Recent Posts in pictures

April 16, 2014

photos by Jeff Ryan, words by Zach Pollack

The National at The Chicago Theatre on 04.15.2014

In hindsight, not all that many gave the then tiny New York transplants The National the time of day until a handful of years past their formation in 1999. Beginning with their 2003 breakthrough Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers and continuing through last year's wildly successful Trouble Will Find Me, The National have slowly grown into a true indie rock institution. That institution happen to be in Chicago this week for a four-night run of shows at The Chicago Theatre -- all sold-out -- as part of a spring North American tour. Last night (Tuesday, April 15) marked their first of four appearances at the famed venue.

Matt Berninger and co. quickly got situated and began their twenty-some-odd-song set with TWFM's "Don't Swallow the Cap" and "I Should Live in Salt." At that point, it was a bit hard to tell if Berninger was burdened or pleased by the fact that he was on stage, as he paced around in an angular fashion. After a couple of High Violet tunes, he appeared to have settled in, and let out some triumphant screams during "Sea of Love." He's an often unpredictable, charismatic performer, who rushed throughout the audience, broke at least one mic stand, and smashed a couple of wine bottles during last night's show. Oh, and he sings too, which is something you couldn't possibly block out. Berninger's deep baritone voice echoed throughout the theatre as he delivered lines like "'Cause I'm evil" ("Conversation 16"), "This isn't working, you, my middlebrow fuck-up" ("Squalor Victoria"), and "You turn me good and God-fearing / Well, tell me what am I supposed to do with that?" ("Abel"). About half-way through Boxer's "Ada," the band's horn section worked in a bit of pal Sufjan Stevens' "Chicago" as a crafty turnaround. The National ended their set with "Fake Empire" and returned for a four-song encore -- a great cover of Perfume Genius' "Learning," "Mr. November," "Terrible Love," and last but not least a totally acoustic rendition of "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks." It should be said that instead of this four-night run, The National could have opted for a giant stadium show. They're very thankfully just not that band (and I hope never become it). Berninger and co. continue their Chicago Theatre run tonight (4/16) through Friday (4/18).

Last night's show, and much of their spring North American tour, includes great support from London trio Daughter. Namesake Elena Tonra and her band performed songs from their debut LP If You Leave and also re-imagined tunes from their early EPs.

More pictures from The National's 4/15 Chicago Theatre show and their full setlist lie after the jump...

Continue reading "The National & Daughter played The Chicago Theatre (night 1 pics, review, setlist)"

April 14, 2014

photos by James Richards IV

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings at the Vic on 04.11.2014

The now cancer-free Sharon Jones and her Dap-Kings brought their tour in support of Give the People What They Want through Chicago for a sold-out show at the Vic Theatre on Friday night (4/11). It's clear that Jones is back in full force, as she sang her heart out, danced across the stage, and even invited some fans to join her. Pictures from the Vic are in this post, along with the Dap-Kings' full setlist and video footage of their encore cover of the Woodie Guthrie classic "This Land Is Your Land." More below...

Continue reading "Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings + Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound played the Vic (pics, setlist, video)"

April 10, 2014

photos by Jeff Ryan

The Julie Ruin // Screaming Females at Lincoln Hall on 04.09.2014

Kathleen Hanna's The Julie Ruin brought their spring tour with Screaming Females through Chicago for a sold-out show at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night (4/9). Hanna and co. ripped through tunes from 2013's Run Fast, but also reached back to her 1998 solo LP Julie Ruin for a few songs -- "V.G.I.," "Radical or Pro-Parental," and "Breakout A-Town." Material from both Julie Ruin albums was complimented by covers of Le Tigre's "Friendship Station" and "Eau d'Bedroom Dancing" and Bikini Kill's "This Is Not A Test." Pictures from Lincoln Hall are in this post.

More of them, and The Julie Ruin's full setlist, lie after the jump...

Continue reading "The Julie Ruin & Screaming Females played Lincoln Hall (pics, setlist)"

April 9, 2014

photos by Jeff Ryan

Shearwater // Death Vessel at the Empty Bottle on 03.29.2014

At the tail end of March, Shearwater finished off their tour with Death Vessel and Jesca Hoop with a performance at the Empty Bottle. Their headlining set was heaviest on 2012's great Animal Joy, but they also played a fair amount of tunes from Rook, The Golden Archipelago, and other releases. Were you there? If so, what did you think? Pictures from the Empty Bottle are in this post.

More of them, and Shearwater's complete setlist, lie after the jump...

Continue reading "Shearwater, Death Vessel & Jesca Hoop played Empty Bottle (pics, setlist)"

photos by Milos Markicevic

Weekend // Cities Aviv at the Empty Bottle on 04.05.2014

Weekend brought their tour with surprisingly like-minded rapper Cities Aviv through Chicago on Saturday night (4/5) for a show at the Empty Bottle. Backlit by dark blues, Weekend filled their headlining set with songs off of 2013's great and gloomy Jinx. Locals Supercell Mothership kicked things off, and pictures from the 4/5 show are in this post. More below...

Continue reading "Weekend, Cities Aviv & Supercell Mothership played the Empty Bottle (pics)"

April 8, 2014

photos by James Richards IV

Mac DeMarco at the Empty Bottle on 04.02.2014

Mac DeMarco brought his North American tour in support of Salad Days through Chicago for a pair of shows at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night (4/2). We caught the early show with an opening set from tourmate Juan Wauters (of The Beets) and pictures are in this post. More below...

Continue reading "Mac DeMarco & Juan Wauters played the Empty Bottle (pics)"

April 7, 2014

photos by James Richards IV

St. Vincent at the Riviera Theatre - 4/5/14
St Vincent

St. Vincent brought her ongoing tour to Chicago over the weekend for a show at the Riviera Theatre with Noveller. Check out pictures, the setlist and a video of her cover of Nirvana's "Lithium" (in honor of the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death) over at BrooklynVegan.

April 6, 2014

photos by Jeff Ryan

Against Me! at Durty Nellie's on 04.04.2014

On Friday night (4/4), Against Me! brought their current tour with Laura Stevenson and Cheap Girls to Durty Nellie's in nearby Palatine, IL for a sold-out show. Laura Jane Grace and co. played most of their triumphant new album Transgender Dysphoria Blues, but also reached back to their 2002 debut Reinventing Axl Rose for a handful of tunes -- "I Still Love You Julie," "Walking Is Still Honest," "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong," and "We Laugh at Danger (And Break All the Rules)." Pictures from Durty Nellie's are in this post.

As discussed, Against Me! have announced yet another North American tour, with support from Tony Molina and Big Eyes. That run also doesn't include a Chicago show, but they'll tag the Castle Theatre in Bloomington, IL on May 15 and Laura Jane Grace will play a solo gig at the Rock Island Brewing Company on May 16. Tickets for both shows are on sale now.

More pictures and AM's setlist from Durty Nellie's lie after the jump...

Continue reading "Against Me!, Laura Stevenson & Cheap Girls played Durty Nellie's (pics, setlist)"

April 4, 2014

photos by James Richards IV

The Orwells at Lincoln Hall on 04.01.2014

On Tuesday night (4/1), The Orwells finished off a US tour with their Chicago cohorts Twin Peaks with a sold-out hometown show at Lincoln Hall. Their headlining set consisted of a mix of tunes from their 2012 breakthrough Remember When and more recent EPs, and they also previewed material from their forthcoming Disgraceland LP (due out 6/3). Fellow young Chicagoans The Symposium got things started, and we've got pictures from the 4/1 show in this post.

While in Austin, TX for SXSW 2014, everyone's favorite interviewer Nardwuar the Human Serviette caught up with The Orwells for an in-depth chat. They spoke about stage attire ("It varies from clothes to no clothes..."), the importance of A Tribe Called Quest, and much more. Video footage from that interview and more pictures from their 4/1 show at Lincoln Hall lie after the jump...

Continue reading "The Orwells, Twin Peaks & The Symposium played Lincoln Hall (pics)"

April 3, 2014

photos by Brigid Gallagher

How to Dress Well at Lincoln Hall on 03.30.2014

How to Dress Well (aka Tom Krell) polished off a North American tour with support from Forest Swords with a performance at Lincoln Hall on March 30. Pictures from the Chicago show are in this post. Krell and his new live band previewed material from an upcoming record on that run, which has now been officially announced. It's called "What Is This Heart?" and is due out on June 24 via Weird World. The LP features the previously-released tune "Words I Don't Remember" and the new single "Repeat Pleasure," which is available to stream at the bottom of this post. Preorder the album via Weird World.

More pictures from the 3/30 Lincoln Hall show and a stream of "Repeat Pleasure" lie after the jump...

Continue reading "How to Dress Well played Lincoln Hall, releasing a new LP (pics, new song stream)"