Monthly Archives: August 2014

North Coast Music Festival – Three Picks for Sunday

1. Snoop Dogg at 9pm

Multi-platinum artist, actor and entertainment icon Snoop Dogg is at the forefront of popular culture with award-winning albums and songs, multiple films, lifestyle products, philanthropic efforts, and digital ventures, including his YouTube original series “GGN News.” Snoop Dogg has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and received multiple GRAMMY® nominations. Since 1993, he has released twelve albums and collaborated with artists across all genres of music. Snoop defines hip-hop history. He’s set records with his seminal album Doggystyle, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over 800,000 copies in the first week. Throughout his career, Snoop’s produced chart-topping hits including “Gin & Juice,” “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?),” “Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang,” “Next Episode,” “Beautiful,” “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” “Signs,” “Sensual Seduction” and “I Wanna Rock.”

2. Slightly Stoopid at 6:45pm

“San Diego’s Slightly Stoopid grounds its sound in reggae and laid back hip-hop, adding in dashes of brightly-flavored ska and hefty psychedelic rock.” – NPR

3. theNEWDEAL at 4:45pm

theNEWDEAL first began in Toronto in 1999, and came up through the American Jam scene in the decade that followed. Since the theNEWDEAL’s beginning, it has been hard to categorize this band, which shows in the wide range of artists that they have played with (Everyone from Herbie Hancock to the Roots, from Moby to Fatboy Slim). A long-time staple of the Jam scene, theNEWDEAL’s improvisational interpretation of Electro House, Trance, Breakbeat and Drum & Bass has brought traditionally electronic music to the live music scene, adding a “human element” and vibrance that can sometimes get lost in the sea of computerized perfection.

North Coast Music Festival – Three Picks for Friday

1. Papadosio at 7:30pm

The information age has a sound. Revolutionary technology meets a evolutionary message in Papadosio. Melding progressive rock with psychedelia, folk with electronica, and dance music with jam, the quintet has amassed a dedicated following of thousands of likeminded individuals sowing the seeds of unity and spreading the sounds of exaltation. Singer-songwriter Anthony Thogmartin’s visionary lyrics, eclectic production, and signature guitar work are anchored by the rock solid battery of drummer Mike Healy and bassist Rob McConnell. The quintet is rounded out by brothers Billy and Sam Brouse, whose virtuosic two-headed keyboard, synth, and programming attack give the band its unmistakable complexity and intensity.

2. Lettuce at 6:30pm

“People tend to look at funk as a one-trick pony,” says drummer and chief songwriter Adam Deitch, “but we aim to smash those limits by drawing on a range of styles that can be traced from the early ’60s through the early ’80s, incorporating plenty of modern hip-hop sensibilities—heavy bass, kick and snare—along the way. Having evolved and refocused, without ever dropping the beat, Lettuce is getting ready to take audiences to the cosmos with a high-octane Fall tour. “Lettuce is like a Learjet that wasn’t getting clearance from the tower,” says lead bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes. “But we’re done just rolling around on the runway.”

3. Washed Out at 5:30pm

Washed Out is Ernest Greene, a young guy from Georgia (via South Carolina) who makes bedroom synthpop that sounds blurred and woozily evocative, like someone smeared Vaseline all over an early OMD demo tape, then stayed up all night trying to recreate what they heard.  His song, “Feel it All Around”, is the theme song for the hit TV show, Portlandia.


The Boulevard Festival – Sunday Preview

One day till The Boulevard! Put that Spotify premium account to good use and try out YouTube’s new Theatre mode to prepare yourself for a weekend full of great jams.

Our Sunday Picks:

1. Rubblebucket at 8pm – This band is many things and nothing at all; it’s a mindset, a legend, a feeling, a mystery; a mischievous, playful, boundary-smashing blast of sound that you can sit still and wonder at, or turn off your mind and move wildly to. Or both at the same time. As Kalmia said, when she handed me one of her now-famous peanut butter, cheddar cheese, cabbage, honey tacos, “This is the weirdest, most delicious thing you will ever taste.” And if you won’t take it on my authority, take it on the authority of a small, but reputable publication called Rolling Stone, reporting from Bonnaroo: “Rubblebucket revved up like an indie-rock Miami Sound Machine, dancers, horns and all.” And if you won’t take it on Rolling Stone’s authority, leave it to the words of guitarist Ian: “Our music is like being at a raging party, but in the center of it, there’s this beautiful painting that you’re staring at, trying to wrap your mind around.” Or the words of our dad, Tim Traver: “Kids these days.”  – Mollie Traver

2. Orgone at 6:30pm –  Formed in the late 1990s in Los Angeles, Orgone remains dedicated to creating heavy, raw, adrenaline-fueled funk and sweat-dripping soul. With a core rhythm section of close friends and self-taught musicians steeped in the DJ culture of L.A., Orgone has spent the last decade expanding their roster and evolving a sound that simultaneously recognizes its roots in old school respect and pulsates with the force of the new millennium. While becoming a staple on the festival circuit in the early 2000s, Orgone has gained a reputation among fellow artists for being one of the baddest go-to backing bands on the planet.

In addition to writing and performing their own music, Orgone also works wonders as a backing band to many of today’s popular artists. From appearances on Alicia Keys’ “Teenage Love Affair” (2008) to Cee Lo Green’s “Fool for Love” (2011), Orgone is constantly evolving to stay tuned in to the rhythm of music’s ever-changing tides.  (From their Facebook Page)


3. Kung Fu at 5:15pm – Through discipline, practice & study, Kung Fu has sought excellence in the art of improvised dance music. Schooled by the masters, The Headhunters, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa, the quintet of masterfully seasoned musicians blends electro-jazz-funk with an EDM informed danceability at the highest level of skill & inspiration nightly. The resulting “NU-SION” is “captivating”, “explosive”, “jaw-dropping” and “musically mesmerizing. Prepare yourselves for a devastating, LETHAL FUNK to be rained down on you by a BAD-ASS BLACK-BELT BACKBEAT. For the uninitiated, the experience is typically shocking yet the focus is simple: ENTER THE DRAGON! (From their Facebook Page)

September Concert Preview!

Summer is dwindling down (sad sauce) which means that fall is fast approaching. While back to school season can be a real bummer, there are several concerts lined up for September to perk you right up.


Neutral Milk Hotel

Klien Memorial Auditorium, Bridgeport CT

September 7

If you’ve never heard of this indie favorite, I strongly encourage you to do yourself a favor and check them out, and once you fall in love, see them live!


Ed Sheeran

Xfinity Center, Mansfield MA

September 9

With a melancholy voice, and soulful lyrics, Ed Sheeran’s tunes are both perfectly relaxing, yet exhilarating. Can’t wait to see how he sounds live!



The Space, Hamden CT

September 12

Known as an alternative hip hop act, this guy has amazing rapping style and can get you jamming within 10 seconds of a song starting. Don’t believe me? Savor this track featuring Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara.


Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers & Steve Winwood

XL Center, Hartford CT

September 13

Who doesn’t love the classics? Tom Petty might be getting up there in years, but he still knows how to put on an amazing show.



Paradise Rock Club, Boston MA

September 17

Perhaps best remembered for their music video for the song “Here it Goes Again,” in which the band jumped around in a sequence on treadmills for the entirety of the song, OK Go has several other awesome tracks that are worth listening to.


Jack White

Fenway Park, Boston MA

September 17

On the same night, Jack White will be performing, so flip a coin, draw straws, do whatever you need to do to make a decision, but both shows are well worth catching. Jack White has been all over the radio lately with his solo song “Lazaretto,” and the entire album is amazing.


Lily Allen & Mr. Little Jeans

House of Blues, Boston MA

September 20

Sheezus. So important.


The Black Keys and Cage the Elephant

TD Garden, Boston MA

September 21

It’s The Black Keys. And Cage the Elephant.


Cher and Pat Benatar

XL Center, Hartford CT

September 27

Two fierce ladies in one amazing concert! What’s not to love?


As always you can make playlists for any and all these shows using PlaylistHQ. Hopefully these concerts will get you through the end of summer blues! Be sure to share your playlists with us on Twitter, @PlaylistHQ. (That rhyme was unintentional, I swear.)


-Kacey Rainone (PlaylistHQ Intern)

The Boulevard Festival – Saturday Preview

It’s only three days till Boulevard begins. Keep these playlists playing and don’t miss our picks!

Our Saturday picks:

1. The Pimps of Joytime at 6pm – A band whose name carries a certain “je ne sais quois,” the Pimps of Joytime were born out of frontman Brian J’s desire to layer his broad range of musical influences — soul, funk, blues and rock n’ roll — within the freedom of an unapologetic dance groove. Since 2007, this Brooklyn based wildly infectious group has grown from playing basement parties down the street to headlining more than 100 shows each year, with stops along the festival circuit at Bonnaroo, High Sierra, Outside Lands, All Good, the VooDoo Experience and more. The Pimps’ debut record High Steppin’ dropped in 2008 on Wonderwheel Recordings to critical acclaim from the likes of NPR and BBC, followed by their sophomore release Janxta Funk! in 2011. Currently writing and recording tracks for their third album (anticipated for fall 2014), the forthcoming release will be their most inspired, distinct studio effort to date. Both in studio and on the road, the Pimps of Joytime are not to be missed. When they come to town, make sure to bring your favorite dance shoes and a dry towel to wipe your brow, because they know how to make you shake it and sweat all over. –From their Facebook Page

2. The Main Squeeze – The Squeeze just released their debut self titled album in June 2012. Much like each member’s varied backgrounds and influences, the album itself contains an eclectic blend of inspiration which seamlessly navigates through funk, rock, electro, and jazz, while still rooting itself in something that’s uniquely their own. Whereas ‘First Drops’ found the band searching for their voice in the studio, their newest offering picks up miles beyond where they left off. Just one listen to tracks like the epic “I’ll Take Another” (clocking in at nearly ten minutes), the soulful trifecta of “Where Do We Go”, or the impeccable horn arrangements on “Mama Told Me” and it’s clear that the band possesses a musical maturity well beyond their years.

Their unique ability to tackle and funkify such a wide variety of music makes each show a unique experience in its own right. Their live performances, which fuse soulful vocals, intricate jams, tight grooves, and ripping solos have helped them develop a dedicated and rapidly growing fan base in the Midwest and the East Coast earning them slots at music festivals such as Bonnaroo, Summer Camp, Equifunk, Electric Forrest and Aura. –From their Facebook Page

3. The Dean Ween Group – A rotating cast of characters fronted by Dean Ween (Mickey Melchiondo), formerly of the acclaimed band, Ween.

The Boulevard Festival – Friday Preview

It’s Boulevard week in Logan Square. This fun filled weekend of indie music is always a highlight of August in Chicago. Listen and watch our playlists and be sure to catch the PlaylistHQ picks below!

Our band picks:

1. Greensky Bluegrass at 830pm – “Having the word bluegrass in your name can limit expectations about a band, particularly when that band is Michigan-based Greensky Bluegrass, one of the most open-minded string outfits to ever deftly weave rock, folk, blues, country and yes, bluegrass into their own resonant creation. This pleasingly empathetic quintet moves with organic grace, finishing one another’s sentences and rolling in a most conversational way, a true group effort that resonates with listeners in subtle, tangible ways.” – Dennis Cook, Dirty Impound

2. Angel Melendez & The 911 Mambo Orchestra at 8pm – 47th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominee and 4th Annual Independent Music Awards 2005 Winner. What else do you need to know?

3. Judah & the Lion at 7pm – They are an americana-folk band with their roots planted in Nashville, TN. Their music comes from many influences that cumulates in a blend of folk instruments, played with fresh musicianship and powerful vocal harmonies. They got their start in December of 2011 and exist to create honest and relatable music. The lead singer, Judah Akers, banjo player, Nate Zuercher, and mandolinist, Brian Macdonald, lead the group and are honored to play with a band of talented musicians. They love music, love life, and love people.

Stay tuned for the Saturday and Sunday picks!


Lollapalooza 2014 Review

This year’s Lollapalooza took place at Grant Park on August 1-3 in Chicago, Illinois. Over 300,000 attendees scattered around the park to catch their favorites artists. 130 plus artists took over eight stages all in a three-day span. Headliners included Eminem, Outkast, Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Skrillex, and more.

Friday started with music fans patiently waiting outside the Grant Park gates at 11:00am who were all ready to start off a long and thrilling weekend. Those who couldn’t catch the music in person had the opportunity to stream Lollapalooza through the Red Bull livestream on their computers with three different channels to choose from.

After a few rain showers passing through in the afternoon, one of the more excellent acts on Friday was Portugal. The Man. The entire audience was very spirited as everyone yelled out the lyrics to “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.” Later in their set was followed by a funny cover of “Day Man” from the TV show, ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.’ At the end of their set, they played the more popular songs of “Modern Jesus” and “Creep in a T-Shirt.” They were without doubt a fan favorite on Friday.

Returning to Chicago after his 2011 Lolla debut, Eminem was the one of the most hyped performers of the weekend. He played a 90-minute set full of classics and a few new songs from The Marshall Mathers LP 2, his latest album. Little did everyone know, Lolla fans were in for a treat as Rihanna arose on stage to perform “Monster” and “Love the Way You Lie.” Afterwards, a guest appearance was made by Royce da 5’9” to surprise the crowd with more fun. Unfortunately, with the debacle of scheduling issues, we ended the night by running across Grant Park to catch the 2nd half of Arctic Monkey’s performance.

The Arctic Monkeys were already putting on an incredible performance as we were quickly approaching the Bud Light Stage hearing the ending of “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor”. They continued to play a very compelling set that put the crowd into a mellow trance. Soon the crowd was back into a groove by singing the lyrics to “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” and then concluded Friday with an encore of “R U Mine?” as a nice way to end the night.

After a very long and hot Saturday consisting of acts such as Gramatik, Martin Garrix, Spoon, and more, one of the acts many were looking forward to on Saturday were the talented hip-hop duo of Outkast. A disappointing performance at Coachella had some worried that they wouldn’t live up to expectations at Lolla. They began their set with “B.O.B” and “ATLiens” that had the crowded dancing all over the place while trying to sing the lyrics at the same time. Unfortunately, with a huge crowd filling the Samsung Stage we were very far away and felt the same way as many did at Coachella. Outkast wasn’t entirely bad but wasn’t entirely good. We decided it was best to leave and finish Saturday night by catching the last 35 minutes of Calvin Harris’ set. He gave a solid performance spinning EDM songs from the DJ booth that had the bass booming at the crowd. The crowd loved him, dancing to his radio-hits such as “We Found Love” and “Summer” at the Bud Light Stage to end Saturday at Lollapalooza.

Sunday started off with a downpour of rain scattered across the park. The rain came and went as it ruined shoes, phones, and filled the grounds with muddy swamps. This wasn’t going to stop the performers or the fans from leaving the park like it did in 2012. Everyone did what they could to relocate to dry areas such as standing under trees or even tables, but it wasn’t a big help at times.

During the afternoon, Chromeo put on an unbelievable live performance filled with disco and funk music. The duo used an electronic guitar, keyboard, a unique voice box, and a DJ controller, which had the crowd boogieing to the disco. They finished their set by playing the popular radio hit “Jealous” to end the performance.
A few hours later, the rainstorms left and it was time to catch one of the most talented rising electronic DJ’s of today. We made our way to the Grove Stage a bit early so we were sure we had a great spot to see Flume. His set was absolutely breathtaking. Each song flowed perfectly to the other and the entire crowed were singing along the entire time. Most underrated performer of the weekend.

Lollapalooza was finally coming to a close and the Sunday headliners were ready to end an unforgettable weekend. Now the decision was to see Skrillex or Kings of Leon? We had to see Skrillex, a king of the EDM scene. Weird beats and noises echoed the Bud Light stage speakers as we tried to get as far to the front as we possibly could. Everyone was jumping up and down and waving their arms. He was making the crowd go crazy to his exciting songs. He played a few of his old songs, some new songs from his latest album, and many wild EDM songs. I think everyone left his performance with a big content smile on his or her face, as Lollapalooza finally came to an end of an incredible weekend.

-Josh Kohn

Chicago and REO Speedwagon at Northerly Island

It’s a windy night in the Windy City. The crowd awaits REO. A voice on the loud speaker encourages us to welcome to the stage the opener. Turns out, there is a bonus act. One which is not listed on the Live Nation site or anywhere else of note. The crowd puts up with him and thankfully his set is short. Again, the crowd waits for REO.

The wait is short and they take the stage. The crowd, filled mostly with fans who were in their 20s when these bands first hit the scene, welcomes them warmly. At one point during the show he “takes” a call from his lady. She asks him to bring home a loaf of bread. He responds he can’t bring in the garbage cans because he is playing to 15,000 fans. Oops!

Next up, Chicago takes the stage. As play “Saturday in the Park”, fireworks are blasting in the background from Navy Pier.  Every day IS like the fourth of July with Chicago in Chicago.

Finally, Chicago and REO Speedwagon play together for a final set of hits.  Everyone knows every word.  Everyone has a huge smile on their face.  THIS is summer in the Windy City.

Opening Doorways: A Quick Interview with Nate Maingard

Nate Maingard has been performing since the late 90’s and has been a professional musician since 2011. He has been called an “indie-folk singer-songwriter,” though he prefers to call himself a storyteller, a modern troubadour. He says that his musical roots are on his father’s side and go all the way back to the French Courts.
Nate’s music takes a thoughtful look at the deeper side of life, including “questioning what it means to be human,” celebrating “all the myriad facets of what it means to be alive,” and even “the death cycles of life.” Nate believes in music’s ability to heal, and that using imagination and open-hearted communication is key.
Up until recently, Nate was on tour, performing in South Africa and the UK, with occasional shows in California. However, a broken hand has put him out of commission indefinitely. He is using the time wisely, though, making plans to change his approach to music, and “travelling and visiting communities and individuals around the world who are living life by their own rules, with truth, integrity, balance, community and care for the planet as their priorities.” He hopes that through these travels, he can show both himself, and his audience that “there are viable, sustainable alternatives to the consumer lifestyle we have been sold by mass education, mass media, and greedy corporations.” Nate plans to share everything he learns through Nate cites Ghandi as an inspiration, using the quote “The best way to change the world is to be that change.”
Nate’s favorite venues are “intimate house concerts, played in peoples’ living rooms or backyards.” He reasons that the connection he has with his audience then, “pure human connection,” makes it so much better. His favorite part about touring is the freedom. “There is something so liberating about being on the road. The sensation of drifting into the unknown with every step. The beauty in surrendering to the mystery of experiencing life as it happens. The joy of leaving ruts far behind.”
Much of Nate’s music is available to download free online, “I want people to be able to hear it regardless of how much money they have.” He states that there is a balance however, “give and take, Yin and Yang,” and that he encourages people to buy his music when they have the means necessary.
If you’re ever in the audience for one of Nate’s shows, you can expect a very intimate setting. He states that he goes on stage to “open the doorways we keep closed between one another,” and that as an audience member, “You can expect to FEEL: to laugh, to cry, to sing, to be reborn into the celebration of what it means to exist as a member of a global community of earth-people.”
Check out Nate’s website for more information, and listen to his music at

-Kacey Rainone (PlaylistHQ Intern)