Even before the lineup announcement, Riot Fest has had headlines for weeks. Issues at their old home in Humboldt Park caused a spat with former ally, 26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado, which led to practically everyone affected taking a side. When the dust settled, Riot Fest organizers and Chicago Park District officials agreed on a move to North Lawndale's Douglas Park. And then, of course, concerns were about who would be on the lineup, as with any other year.
And now we know. No Doubt, Modest Mouse, Faith No More, Iggy Pop and Snoop Dogg will headline the festival over the September 11-13 weekend. Even though Riot Fest is often labeled as a punk-themed festival, they have cast a wide net since moving outdoors in 2012. Some of this year's non-headliner highlights include Anthrax, Bootsy Collins' Rubber Band, De La Soul, Merle Haggard, Ice Cube, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Motorhead and Rancid. Local pop punk act The Academy Is... leads the reunions, along with L7 and Babes in Toyland. Other local acts are peppered throughout the lineup, and there are even more acts to be added in the coming weeks. Keeping in line with what Riot Fest expects, Gapers Block hopes that they saved the good bands for the next announcement.
Weekend passes are $169.98 for us hoi polloi and $299.98 for VIP. Daily lineups will be revealed later this summer. Riot Fest & Carnival takes place September 11-13 in Douglas Park at California & Roosevelt.
If you're a fan of Surfer Blood, it can hard to get past the troubles that come along with the band. After their first amazing and still catchy album Astro Coast, Surfer Blood was signed to Warner Bros and released Pythons in 2013 to mixed reviews. Their shift to a major label didn't work out as well as they were dropped later that year. But the issue that has been most problematic is lead singer John Paul Pitts arrest for domestic battery in 2012. I don't mean to riddle this review with ethical dilemmas of separating the art from the artist, but I would be remiss not to mention the arrest and subsequent dismissal of the charges. Pitts, too, understands that this incident will follow him throughout his career. I will say, when warranted, I prefer to advocate against such abuses with an inclination toward rehabilitation rather than a complete ostracization.
Surfer Blood returned to the rawer DIY nature of their beginnings in hopes of finding themselves again with 1000 Palms . It sounds as though they succeed, creating songs that feel a lot closer to Astro Coast than Pythons. A few weeks before the release, Surfer Blood suffered another devastating hit in the form of a sarcoma diagnosis for guitarist Thomas Fekete. The tour for their album became a sounding board for their bandmate and friend as they began collecting donations for his treatment at the merch booth, which would unfortunately be stolen from their car while in Schaumberg the evening following the concert. Despite all the dilemmas, it seemed that everyone at Lincoln Hall this past weekend was able to find some good in the band's set.
It's easy to forget how unpopular it was to take up arms against R. Kelly when allegations of his predation of teenage girls first were made public. For almost 15 years, former Sun-Times critic Jim DeRogatis, along with his colleague Abdon Pallasch, was the lone voice for a host of women whose upsetting stories were largely forgotten or ignored. For the majority of Kelly's audience, and for the critical establishment that propped him up, it was much easier to hum along to his songs without imagining where they likely came from.
When Jessica Hopper publicly came out in support of DeRogatis's stance in a published conversation with the former Sun-Times critic for the Village Voice, it seemed like the winds had finally begun to shift. A kind of critical mass had been reached in the run up to Kelly's headlining performance at Pitchfork's 2013 festival, and the dialogue between Hopper and DeRogatis was the catalyst to a much-needed reappraisal of Kelly's career and status as the "pied piper of R&B." A much-shared essay delving into the sordid details and public apathy surrounding Kelly's assorted affairs, the conversation between Hopper and DeRogatis remains one of the landmark pieces of either critic's careers, and it has been reprinted in full as a centerpiece within Hopper's newly published volume of her own critical essays, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic.
Hopper will appear at Quimby's Bookstore, 1854 W. North Ave., to read from her new collection on May 29 at 7pm. Admission is free.
Before this concert, I have missed every Torres show she's had in Chicago. Various goings on and last minute changes prevented me from seeing Mackenzie Scott perform songs off her first album and I was always devastated. Scott's lyrics and guitar work is incredibly affecting and instantly hypnotic. i could only imagine how great she would be live. Then she released "Sprinter" and my mind was made up. I needed to see her perform these new more elaborate songs. After seeing her this past week, I severely regret having missed those previous shows. Scott had a performance that every rock singer should aspire to put on at the Empty Bottle. It was a raw and powerful show that resolidified Scott as an amazing musician.
If you've ever heard a song on "Mad Men" and wondered where it was from, or maybe smiled smugly to yourself that you could identify what's probably a rare track to most folks, then we have some info for you.
Local label Numero Group proudly notes that many of its songs were used across the seven seasons of "Mad Men." Season six seems to have been when the label's hits were most popular (which makes sense, given the historical timeline involved). See a full list and snag some of the albums yourself at Numero's website.
I'm pretty partial to this Big Mack Label "Crooked Woman" track by Edd Henry. Rowr!
Though most 'psychedelic rock' music contains some of the most saturated and intricate production, the main ingredients are pretty much the same: some sort of brain-melting guitar, echoed cadences and reverberating bassline patterns combined to make a lengthy drug-infused jam session. The only question: is it a good trip, or bad trip?
Playing new material to a sold-out crowd at Riviera on Friday after a two-year hiatus, Aussie paisley-poppers Tame Impala concocted a hypnotizing whirlwind of hazy reverb and fuzzy guitar riffs into a blissfully nostalgic, constantly dazzling and undeniably groovy jaunt to wonderland.
"Sexy Chica-GO-ans!... is that how you say it? 'ChicaGOans?'" band frontman Kevin Parker sincerely asked the audience. "We've been here many-a-time... I think I'm going to dedicate my life to John Belushi."
The lanky, barefoot crooner Paker shook his shaggy mophead as his falsetto floated above thick, juicy waves of reverbed strings and glistening synthesizers through face-lifted favorites such as the heady "Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind?" and flowering "Apocalypse Dreams." Drummer Julien "Frenchie" Barbagallo punctured the beat, providing a military rumble that made a loopy sound effect like a scratched CD stuck on repeat.
Their new album Currents isn't due for two more months, but the five-piece rockers have already been released four singles, each track providing a slightly new avenue for Tame Impala to venture. "Cause I'm a Man" stands out as an oozing, sexual R&B track where Parker simultaneously apologizes and flirts--you know, 'cause he's a man. "Eventually" brings a more vulnerable side, with heavy church organs uplifting Parker's simple voice to a more emotional side. And the near-10-minute groove "Let it Happen," which they dared to start the show with, mutated into a beautiful mural of loops, pulls and drops, oozing with vibrant whirrs and melodies and prescribing the audience with their most pungent substance right off the bat.
Perhaps the most intoxicating part of their live show was their visuals--the group stood as silhouettes in front of a line of colored spotlights and a massive screen of interchanging shapes and textures that bled together to the beat of the music, pulling the audience into their hypnotic jaunt that brought the joys of an old paisley-pop record elevated by 21st century additives.
If the monthly "Hot Mix Lunch" DJ series wasn't enough to get excited about, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs has announced a new exhibit at the Cultural Center, due to open up on May 21. The exhibit, titled "Move Your Body", explores Chicago's House Music origins, and will include interviews and memorabilia that shows the timeline of this historic genre.
In addition, to celebrate the opening, there'll be a 3-hour Friday night DJ set at the Pritzker Pavilion titled "The House Legacy Project" and will feature DJs Jerry C. King and Joe Smooth. Check it on on May 22 from 6-9pm at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.
If you haven't heard Towkio's fresh beats, now is the time. A member of the talented, much-loved SaveMoney crew alongside Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa, 21-year-old Towkio's eccentric musical stylings are drawing listeners into the unique world he is able to curate. Seamlessly blending hip hop and electronic dance genres, Towkio's music keeps listeners interested and engaged, as well. Adding layer upon layer of production, rhythmic effects, and one-of-a-kind phrasing, Towkio's tunes make us want to dance and stop to listen to his rapid fire lyrics, all at the same time. The beats comprise a sensuality that allows each ballad to contain a rampant emotional tone, which seeps into the production of his newly released album, .Wav Theory.
Take a listen to his new album below, and if you enjoy what you hear, Towkio will be performing for a packed house at The Metro on May 16. My personal favorite? Free Your Mind, with its summery vibes and horns by Donnie Trumpet. A part of Chicago's strong hip hop scene, Towkio is sure to impress during his upcoming hometown show.
Towkio will be at The Metro on Saturday, May 16, with Kehlani and DJ Spinn as support acts. Tickets are $18 in advance, and $21 at the door for this all ages show, with sets beginning at 7pm and doors opening at 6pm. The Metro is located at 3730 N. Clark St.
Special edition double month column to kick off the summer's music!
Third Coast Percussion: Wild Sound
TCP hits the MCA with an explosion of Glenn Kotche music, including the Wilco drummer's "Wild Sound." Composed for the TCP, "Wild Sound" incorporates field recordings from nature and urban life; during the performance, the ensemble constructs and performs on instruments designed by Kotche. The program includes works by Steve Reich, Joao Gilberto, and pieces performed by Kotche himself. Get tickets fast to to the May 21 performance — the May 22 concert is already sold out. Tickets are $28 nonmembers, $22 MCA members, $10 students. Thursday, May 21, 7:30pm. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave. (Photo: Saverio Truglia)
Aussie psych-rockers Tame Impala recently announced they've been cooking something that's even better than a multi-topping pizza.
Not only are they embarking on a world tour, which will stop in Chicago this Friday, 5/15 at the Riviera, but the four-piece Interscope outfit confirmed a new release Currents will be the next addition to their consistently dazzling collection of LPs on July 17.
If you missed the premiere of That Was Awesome, the new film by White Mystery, at CIMMfest earlier this year, you've got another chance. By popular demand, the film is screening again at the Logan Theatre on Wednesday, May 20.
The Whites describe That Was Awesome as a "psychedelic dark comedy." The film offers a peek into the telepathic minds of the brother and sister duo, Miss Alex and Francis Scott Key, viewed through the lenses of five different filmmakers. It's the perfect reason to start summer hours a little early... and on a Wednesday.
The screening is from 4 to 6pm at the Logan Theatre, 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave., and is all ages. Tickets are $10, $7.50 for students. The Saki store, 3716 W. Fullerton Ave., has a couple tickets to give away, as well as more for sale for $10. Following the screening, there will be an afterparty at Parts & Labor, 2700 N. Milwaukee Ave., with music curated by the band.
If you haven't listened to local favorite Dastardly yet, I am here to urge you to do so. With a unique sound that is unparalleled and unable to be located anywhere else, their music has only grown richer and more innovative with each release, keeping us listeners hooked on the offerings from this four-member outfit. Lilting accordion ballads from the talented Sarah Morgan permeate their one-of-a-kind sound, blending Americana with folk undertones, while frontman Gabe Liebowitz embodies the unique persona of each song, within it, a delicate story to tell. Themes of despair, struggle, and triumph abound amid vocal accents that constantly surprise, from exquisite harmonies, to urgent speeches, and even a bit of yodeling.
After a three year hiatus, the group is back with a more unique sound than ever before, as they took a break to hone in on their music and refocus. Liebowitz, who is also a music producer, has merged his passion for production with the creation of Dastardly's tunes, and has allowed Dastardly to create vibrant, cinematic ballads for their new material. Dastardly has released their newest single, and its music video. "The Hollow" begins with an ethereal, haunting opener, which leads into lush harmonies and beautiful accordion, string, and guitar backings. This intriguing storyline is showcased amid gaze-catching shots and dancers. A dreamscape is created effortlessly, drawing you into their unique world of music. Here, Dastardly emerges, more confident in their unique craft than ever before.
Take a listen to "The Hollow" and catch the mesmerizing music video below. If you dig what you hear, they'll be playing Lincoln Hall on July 10, so mark that date on your calendar: you won't want to miss their hometown show after what is poised to be such a triumphant return.
Recently I've seen my fair share of minimalist musicians in a live setting and every time I'm blown away. The transition from the studio sounds to the live in person experience is massive. There is an added expansiveness to their sound, making the already emotive experience all the more affecting. Young Ejecta and Shy Girls were no exception at their Schubas show this past weekend. Both bands were completely different from what I was expecting, with Young Ejecta delivering more with fewer members and Shy Girls creating instant R&B classics with relative ease. They were a fantastic pairing that fed on the audience's energy, putting together a passionate show.
"Since I've been eating, now I like a bunch of food!" Although he's famous for run-ins with the law, this lyric from Chief Keef's 2014 track "Stupid" showcases his affinity toward another artform: food.
Turns out, he's always liked rapping about various cuisines.And just last week, he dropped a track called "Heinz Ketchup," using condiments as a vehicle for expression:
"You stuck in mayonnaise, ketchup
You got mayonnaise ways, catch ya
You mustard, catch ya"