Author Archives: Brigid Gallagher

TVD Live: Pitchfork Music Festival, 9/11

2:54 PM: There are many reasons to love Pitchfork Music Festival, but one area they excel at compared to other fests is performer diversity. You will not see only male musicians or only white bands headlining Pitchfork. In fact, this year’s headliners are all females—and powerhouses, I might add. It brings me immense joy to see such a female-heavy lineup, and today’s one in particular has me giddy. St. Vincent, Jamila Woods, Kim Gordon, Angel Olsen, Waxahatchee and more are all performing today. It’s the coolest Lilith Fair I’ve ever attended.

3:12 PM: “I’ve been wanting to play this festival for a decade!” Divino Niño exclaims. “Dream mother fucking come true!”

3:42 PM: It’s Amaarae’s first time on stage in two years, but she’s in prime form. People are grooving to her particular brand of Afro-soul and currently singing along to her cover of Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name.”

3:45 PM: Bartees Strange quit his job a year ago yesterday to pursue music, he tells the audience during his interview in the DoorDash members area. I would say he made a good choice.

4:43 PM: Well, I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting to hear St. Cloud live since its release last year and the moment has finally arrived. Waxahatchee looks radiant, like a poster child for CottageCore, as she strums her acoustic.

5:28 PM: Faye Webster is worthy of the hype. The sun is dancing through the trees by the Blue Stage, adding to the overall dreaminess of the music and the moment.

5:43 PM: “So how’s Prada?” (Questions you overhear at Pitchfork.)

5:58 PM: Ty Segall is doing what he does best: wailing on the guitar. It’s awesome! In between capturing a few crowd surfers, I hear a “We’re not worthy” from the crowd.

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TVD Live: Pitchfork Music Festival, 9/10

1:15 PM: Aaaaand Pitchfork Music Festival ’21 is officially underway! If there’s a festival worthy of early arrival, it’s Pitchfork. There is always at least one musical act that surprises you, and in this case, it’s the first set of the weekend. NYC Hip hop duo Armand Hammer (Elucid and Billy Woods, who requested no photos of his face) whip through tracks from their latest excellent release (produced by The Alchemist), this year’s Haram.

1:27 PM: There’s a new addition to the Pitchfork campus here at Union Park and it’s the DoorDash member area. Along with band interviews all weekend long, they’re serving seats, shade and—most importantly—free bites from some of Chicago’s best restaurants. Today, it’s Avec and Dove’s Luncheonette.

2:00 PM: Dogleg have my early vote for one of the best sets of the weekend. They’re pumped to be here and proving it with some impressive theatrics: cartwheels, somersaults, and headbanging of course. The crowd is coming alive.

2:15 PM: I could spend some serious money and the Flagstock Poster Fair, but then I’d have to carry the posters around with me for the rest of the day. It’s the only thing saving my bank account.

2:20 PM: The Chirp Record Fair is small but mighty this year and Pitchforkers are wasting no time to peruse the stacks.

2:47 PM: The crowd is filling in for Chicago’s own Dehd. The trio had one of my favorite albums of 2020, Flower of Devotion and it’s sounding just as great live.

3:06 PM: Where is DJ Nate?! So far he’s 21 minutes late for a 45-minute set.

3:43 PM: Singer Frances Quinlan’s voice shines during Hop Along’s set at the Red Stage. The sun soaked crowd is happily dancing along.

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TVD Live Shots: Dead & Company at Blossom Music Center, 9/7

Dead & Company kicked off the midwest portion of their summer tour on a perfect night at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio with a rousing rendition of Sam Cooke’s “Good Times.” It was then that I knew we were in for a special night. But when it comes to the Grateful Dead, it’s usually always a special night.

Original Dead members Mickey Hart (drums), Bill Kreutzmann (drums), and Bob Weir (guitar), as well as Oteil Burbridge (bass), Jeff Chimenti (keys), and John Mayer (guitar) are in their sixth year of touring together as Dead & Company and their chemistry continues to be undeniable. The first set featured “Next Time You See Me,” a song they haven’t played live since 2008, but it was the second set that really took the show to the next level.

Mayer continues to shine on “Althea,” and Otiel taking lead vocals on “Fire of the Mountain” was a treat. “Eyes of the World” bled into one of the more creative “Drums/Space” sections I’ve heard in years. Dead & Co concluded with “Not Fade Away,” which seemed to magically duet with the lightning off in the distance. The crowd begging for more, the fellas returned to the stage for an encore of “Brokedown Palace.”

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TVD Live: Lollapalooza at Grant Park, 8/1

9:56 AM My phone dings with an announcement from Lollapalooza that Da Baby will no longer be headlining or performing at all because the fest “was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect and love.” Given his recent homophobic rant, I’m all for this move.

1:12 PM Another perfect day here in Chicago. We’ve really lucked out! The weather has been ideal all weekend.

2:07 PM I am at least a football field away from Perry’s but the bass is vibrating throughout my body. A sound healing.

2:59 PM Princess Nokia has brought nothing but great vibes. She’s crowd-surfed, offered motivation (“Be who you wanna be!”) and danced her ass off. “I got my start in the New York City gay club night scene and it’s amazing that I’m on the main stage here at Lollapalooza.” She deserves the opportunity.

3:29 PM Toosii just made two fans’ day. Seeing that they were screaming and crying at the sight of him, he decides to bring them on stage for the remainder of his set. They are ecstatic, but instead of being in the moment, hold their phones in front of their faces and hit record.

4:03 PM There have been at least a handful of TikTok stars performing here this weekend. Maybe I’m just old now but the music is, for the most part, pretty fucking bad.

4:06 PM Speaking of TikTok stars, JXDN brings out special guest (and girlfriend) Nessa Barrett for a “la di die” duet.

4:39 PM Brittany Howard is crushing Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life” but I’m honestly not surprised because she’s a real talent. The voice, the guitar, the moves—she’s got it all. And the musicians supporting her are pretty incredible themselves. I recognize Alabama Shakes’ bassist Zac Cockrell as one of them.

4:57 PM A group of guys are fighting because one of them dragged the group to Steve Aoki. They’re apparently still bitter about missing Miley.

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TVD Live: Lollapalooza at Grant Park, 7/31

1:59 PM The Monophonics immediately catch my ear as I enter the grounds. Very soulful— I mean, you can never go wrong with Motown.

3:10 PM So far Lolla fashion has remained pretty consistent over the last few years: NBA jerseys, jorts that cover nothing, bikini tops, spandex, and Hawaiian shirts. This year’s additions to the list include pigtails, George Michael-esque cross earrings, glitter (so much), and these free Solana sunglasses that continue to get passed out to the masses.

3:22 PM Everyone is in great spirits at Perry’s for CID. Even security is particularly jovial—dancing, taking photos for fans, and squirting the crowd with water guns to keep them cool.

3:34 PM Salt Lake City’s Backseat Lovers are rocking the T-Mobile Stage.

3:54 PM Two songs into his set and Cautious Clay has shown he’s multitalented. Aside from lead vocals, he plays the flute and saxophone.

4:11 PM Passing by the Toyota Music Den, I catch a couple Sophie Cates songs during an intimate set.

4:20 PM Mt. Joy has just blasted through a few excellent covers: The Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” and Gorillaz’ “Clint Eastwood.”

4:43 PM Trippie Redd has not finished a full song but the crowd is pumped regardless. He tries to light a blunt but “it’s too windy. We in the Windy City!”

4:56 PM The MLB trade deadline rocked northside Chicagoans pretty hard, as the Cubs traded away fan favorites Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Báez. Consequently, the Cubs jerseys are everywhere today and some have taken liberties with them (“Fuck the Ricketts”).

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TVD Live: Lollapalooza at Grant Park, 7/30

3:32 PM: A herd of teens (probably around 30 of them) leap the Lollapalooza perimeter barricades just south of Balboa. It wouldn’t be Lolla without some fence jumpers. “Go kids! I believe in you!” screams one passerby.

4:18 PM: Blueser Jacob Banks is midway through a soulful set at the LakeShore Stage.

4:41 PM: The married duo of Elephant Heart remind me of a kinder, gentler version of Die Antwoord. Or maybe they’re like a world music Sylvan Esso? Regardless, the crowd is grooving.

5:15 PM: It’s his city; it’s his stage: Polo G is dominating. So much so that a commemorative Lolla aluminum water bottle pelts me in the shoulder while I’m in the photo pit. This is not the first time I’ve seen the special aluminum bottles launched into the air from the crowd. (By Saturday, Lolla’s valiant efforts to eliminate plastic by getting people to reuse their water bottles are finished. Too many have served as weapons, I overhear one bar volunteer say to another. “People were flinging them. It was dangerous.”)

5:26 PM: I’m really enjoying Elohim’s set. It’s a big self-love dance party. “I think we all need to be a little nicer to ourselves,” she declares to loud cheers.

5:40 PM: Number of young women I’ve seen cry-yelling at their boyfriend because they took off without them count: 4.

6:17 PM: I mix up my stages and end up at Arizona Zervas instead of White Reaper. Whoops. It’s cool, though, as it’s always fun to check out a new artist and the crowd is definitely vibin’.

6:39 PM: Boy Pablo is charming AF. Chilean–Norwegian singer songwriter Nicolas Muñoz is the only member of his band who was granted a work Visa into the US, so he’s flying solo. Overcoming his nerves, he dances around the stage singing his heart out. I’m rooting for him and so is everyone else.

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TVD Live: Lollapalooza at Grant Park, 7/29

12:29 PM: It’s been 532 days since I last photographed live music. Never did I expect my show back to be a festival, let alone the largest festival since Covid-19 changed our world, but as I walk into the grounds all I feel is immense gratitude to have the opportunity to get back to doing what I love to do. It’s emotional.

12:32 PM: As promoted and promised, Lollapalooza is requesting proof of Covid-19 vaccination in order to enter Grant Park. If you are not vaccinated, you must show proof of a negative Covid test within the last three days to be allowed into the grounds. Despite the precautions taken, rumors of fake vaccination cards swirl and there’s an undercurrent of fear felt by those of us who care.

1:14 PM: From first looks, it’s apparent that butt cheeks continue to be a top fashion choice for Lollapaloozans. It’s a sea of high-waisted jorts that stop coverage just atop the butt. Some things have remained the same post-Covid, and festival fashion is clearly one of them.

2:02 PM: Pop artist MAX brings the early fest energy to the LakeShore Stage. He’s in the crowd by the third song and covering Outkast (“Ms. Jackson”) by the fifth song.

2:13 PM: The Lolla decor is minimal this year and many of the banners are repeats from 2019. Also no printed schedules. I get it—why spend money on an event that might not happen?

2:32 PM: Now MAX’s wife is on stage and he’s serenading her. Audible “awwws” from the crowd.

3:02 PM: Orville Peck is mesmerizing. Is it his deep baritone voice? His cowboy hat and fringed face mask? All of the above? One thing is for sure: he’s bringing much needed new (and queer!) life to country music and it’s fun to watch.

3:18 PM: Heading north, I pass the Toyota Music Den and Absofacto playing all new tunes. “This is really fun for me so thank you,” he says.

3:24 PM: “It’s hot! What the fuck!” Olivia O’Brien exclaims to the crowd on the north end before diving into another heartbreak anthem, “Sad Songs in the Summer.”

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Save Our Stages:
Beach Bunny at the Metro in Chicago, 2/22/20

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. 

Local pop punk quartet Beach Bunny dropped their first full-length album, Honeymoon, on Valentine’s Day. A week later, they played an album release show at the Metro, a solid kickoff for their North American tour (which is completely sold out, I might add). They’ve been quite the sensation around these parts for some time now, so the national recognition is no surprise.

Beach Bunny is about to blow up, folks. Give them a listen and about 30 seconds in you’ll see why: the sound is catchy but with edge; it’s pop with depth. And it’s speaking directly to a budding new generation of music fans—as well as old farts like myself. I was witness to it on Saturday night and watching the crowd took me back to my Jagged Little Pill days.

Catch them on the road in the U.S. through May before they hop the pond to Europe in June.

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TVD Live Shots:
Beach Bunny at the Metro, 2/22

Local pop punk quartet Beach Bunny dropped their first full-length album, Honeymoon, on Valentine’s Day. A week later, they played an album release show at the Metro, a solid kickoff for their North American tour (which is completely sold out, I might add). They’ve been quite the sensation around these parts for some time now, so the national recognition is no surprise.

Beach Bunny is about to blow up, folks. Give them a listen and about 30 seconds in you’ll see why: the sound is catchy but with edge; it’s pop with depth. And it’s speaking directly to a budding new generation of music fans—as well as old farts like myself. I was witness to it on Saturday night and watching the crowd took me back to my Jagged Little Pill days.

Catch them on the road in the U.S. through May before they hop the pond to Europe in June.

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TVD Live Shots:
Andrew Bird at the Fourth Presbyterian Church, 12/10

The tradition began a decade ago when Andrew Bird first announced a special holiday concer—coined “Gezelligheid”—at the beautiful Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago. Since, it’s turned into a multiple night (almost) annual event. It’s a December highlight, no doubt.

This year, I attended night two of his five night sold-out stint and was mesmerized as always by Bird’s music and the grand setting of it all. The lovely Madison Cunningham opened the show and joined Bird halfway through his set.

Every duet was a showstopper, but that’s come to be the Gezelligheid concert series standard. If you know Andrew Bird, you know that his shows are unique, intimate, masterful—and not to be missed.

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TVD Live Shots: Angel Olsen at the Riviera Theatre, 11/14

Angel Olsen is making the rounds in support of her exquisite 2019 album All Mirrors, and Thursday was Chicago’s turn to experience it live.

The Riv was packed head to toe for the occasion. As always, her voice and arrangements proved show-stopping, her band soaring behind her.

Olsen’s tour continues through the end of the year before heading to Europe to kick off 2020. Treat yourself.

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TVD Live Shots: Danny Brown and Ashnikko at the Metro, 11/7

Detroit rapper Danny Brown brought his signature style to the Metro last Thursday in support of his latest (and perhaps greatest) release, uknowhatimsayin¿.

He looks more polished than the partially toothless performer I photographed back in 2012, but his charisma live hasn’t changed one bit. Brown pulled fan favorites from all of his albums and rapped them with gusto, making for a memorable evening.

Openers Ashnikko and Zelooperz also impressed.

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TVD Live Shots: Tool at the United Center, 11/3

In August, thirteen long years after a new Tool album, the highly anticipated Fear Inoculum arrived in stores to critical acclaim. Adding to the joy of Tool fans worldwide was a tour announcement. Having digested both the new album and their live performance, it’s clear to me that the masterful wizards behind the music—Maynard James Keenan, Danny Carey, Adam Jones, and Justin Chancellor—are still as intoxicating as ever.

I wouldn’t consider Tool a readily accessible band, mainly because they’re always trying to push musical and theoretical boundaries. They don’t have “singles,” rather, concept albums that are better understood when listened to in full. The rhythms, scales, and lyrics are complex and playful.

Each member of the band is a true master of their instrument—and these are just a few of the reasons why their legions are so loyal. And that’s who really stole my attention on Sunday evening: the Tool Army. I sat and watched a stadium full of them at the United Center, moved to the core—singing, crying, feeling, fists in the air. It was powerful.

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TVD Live Shots: 23 Hour Party People at the Metro and Smartbar, 11/2

The Metro and Smartbar had one serious rager over the weekend. The party, which went on for a casual 23 hours, featured several DJs—from local favorites (DJ Heather, Michael Serafini, Garrett David, Olin and more) to international producers such as Anthony Rother, Omnidisc, and Miami’s Danny Daze.

I swung in to catch the phenomenal James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem, DFA Records) on the decks, but also caught bonus sets from Phillip Stone and Sassmouth. I could’ve easily put the camera down and gotten swept up into the music, but sadly duties called and I had to tear myself away for other work.

From what I saw eight hours in, it was clear that the party was both going strong and just getting started. Murphy’s disco-heavy, funky, extended 4-hour set saw a packed dance floor from start to finish, even mid-afternoon. Party on, party people.

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TVD Live Shots: Riot Fest Chicago, 9/15

2:55PM: Where are The Village People? They’re running late so I rush over to the Rise Stage to catch Less Than Jake. The ladies of The Beaches are sounding great at the Riot Stage.

3:09PM: Less Than Jake are as charismatic in between songs as they are during them. They’re jokesters, too: “I didn’t get to see any of Slayer last night and I heard that there was a circle pit, so fuck you guys.”

3:15PM: Speaking of circle pits, apparently the largest one of the weekend has formed at the Radicals Stage for—of all acts—The Village People!

3:27PM: Shoegaze rockers Ride are lulling me into a dreamscape. I’d like to lay in the shade and daydream through their whole set—but there’s no way in hell I’m missing Dayton’s finest (Guided By Voices).

4:10PM: Robert Pollard is such a legend. In between high kicks and karate moves, he slams shots from the bottle like the old school rocker that he is. Guided By Voices continues to be such a killer band live—keep touring!

4:22PM: Local favorites Against Me! have drawn a huge crowd and for good reason—they’re playing Reinventing Axl Rose and Transgender Dysphoria Blues in full and back-to-back!

5:25PM: I wasn’t sure what to expect from The B-52’s but wow are they great. Rumored to be their last Chicago show, they’ve busted out all of the hits from their 40+ year career.

6:04PM: It’s raining a little bit but no one’s complaining. We’ve escaped the rain all weekend and for the second year in a row the weather gods have granted us three beautiful days at Douglas Park. Bob Mould isn’t phased by the rain and wails through his set.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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