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Vince Staples @ The Riviera Theatre [CHI] - 3/12/2019

Vince Staples @ The Riviera Theatre [CHI] - 3/12/2019

At the Chicago stop on his Smile! You’re On Camera tour, Vince Staples reinforced what we already knew: Get the fuck off his dick, he’s going to do what he wants.

The Long Beach-born rapper, now known as much for his no b.s. interview responses and acerbic Twitter barbs as he is for his music, performed in front of a stage-width screen with cameras pointed at the audience, a play on both the constantly evolving dynamics of how audiences receive live shows (both Staples’ and more generally), as well as America’s all-seeing surveillance state.


Quinn XCII @ Fillmore Silver Spring - 3/1/2019

Quinn XCII @ Fillmore Silver Spring - 3/1/2019

Quinn XCII (pronounced ‘Quinn 92’); though still a relatively younger artist, has managed to grow an incredibly diverse and large fan base. However; I’m not surprised for the fact he effortlessly mixes music of all genres including hip-hop, pop, reggae, rock, electronic, and soul. I remember the first song I ever heard from Quinn; “Another Day In Paradise” which immediately had me hooked and listening to his whole discography. Which at the time only consisted of his “Change of Scenery” EP and a few singles; but what I heard had me anxiously waiting for more Quinn!


Liz Cooper and the Stampede @ Songbyrd - 2/22/2019

Liz Cooper and the Stampede @ Songbyrd - 2/22/2019

The Stampede’s rhythm section has an unobtrusive groove that allows Cooper to shine—whether it’s her quieter, finger-picked guitar work, overdriven vocal style, or the fuzzy and psychedelic fringes of her sound that have roots back to The Doors and Jefferson Airplane.


The Wood Brothers @ 9:30 Club - 1/17/2019

The Wood Brothers @ 9:30 Club - 1/17/2019

The Wood Brothers are native to the foothills of the Rockies, and their sound was perfectly nestled among the mountains at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival last summer. But even at sea level, their show at 9:30 Club on a snowy Thursday night lifted an attentive audience’s spirits to 8,000 feet.


Colter Wall @ 9:30 Club - 11/28/18

Colter Wall @ 9:30 Club - 11/28/18

Hearing Colter Wall’s voice--described as “Johnny Cash’s [voice] in the morning” — coming out of his wirey, 23-year old frame is surprising and exhilarating the first time you hear it. The road-weary tone and rustic storytelling on his most recent album Songs of the Plains are also remarkable given the current state of popular country music. Colter Wall’s sound is a throwback that has launched him into a constellation of contemporary country artists (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, and Chris Stapleton) linked by the producer of Wall’s first two full-length records, Dave Cobb. Cobb has said that his work is driven by unique voices that can carry a story. At Colter’s 9:30 Club his voice was clearly the main attraction.


The Internet @ Fillmore Silver Spring - 12/4/2018

The Internet @ Fillmore Silver Spring - 12/4/2018

The Internet (the band, not the technology) has been building hype since its creation as an offshoot of influential rap group Odd Future in 2011. You don’t need to look any further than the fact that they’re playing two nights at The Fillmore in Silver Spring to understand that the hype is still real.


How To Dress Well @ Sleeping Village [Chicago] - 11/20/18

How To Dress Well @ Sleeping Village [Chicago] - 11/20/18

The first 30 minutes of Tom Krell’s set at Sleeping Village felt like being totally enveloped by The Anteroom. Krell, who performs as How to Dress Well, released the expansive Anteroom in October, and it was a significant departure from his previous two outings. Both Care — produced in part by in-demand producer Jack Antonoff — and 2014’s What is This Heart?, veered perhaps too far into pop territory, the former failing to reach the levels of Pitchfork Best New Music acclaim as Total Loss (2012) and Love Remains (2010). But all of Krell’s catalog helped inform The Anteroom, a return to the spare, industrial stylings of his experimental electronic early work.


Peter Bjorn & John @ Rock & Roll Hotel - 12/2/2018

Peter Bjorn & John @ Rock & Roll Hotel - 12/2/2018

Peter, Bjorn and John have always been able to display a unique spectrum of sensations that can elevate you from mellow to euphoric in a few chords, and that skill was on full display last Saturday during their show at Rock and Roll Hotel.


Young Fathers @ Bottom Lounge [Chicago] - 11/19/2018

Young Fathers @ Bottom Lounge [Chicago] - 11/19/2018

A cold Monday and a late start time didn’t stop a crowd of 500 strong from spending a crisp hour or so with the Scottish trio, who combine hip-hop and rap, tribal percussion, anthemic vocals, and warm synths for an intriguing, utterly danceable mix.