Author Archives: Taylor Nettnin

Save Our Stages:
IDER, SuperKnova,
Boy Bjorn, and Zzo at Schubas Tavern in Chicago, 1/16/20

During this period of historic uncertainty, the fight for the survival of our independent record stores is directly mirrored by the dark stages of our local independent theatres, clubs, and performance spaces which have been shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been cited as well that 90% of these concert venues may never, ever return.

Enter the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) whose #SaveOurStages campaign has provided a spotlight on this perilous predicament with a unique mission to “preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live music venues and promoters throughout the United States.” Without help from Congress the predictions are indeed quite dire and TVD encourages you support the S. 3814/H.R. 7481, the RESTART Act, by telling your legislators to save independent music venues via the form that can be filled out and forwarded right here.

This week as we did last week, we’re turning our own spotlight onto previous live concert coverage as a reminder of the need to preserve the vitality of live music venues across the country—and indeed across the globe—and while we’re at it to celebrate the work of the fine photographers and writers at TVD who are all itching to get back into the pit. 

The annual Tomorrow Never Knows Fest took place from January 15th through the 19th this year at venues throughout the Chicagoland area. Created to prove that music fans will brave the cold winter to see their favorite local and nationwide indie acts, the fans did just that, traveling through bitter temps and endless snowfall.

Thursday saw London duo IDER perform in Chicago for the first time. Performing alongside them were Champaign based Zzo, Madison solo project Boy Bjorn, and the electric Chicago based SuperKnova. As the temperature got colder outside, the house quickly warmed up with all the concert goers filling the small room.

Zzo, the indie pop creation of Zoe Willott, eased the crowd into the night by performing an intimate, stripped down set that included vocals and guitar. Their sweet vocals mixed with the melodic tones helped warm up the crowd.

Boy Bjorn took the stage next, interlacing their alternative indie sounds with jokes about the Illinois and Wisconsin rival football teams. These Madison rockers exuded positive energy throughout their set, and it really resonated with the crowd that responded by bopping along to their catchy tunes.

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TVD Live Shots: Trixie Mattel at Park West, 2/19

Midwest native turned global sensation Trixie Mattel brought her Grown Up Tour to Park West in Chicago on Wednesday, February 19th. Performing a bit of stand up and some tracks from her most recent album Barbara to a sold out crowd, Trixie brought the heat and kept everyone laughing at her jokes and bopping to her songs.

The night started off with an announcer saying that Trixie was too ill to perform and they had a video for us to watch to check in on her. The video featured her Unhhh show mate Katya as a doctor, and hijinks ensued. Once the video ended, Trixie and her band stormed the stage to “We Got The Look,” on of the more up beat, pop inspired tracks from her latest album.

Going back and forth between music and stand up, with a handful of video interludes in between, the crowd was kept entertained from start to finish. Trixie Mattel has really set herself apart from other RuPaul’s Drag Race winners by proving she is a force to be reckoned with in every way. The 10 costume changes and 3 wig changes during a nearly 2 hour set is impressive in its own right!

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TVD Live Shots: Resavoir, Valebol, and Luke Titus at Lincoln Hall, 1/18

Saturday night’s Tomorrow Never Knows Fest show at Lincoln Hall saw some of Chicago’s finest musicians come together to put on a multi-genre show that felt like it could melt away the snow that was piled up outside.

Drummer and producer Luke Titus started the night off with mesmerizing drum beats mixed with catchy guitar riffs and sultry vocals. Titus shared with the crowd that he liked to name his songs after colors because he associated his emotions with colors, and when he’s writing songs he feels emotional and the color helps the music paint a picture. He really connected with the crowd, so when his time was up the audience was left wanting more.

Valebol, the pop collaboration between V.V. Lightbody and Daniel Villarreal, were up next. Mixing lyrics in different languages with vocal distortion and synthesizers got the crowd up on their feet. The highlight of their set was when they brought out their cover of Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head,” which left the crowd singing along loudly as they reminisced about this early 2000s pop hit.

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TVD Live Shots: Paul Cherry, V. V. Lightbody, The Ophelias, and Claude at Lincoln Hall, 1/17

Friday night of Tomorrow Never Knows Fest was a true test to see if Chicago’s biggest music fans would brave a winter storm to see their favorite artists. As the snow came down and the plows were nowhere to be seen, patrons from throughout the city came together to see Paul Cherry headline Lincoln Hall.

Solo act Claude was the first to brave the stage, connecting with the crowd with her sweet voice and soft guitar melodies. Even though she admitted to getting over a cold and not feeling her best, the Chicago musician kept it going and finished her set to cheers from the crowd.

Ohio based The Ophelias were up next, and before they even started audience members couldn’t help but comment about liking the band members personal styles. Bopping along to their classical infused, alternative indie rock setlist, they created the relaxed vibe for the rest of the night.

V.V. Lightbody was joined on stage by a full band that included a bassist, drummer, keyboardist, guitarist, saxophonist, and flutist. Perfectly entwining the wind instruments with her vocals and melodies, her set felt like a daydream. Adding a bit of comedy in between songs, Lightbody applauded the crowd for braving the snow storm and deemed them “not babies.”

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TVD Live Shots: IDER, SuperKnova, Boy Bjorn, and Zzo at Schubas Tavern, 1/16

The annual Tomorrow Never Knows Fest took place from January 15th through the 19th this year at venues throughout the Chicagoland area. Created to prove that music fans will brave the cold winter to see their favorite local and nationwide indie acts, the fans did just that, traveling through bitter temps and endless snowfall.

Thursday saw London duo IDER perform in Chicago for the first time. Performing alongside them were Champaign based Zzo, Madison solo project Boy Bjorn, and the electric Chicago based SuperKnova. As the temperature got colder outside, the house quickly warmed up with all the concert goers filling the small room.

Zzo, the indie pop creation of Zoe Willott, eased the crowd into the night by performing an intimate, stripped down set that included vocals and guitar. Their sweet vocals mixed with the melodic tones helped warm up the crowd.

Boy Bjorn took the stage next, interlacing their alternative indie sounds with jokes about the Illinois and Wisconsin rival football teams. These Madison rockers exuded positive energy throughout their set, and it really resonated with the crowd that responded by bopping along to their catchy tunes.

Read More »

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TVD Live Shots: Cher
with Nile Rodgers
and Chic at the United Center, 11/27

Living legend Cher wowed the crowd at the United Center in Chicago on Wednesday, November 27th. Nile Rodgers and Chic opened the show, performing the classics “I Want Your Love,” “Good Times,” and “Le Freak,” while also throwing in some Nile Rodgers collaborations like Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” and David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” They thoroughly got the crowd warmed up for Cher.

Multi-million record selling artist Cher has lit up the entertainment industry since the 1960s, and she’s still performing at the same caliber, if not higher, as the peak of her career. Cher started off her set by floating above her immaculate stage on a flying gold platform, belting out the uplifting lyrics to the first single from her twenty-fifth studio album, Woman’s World. Surrounded by immensely talented dancers for all of her upbeat tracks, Cher’s vocals and moves kept up the whole set, making it impossible to believe that this powerhouse entertainer turned 73 this year.

Throughout the night Cher took little breaks to interact with the crowd, telling stories of different moments in her career. After a video interlude of her time with Sonny Bono and a performance of “The Beat Goes On,” Cher told the crowd that she had been going back and forth on whether she wanted to include the next song in her set or not, saying that maybe she’ll “just wait until [her] next farewell tour,” however following up with the sentiment, “Bitch, you’re 500, just do it!” This transitioned into a heartfelt rendition of “I Got You Babe,” complete with a large video projection of Sonny singing the duet along with her.

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TVD Live Shots: Converge, Cloud Nothings, Djunah at House of Vans, 8/24

The masses came out for the final show of the Vans House Parties at House of Vans this summer, curated by heavy hitters Converge. With the line to get in wrapping around the block, it was easy to recognize that this summer concert series was going to end with a bang.

Djunah was the first to hit the stage, a two-piece rock band hailing from Chicago. The crowd was watching intently, bopping their heads along with the melodies. It was pretty chill during this set, the crowd presumably saving up all their energy for the headliner. This didn’t stop Djunah from delivering an action packed set that felt like the stage was filled with multiple musicians. Their debut album is due to be released in November.

Cloud Nothings, the genre bending rock band from Ohio, came up next. Switching between slower indie rock songs, to amped up punk songs, the crowd bounced along rhythmically. Even the concertgoers sitting on the skate ramps were bopping along to the music. They were successful in getting the crowd ready for Converge.

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TVD Live Shots:
Kali Uchis, Iris Temple, and Tatiana Hazel at Metro, 7/30

Founded in 2007 by Lauren McClusky, Nelarusky holds an annual benefit at the famous Chicago venue Metro to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics. This year marks their 13th year holding this benefit concert that has become an official Lollapalooza after show, and to date they have raised over $300,000. This year’s benefit saw Kali Uchis, Iris Temple, and Tatiana Hazel come together on Tuesday, July 30th, 2019, to help add to Nelarusky’s impressive donation total.

Tatiana Hazel started the night off with a band, dominating the stage almost immediately. Chants of “I love you, Tati” could be heard from the crowd. Her energy lit up the room, which was apparent due the crowds non-stop dancing. This set was bittersweet for Hazel, as she announced during the last half of her set that she is moving to California soon, so this was her last show in Chicago as a Chicago resident. She powered through the rest of her set and the crowd was left amped up for the next performance.

A quick break between sets was filled with a brief announcement from Nelarusky thanking the crowd for being there and highlighting the accomplishments of athlete Barbara Kozdron, aka Barbie. Barbie’s speech was met with instant applause as she detailed her favorite sports to compete in and informed everyone that she has won over 600 gold medals in figure skating, as well as bench pressing 185 pounds. The crowd was very supportive.

Iris Temple was up next. Their jazzy and soulful sound mixed with their hard-hitting lyrics about anxiety, depression, and falling out of love had the crowd in their feelings. The music fit very well for their topics, and the musicality of the musicians was nothing short of amazing. Their harmonies and melodies meshed very well together.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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