Monday, August 31, 2009

Discovered Today

The Subjects - Their MySpace line says 'Like Nickelback, but less ballsy' but don't let that fool you. Clap-along, dance-along, bop your head indie rock pop. They open for one of my current favorites, Bad Veins, at Empty Bottle in October.

Beak> - Instrumental, arty, fuzzy. Remind me of Tortoise in that way.

Andrew Belle - Singer/songwriter and part-time Chicagoan who's played a weekly gig at Rockit (don't judge). Heartfelt pop that is perfect for television drama, having already had a song appear in 90210. Sounding eerily similar to The Fray, I may tire of him as quickly as I did of Grey's Anatomy, but he's worth checking out. And if you live in Chicago, you have no excuse: 10/4 @ Schubas, 10/13 @ SPACE, 11/6 @ Uncommon Ground, even Whole Foods on 9/5.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cold weather can't keep me down! I swear!

2009: The Year Without A Tan. It's starting to feel like Chicago got totally jipped on a summer this year with only a few weekends warm enough for the beach, and I missed all of them for some reason or another. Despite the unseasonably cool temps (highs this weekend will only be in the 60's), there's still plenty of music going on to (try to) keep your mind off it.

I saw the cutest Florida boys take the stage on Tuesday. They were Holiday Shores and they were the opening band for two local groups at Empty Bottle, but hopefully they will be back soon for a headlining show of their own. They've got a great thing going--that I keep calling beachy indie-rock--that I find super enjoyable.

Tonight is the first of two shows at Aragon that NIN are playing as their last go-around, so I'm sure a lot of you will be there, but I'm going to be at SubT to catch The Ettes, a girly, 60's sounding punk band that I did a little giveaway for on Transmission earlier this week.

Another music filled week/weekend, and if you're up for some late-nite fun tomorrow, come to The Continental where Tankboy and Keep will be spinning (albeit digitally) the tunes til 5am.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Live Review: Pearl Jam

The only time I've seen Pearl Jam live was at Lollapalooza in '07 from halfway across Butler Field, and I've never seen a concert at the United Center (okay there was that Avril Lavigne show, but that doesn't count as a real rock concert, and I was in the suite which I realized last night completely disconnects you from the event). So combine these "firsts" and add in the fact that Pear Jam was the anthem of me coming of age in the 90's, and I was completely overwhelmed when they launched into "Corduroy." It certainly helps that all their songs are so full of passion anyway (and I'm sure the beer played a role too).

I'm pretty worn out after driving home for the weekend, and The Whistler's cocktails after the show, but I think it turned out pretty alright. See for yourself...

Live Review: Pearl Jam @ United Center 8/23/09

pearl_jam 504.jpg

Photos by Jim Kopeny

"We've got a lot of emotion to get through tonight." Eddie Vedder started off the evening with that statement at last night's Pearl Jam concert at the United Center before launching into "Corduroy." It's hard not to be filled with emotion with songs so passionate and enduring, and of course, Vedder's deep, fervent vocals. He took the stage in shorts, a move not a lot of rockstars could get away with and still look like a rockstar, but if anyone can pull it off, it's Eddie Vedder.

As if there was any question as to where Vedder calls home, after the group finished the song "Why Go" he said, "Why go home? I am home," which was answered by wild cheers from the audience. He then pointed out, as any Chicagoan knows, that if you're born in Chicago you'll always be from Chicago, and that if you ever live here, Chicago will always be in you. It's with moments like that that Pearl Jam makes an arena full of people feel like a group in an intimate venue. They even got the whole place to sing Happy Birthday to friend Mike Richter who couldn't make it to the show.

Vedder.jpgThey didn't play much new material from their forthcoming album, Backspacer, saying that they'd "probably fuck it up," But many of the standards were there, including a few covers. Paying tribute to their roots and in thanks to Mr. Pete Townshend, they covered two different The Who songs--"Love, Reign O'er Me" and "The Real Me." Always one to make a statement, Vedder also acknowledged Michael Jackson's death by telling how he loved Motown when young, but then suggested that we really lost him a long time ago and played Neil Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done."

After thanking the crowd for coming and humbly asking "We did okay?" they ended the show in true rockstar style, playing one more song as the house lights came up inside the United Center, Vedder even lighting up a smoke as they closed out the night with a Hendrix-style rendition of our National Anthem.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lolla Revisited

Okay, I know it's been over a week since Lollapalooza, but I was recovering, okay?! Didn't do anything but clean house and go to work last week, and I'm just getting back into being social again. I did my music recap for Transmission (which you can read here) but I didn't want to brag about all the parties and stuff we went to, so I left all my personal experience for posting here.


The highlight of my day was the one thing that got me out of bed and got my ass to the park early and that was Hey Champ performing on the Main Stage at 12:15. The guys kicked some serious dance-rock ass. It was really cool to see the guys on the big screens by the stage! I think I took more pics of the screens than I did of them!! Needless to say I was super proud, although maybe not as proud as Papa Steve :)

The one thing that sucked about Friday was the RAIN. I was waiting for all the newspaper, magazine and online headlines to read "Mudpalooza," but I did hear of one "Rainapalooza" front page. I have this theory that people are okay with rain at music festivals bc Woodstock made it look so cool. Anyway, every time it rains I think how glad I am that I bought my green Marmot rain jacket (even if it did cost $100). It was still pretty cold though, my little fingers turning white, saved only slightly by this year's Lolla koozies. Speaking of holding beers, this year the fest was selling cans of beer instead of cups, including 24 oz cans which I thought was a great call bc it meant less frequent trips to the bar. Unfortunately those big cans were gone on Saturday, likely because they could become dangerous projectiles if thrown, but bartenders were saying that people just got too drunk.

Speaking of 24 oz cans of beer, I think they were getting to my head by the time I was alone watching of Montreal on the Vitaminwater stage and my girl Brynn took off to the other end to see Andrew Bird. (I should mention that I skipped his set bc I was lucky enough to see him Thursday night at Schubas) I decided to take a trip to the porta-potties, and when I came out I saw Tom, Dan and his girlfriend standing right there on the stairs and Tom says they were just talking about me! So I took the crew over to the "BAR" where my buddy had been hooking us up all day (tip: get a friend at the bar). We pretty much ended the evening there in front of the bar. Most everyone joined back up with us and we had a little party in the background of Depeche Mode's set.

Every night after the fest, Tankboy and I somehow or another always ended up back at the Hard Rock Hotel party thanks to his Chicagoist "press" credentials (I had no press access this time around. sadface.). The girl who checked us in looked really familiar and when I finally placed that she looks like that chick from the Bachelorette, he asked me her name (Jen Schefft), and turns out she was the one he had been communicating with back and forth about credentials and party info via email. While it was nothing quite as wild as last year, it was still fun, and--I'll be honest--pretty cool to be part of such an exclusive party.

We didn't stay there too long, as Tankboy was going to shoot the Lykke Li aftershow at Bottom Lounge. I really really wanted to go to the show, but in the cab on the way there, I decided I had had enough to drink and needed to go home. But, the night ended with me locking myself out of my apartment and sleeping on the neighbor's couch... long story, not really worth it here.


Saturday was a little different in that I never made it to the festival proper at all. There wasn't anyone I was dying to see that day (which fueled some thought about heading to STL for the night to attend my ten-year high school reunion--which I didn't). The day started off with Tankboy and I witnessing a car wreck downtown on our way to the Playboy Rockstar Brunch. Luckily no one was seriously injured, but there were two pretty pissed off women.

The brunch wasn't quite as glam, or sexy as it would sound, but it was still very cool. The food was gone by the time we got there, so we hit the drinks instead (luckily we had eaten at Treat on the way). We ran into Saam and Steve shortly after arriving so we hung out with them and the rest of the Hey Champ crew. There was a bunny ice sculpture shots were being served from, a "makeout room" where Saam had his picture taken with a playmate (again, not as racy as it sounds, in the slightest), DJ Mom Jeans on the decks, and in one of the rooms there was a photo from the back of Radiohead's stage from Lolla last year, and wouldn't you know, there was Tankboy in the photo pit.

From there I had planned on going straight to the fest, but the sweltering heat was a bit of a deterrent and the crew was heading up to the Hard Rock so we went along. I figured I would spend the afternoon there and have an opportunity to go home, change, let the dog out, etc, before Hey Champ's show that night at LaSalle Power Co.

LaSalle Power Co pissed me off to no end with their pretentiousness (Maybe one day I will describe the events that took place here, but I do not feel like getting all riled up about it again. Know only that I will never attend a show here again and I will slaughter them in any preview I have to write.), and I ended up taking off for Hard Rock. Lucky for me, I arrived just in time to get in with Tankboy bc the place was crazy outside. He was taking pictures as Passion Pit and Santigold played. I found myself in the middle of the room when GZA took the stage with Santigold and the place went crazy with people throwing up Wu-Tang signs and I decided I prob didn't belong there so I went back by the bar and met this guy Roy. Totally thought he was trying to hit on me, but heended up being really cool and Tankboy and I spent most of the evening talking with him about music biz stuff. Turns out he was there as the stage manager for Yeah Yeah Yeahs.


Sunday it was back to the fest. It was still hot, but it was a fairly chill day. I spent most of the day camped out on the north end after running into my old co-worker friend Devin at Dan Deacon. Brynn and Bart supplied the blanket, and Ryan eventually cheated his way in to meet us. We saw Neko Case, Dan Auerbach and Lou Reed (who set off the delay that would create much ire for me later on). It was pretty cool to see the legend on stage, even if he did look older than dirt (he didn't even put on his own guitar!).

Then, it was time for Jane's Addiction to take the stage. Apparently Band of Horses didn't get the message though because they played through their first few songs, including their over-the-top helicopter opening. I even heard that they came back out TWICE and said "one more song?" --the second time my friend Tim thought they were joking. Needless to say the soundbleed was AWFUL and pretty much ruined "Mountain Song" for me. The whole thing can be encapsulated by my single tweet from the evening: "Band of Horses. Forever on my shit list." I understand that they started late because Lou Reed started late and went over his set time, but Jane's still started ten minutes late and they could have shared the 20 minute overage. But most of all, Lollapalooza is Perry's house and you have to respect the host.

Ok, I'm done. Besides that, the show was amazing. Perry Farrell was never meant to do anything but front this band. There were so many stand out moments, the best one for me I think was just hearing "Been Caught Stealing" live. The dancers were dressed as the cover of
Nothing's Shocking, drummer Stephen Perkins played against doctor's orders, Perry's kids took the stage, and there was even a marriage proposal at the end--by a photographer Tankboy and I know!! (My friend and I were actually giving him ring advice after the Metric show a few months ago!) The best part though was when Tankboy turned to me and pointed at a single tear coming down his face... I have never seen him cry. He had seen them at the first Lollapalooza and he was crying at seeing the original Jane's Addiction lineup together again. I think I love him even more now, heh. (The moment was made even more precious by Brynn telling me that her husband thought that until that moment he thought the lead singer of Jane's Addiction was a girl. I asked her if he got the significance of the "Perry's" dance tent, and she said she had explained everything to him.)

[PS-Check out Tankboy's amazing pics of Jane's Addiction.]

The Hard Rock that night was much more tame than the night before. Ra Ra Riot and Chairlift played and I met fellow GB-er Lisa in line (and I had to tell these kids to step back "five-feet" from me after gushing about being in the vip party and then asking me to take their picture with a disposable fuji and then spilling a drink on my foot. Take your slurpee cup--yes I can see that it is filled with beer--and stand over there, kids.)

Monday I took a much needed day off from my day-job to rest, write and take in the weekend. But, if you're already ready to start thinking about next year,
tickets are already on sale! (geez...)

One last thing...

Happy Anniversary Tankboy.

Just doin' my job

Where else can I gush that I just gave away two tickets to a Pearl Jam concert? If you told little ol' 17 year old me, riding in my friend Dave's pickup listening to "Last Kiss" over and over, that I would one day I'd be doing concert ticket giveaways--espec for that band--I don't know that I would believe it.

Anyway... back to work!

UPDATE: Now I am GOING to the Sunday show, reviewing it! Yes, I am feeling pretty cool right now :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Discovered Today

Mayday - I don't even like hip-hop, but I like this. Cee-Lo guests on the first track.

The Postmarks - Girly twee-60's-lo-fi thing going on. Flowy quaalude music.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Whatta Week!

It's been a busy week already and it's going to get even busier as Lollapalooza looms on the horizon.

Monday night, Tankboy and I went to see Pete Yorn at Park West (review can be read here) and what I thought would be an early night ended up with us meeting Tom Schraeder for drinks at High Dive (where I learned what it means to get "Yorned").

Thats quite a way to start out the week, especially when we should be resting up for a mammoth weekend. The celebration offically starts tonight as Andrew Bird takes over (the under 200 capacity) Schubas. This show was near impossible to get tickets to, but Tankboy managed to get two tickets for us (winning the best boyfriend ever award) and then just yesterday I got on the list for the show!! So we went from "no way we're going" to "who are we going to take with us?"!

Now down to business: If you're going to Lolla you should definitely get your buns there bright and early on Friday to see my Hey Champ buddies at 12:15 on the "Chicago 2016" stage. (Thats right, they're on the big stage!) As for the rest of my picks for the weekend, you can see my "custom schedule" here. Also, on Transmission, we are running features all week in a versus fashion to help you choose between bands playing on opposite ends of the park at the same times (I know, it sucks). My match ups were Andrew Bird/of Montreal/Peter Bjorn & John, Neko Case/Vampire Weekend and Jane's Addiction/Killers.

With all the aftershows, afterparties and other events happening this weekend, I'm sure there will be plenty of stories to share next week!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Discovered Today

Bad Veins - Think of this duo as younger Killers, but more rooted in indie rock. I'll be at their SubT show on 9/15.

The Drums - I stumbled on this young group in a saved email I thought was about Pat Carney's (The Black Keys) new band, Drummer. Fresh, light-hearted, super 80's surf rock.

Discovered Last Week

The Dead Trees - I'm a sucker for their 90's alt rock drama "Loretta."

My Were They - Post punk? New wave? Dark and hypnotizing. And they call Chicago home.

The Dodos - Go ahead and make fun that I'm just now catching up with this indie-pop group as they release their third album. They come to Chicago's Bottom Lounge on 10/19.