and ever-changing setlist. On March 31st, I got to relive that experience I so dearly cherished.
The first band to take the stage was British punk-rock newcomers, and recent signees to Fueled by Ramen, Basement. Though I could sense that the majority of the crowd had never heard of the band prior, Basement didn’t let the unfamiliar crowd affect their performance. They went on to hype up the crowd through their energetic set, filled with amped-up tracks. Lead vocalist, Andrew Fisher was constantly jumping around the stage, as though he was playing to a sold-out crowd of his ‘own’. The band’s positive energy was infectious and by the end of their set, the entire 10,000 seat arena was on their feet dancing along to the last few songs of Basement’s set. It can be said that Basement’s sound is a bit different from that of their tourmates, however it was refreshing to witness the band win over these Pixies and Weezer fans.
Next up was JBTV alumni, Pixies. It’s even cool to write that! One of the most influential alternative rock bands in all of music played the very stage that I walk by at work. I, personally, have always been a huge fan of Pixies. When I first began to immerse myself into different-sounding music (meaning not the typical Top 40 Hits), I soon enough stumbled upon this band. Between the band’s lyrical content, lead singer Black Francis’ unconventional singing style, and just their aura of coolness, I was instantly hooked. As a long-time fan, I definitely was not let down by the band’s diverse setlist. Incorporating tracks spanning their entire musical career, I got my fill of Pixies for the night!
The band started strong by opening with “Bone Machine”, from the fantastic sophomore release Surfer Rosa and quickly transitioned into “Gouge Away” and “No. 13 Baby” from the critically-acclaimed album Doolittle. They then continued on to include the melodic “Caribou”, the infectious “Here Comes Your Man”, and of course their undeniably most well-known song “Where Is My Mind?”.
Throughout Pixies setlist, they gave fans a treat by playing a handful of new, unreleased material, which I assume will be off of their upcoming September 2019 album. Toward the end of their set, they went on the play fan-favorites such as “U-Mass” (my favorite Pixies song), “Isla de Encanta”, “Wave of Mutilation,” and “Vamos”. Between their captivating light show and captivating live performance, once the band left the stage, the crowd was left speechless.
Finally, the third band of the night, Weezer took the stage shortly after Pixies. But before they officially took the stage, they performance a barbershop quartet version of the silly, yet infectious song “Pork and Beans”, off of the acclaimed Red Album. Soon after, they rushed to the stage, the curtain dropped, and Weezer powerfully blasting into “Buddy Holly” and by this point everyone in the crowd had a smile plastered onto their faces. Weezer is fun and humorous band, and their silly side is often conveyed to the crowd through the band’s antics and live shows. And of course shortly after, lead singer Rivers Cuomo exclaimed “Let’s take it back to Africa!” as the band covered Toto’s “Africa”, which had the crowd singing along, while also laughing at the same time. The band debuted “Tired of Sex” from cult-favorite El Scorcho to their setlist, while also playing well-known classic like “Undone”, “Island In the Sun” , “Beverly Hills”, and “My Name is Jonas”. Weezer also chose to play a wide variety of covers from their recent cover album, The Teal Album. Throughout the night they scattered songs like “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears, “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, and “No Scrubs” by TLC to name a few.
By the end of the show and after Weezer played their encore, including “El Scorcho”, “Surf Wax America”, and “Say It Ain’t So”, the entire crowd was still beaming and dancing from witnessing three incredible bands. Last night’s show was definitely a memorable one and I recommend you check this co-headliner tour out!!
Check out more photos below!
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