Monthly Archives: July 2015

Review: Pitchfork Music Festival – Saturday (July 18, 2015)

Saturday at Pitchfork Music Festival was definitely one to remember. Not only did I get to see killer performances, but my friends are I got absolutely drenched by the rain that briefly evacuated the festival during the middle of the day.

We started out the day by seeing Bully perform on the Blue Stage. Although I was not very familiar with Bully before the performance, I was highly impressed. Bully’s frontwoman, Alicia Bognanno, slayed her mint green electric guitar while busting out lyrics. My favorite songs from the set were ‘Trying’ , ‘Sharktooth’ and ‘I Remember’. I highly recommend checking out Bully when they play in Chicago at Lincoln Hall Friday October 9 for $12.

Later in the day we headed to the Green Stage to get a spot for Kurt Vile and the Violators. Unfortunately, it began to downpour rain with extremely heavy winds. We had to evacuate the festival and leave our first row spot.

We returned back to the festival just in time for Future Islands. Samuel T. Herring put on an incredible performance with his dancing and growls between lyrics. My favorite part of the set was when they played their single ‘Seasons’. Everyone was dancing and swaying in the crowd. I turned and saw everyone around me smiling and moving around.

At the end of the night, we got to see both Sleater-Kinney and Vic Mensa. As a fan of the show Portlandia, I was excited to see actress and member of Sleater-Kinney, Carrie Brownstein, perform. These women got the crowd going when they started with ‘The Fox’ .  They drew in a huge crowd and it’s no surprise since they are an extremely talented group. We left Sleater-Kinney early to go to the Blue Stage to see Vic Mensa. Although we were towards the back of the crowd, Vic Mensa did not disappoint. My favorite parts of the set was when he performed his song ‘Down On My Luck’ and a cover of Future’s ‘Codeine Crazy’.


Pick of Next Week! Northalsted Market Days (August 8-9, 2015)

On August 8th and 9th, Boystown, in Chicago, will be filled with over 300,000 people jamming to music, eating from Chicago food trucks, and perusing the merchandise tents. Northalsted Market Days is an annual two day festival along North Halsted Street from Belmont Avenue to Addison Avenue. The festival consists of three music stages: the Addison Stage, the Roscoe Stage, and the Belmont Stage.

Saturday’s headliners include: Blu Cantrell, Who is Fancy, Jack & Jack, Xelle, and En Vogue.
Blu Cantrell is an R&B and soul singer-songwriter. She originally rose to fame with her single “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)”, which earned her two Grammy nominations in 2002.

Fancy, better known as Who is Fancy, is an artist with one of the most interesting backgrounds I’ve heard of. He was presented at the iHeartMedia Music Summit as one of the Republic Records priorities for 2015, but his identity was kept secret. His single “Goodbye” was released on the mainstream radio in 2015 under the name “Fancy”, yet no one knew his real name or face. After the release of three separate music videos for “Goodbye”, which included three different stand-in lip synchers, speculation as to “Who is Fancy” quickly followed. Fancy revealed himself on The Tonight Show Starting Jimmy Fallon on April 7, 2015.

Jack & Jack is a pop-rap duo who found success via the social media app Vine. Their 2014 single “Wild Life” made it onto the top 100 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Xelle is a pop girl-group. Their debut video “Party Girl” found success due to it’s content. The group, members unknown at the time, hijacked a moving train in New York City and turned the car into a party. The video is freaking awesome, go check it out on YouTube.

En Vogue is an R&B girl group, popular in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Their most famous songs include: “Don’t Let Go”, “My Lovin” and “Free Your Mind”.

Sunday’s headliners include: Aaron Carter, Sidewalk Chalk, Salt-N-Pepa, and All 4 One. Aaron Carter is a pop artists that found much of his success in the early 2000’s. His song “I Want Candy” and his cameo in the Disney Channel series Lizzie McGuire made him every pre-teen girls’ dream boy.

Sidewalk Chalk is a hip-hop, funk group from Chicago. Since their 2012 debt album release, Corner Store, they have gained much success and have shared the stage with greats such as Questlove, De La Soul, and Jean Grae.

Every hip-hop fan knows of Salt-N-Pepa. Members “Salt”, “Pepa”, and “DJ Spinderalla”, make up one of the first all-female rap groups. They’re best known songs include: “Push It”, “Let’s Talk About Sex”, and “Shoop”.

All 4 One is a R&B group who were popular in the 90’s. Their best known song, “I Swear”, zoomed up the charts in 1994.

For a complete lineup check out:

Market Days’ line up is just as unique as these artists’ back stories. If you’re a fan of hip-hop, R&B and pop you can’t miss these incredible artists perform. Don’t forget to use PlaylistHQ to help you create kick ass playlists for this festival at this custom page.

Liz Byrom

A Very Lively Performance: IRONTOM at House of Blues Chicago (July 24, 2015)

IRONTOM are from Los Angeles. This talented group of musicians have a great stage presence. This is not just a bunch of guys playing music on stage; it’s a full entertaining show.  There is no “downtime” during their performance. Even when there is a long instrumental break, when most singers would step back and relax or leave the stage, Harry Hayes continues to dance frenetically. He sings with emotion and with his whole body. Zack Irons, on lead guitar, shreds through song after song to the audience’s delight. This band may be small now, but they have the potential to do great things. Catch them on tour now with AWOLNATION.

Quinn Delaney

homhomhom Showcase: California Wives at Lincoln Hall (July 23, 2015)

California Wives just released Heavy EP, a new record with four songs on their new label, homhomhom. Tonight is a showcase for the label featuring Blue Cloud, and Shah Jahan.  This is their first time playing all of these songs for an audience.  The crowd enjoyed the new music, but they were most enthusiastic about the songs they have grown to love.  One of these songs is Marianne, a very catchy tune that features fantastic guitar playing. They close their set with “wenty Three, a song Jayson Kramer, the lead singer, wrote way back when he was 23. “It seems like forever ago” says Kramer. It’s a beautiful song that was a great close to a fantastic night of local music.

Quinn Delaney

Review: Pitchfork Day Three at Union Park (July 19, 2015)

Image by Daniel Boczarski via Getty Images

I started my day out seeing Madlib & Freddie Gibbs, who performed a great set. They are a great example of the more low key hip-hop performers that Pitchfork gets to play every year. They definitely gained a bunch of fans because of their performance. I then headed to see Courtney Barnett perform. She released her album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, earlier this year in March, which got great reviews. She is known for her witty lyrics; Celeste Mallama wrote on Gapers Block “Listening to Barnett’s lyrics is like listening to a Pulitzer Prize winning author describe the events of the CTA at rush hour – the most mundane and relatable human experiences told through the lens of a poet”. She opened with “Elevator Operator” and closed with “Pedestrian at Best”. Considering I didn’t know who Courtney Barnett was before yesterday, I was impressed by her lyrics, her rocking songs, and her “I don’t give a damn” attitude on stage. She’s definitely entered my radar. I also saw a great performance by Caribou. I really enjoyed “Can’t Do Without You”. While I waited for Chance the Rapper’s set, I was able to catch all of Run the Jewels, whose set was playing on the Green Stage’s monitor. They entered the stage to Queen’s “We are the Champions”. In the middle of the set, they brought out Zack De La Rocha, from Rage Against the Machines, which was awesome. Their show seemed to be incredibly rowdy and fun. I wish that I was able to be in the crowd for that show, but I wasn’t risking giving up my prime spot for Chance the Rapper.

Image by Erin Hooley via The Chicago Tribune

The main person I came to see was Chance the Rapper and it was apparent that majority of Pitchfork Fest goers were there to see him too. The amount of Chance the Rapper shirts I saw yesterday was astounding and made me feel a little left out since I was wearing a boring green tank top. I saw Chance perform in 2013 at the Aragon Ballroom, just after he started to gain major recognition for his mixtape Acid Rap. When I saw him perform, he had just burst onto the scene. At the age of 20, he didn’t have much experience then. I thought that he had a lot to learn about performing. But when I saw him last night, it was apparent that in the past two years he had grown so much as a performer. Last night, Chance kept repeating that his show tonight was for us. Since Chicago is his hometown, a less than A+ worthy performance was not an option for him. His stage presence was fantastic. I could tell that being on stage felt completely natural to him. He kept the crowds energy high by keeping his own level up. He danced his ass off for the 90 minute set and told the crowd he needed their energy to stay high, which they did.

He opened up his set with “Home Studio”, “Juice”, and “Favorite Song”. Chance is known for bringing out guests during his show. Last year at Lollapalooza he brought out R. Kelly and Vic Mensa. First, he brought out the Chicago Bucket Boys, known for performing at the Chicago Bulls games, to help him with his rendition of the Arthur theme song, which has proven to be a great addition to Chance’s set. He then brought out Donnie Trumpet to accompany him with “Slip Slide’ and “Wanna be Cool”. And finally he brought out Kirk Franklin who helped bring us to church while performing “Sunday Candy” with a gospel choir. The great part of Chance’s set was that he played songs from all points of his career. He played songs from his mix tapes, 10 Day and Acid Rap, and songs off his new studio album Surf. He closed the night with “Chain Smoker” off of Acid Rap. Overall I was very, very impressed with Chance’s performance. His performance was so much more than an artist doing a set. With the elaborate light and video show, the outfit changes, and the dance numbers, his set could have been a Broadway show. Chance and his staff rehearsed this show for months just for Chicago. He said himself, he only gets to do one show in Chicago each year. I am looking forward to seeing him in October performing in New Orleans at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience which runs from October 30-November 1.

Liz Byrom

Review: Evening Darling at the Throne Room (July 18, 2015)

It’s 10pm on a Friday night in Chicago and the Throne Room is packed. This intimate venue is filled with fans of Evening Darling (formerly The Hunting Party) from New York City. Erica Lane’s energy is instantly apparent as she leads the band through one of their catchiest songs, “To Be Us”. Later on, the band says they are going to play a new song.  Someone shouts, “What’s it called?” The band looks at each other, and then Lane says “Live Where You Lay”.  They just named the song! The lead singer explains that they usually don’t decide the name of the song until they record it in the studio. It’s a fantastic song that exemplifies the new direction they are taking (hence the new band name for a fresh start). Catch them on tour now:!

See the full setlist here.

Quinn Delaney (Founder)

Review: Railway Gamblers at Harte’s (July 10, 2015)

Railway Gamblers released their new album Heart of the Sun with a party on Friday at Harte’s in Chicago. Railway Gamblers describe themselves as a four-piece folk rock and blues group. Brendan Folliard (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Piano), Matt Fricks (Electric Guitar, Effects), Joe Sexton (Bass, Vocal Harmonies),  and Sean Wilmsen (Drums, Percussion, Vocals) make up this talented quartet.

Watching Railway Gamblers perform was refreshing. It’s nice to occasionally get away from the mainstream music and listen to a group that puts their heart into the original music they’ve written. These guys possess an incredible talent in music writing and performing. The energy in the venue was incredible. Everyone in the audience was swaying, dancing, and really enjoying the beautifully crafted music. One of the favorite songs of the night was “Colorado”. With a more upbeat tempo, it was impossible not to dance and clap along.

I went into this show not knowing who these guys were, and left as a huge fan! My only regret of the night is not stopping to buy the album. They’re on Spotify, so I definitely recommend giving them a listen! If you have the chance, check them out on August 7 at Rossaroo Music Festival or on August 29 at Double Door in Chicago.

See the setlist here

Elyse Link

They Say Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: Taste of Chicago (July 12, 2015)

The Taste of Chicago is the world’s largest food festival spanning over several days. Held in Grant Park from July 8-July 12, The Taste promoted the food of almost 40 restaurants, as well as many food trucks, and showcases the talents of different chefs every day. In addition to the delicious food, The Taste is also known for their great musical performances.

The headliners for The Taste, playing at the Petrillo Music Shell, included: Weezer, Erykah Badu, The Chieftains, Spoon, and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. In addition to the main stage, several artists throughout the day played on a smaller stage, The Bud Light stage. Each day had a different theme at the Bud Light Stage.

The musical theme on Sunday was “tribute bands”. The bands that played included: Infinity (a Journey tribute band), American English (a Beatles tribute band), and Reginald Toran Sr. All Things Mayfield (a Curtis Mayfield tribute band). I was surprised to see how many people went to see these bands. Infinity had a good crowd turn out and played the crowd pleasers such as, “Any Way You Want it”, “Wheel in the Sky”, and closed out with “Don’t Stop Believin’”. The crowd that surprised me the most was the crowd that came out to see American English play. Everyone knows and loves The Beatles. American English was able to capture the spirit of the iconic band, with their fake wigs, fake accents, and even an outfit change halfway through their set to accommodate The Beatles change in look through the years. Adults in their 60s were jamming to their music just as much as kids in their early to late teens, which seems to be a rare occurrence with the generation gap we see today. American English played crowd favorites such as “Twist and Shout”, “Help!”, and closed their set with “Revolution”.

In addition to these tribute bands, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly played at the Petrillo Music Shell. The crowd there was completely different than the crowd that watched Infinity and American English play, but the contrast was nice. Maze featuring Frankie Beverly was the soulful act that was a great way to end the last day of The Taste.

Liz Byrom

Pick of the Week: Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park (July 17 – 19, 2015)

I am very looking forward to seeing  Mac DeMarco play this Friday at Pitchfork Music Festival. Mac DeMarco is a Canadian singer-songwriter. His solo albums contain ‘Rock and Roll Night Club’ and ‘Salad Days’ His sound is very unique and has been described as indie-rock, jangle pop, blue wave, and even includes jazz influences. Although I have never heard a song  of his I didn’t like, some of my favorite  songs include ‘My Kind Of Woman’ ‘Chamber of Reflection’  ‘Ode To Viceroy’ and ‘Blue Boy’

I have been listening to Future Islands for a while now and was very excited to see that they are on the Pitchfork lineup this year. Future Islands is an American synthpop, indie pop and alternative rock band that is based in Baltimore, Maryland. They are playing Pitchfork on Saturday at 7:25pm on the Red Stage. My favorite songs from them are ‘Seasons’ and ‘A Dream Of You and Me’

As an avid listener of The XX, I am obviously very looking forward to seeing Jamie XX perform this  Sunday at Pitchfork. Jamie XX is an English remix artist and music producer known from his solo act Jamie XX and as a member of The XX. I am excited to hear ‘Loud Places’ and ‘I Know Theres Gonna Be Good Times’

Here is an incredible video of Jamie XX feat. Romy perfoming Loud Places on Le Grand Journal.

Marissa (PlaylistHQ Intern)

They Still Have IT: Weezer and Saint Motel at Taste of Chicago (July 8, 2015)

Saint Motel is new band from Los Angeles with a current hit on their hands: My Type. When they play this song, everyone stands up and starts dancing and singing along: “You’re just my type! Oh, you got a pulse and you are breathing!” The horn melody is very catchy and makes this song a great pop anthem. To everyone’s surprise, they play one more song, Stories. Although this song is good, this was very anti-climactic after already playing “My Type”.

Weezer, also from LA, takes the stage to headline the Taste of Chicago tonight. For Dope Nose, the bassist sings lead vocals, allowing Rivers to run around the stage. He takes full advantage of this opportunity as he fully rocks the song and shreds the solo in rock star mode. Midway through their set, it begins to rain with the wind blowing towards the stage. They continue to play without missing a note as the stage hands run on to the stage and hurriedly move all the equipment out of the rain and further back on the stage.  It’s a display of professionalism for this band who are featuring many songs from their first album, which was released in 1994. Even though these songs were written over 20 years ago, they still sound fresh and fit in perfectly with their new single, Back to the Shack. As they play their final song, “Buddy Holly”, everyone is jumping and singing along. Weezer still has “it”!

Be sure to catch the rest of the Taste of Chicago running through Sunday, July 12.

Quinn Delaney

Saint Motel’s setlist

Weezer’s setlist

PlaylistHQ Taste of Chicago Page

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