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The Dodos at Schubas Tavern

WLUW Presents The Dodos at Lincoln Hall

On Sunday, November 11th, I took a rest from writing course papers to go see The Dodos at Lincoln Hall hosted by WLUW. I arrived just in time for Pool Holograph’s Wyatt Grant subbing in for Palehound as the opening act. While I was disappointed that I would not see Palehound perform, Grant’s impromptu solo set brought a dreamy lo-fi start to the night. Pool Holograph’s synth-centered songs surprisingly worked without the support of a band. photo courtesy of Consequence of Sound

The Dodos are a duo consisting of lead singer and guitarist Meric Long and drummer Logan Kroeber. This October, the pair broke their three-year-long silence with their seventh album Certainty Waves, although Long has released his own music during the break. Before they went on, I chatted with some local fans who were eager to see The Dodos since their last tour.  Overall, the setlist had a mix of previous albums with an arching weight on Certainty Waves. The new record differs from Carrier or Visiter because the melodies are more electronic-based compared to their previous emphasis on electric guitar. The shift in sound meant that I could pick out which songs were on the new album versus older hits.

Nonetheless, their discography fits together seamlessly as a cohesive set. The thing about bands like The Dodos is that their experience is noticeable, and they are skilled in putting on an excellent show. It is quite remarkable that Long and Kroeber can produce their powerful ballads in a band of two. The drums and the guitar satisfyingly contended against each other in “Competition,” named fittingly. The crowd was engaged and started to dance a bit to newer tracks like “If.” Long’s lyrical talent showed through in songs like “Center Of” and “Winter.” In the latter, I was struck by the unique lyrics: “I want a lover and a sister, but we know that’s not right.” I am still thinking that one over.

The Dodos have quite a range of genres under their belt, as I witnessed at the conclusion of the show. I thought that their new song “Ono Fashion” was an interesting fusion of rock and folk, with its soft vocals and contrasting metal guitar loop. The encore song, “Joe’s Waltz,” from their 2008 record, was performed with an air of country twang that stuck with me as they left the stage.

Overall, The Dodos returned to the spotlight with both new and familiar tracks that livened up my Sunday night. A band with seven albums that can find variety in their space in the industry is inspiring. Check out Certainty Waves if you want to jam to some seasoned players in the indie-experimental scene.

 

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Cupcakke at Thalia Hall

Red Bull Sound Select Presents: Cupcakke @ Thalia Hall

On any Saturday night at Thalia Hall, you expect a show to be going on, in addition, you expect a great show to be going on, and that’s what was delivered. The artist known as “Chicago’s most explicit rapper”, Cupcakke, headlined the vintage venue with support from DJ Funk and DJ King Marie. The 1,300-capacity venue filled up quickly, as the support DJs got the sold-out crowd up and dancing with excitement as we all waited for Cupcakke to take the stage. For those who don’t know, Cupcakke (Elizabeth Eden Harris), got her start in a church choir when she was a child. How she came to be the most explicit rapper Chicago has seen? I’m sure there’s a story there.

Having covered her show at Mamby earlier this year, there was a big difference from that performance to this one. For one, being at an inside venue with controlled sound made a huge difference. In addition, everyone at the show was here for Cupcakke, as opposed to festival goers who were just there to see someone on the bill. And the crowd was insanely fun to be a part of. Singing along to about every song performed, dancing, jumping around, and having a ton of fun would be an understatement of their interactions. Any chance to be a part of the crowd at a Cupcakke show is a must, even if you don’t really know much of her music.

Coming out on stage with one of her most popular tracks, “Vagina”, Cupcakke started the set off with an energetic vibe that would last for the entirety of the set. She just released her second record of 2018 the night before her Thalia Hall performance titled “Eden”, and I sure was surprised to see the crowd light up and singalong to objectively the best track on the album “Prenup”. Given the Latin flavor of the track, I thought it was fitting to have her close out her set with that track at the Pilsen venue. In fact, of the new songs she performed, it was really surprising of how many fans knew all the words to the new songs she performed. This left me to believe that Chicago has the best fans for Chicago artists.

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RBMF 2018: Drone Activity

The Red Bull Music Festival Chicago edition continued to go above and beyond in terms of atmosphere and talent curation on Friday, November 10. The festival’s third event, Drone Activity, took place at Saffron Rails, located in Goose Island. The forty thousand square foot warehouse space housed three stages, a spectacular production shrouded in a red haze, and a whole lot of noise. The dark and industrial space set the mood for what was about to be an experimental night for artists and purveyors alike. Festival goers and those who frequent the experimental rock-electronic scene skulked around in black, earplug containers dangling from their keychains like janitors keys, in a migratory pattern from stage to stage

Although the night was filled with fifteen acts in totality, averaging five performances per stage, these progressive performances made all the difference to us at WLUW. 

Rebecca Valeriano Flores 

You may have heard her on our airwaves before, not in the form of a song, but in the curative forces as a DJ at WLUW in the summer! WLUW is lucky to have Rebecca, member of the Chicago post-punk band Negative Scanner, as a part of our station. Rebecca kicked things off for the Drone Activity event “early” in the night (her performance started at 8:15pm), with a performance she has never done before, as she was alone on stage. No band. No instruments. Just her voice. Having won awards for poetry prior to her performance, it was clear as to why. She delivered a powerful performance ranging between soft-spoken, peaceful, and calming lines of poetry, that transitioned into a screaming cry as the lines became more intense. With this passionate performance, I would definitely go see her do a similar performance the next time it happens, and you should too.

–Paul Quinn

Carol Genetti 

Admittedly, I entered the large industrial warehouse known as Saffron Rails just after Carol Genetti started her performance on the Southeast stage. Genetti is an experimental improvisionatist, and an ideal candidate to showcase a piece of Chicago’s drone noise. Smoke filled the venue to the point where recognizing faces of friends became a difficult task, but I found my way to the stage where the source of fragmented, avant-garde noises rung throughout the space. Like a siren sound, calling me to the stage, Genetti’s voice mimicked the employment of a wine glass instrumentally in the context of a pagan ritual. What I heard left me standing in between two places, where I felt a power in the entropy of experimentation and the intrigue with the discipline that Genetti takes with language, sound production, and music.

–Kaylie Plauche

Hogg 

A large crowd gathered at the North stage for Hogg. I approached the barricade cautiously as the monitors growled and cracked like a belly of the beast. The Chicago duo that makeup Hogg proudly stood on stage with a stance that emitted a sense of anarchy the crowd was hungry for. Erupting into chanting backlit with light humming, and drumming intense enough to conjure a spirit from the grave, the audience and I were mesmerized with the consistent fervor of performance. Hogg played much of their set from their most recent album, “SELF-EXTINGUISHING EMISSION”, released back in May of this year. Watching them perform tracks from the album felt like participating in a celebration of the apocalypse, sinister and beautiful all the same. I would die just to let them resurrect me at a Chicago DIY show with those animated growls, howls, and drums. 

–Kaylie Plauche

Bruce Lamont

For Bruce’s set, the fog-cooled off and the lights on the stage made it easier to see what he was doing, and for the audience’s sake, that was for the better. With having a few different instruments on stage, and a pedal board, I was really looking forward to how this set was going to go, especially having not listened to him prior to the performance. Picking up the tenor saxophone on stage, I was wondering if Bruce would be similar to Colin Stetson, but I was actually pleased he had his style with a saxophone. Performing ambient loops with a saxophone, Bruce Lamont then proceeded to add ambient vocals, and before we knew it, it was a very full, and sensual listening experience. Later in the set, Bruce appealed to the indie-heads in the audience with bringing out an acoustic guitar. Playing a simple minor chord progression with a loop pedal, Bruce Lamont built every song from a raw, singular instrument, to a full and beautiful experience that had members of the audience sitting and in peace.

–Paul Quinn 

Katherine Young/Erica Dicker 

First and foremost, Katherine Young and Erica Dicker are phenomenal classical instrumentalists. Using these instruments in such a way, regardless of the genre they produce, carry a socio-economic power and taste that elicits attention from the crowd. Even more impressive, are the ways that these two women render these instruments flexible. Precise plucking and straining of cello and violin strings come out lulling and tactile. As I stood by the speakers next to the stage, I could feel the bass shaking the cement beneath my feet and more than anything I felt grateful to be able to see two accomplished musical academics teaching me something new outside the institutional realm. 

–Kaylie Plauche

Fire-Toolz  

Fire-Toolz undoubtedly had the most engaged and largest crowd of the earlier sets in the night. Angel Marcloid is a Chicago based composer, producer, and vocalist with the capacity to transcend the complexities of genre. She has this amazing ability to combine glitchy audio, black metal, darkwave, vaporwave and jazz into something not just digestible but tasteful for the most exclusive of listeners. If you liked Crystal Castles and want to avoid supporting Ethan Kath, then listening to Fire-Toolz (and Alice Glass as a solo artist, who speaking of which would be a great collaboration with Fire Toolz production and Glass’ vocals) is the move. Marcloid also brought out a lighter side of the very dark, experimental sounds that overwhelmingly took over the night. An amalgamation of Windows XP inspired projections, some jazzy Arabic saxophone elements, and music box tinkering made for some lighter melodies and tones complimented the set nicely. I came to Drone Activity not knowing what to expect, but I can definitely anticipate seeing Fire-Toolz again soon (and I suggest you do too & check out her really amazing Tumblr page).

–Kaylie Plauche

Matchess

Matchess was one of the sets I was most looking forward to at this event. Having been a fan of their music for the past year, and having been an idiot and not getting a ticket to prior shows, me experiencing this performance was long overdue. Coming out to a small and minimalistic set-up on stage, I was ready for this performance. A soft, lulling performance was expected and was delivered. Though the venue was big and open, the sound was captured and made the crowd sway as if it were an intimate show. People were sitting down, eyes closed, and at peace with their inner-self. The only take away from this performance was with how the venue was designed, the sound from the explosive Fire-Toolz set encroaches on the crowd at Matchess.

–Paul Quinn

ONO

ONO is one of Chicago’s best bands, and from what I heard in the crowd post-performance, they delivered one of their best performances to date. Starting out with an Afrocentric poetry introduction, in addition to a building wall of sound, the tension in the room could be felt a mile away. During the set, I felt as if I was having an out-of-body experience. With the yellow strobe lights flashing, the deep routed bass, and the dramatic and powerful vocals, it was hard for me to not feel like I was floating above the crowd. With the different moods in the performance being shared on stage, the lead singer, Travis, constantly changed their outfit and took on and off a white wig that had lights in it. Now that the band is back after 30 years of disappearance, I highly recommend you check them out when you get a chance before it is too late. 

–Paul Quinn

TALsounds 

I remember when I first discovered TALsounds, meandering the aisles of Reckless Records. One of Natalie Chami’s tracks played from her solo album “Lovesick” out to the shoppers, and I had to know who and what was playing. I was hooked on the Ontario born, Chicago based gal ever since. The Lebanese artist previously was apart of Good Willsmith and toured with Chicago act Circuit Des Yeux, but gained notoriety on her own. Utilizing a plethora of synthesizers, pedals, and oscillators to make ambient noise with delayed, dreamy vocals TALsounds puts its listeners in a trance. Maybe it’s the ethereal and ephemeral qualities of her production that are much akin to shoegaze, or maybe it’s the meter and tonal instinct she exhibits; TALsounds stands on her own two feet as a conductor of emotional essence and consciousness Chami’s delicate nature in choosing sounds and adjusting instruments had a reverence that rendered the audience at attention. Every single pair of eyes were glued to her, the audience collectively posed in a hypnotic gaze. Chami’s performance was a nice, calming nightcap to my evening, and any evening at that.

–Kaylie Plauche

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WLUW Chats with Jill Scott of Ian Sweet

I caught up with singer and guitarist Jil Scott of IAN SWEET outside of Chicago’s Subterranean just before she took stage on Tuesday night. Her energy and personability charmed me instantly as she introduced a face-painted pumpkin with orange, fur hair along with herself. This electric and genuine greeting set the tone for not only the interview but also the set. On a rare yet blessed warm, drizzling night, we took the streets of bustling Wicker Park to chat about the new album Crush Crusher.

 

Tell me about the process of making Crush Crusher… emotions, challenges, anything memorable about the process. Tell me all about it.

So I was living in New York, and I ended up coming back home to LA where I grew up. I decided to just have a clean slate, make the project, kind of just solo again, and I started writing the record out in LA. I was going through a lot of transitions, had a lot of odd jobs, like I was a dog walker and would be walking 6, 7 dogs at once. But I drew from a lot of strange experiences that I was having with odd jobs and weird, new relationships that I was forming and finally having space in my life. Because when I was living on the east coast, I was struggling with the idea of creating anything without people hearing or not having the space to create or working 7 days a week. It was just an overwhelming experience. So when I finally decided to move to LA, I was coming back to where I grew up. I was pulling from a lot of childhood experiences and how they had developed with me as an adult and experiencing similar things but as an adult. So the process was kind of intuitive, just gut reaction.

 

So did it just flow for you?

Yeah, it flowed for me. I moved into a house in Highland Park, set up shop and was ready to record and just demo stuff out. Stuff just ended up being there more for me. I was able to be more present and not get caught up in all the other things that would be filling my mind if I was living on the east coast.

 

Do you think it was the pace of the west coast that helped?

Yeah. Also, too, it wasn’t pressurized. I was taking everything at my own, new pace and figuring out what felt good. I think that the west coast moves slower, which I grew up being used to, but it’s cool to have both. I can move fast, and I can be in a million different places and a million different people at once, or I can also sit and be content and silent and sit with my thoughts and my feelings. LA allows me to do that moreso. It was a really good place to write the record and start fresh. LA is the right zone for me to feel a bit more free for songwriting.

 

So when I listen to the album Crush Crusher it seems very honest. Was this more of a personal project for you, or were you trying to portray something to listeners?

100% the most personal project I’ve ever done. I think with my previous record, I was dealing with and struggling with a lot of mental health issues. But I was sugar coating it and making a lot of metaphors for the situations because I was afraid of truly giving it all away to a listener. For the first record, that consumed me. I wanted people to not feel overwhelmed by my emotions. But as I started to grow and grow up and feel more confident in my emotions and the way I express things, I wrote this next record that doesn’t hide anything. I’m not afraid of what the listener is going to think, and I think that has resonated in a whole, new way with people. Like even the people who like the previous record are adapting. Writing music is for me. I need this as a release.

 

So is music cathartic for you? Or is it almost like a medicine?

Oh, 100%. It’s the biggest form of medicine, and most musicians would say that. If you don’t have it, you lose your mind. So yeah, this record is definitely more honest and not hiding anything. As a musician, I think the best thing you can do for your audience is grow and be as honest as possible.

 

What is your favorite song that you wrote on the album, and why?

I think my favorite song is “Your Arms Are Water,” which is the last song on the record. It’s about a relationship I was in at the time when I was writing the record, and my partner was very self-deprecating and unable to realize the good in themselves. The lyrics are, “You are the beautiful half of everything, but your arms are water, and you’re always swimming.” Mostly like, you’re so special and so beautiful, but you’re constantly drowning.

 

I think a lot of people can resonate with that.

You want to be a caretaker, and I think women just in general have tendencies to want to take care of people in their lives and be strong, whether it be for friends or in a relationship. I was realizing that in a relationship and not knowing how to express it other than, you are so special, so beautiful, but you’re killing yourself. I have to sit by and watch it.

 

Yeah, that’s hard because you can’t quite control it. It’s not really up to you at the end of the day. So a question about Chicago, have you played in Chicago before, and if so, what’s your favorite venue?

We played at Schubas, and I had food poisoning that night, and I knew. I knew I was going to throw up, so I told the band before... This is happening. I’m going to barf mid-set. We also had Audiotree there, filming the live set. If you look at it on YouTube, I’m so pale. I’m sweating, and three songs in, I just turn around, put the guitar down. There’s a door to the right, and I just run out and barf for like a couple minutes. I come back in and finish the set.

 

You probably killed it though.

But it was one of the best sets we had. I knew Audiotree was there, and I was like, we have to do this for Audiotree. This is my internet debut! That was honestly the most fun show I’ve played, even though I was so sick.

 

Fun questions… What’s your sign?

I’m a taurus!

 

I’m a taurus!

Dude, being a taurus is a gift.

 

I always tried to tell myself I wasn’t stubborn, but a year ago, I finally accepted it.

I’m so stubborn, and it’s OKAY. I really love being a taurus.

 

What are you being for Halloween?

I have an elf costume, but we are driving to Toronto tomorrow, so I’m going to wear it in the car. It’s a pretty crazy and decked out elf costume.

 

Any last remarks about the album?

I’m just stoked it’s out there in the world!

 

Me too! I’m so excited to see you play.

Me too, and your hair looks so good. Put that in there.

 

I put that in there. Jil was soon whisked away into the venue to charm and rock the Chicagoans of the Subterranean. The forty minute set filled the room with a whole bundle of feels. You can find IAN SWEET’s new album Crush Crusher on any major music streaming platform.

 

 

 

----------------------->Crush Crusher is out now on all platforms!

 

 

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Red Bull Music Festival Chicago: Opening Night at Wintrust Arena

Last year, WLUW had the opportunity to attend & review one of the most exclusive and exciting series to happen in 2017–Red Bull Sound Selects 30 Days in Chicago series. This year, Red Bull is switching it up and taking a new approach to their annual Chicago event series with the Red Bull Music Festival. The month of November will be sprinkled with concerts dates, live radio performances, and programming centered around niche communities of music in Chicago.

We will miss the abundance of performances that last year's showcase provided for Chicagoans, but there has been no shortage of entertainment so far. On Saturday, November 3rd, Red Bull kicked off the month-long festival at Wintrust Arena with a milieu of hip-hop hype.

The opening night featured G.O.O.D Music signed artists such as 070 Shake, Valee, Desiigner, Teyana Taylor, Pusha T, and Nas. SheckWes was unable to perform as scheduled.

As festival-goers arrived, cloth wristbands commemorating the date were fastened onto their wrists before entering the floor of the arena. The stage set up, designed by Nate Boyce, brought the experience out of this world. Resembling something halfway from a fake lunar landing set and halfway from a futuristic-sacrificial altar to the gods of G.O.O.D Music, 3D projections stood out above the all-white stage production.

 

The arena filled up as a local DJ from WGCI hyped the crowd up with popular radio hits and deep cuts from Kanye West. Around 9 PM, curtains around the upper levels were drawn shut & the lights began to dim. Jalen Kobayashi took the stage and laid right into his original poem “The Zoo,” showcasing the kind of talent that back up his assertion that “Red Bull isn’t the only thing that gives my city wings.” Shortly after, 707 Shake came out ablaze in red leather pants with an intimate performance to “Violent Crimes” off of Kanye West’s latest album Ye, followed by  “Ghost Town.” The extravaganza continued almost immediately. As 070 Shake exited the stage, Chicago artist Valee took the stage as the beat to “Womp Womp” played out. The hometown artist performed “Shell,” “Miami,” and “Two 16’s (Now We Can Talk Sum Shit)” with the help of Chasethemoney.

Up next, Desiigner crouched side stage before erupting into an energetic rendition of “Panda,” a track responsible for his addition to the G.O.O.D Music label. With an explosion, he worked the stage from center to right, getting close and personal with the crowd. During “Timmy Turner” he descended down the stage stairs to the barricade and had security hold him over the barricade. After performing "Outlet", he demanded the crowd open up the pit,and pushed two guards over the barricade before jumping in himself to rally with fans. 

 

Teyana Taylor turned things up a notch with a more elaborate performance. Two instrumentalists wearing RSVP sweatshirts and several dancers with matching outfits accompanied Taylor as she kicked off her set with the intro to the acclaimed Kanye West song “Dark Fantasy”. Taylor modeled much of the performance off her K.T.S.E (Keep That Same Energy) Tour, performing songs such as “Gonna Love Me” and other popular tracks off the album released by G.O.O.D Music and Def Jam Records.

 

The penultimate act, Pusha T, had the crowd enthralled. Pusha T took the stage draped in purple velvet pants like rap royalty. King push performed songs “If You Know You Know,” “The Games We Play,” “Santeria” and more from his somewhat controversial and most recent album Daytona in numerical order. He ended the set on a Chicago related note, bumping the infamous Chief Keef’s “Don't Like.1.”

 

 

For the main event, Nas brought everything the night of hip-hop back to its’ roots. Behind the legend, a DJ booth with “Nasir” was lit up and visuals ranging from cop car chases and iconic scenes from the movie Scarface danced across the backdrop. Nas performed his hits “If I Ruled the World,” “Hate Me Now,” “Adam and Eve” from his latest album Nasir, and ended on "Not For Radio."

If you missed out on this amazing one of a kind night, have no fear–Red Bull has more spectacular events happening this month.

Find out more about ticketing & events happening HERE!

 

 

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