Author Archives: Brigid Gallagher

TVD Live Shots:
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds at the Auditorium Theatre, 6/16

Enthralling. Haunting. Lovely. Tortured. Just a few words I’d use to describe Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Their shows are often referred to as religious experiences. And so the revival once again returned to the Windy City leaving the audience at the Auditorium Theatre this past Friday “stunned” and “transformed” in their own words. “Cathartic,” one friend murmured to another.

Their extensive tour—dates can be found here—continues in Portland tomorrow night. The current setlist draws heavily from Nick Cave’s latest release, Skeleton Tree, which largely deals with the tragic death of his son, Arthur, from an accidental fall.

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TVD Live Shots: Paul Simon at Huntington Bank Pavilion, 6/14

When severe thunderstorms hit Chicago late afternoon, a few hundred people had mild panic attacks on social media wondering if Paul Simon would still be able perform at Huntington Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island—one of Chicago’s outdoor venues.

Concerns began to spread on Facebook when HBP announced that they were delaying doors for the show. “What does that mean?!” people exclaimed in the comments. “Say it’s not cancelled!” However, the rain gods were kind to us—knowing that we could all use a good dose of Paul Simon right now—and the storm passed, the only damage being a 90 minute delay to Mr. Simon’s set time. Bonus: one hell of a sunset. And yes, he played well past the 11pm noise curfew.

From start to finish the crowd was on its feet. The 24-song set spanned his career but pulled from the Graceland and the Simon & Garfunkel catalog the most. No complaints here! In fact, it was one of the best shows I’ve seen all year. Mr. Simon and his small army of crazy talented musicians put on an inspired performance. Honestly, I don’t think his voice has aged. He sounds incredible.

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TVD Live Shots: The xx and Sampha at Aragon Ballroom, 5/1

It’s been five long years since The xx’s last album and four long years since the UK-based trio performed in Chicago. Needless to say, fans have been anxiously awaiting their return.

In January they ended the wait with the release of their latest album, I See You, to critical acclaim. And on May 1st, Chicagoans were finally rewarded with a sold-out show at the Aragon Ballroom.

They even brought London singer/songwriter Sampha with them to open. He released his gorgeous debut album, Process, in February.

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TVD Live Shots:
Flaming Lips at the Riviera Theatre, 4/17

“This shit is crazy!” a Riviera Theatre security guard yelled to me, wide-eyed, as I was leaving the photo pit. I laughed and nodded.

“This is my third time seeing them and…this shit is CRAZY!” he emphasized. Yes, it is. Large balloons bounced around the sold-out venue while cannons blasted so much confetti that I’m still finding pieces of it in my camera bag. There was glitter, rainbows, inflatables (“Fuck Yeah Chicago”), streamers, and Wayne Coyne riding a unicorn through the crowd. And this was only three songs in. God, I love it when The Flaming Lips are in town.

Aside from the antics, the setlist was a pretty epic one. They covered David Bowie (“Space Oddity”) and played a chunk of songs from their suberb 1999 release, Soft Bulletin. The Lips are touring extensively right now in support of their latest album, Oczy Mlody, so seriously, don’t be a moron. Go see them. They’re unlike any other live band.

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TVD Shots Live: The Psychedelic Furs and Robyn Hitchcock at Thalia Hall, 4/8

It was a sold-out ’80s dance party at Thalia Hall this past Saturday as The Psychedelic Furs returned to Chicago with support from Robyn Hitchcock.

The crowd was transported back in time, first through Robyn Hitchcock’s surrealist folk and witty banter, followed by the nostalgic post-punk and showmanship of the Furs.

Both acts are on the road through July, Robyn Hitchcock in support of his new self-titled Yep Roc Records release which arrives in stores April 21—on vinyl.

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TVD Live Shots: Rufus Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche at City Winery, 4/6

Rufus Wainwright, accompanied by his sister, Lucy Wainwright Roche, played the first of two sold-out performances at City Winery Chicago this past Thursday.

Lucy had a lovely opening set. In between beautiful folk songs, she was personable and funny, answering audience members’ questions and telling anecdotes. When asked about her biggest musical influences, she credited her family—a most definitely talented musical family. “It’s hard to get around that,” she joked. “They kind of pummel it into you.”

Rufus’ voice is arresting. He unassumingly took the stage and with the first note out of his mouth, the crowd hushed and was instantly transfixed. His voice would stop anyone in their tracks. It’s stunning. The crowd was putty in his skillful hands as he took turns playing the piano and guitar, singing his way through his impressive and diverse discography. In the dimmed light I could see a room full of white teeth, all smiling.

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TVD Live Shots: Run the Jewels and The Gaslamp Killer at the Aragon Ballroom, 2/17

Run the Jewels is the greatest rap duo in the game and you should go see them live immediately. Period. Killer Mike and El-P are the real deal.

If for some reason you cannot see them live, I highly recommend downloading their latest release, Run the Jewels 3 free over at their website. And while you’re at it, check out Run the Jewels and Run the Jewels 2 as well.

If you already know Run the Jewels, first of all—congratulations. Second, check out this set list from the other night at the Aragon Ballroom.

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TVD Live Shots: Priests at the Beat Kitchen, 2/9

D.C.’s Priests played Beat Kitchen last week as part of their North American tour in support of their debut album, Nothing Feels Natural.

I stumbled across the album not long after its release date (January 27th) and have been listening to pretty much nonstop since. The process of completing the album and getting it out was a long and laborious one for the band, but I’d say it was worth the blood, sweat, and tears. And given the current political climate, it feels as if there was no better time for Nothing Feels Natural to drop.

They are just as energetic and commanding live as I suspected. My only critique is that I wish the show had lasted longer.

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TVD Live Shots: Patti Smith and Her Band at the Riviera Theatre, 12/30

Patti Smith celebrated her 70th birthday by bestowing a packed house at the Riviera Theatre the gift of her music and spoken word.

Along with her band, she began the evening by playing her iconic 1975 album Horses in full. In between songs she joked (“I’m the new president of the United States…just for fucking tonight!”), told stories (“I was nearly born in a taxi cab on Lake Shore Drive. The Great Snowstorm of 1946”), and inspired (“Don’t give up! Rise! Strengthen! Learn! Unite!”).

The Godmother of Punk (although she’s reluctant to embrace the title) put on a performance that can only be described as transcendent. Every single person in the sold-out Riv knew they were witnessing something special. It was church, a rally, a celebration and a show rolled all into one. “The dream is not fucking over! There is room in the world for love and peace,” she declared during her encore (a cover of The Who’s “My Generation”).

The calls to action peppered her performance and left me feeling—in a word—empowered. Her message was a welcome reminder that there is hope, love and beauty in this world. I wish every concert was a Patti Smith concert.

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TVD Live Shots: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats at the Chicago Theatre, 12/7

I’ve really come to look forward to the annual WXRT Big Holiday Concert. It’s always a great lineup, a great concert, a great venue, and a great excuse to run into Terri Hemmert and tell her you love her.

This year’s was no different, as Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats headlined with special guest—local legend and natural treasure Mavis Staples. As usual, Mavis, a recent Kennedy Honors recipient, exuded such joy that the grinch would’ve been clapping and singing along with her. It was a stripped down set with the spectacular Rick Holmstrom on guitar as her lone accompanist.

The Night Sweats were the next to hit the stage and they dove into their bluesy soul right away keeping the energy high. The audience was treated to a Mavis encore when she joined Nathaniel and company on stage to sing a beautiful version of “The Weight.” Another notable cover was Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel No. 2.” Rateliff’s solo acoustic version was a lovely tribute to yet another icon we’ve lost in 2016. The crowd stood and danced for the majority of the evening, shimmying and singing along to Ratecliff’s originals. It was a perfect ending to a year filled with incredible shows.

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