Recent Posts in pictures

February 18, 2015

photos by James Richards IV

Sleater-Kinney

Tucker's voice leaped to the top of its range, as if she were being shoved off a cliff every time she started a verse. Brownstein sometimes sang alongside but more often in opposition. Her guitar provided a running commentary of its own, seldom settling for stock chords or harmonious counterpoint, but always in the mood for an argument. Weiss did not sit meekly and watch her two bandmates joust. She jostled and prodded, and yet for all the thunder in her rolls and fills, there was also swing and subtlety. She colored the songs instead of merely steam-rolling them. Her taut responses suggested another voice in "Light Rail Coyote," brought shades of cool to "Get Up" and patiently stacked kindling on "Good Things" until it caught fire. [Greg Kot for Chicago Tribune]
Sleater-Kinney are fully back in action with an excellent new album making their current tour much more than just nostalgia. The tour began in their home state earlier this month, and hit Chicago for a show at Riviera Theatre last night (2/17). The review quoted above is from that show. Did you go? How was it?

More pictures (including opener Lizzo) and the setlist below...

Continue reading "Sleater-Kinney played The Riv w/ Lizzo (pics & setlist)"

February 10, 2015

photos by James Richards IV

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Taking the stage amidst rolling clouds of fog, Manson and his band of cohorts - including the renowned film composer, Tyler Bates, Manson veteran Twiggy Ramirez, and former Dillinger Escape Plan/current Stolen Babies drummer Gil Sharone - ripped right into The Pale Emperor's lead single, "Deep Six." The show would chug along at full steam from this point on, unleashing a relentless torrent of Manson classics including "Rock Is Dead," "Disposable Teens," and his legendary cover of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This." Fans were just as excited, though, to hear new fan favorites from The Pale Emperor like the shitkicking stomp of "Killing Strangers" and the funked out blues dirge, "Third Day of a Seven Day Binge" - but he saved the best for last with the death knell of Pale Emperor material, "Mephistopheles of Los Angeles." [UR Chicago]
Marilyn Manson released a comeback (?) album earlier last month. His subsequent tour with Hide had him stop by the Riv on Thursday. Pictures and the setlist from that show are here. More below..

Continue reading "Marilyn Manson & Hide played the Riv (pics, setlist)"

February 9, 2015

photos by James Richards IV

Billy Idol
Billy Idol

Billy Idol's ongoing tour hit Chicago over the weekend for a show at The Riv on Saturday (2/7). We recently caught the tour in NYC, where Billy and his ace band loaded the set with classics like "Cradle of Love", "Dancing With Myself", "Flesh for Fantasy", "Eyes Without a Face", "Rebel Yell" and "White Wedding," all of which we got here in Chicago too. Opening was newer band Broncho, who owe a bit to the power pop of the same late '70s/early '80s era that Billy Idol was in his prime. Pictures of both artists are in this post and continue, with Billy's setlist, below...

Continue reading "Billy Idol & Broncho played the Riv (pics, setlist)"

February 7, 2015

photos by James Richards IV

Cold War Kids at the Riv
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Cold War Kids and their tourmate Elliot Moss tagged Chicago for a show at the Riviera Theatre last weekend (on Saturday, 1/31) as part of their winter North American tour. A set of pictures from the show and CWK' complete setlist are in this post. More below...

Continue reading "Cold War Kids & Elliot Moss played the Riv (pics, setlist)"

February 6, 2015

words and photos by Zack Baker

Empire Empire

Michigan "emo revival" veterans Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) recently reissued their 2009 debut, What It Takes To Move Forward, and are on tour playing the album in full to celebrate. (A pesky car lodged into their home can't stop the Latinens.) They've got indie-emo hybrid upstarts Warren Franklin & The Founding Fathers on the road with them, and made a stop at Reggie's last Friday (1/30).

I showed up right as Warren was finishing up his set, walking offstage to applause and a few stray cheers of "#ThatHat," an inside joke I wasn't clued in on. The crowd seemed amped on the set, and I cursed Chicago traffic for making me miss it.

Keith from Empire! took the stage not long after that, thanking the crowd for coming out and harassing the just-offstage Warren for his goofy bright-green headwear. After assuring the crowd that they didn't need an explanation of what the album meant to him, Keith went on to provide one anyway. He gave an extremely brief history of the album and the birth of his label Count Your Lucky Stars, and then the band launched into the record's opening track, "How To Make Love Stay."

Empire! Empire! were locked in. Friday's show was the best performance I've seen of theirs; the bumps present in other shows were totally absent. The only noticeable hiccups were during the marathon "It Happened Because You Left" which Keith said they had never played before this tour and when the band accidentally skipped over "Everything Is Connected and Everything Matters (A Temporary Solution To A Permanent Problem)," newly rearranged with a trumpet replacing the original banjo.

The crowd didn't seem to mind the missteps, shouting along with every song. What It Takes To Move Forward isn't exactly an album to rage to, but kids were bouncing up and down all the same. Keith joked with the crowd, convinced the room to cheer on Warren's evidently awful Mario impression and generally made Reggie's feel more like a living room full of friends than a cluster of random strangers.

Deep cut "Water" made for the perfect encore, complete with an appearance from Warren to lend Keith his cap (which Keith mentioned was "way more comfortable than it looked") and to assist on backup vocals. The room emptied out quickly as Empire left the stage, many fans heading to the merch table to pick up the tour-exclusive copies of What It Takes To Move Forward.

Warren Franklin has an upcoming split with Kind Of Like Spitting, and that LP is now available to stream in its entirety over at Consequence of Sound.

Check out more pictures from Empire! Empire!'s set below...

Continue reading "Empire! Empire! played Reggie's (pics & review)"

words and photos by Zack Baker

Alex G
Alex G

Alex G brought his pop-minded jams to a sold-out crowd at Beat Kitchen on Saturday (1/31) alongside the killer lineup of recently Run For Cover-signed noise-punks Teen Suicide, New York shred machines LVL UP and local songwriter Spencer Radcliffe.

Even after three changes to the show's kick-off time, Spencer and his newly-formed full band setup ended up going on 30 minutes before the show's advertised 6 PM start time. Any fans hoping to catch the endearingly oddball songwriter were sorely out of luck if they weren't bustling through the doors as they opened. I missed his set, and unfortunately LVL UP's too, but those who did see it seemed to be buzzing about it throughout the night.

Luckily I did make it in time for Teen Suicide. Flippant attitude from their online presence in full force, vocalist/guitarist Sam Ray and guitarist John Toohey were quick to pop out of the high-octane songs right into banter about parents' flights getting sent back because of the snow, the virtues of weed (Sam hollered "Give it up for weed!" intermittently throughout the set) and disparaging remarks to their new boss, Run For Cover head honcho Jeff Cassaza who flew into town for the show.

Teen Suicide had drummer Dexter Loos on loan from Alex G, and were in full-on rockstar mode for their set. Between the constant spins across the stage, monitor mounting and back-to-back shredding it was kind of difficult to remember that their songs are kind of, well, overwhelmingly depressing. The band played songs spanning their discography and also busted out a few new songs including one called "God" and one called "Alex," both of which were a little more mellow than the band's usual fare.

Alex G's set was slightly more tame, but no less entertaining. Alex had apparently discovered and become fascinated with a band who's name I didn't catch but whose catch phrase was evidently, "KABLAM! THEY NUKED MY NIPPLES OFF!" The singer would go into fits between songs, exclaiming it and immediately spiraling into a fit of laughter before launching into his next track.

Where the crowd was content to bob their heads for Teen Suicide, they went absolutely nuts for Alex's jams and antics. The room was a huge, sweaty, human wavepool by the end of his set, topped off with a ceremonially tossed bra which Alex proceeded to pull on and sport for the last two songs of the set. I never really knew I wanted to see Alex G perform DSU's downtrodden "Hollow" and Trick's house-of-cards-fragile "Change" in a hot pink brassiere, but I'm glad I did.

Check out more pictures from Teen Suicide and Alex G's sets as well as Alex G's setlist below...

Continue reading "Alex G & Teen Suicide played Beat Kitchen (pics, review)"

January 19, 2015

photos by James Richards IV

Strand of Oaks / Kevin Morby at Lincoln Hall
Strand of Oaks
Kevin Morby

Tomorrow Never Knows 2015 finished off this past weekend with shows at Lincoln Hall, Schubas, the Metro, The Anthenaeum Theater, and the Hideout. We opted to catch Strand of Oaks' Lincoln Hall gig on Saturday night (1/17) with support from former Woods bassist turned solo artist Kevin Morby and Nashville-via-South Carolina dark Americana chanteuse Adia Victoria. Strand of Oaks delivered nearly all of 2014's great HEAL, as well as a few older tunes and a blistering cover of The Replacements classic "Alex Chilton". A full set of pictures, video footage of the HEAL cut "JM," and Strand of Oaks' complete setlist are in this post.

We've also got coverage of Protomartyr's TNK show, which you can check out HERE. Which TNK 2015 shows did you attend?

More pictures from the 1/17 show, some video footage, and Strand of Oaks' setlist lie after the jump...

Continue reading "Strand of Oaks, Kevin Morby & Adia Victoria played a TNK show at Lincoln Hall (pics, setlist, video)"

January 17, 2015

photos by James Richards IV

Protomartyr / Spider Bags at Lincoln Hall
Protomartyr
Spider Bags

The 2015 edition of Schubas // Lincoln Hall's annual winter festival Tomorrow Never Knows kicked off earlier this week with shows happening at those two venues, as well as at Metro, The Athenaeum Theater, and the Hideout. First up for us was Detroit post punks Protomartyr's headlining show at Lincoln Hall (the outfit's second time there since the release of 2014's great Under Color Of Official Right) with support from Merge-signed garage slingers Spider Bags, locals Varsity, and Detroit's Turn To Crime. Protomartyr frontman Joe Casey snarled over the ace band's intense dissonance, making for just the type of cathartic performance we've come to expect from these guys. Spider Bags were a choice precursor too, and we unfortunately missed the other two sets that night. Pictures from the 1/24 Lincoln Hall show, including a shot of Protomartyr's setlist, are in this post. TNK 2015 continues through Sunday, and we've got additional coverage from the fest on the way.

More LH pics lie after the jump...

Continue reading "Protomartyr, Spider Bags + more played a TNK show at Lincoln Hall (pics, setlist)"

December 23, 2014

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

My Brightest Diamond
My Brightest Diamond

My Brightest Diamond brought her tour to Chicago back in November for a show at Lincoln Hall (11/13) with Dosh. Like at other tour stops, she started the show with a marching band on the floor, and then proceeded to finish the set with her band on the stage. We've got a belated set of pictures from that show in this post.

More below...

Continue reading "My Brightest Diamond & Dosh @ Lincoln Hall (belated pics)"

December 12, 2014

STV
Future Islands

St. Vincent and Future Islands got in the season's spirt with a holiday show at the Chicago Theatre on December 2. Check out more pictures of that great double bill at BrooklynVegan.

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