April 20, 2015

photos by James Richards IV

Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond made small gestures register maximum effect Tuesday at a packed United Center. He cocked his head while reflecting, placed his left hand over his heart to express gratitude, shifted his shoulders before taking deep breaths and gently waved to admirers as if saying farewell to a good friend boarding a train. The singer-songwriter's music also benefited from a similar simplicity, with nearly every one of the set's 25 songs underscoring the importance of melody and pacing. [Chicago Tribune]
Neil Diamond brought his current tour to Chicago on 4/14. Full set of pictures at BrooklynVegan. Setlist below...

Continue reading "Neil Diamond @ United Center (pics, setlist)"

photos by James Richards IV

Foxygen @ the Metro, 4/09/2015

Foxygen recently announced their breakup and brought their "farewell tour to the Metro in Chicago on 4/9. More pictures from the show, along with remaining tour dates, below...

Continue reading "Foxygen & Alex Cameron played the Metro (pics)"

April 16, 2015

by Milos Markicevic

photo: Shlohmo at Bottom Lounge on 05.02.2014 (more by Milos Markicevic)

Shlohmo will be hitting up Chicago once again, this time at Concord Music Hall on Friday (4/17). Tickets are still on sale and can be purchased here. The show is 18+.

Shlohmo just released his new LP, Dark Red. You can stream it over at the New York Times' Press Play site.

We asked him about that album and much more. Read our new interview over at BrooklynVegan.


Last year, Shlohmo co-produced the excellent (and free) No More EP with Jeremih. Some tracks from that release below.

Continue reading "Shlohmo plays Concord Music Hall Friday; read our interview"

by Zach Pollack

Matthew E. White @ Schubas, 4/03/2015
Matthew E. White

Soulful songwriter and arranging pro Matthew E. White is currently on the road in support of his lush new album Fresh Blood. White and his ace three-piece band tagged Chicago earlier this month (4/2) for a show at Schubas with their NYC via London tourmates Wilsen. A set of pictures from that show are in this post and continue below...

Continue reading "Matthew E. White & Wilsen @ Schubas (pics)"

photos by Milos Markicevic

Single Mothers @ Schubas -- 2/24/2015

Single Mothers, The Dirty Nil, and local band, Jack Torrance came to Schubas back on 2/24. Here are some pictures. More below...

Continue reading "Single Mothers, Dirty Nil and Jack Torrance @ Schubas (pics)"

April 10, 2015

photos by James Richards IV

Diamond Rugs @ Lincoln Hall, 4/2/2015
Diamond Rugs

Bar rock supergroup Diamond Rugs -- featuring John McCauley & Robbie Cowell of Deer Tick, Ian Saint Pe formerly of Black Lips, T. Hardy Morris of Dead Confederate, Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and Bryan Dufresne of Six Finger Satellite -- put out their sophomore album Cosmetics this past February, and they brought their tour with New Madrid in support of it Chicago's Lincoln Hall last week (4/2). We got plenty of the new record, as well as a handful of tracks from their 2012 debut too.

Justin Collins opened. More pictures of all three sets, below...

Continue reading "Diamond Rugs, New Madrid, & Justin Collins @ Lincoln Hall (pics)"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Father John Misty @ Metro, 4/03/2015
Father John Misty

It was Good Friday, and Father John Misty stood in front of his congregation, arms raised to the iconic image hanging from the ceiling - a neon light tracing the outline of a valentine's heart in bright, frequently changing colors.

The rest of the sold-out, 90-minute concert at the Vic Theatre similarly mixed holy-roller levels of emotional fervor with irony, open heartedness with kitsch. Josh Tillman has parlayed this combination into widespread acclaim on 'I Love You, Honeybear," his second record as Father John Misty following a string of records under his own name and a stint as the drummer for folk-rock stars Fleet Foxes.

Tillman was raised in a strict, fundamentalist Christian home, and though he took a few swipes at religion during his set, he carried on like a tent-show preacher, stepping down from the stage to clasp hands with crowd members, reaching his long arms overhead, repeatedly falling to his knees and then rising as he rebuked a romantic rival (or himself) on "Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow".
[Chicago Tribune]

Father John Misty brought his current tour in support of this year's I Love You, Honeybear to Chicago last week (4/3) for a show at the VIc Theatre with Sub Pop labelmate King Tuff. Pictures of that show are in this post and continue below...

Continue reading "Father John Misty & King Tuff @ The Vic Theatre (pics)"

April 9, 2015

photos by James Richards IV

Alabama Shakes @ Chicago Theatre on 3.14.2015
Alabama Shakes

On the third date of its tour Saturday at a sold-out Chicago Theatre, the group seemingly performed every track off its highly anticipated "Sound & Color" record, not slated for release until April 21. The bold decision--and gutsier 90-minute set--served notice Alabama Shakes is no longer the same quartet that made a name for itself with its 2012 debut and acclaimed live shows. Augmented by two instrumentalists and three backing vocalists, the band already looked ready to graduate to bigger venues. Challenging the audience with ambitious material steeped in texture, moodiness and nuance, it also sounded eager to jettison the soul-revivalist label occasionally linked to its reputation.
[Chicago Tribune]
More pictures from Alabama Shakes' March 14th show, below...

Continue reading "Alabama Shakes & Songhoy Blues @ Chicago Theatre (pics)"

April 6, 2015


As posted on BrooklynVegan, Legendary punk/postpunk group Wire will bring their DRILL festival to Chicago from June 11-13, featuring special collaborations, special guests and more. Here's the breakdown:

Thursday, June 11 will be at at The Hideout and will feature jazz musicians Ken Vandermark and Nate Wooley collaborating with Wire on a new version of their classic 154 track, "Map Ref. 41°N 93°W." Vandermark and Wooley will also perform their own set, as will Olivia Block (tickets).

Friday, June 12 will be at at Thalia Hall and is headlined by a collaborative performance with St. Vincent for an extended take on their repetition excursion "Drill." The night also features sets from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, White Lung, and The Fly (tickets).

And then on Saturday, June 13 at Metro will be the pinkflag guitar orchestra, consisting of Wire plus dozens of other guitarists joining them for an epic version of Pink Flag's title track, plus sets by admitted fans Disappears and Tim Hecker (tickets).

Wire's new self-titled album is streaming now at NPR. For all Wire dates, visit BV.

photos by Milos Markicevic, words by Jonathan Mondragon

Twilight sad at Beat Kitchen on 02.28.2015

After a recent November stop at Empty Bottle, Glasgow shoegaze greats The Twilight Sad returned to Chicago, though this time to the Beat Kitchen, a much smaller venue. The show was sold out, and in the Beat Kitchen's tiny walls, it was definitely felt. First opener, Magical Beautiful, a local act, had an eclectic sound, combining elements of indie rock, synth pop, and psychedelic rock. Featuring driving drums, spacey guitars, and melodic synth leads, they brought to mind Grizzly Bear, New Order, or Black Moth Super Rainbow.

Following their set, Port St. Willow (of NYC) took the stage, apparently their first show in Chicago ever. The band formed as a solo project of frontman Nick Principe, putting out music since 2010, though they played this show as a trio, with a drummer and keyboardist/trombonist filling out the lineup. The band's expert mix of ambient clean guitars, prolific jazz drumming, atmospheric piano and synth work, and angelic falsetto vocals gave the whole set an otherworldly feel. Their set primarily consisted of tracks from 2012's Holiday, as well as others both new and old.

After many extended and gorgeous compositions, and a very positive reaction from an otherwise apathetic crowd, it was finally time for the main event. The Twilight Sad opened their set with the first two songs on their newest record, 2014's Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave, "There's a Girl in the Corner" and "Last January". Singer James Graham's stage presence was, as usual, highly energetic and passionate. He effortlessly hit every note. Following these two, Graham dedicated their next song to a friend of the band that was about to propose to his girlfriend (sources say she said yes). They then proceeded to play what is arguably their biggest song, from their debut record Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, "That Summer at Home I Became the Invisible Boy".

Andy MacFarlane's massive wall-of-sound guitars were in full form, as were drummer Mark Devine's pounding drums. The contributions of their touring bassist and keyboardist throughout the rest of the set were of particular note, with the former also playing bass synth and baritone guitar, and the latter conjuring up lush soundscapes and various sequenced electronic beats.

The rest of the set consisted primarily of songs from Nobody Wants... , as well as two from their previous record No One Can Ever Know ("Alphabet" and "Nil"), the sole track from Forget the Night Ahead ("I Became a Prostitute"), their masterpiece EP track "The Wrong Car", and a perfect pair of Fourteen Autumns... tracks to end the set ("Cold Days From the Birdhouse" and "And She Would Darken the Memory"). The band consistently thanked the crowd, stating Chicago always has genuinely been their favorite place to play in the US, and assuring us they would be back soon. Chicago can only hope.

More pictures, video and the setlist from the show, below...

Continue reading "Twilight Sad, Port St. Willow, & Magical Beautiful played Beat Kitchen (pics, review, setlist)"