Naked Raygun Rock Out Thanksgiving Eve!

Naked Raygun
Metro – Chicago, IL

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Hundreds of punk fans moshed their way into Thanksgiving with Naked Raygun last night. The crowd for sure brought their A-game for this joyus event. So many pits formed throughout the night. Some fans even tried to crowd surf which I just found hilarious. That may fly for a pop show but not for this hardcore/punk crowd. So many people bit it hard, I have to admit it was highly entertaining. For those unfamiliar of who Naked Raygun is, they formed in Chicago during 1981. They were one of the first U.S. post-punk bands of the ‘80s merging melodic sounds with punk. After a number of album releases in the ‘80s the band ended up splitting after the release of Raygun…Naked Raygun in 1990. Members went on to perform with other bands including Pegboy and The Bomb. Due to public demand for Naked Raygun in 1999 indie label Touch and Go/Quarterstick Records reissued all of Naked Raygun’s albums with bonus tracks. A compilation album was also produced including collected works from 1980-1992. After a massive turn out for their 2006 reunion at Riot Fest, playing to a sold out crowd of 4,000 people they decided to come back with new releases. Currently there is a release #4 of their 7” series and they are heading back into the studio at the end of the year to record more material. Tours are being set up for both the West Coast and Europe in 2012.
 Naked Raygun - Metro Chicago

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Naked Raygun Metro Set List



Metro and Smart Bar are pleased to welcome Lollapalooza performing artists Wednesday August 3 through Saturday August 6, 2011. This series of evening shows, taking place the week of the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, will provide music fans the opportunity to see some of today’s brightest stars in an intimate club environment. Tickets to all shows go on sale this Friday June 24 at 10am at the Metro Box Office and at /

On Wednesday August 3, the Lolla-related festivities begin with Nelarusky: A Pre-Lollapalooza special event benefiting Special Olympics Chicago featuring Cold War Kids, Gold Motel, Carbon Tigers, Katz Company and Rachel McClusky. California’s Cold War Kids have been making music together since 2004. Their full length albums Robbers & Cowards and Loyalty To Loyalty led to non-stop touring around the world for several years on end, including a 2009 gig opening for Death Cab For Cutie. In between tours, they somehow found the time to record songs for their latest release, Mine Is Yours, which came out on Downtown Records in January. Come be among the first to see the new songs performed live in Chicago! Tickets are $26, and all proceeds will benefit the work of Special Olympics Chicago. The show is 18 & over and starts at 7pm.

The fun continues on Thursday August 4 with Death From Above 1979 and Metz. Toronto’s Death From Above 1979 took the dance-punk world by storm with the release of their album, You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine in 2004. Certified as a gold record in Canada, the album was released on Vice Recordings in the U.S. and brought the music of Jesse Keeler and Sebastian Grainger to American audiences. The band broke up in 2006, but after five years of silence, they recently announced their reunion and will play Lollapalooza as well as a handful of other shows this summer. Don’t miss the return of Death From Above 1979! Tickets are $26. The show is 18 & over and starts at 9pm. [Read more…]



Metro is pleased to host the Chicago debut of the new band Skysaw on Saturday, June 25. Tickets go on sale this Saturday May 21 at noon at the Metro Box Office and online at

Skysaw is the new project of acclaimed drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, DC-based singer Mike Reina and guitarist Anthony Pirog, Reina and Pirog were writing cohorts in the much-loved Fairfax, VA-based group, The Jackfields, whose Pink Floyd-meets-Beach Boys psychedelia was widely lauded. Jimmy Chamberlin is known to music fans around the world as the virtuoso behind the drum kit with such venerated acts as Smashing Pumpkins, Zwan and The Jimmy Chamberlin Complex.

After forming in 2009, the band set out to create brilliant, tuneful and whip-smart pop music that can loosely be described with words like “progressive” and “symphonic,” while at the same time deserving their own category. Their debut album, Great Civilizations, will be released June 21 on Dangerbird Records.

What people are saying about Skysaw:
“A collection of prog-leaning, psychedelic jams with flourishes of acoustic guitars, keyboards, piano, and more.” – Spin April 2011

“Tightly constructed chunk of melodic rock music. It’s tuneful and intricate, yet doesn’t trip over into proggy hysteria.” – Buzz Bands LA March 2011

Hi-res photos, digital downloads and interview access is available for members of the media on assignment. For more information on this event please contact Jenny Lizak at 773-549-4140 ext 212 or

Saturday, June 25: ON SALE THIS SATURDAY 5/21 @ NOON:
93XRT Welcomes…
SKYSAW (featuring Jimmy Chamberlin, Mike Reina, & Anthony Pirog) * CAMERA * SOFT SPEAKER
$13 adv. – $15 day of / 18 & Over / Doors: 8PM / Show: 9PM

Metro Box Office / Internet sales at

About Metro:
Metro is one of the country’s most renowned independent concert venues. Established in July 1982, Metro has become a playground for new and developing local artists as well as showcasing the best cutting edge bands from around the globe for twenty-five years. For more information, visit


The Scooty & JoJo Show and Metro present the comic rock spectacle, Alien Queen: The Concert, on Friday, May 13 at Metro. Tickets go on sale this Saturday April 9.

Alien Queen: The Concert combines the legendary music of Queen with an outrageous parody of the “Alien” films to create a top-notch Queen tribute band made up of H.R. Giger-inspired aliens, cross-gendered humans, and some of Chicago’s best singers and rock musicians. The event will be a full evening of rock and ridiculousness, with special guests performing before Alien Queen: The Concert takes the stage. The show is an 18 & over event.

The Scooty & JoJo Show premiered their original musical Alien Queen: A Sci-fi Rock ParOdyssey in December 2010 and January 2011 at Chicago’s Circuit Nightclub, garnering incredible critical praise and packed houses. The original show, created and staged by Scott Bradley, is a farcical fusion of the Alien film franchise with the iconic sound of British rock band Queen. [Read more…]

In Photos: Hanson at the House of Blues

House of Blues – Chicago

Waiting for This/Watch Over Me/ Rock N Roll Razorblade/ In the City
Make It Out Alive
If Only
And I Waited
Runaway Run
Can’t Stop
Carry You There
Save Me
Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’
Minute Without You
Voice in the Chorus
Give a Little
Dancing in the Street

In Photos: Rooney at The House of Blues

House of Blues – Chicago

Calling the World
Holdin On
If It Were Up To Me
I Can’t Get Enough
Stars and Stripes
Not In My House

Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos:

Jewel Gets Sweet and Wild at the Vic

The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL

Jewel The Vic Theatre ChicagoJewel’s most recent album, Sweet and Wild, comes out this Tuesday. She performed many new songs from her upcoming album during the Chicago stop on her Starlight Cafe tour, but she also played many fan favorites as well.

Read more and see photos after the jump… [Read more…]

Matt Hires Records Upcoming Album Live at Schubas

Matt Hires
Schuba’s Tavern – Chicago, IL

Matt Hires Schuba's Tavern

Generation iPod, take notes! There is something to be said about live performances. Losing your hearing for a night, worming your way towards the front of the stage, and leaving fully drenched in sweat and a Bud Light the girl dancing next to you snuck in. I mean, you can listen to John Mayer or Kings of Leon on your new iPhone all day, but nothing will compare to being there, being crushed by the growing mob of fans, being right in front of a talented group of folks who want nothing more than to be playing in front of you.

Read the rest and see photos from the concert after the jump…

The band played a long set with plenty of guitar solos and whistling in between. He played through most of his recently released album, Take Us To the Start. After revealing the night’s performances would be recorded for a future album, Matt Hires opened with the ever-poignant “State Lines”. He did not disappoint in the surprises promised for his Chicago fans. After playing through a few songs, he encouraged the jam-packed Schubas venue to whistle along with his cover of “Kids” by MGMT. In retrospect Matt Hires is a pretty damn good whistler.

In fact, Matt Hires is a pretty damn good musician. While most of his songs can fall into the rock or singer/songwriter categories, he debuted a new song called “A to B” which was very much a form of a Midwestern-slash-Americana style of sound. The crowd loved it while the energy soared well into the late night. Matt finally topped off his album with a loud and thunderous finale closing off what I hope is a phenomenal live album.

Click on thumbnails of Matt Hires to enlarge photos:

Photos by: Katie Williams

Written by: Blake Russell

In the Green Room with Matt Hires

Matt Hires’ Take Us To The Start is available now!

Matt HiresAs I arrived at the Schubas Tavern on a particularly mild February day, I immediately noticed how busy the the West Lakeview venue was. Young and old crowded the Harmony Grill in anticipation for a singer/songwriter who’s been making waves from his sunny Florida hometown. Enter Matt Hires. The 22-year old singer met up with us in between sound checks and some live recordings. Disappearing behind the bar front, Matt took us down to the Tavern’s make-shift green room for a pre-show interview. The walls are littered with colorful vintage posters from many previous Scubas events. This room has seen Kings of Leon, Andrew Bird and Sufjan Stevens before Matt Hires first show at Schubas Tavern. However, this twentysomething is no stranger to the Midwest. He even has a few surprises in store for his fans…

The interview with Matt Hires after the jump… [Read more…]

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

Girl Talk
Congress Theater – Chicago, IL

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:

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

Kings of Leon
Aragon Ballroom- Chicago, IL


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

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:

Straight From The Bayou – Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes
Metro – Chicago, IL

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

The Vic

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)

The Vic

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

The Metro – Chicago, IL

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

One Night of Danger with The Virgins!

The Virgins
Abbey Pub – Chicago, IL

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

Phantom Planet at Metro

Phantom Planet
Metro – Chicago, IL

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

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…

[Read more…]

A little Tobacco but WHY?

Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL

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

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.

[Read more…]


New York, July 30th, 2008

Peace One Day announced today that a star-studded concert celebrating Peace Day 2008 will be held at the Nokia Theatre Times Square in New York City on September 9th, 2008. Grammy-award winning singers Annie Lennox and Bryan Adams will perform acoustic sets alongside international sensation Natasha Bedingfield. Video messages of Peace from celebrities and artists including Jude Law and Lenny Kravitz, speeches from international luminaries and clips from the acclaimed documentary, The Day After Peace, will add to a remarkable night of entertainment. The New York concert will be filmed and a TV special will be broadcast globally.

Proceeds from the Peace One Day Celebration are earmarked to assist the non-profit organization’s ongoing mission to raise awareness of Peace Day, September 21st annually, and manifest life saving activities on the Day. As a direct outcome of Peace One Day’s campaigning in 2007, parties in Afghanistan recognized Peace Day resulting in 1.4 million Afghanistan children being vaccinated against polio. Last year, 100 million people in 200 countries were engaged in Peace Day activities and in 14 of those countries, efforts were targeted towards providing life-saving activities and medical services on the Day.

Annie Lennox said today, “What I love about Jeremy Gilley and the Peace One Day campaign, is that the whole thing was started by just one individual who is trying to make difference, despite the odds. We all have so much potential, but we don’t tend to realise it, so we take it for granted. The work of Peace One Day encourages and inspires people to think about we can all do, both at individual and “collective” levels. There are better and alternative means to conflict resolution than “killing and maiming the enemy”. Political leaders and power brokers have too much invested in the industry of war, rather than implementing peaceful solutions. What is life without peace? Peace is for the highest good, and as a global community it is one of the things we need to value above everything.”

“We now have a remarkable chance to each do our part to commit to peaceful activities on Peace Day and this day has been proven to save lives,” said Jeremy Gilley, Founder of Peace One Day and writer, producer and director of The Day After Peace, “I am excited to be in New York to celebrate this important day with internationally acclaimed singers like Annie Lennox, Bryan Adams and Natasha Bedingfield.”

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Vanessa Carlton – Park West – Chicago

Vanessa Carlton
Park West – Chicago, IL
Sunday, November 18, 2007

Vanessa Carlton Park West
This girl gets an A in my grade book! She would have gotten an A+ if she had played two more of my favorite songs from her second album, Harmonium. But alas, she did not play “Annie” or “San Francisco,” much to my disappointment. However, she did play all of her hits, even if that only means the three you heard on the radio or saw on VH1: “Ordinary Day,” “White Houses,” and “A Thousand Miles.”

Vanessa Carlton Park West

One thing that I am very big on when it comes to live performances is audience interaction. As an artist and performer, I believe you must acknowledge your fans and the crowd of people that have paid to come and see you play your music. I lose respect for the artist when they do not talk to the fans from the stage in between songs. In Vanessa’s case, she talked SO MUCH in between her songs that I almost wanted her to just shut the hell up and play the next song! Good lord, that girl can ramble and banter on and on and on… But I love her anyway, whether she talks to much or not enough. She performed with only a violinist for the whole show. Some songs she did on her own. Admittedly, the songs sound quite different with only vocals, piano, and violin, but it worked and the music was better than ever.

This was my first time seeing her in concert and I would go to her show again in a heartbeat. I bought her new album from the merch guy after the show because I knew I would not be able to fall asleep that night without listening to all of the new songs I had just heard Vanessa play for the past hour or so. That night was the first time I had heard any of her new songs and I seriously loved every one of them! I got to the venue during the opening act, Graham Colton, and by the time Vanessa came on stage, I was in the second row of people in the general admission “pit” main floor area right in front of the stage. I have both of the songbooks for her first two albums, Be Not Nobody and Harmonium, and have taught myself how to play her songs on the piano. I just HAD to be up in the front to get a good view of her keyboard so I could watch her hands play the same notes I can play. In fact, I was so set on making it to the front row (or as close as I could get) that I told my two friends that came with me to the show that I was “going down in the pit!” and proceeded to ditch them while I walked right on through the crowd. Luckily, these two friends of mine knew how much I loved Vanessa’s music and understood why I had to leave them to go fight my way to the stage!

The first thing that came to mind when she walked on stage was: “Wow! She is freaking tall!” It is beyond me how someone can perform and play the piano while wearing five-inch heels (the pedals!), but Vanessa must be a pro by now. Even without the heels, she must be around 5’9’’ and slender like a ballerina. She was dressed all in black and her famous long black hair was cascading down her back. She performed on her signature piano (YAMAHA – my fav!) with a sort of table cloth thing draped over the top that her grandmother had made for her. Apparently, she never performs without it covering her piano.This show was being filmed for a future DVD and so while the venue allowed cameras to come inside, we all had to turn off our flash when we used them. I took a picture with my flash on – it was an ACCIDENT, I swear! – and got yelled at by a security guard. Then to make matters worse, I was recording “White Houses” on my camera when the SAME security guard totally chastised me in front of all the people standing around me and said if he caught me recording or using flash again, he would take my camera away. Needless to say, I did not turn my camera back on for the rest of the show because I was too scared of that security guy snatching my precious camera away from me.Anyways…Vanessa was totally laid-back, cool, talkative, hyper (too much espresso she claimed) and sweet. She swore (holy shit, fuck, shit) in front of us, but that was okay with me because it made her all the more human. She gets to watch the footage from the video that night and edit it herself so she can cut anything she deems inappropriate – although I wish she would leave everything just the way it was. She admitted to keeping a stash of vodka in her tour bus, which she drinks almost every day with pomegranate and/or cranberry juice to make it red. She made us feel proud of our city when she said she had been spending quite a lot of time in Chicago recently. She was just in town last week or the week before taping a concert special with Stevie Nicks for PBS Soundstage. An artist always gets extra points from me when they talk about Chicago during their live show.

M.I.A. – House of Blues – Chicago

House of Blues – Chicago, IL
Wednesday, November 21, 2008

This chick is pretty much the coolest on the block. I LOVE her. I saw her for the first time at Lollapalooza this past summer and she blew me away. I was going to see her again on Friday, November 23 at a different venue (The Vic Theatre) in Chicago, but I ended up having to work that night. I was bummed to miss out on two M.I.A. shows in three days! Chicago’s very own The Cool Kids opened for her. Since Against Me! Played an early show that same night at the HOB, M.I.A. did not go on stage until 1:08 AM and performed until 2:30 AM! Thank God the HOB’s late show curfew was 3 AM or else I would have passed out from exhaustion. She came out on stage in wearing her signature shades, even though the lighting in the venue was nothing near too bright. But whatever, if the girl wants to wear sunglasses at 1 AM inside a dimly lit room, then more power to her! I had no idea what she was saying or singing about pretty much for 90% of her songs, because her mix of British/Indian/Sri Lankan accents is like a foreign language to me. I just keep my mouth shut and watch her super fans sing along to every word of every song. She had two backup singers/rappers/dancers and a DJ for her set. She also got behind some crazy weird DJ booth or mixing board and contributed some special effect sounds of her own.

I give her the most credit for audience interaction though. I was on the main floor in the pit with two friends on the far right – in front of the speakers. She spent most of the time either in the middle of the stage or on the right (stage left), directly in front of where my friends and I were standing! She was so close to us. She kept climbing up the speakers and sitting on them to sing her songs. She also got down off the stage and stood on the barricade rail while the security guards had to hold her up and the fans tried to pull her into the crowd with them. Kinda scary…The BEST part of the whole show was when she brought up about 30 kids from the front of the pit and let them dance and sing along with her to one song. Security must have been warned about this because nobody stopped the kids from running up there. She put her mic in front of a few of her fans and let them sing/scream/shout along to the lyrics of her song with her. I was very impressed with her at that point. She totally won me over. It was like some rave up on the HOB stage at 2:15 in the morning on a school night! All the colors of the rainbow were represented at this show. American Apparel was EVERYWHERE!