Chromeo in Chicago

Chromeo
The Congress Theatre – Chicago, IL
10/30/2009

Chromeo The Congress Theatre - Chicago, IL 10/30/2009Friday night’s Freaky Deaky show delivered a good dance party perfect for Halloween weekend. Specifically the performance by Montreal’s electrofunk duo Chromeo.

Playing to a sold out crowd at the Congress Theatre, Chromeo delivered one of the best times I’ve had at a show this year. I can’t say the best things about the sound at the Congress Theatre but even one of the worst venues in the city can’t bring down Chromeo’s groove.

Chromeo The Congress Theatre - Chicago, IL 10/30/2009Chromeo have a cool factor that most bands simply can’t pull off and it’s exciting to see such confidence. Their sound is reminiscent of 80’s funk electro-pop with smooth R&B style vocals and flaky lyrics.  Chromeo are the guilty pleasure that you should probably be taking seriously even thought they might not take themselves too seriously. There isn’t another act out now that can make the same claims.

Don’t let their whimsical nature fool you in to believing them to be some novelty item. These guys know how to put it down for those who really appreciate quality dance jams – “You’re so gangsta!”  Their remix of Fiest’s “Sealion” is no joke.

Chromeo set was mostly dedicated to their last release Fancy Footwork with a couple tracks off 2004’s Shes in Control. This set was very impressive in that some of the songs I normally skip over on the album, sounded amazing and actually had me dancing. I love it when a band’s live show can sell me if I wasn’t already convinced. I loved the keyboard stands commonly known as “the legs” and their mid
show outfit swap. I have a feeling that doesn’t just happen on Halloween.

I’m super jealous of the folks in L.A. who get to catch Chromeo on New Years Eve. I can only imagine the party that night.

2-step, 2 step, 2-step……………..

Photos of Chromeo in Chicago:

Crystal Castles get Freaky Deaky in Chicago

Crystal Castles
The Congress Theatre – Chicago, IL
10/30/2009

Crystal_Castles-Crystal_Castles_480

Crystal Castles are hands down one of the hottest electronic acts out. I can not recommend them enough.  The tracks on their self titled debut are ridiculously infectious and reassure my every reason for loving electronic music. With such a distinctive sound, I feel privileged to have come across them. They are no doubt on their way to classic status.

Friday night’s  Freaky Deaky dance show was very fitting for a Halloween weekend and Crystal Castles was the way to get the party started.

They delivered a short set with loud sounds, crazy strobe light action and a lot of randomness. When Alice Glass isn’t screaming out what can only be heard as nonsense, she’s all over the place – up, down and all around. Opening with the teasing sounds of Crimewave and blasting through songs like 1991 and Black Panther, Crystal Castles was the machine that spit out track after track of what I wanted to hear. They could have played Reckless alone and I would have walked out just as satisfied.

Inside the pit at this show was a huge sweat fest that could have gone all night and into the next day with all kinds of crazy costumes getting down. It’s very easy to lose yourself at a Crystal Castles show. Don’t miss an opportunity to catch this act.

In the future, I would have loved to see this album paired with a more interesting light show. If that were to happen, I would have the show of my dreams.

Check out http://www.myspace.com/crystalcastles

Boys Noize play The Congress Theatre

Boys Noize
The Congress Theatre – Chicago, IL
10/30/2009

Boys Noize The Congress TheatreBoys Noize is a young German producer by the name of Alex Ridha and whose work I’d consider some of the most solid out right now.

Most notably compared to acts like Justice or MSTRKRFT, Boys Noize can stand alone with no problem. Having produced remixes for major acts like Bloc Party, Feist and Depeche Mode, he’s made a name for himself as one of the most exciting DJs to look out for, pumping out most of his material through his own Boys Noize Records. BN’s 2007 debut Oi Oi Oi was very well received and considered to be one of the best electronic albums released that year.

Friday nights Freaky Deaky set at the Congress Theatre was a perfect match up of some of the hottest electronic acts out and Boyz Noize was an appropriate participant. If you want to keep the party going at 2 in the morning, after hours of dancing, put on a little Boys Noize and you’re set. Boys Noize was the perfect finisher for a fantastic dance party.

Boys Noize latest effort entitled Power is out now on Last Gang Records.

Check out http://www.myspace.com/boysnoize to learn more.

Oxford Collapse Opens for Kaiser Chiefs

Oxford Collapse
Park West – Chicago, IL
11/13/2008

Oxford Collapse Park West - Chicago, IL 11/13/2008Thursday night Brooklyn rockers Oxford Collapse opened for Kaiser Cheifs at the Park West. They’ve been around the past few years but don’t seem to be making too much noise although they have gained attention from both SPIN and Pitchfork Media. With 4 albums out, including 2006’s Remember the Night Parties, they do a pretty good job at pumping out material. I have to say that I love the cover of the latest album BITS.

This was the second time that I’ve seen Oxford Collapse this year and I didn’t notice much difference. A short set with a few jokes in between. The joke of the evening was “make sure you get out and vote” and it had already been eight days after the election. Oxford Collapse play hard and get pretty loud but since the Park West seems to have more of a lounge feel, I don’t think it was the ideal venue for them. In the end things worked out and people made their way to the standing area from the booths and tables in the back. If you dig the sound of bands like the Liars or Ra Ra Riot you should have no problem throwing in a little Oxford Collapse in between. They’ve got that indie sound but sway a little towards punk with groovier bass lines. A little 80’s actually. BITS is out now on Sub Pop Records.

Photos of Oxford Collapse:

Flobots Open For Matisyahu @ The Vic

Flobots
The Vic
10/19/2008

Flobots The Vic 10/19/2008Flobots are a rock/hip hop group from Denver who gained success with their hit “Handlebars“. You know that one song, “I can ride my bike with no handlebars…” Yeah, those guys.

This band has the basic guitar, bass, and drums set up but they also come with 2 MC’s, a trumpet player, and a violist. They manage to incorporate those pieces and still identify as rock music (with a bit of hip hop of course). Pretty impressive. Their album Fight With Tools is out now on Universal.

The content of their music is socially and politically fused and for a band that’s just few years old, they’ve gained enough attention to be able to open for established acts like Public Enemy. With the current state of hip hop, Flobots are a good thing.

Flobots The Vic 10/19/2008

On Sunday, Flobots opened for Matisyahu at The Vic and this was my first time catching the group.

Once I actually saw them on stage I really realized just how many people are in this band. They seemed a little crunched for space up there and I could barely hear MC Jonny 5. The sound during this show wasn’t the best.

There wasn’t as much energy at this show as I expected and I couldn’t figure out why. The band seemed to be having a good time but the audience didn’t. Of course once the opening for “Handlebars” started, things changed…a little.

A large sign that read IRAQ was used as a visual to demonstrate the letter game that is the song “Iraq” and MC Brer Rabbit gave us a pop’lock/robot routine that attempted to get the crowd hyped up. Truthfully, I could have done without it.

I can appreciate their message and innovation so I won’t knock em’.

Flobots The Vic 10/19/2008

Flobots The Vic 10/19/2008

Flobots The Vic 10/19/2008

Matis-YAHOO! – (Couldn’t Resist)

Matisyahu
The Vic
10/19/2008

Matisyahu The Vic 10/19/2008

Known mostly for being a Hasidic Jew, Matisyahu (born Matthew Paul Miller) has received lots of praise from the reggae world in the short time he’s been around. The New York rapper has three albums out and a few remix EPs. The last studio album released was 2006’s Youth but we can expect a new album entitled Light out early next year.

Not to be confused with dancehall, Matisyahu sticks with styles closer to Roots Reggae with rock riffs and beat-boxing in between. On the studio albums the rock and hip hop influence can really be heard but live, reggae takes the spotlight. “Live at Stubbs” is one of my favorite reggae albums and believe me, good reggae is hard to come by these days.


Matisyahu The Vic 10/19/2008Matisyahu was in Chicago over the weekend and performed at The Vic on Sunday.

There were no surprises for me at this show. The crowd was filled with hippies and hip hoppers but you don’t have to be either to appreciate the music. According to the set list, there were 28 songs to be played (set list below) but we only went through about half. I was ok with that since most of the tracks are extended to fit in his many, many hums and hollers.

Best parts about Sunday:

– Everything about this show went smooth and on time. I find that The Vic is always good about that. I appreciated it.

– “Youth” – The first time I saw Matisyahu the Youth album wasn’t out yet so I’ve been waiting to hear it live for a while. Yes, it was worth it.

– “King Without a Crown” – Clearly this is the song everyone knows but it still so great. Live performances of this song are always better than what’s featured on the album. (with the exception of “Live at Stubbs” -that by far is the best version)

– The band – Matisyahu‘s band is always amazing. It’s probably the only reason I started listening to him in the first place. Those guys get the job done and they do it well.

Matisyahu has clearly come a long way since the first time I saw him. For some reason this time seemed more official and his performance was more confident. He also gave us a few sweet dance moves.

Matisyahu The Vic 10/19/2008

Matisyahu The Vic 10/19/2008

Matisyahu Coming to The Vic Theatre on Sunday!

Remember the “King Without a Crown” song? You know, that fresh reggae track that Q101 debuted here in Chicago a couple years ago? Unless you were living in a hole the past couple of years, there’s really no way you don’t know about Matisyahu or you at least have heard about “that one rapping Hasidic Jew.”

Well, a few things have changed since his debut, but he’s still pumping out great reggae tracks that carry lots of rock weight. A little beatboxing too! If you didn’t catch him back in July at Ravinia, Matisyahu will be back in town this Sunday with special guests Flobots.

If you want to check him out before the show, Youth and No Place to Be are both out now on Sony BMG.

Catch Matisyahu this Sunday 10/19 at The Vic Theatre!

Visit www.ticketmaster.com for tickets.

Kaki King @ The Park West

Kaki King
Park West – Chicago, IL
10/13/2008

Kaki King Park West - Chicago, IL 10/13/2008

Kaki King is known for her unusual technique for playing the guitar. An amazing musician, the Atlanta native slams and rubs against the frets of her guitar and has spectacular picking talents.

I first heard of Kaki King when 2004’s Legs to Make Us Longer was out. One morning, the sound system at work was blasting this loud, very rhythmic instrumental piece and I had to find out who it was. The co-worker who brought it in showed me the album and I ended up buying the CD that day.

Everybody Loves You (2003) and Until We Felt Red (2006) are also out on Velour Recordings.

King recently toured with the Foo Fighters, whom she’s also lent her talents on their latest album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. She’s currently out promoting her latest album Dreaming of Revenge.

Kaki King Park West - Chicago, IL 10/13/2008I must admit that I prefer her instrumental material over her singing. Once she starts singing she morphs into a regular singer/songwriter with not much that separates her from the rest. Her singing efforts can’t compare to her guitar playing so I’ll always recommend her based on that.

Monday’s show at the Park West kicked off right at 7:30 with people creeping in throughout the night. She performed with The Mountain Goats who are excellent musicians as well. Together they sent vibrations throughout the entire venue that left me feeling exhausted for them. Park West is an excellent venue for these types of shows so next time I’ll get there early to grab a seat because standing through this show wasn’t much fun. It just wasn’t that type of energy I guess.

In short, Kaki King is a brilliant guitar player and anyone who can appreciate such talent should catch Ms. King do her thing.

MSTKRFT at the Double Door

MSTKRFT
Double Door- Chicago, IL
10/7/2008

MSTKRFT Double Door- Chicago, IL 10/7/2008

OK so its 2:45AM, Wednesday morning and I’m just getting home from the MSTRKRFT show and I’m still hyped.

Tonight’s show all that I hoped for and more! This was the most fun I’ve had in a while and considering how crappy the weather was tonight, I would walk that half hour in the rain and cold any day to catch this show again.MSTKRFT Double Door- Chicago, IL 10/7/2008

MSTRKRFT are currently on their Fist of God Tour and tonight they played the Double Door with Black Holes, Congorock and Felix Cartal. They have an LP out entitled “The Looks” and they’ve done remixes for tons of artists including Bloc Party, Chromeo, The Gossip and John Legend. You can check out their Myspace to get the full list. Most people might know them however by their killer track “Work on You”.

I love electronic shows for 2 reasons:

1) The Crowds – I absolutely love the dance crowd. People who actually shell out cash to catch their favorite DJ are commendable. I love this crowd because these people are there to DANCE and that’s it.

2) The Music – Of course you get to hear your favorite tracks but sometimes you get to hear some fantastic remixes that make you love the original artists and the remixers even more. Most times it’s the only time you’ll ever be able to hear them in such form.

The show was scheduled to start at 8PM so I arrived a little after then only to find out that MSTRKRFT weren’t going to be performing until 12:30AM! I should have known better, that’s normally how it goes but I just didn’t think about it. I was glad I convinced my best friend to get a ticket to this show and join me so I wasn’t killing three hours by myself. It worked out great because the all the DJs who played during that time were ON POINT with what they were mixing. I grabbed a drink and hit the dance floor for those three hours. It was like a party before the party! Awesome.

MSTKRFT Double Door- Chicago, IL 10/7/2008

When MSTRKRFT finally took the stage, the transition was almost perfect. Everyone was still pumped from Felix Cartal and so when the light show started, things became even more rowdy. Dancing, dancing and more dancing. I sweat through everything I had on. Jacket, shirt, pants, hell I’m pretty sure I sweat through my shoes!

Taking pics through this show wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Especially since a stranger in a White Sox hat (whoop! whoop!) decided he was going to move everyone around and clear the path for me to shoot until I was done. That was cool.

I didn’t recognize anything off of The Looks album but that could be because I was too busy dancing. I’m guessing some of what I heard might be on the next album. I did appreciate the Usher remix and ending of the show with a nice DAFT PUNK remix. Always love DP.

Thanks for inviting me to the party MSTRKRFT, I had a great time!

Brazilian Girls @ The House of Blues

The Brazilian Girls
The House of Blues – Chicago, IL
10/3/2008

The Brazilian Girls The House of Blues - Chicago, IL 10/3/2008

Despite their name, the Brazilian Girls are not from Brazil and only have one female member. Lead singer Sabina Sciubba sings in about five different languages, and summing up their music in one word is very hard to do. They’re commonly described as “world” music and I’d say that’s fitting because this New York band’s sound contains everything from electronica to reggae. Mostly electronic/dance/bossanova/whatever else you can think of. All around a very eclectic sound.

Brazilian Girls released their self-titled debut album back in 2005 and followed that up with 2006’s Talk To La Bomb. They released their third studio album New York this past August.

The Brazilian Girls The House of Blues - Chicago, IL 10/3/2008

For me, Brazilian Girls have always had good songs but I’ve never been attached to any of their albums. I’ve always heard good things about their shows so I wanted to check them out and on Friday they played at the House of Blues.

Sabina Sciubba strolled out in a flowing, almost see-through white gown that later transformed into a cape as she revealed a flesh colored bodysuit and her pregnant belly. With five months into her pregnancy she looked amazing and I enjoyed the way she carried herself. Her stage presence is an excellent display of female empowerment but not like a rough “one of guys” type, instead a more stylish and strong presence. She’s a beautiful woman and embracing her belly just reinforced that.

The Brazilian Girls The House of Blues - Chicago, IL 10/3/2008Opening with the low tone of “Strangeboy”, Brazilian Girls ran through most of their new album New York including “St. Petersberg”, “Berlin” and “Ricardo”. They also took it back to Talk To La Bomb with “Sexy Asshole”. While I didn’t get to hear my favorite BG track “Last Call”, I did settle for the fantastic drum line off “Internacional”.

Some performances don’t need all the hype and rowdiness to make a great show. Brazilian Girls is an excellent example of that. This show was very relaxed but had just enough energy that was perfect for dancing.

Rarely do I get to hear a band just break down and play the music but for a good portion of the show we were treated to a nice instrumental set that displayed BG’s worldly sound.

The Brazilian Girls The House of Blues - Chicago, IL 10/3/2008

Closing the show with the raunchy anthem “Pussy”, it sure was something to experience when the entire House of Blues is singing “Pussy, Pussy, Pussy Marijuana!” over and over. Pretty funny actually. No, our mothers would not be proud but in all fairness it is a great song.

There was no photo pit for this show so landing a good spot to shoot was a challenge but I worked it out. The dim lighting also didn’t help my photographic efforts but the backdrop for this show is what helped set the atmosphere.

A mixed crowd and a good vibe – I have no complaints.

On the Phone With: Does It Offend You, Yeah?

Does It Offend You, Yeah?

This electro-punk act will be stopping in Chicago this Wednesday as apart of their current U.S. tour. The four-piece from Reading England have been gaining a lot of buzz and landed a spot at this years Lollapalooza Music Festival. If you haven’t heard of them, I would suggest you dig right in, blindfolded.

Their debut album You Have No Idea What You Are Getting Yourself Into is packed with energy & ridiculousness. But with song titles such as “Attack of the 60 ft Lesbian Octopus” what else would you expect?

I’ll admit I’m pretty excited about this show and earlier this week I got a chance to speak with lead singer James Rushnet to find out a little more…

[Read more...]

We are Scientists Return to Chicago

We are Scientists
The Abbey Pub – Chicago, IL
8/8/2008

We are Scientists The Abbey Pub - Chicago, IL 8/8/2008

We Are Scientists put out one of the best albums of 2006 and have been on the road like crazy since then.

But unless you live in the UK, don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of them. In the three years they’ve been around,  We Are Scientists have built a name for themselves across the pond and have gained a large following. Here at home however, they’ve got some work to do but I don’t think it’ll be long before we come to our senses.

The Brooklyn based duo (formerly a trio) have released a few independent EPs, a major label debut With Love and Squalor and currently promoting their second major release Brain Thrust Mastery (released earlier this year).

I first came across W.A.S two years ago when I saw the album cover for With Love and Squalor – three guys covering their faces by holding up kittens. – I thought it was the greatest things ever and I had to find out what they sounded like. My curiosity paid off and I was rewarded with track after track of pure energy.

Mostly described as punk-pop, this band has much more to offer and it’s apparent on the heavily 80’s influenced Brain Thrust Mastery. Don’t expect the same edgy attitude of With Love and Squalor but rather a new synthy, more melodic adventure.

On Friday, We Are Scientists played The Abbey Pub.

Continue reading after the jump.

Their last appearance in Chicago was back in 2006 at the Metro so I was pretty eager to see them perform. The Abbey was filled with decent sized crowd ranging from young hipsters and punk rockers to a gang of middle aged women. Very interesting.

Though W.A.S may be rock stars in the UK, the atmosphere was very chill and relaxed with lead singer Keith Murray even manning the merchandise table before their set. But, once W.A.S took the stage, the level of excitement took off.

We Are Scientists know exactly how to get the crowd going and planned an excellent set list.

Ripping through most of With Love and Squalor , it was hard to chose which song was best. Having waited so long to hear these songs performed live, each one seemed better than the last.

“Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt ” was probably the most recognized song. Their current single “Chick Lit” also created some commotion. Slowing things down with “Textbook”, Murray took a walk though the audience, which allowed for some good interaction.

They also included two of my favorites off the new album, “Lethal Enforcer” (so 80’s I love it!) and “Dinosaurs”. Being able to finally hear “This Scene is Dead” live was also a highlight for me.

Friday’s show was the best sounding show that I have ever attended at The Abbey. I’m not sure if it was just a recent improvement with The Abbey’s sound system or that We Are Scientists are just that great of a live band, but I was surprised by how great the show sounded. I’m sure it was the latter.

Ending the show with “The Great Escape” left me in the mood to go out and party – so I did.

Awesome show.

Photos of We Are Scientists:

Essex Chanel at Schubas

Essex Chanel
Schubas – Chicago, IL
7/30/2008

Essex Chanel Schubas - Chicago, IL 7/30/2008Essex Chanel is a one man band that is multi-instrumentalist Travis Lee Wiggin’s solo music project started in Chicago back in 2005. The album “Dancing At Weddings” was released last January.

On Wednesday Essex Chanel (pronounced Essex Shan-el) performed at Schubas along with Summer Salts (who Travis Lee Wiggins is also a part of) and Zerostars.

I have to admit, when I heard ‘‘one man band” I pictured the whole accordion & harmonica, symbols tied to the knees bit. Yes, I know I shouldn’t have expected that but I was actually hoping for something like it. That wasn’t the case but I wasn’t disappointed.

Essex Chanel Schubas - Chicago, IL 7/30/2008

I don’t know if I want to categorize E.C.’s music. He is a one man band after all, he could totally rock out to a Polka tune if he wanted to. However, most of it is pretty much danceable rock music.

Although Essex Chanel is a “one man band”, Wiggins did have an entire band backing him. Each member was sort of in their own world enjoying their performances while still managing to stay together. I appreciated that.

Essex Chanel Schubas - Chicago, IL 7/30/2008The first half of the set exhibited the bands softer poppy side, kind of reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie’s marching band style but a bit cooler.

The second half was clearly when things picked up and was definitely the better half. All of a sudden I found myself in the middle of a dance party. A few audience members even jumped on stage to join in. I was also entertained by the very enthusiastic couple in front of me who attempted to break dance.

At the show, I was able to pick up a great CD sampler and I’ve now got Essex Chanel on my ipod ( I cant seem to get “Get Up and Dance” out of my head! ) and I’m surely going to be picking up a copy of “Dancing at Weddings”.

Cool band. Cool Show. I’ll be sure to catch Mr. Wiggins again.

Ladytron Hits Chicago!

LADYTRON
The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
6/17/2008

LADYTRON The Vic Theatre - Chicago, IL 6/17/2008

Ladytron is currently on tour with the Norwegian dance rock group Datarock and on Tuesday they played The Vic Theatre.

The electro-pop four piece released their fourth studio album entitled Velocifero earlier this month and it just might be the album that pushes them into commercial success. Ladytron’s complex production provides for a great mix of catchy tunes, synthy rhythms and the right amount of electronic influence that makes their dark sound a little brighter.

Ladytron is also responsible for some great remixes for artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Gang of Four, Goldfrapp and Bloc Party.

Last night’s show had what I can only describe as all looks and not much show. I had arrived on time to catch the amusing acts of Datarock, who, by the way, are a terrific example of group performance. Between acts I was happy because I didn’t find myself waiting too long for Ladytron’s set up. The room filled and by 8:30 they were ready to go out.

LADYTRON The Vic Theatre - Chicago, IL 6/17/2008Starting off the show, I was eager because this was my first time seeing Ladytron and I had heard good things. I saw about a million keyboards set up and four giant light boards as their back drop. With all the equipment onstage, I was prepared for a great light display to go along with the cool sounds of Ladytron. The light show, however, never ended up taking off; just fancy stage setup but no real delivery.

Lead singer Mira Aroyo’s stage presence was very dull with a few foot-taps here and there. And while Ladytron’s music doesn’t really set up for a high-energy dance around, movin’ and groovin’, there still could have been a connection made that in the end wasn’t.

LADYTRON The Vic Theatre - Chicago, IL 6/17/2008It wasn’t all bad though. “Black Cat” and “Runaway” were the best songs of the night and it was nice to see the hardcore Ladytron fans enjoying themselves. I appreciate the dedication people can have with their favorite acts, singing along to every song, even the ones in Bulgarian.

All around it was a very stiff performance. I would still recommend Ladytron albums (604 was great) but something about Tuesday’s show just wasn’t right.

These New Puritans: Live at The Subterranean

These New Puritans
The Subterranean – Chicago, IL
6/14/2008

These New Puritans The Subterranean - Chicago, IL 6/14/2008

I first heard about These New Puritans a couple of months back when I noticed their name popping up in a few different music magazines. Through reviews, I became curious and decided to see what they were all about. I got a copy of Beat Pyramid (debut released last January) and it’s certainly worth checking out.

TNP certainly have an electronic influence with plenty of samples. Their guitar sound is great for fans of any post punk band and at times they slip over into those great danceable punk rhythms. Jack Barnett’s lyrics seem like he’s secretly communicating to someone or something except you can’t quite figure it out yet (this must be where the Wu-Tang influence comes it). Beat Pyramid is definitely not an album of consistency – but in a good way. These English boys – and girl – are definitely on to something.

These New Puritans The Subterranean - Chicago, IL 6/14/2008Greatest things about Saturday’s show :

– Plenty of synths, drums and bass – gotta love that. TNP band set up their MacBooks just like any other instrument and that’s a beautiful thing.

– The Subterranean – I love this venue because there is almost no separation between the audience and the band.

-“Elvis”, “Numbers” and “Colours”, these songs are great!

– Most of the songs didn’t seem to pass the 3 minutes so the show didn’t drag for the entire night.

These New Puritans The Subterranean - Chicago, IL 6/14/2008I was expecting to experience more of a visual show just because of their sound but I was impressed by how simple it was and I was still entertained. I was glad I got to experience TNP as they are brand new. I’m excited about this band and cant wait to see where they go.

The Nylon Magazine Tour: The Switches

The Switches
House of Blues – Chicago, IL
6/12/2008

Switches @ House of Blues 2

The Switches are a Brit-pop band who’s U.S. debut album Lay Down the Law was released last March and are currently known for their single “Drama Queen”, which is also the theme song to MTV’s reality show “Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search For Elle Woods”. They’ve been around since 2006 but I can’t say that I’ve heard of them before a few weeks ago.

The Switches performed at the House of Blues on Thursday as a part of the Nylon Magazine Music Tour along with The Virgins, Be Your Own Pet and headliners She Wants Revenge.

They were the first openers of the night and went on pretty early at 6:00pm. They performed for a crowd of about 60 people, but they seemed excited nonetheless.

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GHOSTLAND OBSERVATORY @ The Metro 5/02

Ghostland Observatory
The Metro – Chicago, IL
5/2/2008

Ghostland Obervatory photo

Ghostland Observatory are an electronic duo from Austin, TX consisting of frontman Aaron Behrens and drummer/producer Thomas Turner.

Ghostland Observatory’s music is hard to describe. I’d say it’s electronic beats mashed up with old 70’s rock vocals. They describe their sound as ” a robot making love to a tree” – whatever that means………….

The last time I saw GLO was at last years Lollapalooza. They were the first band to perform on the AT&T stage – on the first day of the festival – at 12pm. I point that out because considering the time slot they were given, their performance was one of the most memorable for me out of the entire festival. Also, during the day time for an electronic group that’s made of two people – how much of a show can you give without all the fancy screens and lighting effects? – GLO definitely worked it out. Aaron Behrens is like a one man show all by himself. This man has dance moves for days and its great!

My favorite thing about Ghostland Observatory is that they aren’t signed to any major label. They operate on their own Trashy Moped Recordings and continue to gain exposure and success by themselves.

Musically this group can go either way – really great or horrible. They’ve pumped out three albums since 2005 so they stay busy but in the end it’s apparent on the albums. I’m pretty sure touring is the reason they exist. Even with that however, I hope to see them go far in their genre because I think once the kinks are worked out, they’ll provide an awesome combination of great music and amazing live shows.

Fridays performance was everything that I had been waiting for. I was a little surprised to see it was sold out. They had a lot of home state support with a good number of Texans in the audience. The crowd was a good mix of people which was another example of how hard their music is to categorize. All around a good vibe.

Behrens strolled out in his wonderful white 70’s cut suit- totally Johnny Depp in “Blow” – I loved it! and Mr. Turner performed in his magnificent cape as usual. There was POUNDING bass and a light show that seemed to flow to Behrens every move. Smoke machines, strobe lights and lots of dancing – all the essentials for a good electronic show. Just as a thought I would – I had a good time.

Peter Moren Live at Schubas

Peter Moren
Schubas – Chicago, IL
4/26/2008

Peter Moren Schubas Chicago, ILPeter Moren is one third of the Swedish group Peter, Bjorn and John best known for their 2006 hit “Young Folks.”

Saturday’s show at Schubas was definitely surprising. I like Peter Bjorn and John but I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical about seeing Peter Moren by himself. Moren released his solo album entitled “The Last Tycoon” earlier this month.

Before the show, I visited Moren’s MySpace to check out what his solo stuff was like and it sounded a bit boring to me – mostly acoustic guitar and vocals – no bass, no drums or synths. Apparently his posted MySpace songs aren’t the best way to get a feel of his music.

If you are a fan of Peter, Bjorn and John then essentially you are going to be fine attending a Peter Moren show. I say essentially because once you hear his music you’ll really begin to realize how much of himself makes it into a PB&J album. You can hear it in his writing and in his song composition. The solo material is basically giving us one element of PB&J – and the drums and bass were present so it wasn’t boring after all.

His backup band consisted of just two guys; Doug and Tobais, who apparently have a lot to do with his album, he even jokingly referred to them as Peter, Tobias & Doug.

The show was very intimate because of Schubas being so small. And since he doesn’t use a set list, it was made even more intimate because they were shuffling around the stage all night switching instruments whenever Peter decided what song he wanted play. It seemed like a practice session, which is cool because they were comfortable – something that always translates well into performances.

Peter Moren Schubas Chicago, ILIt was refreshing to see a performer who is appreciative of the place he holds on stage. His performance was very natural, almost as if he needed to be up there, joking “John only likes to play for half-an-hour, but me, I can do this for hours, you know……….I have to do this every once in a while”

Peter Moren’s a funny guy too. He made jokes all night and shared a couple things about his life including his experience as a music teacher and how he was almost recruited by the Swedish military as a teenager but failed his hearing test on purpose because he’s pacifist and didn’t want to go. He also claims to be socially awkward but he seemed pretty fine to me.

Peter Moren Schubas Chicago, IL

While I wasn’t familiar with any of his solo material, he did perform a couple of PB&J songs including “Paris 2004″ and my absolute favorite “Objects of My Affection”. I was very very happy that he performed “Objects of My Affection” because I’ve never seen PB&J live and that’s the one song I would be screaming for if I ever got to.

I was entertained by the bands cover of Vampire Weekend’s “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”, and having just recently seen VW in concert, I couldn’t tell the difference. The song was performed to show love to drummer Doug’s home town of New York (I thought is was a great choice because VW is definitely repping’ N.Y. big time right now) I also liked Moren’s take on Ah Ha’s “Take On Me”, something I wasn’t expecting but kind of cool.

I have a new respect for Peter, Bjorn & John and now I like Peter Moren, himself – he’s a pretty cool and very genuine guy.

While, I think I’ll stick to Peter Bjorn & John albums for right now, I would definitely catch Peter Moren live again anytime.

The Bravery Live at the Metro!

The Bravery
The Metro – Chicago, IL
4/19/2008

The Bravery The Metro - Chicago, IL

The Bravery have played in Chicago plenty of times since they jumped into the music scene back in 05′. For whatever reason, I had never been to any of those shows and on Saturday at the Metro, I finally got to see them live . I had gone into this show expecting a great vibe and a lot of dancing.

Now, I am a fan of The Bravery, their debut album (self-titled) I would consider one of the best albums released in the last five years. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same about their second release ‘The Sun and the Moon’. It was A LOT slower and just didn’t have the same energy as the one before.

The Bravery The Metro - Chicago, IL

The show had not sold out so the Metro wasn’t crowded ( I can always appreciate that) and the two openers were Your Vegas and Fiction Plane.

The Bravery opened with a great song called ”Fearless” a track from their debut. The lights went out and the sound of the organs from ‘Fearless’ began. The band takes what seems to be thier places and when the lights return, lead singer Sam Endicott is singing from the left of the stage. He eventually ends up in the center where he remained for the rest of the show.

The greater portion of the show was dedicated to ” The Sun and the Moon” with a couple of tracks here and there from the first album. They closed the show with ”Unconditional” which was a great song to end with. The actual performance was good and the interaction with the crowd was cool. I can say that I’ve been to worse shows but I did walk out a little disappointed. I think the selection for the set list was a bit off because I was waiting a through a lot of bad songs before I could get to the good ones, which doesn’t make for a fun time at a concert. It was apparent the crowd felt the same way. As I looked around, I had to laugh because it was almost as if the people were statues until any track from the fist album was played. This shouldn’t happen at a BRAVERY SHOW! but it did…

all in all I kind of wished I had seen them when they just had one album out…….oh Bravery, hopefully your third album will get me excited again…..