Author Archives: Brigid Gallagher

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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TVD Live Shots: Riot Fest Chicago, 9/14

3:39PM: There’s a LOT of Slayer shirts at Riot Fest today. We’re ready for their final Chicago show.

4:17PM: Supergroup The Damned Things is rocking the Rebel Stage in the blinding sun. It’s a feast of talent featuring Fall Out Boy’s Joe Trohman (guitar) and Andy Hurley (drums), Anthrax’s Scott Ian (guitar), Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley (vocals), and Alkaline Trio’s Dan Andriano (bass).

4:46PM: Gwar and Riot Fest are synonymous at this point, so it’s always a treat to see them up close and personal in the press area. Guitarist Bålsåc the Jaws ‘O Death looks fierce—and I’m not just talking about the beastly balls dangling beneath his exposed ass. But then he takes a swig of his Bon & Viv spiked seltzer and I can’t help but laugh.

5:19PM: I have a quick chat with JP of Surfer Blood to remind him that he once crashed at my apartment the night before the band’s 2010 Pitchfork Fest set. That was fun—and so was their set earlier in the day.

5:34PM: My wife and I are playing one of our favorite games: “What Drug Is That Person On?” We’ve determined that the dude standing before us is on a combination of several, and while we can’t confirm his particular cocktail we can, in fact, confirm that it took him 3 minutes and 36 seconds to light his cigarette. The struggle is real.

6:04PM: The Struts are serving us some glam rock perfection. Lead singer Luke Spiller sounds like Freddie and moves like Mick.

6:26PM: There are lots of gems at the silent auction tent for the Coalition for the Homeless. Signed guitars and drum kits, posters and art from Riot Fest alums past and present. I hope a lot of money was raised.

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TVD Live Shots: Riot Fest Chicago, 9/13

3:30PM: It’s going to take us 90 minutes to get to Riot Fest thanks to traffic, so my wife and I are busy compiling a list of bands we hope to see play Riot Fest in the future. The highlights from our lengthy discussion include: Spinal Tap (my #1 wish), R.E.M. reunion, Smashing Pumpkins playing Siamese Dream in full, The Fugees, Talking Heads reunion, the band from School of Rock, Led Zeppelin reunion, Ben Folds Five, The Muppets, Tool, Missy Elliott. Pretty solid list, don’t you think?

4:45PM: Made it! The grounds seem more crowded than last year—especially for a Friday. It’s snug.

5:08PM: Neck Deep get some laughter and claps for their cover of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn.”

5:17PM: The Riot Mall is packed with the usual suspects—Fat Wreck Chords, the fake pot candy booth (Chronic Candy), and my favorite To Write Love on Her Arms—and some new faces including a tent simply labeled “I Love Vagina.”

5:42PM: The Violent Femmes are bringing me right back to high school. It’s a crowd sing-a-long—and it’s necessary. The sound is so low they might as well be whispering. Turn that shit up, Riot Fest!

6:55PM: Dashboard Confessional is playing The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most in full at sunset and I’ve witnessed at least 20 people crying.

6:59PM: Over at the Radicals Stage, Pennywise is covering a classic: Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”

7:14PM: Descendents are roaring through their set and packing it with classics (“Everything Sux,” “Hope”). Solid.

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TVD Live Shots: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals and Trombone Shorty at Huntington Bank Pavilion, 8/17

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue have hit the road this summer on a co-headlining tour. They swung through Chicago’s summer concert hotspot—Huntington Bank Pavilion—on what turned out to be a beautiful Saturday night.

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue hit the stage hard and didn’t let up. The band brought some much appreciated New Orleans flair and played with such intensity that every song might as well have been their last. Trombone Shorty was more than happy to share the spotlight with his bandmates, as each took their moment to solo and shine.

Ben Harper assembled the original Innocent Criminals (Juan Nelson, Leon Mobley, and Oliver Charles) for this tour and what a treat it was to see them all together twenty years later. Their set felt more introspective and intimate than Shorty’s spirited performance, but that’s the beauty of Harper’s work. It was particularly satisfying to hear some of his older tunes (“Fight for Your Mind,” “Welcome to the Cruel World”) as well as a great cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”

The tour hits the east coast next and wraps up at the end of August in Lenox, MA.

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TVD Live: Lollapalooza at Grant Park, 8/4

4:00PM: I’ve been stuck in the north entrance Lollapalooza line with 4,000 new companions. We’re inching along so I’m guessing I won’t have the chance to photograph Francis and the Lights. Bummer.

4:28PM: A little excitement here in the security line. A girl next to me simply couldn’t wait any longer to use the restroom. Pleading cries didn’t help her, but the crowd did. Those close formed a human circle to protect her from cops seeing her while she natured it. Teamwork.

4:39PM: I’m inside the gates! Finally! It’s the busiest day of the weekend (and best daily lineup). I weave my way through the crowds to Perry’s Stage.

5:22PM: Why the hell am I at Perry’s Stage? Would you believe me if I said Shaq? The NBA Hall of Famer has taken up a DJ career and goes by the stage name of Diesel. His skills are…shall we say less developed than his basketball game, but no one seems to care. The crowd rages and the scorch of the pyrotechnics leaves me sweaty.

5:25PM: Just got word that 300 to 400 kids broke down the gates at Michigan Ave. and Harrison St. about 20 minutes ago. Oh boy.

5:26PM: The Revivalists played their entire set with an “End Gun Violence” backdrop. We fell asleep to the news from El Paso and woke up to the news from Dayton. It’s not far from anyone’s thoughts today.

5:55PM: A mysterious skywriter appears above Grant Park during Sharon Van Etten’s set. “Smile” it spells out.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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