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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Lillie West tells secrets but keeps them on Lala Lala’s lucid, cryptic new The Lamb

Posted By today at 06.00 AM

Lillie West of Lala Lala - ALEXA VISCIUS
  • Alexa Viscius
  • Lillie West of Lala Lala

Lala Lala were the first band I saw after I moved to Chicago in 2015. I was 18 and nervous, camouflaged under the low ceiling of Humboldt Park basement venue Pinky Swear in what I hoped was the universal cool-kid uniform, right down to the scuffed low-top Dr. Martens and can of PBR. In the abrasive guitar and intricately coded autobiographical lyrics of Lala Lala front woman Lillie West, I found a pocket of the Chicago underground rock scene that I could see myself in—I've been a fan ever since.

The band will probably never lose their affection for basement shows, but these days they can play legitimate clubs too—in fact they're headlining the Empty Bottle on Friday, September 28, to celebrate the release of their second full-length, The Lamb, via Sub Pop offshoot Hardly Art.

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America is a junkyard on the gig poster of the week

Posted By today at 06.00 AM

childishgambino_chicago_final_main.jpg

ARTIST: Dan Black
SHOW: Childish Gambino at United Center on Sat 9/8
MORE INFO: landland.net

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Chicago’s first Red Bull Music Festival is all over the map, with Pusha T, Makaya McCraven, Merzbow, and more

Posted By on 09.18.18 at 10:00 AM

Jazz drummer Makaya McCraven will perform with an 11-piece ensemble on November 29 at the South Shore Cultural Center. - IMAGE VIA MAKAYA MCCRAVEN'S FACEBOOK
  • Image via Makaya McCraven's Facebook
  • Jazz drummer Makaya McCraven will perform with an 11-piece ensemble on November 29 at the South Shore Cultural Center.

Festival season ain't over till Red Bull says it is. The energy drink's music operation has so far thrown six festivals in New York and one in Los Angeles, and in November it'll host a similar event in the midwest for the first time. (Last year's 30 Days in Chicago—one big show every night, with Red Bull's muscle and money allowing for relatively inexpensive tickets—was a different beast.)

Red Bull Music Festival Chicago will present sprawling concerts, curated showcases, and a handful of lectures and panels across the city throughout November. Thankfully the events won't be happening every night (making it somewhat more plausible for normal humans to attend the majority of them), and even better, they focus more on local artists. The fest begins Saturday, November 3, with a showcase by Kanye West's GOOD Music label, and ends Friday, November 30, with a celebration of Jamila Woods's breakout debut, Heavn.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Screw nostalgia—the Avengers and Blondie made punk as relevant as ever at Riot Fest

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 03:23 PM

Avengers vocalist Penelope Houston - DANNY O'DONNELL
  • Danny O'Donnell
  • Avengers vocalist Penelope Houston

Outdoor music festivals tend to wear out their own fans. There's only so much hot sun, crowd congestion, and spider-infested porta-potties you can take before you ask yourself, "What the hell am I doing here?" If a fest runs three days, as Riot Fest has for several years now, by the third nearly everyone will have reached that point. Even the teenagers will be dragging. But there were plenty of reasons to trek to Douglas Park for the last day of Riot Fest 2018. Run the Jewels played a transformative headlining set (I'm now a superfan, at least), and Sunday's schedule also included two iconic bands that emerged on opposite ends of the country during the first wave of American punk: the Avengers and Blondie.

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Riot Fest 2018 Sunday [PHOTOS]

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 02:47 PM

Run the Jewels closed out Riot Fest 2018.  We have the live photos and a review by Jamie Ludwig of Sunday sets from Blondie and The Avengers.  Photos by Danny O'Donnell

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Riot Fest 2018 Saturday [PHOTOS]

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 02:00 PM

Day two of Riot Fest saw a range of acts from hometown, garage pop wonders Twin Peaks to iconic Elvis Costello.  Check out the highlights of the Saturday performances from photographer Danny O'Donnell. 

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Riot Fest 2018 Friday [PHOTOS]

Posted By on 09.17.18 at 01:42 PM

The first day of Riot Fest 2018 included calls for justice from Pussy Riot.  Here's a look back in photos by Danny O'Donnell. Saturday here.  Sunday here.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Twin Peaks take a victory lap at Riot Fest

Posted By on 09.16.18 at 12:45 PM

Twin Peaks singer-guitarist Cadien Lake James - DANNY O'DONNELL
  • Danny O'Donnell
  • Twin Peaks singer-guitarist Cadien Lake James

Chicago garage-pop wonders Twin Peaks formed in 2010 and debuted at Riot Fest in 2013, the first year it took place entirely in Humboldt Park.  The fest was beginning its rapid expansion, and organizers booked plenty of well-established locals—as well as a few, including Twin Peaks, who were beginning their own rapid rise. At the time, the band's original members were all 19.

This year only 88 artists played Riot Fest, and as that total has dwindled over the past couple years, younger acts have fallen off disproportionately. David Anthony has argued in the Reader that the festival should make a bigger priority of engaging with where punk is going, and Twin Peaks helped make his case: their Saturday afternoon set was one of the strongest I witnessed all weekend, showcasing the new vitality they're injecting into old rock ideas.

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Pussy Riot use their Riot Fest set to demand justice for a fallen comrade—and for all the oppressed

Posted By on 09.15.18 at 12:06 PM

Nadya Tolokonnikova and Pussy Riot - DANNY O'DONNELL
  • Danny O'Donnell
  • Nadya Tolokonnikova and Pussy Riot

Nadya "Tolokno" Tolokonnikova and the rest of the 14-member Pussy Riot posse marched onstage Friday at Riot Fest wearing frilly white blouses, athletic pants, and DayGlo green balaclavas, holding up a huge sign demanding justice for a fallen comrade: "We will punish those who poisoned Peter Verzilov." Aside from the group's DJ, only Tolokonnikova wasn't wearing the signature Pussy Riot mask—hers sat on top of her head. As such you could call Tolokonnikova the face of the group, but its members clearly included different races, genders, body types, and levels of ability (one woman had come out in a wheelchair).

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Chicago rapper Noname opens all the doors on the new Room 25

Posted By on 09.14.18 at 02:26 PM

Noname at Pitchfork this summer - ASHLEE REZIN/SUN-TIMES
  • Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
  • Noname at Pitchfork this summer

Noname's fans consider her this generation's "woke" female rapper, but it's a notion that Noname herself rejects. In a recent interview with The Fader, the Chicago rapper otherwise known as Fatimah Warner insists that her music shouldn't be pigeonholed as "real hip-hop" (shorthand for old-school rap, usually invoked by the same people who think the four elements represent the only true hip-hop culture). "A lot of my fans . . . I think they like me because they think I'm the anti-Cardi B," she says. "I'm not. I'm just Fatimah." And with her debut album, the brand-new Room 25 (2016's Telefone was technically a mixtape), Noname achieves a healthy balance between the serious outlook of the conscious poet-rapper her fans have come to know and the sillier, funnier facets of her personality.

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Performing Arts
BigMouth Chicago Shakespeare Theater
September 18
Music
September 19

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