Category Archives: TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots:
Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field, 8/18

Pearl Jam fever hit Chicago last week and Wrigleyville is just now returning to normalcy. The buzz when the boys (Eddie, Jeff, Mike, Stone, Matt, and Boom) are back in town is contagious. There’s a Northside euphoria, and now we’re all on the comedown.

Of course this time around Pearl Jam gave us plenty to reminisce about. On Saturday there was the band’s cover debut of David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel” with the MLB Commisoner’s Trophy on stage, Eddie waxing rhapsodic about the Cubs, beautiful tributes to the late greats Chris Cornell and Tom Petty, a rousing rendition of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” a weird Dennis Rodman appearance, and a 3-hour set that went well past Wrigley’s noise curfew.

On Monday there was the hour+ thunderstorm delay; the live debut of “Evil Little Goat,” some killer covers (The White Stripes, The Beatles, The Who), an appearance by former Chicago Blackhawk Chris Chelios capped with a beautiful tribute to the late hockey Hall of Famer Stan Mikita, and my personal favorite memory: Eddie smashing his guitar to pieces to end their 2018 Wrigley residency.

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TVD Live Shots: Sleigh Bells and Torres at the Metro, 8/17

Sleigh Bells returned to the Metro last week—and this time without any complications. In January, the band had to cancel their show due to sickness, and last year they had to play without one of their guitarists. So needless to say they were thrilled to return to the Metro stage a full three-piece and ready to rock. And so were we.

Georgia’s Torres opened the night with a hypnotic set. Her songs ranged from quiet to loud, but all had a raw vulnerability to them. The room was silent when she played, laden with emotion. She is impressive.

Sleigh Bells turned the volume up, as they always do. Those familiar with their shows know that they are a head-banging, crowd-surfing good time. Singer Alexis Krauss dazzled as usual, dancing nonstop and interacting with the crowd. Although a short set (only an hour), it was a fun one.

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TVD Live: Lollapalooza, Day 4 at Grant Park, 8/5

2:14 PM | I arrive in time to catch the end of Durand Jones and the Indications’ set. It’s so lovely and soulful I’m sad I missed the beginning of it.

2:17 PM | Overheard as I’m passing two friends conversing under a tree, “I mean, last year I thought some girl was dead. Turns out she was just passed out.”

3:50 PM | Kali Uchis is dancing her way across the Lake Shore Stage as her fans are squealing with delight. This pop sensation is on the rise.

4:08 PM | Turns out Rainbow Kitten Surprise is a lot more politically charged than their name. “We’re from Boone, North Carolina,” said frontman Samuel Melo. “In case you don’t know, there’s a war going on down there. At least it feels like it if you’re queer.”

4:26 PM | Local Knox Fortune has a few other local cameos his set—his buddy Joey Purp as well as members of Twin Peaks. His cover of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is a good one, as it perfectly suits his vocal strength.

5:32 PM | Well the Gucci Mane crowd is massive and rowdy, but that’s no surprise. Two teenagers standing next to me take 20 minutes to light their joint. Amateurs.

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TVD Live: Lollapalooza, Day 3 at Grant Park, 8/4

1:23 PM | So pumped. It’s St. Vincent Day at Lollapalooza.

2:26 PM | Still laughing about a moment I had with my wife as she was ever-so-kindly driving me down (in our f**king gold minivan) to Grant Park. Me: “Taylor,” my college sophomore niece, “knows who Brockhampton is—I feel cool now!” Susan: “Yeah he’s, like, totally cool with the kids.” Me: “Susan, they’re a group.”

3:28 PM | Of the many fashion themes I’ve gathered from the weekend, a few are really standing out: 1. Bulls jerseys. I mean, Lolla is always heavy on the NBA jerseys but it’s all about the Bulls this year. And it’s not just the crowd—several artists have donned the red and black for their sets. 2. Mullets. Yeah…they’re back, I guess. 3. Glitter-slathered chests. 4. That tiny rip of fabric that claims to be a “jean short” but is really an “ass-cheek-hanging-out” short. 5. Various “Coca Cola” and “Sprite” apparel. (Level with me, millennials, what does it mean?! Are you asking for a specific type of drug? Please, tell this nana.)

4:17 PM | I’ve really enjoyed wandering past the Toyota Music Den this weekend. It’s been a nice opportunity to catch some acts who I missed on the main stages. Yungblud is currently stoked that a few members of their hefty crowd already know the lyrics to songs off their month-old debut album.

5:00 PM | Weekend/life highlight: LL Cool J is doin’ it an doin’ it an doin’ it so well right now at the Bud Light Stage.

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TVD Live: Lollapalooza, Day 2 at Grant Park, 8/3

12:52 PM | Heavy traffic. Yesterday the commute was considerably faster. It makes sensethe first day of a festival usually draws the smallest crowd. Or, at the very least, a late crowd. Today? Not so much. The crowds are flooding into Grant Park for the Pitchfork Music Festival.

1:32 PM | Security is heavy this year, mostly thanks to that piece of s**t who massacred 58 innocent humans and injured hundreds of others on October 1st last year in Las Vegas. Huge thanks to all of the officers and agents (yes, the FBI was present on the grounds all weekend), EMTs, and grounds crew who did their very best to keep downtown Chicago safe all weekend long.

2:37 PM | Taylor Bennett has gathered a huge crowd at Perry’s Stage. The young Chicagoan is making waves and not just because he’s Chance the Rapper’s baby bro. Taylor just released his latest EP, “Be Yourself”—his best venture to date. The crowd loves his positive spirit. He came out as bisexual before his 21st birthday and reminds the crowd of it. “Be Yourself” is more than just his EP name—it’s his anthem. Special guests Supa Bwe, Bianca Shaw, and Twista helped spread the word.

3:12 PM | Walking past the Toyota Music Den I pause to watch LA’s Buddy perform. The crowd is there to dance, and dance they do.

3:19 PM | “I’ve longed for that day when I’d be playing for confused, slightly disgruntled Post Malone fans, and that day has finally come.” said Parquet Court’s A. Savage. It’s a belly laugh moment. I get it, dudes. But there’s still a decent-sized crowd here for you and we’re loving every second.

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TVD Live: Lollapalooza, Day 1 at Grant Park and The National aftershow at the Metro, 8/2

Since 2005, downtown Chicago—more specifically 115 acres in smack dab downtown Chicago (a.k.a. Grant Park)—has been home to the city’s largest music festival, Lollapalooza. It is a festival locals love to hate and hate to love. It doesn’t matter. People travel from far and wide to this Midwest mecca every year without question. Tickets typically sell out within hours. And don’t let the locals’ eye-roll attitude about Lolla fool you, we all go as well. And when we don’t, we’re sad about it. There’s a power that Lolla week in Chicago has over all of us. It’s in many ways our summer climax.

So here I am on the backside of the festival weekend comparing my peak to last years’, and I’m happy to report that this was one of the best Lollas to date. The crowds were (for the most part) manageable; the bands were on time; all went as scheduled; crime went down; hospitalizations went down; it didn’t rain; I repeat—it didn’t rain!—and somehow I managed to leave each day still walking without a limp and looking forward to the next day. So, yeah, the world is probably ending soon.

Now a four-day festival, Lollapalooza ’18 kicked off on Thursday, August 2nd. Highlights from day one included Slaves, who managed to resurrect the spirit of Lollapalooza ‘91 with their black-leather wearing, microphone-eating, head-banging, guitar shredding set. And of course Scotland’s Franz Ferdinand didn’t disappoint, and whose leader, Alex Kapranos, also got my vote for the weekend’s best high kicks.

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TVD Live Shots: Radiohead at US Bank Arena, 7/25

Radiohead hasn’t toured in six years, so when their brief North American tour was announced, I knew that I’d do what was necessary to catch one of their shows.

“What was necessary” turned out to be a road trip from Chicago to Cincinnati for the night. And boy was it worth every mile. The setlist pulled from their expansive 26+ years of songs, but favored tracks from 2000’s Kid A and 2003’s Hail to the Thief.

It was a beautiful evening, capped off with a crowd sing-a-long to “Karma Police” to end the show. “For a minute there / I lost myself…”

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TVD Live Shots: Sylvan Esso and Collections of Colonies of Bees at the Vic Theatre, 7/24

We caught the North Carolina duo Sylvan Esso at the Vic Theatre on Tuesday (7/24) with openers Collections of Colonies of Bees.

It was the second night of their sold-out run in Chicago and the most fun I’ve had on a Tuesday in a while. Their catchy, fun electro-pop has everyone grooving and singing along—Nick Sanborn continues to deliver the beats, Amelia Meath continues to be my dancing idol, and the pair’s stage lighting continues to stun.

Their summer tour wraps up next week north of the border.

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TVD Live: Pitchfork Music Festival, 7/20–7/22

DAY ONE: Friday, July 20 | The Pitchfork Music Festival kicked off around 1:00PM on Friday afternoon at Union Park in Chicago. The forecast held a looming threat of rain all weekend, which most festival goers seemed to come prepared for.

The rain started to pour as The Curls, the first act of the festival, took to the Green Stage. We continued to trek back and forth throughout the afternoon with the rain always seeming to conveniently start right as each act would begin their set.

Lucy Dacus began her set a little early stating, “If it starts raining again we’re leaving because we’re not about to get electrocuted,” kicking off with her catchy track “Addictions.” I was looking forward to catching her set, and even more excited when I noticed on bass was Philly’s own Dominic Angelella filling in.

Continuing the fest with a diverse collection on female artists, Julie Byrne was the first act to open up the Blue Stage. Beginning her set seated and solo, she won over the crowd easily with her soothing Laura Marling vibes. Soon after she was joined on stage with a violinist, synth player, and harpist.

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TVD Live Shots: Black Star and Madame Gandhi at Taste of Chicago, 7/13

Twenty years ago, Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli put out one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time, Mos Def And Talib Kweli are Black Star. On Friday, they brought it—along with some of their solo tracks—to the Taste of Chicago.

It made for a truly exceptional evening, especially considering the two rarely perform together under the Black Star moniker. Despite the heat, the crowd danced until they sweat and sang along with the two legendary emcees.

Up-and-comer Madame Gandhi’s opening set was worth the early arrival. She’s a bright and shining young voice in the feminist movement—and a great drummer to boot.

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TVD Live Shots: Neil Young at the Auditorium Theatre, 6/30

Living legend Neil Young graced Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre stage this past Saturday, wowing the sold-out crowd before wowing yet another sold-out crowd on Sunday night.

Young, who is in the midst of a brief solo tour, impressively bounced from guitar to harmonica to banjo to organ to piano during the evening.

The show paid homage to his extensive musical catalog, making for a truly special evening.

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TVD Live Shots:
Dave Matthews Band
at Huntington Bank Pavilion, 6/29

An excessive heat warning in Chicago didn’t stop a sold-out crowd from piling into Huntington Bank Pavilion for the Dave Matthews Band last Friday. The 2.5 hour sweat fest was a nostalgic one, though not as much as Saturday night’s set proved to be.

Touring in support of their latest studio album Come Together, released less than a month ago, DMB appeared energized by their newer songs. Each member of the band was able to showcase their talents, but what struck me most was the way in which they seem to play for each other. It’s as tight-knit a band as is the fan base who particularly loved the band’s covers—Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” and Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”—Friday night.

Dave Matthews, who basically looks the same as he did in 1997, also sounds the same as he did in 1997, which of course made me super jealous that I don’t look or sound at all as I did in ’97. But good for him! DMB’s U.S. tour continues through the summer and into fall so grab yourself a ticket!

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TVD Live Shots: Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters at Jay Pritzker Pavilion, 6/17

It was a sizzling Father’s Day here in Chicago, and not just because of the weather. Rock god Robert Plant and his band—the (truly) Sensational Space Shifters—played one of my favorite sets of 2018 at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

The set list was heavy on the Led Zeppelin tunes (no complaints here) but also highlighted Plant’s musically expansive (and underrated) solo career. If you’re wondering if he’s still got his iconic pipes? Hell yes he does! Time has been kind to Plant’s vocal chords and his stage presence is still commanding.

Also impressive was his band, The Sensational Space Shifters, who live up to their name and then some. Plant’s tour heads to the west coast next before hitting select cities abroad. Do yourself a solid and grab a ticket.

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TVD Live Shots:
Francis and the Lights
at the Metro, 6/14

Francis and the Lights spent his 37th birthday entertaining a sold-out, sweat pit of happy humans at the Metro last Thursday. And a birthday celebration it was, indeed!

Three songs in, Francis had already scaled the speakers and acrobatically leapt back down to the stage. Moments later he was crowd surfing and singing, all before racing up the stairs to serenade the second floor of the venue.

And if that wasn’t enough, he brought out everyone’s favorite Chicagoan, Chance the Rapper, for “May I Have This Dance” and they showed off their synchronized moves from the single’s music video. The show was an impressive feat of energy and endurance. But that’s what I’ve come to expect from Francis. On stage he gives it everything he’s got, which is why his shows continue to deservingly generate buzz.

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TVD Live Shots: David Byrne at the Auditorium Theatre, 6/1

David Byrne is a master of many things. Musician, producer, actor, writer, director, artist, biker—he can do it all. And he certainly did it all last Friday night at the Auditorium Theatre.

I caught the first of his three-night, sold-out, “American Utopia” run in Chicago and man am I so glad I did. Backed by a tremendously talented group of mobile, barefoot, grey-suited musicians who sang, danced, carried, and played their instruments from start to finish—Byrne has created the most brilliant marching band.

Each song was thoughtfully choreographed and creatively lit, thus making the visual experience a truly stunning one. (And, yeah, they sounded phenomenal as well.)

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