Category Archives: TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots:
JAWNY with Wallice
at Thalia Hall, 3/17

Hitting the stage in front of his largest headlining show to date, JAWNY had every person in the room, from the floor to the seated area in the balcony, on their feet dancing along. If you weren’t at the sold out JAWNY show in Chicago, IL on St. Patrick’s Day, you truly missed out on an incredible night.

Fresh off of the release of his debut album on Interscope Records, JAWNY played nearly every track from It’s Never Fair, Always True, as well as several fan favorites from his previous releases, even intertwining a Taylor Swift cover in the middle of the set, in which the crowd sang along so loud they overpowered the band’s in-ear monitors. You could tell that this moment caught JAWNY off guard, as he was visibly amazed at the volume of the crowd and commented on how thankful he was that the fans helped him pursue his dreams.

As the band played to the self proclaimed “best city in America for music and shows,” when starting the rock heavy song “take it back,” you could feel the floor shaking from how much the crowd was jumping. This led JAWNY to recall a moment when he was opening the show for a different band several years ago at the same venue, and he sitting in the balcony during the soundcheck looking forward to when he would be able to play for a crowd this big on his own. He even mentioned that they were originally going to book a much smaller venue as they didn’t think they could sell out the show. The crowd cheered him on through his speech, proving that it was a good idea to pick a larger venue.

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TVD Live Shots: White Reaper with Mamalarky and Militarie Gun at Metro Chicago, 3/10

Hot off the heels from their latest album release, Louisville, Kentucky rockers White Reaper brought their electrifying Asking For A Ride Tour to Chicago for a sold out show at the Metro. Mamalarky and Militarie Gun served as the openers for this leg of the tour.

With a mixed crowd of old and new listeners, everyone danced in rhythm to old favorites like “Might Be Right,” as well as instant classic “Pages,” the first single from White Reapers latest release, Asking For A Ride. Everyone in the crowd was off their feet and slamming into each other as they sang along to their favorite band.

Being close to home, it was no surprise that keyboardist Ryan Hater gave a shout out to his parents that made the trek over to watch their sold out show. You could see how proud they were when he pointed them out in balcony.

Commenting on the fact that a lot of their gear had been broken during the coarse of their tour, the most noticeable being the kick drum, they didn’t let that hinder them and continued to rock as hard as they could. It’s no surprise that they’ve been passionate enough to ding up their gear, as in the heat of the moment it’s easy to want to thrash around to their angsty tracks.

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TVD Live Shots: Adore Delano with Bev Rage and the Drinks at the Metro Chicago, 2/15

RuPaul’s Drag Race and American Idol alum Adore Delano brought her Party Your World Tour to Chicago on February 15th, with Chicago’s own Bev Rage and the Drinks opening the show.

It’s the day after Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air. Everyone is here to see their favorite queen from season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Known for her vocal ability, it comes as no surprise that Adore has made a name for herself in the music industry. Going through her catalog of original songs, as well as covers, the reality TV star proved that she is a force to be reckoned with.

Many of Adore’s original songs come from a darker place and often explore the theme of heartbreak, which Adore noted as being hard to get to that mindset while performing in front of a crowd that’s showing her endless love and support. Telling stories of her writing process in between her songs, Adore connected even more with her adoring fans.

With electrifying covers of “Creep” by Radiohead, and “Toxic” by Britney Spears, plus fan favorite originals like “I Adore U” and “27 Club,” Adore captivated the crowd from start to finish.

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TVD Live Shots: Fitz
and the Tantrums with Sammy Rash at the
Vic Theater, 2/2

Fitz and the Tantrums brought their sold out Let Yourself Free Tour to Chicago’s Vic Theater on a cold, yet very hot inside from dancing, Thursday night. Bringing along up and coming indie pop artist Sammy Rash, Fitz and the Tantrums packed the theater with fans from all age groups.

Sammy Rash is a 20-year-old independent musician from Los Angeles, California. Lending his smooth vocals to the sweet melody’s provided by his DJ, Sammy helped pump up the crowd before the main act.

Fitz and the Tantrums stormed the stage with their vast array of brass instruments in addition to their guitars, keyboards, and drums. Every time James King picked up his saxophone, the crowd went wild. The saxophone helped elevate the dance music, bringing a bit of soul to the mix.

Watching older couples dance around and having a great time, lead singers Mike Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs led the group through their numerous hits and beat heavy tracks. Showing their utmost appreciation for helping the band achieve the success they have experienced thus far, Mike Fitzpatrick shared a story to encourage everyone to never give up on their dreams, which included telling the crowd how many times he tried to make it in the music industry and failed until he was in his 40s. “It’s never gonna happen if you give up on yourself,” was the sound advice given to the crowd before launching into the bands encore.

The Let Yourself Free tour continues through February.

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TVD Live Shots: Rainbow Kitten Surprise at the Aragon Ballroom, 12/3

To know them is to love them. And if you’ve never had the pleasure of listening, allow me to introduce you to your new favorite band: Rainbow Kitten Surprise.

Selling out Aragon Ballroom in Chicago—and not just “selling out” but also emptying all resale sites with some eager fans paying up to 10 times the original ticket value—the five piece alternative indie/rock band kicked off their US tour with a long awaited bang.

Having rescheduled their tour multiple times due to lead singer Ela Melo’s mental health, the magnitude of Saturday night’s show was clear. Opening with nostalgic 2013 hit “All That and More (Sailboat),” the crowd seemed to quickly forget any disappointment they had carried and were ready to welcome them back to the stage. Addressing the crowd a couple of songs in, drummer Jess Haney thanked everyone for sticking by them and admitted he was shaking at the reception they were receiving.

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TVD Live Shots: Baby Gravy at the Aragon Ballroom, 11/22

On Tuesday, November 22nd, Baby Gravy headlined the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. Baby Gravy consists of frequent collaborators Yung Gravy and bbno$ (baby no money). The duo have released an EP and an album together, titled “Baby Gravy EP” and Baby Gravy 2, as well as multiple singles on each other’s solo projects, so it was only fitting that they share the stage for a tour.

Rather than performing a full set each, Yung Gravy and bbno$ structured their co-headlining set so that they would perform a handful of songs together and then an individual set of a few songs each, repeating this set up before ending the show together. The animated videos they played before each mini set helped guide the tone, showing the duo in comedic situations that the crowd went wild for.

It’s no secret that the rappers are popular, dominating Tik Tok and making award show appearances, so it was no surprise that they would draw a rowdy crowd. Lining up for hours before the doors opened and then smashing into the venue like sardines, bbno$ had to stop mid song to point out an attendee that needed medical attention. It was endearing to see how much both of the rappers cared about their fans, making it a point throughout the night to pass out multiple cases of water to the crowd so they could stay hydrated and enjoy the show.

Another endearing moment is when Yung Gravy called for the crowd to throw as many bras as they possibly could on stage, explaining that they donate all of the bras they collect to different charities in every city. Once he shared this information, a sea of bras littered the stage.

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TVD Live Shots: Måneskin at the Aragon Ballroom, 11/17

Måneskin have had a whirlwind of a career over the last few years. They came in second place on the Italian version of X Factor in 2017, won the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Italy in 2021, have played countless sold out concerts, made award show appearances, drawn huge crowds at festivals, and now a Grammy nomination in the Best New Artist category. All of this while still in their early 20s. So it was no surprise that when they headlined the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago on November 17th for their Loud Kids Tour, the crowd drew anyone and everyone from the city and surrounding states.

It’s not often that a band is able to pack a venue without any opening bands to fill the waiting time, but Måneskin did exactly that. Homemade signs and various flags were seen flying around the crowd, while everyone dressed in their best rock ’n’ roll outfits chanted for the band to take the stage for over an hour and a half before the lights finally went down.

Even though they’re young, Måneskin have mastered the classic rock moves and have engineered them in a way that sounds unlike anyone else. Their live show proves their musical abilities and serves as a love letter to their fans, showing them the upmost appreciation for following them on their journey. They constantly come down to the barricade and interact directly with the audience, and they even hand out wristbands to anyone in the first few rows who are really enjoying themselves, which allows them to dance on stage with the band before their encore.

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TVD Live Shots:
Eshu Tune at the
Chop Shop, 11/11

On Friday, November 11th, 2022, Eshu Tune, the musical moniker of the multi-talented Hannibal Buress, released a new single titled “Knee Brace,” and subsequently threw a release party in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois.

With comedy laced in his music, and a few quick jokes in between tracks, fans of the comedian Hannibal Buress will be just as entertained seeing him perform musically as Eshu Tune. His latest single “Knee Brace” proves this tenfold. With the same effortlessness he uses to nonchalantly drop some of the funniest jokes throughout his standup career, Eshu Tune has the same effortless jokes, dropped in with a smooth flow.

The release day for “Knee Brace” proves this even more,with Buress going on Chris Cuomo’s live show and playing his new single repeatedly instead of answering questions. Buress talked about this during the release party, laughing through the entire story. And his laughter was infectious as he had the entire crowd busting up while talking about his day. Just as he captivates the audience as Hannibal, he captivated the those assembled with smooth vocals paired with his hilarious lyrics.

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TVD Live Shots:
Young the Giant at Aragon Ballroom,

You know them for their nostalgic hit “Cough Syrup,” but Young the Giant is here to dedicate their voice to a higher cause than just catchy tunes.

Releasing their first album in four years American Bollywood, lead singer Sameer Gadhia writes on the band’s Instagram, “This record is about identity, belonging, family, sacrifice, love, and mysticism… About the country and world we saw in the mirror of our deep isolation, and our fight to reclaim who we are; who we deserve to be.”

From Gadhia’s Indian heritage to Persian, Italian, Canadian, and British band members, the group is no stranger to immigration struggles, racism, and the isolation that is felt around the world today—a point that hits just the right note throughout their album without ever feeling preachy.

While the raw vulnerability of this release will be enjoyed through streaming platforms in your day to day life, seeing the emotion of the band live was short of a religious experience. Looking back on pictures from the opening act, you can see the goosebumps on Gadhia’s arms as he sang to the crowd “American dreams were hard to conjure, without a bed to sleep in.”

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TVD Live Shots:
Joji at the Aragon Ballroom, 10/7

Joji brought his Smithereens tour to Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom for a two night, sold out run on October 6th and 7th. Even though it was raining, fans lined up all day to see the 88 Rising star take the stage in front of 5,000 like minded attendees.

Originally starting his career as a YouTuber known as Filthy Frank and The Pink Guy, Joji transitioned into a more serious music career in the mid-2010s, trading his comedic genre for R&B and trip hop. You can still see his YouTube and meme influence in his current performance, where he throws in a few jokes between songs and does over the top dancing during some of his tracks.

Joji is constantly connected with his fans throughout the night, speaking about how thankful he was that the fans waited in the rain to see him. He also made it a point to throw merchandise in the crowd throughout the night, even building a canon-like machine meant to hurl the shirts at the crowd.

He also brought out a performer local to the Chicagoland area to highlight the importance of supporting your local artists. The man he brought out dresses up as the character “Wolverine,” and also bartends. Joji let him plug his social media before moving on to the next song.

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TVD Live Shots: Matt Maeson at the House of Blues, 10/6

From humble beginnings performing at a Chik-fil-A open mic night (yes, really) to now selling out back to back nights at the House of Blues in Chicago, Matt Maeson has exceeded even his own expectations in conquering the musical industry.

Initially finding fame after the release of his debut single “Cringe” in 2016, Maeson went on to perform around the world, garnering fans for his laid back approach to music and lyrical ingenuity.

Best known for his hit “Hallucinogenics,” (which has a casual 130 million+ listens on Spotify) Maeson once tweeted “Yes, I am aware that ‘Hallucinogenics’ is not an actual word but rather than basque in my own stupidity I praise myself for being so innovative that I created a word,” and in my opinion that sums up the tone of many of his previous songs—innovative.

His latest project released earlier this year, Blood Runs Red, continues to showcase Maeson’s unique gift for songwriting. Based on success and grappling the heightened ego it brings, if you’re new to Maeson’s music, this head banger-inducing beat is a fantastic place to start.

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TVD Live: Riot Fest, 9/18

It’s the final day of Riot Fest Chicago 2022. Today’s lineup has to be the most stacked. I’m having a hard time deciding which bands I’ll catch and which I’ll have to skip. If I could have a time machine so I could go back and enjoy every set, I’d gladly share it with all of my friends in the same boat today.

Opening the Riot stage is Zola Jesus, whose mesmerizing dance moves paired with her flowing dress hypnotize the crowd while she effortlessly serenades everyone. It’s not an easy feat being the first act to play the main stage at a festival, but Zola Jesus really showed out.

Alice Glass runs on to the stage to a crowd full of screaming and dancing fans. The hyper pop pioneer stuns while she dances and expertly wraps her microphone cable around her body to the beat of the music.

Coolio, Pvris, Midtown, and Ice Cube are some notable acts of the evening. The sun is beating heavily on everyone, the dust clouds are swirling from the amount of people walking back and forth between the stages, and morale is high.

One of the biggest crowds of the weekend comes from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Frontwoman Karen O mentions that they don’t play very many shows, which explains why seemingly everyone at the fest is at this set. Playing a few new songs and a ton of fan favorites, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs command the crowd for the entire hour they are on the stage. No elaborate stage set ups, no choreographed sequences, just the band and their music.

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TVD Live: Riot Fest, 9/17

Saturday’s crowd gets a slight reprieve from the hot weather, as it is cloudy today! My plans for Riot Fest today involve plenty of angsty acts, so a break from the sun will be much appreciated.

Jxdn takes to the stage in front of a mass audience. Gaining popularity on the social media platform TikTok, the rocker quickly gained tons of fans for his blossoming music career. He rocks through some of his more well known tracks while sprucing in an unreleased song, a Limp Bizkit cover, and a XXXTENTACION cover. The crowd loves every last second.

Many of these fans stayed for Yungblud, turning up the energy even higher and truly getting rowdy. Yungblud really knows how to get everybody moving, shaking his hips and jumping all over the stage while he beckons for all of the festival goers to do the same.

The only set that rivals all of the crowd activity is The Story So Far. I dodge crowd surfers left and right and watch as the crowd energetically pumps their bodies over the barricade in sync with the music.

Other notable sets include Movements, Bad Religion, and Gogol Bordello. All of these sets help set up the main event, Yellowcard reuniting to play their record Ocean Avenue in full. Frontman Ryan Key mentions all the messages he’s read from dedicated fans that traveled from multiple countries to watch this reunion. I see signs in the crowd that state the number of years people have anxiously waited for this moment.

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TVD Live: Riot Fest, 9/16

It is hot in Chicago. When I think about a festival in September, I think sweater weather and dress as such. As I walk from my car I realize this was not wise. It feels like we’re in the middle of the summer, and the crowds I see around the stages reflect this too. It’s shaping up to be a hot and sweaty Riot Fest this year.

I’m eager to see Foxy Shazam. I’ve heard they are very energetic, and this is the perfect way to start a festival weekend. Frontman Eric Nally and pianist Sky White steal the show with their stage presence, really commanding the crowd and connecting with anyone they make eye contact with.

I bounce over to catch Wargasm, an electronic rock duo from London. They recently toured the United States with the popular nu metal band Limp Bizkit, and you can see that the London duo took influence from the heavy hitters with their live performance which was entertaining from start to finish.

It’s nice to see Riot Fest veterans The Descendents and Taking Back Sunday on this year’s roster. Their sets are back to back and their stages are side to side, which makes it much easier for the shared crowd to catch both acts.

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TVD Live Shots:
The Lumineers at Wrigley Field, 9/3

Going out with a bang, The Lumineers concluded their Brightside World Tour at Wrigley Field on Saturday night. Spanning 56 shows, 35 states, and over 20,000 miles, this was their biggest tour since forming in 2005.

Met by a sold out crowd of fans of all ages (literally—from children that barely reached my knee to the elderly soaking in the night from their wheelchairs, there was no lack of diversity) they kicked off the night with hits “Ho Hey” and “Cleopatra,” not missing a beat from the moment they hit the stage. One of the original bands to put folk on the mainstream map, the band’s undeniable chemistry made them a joy to watch. Jumping from instrument to instrument, founding member Jeremiah Fraites was seen on the drums, mandolin, backing vocals, and tambourine to name a few, with other touring band members following suit to showcase their musical range.

Making the stage their home, there was never a dull moment throughout the almost 2 hour set, and despite telling myself I would leave early to beat the crowd, it was impossible to vacate the stadium while there was such a spectacle going on. Modest in theatrics by stadium standards, the band focused on their sheer talent rather than flooding the crowd with flashy lights and backdrops, ringing true to their folksy, small town attitudes despite the odd 40,000 people watching on.

Regardless of the inevitable ups and downs of tour I’m sure the entire band and crew experienced, all was forgotten as they ended the night with crowd favorite “Stubborn Love.” You could tell they were happy to be here, and the audience was hanging on every word of thanks expressed from lead singer Wesley Schultz.

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