Author Archives: Cindi Zdrinc

TVD Live Shots: Motion City Soundtrack at The Rave, on 2/14

MILWAUKEE, WI | Coming back from an indefinite hiatus, Motion City Soundtrack burst back with contagious fervor for a two-month tour across the United States, aptly and appropriately named the “Don’t Call It A Comeback” tour. The break in the three-year hiatus definitely took me by pleasant surprise, as I had thought I had lost my opportunity to ever get the chance to photograph them after seeing them at Riot Fest in Chicago in 2016, one of their last shows before the hiatus; their last being at Metro Chicago. The Minnesota-based band subsequently kicked off this tour on New Years’ Eve in Chicago right where they left off in full confetti and balloon fashion, counting down the new year and continuing the heartfelt evening with “Together We’ll Ring in the New Year.”

Fast forward to Valentine’s Day 2020: as Justin Pierre, lead vocals and rhythm guitar, noted, Motion City Soundtrack was playing their 17th show at The Rave in Milwaukee that night. Opener and local natives Live Tetherball Tonight got more than a head-nod from Justin as he complimented their music and said he would be listening to their music right after he gets off stage. Recent Jimmy Kimmel Live performers White Reaper preceded Motion City Soundtrack.

The energy and camaraderie of everyone in the room was full of warmth and joyful singing. It was akin to any boisterous sing-along movie bar scene. Justin’s on-point vocals, richly enhanced by a combination of the 16+ years of experience the band spent touring, coupled with the refreshed excitement of the band coming back together again, surged forth alongside members Jesse Johnson on keys and synth, Joshua Cain on lead guitar and backing vocals, Matthew Taylor on bass, and Tony Thaxton on drums.

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TVD Live Shots: Jinjer at Bottom Lounge, 10/22

Ukrainian progressive metal band Jinjer has been stirring up interest for the past year or so. With a stellar leading front woman in Tatiana Shmailyuk and tight instrumentalists, it’s no wonder that a number of their shows on this tour have been sold out—including Chicago’s show at Bottom Lounge.

The crowd was super pumped and hyped, calling for Jinjer to “come on out” with a silly, juxtaposed song as the backdrop to the coming metal onslaught headed everyone’s way. The band entered one by one, starting with newest member, drummer Vladislav Ulasevich who joined in 2016. Original member and guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov and bassist Eugene Abdukhanov soon followed. Tatiana walked out and “Teacher, Teacher” from their 2019 EP “Micro” immediately ensued.

Every member’s performance was on point and Tatiana didn’t hold anything back—the images will clearly show a truly electric performance. The sound and energy were relentless, giving the audience everything they hoped for—and more. It was also refreshing to see a respectful and tamer crowd given the high energy, and not seeing any crowd surfing or anyone out of control. Everyone was just genuinely enjoying the craftsmanship of the music during three songs off the band’s very recent release Macro—their fourth studio album—that arrived in stores three days after this show on October 25th.

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TVD Live Shots:
KoRn, Alice In Chains, Underoath at Tinley Park, 8/21

KoRn continues to be a strong metal staple and if this night in Tinley Park was any indication, opening with “Here To Stay” with a fantastic performance, made this known. With all but one member from the original lineup (drummer Ray Luzier taking over for David Silveria in 2007), it is super special seeing these pioneers of nu-metal still killing it to this day. Guitarist Brian “Head” Welch rejoined the band in 2013 and they have since released two records upon his return with a third on the way. The Nothing is set for release on September 13, 2019.

The well-rounded bill began with fairly newcomers to the scene, Fever 333, known for their energetic and stimulating live performances. They have recently gained recognition having been nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Performance for their song “Made In America” and winning a Kerrang! Award for Best Song for “Burn It,” both within the last year.

Next on the bill was a band that is not new to the scene but instead has evolved through the metalcore, emo, screamo, and post-hardcore scenes since the late ’90s. Underoath, since disbanding have reunited in 2015 after a two-year hiatus. The album cover of their latest release last year, Erase Me, adorned the backdrop of their set. A looming statue of a broken down, crumbling angel with giant, beautiful wings set the tone for the band’s performance.

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TVD Live Shots: Taking Back Sunday at House of Vans, 7/13

Behold the night of celebrating 20 years with Taking Back Sunday in Chicago at House of Vans, where it felt like one big high school reunion as vocalist Adam Lazzara announced that drummer Mark O’Connell wasn’t there this night because “he [was] having a baby!!” (To which in turn led to Lazzara giving us all a brief pop quiz on how babies are made.)

Current drummer of Against Me!, Atom Willard (previously of The Offspring, The Special Goodness, Danko Jones, and founding member of Angels and Airwaves), stepped in O’Connell’s stead for a night of relishing memories of past triumphs and shared anguish of relinquished feelings. Nothing brings a room full of people together like screaming nostalgic lyrics attached to more-than-familiar melodies.

As Lazzara had previously stated, they are “traveling the world to celebrate the amazing brotherhood, music, and life we have created together over the past 20 years… for what is sure to be an experience to remember.” To make an already special tour an even more special night, this particular show at House of Vans was part of their Vans House Parties Series where the headlining artist gets to curate the whole show and instead of buying tickets, attendees get in for free via a RSVP, first come, first served basis. Taking Back Sunday curated the show with openers Rozwell Kid and Pronoun, featuring an art installation by Brian Ewing.

The night spent with Taking Back Sunday’s Lazzara, Willard, John Nolan (guitarist), Shaun Cooper (bassist), and Nathan Coogan (touring guitarist) was complete with moshing, crowd surfing, Lazzara’s seamless mic throws, (albeit a bit constrained and constricted to the intimate space) and a collective donning of all the emo feels.

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