The Deep Vibration: Veracruz EP

The Deep Vibration
Veracruz EP

In today’s convoluted rock scene, it seems that either artists attempt a throwback sound influenced by the classics (Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan) or they dive into the uncharted waters of music that will turn into the genres of tomorrow (Animal Collective.) In both cases, not many can pull it off (Black Lips) and even fewer can pull it off well (Black Keys.) The Deep Vibration is no exception to that rule; they’re a bluesy four-piece rock band searching for that elusive throwback sound. That said, it’s obvious that these guys are influenced by the classics. However, the sound seems to fall right into their lap and they achieve it without coming across as trying to hard or simply imitating (Panic At The Disco.)

The quavering vocals offered by lead singer, Matt Campbell, are sung through a Shure SM-57 microphone and they parallel a toddler learning to walk; strong and confident one minute while beat down and broken the next. The SM-57 is typically used to mic drums and makes for an odd choice as a vocal mic. That could explain the shudder that’s ever present in his vocals. More often than not, Campbell sings in a voice still struggling for balance. He sounds best in parts the first track, “Oklahoma City Woman Blues,” where he sings without hesitation. The second track, “Third Day of July” slows the strut established by the first song and feels like it’s a little too soon. Unfortunately, the slower pace defines the rest of the EP. “Thanks To You” attempts to revive the stride that “Third Day of July” killed. And, while they don’t completely regain their swagger, the addition of a horn section sets it apart from the rest making it one of my favorites. Alternatively, on “Tennessee Rose,” the longest and slowest track on the record, his voice comes across soft and thankfully without the quaver. For this one, the guys unleash a harmonica that introduces some odd vocal harmonies provided by country singer Gillian Welch. I’m not quite sure they fit together but on an LP, I’m sure they’ll tighten them up.

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Matt Costa Opens for Oasis

Matt Costa
Allstate Arena – Rosemont, IL
12/12/2008

Matt Costa Allstate Arena - Rosemont, IL 12/12/2008Fresh off a 4-date tour through Canada with “big guns” Oasis and Ryan Adams, Matt Costa embarked on a U.S. tour supporting the same squad. Starting on the west coast and working their way east, the tour stopped by Chicago’s Allstate Arena last Friday night (12/12/08) to grace our ears with a concert ‘a little bit country and a little bit rock n roll.’

Costa kicked off the show with “TV Gods,” a song off his first album, the Matt Costa EP. On his records, Costa employs a band complete with piano and drums; for this tour however, it’s just Matt and guitarist, Mitchell Townsend. The current tour puts him in front of thousands of fans in huge arenas across the country which is a little different than his usual gigs. Last year’s tour, in support of Unfamiliar Faces, was supported by mutual friends Delta Spirit in small venues throughout the nation. Matt speaks about the change in venues, “The fans are further away so it’s not as intimate but the huge arenas create some awesome reverb (insert hand gestures.)

Matt Costa Allstate Arena - Rosemont, IL 12/12/2008With only thirty minutes to play, he managed to squeeze in seven songs including hits “Unfamiliar Faces” and “Mr. Pitiful” before handing the stage over to Ryan Adams and the Cardinals who continued to keep the rock a rollin’ so to speak.

Before hitting the heartland, he stopped at the LiveDaily studio to record three live tracks; just Matt, his guitar, and his seemingly perfect voice. “Astair” off of Songs We Sing, “Unfamiliar Faces” off Unfamiliar Faces, and “Witchcraft” a previously unreleased track (that should appear on the new disc) were the three songs he chose to record. The video footage is great but the sound quality is absolutely phenomenal. The recording captures the essence of Matt in a way only duplicated by an intimate live show. Check out the recordings here: http://www.livedaily.com/sessions/45.html

The tour makes stops at New York’s Madison Square Garden, before finishing up at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA. After the tour, Matt plans to head to Paris for the New Year and continue working on the new album tentatively titled Manic Motel. The album may have a name but according to Matt there is no rush to get it released. He has quite a few tracks ready to go but don’t expect the next album for quite some time. For our sake, let’s just hope he survives Paris and comes back to the States!

Photos of Matt Costa in Chicago:

The Lemurs – A Million Little Bits Review

The Lemurs
Million Little Bits
12/04/2008

By: Grace Ford

The Lemurs show a unique versatility with their new EP, Million Little Bits (just $4.95 at Amazon.) With a wide range of genres and styles represented over the span of five tracks, it’s quite impressive. The group from Austin, TX managed to convince me that each track on the EP was recorded by a different band. And while that shows a lot of talent, I’m not sure it’s such a good thing.

The first two tracks, “Nina” and “Blackspot,” have a great tone and style to them. They both have that “swell factor” with resonant harmonies and complex layers of instrumentation. Both tracks have catchy hooks, hand-clapped beats, and a definite tone that speaks to The Lemurs’ self-described “Indie Rock” genre. Those first two are great; love them. The third track, however, is where things get foggy in terms of the band’s style and sound. “Yours, Mine, Ours” is a track that really reminds me of The Cure. Not saying this is a bad thing, but if you’re going to bust out a brooding Robert Smith-esque love song, it better be epic. The fourth track, “Waiting Outside,” really threw me through a loop. With an almost techno beat and synthed out robot vocals, I was seriously confused; this track really doesn’t belong here. The final track, thankfully, reinstates the clean-but-complex sound we heard in the first two tracks.

Overall, The Lemurs have found a unique middle ground between Indie Rock and Electronica. Though the EP wasn’t as cohesive as most, these guys definitely have a lot to offer in terms of musical diversity and innovative instrumentation. Hopefully the Lemurs are just throwing a bunch of material at the wall to what sticks and I hope the full length with sound like “Nina.”

Murder By Death Plays Chicago’s Metro

Murder By Death
Metro – Chicago, IL
11/20/2008

Murder By Death Metro - Chicago, IL 11/20/2008Imagine walking through the backwoods of Indiana and stumbling upon an old farmhouse left untouched for decades. Enter Murder By Death and their dusty rock sound.

Before their show at Chicago’s Metro, I got to sit down with the band’s lead singer, Adam Turla. I will post the full interview within the next week and add a link here.

I became a fan of Murder after the hearing the single “Brother,” from the record In Bocca Al Lupo, a concept about sin and sinners. I caught them on tour with Clutch last spring and again this summer at Bash on Wabash. This month’s show makes for three seasons of MBD and I cannot wait for the fourth sometime in February.

J Roddy Walston and the Business, a rock quartet out of Baltimore, MD, managed to catch the crowd off guard with their in-your-face straight rock sound. After J Roddy’s energetic set, William Elliot Whitmore got intimate with the crowd; just a guitar (or banjo,) his soulful voice, and some whiskey donated by various crowd members. Turla was right, definitely a drinking crowd.

Unfortunately for me, I took Turla’s statement a little too serious and by the time Murder took the stage…well, we will just say I was having a good time. I was having such a good time that I don’t remember much of the show. Much to my surprise, I ended up with some stellar photos and even snapped a shot of the set list. Even though I didn’t snap a photo of him, Vincent Edwards, the former keyboardist was back for this show. And, there are plays to have him back full time; look for an official announcement on their web site soon.

According to Turla, their biggest crowds are right here in Chicago. That is exactly why they are coming back for three small venue shows this February. I will make sure to post once I find out the dates.

Photos of Murder By Death:

Blink-182 Reunion?!


More Please!

According to an article posted 11/19/08, on Spin magazines website, Travis Barker’s near death experience may have triggered the most anticipated punk rock reunion of our generation. After Blink-182 split in 2005, I don’t think anyone thought there was even a remote possibility of a reunion. But, whether Tom feels bad about almost losing his ex-bandmate or missing out on the cash cow that will be the Blink-182 reunion tour, we may never know.

Apparently the trio started spending some time together after the accident and while a tour isn’t confirmed yet, I don’t see how they’ll pass up the opportunity to make millions. I’m not hating but I think alterier motives may be at work instead of a genuine “I missed you guys” reunion. It feels more like a Smashing Pumpkins reunion than say Led Zeppelin.

Don’t get me wrong, The Mark Tom and Travis Show is one of my all time favorite CDs and I’ll definitely be buying tickets to the tour (if it happens.) But, do yourself a favor and get some actual facts by checking out the article here: www.spin.com/articles/blink-182-reunite

New Killers Album – Day & Age

The Killers
Day & Age
11/23/2008

Killers day age

For those who haven’t heard, The Killers are releasing their new album, Day & Age, on November 24th. The album has already dropped overseas and like usual, the US is late to the game. Supposedly they were going to stream the album in its entirety starting November 22nd but I can’t find any links and the only track that’s online is “Human.”

The guys are gearing up for a massive tour in support of Day & Age starting in Seattle and ending in Spain. Thankfully the make stops in Oakland, CA (December 11th) and Chicago, IL (January 20th) before hopping the pond to play 23 shows throughout Europe. Surprisingly, they skip right over their hometown of Las Vegas, odd.

Anyways, on the Day & Age, they’re not afraid to experiment. Unfortunately, they throw a saxophone into the mix on “I Can’t Stay” and I’m not a fan. It just doesn’t fit. Just as everyone thought, it’s a synthed out record that goes easy on the “singles.” To be honest, I like a few tracks but it’s not what I was expecting from the guys made me realize “it’s indie rock n roll for me.” Then again, this could be one of those albums that comes back around, we’ll see when I get a physical copy of the album to review.

Paper Route Blows Minds With New EP

Paper Route
Are We All Forgotten EP
11/22/2008

My first glimpse of Paper Route was through their Myspace page which didn’t overly impress me so I moved on. When talking with Howie from Low vs Diamond a few months back (link to interview here), he mentioned they’d be stopping back in Chicago. As it turns out, Paper Route was going to be opening for them. So, I took another look at the Nashville quintet and in my search for more information on the band, I stopped off at their website. HOLY SHIT!

Hit the link for the rest of the review, it’s worth it.

I’ve gotta say, I have never been overly impressed by a bands website…and, I still haven’t because I don’t consider it a website; it’s simply visual extension of their Are We All Forgotten EP, brilliant. The video is the perfect complement to the music; It reflects the swells of the synths and the ebb and flow of the vocals precisely. I haven’t had such a strong reaction to music since I first heard Radiohead back in high school. Keep in mind my reaction to Radiohead was heavily influenced if you catch my drift…

Now I’m spoiled. I can’t imagine listening to this album any other way. I have it ripped to my PC but I still find myself heading to the website for the full effect. Well done Paper Route, well done.

Before you go to the site:

  1. Find your favorite pair of headphones (unless you have a nice set of speakers).
  2. Maximize your browser and mute any programs that make sound.
  3. Make sure flash player is installed.
  4. Finally, get comfortable and click here for a transcending experience.

Here’s the link again: http://www.paperrouteonline.com/areweallforgotten/

RATING: BUY THIS ALBUM ASAP!
(only $2.71 at the Amazon MP3 store!)

The Death Set Rocks Congress Theater

The Death Set
Congress Theater – Chicago,IL
11/08/2008

The Death Set Congress Theater - Chicago,IL 11/08/2008

Australian punk rockers, The Death Set, seemed to be an unusual pairing for headliner Girl Talk. That is exactly what made them the perfect choice for a supporting act. With Girl Talk mashing up everyone from Elton John to Notorious B.I.G., I’d like to think the fans are open to most kinds of music. Some in-your-face punk rockin’ was just what fans needed before a 2-hour dance party.

While dancing on stage to some Girl Talk, I ran in to lead singer, Johnny Siera. I asked him how he managed to get on tour with Girl Talk. He replied very eloquently in his Aussie accent, “I worked my balls off man.”

The music they played wasn’t quite memorable but their live show most definitely was. Lead singer Johnny Siera packed a whole lot of energy into the short opening set and when he wasn’t running around the stage, he was jumping off the drum kit or climbing the speaker stacks. While I might not remember any of the songs they played, I would definitely go see them in concert again.

Photos of The Death Set:

Atmosphere Paints Chicago’s Vic Theater Ending The Current Tour

Atmosphere
The Vic – Chicago, IL
11/16/2008

Atmosphere The Vic - Chicago, IL 11/16/2008Atmosphere, hailing from Minneapolis, MN, was kind enough to stop in Chicago on the second to last night of their more than 50-date Paint the Nation Tour. “I’ve always had a crush on this city,” said Slug (Sean Daley) in between flows. Ant (Anthony Davis) rocked the 1′s and 2′s while slug spitting rhymes like:

A friend in Chicago said that I should stay persistent
If I stay around I’m bound to break resistance
Fuck you Lucy for defining my existence

The entire group is comfortable on stage, making it clear that they’ve done this before. With over 50 tour dates, they’ve quite literally painted the nation, “don’t ever fucking question that.” To round out the set, they played older songs right alongside the recent When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold tracks. Slug prefaced “God Loves Ugly” with “I don’t know why a city full of beautiful people would love some ugly fuckers from Minneapolis,” just before the beat dropped. During the track he shouted “now all the beautiful people be quiet” and the crowd erupted.

Atmosphere The Vic - Chicago, IL 11/16/2008Atmosphere was kind enough to bring Chicago’s first snow with them for the sold out show at Vic Theater. “I come to Chicago and I bring snow; You people come to my show and all you bring is sunshine,” said Slug before spitting about his hangover on “Sunshine .”

After “Guarantees,” Slug enlightened the crowd that Ant originally made the beat for Brother Ali (also on Rhymesayers ) who was planning to write a song about a character who commits suicide. Sean pays tribute to Ali by finishing the first verse with “a friend of mine tried to kill himself to the same song.”

For a finale, Slug brought out Blueprint and Abstract Rude for some freestylin’. Topics included the Bears loss, the Chicago Cubs, and of course Obama’s election.

Afterwards, Slug took the time to apologize to the crowd for his “old school shit” while closing out the show. “To me, it’s more than just the guy on the mic, it’s a whole community. So, we’re gonna do some old school shit right now; everybody in here put a peace sign in the air and when I count to three, you say peace; we do that three times in a row.” 1…2…3… and with that he reminded the crowd that “tonight’s show is brought to you by the letter V” and with a final “Rhymesayers is # 1!” he was gone.

As an Audio Arts & Acoustics major, I should mention how great this show sounded. Whoever was running the console for this tour really knew what they were doing. Here’s to the unsung hero, the sound guy.

Photos of Atmosphere in Chicago:

A Steel Train Rolls Through Chicago

Steel Train
Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL
11/15/2008Steel Train Bottom Lounge - Chicago, IL 11/15/2008

Music genres have always given me a complex. Are you supposed to label genres based on each song, album, or artist? I give each artist one genre to make things easy. While tagging, I’ve always avoided using the word ‘pop’ in any way, shape, or form. At the mere site of the word, my skin would crawl. At least that was the case until recently.

Steel Train Bottom Lounge - Chicago, IL 11/15/2008Now that I’ve learned to embrace pop, I can call bands like Steel Train exactly what they are, pop. Listening to their sophomore album, Trampoline, the songs fixate on love, a fundamental of pop. While I became a fan listening to these guys on CD, their live show is where the real money is at. When I saw these guys at Lollapalooza ’08, I was blown away by the set they played. The album may be pop but the live show is most definitely rock. The most noticeable part of the set was the lack of shoes on stage.

Lead singer, Jack Antonoff, is one of the best frontmen that I’ve seen in a while. Even though the crowd was small, he made sure to keep them engaged and played as though it was a sold-out show at Metro. I didn’t realize the practicality of playing without shoes until their show November 15th at Bottom Lounge. If Jack were to wear shoes while playing that close to the crowd, people would most definitely die. Broken faces and decapitations would abound. Jack jumps higher than most of the people on my high school basketball team all the while playing his guitar and sometimes singing. Jack plays as though he is all hyped up on Mountain Dew and to say he goes nuts on stage is an understatement.

Ok…so that might be a bit of an exaggeration but I was pleasantly surprised to see these guys rocking out instead simply gazing into the crowd and singing a few songs. They genuinely have a good time (at least it looks that way.) During “Firecracker,” Jack kept knocking over Evan’s xylophone, poking him to break his concentration…even the drummer, Jon Shiffman, took some time to give Evan shit.

Towards the end of the set, a fan shouted “sobriety is the new addiction” to which Jack responded “I’ve been saying that for years. Everyone asks me to smoke pot after the shows but I’d be crazy…I’m crazy now.” That segued into talk about cubs vs. white sox and Jack admitted to liking Frank Thomas when he was younger. “What did they call him again?” – the Big Hurt a fan shouts – “yeah, I guess you guys could call me the big asshole, it embodies my personality perfectly.” And with that, the guys launched into a new song “Soldier in the Army” that supposedly has only been played about 10 times. That usually means it’s been played at every stop of the tour.

Now if anyone read this far, you’ll notice that the photos are from an outdoor concert, not fitting to Chicago in the middle of November. The photos are from their set at Lollapalooza this summer since I managed to leave my compact flash card at home for this show…I hate when that happens.

Photos of Steel Train:

Another Legend Lost – Mitch Mitchell Found Dead 11/12

Nearly all music lovers know who Jimi Hendrix was; A legendary guitar god known for lighting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop festival in ’67, playing with strips of acid in his headband (said to be rumor), and ultimately dying at the peak of his hype like so many of the greats.

Without a doubt, Hendrix is one of the greatest guitar players that ever lived but it should be noted that Hendrix played with an amazing drummer, Mitch Mitchell, in his band The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitchell, along with Keith Moon and Neil Peart are considered some of the most influential drummers of all time. How Diamond of Low vs. Diamond mentions both Keith Moon and Mitch Mitchell in my interview a few months ago: Link To Interview

Getting to the point, Mitch Mitchell was found dead in his Portland, OR hotel room on November 12th, 2008, while on tour with Experience Hendrix. The death is believed to be of natural causes and no foul play is suspected, according to Associated Press.

Mitchell was the last remaining member of the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience of yesteryear. Mitchell played with many artists throughout his career including Rolling Stones, John Lennon, and Eric Clapton. Another great dies but the legend lives on.

Farewell Mitch Mitchell.

Girl Talk Makes Sweet Sweet Love to a Sold Out Congress Theater

Girl Talk
Congress Theater – Chicago, IL
11/08/2008

Girl Talk Congress Theater - Chicago, IL 11/08/2008To cap off my week of really ridiculously good concerts (Kings of Leon, We Are Scientists, The Whigs, and Ghostland Observatory) was the naked DJ himself, Gregg Gillis. Not familiar with that name? Maybe Girl Talk will ring a bell.

Gillis ran onto the sold-out stage of Congress Theater, the biggest show he’s ever played. Starting out in a yellow sweatshirt and some navy sweatpants, he was quickly down to just a pair of boxers shielding our eyes from his cash-and-prizes. It would have been incredibly awkward if Gillis was on stage alone. Thankfully, a small number of fans were allowed on stage with him; not his usual type of show.

Tons more photos and some senseless words after the jump…

Girl Talk Congress Theater - Chicago, IL 11/08/2008For those who are unfamiliar, Gregg Gillis usually gets ‘buck wild’ on stage, in all aspects of the phrase. According to an interview in Filter magazine issue 31, there’s been on-stage sex three times. Whether he’s had sex on stage or he’s watched others, it’s unclear. Either way, I think you get the idea of what a Girl Talk show is like.

Many fans were disappointed to find themselves hindered by a chest-high barrier and a group of security guards acting as though they were protecting Obama himself. The die-hard fans didn’t let anything stand in their way and I saw several people try more than once before finally making it on stage without being grabbed by security. There was even a green man, I mean c’mon guys, isn’t dancing around dressed head to toe in a skin tight lime green spandex suit a free ticket on stage?!

Gillis took several different moments throughout the set to thank the crowd for coming and explain how much the show meant to him. “I’ve been playing shows for eight years and this is by far the biggest fucking show I’ve ever played, thanks for coming out guys” he said at the end of the night as giant balloons were passed around the crowd.

To finish off the night, hundreds of balloons cascaded down from the ceiling popping on contact just before Gillis crowd surfed from the stage all the way back to the sound booth. While the show wou’dve been a bit more kick-ass if everyone was able to frolick around the stage but because the security at Congress are some serious fun-haters, I ended up with some stellar photos and I met some fantastic people in the process.

I don’t think there is any better end to a weekend. Thanks Girl Talk, come back soon!

Photos of Girl Talk:

An Evening with The Whigs

The Whigs
The Eagles Ballroom  – Milwaukee, WI
11/05/2008

whigs

Yesterday, I witnessed the biggest rock star in the world seize the reins of our United States. Today, I saw the greatest rock show of this year (The Whigs, We Are Scientists, and Kings of Leon.) And just before the show, I was able to sit down with the rock stars of tomorrow, Julian Dorio (drums) and Tim Deaux (bass) of The Whigs. While I would put these straight-rockers from Georgia in the category ‘rock star,’ they were not so quick to consent.

After meandering our way through the labyrinth that is The Rave…that is Eagles Ballroom…that is also four other venues, we found a balcony overlooking the parking lot. The place is HUGE. Doors opened as we were walking down the stairs and several girls recognized Julian with his signature backwards trucker hat right away.

Andy: The life of a rock star, it must be rough.
Julian: Yeah. Well you should see the Kings of Leon, they can’t go anywhere without getting mobbed.

Hit the jump for the rest of the interview.

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Kings of Leon Dress to Impress and the Photos to Prove It.

Kings of Leon
Aragon Ballroom- Chicago, IL

10/31/2008

Kings of Leon Aragon Ballroom- Chicago, IL 10/31/2008Nothing better than Kings of Leon on Halloween…FUCKING AMAZING. Check out the photos.

This Is War – Ben Kweller @ Bottom Lounge

Ben Kweller
Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL
10/14/2008

Ben Kweller Bottom Lounge - Chicago, IL 10/14/2008

Most Tuesday nights for me are spent finishing up home work that I’ve put off since the previous week’s class. Fortunately, Ben Kweller and his Aussie friend, Whitley, hijacked my night turning it into something more than a night to make up for my procrastination. Needless to say, Mr. BK plays a good live show…

Ok, so that’s the understatement of the year: Ben Kweller plays a phenomenal live show. Most artists strive to sound as good live as they do on CD but Ben has something else to worry about; he sounds better live than he does on CD.

BK’s new disc, How Ya Lookin’ Southbound, Come In…, infused the live show with steel guitars and a welcomed southern twang. I know, some of you may be skeptical but I promise there’s a whole new dynamic with the live show. Not only does it work, it works brilliantly.

After skipping the line of fans stretching close to a block, I was able to sit down with Mr. BK himself . We talked about the past (Radish), the present (How Ya Lookin’ Southbound, Come In…,) and the future (Changing Horses.) Look for the interview in a few days.

The show opened with Whitley, an Australian singer-songwriter I had the pleasure of seeing last year. He kept his set short and sweet while maintaining a level of intimacy with the crowd. The time between songs was filled by talking to the crowd and an impromptu song about “the gout” that was plaguing his knee. He didn’t hesitate when a member of the audience called him out on his glasses, asking, “Where’d you get your glasses, Walmart?” Whitley replied “Yeah, I got them in the dickhead aisle, where you obviously shop.” Before ending his set with “Head First Down,” he made sure to apologize to that dickhead, more than once. He even apologized again after he finished, which shows a lot about his character.

Shortly after, Ben took the stage, kicking off the set with a track from the new EP, “Things I Like to Do.” After the second song, “Fight,” I knew we were in for a night of new songs, which was a treat. Highlights of the night were new tunes, “Sawdust Man,” and “Gypsy Rosalita” while older tunes, “Sundress” and “This is War” anchored the show. After walking off stage briefly, BK returned to the stage to play a rockin’ version of “Penny on the Train Track.” The photo of Ben rockin’ out was taken during that song.

Photos of Ben Kweller:

TV On The Radio Rocks The Riv

TV On The Radio
The Riviera – Chicago, IL
10/22/2008

TV On The Radio The Riviera - Chicago, IL 10/22/2008

I always have trouble trying to explain TV On The Radio’s sound. The closest I can think of would be electro-rock with more rock than electro, but not really – a little jazzy but a young jazzy – sometimes random but not out of control – a little punk influence and maybe some hip hop tossed in a little. ….Does that help? Maybe not.

TV On The Radio The Riviera - Chicago, IL 10/22/2008I just refer to them as “a good band”. That would be the most accurate term I can provide. They’ve received lots of praise from many popular music outlets and 2006′s Return to Cookie Mountain was on almost every top 10 lists that year.

TV on the Radio’s latest album Dear Science was released last month and they took the stage at The Riviera Theatre Wednesday night with Dirtbombs opening.

Seeing as how I’ve never been able to catch this group live , I wasn’t sure what to expect but still excited nonetheless. I arrived in between sets and I had just enough time to head towards the front and get in a couple jokes with the security guard who was guarding the barricades. (It’s important to be nice to those guys because in reality, they’re the ones running the show.)

Anyway, I met up with a friend, who arrived late, so we didn’t land a good spot. It was almost as if everyone in Chicago who’s over 6 foot tall attended this show; the Riv was packed! No matter where I tried to place myself, I couldn’t see a thing. We had to make a move when he said something that I hadn’t given much thought….

“I don’t know. This is like an adult rock show you know, it’s not like Bad Religion or something where I can go pushing through the crowd.”

I thought that statement was funny but it in a way true. TV On The Radio’s following does seem to be more mature crowd but I wouldn’t go as far as to call them old.

We eventually ended up in the balcony where I realized was actually the best place to be because I had a perfect view for “Wolf Like Me“! (my favorite part of the night).

Lead singer Tunde Adepimpe gave so much energy and broke a sweat in no time.TVOTR ran through Return to Cookie Mountain like nothing and of course a little from Dear Science. So effortless and still great.

An entire horn section, keyboards and a drummer who is amazing! At one point the amount of people on stage doubled and each one had an instrument in hand, adding more and more to an already great performance.

TV On The Radio have so much to offer. I walked out satisfied.

Photos of TV on the Radio:

Straight From The Bayou – Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes
Metro – Chicago, IL
10/11/2008

Fleet Foxes at the Metro Chicago, ILOf all the shows I’ve been to since moving to Chicago, I’ve never felt as young as I did at the Fleet Foxes show. At shows back home in Des Moines or Omaha, I’ve always felt like I was one of the older kids at shows, and it’s weird how the music scene is so much older out here; not at all what I was expecting. This was a Sunday night show which seems to draw an older crowd to begin with, but I don’t think there were more than a handful of people in the crowd younger than 21. I find that weird because Fleet has been all over Rolling Stone and Spin ever since the Sun Giant EP came out in February.

I originally grabbed the Sun Giant EP after reading a lot of buzz in the blogosphere. After listening through the first time, there wasn’t a single track I liked. So, I ‘shelved’ it or at least as close as you can get with mp3′s. I didn’t give them a second chance until their full-length album, Fleet Foxes, came out. Make note, guys and gals, all bands deserve a second chance…unless they’re Fall Out Boy. I was slapped in the face by “He Doesn’t Know Why” and “White Winter Hymnal.” Then I re-listened to Sun Giant and found the wonderful gem, “Mykonos.” How could I have overlooked these guys?! Everyone’s allowed at least one mistake, right?

After walking on stage, the Fleet took a good 3 to 4 minutes to get situated before starting to play. The lead singer, Robin Pecknold, broke the silence with some banter before engulfing the room with luscious guitars and sweeping harmonies. Words can’t even describe the sound that filled the Metro that night. All I could do was smile. How often does a live show make you sit back and smile?

The bottom line, I’m kind of mad I listened to these guys on CD before seeing them live. It’s kind of like watching scrambled porn and then finally getting to see it in full quality…minus all the nudity. I say this, intending it to be a huge compliment. I don’t know if it’s even possible to capture such an epic sound in the recording studio. I vote the next album gets recorded live, but that’s just my two cents.

I wish I could have snagged a set-list from these guys so I could explain in more detail but the only place I found room to stand and still be able to take photos was in the balcony, so no dice.

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

Bayside Headlines the Involuntary Movement Tour @ Metro

Bayside
The Metro – Chicago, IL
10/09/2008

Bayside The Metro - Chicago, IL 10/09/2008Anthony Raneri (vox/guitar)

The last time I saw Bayside, they opened up for The Starting Line on their supposed “last tour.” Do any bands ever reach the point of a last tour anymore? I mean Zeppelin came back and the Dead even reunited for a gig this year…whole different conversation though.

Moving on, this was the first time I got to see Bayside headlining their own show and I’ve got to say, they made great use of their extra time! Thrown in to the set were several tracks from Sirens and Condolences including “Masterpiece” and “Guardrail.” A few more from their self-titled Bayside with “Montuak,” “Hello Shitty,” along with a surprise acoustic “Don’t Call Me Peanut,” that was a nice intermission from all the punk-rocking. The Walking Wounded and new album Shudder took up most of the set for obvious reasons.

Bayside The Metro - Chicago, IL 10/09/2008Jack O’shea (guitar)

My favorite part of the set started with “Roshambo” and went all the way through “Masterpiece.” I’d have to say my favorite song of the night was “They’re Not Horses, They’re Unicorns” …or was it “Landing Feet First?” I don’t know. I’m not the biggest fan of the new album since I didn’t discover Bayside until The Walking Wounded, many fans’ least favorite album. Anyways, a die-hard fan stood behind me all night calling out nearly every song on the setlist before they started playing it. He seemed like he had a better time than I did. So, my point is, this tour is for old and new fans alike. If you can catch one of the tour dates, make sure you check em’ out. The opening bands are worth seeing, Valencia and especially The Matches.

Bayside The Metro - Chicago, IL 10/09/2008

Bayside The Metro - Chicago, IL 10/09/2008

Bayside The Metro - Chicago, IL 10/09/2008

Ben Kweller – How Ya Lookin’ Southbound? Come In… First Look

ben-kweller-how-ya-lookin-southbound

I have a confession to make; I like country music…

Before you stop reading, let me explain myself. I grew up in Iowa and had to put up with that crap for WAY too long. So, when I got a copy of Ben Kweller’s new EP, How Ya Lookin’ Southbound? Come In…, I was mortified to see iTunes list it as Country. I almost didn’t listen. But, because Ben is one of my favorite singer-songwriters, I figured either Apple fucked up or Ben crafted it that way for a reason.

Each track dissected when you read on…

With that in mind, I gave it a once-through and immediately the twang-y steel guitars, toe-tapping drums, and ragtime pianos stood out. Caught a little off-guard, I kept listening and by the time “Sawdust Man” came around, I was sold. The mixing of Ben’s talented songwriting with a band that belongs down in Dixie adds a whole new genre to my iTunes, alt-country. Imagine the last album, Ben Kweller, + Jack Daniels & steel guitar, and out comes HYLSCI, the best country album this country-hater has ever heard.

For those who don’t know, HYLSCI, is a prequel to a full-length country album that’s due out in February of next year. However great the 5 songs and 2 primitive recordings are, they’re definitely not enough to suppress my newly acquired appetite for Ben the Cowboy. Fortunately, I was able to see Ben live when he stopped at Chicago’s Bottom Lounge on October 14th with support from one of my favorite Aussies, Whitley. He plays a full version of “Gypsy Rosita” that the 25 second preview obviously doesn’t do justice. If you don’t like the new path Ben’s taken, go see him on his current tour and I guarantee it’ll change your mind. Here is a link to my show review with pictures and a full set list:
Ben Kweller @ Bottom Lounge – Chicago

The Tracks:

  1. Fight – An upbeat anthem about fighting until your dying day. I can’t get enough of the lines, “I’m like my grandma; short but I stand tall; playin’ every single card that’s dealt to me; you know some days are aces and some days are faces well some days are 2’s and 3’s.”
  2. Things I Like To Do – A short and sweet love song that runs through a list of the little things in life that make you happy. Nothing too special but it’s a solid track none-the-less.
  3. Sawdust Baby – Recorded on a New York subway, this 39-second track captures the precise moment the chorus for “Sawdust Man” was born, thus Baby. The track is only 39 seconds long but it leaves you feeling like you’re part of the creative process after hearing the final version.
  4. Sawdust Man – From infant to man, this is my favorite track on the EP. After listening, just try to get the lines “I’m on top; of the greyhound station” out of your head. You can’t. Around 2:40, when his voice cracks, by far my favorite part of the song.  Just FYI, I noticed it only in the live version, it’s there for a reason…to make me love it.
  5. The Biggest Flower – Not my favorite, but with time, I may get into it, it’s just not for me.
  6. F Train Blues/Gypsy Rosita – The first half is pretty interesting, I’d like to see where this recording goes on the new album. The last 25 seconds is where it takes off, Gypsy Rosita. I saw a live version of the song and I’ve gotta say, it might have been my favorite of the night.
  7. Somehow (Singlemalt Version) – A slower track heavy on the steel guitar as Ben croons, “Come on, come on, baby, I need you right now.” A nice addition to the album but I’d like to hear the colt 45 version.

One Night of Danger with The Virgins!

The Virgins
Abbey Pub – Chicago, IL
10/6/2008

Donald Cumming The Virgins
Donald Cumming (vox)

After hearing The Virgins for the first time over a year and a half ago, I finally got to see them live and in person at the Abbey Pub. Last Monday, the Virgins opened for Black Kids, a band that I’m frankly not a fan of. I’m sure the hipsters won’t be pleased, but I chose to talk with lead singer, Donald Cumming in the catacombs of Abbey Pub while the Black Kids were playing their set…hate me.

Like the name suggests, The Virgins started the night off slow with “Private Affair” and “Radio Christiane” before heading to second base with “Hey Hey Girl” and “Teen Lovers.” After building up some confidence, the guys went for the home run with “One Week of Danger,” “Fernando Pando,” “She’s Expensive” and a personal favorite, “Rich Girls.” The act must have been consensual because no one seemed to decline the pursuit. After the show, some fans left feeling a little tricked because it was obvious these guys have done this before.

PS – The YouTube video of “One Week of Danger ” has a free download of the song in the more info section.

The Virgins @ Abbey Pub, ChicagoThe Virgins @ Abbey Pub, Chicago, il

Valencia Opens for Bayside at the Metro

Valencia
Metro – Chicago, IL
10/9/2008

Valencia
Shane Henderson (vox)

Since moving to Chicago in late August, I have seen around 12 shows and not one of them has been a punk show. That was a true statement until last Thursday when the Involuntary Movement Tour stopped by the Metro with Bayside, The Matches, Valencia, and The Status .

New pop punk hopefuls, The Status, started the night with a quick 30-minute set. The single, “Perfect Day,” was the song that stuck in my head; it will be interesting to see where these gents end up over the next few years.

[Read more...]

Sarah Palin, They Don’t Care!

palin

Ok, so first off I should mention that I don’t watch music videos, I hate MTV, and I really don’t care for Fall Out Boy but, while channel surfing, I stumbled on Fall Out Boy’s video for “I Don’t Care.” Maybe it was the thieving nuns, maybe it was was the flasher, and it was definitely Pete Wentz getting knocked out for being a douche, but I did find the video mildly entertaining…the video people, not the song. Aside from the terrible song, the highlight to the video comes in the last 10 seconds with a guest appearance by Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Now I have no idea what they were trying to say by putting a look-alike to everyone’s favorite Alaskan soccer mom but I’m really not going to devote much time or energy to it; they lost my interest after Take This To Your Grave. After all, Chicago is so five years ago by now. You can watch the video here or click on the image above to view it.

I honestly don’t have a clue what they’re trying to get at but kudos on the Palin jab anyways, whatever it means.

If you have an idea about what it could mean, post it in the comments.

Getting Low with Diamond

LvD3
Howie Diamond, far left lookin’ dapper as all get out.

After their show last Sunday at the House of Blues, I had a chance to sit down with Low Vs Diamond’s Howie Diamond and chat about the current tour as well as what’s to come for the band. I got to the venue a little late because I was covering the Hot Chip show the same night.

So, the whole time we were talking Howie’s friends were hurrying him along so they could celebrate the show. I found out later on he’s originally from Chicago, which explained the entourage. He just kept telling them, “Guys, give me five minutes, just five minutes.” Surprisingly, it appeased most of them for about 25 minutes while we finished the interview.

Read about their plans for their next tour after the jump:

[Read more...]

Phantom Planet at Metro

Phantom Planet
Metro – Chicago, IL
9/25/2008

Phantom Planet Metro - Chicago, IL 9/25/2008

How many of you have heard of Phantom Planet before? You know, the group that helped foster Jason Schwartzman’s Coconut Records.

Now, how many of you know them outside the song “California,” the O.C. theme song? I’m willing to bet it’s not very many of you and that’s unfortunate.

“California” is a good song; in fact, it’s one of those songs your kids are going to be listening to 20 years from now. But, Phantom Planet is so much more. I was fortunate enough to see them on their current tour opening up for The Rocket Summer. Let’s just say Phantom Planet deserved to headline that show.

I got to the venue a little bit late thanks to the wonderful CTA. Anyways, I walked in on the middle of “Always On My Mind” just before lead singer Alex Greenwald launched himself into the crowd. Just another night at a PP show…

Alex is like a 10-year old all “hyped up on Mountain Dew,” he runs around the stage, jumps into the crowd, and when he has the chance, he scales the speaker stacks like he did at this year’s Lollapalooza festival. Mark Roson brought out the entire band for the cover of Radiohead’s “Just.” And afterwards, allowed the band to play their hit single “California” that appears as a bonus track on Ronson’s album Version.

Phantom Planet Metro - Chicago, IL 9/25/2008

I haven’t had a chance to meet these guys in person but I do know someone who has. He told me that Alex doesn’t slow down when he gets off stage and he couldn’t wait to “get back on the tour bus” if you’re picking up what I’m putting down. For those who aren’t, he’s a fan of women. If you watch during the show, he seems to pick someone out of the crowd and sing to them. Lucky girls.

Throughout the show, the band kept teasing the crowd knowing that most of them only knew one song. Finally, Alex announced to the crowd, “I guess we’ll play it” just before diving into “California.” Before leaving the stage, they played one last song off their sophomore album, The Guest, “All Over Again.”

Whether the fans knew about Phantom Planet before the show, or this was their first time hearing the band, they showed a lot of appreciation which was nice see.

They have a few shows left on their way out to the West Coast so if you have a chance, go see these guys and make sure The Rocket Summer knows you were there to see Phantom Planet, not them.

Hot Chip…Where’s the Salsa?

Hot Chip
Metro – Chicago, IL
09/28/2008

Hot Chip

Around 8:30 Sunday night, the synth-heavy electro-pop Hot Chip kicked off a two-night stint at the Metro. The visual duo, Growing, opened for them. Visual really isn’t my thing, I suppose if I were on acid it would be ‘wow’ but 100% sober, I just can’t get into it. Call me lame but I had the same reaction when I saw Yeasayer open for Man Man (coming to Bottom Lounge 10/18) earlier this year. -Actually, listening to them now it’s more intriguing…maybe I’ll give them another shot.

Sorry to deviate, there’s more about the actual show after the jump…

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A little Tobacco but WHY?

Why?
Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL
09/26/2008

Why? Tobacco & Yeti?

Tobacco kicked off the night with some calm and collected electro beats. They were just a little too slow and not quite fast enough to groove to. Songs would usually start off with a promising beat but for some reason that would die out leaving me wanting more. The two DJ’s were fairly stationary the entire set but their video mash-ups, everything from Ron Jeremy style 80’s porn clips to some of Arnold Schwarzenegger bustin’ caps in people’s asses, were a great addition and ultimately saved the show for me. The last song brought out a Yeti that walked/crawled around the stage coupled with a video starring the same creature. The whole Yeti thing feels like it had a deeper meaning but I wasn’t interested enough to search for it.

Afterwards, indie-hoppers (that’s indie hip-hop and yes, I just made that up) WHY? took the stage captivating the crowd with their brilliantly abstract lyrics that focus more on imagery than any kind of story. The beautifully crafted lyrics, while absurd to many, did a great job painting zany pictures in my mind. For example, “The Hollows” has an especially colorful lyric, “In Berlin I saw two men fuck;in the dark corner of a basketball court;Just a slight jangle of pocket change pulsing” that puts me right there with him. I know that’s not particularly attractive to some of you but honestly, listen to that track and tell me it doesn’t get stuck in your head.

More after the jump…

[Read more...]

A Journey Through Space With My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine
Aragon Entertainment Center – Chicago, IL
09/27/2008

My Bloody Valentine Live at Aragon

The Irish shoegaze band, My Bloody Valentine, took a sold-out crowd on a sonic voyage through the cosmos Saturday night at the Aragon Entertainment Center. In the minds of MBV, the universe is deafening, so much so that free ear plugs were given away when entering the venue. I’ve never seen that done before, kudos.

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Sick Puppies Q&A

After the Q101 Block Party was canceled on Saturday, September 13th, several bands decided to head over to the Cubby Bear to play a free show for those who were 21+. Sick Puppies and Ludo were the only major acts that played the show. MSI rumored that they were going to play but didn’t actually show up, bummer. Anyways, here’s my interview with the Sick Puppies:

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The Presets Call In To The Dead Hub

The Presets, supporting Cut Copy on their North American Tour are an electro-dance duo hailing from Sydney, Australia. Chicago was the third stop on the tour following Kansas City and Minneapolis. The show was September 17th at the Metro and was sold out. You can check out Joe’s review of the show here.

The Presets

The Presets: Julian (left) and Kim (right)

I had a chance to talk with lead singer and keyboardist Julian Hamilton. He shares his thoughts on the show at the Metro and leaves Chicago fans with some exciting words of encouragement! Here goes…

[Read more...]

Day 1 At The 2008 Q101 Block Party

Sick Puppies & Ludo
Q101 Block Party – Day One
Cubby Bear – Chicago, IL
September 13, 2008

Sick Puppies & Ludo Q101 Block Party - Day One Cubby Bear - Chicago, IL September 13, 2008Shimon Moore (Vocals, Guitar)

The fine folks over at Q101 planned for a weekend of rock. The weekend was stacked with 23 acts including Avenged Sevenfold, Mindless Self Indulgence, Sick Puppies, Pennywise, Theory of Dead Man, Black Tide, Apocalyptica, Bullet For My Valentine, and Atreyu. That was before the weekend was plagued with bad luck.

Sick Puppies & Ludo Q101 Block Party - Day One Cubby Bear - Chicago, IL September 13, 2008Andrew Volpe (vocals, guitar)

Read on to read and see more of the Sick Puppies and Ludo at the Q101 Block Party…

The first blow came when Avenged Sevenfold had a sickness in the band and announced that they would have to cancel just days before the show. Although that was a bummer, there were still plenty of other great bands playing over the weekend. The next blow came when I woke up Saturday morning to see it pouring outside. By 1pm, it was still raining, over 4 inches according to the news. But, I was still planning to check out the show. I weatherproofed my camera as best I could and set out for the Block Party. Over the air, I heard that the show had been cancelled but some bands were moving to the Cubby Bear for a free show. That was the best news I’d heard all day.

Sick Puppies & Ludo Q101 Block Party - Day One Cubby Bear - Chicago, IL September 13, 2008Around 4pm, I headed over to the Cubby Bear for a sit down with Sick Puppies. That interview is in a separate post located here. After our chat, Ludo took the stage. Lead singer, Andrew Volpe puts on a show that entertains whether the crowd is familiar with their songs or now. His off the cuff remarks to banter from the crowd is hilarious and his antics on stage would entertain even Mr. Scrooge. Several times throughout the set, Andrew turned the spotlight to lead guitarist, Tim Ferrell, who impressed the crowd with his solos. By the time Ludo got to their hit single, ‘Love Me Dead,’ the crowd had converted to the cult of Ludo.

In between Ludo and The Lifeline another mainstream rock band played but I didn’t have a chance to catch their name. Next up was Chicago locals, The Lifeline, an alternative rock band that adds a violin into their alternative rock sound. Rebecca Faber’s violin work adds a haunting overtone to Ryan Hope’s vocals, most noticeably on ‘Not For Nothing.’ The rest of the band is comprised of Eddie Yonushatis on guitar, Berto Salgado on bass, and Lonni Lane on the drums.

Sick Puppies & Ludo Q101 Block Party - Day One Cubby Bear - Chicago, IL September 13, 2008

Another Chicago based band, Munroe, was up next, a real metal set. The rockers were supposed to play on the main stage before that dream was crushed by Mother Nature. Never-the-less, they played an energetic show and came off as a seasoned rock band ready for the big leagues. Munroe may have missed a big break last weekend but they’re definitely someone to watch in the coming years.

During the Sick Puppies set, I got to enjoy the benefits of a 21+ show, alcohol and swearing, my favorite. Sadly, there was no nudity but the high energy show made up for it. When the lights went down, the crowd’s excitement went up. The lead singer, Shim, started the show with “are you ready for a fuckin’ rock show Chicago?” If you know of a better way to start a show, I’d like to hear it because the crowd went absolutely nuts. To keep up that high energy, they started off with ‘Cancer,’ the song responsible for their album’s title ‘Dressed Up As Life.’ Next was ‘Deliverance,’ ‘Anywhere But Here,’ ‘My World,’ and then ‘All the Same’ made famous by the free hugs video. Shim prepped the crowd for the next song with “guys, when you’re fighting with your girl it’s better to just shut the fuck up. Shut..the fuck..up!” which lead to ‘Too Many Words.’

Sick Puppies & Ludo Q101 Block Party - Day One Cubby Bear - Chicago, IL September 13, 2008

Another crowd favorite was preceded by “this song has been banned worldwide” and ” it was written by three beautiful ladies with dark brown hair you just want to grab by the back of the head and bend over the hood of your car” that lead to ‘Say My Name.’ For the last song, Shim got the crowd nice and close to each other telling them to “put your hands on the person in front of you and on the count of three we’re going to put a hole in this fucking floor.” I’m sure you can guess what happened on the count of three. Although we didn’t break a hole in the floor, everyone gave it a damn good effort. After the show, Mark, Shim, and Emma made a point to meet everyone in the crowd as they do after EVERY show. I’ve been to hundreds of concerts in my lifetime and I’ve never met a band that’s as devoted to their fans as the Sick Puppies are.

Sick Puppies & Ludo Q101 Block Party - Day One Cubby Bear - Chicago, IL September 13, 2008

After a whole day of rock and a “fuckin’ rock show” from the Sick Puppies, I was ready to call it a night. After all, Sunday was a whole new Block Party.

Does It Offend You, Yeah?

Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Subterranean – Chicago, IL
September 10, 2008

Does It Offend You, Yeah? Subterranean - Chicago, IL September 10, 2008

Last Wednesday I landed myself in an interesting predicament while trying to get into the Does It Offend You, Yeah? show at Chicago’s Subterranean. I started the night out expecting to be on the guest list since I was covering the show for a wonderful site known as Dead Hub. Needless to say, that didn’t last long because at the door I was informed that I wasn’t on the list by one of three bouncers. Thank you publicist!

No big deal I thought, I’d just pay the $12 to get in, right? WRONG. The show had sold out online no more than an hour before doors opened. A crowd of about thirty other people were left in the same situation and the bouncers weren’t willing to ‘bend the rules’ so to speak. Not willing to give up, I staked out the front of the venue along with Celia who also writes for Dead Hub. After about twenty minutes, I spotted James Rushnet (vox, bass) outside smoking a cigarette (thank you smoking ban.) We explained the situation and how Celia had done an interview with him over the phone just days earlier. He seemed eager to help and no one else outside seemed to recognize him so I didn’t feel too bad.

Now I should pause here for dramatic effect but let’s just say I wouldn’t “bet the farm” on a rock star’s word. After he ran off to find the elusive “Pete,” in order to get us on the list, we were left waiting once again. Most people would have given up after the band went on stage realizing that James wouldn’t be coming back out to get us on that list. But, I’ve been waiting for this show since I saw their set at Lollapalooza. Besides, I enjoy a challenge.

Keep reading after the jump to hear the rest of Andy’s adventure…

While waiting for people to leave so I could snag their wrist bands, I got to watch Morgan Quaintance’s sister cry to one of the bouncers, “just let me in, I don’t even want to drink.” Apparently, she had tried to pass a fake ID so she could drink with her friends. It took a lot of crying for her to convince the bouncer to let her in. I on the other hand, was still stuck outside listening to a muffled concert.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? Subterranean - Chicago, IL September 10, 2008Morgan Quaintance

We finally got our break when a couple that was leaving agreed to surrender their wristbands. Celia and I tried one last ditch effort to get into the show. We got about halfway in before I was stopped by one of the guards. Apparently I grabbed wristbands for 21+ and I already had X’s on both of my hands signifying under 21…damn. Because they only had a few songs left, Celia called it a night. I, however, decided to stick out the night.

It was my lucky night because a guy walked asking if anyone still needed a ticket. When I told him they only had a few songs left, he let me have his ticket for free. Score! I’m not sure which song I walked in on, I was busy getting my camera gear ready. The next song was We Are Rockstars. The previously docile crowd exploded into a dance club. That was exactly the kind of show I was expecting from them, crazy. The Brit rockers exited the stage briefly only to come back minutes later for their encore. Instead of the fitting Epic Last Song, they covered Devo’s Whip It, a familiar rendition instead of something more obscure.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? Subterranean - Chicago, IL September 10, 2008Morgan

I learned several valuable things during my first show for the Dead Hub. First, be prepared to find out your name isn’t on the list. Second, never trust a member of the band until they come through. And finally, the bouncers out here in Chicago don’t mess around. Bottom line, if you plan to see DIOYY, buy your tickets in advance so you can enjoy the entire dance party!