Blake Mills at Mayne Stage 9/28/2014

Blake Mills is an interesting cat. He’s got a real laid back vibe, kind of a Laurel Canyon singer/songwriter-y thing. It lulls you into a false sense of calm, because out of nowhere he comes at you with these ferocious guitar riffs. He’s a bit hard to describe if you haven’t seen him live. He plays the songs that you know from the records, but … Continue reading Blake Mills at Mayne Stage 9/28/2014

Top Ten Shows Of 2012, pt 1

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Since we’re at that point now, and I’ve already run my top 25 albums and top 25 songs if the year so far, I figured we may as well finish out the trifecta and talk about some great concerts. Living in Chicago, there isn’t a shortage of amazing shows to see night in and night out. Obviously I don’t make it to all of them, and there have been some that I wish I hadn’t missed. For the most part, though, if I really want to get to a show, I do. It’s been a pretty great year so far, and looking at my calendar through September, the good times won’t be stopping any time soon.

So here we go. See if you can’t spot a couple of my favorite music venues.

10. Canasta 10th Anniversary Show, June 2 at Schubas

I feel like, more than anything, this was an education for me. I missed out on most of Canasta’s existence, but I made up for it by rocking front and center for this show.

9. Islands, March 1 at Lincoln Hall

Sometimes I just go to shows to enjoy them and not worry about writing a review. So I never wrote about this one. If I had, too much of it would have been filled with trash talk about the “fans” who had no idea what the new songs were even though the album had been out for a couple weeks already. I thought it was great.

8. First Aid Kit, April 6 at Lincoln Hall

One of my favorite surprises of 2012 has been First Aid Kit. I don’t understand how the Swedish have such a grasp on American folk music, but they do. Between these sisters and The Tallest Man On Earth, artists in the US need to step up their game to compete.

Continue reading “Top Ten Shows Of 2012, pt 1”

Fiona Apple-The Idler Wheel

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It’s hard to believe the wait is finally over. After seven years of laying low, not playing shows and not releasing any new material Fiona Apple has finally bestowed upon us the album we’ve all been waiting for. The fact that she was able to wait so long to release it and that people still remember/want to hear it is amazing. In this day and age it’s career suicide to take ONE year off, let alone the better part of a decade.

If there’s one thing Fiona has always been, it’s honest. If she didn’t have anything to write about she wasn’t going to waste her time and ours by singing some drivel she didn’t really believe in. Her albums have acted as her personal diary that she opens for everyone to read. She is probably the most intimately revealing artist working in the past couple decades (along with Lauryn Hill), and that kind of open vulnerability can be emotionally exhausting, so if she needs to take off huge chunks of time between albums (as she always has), I’m cool with it.

Continue reading “Fiona Apple-The Idler Wheel”

Fiona Apple-Every Single Night

It was just over a month ago now that Fiona Apple played two nights at Lincoln Hall. I remember standing there, awaiting her arrival on stage like she was the second coming. When she took to the stage, she surpassed all my expectations. The vocals were solid, the old song held up beautifully and the new stuff sounded great. However, I preferred the song “Anything … Continue reading Fiona Apple-Every Single Night