concert review

Concert Review: Maps and Atlases, May 23, Rock And Roll Hotel

Posted on by halley in Concerts | Leave a comment

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So many magical moments at the Maps and Atlases concert at Rock and Roll Hotel on May 23. Seriously,
though, several mythical never-before-seen phenomena transpired, including:

1) The perfect set-list. The band covered songs old and new, soft and loud, slow and fast. Long-
time and newly won fans rocked out together to Fever, Old and Grey, and Winter among
others from the band’s new album “Beware and Be Grateful.” Old-timers rocked out and new
fans pretended to know the words to the band’s older classics, including The Charm and Solid
Ground from “Perch Patchwork.”

2) Lambs laying down with lions. OK, so maybe not literally, but it was one of the most
heterogeneous crowds I’ve seen at the Rock and Roll Hotel hipster mecca in a while. Preps
mingled with hipsters mingled with grunge mingled with preteens. NBD. My favorite moment
was when some beautiful blonde prep complimented the hipster next to her on his overalls (he
was wearing suspenders).

3) The good guy getting the girl (and boy). Every one of the four members of Maps and Atlases
seemed to be just the nicest, laid-back, most soft-spoken types you could imagine. But the way
the crowd reacted to them was like they were Bieber-meets-Rihanna-wrapped-up-in-Ke$ha.
Total rockstars. Their reactions were so cute too – lots of humble nods, little smiles, and the
occasional fist pound with an eager fan.

4) Religious experiences. So, I don’t pretend to know much (or anything) about the actual skill
sets involved in playing any instrument, but the way the fans around me were talking about
the drummer were in almost Biblical terms. I heard him described as ‘the second coming’ of
John Bonham (the drummer from Led Zeppelin); fans loved the fact he was rocking out without
shoes; and he was also described as the ‘shepherd’ of the band by some guy in the crowd who I
took to be a Maps and Atlases expert given his hair and glasses were carbon copies of the lead

5) Chivalry not being dead. Going to concerts alone is one of the few things I like to do solo (you
wouldn’t catch me dead alone in a restaurant/bar/café) – for some reason I have no shame just
hanging out by myself in the back of the venue. But at this particular show I was lucky enough
to be spotted by a super nice guy who’d seen Maps and Atlases several times before, and who
would not let me hang out in the back. Instead, he fought his way to the front with me in tow –
and I have to admit it made the entire experience a whole lot better (so thanks to you, wherever
you may be!)

Is it worth seeing Maps and Atlases? Absolutely. While I can’t guarantee you’ll experience all five of
the afore-mentioned marvels, you have a pretty good chance of enjoying at least one, right?

Concert Review: Santigold, May 16, Kool Haus

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

Santigold Panic Manual Concert Review

It’s been awhile since Santigold first emerged to the forefront with her hit singles Say Aha and LES Artistes. Since then she has undergone a name change and provided guest vocals on a host of albums (my favorite being her spot on the NASA record). So it came to my surprise that her new record, Master of My Make Believe was her first album since her debut record. One of my most listened to albums this year, Master of My Make Believe is one of those records that’s impossible to classify as it seems to span across all genres from hip hip to rock. The only classification I would put on it is that it’s damn good.

With new album in tow, the Brooklyn artist played a fantastic show at the Kool Haus. It’s a shame that the show seemed severely under attended as part of the venue was curtained off. Having seen a good part of her show at SXSW, I knew what to expect. Armed with two fantastic dancers and a backing band dressed up like David Bowie, if David Bowie was a mega Tron fan, Santigold gave us a show heavy on aesthetics and visual delights. The show included multiple costume changes, choreographed
dancing and also a freaking horse.

Of course, all the visuals in the world wouldn’t have helped if the music wasn’t good. Santigold’s voice is amazing, it’s got this airiness to it that is hard to describe. The fact that she can sound pitch perfect while dancing is a testament to her talent. The set list consisted of a mix of new and old, both of which the all ages crowd easily enjoyed. People were dancing from beginning to end, even forming dance circles near the side of the stage. It appears new tracks like Disparate Youth and Go! have found their place on people’s playlists alongside the older tracks. My only disappointment was the exclusion of the track I’m a Lady from the set.

There are few artists out there more original than Santigold. Her genre bending music has only gotten better as she continues to find her sound. I would totally recommend checking her out.

Concert Review: Balkan Beat Box, March 10, Chicago Metro Theater

Posted on by Vik in Concerts | Leave a comment

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Chicago – Chicago’s Metro Theater was literally shaking Saturday night with the sounds of tubas, saxophones, drums, accordions, cowbells, bongos, trumpets and hundreds of stomping feet as three gypsy punk inspired bands stormed the stage one after the other. The Balkan extravaganza started off with no-nonsense Black Bear Combo, a local Chicago five piece brass/reed band that started jammin’ on their instruments before all of their members had even taken their places. The band rolled out one punk rock/jazz/Eastern European inspired piece after another as the crowd started feeling the rhythms of the music – there was a particularly wonderfully mustachioed man adjacent to me who was skanking like a pro while the dude next to him was just straight up moving his hips in ways that I can’t even fathom. Not only did this band make sweet, sweet music, but as my friend pointed out, they were also all the perfect physical embodiment of their instruments, from the lanky front-man playing the sax to the more rotund gentleman on the tuba.

Palenke SoulTribe, an electro-Afro-Colombian fusion band, came out next, all in white suits and ties – indication one that I was going to like them. Indication two was that the front-man wiggled like his life depended on it, still managing to radiate charisma the entire time and with a huge smile on his face which was mirrored on everyone in the crowd. They had a video backdrop behind them, which included live video of the band and the crowd as well as an entire sequence of cartoon monkeys (during which the band donned chimp masks – if there’s ever a more appropriate time to wear a monkey mask I don’t know what it is.) Black Bear Combo definitely got the crowd moving but Palenke SoulTribe brought it to a whole new “no shame 2012 – dance your feelings” level. I came for Balkan Beat Box, and usually I’m all about the opening bands being timely and not overstaying their welcome onstage, but I was 100% behind the members of the crowd who were chanting for an encore from these guys.

Finally, Balkan Beat Box took the stage, toting instruments that weren’t even recognizable as instruments (for a good half of the show my friend and I were convinced that one of them was a torch that was going to be lit for a fire dance). Speaking of charismatic front-men, I guarantee you that Tomer Yosef is not leaving any crowd-member’s memory anytime soon. The lead singer was all over the stage, grinning infectiously and stripping clothing Eugene Hutz style throughout. The band kept up an amazing amount of energy throughout the night and they kept the energy level of the crowd up well into one in the morning. Balkan Beat Box puts on the kind of live performance where you find yourself yelling at the complete stranger next to you “this is awesome!” while they nod enthusiastically next to you yelling “I know!” as you both dance your butts off.

My advice is that you go see any of these three bands if you have the chance, and if you have the good fortune to find them all in the same location at the same time, you’re in for an epic night.

Concert Review: Sia, April 28, Phoenix Concert Theatre

Posted on by Brian in Concerts | 2 Comments

Toronto – There is a pretty serious side to Sia Furler. Her first love died in a car accident. She speaks openly in interviews and on her popular Twitter account about all the therapy she’s been through. She’s become an icon in the LGBT community after she came out about dating girls and being bisexual. Her best known tune, “Breathe Me,” is a real heartbreaker, and her first two albums, Healing is Difficult (2000) and Colour the Small One (2004) are deeply introspective.

None of this is really evident in her live show, as Sia is easily the cutest, most adorable stage presence I’ve ever seen. The Australian singer popped up onstage at the Phoenix on April 28 with what she called a “light up penis” on her head and proceeded to bounce through an hour and a half set heavy with tunes from her more recent and upbeat albums Some People Have Real Problems from 2008 and We Are Born, set to be released next month.

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