Monday, November 23, 2009

"If it's all or nothing, then let me go..."

On Sunday September, 27th my roommate Jo and I went to the Metro to see one of my new favorite bands, Grizzly Bear I knew a handful of songs prior to their current album, Veckatimest, but it was this release that hooked me. I was counting down the days to this show. I couldn’t wait.

The opening band was called Beach House and they formed in Baltimore. I had not heard of them before. They were good, but nothing that made me a super fan. Singer Victoria Legrand's voice is really pretty. She also did some backing vocals on Veckatimest. One of the songs I really liked though was “Heart of Chambers”:

While Beach Hose was playing I noticed there were these Mason jars hanging and during the break the crew put out more jars around the front of the stage. I was excited to see what they would do, my guess was light up…ding, ding, ding. I was right.

When the band took the stage the crowd was ready to go and as they started in on the first song, “Southern Point,” I knew it was going to be a good show.

They played a solid mix of songs from both albums. From Yellow House they did “Lullabye,” “Knife,” “Colorado,” and “On A Neck, On A Spit.” From Veckatimest they did “Cheerleader,” “Fine For Now,” “I Live With You,” “Ready, Able,” “Foreground,” “While You Wait For The Others,” and “Two Weeks” where Victoria joined them (she does the backing “ahhh ahhh ahhh” part during the chorus). They came out for the encore and only did one song, “Fix It.”

I fell so in love with the Mason jar lighting concept that I want to make a chandelier type one for my house…well my house someday. Sigh. They used those light bulbs that have the wire coils you can see. It gave it this very old timey feel, which I like. In fact that is how I feel about Grizzly Bear’s music. It’s has this real old timey feel but done in a modern way. It is absolutely beautiful.

They guys put on a great live show. Their music is so enchanting it puts you in a trance. They don’t move around a lot or go on with a ton of banter, but they are engaging. I was so impressed by their live show I was a bit bummed I wasn’t going to see their second show on the 28th. But I knew I had one more chance to see them this year the following weekend at the Austin City Limits Festival. I just had to wait one week…guess it is better than waiting two. :)


“Two Weeks”

“While You Wait For The Others”

There is an official video for this song, but I love this live performance of it.

“Ready, Able”

Fun Fact: One of Jo’s friends represents the director/creator of this video, Allison Schulnik

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"One journey for you but it's worth it/One life here with me and it's magic..."

My friend Natalie sent me a Facebook message letting me know Ida Maria and Ladyhawke were coming to the Chi and if I wanted to go and make it a girl’s night. Of course, count me in! However, little did we know the headache this show would bring us…

It was a Perez Hilton sponsored tour (found this out after the tickets were bought), and I’m not the biggest fan of Perez, but hey, can’t disagree with his musical tastes. A week before the show we get an e-mail saying due to illness Ida Maria is not going to be there and refunds would then be given. We went back and forth if we should just get our money back and call it a day, however, I was still interested in going, especially since I was really going to see Ladyhawke. And now she was bumped up to headliner! Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head was added as the opening-opening act. A few days later the Metro made the show free! So annoying since I bought a ticket. It also means the show wasn’t even close to selling out. Again we thought about not going, but ultimately a gals night out with dinner and fun music won out. Whew!

So Saturday, September 19th arrived and I was looking forward to the show. Natalie and I met up for dinner and her friend from LA also joined us. We then walked over to the Metro and secured a pretty sweet spot in the balcony area considering we arrived at the almost end of set for the middle act, Semi Precious Weapons. I had never heard of this band before but the crowd seemed to know who they were by the singing along and adoring cheers. They weren’t bad and had this total new-glam thing going on. But I’d equate them with Shiny Toy Guns or Panic at the Disco...glam for tweens.

When Ladyhawke took the stage I was pretty excited. I was familiar with her songs “Magic” (my favorite), “Dusk Till Dawn,” and “Paris is Burning” (she played them all). Even though I didn’t know the rest of her songs they were fun, danceable, and got the crowd going. She only has one album, so it wasn’t too hard to figure out what was what. This was her first show in Chicago and I hope she’ll be back. If so I’ll be there with my dancing shoes.

After the show Natalie and I grabbed a drink. When we were leaving the bar we saw Ladyhawke outside the front doors of the Metro. We stopped by and said, “Hello, great show…” and in her cute New Zealand accent, she thanked us. We then walked away smiling.

One interesting thing about Ladyhawke (Phillipa Brown) is that she has Asperger syndrome. However, this doesn’t seem to stop her.

Official site:



“Paris Is Burning”

“Dusk Till Dawn”

Monday, November 09, 2009

"Don’t want you to hold me, if fits just like a glove..."

A few weeks prior to the show I get a text from my friend Alessandra: “Mars Volta on Friday, Sept. 11th. Who’s in?” I think a minute and respond, “Me! I’ll get my ticket now.” And it was done. I knew very little about The Mars Volta other than they formed out of At the Drive-In and play proggy, experimental, heady rock. And then I started to think about what songs I knew of theirs and realized not many. I could picture certain album covers, but not songs. Oh well, this show can be my education, right?

On Friday, September 11th I met Alessandra and Victoria at the Congress Theater to see these shaggy haired, skinny Texas boys melt my face off. It was a 17 and up show so the teens were out in full force. At first only the floor was open and not the balcony. The floor area is so large once it started filling up it, our line of sight was diminishing. Then we noticed people starting to sit in the balcony. I went up to investigate and discovered we were able to sit there. I snagged some good seat and texted for the rest of my party to join me.

We sat and waited for the show to start. Since this was, “An evening with The Mars Volta” there was no opening act. Which was okay with me. When they took the stage the crowd went wild. Since I just admitted I don’t know much of their music, I had no idea what songs they played. But thank you rabid fans for posting a set list for me:

1. Son Et Lumiere
2. Intertiatic E.S.P.
3. Goliath

4. Cotopaxi
5. Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)
6. Viscera Eyes
7. Halo Of Nembutal's
8. Eunuch Provocateur
9. Ilyena
10. Teflon
11. Drunkship Of Lanterns
12. Luciforms
13. The Widow (the song I did know)

14. Wax Simulacra

I really enjoyed The Mars Volta and they put on a great live show. Full of energy and cool visuals: light show and the backdrop changed around 4 times through the set. Cedric Bixler-Zavala has such a distinct and powerful voice it was just amazing watching and listening to him and Omar Rodríguez-López just shredded it on guitar.

Even though I was not as familiar with the band before seeing them live, I’m glad I went and got to know them better.

Official site:


Monday, November 02, 2009

"If I am lost it's only for a little while..."

The weekend of August 7-9th was Lollapalooza in Grant Park here in Chicago, however, I did not attend. Many of you who know me are aware that I am not a fan of outdoor festivals, and if I go to one it will probably be the only one I do that year. Since I had promised my sister I would go to the Austin City Limits Festival with her and my brother-in-law in October, I was fine missing it…especially since the same organizers do both festivals and there were some artists playing both.

One good thing I can say about festivals is that they always result in aftershows for artists around town. Now, those I will do. I mean it’s just like a regular show. So this year I went to see Band of Horses at the House of Blues on Friday, August 7th. My friend Sam and her brother Keeno were in town for Lolla and we planned on meeting up at the show.

I really love Band of Horses and was looking forward to their set. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet up with Sam and Keeno in the venue. But randomly had stood next to some acquaintances and enjoyed the show with them.

They played a handful of songs off of their first album, Everything all the Time: “The Funeral,” “Our Swords,” “The Great Salt Lake,” “Wicked Gil,” “Part One,” and “Monsters.” From Cease To Begin they played: “Is there A Ghost,” “No One’s Gonna Love You,” “The General Specific,” “Ode to LRC,” “Window Blues,” “Islands On The Coast,” and my all time favorite “Cigarettes, Wedding Bands.” The guys also played a few new songs from their upcoming album, Night Rainbows. A part of one can be heard here at the start of this video:
(around the 2:06 mark it goes into “Window Blues” (country-fied style), at 3:15 it goes into “Wicked Gil,” and at 4:24 it goes into “The Funeral”)

From that clip you can see the crowd was very chatty and there was a lot of movement. That was the biggest complaint I had about the show. Since this was right after day one of the festival and at a venue close to the park, there were a lot of people who had been drinking all day and still must have thought they were outside and that their talking would be absorbed by being outside and the loud sound system. Not so much for the indoors, people.

I also had a really good spot. I have never seen a show at the House of Blues and when I first arrived I was on the floor in front of the sound booth and it was great until some really tall dudes stood right in my line of sight. Then when Sam arrived she gave me her location, but our wires got crossed on where each other were and the reception for both of our phones was spotty. But like I said where I ended up was great and I was with people I knew. So no major complaints.

Band of Horses put on a solid show and from what I heard they also did at Lolla both times they played (their time slot and as surprise guests on the kids stage). I am looking forward to their return to Chicago, which I am sure will come after the release of Night Rainbows. Which by the way, what is up with that title? :)


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