Category Archives: TVD Chicago

Wild Belle: Finding magic on Jamaican vinyl

PHOTO: JENNIFER TZAR | Natalie Bergman, half of the brother-sister duo Wild Belle, loves vinyl. Traveling all over the world, she has picked up some rare records, some too scratched to even play—but she still has to have them.

With the release of their new record Dreamland just around the corner, Natalie took time to talk with TVD about the search for the records one just has to have.

I just saw you on Jimmy Fallon this week. It looked really fun! What was that experience like?

I’m back in LA now and I’m writing thank you letters to everyone in my band and to Jimmy. I just finished my letter to Jimmy. He’s really an extraordinary person. He has such an amazing gift. He brings people together. He’s such a strong joy in this world. I really love him and I’m so thankful that he invited us on the show. It was such a nerve-racking performance. My knees locked!

When you were talking about your first album, Isles, you said each song was like its own island and had its own story. Do you think of your upcoming album Dreamland the same way?

Definitely every song is its own story. The album is sort of its own story to me. It has a lot to do with my time in Chicago. This album has a lot to do with loss and recovery, finding different means to cope with loss.

I think that as an artist it takes a lot of guts to keep the dream flowing, to keep reaching for things that you believe in. Fallon was a good example of that. I met him in Jamaica and we got along so well. I sang a Bob Marley song for him and he fell in love with my voice. It’s moments like those that I really feel like it takes guts to stand up for yourself as a musician and stand up for your art and performing in front of someone you don’t know, but you admire. There are lots of people who I look up to, lots of artists and musicians. It’s really an honor to be able to perform in front of these artists who I admire so much.

The record is sort of a journey through my mind through a breakup. It has to do with many different relationships. My relationship with love, with a man, with the label, with family, with friends…

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TVD Live Shots: Iggy
Pop at the Chicago
Theatre, 4/6

“First three songs, no flash, then out!” It’s the all too common directive for any live concert photographer—but when your subject’s Mr. Iggy Pop, who can refuse?

Those of you with sharp memories will recall we shot Iggy along with Josh Homme in San Francisco for a piece we ran earlier in the week, TVD’s Jason Miller writing last Tuesday, “Iggy Pop has nothing left to prove to the rock ‘n’ roll community. The Godfather of Punk and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee refuses to slow down one bit.

And why should he? His 17th studio album launched at the top of the Billboard Rock and Alternative charts, delivering the 68-year-old icon his first #1 album ever…”

Thus, with zero arm-twisting, TVD Chicago’s Brigid Gallagher met up with Iggy and Crew on Wednesday night at the city’s Chicago Theatre, and tasked with “first three songs, no flash, then out,” captured magic on stage with magic of her own—which we’re rather used to around here. —Ed.

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TVD Live: Mavis Staples at Thalia Hall, 3/19

PHOTOS: BRIGID GALLAGHER | Legendary singer Mavis Staples returned to her home town for two nights at Thalia Hall this past weekend. She was supported by Chicago-based group, The Flat Five.

The show opened with the sweet sounds of The Flat Five. Making old songs sound new again with their jazzy arrangements, The Flat Five covered a wide range of material including The Free Design’s “I Found Love” and Sly and the Family Stone’s “Mother Beautiful.” They peppered the set with witty banter telling the audience, “We are well aware we’re you’re appetizer,” before clearing the way for Mavis.

Mavis Staples entered the stage to a standing ovation and took her time to greet each fan with a wave before she settled into her first song, “If You’re Ready.” After the first few selections Mavis exclaimed, “We’re happy to be home!” It was a homecoming reunion as she listed the friends and family that came out to see her. When a fan shouted “I love you, Mavis!” she replied, “I love you, too!” and turned to the audience, “You know, that’s my cousin.”

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TVD Live Shots:
Beach House at the
Vic Theatre, 3/1

Baltimore’s Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand, better known as the indie dream pop duo Beach House, have spent the last decade (and then some) cultivating a cult following. And for good reason.

Their sound is nostalgic, cozy, familiar. It’s like snuggling into your favorite blanket. Beach House songs wrap around you—they hug you and even, at times, kiss you. And in winter, every Chicagoan needs a good hug. And kiss.

So it’s no surprise that the band, now a quartet live, kicked off the month of March playing in front of a sold out crowd at the Vic Theatre. Victoria took a liking to the Vic: “It’s beautiful,” she mused. “Run down in all the right ways.” And the crowd took a liking to their set, which focused on songs from one of their two 2015 releases, Depression Cherry, as well as Beach House classics from “Teen Dream,” “Bloom,” and “Devotion.”

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TVD Live: Wavves, Best Coast, Cherry Glazerr at Thalia Hall, 2/25

PHOTOS: BRIGID GALLAGHER | After a snowy week in Chicago, the “Summer is Forever II” tour came through town for two sold out nights at Thalia Hall. Three Californian bands, Wavves, Best Coast, and Cherry Glazerr took the stage to remind us of rays of sunshine and the hot days ahead.

Cherry Glazerr started off the night with our first taste of summer. Clementine Creevy’s sugary sweet vocals about snack foods and friendship were given an edge with heavy strumming guitar. Creevy’s small frame created a large presence as she moved about the stage, even coming to the edge to sing to fans. Much of the audience was impressed and unable to help themselves from head-bobbing and dancing. At the end of the night many concertgoers walked away clutching a copy of their latest album, Haxel Princess on pink vinyl.

Best Coast brought summer night vibes with their set consisting of a pleasant mix of new and old. Frontwoman, Bethany Cosentino’s fierce stance was silhouetted making her a powerful force as the band played favorites such as “Do You Love Me Like You Used To?” and “Crazy For You.” Cosentino alternated between guitar and a star-shaped tambourine using those moments to let loose and dance to their appealing poppy rock songs.

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TVD Live Shots: Future and Ty Dolla $ign at the Aragon Ballroom, 2/18

Atlanta rapper Future just embarked on a nationwide tour in support of his most recent mixtape, “Purple Reign.” Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom was the second stop on the sold-out tour, which also featured Ty Dolla $ign and DJ Esco among others.

Unfortunately I missed over half the show because the promoter was convinced I wasn’t approved to photograph (I was) so by the time the mess was sorted out, I had been standing at will call for over an hour and had missed Ty’s set as well as part of Future’s set. (I wish I could say this sort of issue for concert photographers is a rarity but it’s definitely not.)

Anyway, from what I did catch of the show, I have nothing but good things to say. I haven’t seen a crowd enjoying themselves as much as Future’s crowd in a long time. The room was steaming hot and everyone was dancing, sweating, smiling, and singing along. It was like walking into summertime Chi and the vibe was contagious.

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TVD Live Shots:
Parquet Courts at
Thalia Hall, 2/16

Brooklyn punk quartet Parquet Courts played a sold-out show at Pilsen’s Thalia Hall last Tuesday in support of their forthcoming and fifth studio album, Human Performance.

Attendees got a taste of their new songs, as well as a mixture of tracks from their previous releases including fan favorites such as “Stoned and Starving” and “Black and White.”

It was a solid, energetic and headbanging-worthy set from a band that continues to turn heads—and for good reason. Their talent, passion, and charm are a winning combination.

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TVD Live Shots: Beirut
at the Riviera, 11/10

Yes Yes Yes! Four years after releasing The Rip Tide, Zach Condon—better known as Beirut (at least in the music world)—has returned once again to delight our ears with his latest album, No No No.

Zach and the other talented members of Beirut (Nick Petree, Paul Collins, Aaron Arntz, Ben Lanz, and Kyle Resnick) are close to finishing up a worldwide tour that recently rolled through Chicago.

They treated the sold-out crowd at the Riviera Theatre to their distinctive indie blend of baroque pop, Balkan-inspired folk, and world music. And while they played some tracks off their latest release, they didn’t shy away from playing older fan favorites (“Scenic World,” “Nantes,” “Postcards from Italy,” etc.). It’s nice to have this band back!

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TVD Live Shots: Janet Jackson at the Chicago Theatre, 11/3

“How was Janet?” has literally been the only question I’ve been asked since I photographed the first night of her three-night stand at The Chicago Theatre. My response? Well, from the 60 seconds I saw through my camera lens, she was phenomenal.

Welcome to the glamorous life of a concert photojournalist! My fellow photographers and I were escorted in for the last 30 seconds of her first song and permitted to shoot from the sound booth until 30 seconds into her second song, at which point we were escorted out. But HELL I GOT TO PHOTOGRAPH JANET JACKSON—so who gives a F!

Here’s what I was able to process in a minute: Janet is still smokin’ hot. Janet can still sing her ass off. Janet can still dance her ass off. Janet doesn’t need to rely on major theatrics, as every other pop star in the world does, to convey her message. Janet is an equal opportunities employer, as her band and backup dancers are all shapes, ages, and cultures. In short, Janet is still a mutha f-in BOSS.

Go see the queen of pop!

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TVD Live Shots: Leon Bridges and Kali Uchis
at The Vic, 10/27

Two years ago Leon Bridges was washing dishes in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. This night, he headlined a sold-out show at Chicago’s Vic Theatre, just one of the many stops on his first national tour.

He’s become almost an immediate sensation, reaching people of all ages and demographics with his particular style of ’60s soul. He’s old school soul with a new school twist.

In the same way that Charles Bradley channels James Brown and St. Paul and the Broken Bones channels Otis Redding, Leon Bridges channels Sam Cooke. His sound, his look, his show is like stepping back in time. And it’s fun.

Newcomer Kali Uchis kicked off the evening.

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