Recent Posts in pictures

May 22, 2015

photos by James Richards IV

Tame Impala @ Riviera Theatre, 5/15/2015
Tame Impala

With his straggly hair and beard, and lean, barefoot frame, Parker still looks like the shaggy one-man-band auteur who emerged out of Australia in 2010 with densely packed, acid-saturated home-studio recordings. But when he stepped away from the armada of foot pedals arrayed in front of him and let the music breathe, his nasally falsetto vocals painted a different portrait: Kevin Parker, soul man.

On "Let it Happen," keyboards and a clipped groove dominated, a sleek electro-R&B track that wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Pharrell Williams record - at least at first. A midsection breakdown arrived, and then the main theme returned full force, this time with guitars and drums in rock rave-up mode. It was a show's worth of zigs, zags and cliff-hangers packed into seven-plus minutes of music, the kind of track that's normally saved for last. But Parker preferred to set the bar high from the get-go, as if daring himself and his five-piece band to surpass it.

Tame Impala's ambitious new album, Currents, is out in July and the band are not shy about playing new material on their current tour, clearly wanting folks to hear where they're going. That tour hit Riviera on May 15 with Mini Mansions and pictures/setlist from the show are in this post. More below...

Continue reading "Tame Impala played Riviera with Mini Mansions (pics / setlist)"

May 15, 2015

Mos Def

Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, came to Chicago earlier this month for a show at the Metro on May 1. Opening was Malik Yusef, Abel Black and Ty Money. Check out more pictures like the one above, at BrooklynVegan.

April 29, 2015

photo by James Richards IV

Jose Gonzalez @ Lincoln Hall 4/15/2015
Jose Gonzalez

González's songs really push some powerful and thought provoking images that he and his band performed with unbelievable poise. With "Killing for Love" González explores the dark and scary territory that love can fall into, urging to question the length of ones desires. Questioning continues on in "What Will", where González pushes away ideas of status quo and dogma with the suggestion action. Under any other hand these songs could seem heavy handed, but González and his band bring in subtleties with their instrumentation that soft the message while still letting it flow through. - [Gapers Block]
Jose Gonzalez and Olaf Arnalds played two nights at Lincoln Hall on their tour together. Check out a full set of pictures from the second night (4/15) over at BrooklynVegan. Setlist from the show is below.

Continue reading "José González & Ólöf Arnalds played 2 nights at Lincoln Hall (pics/setlist)"

April 28, 2015

photos by James Richards IV

Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware took over the Metro with Jesse Boykins III along as support earlier this month. Pictures are here and continue below...

Continue reading "Jessie Ware & Jesse Boykins III @ the Metro (pics)"

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

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 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

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)"

March 7, 2015

photos by James Richards IV

Perfect Pussy
Perfect Pussy

It was a cold day at the end of February but that didn't stop music fans from bundling up and coming out in force for the Empty Bottle's MUSIC FROZEN DANCING. We've got a load of pictures from the chilly, Goose Island sponsored event that featured sets by locals NE-Hi and Oozing Wound, as well as Protomartyr and Perfect Pussy.. Find yourself in them, below...

Continue reading "Protomartyr, Perfect Pussy, Oozing Wound & NE-Hi played OUTSIDE Empty Bottle (pics)"