The days leading up to Laura Jane Grace & Devouring Mothers’ much anticipated performance on the JBTV Stage were ones filled with an anxious me, eager and ecstatic to get to witness the band live in action. In preparation, I watched a ton of Devouring Mothers’ music videos, streamed their music, fell in love with their sound, and read tons of articles about the band -- to say that I was excited for the show on Nov. 7th was an understatement.
As soon as the band arrived to the studio, gear in tow, I was dreaming of 12:30 -- the time they were set to grace the stage. With each member showing gratitude for the invite to play on the JBTV Stage and extending their cordialness to each staff member, it further solidified my new love for Laura Jane Grace & Devouring Mothers.
As a casual fan of Against Me! and knowing their immense contribution to the punk community, rock music, and later the LGBTQ+ community, I partially knew what to expect from Devouring Mothers, knowing rock legend, Laura Jane Grace would definitely add her musical flare and insane talent to the new band. I did not realize though that I would be highly anticipating the release of Devouring Mothers’ debut album, Bought to Rot, shortly after the band’s performance ended. However, knowing prior that the band’s debut would be released through Chicago’s own, Bloodshot Records, I was extremely hopeful since the label is highly regarded, not only in the music industry but in the Windy City itself.
During the band’s soundcheck, I had the pleasure to sit through it and witness a sneak peek into their performance. In the past, most bands who have played JBTV simply soundcheck individual elements and maybe play one song. However, after checking their individual instruments and ensuring everything was properly working for the show, Devouring Mothers’ played four full songs during their soundcheck. This made the entire staff of JBTV hyped up for the performance.
After the room filled up to maximum capacity and the entire crowd filled in, the anticipation further heightened. Moment later, Laura Jane Grace & Devouring Mothers walked onto the JBTV Stage and applause erupted amongst everyone present. They kicked off their set with the track, “Manic Depression.” Although it sounds upbeat and fast-paced, when examining the lyrics, it details the story of a protagonist dealing with the issue. Songs like these -- although can be touchy at times -- help listeners realize that they are not alone in times of loneliness and worthlessness and that even musicians struggle with mental health issues.
The band then zipped through songs like “Reality Bites”, “Friendship Song”, and “Born in Black”. All great new tracks from their debut album. They then also included “Hotel Song” and “Amsterdam Hotel Room” -- two track obviously detailing Laura’s experience in hotels. Before playing the songs, she explained how most of her life she spent long periods of time living in hotel rooms, due to life on the road and vast amounts of touring.
Before playing every song, Laura made sure to explain the meaning behind each one, where she wrote them, and what they meant to her. I especially loved her choice to inform the crowd and fans on the true meaning behind Devouring Mothers’ music. Barely any of the artists and bands I’ve witnessed live have ever shared the meaning behind their music with attendees, but Laura made sure to.
As Devouring Mothers’ performance was coming to a close, I was still ready for more. Between drummer, Adam “Atom” Willard’s mesmerizing drummer technique, bassist Marc Jacob Hudson’s insanely catchy bass lines, and of course Laura’s passion and willpower, I was considering making it out to the band’s show at Cobra Lounge later that evening. However, I very surprised to hear the last song the band had in store for all of us, one titled “I Hate Chicago”.
Since I am a Florida-native myself, just like Laura Jane Grace is, and moved to Chicago, like her too, I was shocked to discover a song detailing the grievances about the city I dreamed about living in since I was a child. However, by the end of the song, I was whipping out my phone and downloading it. Instead of a negative, in-your-face song, it was more of a fun song. I found myself laughing at the lyrics, due to the relatability of each phrase spoken. Because yeah, as a recent Chicago transplant, I hate O’Hare, don’t necessarily care about the Smashing Pumpkins, and could care less about the Cubs, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, or the Bulls!
All in all, Laura Jane Grace & Devouring Mothers put on an incredible performance on the JBTV Stage.One I will remember for a long time!
Be sure to stream and purchase their debut album, Bought to Rot, which is out now!
Filed by Ava Butera
Photos by Katie Hovland & Ava Butera
“What’s more rock n roll than participating in the democratic process, am I right?”
When the word grandson comes to mind, reassuring cheek pinches or home made cookies may be the initial thought, but New Jersey born, Toronto raised musician Grandson slaps those pinches away, and crumbles up those cookies to demand accountability from those in power.
“We’re being force fed culturally into a sense of apathy,” remarked Grandson during his interview with Jerry Bryant after his JBTV debut on September 13th, “but I do think that they’re people that care and [are] trying to imagine a system that is held accountable. Untethered from the best interests of corporations or big money, and responsible to their voters that elected them there in the first place.”
Grandson is often compared to Rage Against the Machine given the highly political subject matter touched upon in his songs, but unlike his predecessor, Grandson offers more optimistic and constructive ways for his audience to utilize their anger to make needed changes in their communities. This is not an indictment of Rage Against the Machine; they are one of the greatest bands of all time, but in this current political climate in America—where subtlety lands on deaf ears—people need more from artists other than shared anger. What people need is an artist like Grandson, who not only creatively articulates people’s anger and sadness, but also gives them a road map on how to transform those emotions into empowerment and hope.
“I’m excited about being able to go city to city and talk to these kids. I do believe that there is this incredibly, exciting, progressive wave of young people that care and are pissed off, and I’m just trying to give them a soundtrack,” remarked Grandson. Not only is Grandson giving these young people a soundtrack, he is giving them one with incredible musicianship and stage presence—evidently seen in his first song that he performed on the JBTV stage “6:00.” The song starts off with a mournful riff from guitarist Ramón Blanco that quickly gets interrupted by David Rehmann’s drumming, Renzo Bravo’s keyboards, and Grandson’s lyrics. “6:00” is an audible blitzkrieg of festering anger and clenched fists.
While one could easily appreciate the song simply for its ability to make a crowd mosh and take the title at face value, Grandson Trojan horse’s social commentary on how apathetic the evening news has become reporting on racial injustice. “I wanted to create an urgent backdrop around this headline that is coming across the 6 o’clock news of ‘A Man Dying’ someone like Eric Garner being choked to death in broad daylight,” explained Grandson. “I was frustrated and confused as to what it means to be an American. What it means to be an ally for people that are being persecuted, disproportionately.”
It’s true. While many people do want to help eradicate these horrid occurrences from happening, many people—specifically white people—get confused on how to help out. For some, that confusion leads to researching how they can help diminish systemic oppression, but for most, that confusion leads to indifference as a way to self preserve their emotional well being. With lyrics like “how can we stand by” and “he held his hands high,” Grandson says fuck your well being and do your part.
After Grandson’s call to arms against police brutality, he tackled another issue in his next song that is plaguing America—drug addiction. Beginning with a strung out bass line and the withdrawn lyrics of “I was higher than the nosebleed,” “Overdose” musically sounds like the beginning of a drug stupor with no end in sight. “[It’s] a song about our relationship to addiction as a form of escapism.” Although the song paints drugs in a negative light, Grandson’s not trying to demonize users. “It’s not to vilify people that naturally find themselves in this situations. The more empathy we can have and understanding of how people got to that point, we can understand how to help them get out of it. Addiction is a mental health issue—which shouldn’t be incarcerating people that have addiction to narcotics or illicit substances. We should be helping them through rehabilitation.” Instead of running from our problems using drugs as a source of transportation, Grandson’s suggests through the atmospheric “Overdose” that we face our problems head on and help others that are still riding the rail.
His next songs on the JBTV stage were “Bills,” “Despicable,” and “Best Friends” and discussed the more internal journeys we all face. Whether it’s the stresses that never-ending “Bills” cause, navigating self hatred in “Despicable,” or cutting off toxic people in “Best Friends,” Grandson knows that in order to expect change in the world, one has to do change within themselves. “You can be your best self, I believe in you, but sometimes you might have to cut off some people in your life that are holding you back.”
Following this detour into inner struggles, Grandson returned to his social commentary with “Thoughts and Prayers”—an ode to the complacency of America’s relationships to guns and mass shootings. He introduced the song with “I can’t wait until this song is no longer relevant and is up in a museum somewhere.” The crowd could hear the anger and desperation in Grandson’s voice as he belted out “Another press conference/Nothing gets accomplished/The shooter's an accomplice/Money is the motive/The wars in the street/Watch history repeat.” The repetitive nature of the lyrics and music of “Thoughts and Prayer” critique the cyclical nature and frequency of these travesties. “At what point do your thoughts and prayers lead to tangible change being made to mitigate what is now an unprecedented epidemic?” Sadly as an attempt to answer Grandson’s question raised during his interview— months prior to the most recent Pittsburgh synagogue shooting—we have yet to reach that point.
Grandson ended his set with “Stick Up” and his most famous song “Blood // Water.” With their blood pumping bass lines, guitars, and passionate singing by Grandson, “Stick Up” and “Blood // Water” caused the JBTV crowd to mosh to the point that Grandson jumped offstage to join the pit. Both songs deal with the desperation we all feel with the politicians in power, but instead of wallowing in that desperation; Grandson energizes the listener to use their individual power to change the cultural landscape.
Reform. Rehabilitation. Power. Accountability. These are all reoccurring themes in Grandson thunderous songs and lyrics. Whether it’s regarding the institutions of society, or the journey through self-reflection and self-acceptance, Grandson’s music is not for the stagnant. He holds a mirror to society while also holding one up to your face and his own. Society is made up of individuals, and while Grandson addresses the overarching issues with society, he wants us to hold ourselves accountable. Grandson is America’s canary in the coal mine regarding issues of race, class, addiction, and gun control in America. We are fortunate that this canary isn’t waiting to keel over to tell us we are in trouble.
While introducing “Stick Up,” Grandson exclaimed the importance of voting to the audience, “[Find the] candidates out there with your best interests in mind, that are not influenced by corporate money. That’s something I’m passionate about, it’s a part of having this power, we gotta use it, and make the world just a little bit of a better place. Can we do that?” The JBTV crowd answered with motivated cheers. Grandson followed this comment with a slight joke, “What’s more rock n roll than participating in the democratic process, am I right?”
Although it was meant to be taken as a joke of sorts, there is nothing more rock ‘n’ roll than participating in the democratic process by voting. Giving a voice to the voiceless and allowing people to address problems within their communities in a cathartic, constuctive way—applies to both rock ‘n’ roll and voting.
Hopefully you allowed your voice to be heard by voting in the Midterm Elections. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer Grandson to have a harder time finding subject matter for his music—and I’m sure he would agree.
Filed by Alex Ghere
Photos by Bobby Talamine
Welsh alternative band, The Joy Formidable graced the JBTV stage for the third time this past weekend, not only to a packed venue, but also to an extremely eager crowd, anxious to witness the band’s Chicago return. The band themselves were very excited to play at JBTV, and gushed about how much they enjoy being in Chicago, since based on their experience, the Chicago music fans truly enjoy the music and have a love for it, unlike the fans in any other city they’ve played in previously.
Unlike The Joy Formidable’s past two JBTV performances, lead singer Ritzy Bryan and bassist and vocalist Rhydian Dafydd decided to employ acoustic guitars and foot drums for this stripped down performance -- something quite different for the band, but definitely a treat to all present at the show. Having to leave drummer Matt Thomas in Minneapolis due to a logistics issues and almost not making it to the studio themselves, Ritzy and Rhydian utilized what instruments they brought with them. Ritzy even saying herself that it was nice to switch it up, but sad to not have Matt with them for the performance.
Since the band just released their sixth studio album, Aarth, fans were unsure whether to expect a set full of new material or one filled with old favorites. But to everyone’s surprise, The Joy Formidable perfectly chose a mix of old and new songs to create an awesome set. Not to mention each song having a different vibe, due to them being played acoustically.
The set kicked off with the raring and foreboding song, “Little Blimp,” a fan-favorite from the band’s album, Wolf’s Law. When played normally with a full band, it’s a loud and boisterous one however, even played acoustically, The Joy Formidable brought the heat and had the entire crowd off their feet and excited for the rest of songs they had in store.
Next the band played older tracks, “Whirring” and “The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade”, both from their sophomore effort, The Big Roar. Between Ritzy’s soft vocals and Rhydian’s exceptional guitar skills, both songs sounded effervescent and beautiful in their reimagined acoustic form.
When The Joy Formidable transitioned into their next song, “Y Bluen Eira”, the crowd danced along, but soon realized that it was not in fact in English but instead entirely in Gaelic, Rhydian’s first language and Ritzy’s second. Despite fans not understanding what it meant, The Joy Formidable continued to play the song from their newest album. Afterwards, they explained that the track was in their native language and informed the crowd on some facts about Wales and Gaelic.
The Joy Formidable then went on to play another new song “Dance of the Lotus”, which received a very positive reaction amongst the crowd, as well as the staff here at JBTV. Lead singer Ritzy also discussed the different approach they took when choosing a music video idea of the song, when chatting with Jerry. The band decided to collaborate with Boston-based animation company, TRLLM to bring this track to life in the visual form.
For the rest of the band’s set, they continued to mix it up between old favorites and new releases, surprising fans with each song played. The entire crowd was floored by The Joy Formidable’s superb performance and were left wanting more, long after the band left the stage
Filed by Ava Butera
Photos by Ava Butera
Nine Inch Nails
The Jesus and Mary Chain
with Gabe Gurnsey
Cold and Black and Infinite
North America 2018
Night #1 from the Aragon Ballroom Chicago
- - -
Trent Reznor took the stage commandingly for the first of a three night residency at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, to the strains of "The Firemen", a song from Angelo Badalamenti, an American composer best known for his work scoring films for David Lynch.
How fitting. And that's so badass, and so unmistakably Trent.
The opening salvo for night number one is unrelenting- a full on onslaught of the aggressive and in your face Nine Inch Nails. "Mr. Self Destruct" into "The Perfect Drug" into "Wish".
I mean Jesus.
Trent's shirt and hair were soaked through even after Mr. Self Destruct". The blinding white strobes front / center / back and both sides of the stage may have had something to do with as well. This is truly live performance to extremes, and that says something for a guy who's over the age of fifty.
Easy songs to perform righteously and with unrelenting abandon? I think not. Most of Trent's early back catalog when performed live, have a look and feel of a "pain driven stage act", acted out accordingly. Although, we're far removed form the days of throwing mics and mic stands, smashing guitars to bits, and tossing synths and keyboards into the drum kit.
Still, the look and feel of dread is in the air. You can smell it. You can taste it. You cannot fake that delivery of passion and pain. The songs command it front and center.
And for the first of three nights, we're blessed to hear "The Perfect Drug" performed live for the first time ever on this current North American tour, a song that buries itself in pain and utter defeat. And with a break midway through which has an experimental freeway jam of punishing drums, courtesy of Ilan Rubin.
Ilan is one multi talented dude. Not only an accomplished and excellent drummer, but he also fronts his own band The New Regime, on lead vocals and guitar. We actually have had his band play on our JBTV stage a couple of years ago.
So even on the first of three nights at the Aragon, everything performed live is still unexpected, and to extremes.
What an electrifying show from beginning to end, and guess what? We're graced midway through the show with Trent playing a saxophone, for the song "God Break Down the Door", a song from recently released EP "Bad Witch".
It's fits the freestyle swing that some of Trent's new songs are all about. Not necessarily out there like an Ornette Coleman or Charlie Haden, but still you can't help but hear some of that when it comes to instrumentals and free jam solos.
The whole night is so full of surprises, such as guitarist Robin Finck giving it a go singing vocal , singing his lungs out for "Shit Mirror', and convincingly as well. How about bringing out David Bowie's "I'm Afraid of Americans"? Well done again., with a blistering guitar solo from Robin Finck.
The whole night, wonderful and exhausting, mentally, physically and spiritually.
But it has to come to close sometime, and before the encore, prepare yourselves for the bludgeoning from "Head Like a Hole".
Some minutes later, the encore blasts away with three songs, ending with "Hurt".
"Hurt" all over and by this time exhausted. That is me. And so well worth it.
The Jesus and Mary Chain make full use of their 45 minute set to open the show, with not much stage banter, but plenty of piss and vinegar from their first release "Psychocandy", dating back to 1985, and opening with "Just Like Honey".
Nice to see the brothers Reid attempting to get along as well.
This is a feedback laden times ten wall of sound that they produce, with Bill Reid cranking his Orange amps to 11, and Jim Reid all chameleon like, wrapping his long vocal chord into a bundle along with his mic.
A set from Jesus and Mary Chain so concise and on point, with nothing but pure noise rock delights one after the other, and bathed in solid blues and reds, punched with some white strobes to add flair to the mix.
A true feedback lover's dream, and a great way to open the show.
The Firemen (band intro)
1. Mr. Self Destruct
2. The Perfect Drug
4. Less Than
5. March of the Pigs
6. The Lovers
7. This Isn't the Place
9. Shit Mirror
10. Ahead of Ourselves
11. God Break Down the Door
12. Copy of A
13. Gave Up
14. I'm Afraid of Americans (David Bowie cover)
15. The Hand That Feeds
16. Starfuckers, Inc
17. Head Like a Hole
18. All the Love in the World
19. Over and Out
Jesus and Mary Chain Setlist:
1. Just Like Honey
2. Head On
4. Between Planets
5. All Things Pass
6. Some candy Talking
7. April Skies
8. The Living End
9. Cracking Up
10. Teenage Lust
11. I Hate Rock n' Roll
Filed by Bobby Talamine
Photos by Bobby Talamine
John Lydon and his band, Public Image Ltd. played Thalia Hall on October 22 and featured no opening acts -- as it should be. The band came on a little after 8:45, to strong applause and adulation, one by one first with guitarist Lu Edmonds, then drummer Bruce Smith, then bassist Scott Firth, and lastly, the man everyone wanted to see -- John Lydon.
John, in a long trench coat, with his notebook of lyrics at the ready and front and center, still had the look of punk and anti-authority about him, even at the age of 60.
As I looked back at photo I took from that night when editing, I noticed that his reading glasses had a safety pin ever present keeping them intact, like an homage to the past when his band, the Sex Pistols who broke into the mainstream in 1977.
As much as the band is tight throughout, and spot-on in regards to accompaniment, the main focus was on John Lydon, and his signature yelps, yells, and rants to end every lyric he sang, no matter what song he was playing.
From the start it seemed as though John's style of singing is beginning to take a toll on his vocal chords. From the first song "Deeper Water', a new song form their album This is PIL, you can clearly see that John is singing low-key and not blasting audience members right away. I also noticed that on the drum riser, John kept his bottle of Pedialyte there and drank from it in between songs, for what reason god only knows, but maybe it has something to do with soothing his vocal chords whilst staying hydrated.
From there, the momentum builds with each and every song played, with John getting more lively and angry, and the band following in lockstep time.
I can't say enough about guitarist, Lu Edmonds and his many many talents. A guitarist and contributor to the mighty Mekons, which is an art collective of coolness if their ever was a term for them, which also features Sally Timms and Jon Langford. Lu Edmonds and his approach to guitar playing is intricate, yet brash, just what Public Image Ltd. needs to stay afloat and ever present.
Drummer, Bruce Smith also brings a lot to the table when performing with Public Image Ltd, having drummed with The Slits, The The, and also Bjork. Bassist, Scott Firth who also plays keyboards has played with The Spice Girls believe it or not, along with Toni Braxton, Steve Winwood, Julia Fordham and Joan Armatrading, to name a few. To put it simply, these guys can play, which shows how much Public Image Ltd. is a band's band.
Toward the end of the show, the hits came, one by one, with "Memories" into "The Body", followed by "Disappointed" into the "Warrior", building up to the finale before the encore with "Flowers of Romance" and of course "This Is Not A Love Song", into the anthemic "Rise". By this time, John's bottle of Pedialyte was finished, and his voice was sounding great with no break or sign of fraying.
All in all, spending the night with Public Image Ltd. was a great way to spend my Monday evening, with the post-punk diehards out in full force to witness the band first hand.
Filed by Bobby Talamine
Photos by Bobby Talamine
To quote the rapper Yo Gotti, "it goes down in the DM." After Givers gave a great performance at JBTV on September 10th, we received this Instagram direct message from Wolfmother later that night:
Having heard horror stories about the cesspool that is direct messages, we at JBTV are happy to say this is a DM success story. And to answer your question Andrew Stockdale, of course we remember Wolfmother!
With no time to waste, the JBTV team and Wolfmother organized a show for Friday, September 14th at 1pm. However, while on the way to JBTV studios, Stockdale realized the band's first song on their set list was "Lazy," a single off of his new solo record Slipstream, which features a predominate saxophone riff. The problem? Wolfmother doesn't have a saxophone player. So in true rock 'n' roll fashion, and mirroring how Stockdale booked the show, he posted this video on Instagram:
Luckily, Stockdale received a phone call from one of Riot Fest's stage managers that got him in contact with Chicago's own Bruce Lamont. Lamont rushed to the JBTV studio, learned the song minutes before the show, and rocked the place with his saxophone skills. "[Bruce Lamont] gave the song something else," Stockdale added later in the JBTV interview with Jerry Bryant. Not only did Lamont perform with them at JBTV, he performed with them for their Riot Fest set that following weekend! Check out the great addition Bruce Lamont made to Wolfmother's set below:
Next, Wolfmother played "Slipstream," another song off of Stockdale's latest solo album of the same name. With Stockdale's iconic voice and Wolfmother guitar riffs that rock fans adore, "Slipstream" kept the momentum of the set going to a highly energized crowd. To add another rock 'n' roll layer to this set, Wolfmother did not have a guitar slider for this song. During soundcheck, Stockdale was using a pint glass to create the desired slider effect.
Our leader Jerry came to the rescue by providing the band a transformer--a piece of studio equipment used to change impedance between microphones. The sheer talent of this band and the DIY spirit of how they create their distinctive sound is a true spectacle that needs to be seen.
Wolfmother continued to awe the audience with their next song "Sweet Spot," a song that according to Stockdale is about "Find[ing]...the way you want to live [your life]." He explained this notion further by comparing the sweet spots of surfing and music, "in music you can find a sweet spot, and in surfing once you take off and you pull back in you sorta just--it's a pocket. That flow is what you want to get in your life." Like a wave organically forming and crashing, Wolfmother's "Sweet Spot" whisked the audience away and took them for a ride that would compete with the best waves you can catch on the beaches near Stockdale's hometown of Brisbane.
After showcasing some of their newer music, Wolfmother played a slew of hits from previous albums ranging from "Gypsy Caravan" off of their 2016 Victorious album, to 2009 Cosmic Egg's "New Moon Rising." Of course, longtime fans wanted to hear songs from their 2006 self-titled debut album, and Wolfmother did not disappoint. As soon as the familiar "Woman" guitar riff began to echo from Stockdale's guitar, the place erupted with jovial head bangs and excitement.
Once "Woman" ended to thunderous applause, Wolfmother continued to play songs off of their debut with "White Unicorn," Vagabond," and "Colossal"--drummer Hamish Rosser's favorite song to play. "It's slow, but really heavy, tuned down, doubles up and gets fast, I really enjoy this one," Rosser added.
Having giving the audience rocking set mixed with old and new fodder, Wolfmother ended their epic set at JBTV with their smash hit and one of our Jerry Bryant's favorite songs "Joker and the Thief." "[The song has] taken a life of its own, it's powerful and we always finish with that one," Stockdale added in the JBTV interview. See the raw power the song has over the JBTV crowd below!
Wolfmother has carved their place in rock 'n' roll history, and we were all happy to have them stop by the JBTV studio for the second time. Feel free to DM us on Instagram anytime, Wolfmother!
See Wolfmother on the tail end of their Slipstream Tour now!
Watch the rest of their awesome set at JBTV by going to our YouTube!
Filed by Alex Ghere
Photos by Bobby Talamine & Wolfmother
Saturday night was one for the books as we joined TWO JBTV alumni, The Districts, and Hippo Campus for the BAMBI Tour at the Riviera Theatre. Following the release of their sophomore album, Bambi, the boys immediately hit the road to share their new tunes! On Saturday, October 6th, we were in for a treat as we joined the boys in Chicago for just the second day of tour!
Starting off the night, The Districts took the stage. The five piece greeted Chicago with , the hit single, “Nighttime Girls”, making a lasting impression on the new audience. Reminiscent of 80’s classic rock and roll, the band welcomed new eyes and ears to their nostalgic sounds, exciting the audience for what was yet to come. The way the band took the crowd by storm was no surprise to us, at JBTV. Earlier on in their career, the band took to our HD stage and showcased their star talents to a mere crowd of 100 people. Immediately, we knew these rockstars had a bright future ahead. Fast forward two years, and the band is back, louder than ever, playing to crowds more than fifty times the size, all across the nation.
Hippo Campus then took the stage, opening with their title track, “Bambi”. For familiar fans, this release introduced a new side of Hippo Campus. In contrast to their previous releases, Bambi, leans toward an experimental genre with elements from Landmark sprinkled in. After a first listen, one would surely be curious to know how this new style would be paired with prior works, but like always, the boys did an excellent job of melding the new album into the show! Intertwined with works from Landmark and their previous EP, the band performed, their latest single, “Golden,” as well as rising song, “Why Even Try,” and “Doubt.” From start to finish, the setlist was seamlessly blended with the old and new, giving a refreshing spin to their traditional lineup! Tour has just begun for these boys, so it can only get better from here! Make sure to catch them at a venue near you!
Filed by Jade Trazo
Photos by Jade Trazo
Electrifying indie-pop band, St. Lucia graced the JBTV stage for the second time and gave an energetic performance to a packed studio on October 3, 2018 — just hours before their sold out show at Concord Music Hall.
Prior to St. Lucia’s set, for the duration of the soundcheck lead singer, Jean-Philip Grobler, and multi-instrumentalist, Patti Beranek’s son, Indy, took center stage at JBTV -- most of the staff noting his high level of energy and future in the music industry, despite being nine months old. Indy was definitely a nice addition to the day’s activities at JBTV; Grobler noting that his son has already shown signs of being very musical.
Having just embarked on the North American tour for their newest effort, Hyperion, fans didn’t know what exactly to expect of the band, in regards to new material and new antics contained within the band’s performance. However, all in attendance were pleasantly surprised to witness an amalgamation of old and new songs, including some ballads as well as upbeat ones.
Blending elements from their older work by incorporating fan-favorites into their set such as “Elevate” and “Before the Dive” and adding in newer songs like “Next to You” and “Bigger”, St. Lucia’s set was truly a memorable one at JBTV. Not to mention that fact that the band restarted “A Brighter Love” three times due to a malfunction of drummer, Dustin Kaufman’s drum machine equipment as well as playing dancey hit, “Dancing on Glass” twice because of an instrument malfunction from keyboardist, Nicky Paul. While most bands would shrug off the mistake and play on, St. Lucia made sure to perfect each song played within their set, which just goes to show the band’s dedication to their craft.
Opening their set with, “Before the Dive,” one of the band’s oldest songs from their first EP, audience members were absolutely shocked by the choice to open with this song, in that St. Lucia does not usually include this track in their live shows. I, myself, was rather shocked by this choice, since I have seen the band a handful of times and they’ve never played it at the shows I attended. As the moody song progressed, as did the set. St. Lucia quickly transitioned into new song, “A Brighter Love” off of Hyperion -- a track featuring unique drum machine elements and effervescent harmonies between band members. According to Grobler, “A Brighter Love” is about searching for something deeper and more meaningful in the current world.
As the set gained more energy, St. Lucia quickly shifted gears when transitioning into “All Eyes on You,” another classic track from the five-piece which happens to contain an infectious bass line from bassist, Ross Clark, as well as smooth vocals from Grobler. By this point, everyone in the crowd was singing, clapping, dancing, and having a great time. St. Lucia always seems to put on a phenomenal show, no matter the location or audience size. As I mentioned before, I am a huge St. Lucia fan. I’ve seen them at festivals with crowds of over 20,000 people, in venues that hold 1,000, and now at JBTV where the maximum capacity is a little over 125 people. I can assure you that no matter what the circumstance, the band always delivers a stellar performance.
The audience was truly on a musical journey with the band, being that each song played possessed a different vibe. Although St. Lucia’s songs clock in a little over 5 minutes each and flow nicely together, the set the band played at JBTV alternated between slow and upbeat songs, which resulted in a memorable show.
Filed By Ava Butera
Photos By Bobby Talamine & Ava Butera
Heeeeeere’s Jerry! While not being able to attend JBTV’s Let’s Eat Grandma show because of chemotherapy, Jerry took his rightful place back behind the jib camera for JBTV’s September 10th live show of Givers. Originally from Lafayette, Louisiana and making their debut on the JBTV stage, Givers gave the intimate audience a taste of what the Big Easy has to offer. Creating groovy guitar riffs, soulful drums, and a calming tempo, Givers presented a performance that would shake the United Center’s rafters and even make Red Forman from That 70’s Show smile and shake his ass—instead of threatening to put his foot in others.
Although Givers beam nothing but good vibes, dire circumstances brought them together. While living together and studying jazz at The University of New Orleans, Tiffany Lamson and Taylor Guarisco were flooded out of their apartment during Hurricane Katrina. After losing valuable music equipment and their apartment, Lamson and Guarisco made the journey back to their hometown of Lafayette. Shortly after the move, Lamson and Guarisco started skipping class to jam at their friend Kirby Campbell’s place—former band member of Givers.
These jam sessions led to the creation of “Saw You First,” the first song of Givers’ set at the JBTV stage. With a twangy guitar riff from Guarisco and Lamson’s skills on the ukulele—“Saw You First” lulled the crowd into comfort and ease. This feeling of relief was brought together from Lamson and Guarisco’s joyous singing that radiated the JBTV stage. Like lyrics from the song, Givers put the audience collectively “in a dream”—a dream that the audience was not ready to wake up from yet.
After “Saw You First,” Givers went into their next song “Meantime” a song that distills the cheerful, spirit of their hometown of Lafayette. Having never written a pop song before this 2011 song, Guarisco said in the JBTV interview with Jerry Bryant that the sole purpose of “Meantime” was to “get people moving.” Nurturing the jazzy sound from Lafayette and the city’s desire to dance, Givers successfully transcribed a sonic road map of Lafayette. A song whose lyrics have positive affirmations like “love and happiness is growin’ in your vase” and “don’t get stuck in the meantime,” Givers generously offer the listener reasons to be optimistic and filled with joy.
The afro-pop polyrhythm influences of Givers really came to fruition in their next song “Movin On”—a song off of their new album of the same name. Starting out with a Caribbean fused baseline, “Movin On” was Tiffany Lamson's time to shine.. Singing and performing on a percussion kit that looked like a collapsed Guitar Center aisle, Lamson juggled tambourine, bongos, and maracas all the while maintain the easy breezy vibe of the song. Givers’ performance of “Movin On” at the JBTV stage was a prime example of why more people need to discover this band. The amount of talent that each member possesses would awe the most jaded audience member.
The last two songs of Givers’ set list were “Love is Like a Fire” and “Collide.” “Love is Like a Fire” was another song that illustrated Lamson’s talent, by making her vocal range the forefront of the song. Lamson’s ability to manipulative her voice through peaks and valleys, “Love is Like a Fire” ignited the already positive energy that radiated in the JBTV studio from their performance. With a folky, guitar riff and Guarisco and Lamson’s poppy vocals, “Collide” ended the show on the highest, most positive note.
Look, I can sit here and go on about how positive Givers’ energy was in the studio, how talented they are, and how catchy their songs are—but if you take anything from this write up—GO SEE GIVERS LIVE! You won’t regret it! Having already been on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Givers is without a doubt one song away from ambushing the charts. Don’t just take my word for it—take Neil Young’s.
That’s right. You’re read that correctly. Neil. Fucking. Young. In his latest autobiography Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream, Neil Young lists Givers as one of his favorite bands after seeing them on Fallon and Kimmel. So if think my opinion doesn’t hold weight, how about Neil Young’s?
And if that’s not convincing enough, how about the fact that Givers’ music helped keep a person alive? Marc Pagani, a New Orleans based photographer, was on an assignment to take photographs of the Himalayas in 2011. With Nepal experiencing warmer weather and a longer monsoon season than normal, Pagani and his climbing partner became trapped after multiple avalanches demolished their campsite for the night.
Stuck in between their two campsites in brutal weather conditions, Pagani and his colleague made a makeshift campground and showed each other songs on their iPhones to distract themselves from their current situation. Having saved Givers on his iPhone after seeing them perform at NOLA venue One Eyed Jacks, Pagani played Givers’ song “Up Up Up.” Once the vibrant music of “Up Up Up” blasted from Pagani’s iPhone speakers, morale was boosted immediately. “It slowly became the theme song for the trip…and gave us hope that we would make it through the night,” Pagani recalled of the trip. Once a long night of cascading snow turned into a still morning, Pagani and company made the trek down the mountain with their morale intact—thanks to “Up Up Up.” You can check out some of the photographs Pagani got from this experience in his book Fearless Photographer: Travel.
Now, you don’t have to go to the Himalayans and have a near death experience to fully appreciate Givers. The band’s mission statement is to “bring something positive where there wasn’t before,” and if you could use a higher dosage of positivity, you should experience Givers for yourself.
If you want to donate to help Jerry as he fights against cancer and keep him on the JBTV jib camera, you can here.
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Filed By Alex Ghere
Photos By Bobby Talamine
On a rainy Thursday afternoon, the Norwich band Let’s Eat Grandma—whose name is a comma away from being a familial invitation versus a proposition in ancestral cannibalism—graced the JBTV stage. With our beloved leader Jerry not in attendance due to chemotherapy, the JBTV family pressed on and maintained the energy the space possesses when Jerry is behind the camera.
Rocking stylish and comfy clothes, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth of Let’s Eat Grandma started their set with their single “Hot Pink.” With it’s high energy beats and catchy lyrics, the crowd bobbed their heads to a song the band describes as debunking “the assumptions people make about gender and feminism, and how there’s nothing wrong with being feminine or not at all.” Through the hypnotic synth and entrancing chorus, the crowd fell under the Let’s Eat Grandma trance immediately.
Following “Hot Pink,” Let’s Eat Grandma kept the positive, upbeat energy with their song “It’s Not Just Me”—a song that sounds straight out of a John Hughes movie that was never made. Friendship is a common theme in Let’s Eat Grandma’s catalogue, and “It’s Not Just Me” is no different. The song illustrates the hardships of maintaining relationships as one gets older, and the importance of keeping those friendship alive. A beat and tempo that has the familiar comfort of an inside joke between close friends; it made this writer realize he needs to stay in better contact with his friends. Seriously people, let your friends know how important they are to you.
“Falling Into Me” and “I Will Be Waiting” solidified the sheer talent that Walton and Hollingworth possess musically through their constant shifting from instrument to instrument with the ease of seasoned performers. Both Walton and Hollingworth have the young, carefree energy of nineteen-year-old performers, and yet harness the music comprehension, stage presence, and musical complexity of artists who have a backlog of greatest hits.
The musical opus of the show was the last song “Donnie Darko”—a song that’s partly about the movie and partly about the awkwardness of coming of age. Clocking in at over eleven minutes, “Donnie Darko” took the audience on a journey filled with highs and lows. Let’s Eat Grandma further extenuated this ebbing and flowing by starting their performance on the floor with Walton playing the guitar. As the song ramped up and built to a euphoric crescendo, the energy onstage catapulted Let’s Eat Grandma to bring audience members onstage to gel with the rising and falling of the epic song. Like the movie that inspired the song title, “Donnie Darko” leaves the listener with no concrete answers, but ends on a cyclical note with Let’s Eat Grandma wilting back onto the stage floor.
After the audience gradually exited the space, JBTV’s Greg Corner interviewed Let’s Eat Grandma. Through this candid conversation, we learned that Walton and Hollingworth have known each other for the majority of their lives, since they were four, and also have someone close to them battling cancer like Jerry. Their friend Billy is battling a rare form of bone cancer that affects young adults, and if you would like to help with Billy’s fight, donate.
Let’s Eat Grandma has a sound that bundles the synthesized sound of 80s pop, but with the unique, perplexing mood that permeates into a new frontier. The sonic mutation of the familiar that Let’s Eat Grandma peppers into their sound and lyrics, keeps an audience hungry for more. If you want to experience Let’s Eat Grandma for yourself, you can catch them on tour opening for Chvrches starting in November. To learn more about the band, check out their website.
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Photo Credit: Bobby Talamine