Is M.I.A. Missing In Action?, or, How 2 Make A Gun W/ UR Hand

M.I.A.
The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
9/29 & 9/30 – /\/\/\Y/\, out now!

Whether she wants to admit it or not, M.I.A. is a celebrity. Since the (commercial) success of “Paper Planes,” the performance artist turned electro-banger sailed on to create an album which spawns controversy wherever it lands. One of Maya Arulpragasm’s recent music videos (directed by Romain Gavras) caused quite the anger-gasm as the majority of the viewing public failed to understand just exactly what the artist was trying to say. [Read more…]

Jewel Gets Sweet and Wild at the Vic

Jewel
The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
06/04/2010

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…]

In Photos: The Heavy

The Heavy
Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
5/21/10

theheavy

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Sia Gives Sneak Peak Of Upcoming Album ‘We Are Born’

Sia
Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
April 25, 2010

Sia Vic Theatre

Quirky? Check. Fun? Check. Colorful? Check. Audience interaction? Check. Vocal talent? Check. Great songs? Check. Inclusion of my favorite song in the set list? Check. In the end, Sia’s performance this past Sunday night at Chicago’s Vic Theatre left me highly satisfied, willing to see the singer live in concert again, and wanting to tell all of my friends about the undeniably talented songwriter. Basically, Sia is amazing. Having interviewed the pop singer/songwriter just a few weeks ago, I had a pretty good grasp on her personality. While doing my research in preparation for my interview with Sia, I became quite familiar with her sound and style of music. However, due to the fact that this show was my first time witnessing the glory and goofiness that is Sia, I had no clue what to expect from her live performance. By the end of the first song “The Fight,” I knew that this adorable feisty Aussie lady would put on quite a show. And that she did.

More photos of Sia and the set list after the jump…

[Read more…]

Up Front And Blunt: Singer/Songwriter Sia Tells All

Sia / We Are Born
4.25.10 / Vic Theatre
Chicago, IL

sia

Never in my life have I spoken with an artist as open and honest in her responses to my questions than when I interviewed Sia in anticipation of the Australian singer’s upcoming concert in Chicago and new record We Are Born. Sia is truly a breath of fresh air in a world oversaturated with puppets masquerading around on stages all over the world as performers (Britney Spears? Justin Bieber?). Sia will be stopping in Chicago on The We Meaning You Tour 2010 on Sunday, April 25th, 2010 when she plays the Vic Theatre with opening act Girl In A Coma. Not planning on seeing the show? Read on to find out more about the singer/songwriter pop vocalist. Once you finish reading this interview, the need to see Sia live in concert will completely overwhelm you. You will NOT want to miss it.

Read my interview with Sia after the jump…

[Read more…]

In Photos: Citizen Cope

Citizen Cope
Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
3/5/2010

CitizenCope 1

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Gomez Brings In ‘A New Tide’ To Chicago

Gomez
Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
March 4, 2010

Gomez Vic Theatre

Having never seen or heard Gomez before last Thursday night, I had no idea what was in store for me. With no expectations and an open mind, I attended the opening night of Gomez’s current tour in the States. Quite honestly, it felt pretty cool to be seeing Gomez live in concert for the first time while they were kicking off their tour in my hometown of Chicago. The fivesome hailing from Southport, England are promoting their latest album A New Tide, which was released almost a year ago on March 31, 2009. Three lead singers told me that Gomez is not your typical English indie rock band. There is nothing ordinary about a band whose members play multiple instruments in addition to having three out of five of the guys sharing lead vocal duties. Gomez earned my respect the second they walked out on stage and picked up their respective instruments. My admiration for Gomez and the group’s songs only grew as each song finished and a new one began. I am now a fan for life and will be at every Gomez show in Chicago from here on out.

More photos of Gomez after the jump…

Gomez Vic TheatreIan Ball (vocals, guitar)

Gomez Vic TheatreBen Ottewell (vocals, guitar)

Gomez Vic TheatrePaul Blackburn (bass)

Gomez Vic TheatreTom Gray (vocals, guitar, keyboards)

Set List / Chicago

Revolutionary Kind

Hamoa Beach

If I Ask You Nicely

Mix

See The World

Meet Me In The City

78 Stone Wobble

Sweet Virginia

Pick Up The Pieces

Rhythm And Blues Alibi

Other Plans

Bring Your Lovin’ Back Here

Ruff Stuff

Ping One Down

Step Inside

Win Park Slope

Girlshapedlovedrug

Devil Will Ride

—————————-ENCORE—————————

Airstream Driver

How We Operate

Gomez Vic TheatreOlly Peacock (drums)

Just to get it out of the way, I need to come clean with two random observations that I noticed. First off, singer/guitarist Ben Ottewell’s voice at times reminded me of former Barenaked Ladies lead singer Steven Page’s voice. Secondly, singer/guitarist/keyboardist Tom Gray physically appeared (to me, that is) to be a cross between Harry Potter, Elijah Wood, and Paul McCartney. Feel free to completely disagree with me on both points. Moments before launching into “Sweet Virginia,” Gray admitted to the crowd that the band was about to perform a song that they “haven’t played live in five years before tonight.” As Gray made the final adjustments to the placement of his guitar, he made the comment that it was the “perfect time for a waltz.” Indeed, “Sweet Virginia” is in fact, a waltz. “Are you ready Chicago?” asked singer/guitarist Ian Ball. And then Gomez began playing Sweet V as if they had played the song every night for the past five years.

Next up was “Pick Up The Pieces,” which had Gray stepping up to the edge of the stage and initiating the first of three clap alongs. “Bring Your Lovin’ Back Here” was the first composition included in Gomez’s set that I labeled as my favorite. If I had never gone to this Gomez show, one of the most catchiest tunes ever written would have never gotten the chance to reach my ears and become my new musical obsession. “Bring Your Lovin’ Back Here” was released back in October of 2000 on the Gomez record Abandoned Shopping Trolley Hotline. It took ten years for that particular song to be introduced to me. Songs affect my life in a way I can’t even begin to describe. It’s hard to explain and for some people to understand, but I feel as if my life would not be the same without BYLBH in it. That piece of music just makes every day living so much better to experience and get through.

Next up was “Ruff Stuff,” which became my second favorite song of the night. Not to say that I relate to the song, which contains the lyrics “Darling, I’ve given up fags and drugs now baby. Darling, I’ve had enough of the ruff stuff baby.” Can’t say I’ve ever taken any drugs (excluding medicine). A brief episode of smoking cigarettes lasted less than three months back in my early angst-ridden rebellious college years. But just like the addiction brought on from the use of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, the lyrics in “Ruff Stuff” paired with the melody the words are written to served as my new addiction. The way I look at it, is that it’s better to be addicted to songs and music than any of that body-harming ruff stuff. Wouldn’t you agree?

“Ping One Down” brought about the second of three clap alongs lead by Tom Gray. This time around, the clapping had a syncopated rhythm to it and the song later included a jam session breakdown showing off Ben Ottewell’s ridiculous electric guitar playing chops. Man, that guy can play! Note to those who don’t enjoy listening to or watching jam bands: “Ping One Down” may turn you off of Gomez’s music. Give their other songs a chance before you decide not to see Gomez live in concert again just because they got a little too “jammy” for your tastes. “I guess it’s time to play a song we’ve never played before. We wrote it a long time ago,” Gray said to introduce the next song “Step Inside.” Of course, the simple fact that Gomez had only played “Step Inside” during the recording of the song years ago had no effect on how well the guys performed it live last week in Chicago. To my aurally trained ears, Gomez performed “Step Inside” as if they had been playing it live every night of every tour since the beginning of the band’s career in the 1990s.

“Win Park Slope” gave Gray the opportunity to rock the shaker (as best as one can rock out on the shaker) while Ian Ball’s lead vocals were mixed with plenty of reverb and delay. “Girlshapedlovedrug” had Gray leading the audience in the third and final clap along of the evening. “Devil Will Ride” featured Gray on the vocoder, with him switching back and forth between singing into his regular microphone and his vocoder mic. Near the end of the song Gray brought the two microphones together and sang into both. In sum, Tom Gray is totally awesome. The kid plays every type of acoustic and electric guitar in existence, as well as the shaker, tambourine, keyboard, synthesizer, and piano. Oh yeah, and he can sing. Basically, I want to be him. Gomez started their encore with “Airstream Driver,” the group’s big hit from A New Tide and finished their set off with “How We Operate.” The sold out crowd was left with the final words “try to see things my way…i’ll try to see things your way.” A perfect way for humans to operate, indeed.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge images:

Devendra Banhart in Chicago

Devendra Banhart
Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
November 16, 2009

Devendra Banhart Vic Theatre

I wasn’t planning on reviewing this one – so I’ll only touch upon the key moments – and there were certainly many. I wrote my notes in my cell phone…2010 Baby! List form, go:

1) Devendra rocked some ridiculously colored shoes and a t-shirt that said “We did it CHICAGO STLYE.”

2) Valencia Roxy Music and Rats underwent some changes for the worse…all other songs were enhanced live (especially the Spanish ones).

3) In freak-folk land, the backing band was a SuperGroup: Rodrigo Amarante – Guitarist (Los Hermanos, Little Joy) Noah Georgeson (Little Joy, Devendra Producer) Greg Rogove – drummer (Priestbird) Luckey Remington – bassist (The Pleased).

More photos of Devendra Banhart after the jump…

Devendra Banhart Vic Theatre4) The Devendra solo songs were better though.

5) Devendra is debating between calling his band Dufus 3D and The Groggs (I think he prefers The Groggs).

6) Brindo was 100 times better live.

7) We got the best song from Little Joy first-hand.

8. He played “Lover”!!

9) The second half of “Angelika” was awesome.

10) Very Young, Very Good, Very Appreciative crowd, a lot of interaction with a talkative Devendra – surprisingly intimate show.

11) I’d like to get a hold of The Pleased song that Luckey performed, it rocked, and I need to check out their (Joanna Newsom-collab!) albums.

12) Was pleased that an audience member threw his hat on stage, his dream is to get hit with a tomato.

13) Two of the best surprises pulled from his first tour when he was travel ling with Entrance – the awesome Charles C. Leary (the first song I’ve ever heard of his) and the killer Johnny Thunders song “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory.”

14) One girl climbed on stage during their pre-encore last song, her friend joined, then two more…eventually 20+, pretty sweet.

15) His shirtless encore medley of “Chinese Children” and “I Feel Just Like A Child” was just as awesome as you’d expect.

16) Devendra couldn’t have been more grateful…a very solid, intimate, direct, and memorable show. Incredible set list:

Set List / Chicago

Long Haired Child
16th And Valencia Roxy Music
Can’t Help But Smiling
Little Yellow Spider
(solo acoustic)
Sight To Behold (solo acoustic)
How’s About Telling A Story (solo acoustic)
Maria
Foolin’
Brindo
No One’s Better Sake (Little Joy)
Lover
Angelika
“It’s Gonna Take Some Time To Be Alone With You” (The Pleased)
I Remember
(piano)
Charles C. Leary (solo acoustic)
You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory (Johnny Thunders) (solo acoustic)
“New Song Hot off the Fudging Press” (Priestbird)
Carmensita (I’m Pretty Sure)
Rats
—————————–ENCORE—————————–
Chinese Children
Feel Like A Child

Devendra Banhart Vic Theatre

Written by: Joseph O’Fallon

Photos by: Stephanie Anderson

Success Follows The Sounds From Sweden To The States

The Sounds
Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
November 7, 2009

The Sounds Vic Theatre

The first time I ever saw The Sounds live was the first time I had ever heard their music in any capacity. I immediately fell in love with their poignant style, eclectic energy, and distinct sound and style of new wave alternative Swedish pop rock music. Just weeks ago, I found out that The Sounds were once again playing in Chicago and awaited with building anticipation their November 7th show.

More photos of The Sounds after the jump…

The Sounds Vic TheatreJohan Bengtsson (bass)

The Sounds Vic TheatreMaja Ivarsson (lead vocals)

The Sounds Vic TheatreFredrik Nilsson (drums)

Newly released third studio album Crossing The Rubicon (June 2009), brought The Sounds to the United States for an eight week run and last Saturday’s Chicago stop just happened to be the last date on the tour. Appropriately so, the over-enthused crowd began chanting “Sounds, Sounds, Sounds” at least five minutes before the band commenced their final set to be performed in North America for quite awhile. The Sounds have been on tour around the world since March 2009 promoting their most recent release. Playing in front of a not quite 100% sold out (but still totally packed) house at Chicago’s Vic Theatre, the night kicked off with the self-titled track from the group’s new album Crossing The Rubicon. It was a mysterious beginning due to the absence of lead vocalist Maja Ivarsson for the Intro / first song “Crossing the Rubicon.” However, the moment the drop-dead gorgeous pint-sized feisty singer took the stage, the mood was set for a party…and of course, a fun-filled kick-ass rock show!

The Sounds Vic TheatreJesper Anderberg (synthesizer, keyboard, piano, rhythm guitar, backing vocals)

After the Intro slash title track “Crossing the Rubicon” from the band’s latest record, the crowd was hit with a slew of hits from the group’s first two albums Living in America and Dying to Say This to You. Songs included: “Queen of Apology,” “Seven Days a Week,” and “Hurt You.” Effectively mixed in was the first single from the band’s newest album: “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake.” After the initial explosion of energy, The Sounds brought the mood down a notch for a trio of slower tempo songs: “Midnight Sun,” “Home Is Where Your Heart Is,” and “Night After Night.” The latter of the three had Ivarsson politely asking fans to take out their cell phones and lighters to accompany the petite platinum blonde singer as she illegally (in the city of Chicago) smoked a cigarette and serenaded us with the sweet tune off sophomore album Dying to Say This to You.

The new wave quintet hailing from Sweden picked up the energy once again and kept the mood kickin’ for the rest of the evening with songs such as: “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “My Lover,” “Beatbox,” and “Painted By Numbers.” After a very democratic vote among spectators in attendance at Saturday night’s musical presentation between “Living In America” and “Ego,” The Sounds finished the night on a high note with the winner: “Ego.” The encore was a three-song set, which kicked off with “Tony The Beat,” which was followed with an invitation from Ivarsson to a insanely muscled fan to come onstage to play cowbell for “Song With A Mission.”  Before introducing the last song of the band’s set, Ivarsson asked the crowd, “Chicago, are you happy now?” and then the group launched into their closing number: “Hope You’re Happy Now.”  The night’s festivities officially came to an end after Ivarsson stage dived into the crowd for one final moment of body surfing in the U.S.A.

I have never been to a show where the performing artist has been so interactive with their viewing and listening public. The Sounds achieved in their set what a singer/songwriter would want to achieve for an acoustic show in a small venue, but the Swedish fivesome did it their own way. It was as if lead singer and The Sounds frontwoman Maja Ivarsson had taken a rope and lassoed the audience in for an intimate round of story-telling. This chick knows how to work a crowd, strutting or jumping from one side of the stage to the other in her 4-inch stiletto heels, making eye contact, flirting through her gestures, posing for photographers, and connecting with audience members, all of which created moments that will last a lifetime for the fans.

The Sounds Vic TheatreFelix Rodriguez (lead guitar, backing vocals)

Ivarsson and Co. were in complete control the entire night. At one point during the musical spectacle, keyboardist (and multi-instrumentalist) Jesper Anderberg took a digital point-and-shoot camera from a girl holding court in the front row smashed up against the barricade and snapped photos of his fellow band members while they were performing. What any die hard fan would give for just one of those photographs…

The passion the audience had for this band was both entertaining and inspiring. My favorite part of the performance was catching glimpses of a guy up in a side balcony box on stage right singing every word to every song at the top of his lungs. This was a concert where the fans left the theatre sweating as much as the artists: the sign of an epic show. Would you expect anything less from The Sounds?

Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos:

Written by: Kate Jacobsen and Jennifer Boyer

Train Rolls Through Chicago Delivering the Hits

Train
Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
November 2, 2009

Train Vic Theatre

Witnessing Train perform live in concert for the first time was truly an experience I am grateful to have had. This past Monday night in Chicago, Train played a sold out show at Chicago’s Vic Theatre and I was lucky enough to be there. It is always pretty surreal to see an artist like Train play their songs live before your eyes when you had previously only heard the band’s music on the radio. Train is currently on tour promoting their latest record Save Me, San Francisco. The new album contains my personal favorite Train song to date: “Hey, Soul Sister.” Having had no idea what a rabid fan base the California trio has before this show, I was blown away by how dedicated and ecstatic the audience members were during Train’s performance.

More photos of Train after the jump…

Train Vic TheatreJimmy Stafford (lead guitar, backing vocals)

Train Vic TheatreScott Underwood (drums, percussion)

Train Vic TheatrePatrick Monahan (lead vocals, acoustic guitar)

Set List / Chicago

Parachute

Meet Virginia

Get To Me

She’s On Fire

Ordinary

When I Look To The Sky

Hey, Soul Sister

It’s About You

Calling All Angels

Save The Day

I Got You

Free

Drops Of Jupiter

————ENCORE———–

Save Me, San Francisco

Dream On (Aerosmith cover)

Halfway through the third song of the night “Get To Me,” lead singer and Train frontman Pat Monahan casually removed his jacket. While it is not unusual for artists to remove articles of clothing once the show kicks into high gear, I did not expect to hear the deafening screams that escaped the mouths of hundreds of women in the crowd when that jacket came off. I quickly came to realize that Patrick Monahan from Train is a bonafide heartthrob and rock god to thousands of middle-aged white women in America. If Chicago fans are any indication, Train is going to have quite the successful fall tour and new album. Of course it helps that lead single “Hey, Soul Sister” is receiving heavy rotation in the country’s third largest commercial radio market.

Four young women from the front row of the general admission floor were brought up on stage during “She’s On Fire” to perform as “Chicago’s own Trainettes” as Monahan put it. Each one of the girls was given a pink t-shirt with the word “Trainettes” printed in black across the front. “This next song is from the Spider Man 2 soundtrack,” Monahan said when introducing “Ordinary.” For Train’s hit “When I Look To The Sky,” Monahan sang the first verse and first chorus without the use of his microphone. Standing alone in the center of the stage with his toes right at the very edge, Monahan sang his heart out projecting his voice all the way to the last row of the Vic’s balcony.

Before launching into their most recent hit “Hey, Soul Sister,” Monahan told fans: “Literally, this is the most difficult song I have ever had to sing.” Well, I’m glad Train’s vocalist pulled it off and recorded the ukulele-fueled, midtempo insanely catchy sing-a-long. I am obsessed with it. It is most definitely my new favorite song and I listen to it several times a day. After performing the group’s massive hit “Calling All Angels,” Monahan looked out into the audience and exclaimed: “I don’t know what you’re saying, but I think it’s something like ‘Pat, you look amazing in those jeans.’ And you know what? You’re right.”

Near the end of “Save The Day” a woman named Dawn was chosen to come on stage and sing to guitarist Jimmy Stafford. Adding her own pole dancing moves while holding court at the mic stand, super fan Dawn took her vocal cues from Monahan and had the time of her life serenading Stafford. After Monahan sang some lines a few times, Dawn got her chance and took off singing “Hey Jimmy…” before Jimmy himself came over and sang into the mic directing his words right back at the lucky fan. Needless to say, I was more impressed by Train’s interaction with fans and relationship with their audience than their music. Not to say their music is not good enough for me. I do like the San Francisco group’s songs. However, what really stands out to me and wins me over is a band’s or artist’s acknowledgment of their fans in a live concert setting.

Even though Monahan chose to use a giant megaphone to sing through during various verses throughout the night, Train needs no assistance when it comes to reaching their audience. Not a Train fan? Check the guys out anyway when they play a city near you. You will be energized via osmosis exuded from fans all around you. Trust me, the vibe is contagious.

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge photos:

Built To Spill – Vic Theatre, Saturday, September 26, 2009

Built to Spill
The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
9/26/2009built to spill

Built To Spill’s Chicago Saturday gig at the Vic Theatre went about as expected – fifteen songs, some new material, extended guitar solos, knowledgeable fans, and a killer set, all coming together for one really really sweet show.

The dull beginning of the intro that segued into the new (There Is No Enemy) track “Oh Yeah,” did not set the standard for the great set/performance to come; however, the delayed start, their readiness to  jam, and the long gaps from song-to-song did set the pace. It is fair to say that Doug Martsch and the Boise quintet weren’t too concerned with firing through songs one right after the other.

Things certainly became more upbeat with the 1-2-3-4 punch of “In The Morning,” “The Plan,” “Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss,” and “Hindsight,” four songs that showcase Doug’s voice at its strongest, and allow the audience to move around a little beyond a head-bob. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET HEARD “Hindsight,” I fully recommend you do that right away – it has very cool lyrics, and one that definitely belongs in the BTS Catchy folder.

Songs that earned stars next to their listing in my set list were “Fly Around,” “Hindsight” (which sounded pretty slick and a future fixture), “Time Trap,” “Sidewalk,” and the closer “Conventional Wisdom” (which closed for far too long). “Car,” “You Were Right” and “Reasons” were also incredible, but didn’t jump out as much last night as did the aforementioned.
“Wherever You Go” was prefaced with a heartfelt dedication to the brothers and sisters (fighting for the environment). Bear with me, I don’t want to butcher the story, I’ll have facts totally clear tomorrow. “Reasons” and “One Thing” came a bit of a surprise, taking the place of the more predictable (“Distopian Dream Girl,” “Big Dipper,” “Twin Falls,” or “Goin’ Against Your Mind” even). Sadly, only two new tunes…one of which is already been part of the BTS song rotation.
The band went three for three during the encore – “Car,” “You Were Right” and the newest crowd-pleaser, “Conventional Wisdom,” all rocked. The audience seemed like one that had certainly seen the band a couple of times before: many could sing along at any point, and the feeling was cozy, intimate, relaxed, and genuine.
Good job BTS, can’t wait for the forthcoming 7th LP, There Is No Enemy, October 6. Here is the set, courtesy of the forum, and accurate with me:
=====
1. Intro
2. Oh Yeah
3. In The Morning
4. The Plan
5. Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
6. Hindsight
7. Wherever You Go
8. Reasons
9. Three Years Ago Today
10. Sidewalk
11. Timetrap
12. One Thing
13. Stab
Encores
=======
15. Car
16. You Were Right
17. Conventional Wisdom

Chris Daughtry at the Vic Theatre in Chicago

Chris Daughtry
The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
8/8/2009

I’ve been a fan Of Chris Daughtry since I first heard him sing “I Walk the Line” on American Idol in 2006. Although he did not win the competition he definitely won the hearts of many across America. Since American Idol, Chris Daughtry formed his rock band “Daughtry.”  The North Carolina based band includes Chris Daughtry – Vocals, Josh Paul – Bass, Joey Barnes -Drums, Brian Craddock – Guitar, and Josh Steely – Guitar.

Their self-titled debut album was released in 2006. The disc reached number one for two non-consecutive weeks on the Billboard 200, out-sold Idol winner Taylor Hicks’ debut album, sold more than four million copies, and was named the number one selling album of 2007 by Billboard. Their album is also the fastest-selling debut rock album in Soundscan history. The first single from the album, “It’s Not Over”, was the eighth most played song across all formats on U.S. radio in 2007, and their second single from the album, “Home”, was the tenth most played song in the U.S. of 2007.The band’s second album, Leave This Town, was released on July 14, 2009. The first single, “No Surprise,” was released on May 5. With their debut album they have sold 6.1 million worldwide and sold over 7.52 million in singles.

The band has been touring non-stop since January 2007. They have performed across the U.S. and Canada, along with shows in the UK, Germany, and Singapore. They opened for Nickelback for a brief stint, Puddle of Mudd, Finger Eleven and have featured 12 Stones, Cinder Road, Small Town Sleeper, Day of Fire and Eve to Adam as opening acts. On May 27, 2007, the band performed during the Indianapolis 500 Pre-Race show on ABC, and headlined the 2007 Summerfest at the Marcus amphitheater in Milwaukee, WI with a crowd of more than 15,000 on July 6.

Daughtry has played shows in Australia, as well as the United Kingdom and across Europe for the first time and opened for Bon Jovi for several shows in November. They were featured as the opening act during Bon Jovi’s Lost Highway Tour. The band began a sold out tour with Bon Jovi on February 18, 2008 all the way through the end of April. Chris even joined Bon Jovi onstage every night to perform their hit, Blaze of Glory.” Daughtry’s headlining tour alone in 2007 raked in around 10 million dollars.

And Now he is on tour again for 2009, Daughtry filled the Vic theatre in Chicago on August 8th 2009 with fans from ages as young as 1 years old to some really old people, ha ha and every age in-between. Fans danced and sang along to almost every single song they sang, and stayed on their feet thee entire time, swinging beers in one hand and waiving the other. The show was a lot of fun and very entertaining. I give the show 4 stars.

Click on the Thumbnails to Enlarge Photos:

Tour Dates:

Tickets On Sale: Saturday, August 22
October 19 Topeka, KS – Kansas ExpoCentre
October 21 Omaha, NE – Omaha Civic Auditorium
October 22 Ames, IA – Hilton Coliseum
October 24 Madison, WI – Alliant Energy Center
October 25 Peoria, IL – Peoria Civic Center
October 26 Ft. Wayne, IN – Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
October 28 Lansing, MI – Breslin Events Center
October 29 Saginaw, MI – Dow Events Center
October 31 Toledo, OH – Lucas County Arena
November 2 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
November 4 Youngstown, OH – Covelli Centre
November 5 Reading, PA – Sovereign Center
November 6 Atlantic City, NJ – Trump Taj Mahal

Tickets On Sale: Saturday, September 19
November 12 Greensboro, NC – Greensboro Coliseum
November 13 Highland Heights, KY – The Bank of Kentucky Center
November 14 Huntington, WV – Big Sandy Superstore Arena
November 16 Wilkes-Barre, PA – Wachovia Arena
November 17 Bridgeport, CT – Arena at HarborYard
November 19 Fairfax, VA – Patriot Center
November 20 Charlottesville, VA – John Paul Jones Arena

Tickets On Sale: Saturday, September 26
November 30 Gainesville, FL – Stephen Connell Center
December 1 Tallahassee, FL – Tallahassee County Civic Center
December 2 Pensacola, FL – Pensacola Civic Center
December 4 Birmingham, AL – BJCC Arena
December 5 Louisville, KY – Broadbent Arena
December 7 Tupelo, MS – BancorpSouth Arena
December 8 Bossier City, LA – CenturyTel Center
December 9 Lafayette, LA – Cajundome
December 11 Corpus Christi, TX – American Bank Center
December 12 San Antonio, TX – Freeman Coliseum
December 13 Austin, TX – Frank Erwin Center
December 15 Tulsa, OK – BOK Center
December 16 Jonesboro, AR – ASU Convocation Center
December 18 Little Rock, AR – Verizon Arena
December 19 Southaven, MS – DeSoto Civic Center
December 20 Evansville, IN – Roberts Stadium

David Hodges: From Evanescence to his own Spotlight

David Hodges (Opening for Chris Daughtry)
The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
8/8/2009

David Hodges (Opening for Chris Daughtry) The Vic Theatre - Chicago, IL 8/8/2009David Hodges, a new comer to performing in the industry opened for Daughtry on August 8th at the Vic Theatre. He grabbed the attention of all those in attendance. He had everyone in the venue asking… “Who is that?” People were so impressed by his amazing melodic tunes and harmonic vocals.

David Hodges’ name may not be familiar, but his music is. He is a third of rock group Evanescence. He co-wrote such hits as “Bring Me to Life” and “My Immortal” from the band’s debut “Fallen,” which has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. He then went on to write and produce megahits for other artists including Kelly Clarkson (“Because of You”), Daughtry (“What About Now”) and David Auchuleta (“Crush”), but now it’s his time in the spotlight.

The songs that compose his melodically-rich Reprise debut depict a full spectrum of emotions in a passionate, complex, yet instantly accessible way. During the show people danced and sang along and when he was all done, the sold out show gave a standing ovation to the star and his band. I enjoyed him as well so I give the show 3 stars. I think he will eventually become a force to be reckoned with, just give him a little more time.

Click on Thumbnails to Enlarge:

Paolo Nutini Serves Songs ‘Sunny Side Up’

Paolo Nutini
The Vic Theatre
Chicago, IL
August 2, 2009

Paolo Nutini The Vic Theatre

Paolo Nutini is finally back! It has been three years since he released his debut album These Streets. This past June, sophomore record Sunny Side Up was made available to the world, placing Paolo Nutini back on the music scene map. I remember seeing Paolo Nutini perform live in concert for the first time in Chicago at the Double Door back in 2006. He was just 19 years old then and playing in front of hundreds of people in a country he had never visited before. I’m not joking – that Double Door concert was his first time in the United States of America! I was lucky enough to get the chance to meet the singer/songwriter from Scotland after the show. Though meeting Paolo Nutini lasted but a brief moment, I recall him being a shy, young teenager with such a strong Scottish brogue that I could barely comprehend a word he said to me.

More photos of Paolo Nutini after the jump…

Paolo Nutini The Vic Theatre

What I noticed the most three years ago was that Paolo Nutini sang with his eyes closed. I’m not talking about every once in awhile. He sang with his eyes closed during every single song for the entire performance. I understood that the guy was nervous, shy, overwhelmed, you name it. However, I did not expect that the next time I would see him live in concert, Paolo would still sing an full set without opening his eyes. Not sure about you, but I think three years of performing for audiences around the world would help you overcome any stage fright you once struggled with. Call me crazy, but I don’t understand why as an artist and a performer, Paolo Nutini fails to acknowledge his fans. All he has to do is look at them and register that there are people watching him who like his music enough to pay to see him perform his songs right in front of their eyes. And to top it all off, I’m pretty sure Paolo was completely stoned from the second he walked out on stage to the moment he walked off. And I’m not the only one who thought so… My friend Becky, who attended the show with me, was actually the one to ask me if I thought he was stoned. Needless to say, I could not have agreed more. I don’t know how the guy did it, but Nutini sang for over an hour without forgetting any lyrics or messing up in any way. I guess some people can perform perfectly fine under the influence.

Set List / Chicago

New Shoes

High Hopes

Alloway Grove

Coming Up Easy

No Other Way

Growing Up Beside You

Last Request

These Streets

Candy

Down In Mexico (The Coasters cover)

Loving You

10/10

—————-Encore—————-

Funky Cigarette

Jenny Don’t Be Hasty

Nevertheless, Paolo Nutini put on a great high-energy show and fans appeared to be having the time of their lives. One woman standing next to me had brought her little sister to the show after they both attended Nutini’s Detroit concert the previous night. The younger of the two sisters told me that they had spent the car ride from Detroit to Chicago listening to Paolo Nutini’s two albums nonstop over and over. A woman on the other side of me sang her heart out during her favorite Nutini song “Last Request.” This lady was belting out the words so loud, she drew stares, high-fives, and various versions of “You go, girl” exclamations from fans around her equally as into the music.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos:

America’s New (Singer/Songwriter) Sweetheart

Erin McCarley
The Vic Theatre
Chicago, IL
August 2, 2009

Erin McCarley The Vic Theatre

Thank goodness I went to see the movie He’s Just Not That Into You twice while it was playing at the movie theaters close to my apartment. Quite frankly, it was because of that star-studded film that I became obsessed with the song “Love, Save The Empty” by Erin McCarley. The first time I saw the movie, I walked out of the theater liking what I heard while watching the closing scene (complete with romantic comedy happy ending) and end credits. However, it wasn’t until the second time I went to see the movie a month or so later that I REALLY paid attention to Erin McCarley’s song “Love, Save The Empty.” This time around, I made my friends wait with me until the soundtrack credits rolled up the screen, just so that I could find out who sang that song. Upon reading the name Erin McCarley, I realized that I already had one of her songs, “Pony (It’s OK)” in my iTunes library and on my iPod. I instantly felt ashamed for never taking the time to listen to it since I was now in love with “Love, Save The Empty.”

More photos of my new favorite artist Erin McCarley after the jump!

Erin McCarley The Vic TheatreIf my memory serves me correctly, I had the track “Pony (It’s OK)” because it was one of two things: 1) an iTunes Store Free Single Of The Week download, which I redeem every Tuesday; or 2) a chosen Starbucks Pick of the Week iTunes single on a free download card, which I also collect every week. After seeing He’s Just Not That Into You on Easter Sunday this past April, I attended a Lily Allen concert. Nevertheless, the minute I got home from the show, I proceeded to buy “Love, Save The Empty” on iTunes. I had to have it that instant! The song then ended up consuming my life, day and night, for the next few weeks. It was a song that I could not go one day without listening to at least ten times!

Set List / Chicago

Hello/Goodbye

Pony (It’s OK)

Blue Suitcase

Sticky-Sweet

Lovesick Mistake

Love, Save The Empty

Tom’s Diner (Suzanne Vega & D.N.A. cover)

Pitter-Pat

Gotta Figure This Out

Now that you know the backstory, you can imagine how thrilled I was to catch Erin McCarley live in concert this past Sunday when she opened up for Paolo Nutini at The Vic Theatre. Surprisingly, Erin either played guitar (both acoustic and electric) or simply sang instrument-less while her live touring band supplied the drums, piano/keyboard, and backing vocals. After hearing the recorded version of “Love, Save The Empty,” I had envisioned McCarley pulling a Sara Bareilles and rocking out on a piano (grand, baby grand, or upright) while playing that song. However, at this concert Erin played her guitar while one of her band members took over keyboard duties during my favorite song. Honestly, I was a little disappointed. For some reason, I thought Erin McCarley was more piano-based versus guitar-based with her music.

Erin McCarley The Vic TheatreI guess having only heard “Pony (It’s OK”) and “Love, Save The Empty” before any of McCarley’s other songs from debut album Love, Save The Empty lead me to believe she was the new piano girl on the music scene. Both tracks sound pretty piano-heavy to me. Well, now I know it’s actually the other way around. Not that I’m complaining. Words can’t explain how jealous I am that McCarley can play guitar, for it has always been an instrument I’ve wanted to learn to play. I got the piano down, but guitar remains a challenge for me.

Now, I hope Erin McCarley doesn’t take offense to the fact that I think she looks just like Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas. And I know I’m not the only one who caught the similarity in the appearance of these two female artists. My friend Becky, who attended the concert with me, agreed 100% when I told her this and said it was one of the first thoughts that passed through her mind upon seeing McCarley walk out on stage. Hopefully (fingers crossed!) Erin takes this observation from myself and Becky as a compliment. Fergie is gorgeous in my opinion! And so is Erin McCarley! The singer/songwriter currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee. However, Erin is originally from Dallas, Texas and told the crowd “If you’ve ever seen King Of The Hill, you know what that’s about…” in reference to her hometown.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos:

Chicago Welcomes Newcomer Matt Hires

Matt Hires
The Vic Theatre
Chicago, IL
August 2, 2009

 

Matt Hires The Vic Theatre

Having never before heard the songs of Matt Hires, I showed up at his show last night in Chicago with an open mind and ready for anything. I honestly had not heard of Matt Hires before discovering he was the opening act for Paolo Nutini (along with Erin McCarley). Let me tell you though, I liked what I heard. I mean, I REALLY liked what I heard. Not only did this 22-year-old from Tampa, Florida win me over with his music, but he also appears to be a truly humble and genuinely good person. He plays barefoot for crying out loud! How laid back is that? The only other artist I have ever seen perform shoeless on stage in front of thousands of people is Kelly Clarkson. I found myself comparing Matt Hires to lead singer Michael Stipe from R.E.M. throughout the evening, which I believe to be a good thing. I like Michael Stipe and think his voice stands out from the hundreds of other male singers out there. The fact that Hires has a voice so unique that it reminds me of an amazing artist like Stipe only makes me more of a fan for life.

Of course, what makes an artist truly succeed or not in the music business is their talent and songs. However, having a voice that doesn’t sound like any of the other millions of singer/songwriters in the world definitely helps. In my opinion, Matt Hires has what it takes to make it: talent, good songs, and a distinct voice. If you want to decide for yourself, check out Matt Hires when he plays a city near you. Or you can pick up his debut album Take Us To The Start, available now! No matter what, at least take a few minutes to listen to my personal favorite Matt Hires song, “Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song.”

Set List / Chicago

You Are My Sunshine / I Walk The Line (Johnny Cash cover/medley)

Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song

Pick Me Up

You In The End

A Perfect Day

You Are The One

Maggie’s Farm (Bob Dylan cover)

Listen To Me Now

Turn The Page

State Lines

More photos of singer/songwriter Matt Hires after the jump…

Click on thumbnails to enlarge images:

Ladytron Hits Chicago!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

50th GRAMMY Celebration Concert Tour

John Legend
Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
4/3/08

John Legend ChicagoThanks to The Recording Academy and GRAMMY U, I had the pleasure of attending – for free – the 50th GRAMMY Celebration Concert Tour at Chicago’s historic Vic Theatre this past Thursday night. The line up consisted of Colbie Caillat, Cat Power, and of course, John Legend.

I have never seen John live in concert before, and I will be honest, I have not heard much of his music besides his break-through hit – Ordinary People. But man was I impressed by his live show. I now am a huge fan, especially due to his piano chops! I play piano and have respect for any performer that can play and sing at the same time. John is AMAZING at playing the piano. He is the male version of Alicia Keys – my favorite female pianist/singer/songwriter next to Tori Amos.

I always had assumed that John Legend’s music was more religious than what it really is. I asked my friend who went to the show with me about it and she said he is considered to be in the R&B musical genre, with a gospel influence. She also informed me that his first album had more of a hip hop feel, with Kanye West producing three of its tracks. But his second album is definitely more R&B. Well, now I know.

I would gladly go see John Legend again the next time he plays Chicago. I have never been a huge hip hip or soul fan, and I really do not like Christian or gospel music, but John seems to mix all those genres of music together in the perfect blend. He is also pretty much the sexiest pianist I have ever seen! I would marry him in a heartbeat.

Photos of John Legend: