Tag Archives: Chicago

Lady Gaga 1/10 Rosemont Theater

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rachelsodyssey/

There was a lot a lot of drama that happened before the show.  Originally, the show was supposed to take place at the downtown Chicago Theatre.  It was a mad, panicked scramble to get tickets, but, somehow, I managed to get four through Ticketmaster the minute they went on sale.  Anyway, said tickets were actually pretty decent (main floor, part way back) and the dudes and I were pretty excited.  Then, calamity ensued, as the show was abruptly moved to the far off suburbs at the Rosemont Theatre.  Ugh.  Instead of transferring tickets to comparable seats, Ticketmaster gave pre-existing ticket holders a password to a pre-sale, a pre-sale with ONLY obstructed-view seats.  Cool.  So, everyone was super pissed and the papers and blogs wrote about it, and all of Chicago (and Detroit) pretty much thinks Lady Gaga is a huge douche (see: forum; wait, i mean see: forum drama). 

Okay, so a lot of people wrote on her website’s forum about this travesty, and pretty much she decided that she loves censorship, so she pulled the plug on the forum a day or two before she came to Chicago.  That’s cool. 

But anyway, me and the dudes grudgingly went to the concert and sat in our seats, which were four rows from the back row of the balcony.  Thanks, Ticketmaster and Lady Gaga!  Anyway, the opening acts were kind of annoying and it’s kind of sad this is what they came up with to replace Kid Cudi after it was decided that he’s too much of a liability.  The first act struck me as super NYC (maybe because they kept saying stuff like m’fing NYC or something along those lines), but Semi Precious Weapons is a glam-rock, scream-y, not-that-great band that also played with Lady Gaga in 2006 to a crowd of 12.  The second opening act, Jason Derülo, has the song that “heavily samples” Imogen Heap.  His act seemed a little conceited (side note: I read that he requested a lot of crazy shit, like smoke and lights, but such things were denied for him.).  I didn’t like how he plucked a girl from the audience and sang to her and said to her in front of the whole audience how she’ll always be his baby or something like that. 

Anyway…after enduring the poor choices for opening acts, Lady Gaga appeared, or I mean her thirty-foot image on a giant, sheer screen.  It was actually one of the better hype-y opening art things I’ve seen at a concert.  She eventually appeared behind the screen, and eventually the screen was lifted.  She performed most of her songs from her two albums and played for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Compared to the other tour nights, she supposedly cut the Sunday performance by 2 songs, but this is just according to 2 hipster dudes at the train stop.  As expected, there was a lot of choreographed dancing, and about 5 costume changes.  She also shot a gun at the audience.  Y’know cause she wanted to tell everyone how much she doesn’t care if you don’t like her.  She talked a lot to fill the gaps of her small catalog.  Mostly, she talked about how much she loves her “little monsters” and how much she hates money.  Her talking voice struck me as very slightly British sounding, but also very pleasant.  It wasn’t the best thing in the world, but I had  fun and enjoyed the fact that she didn’t lip sync her performance.

Side note:  the Rosemont Theatre doesn’t know how to organize transportation.  There were 10 cabs after the concert got out and no more appeared, because I guess they didn’t catch on after the first two days that hundreds of people would be wanting to go home.  After waiting outside for 15 minutes, we found one cab and asked him to drive us to the train, but he told us that we could just walk since 1.5 miles in the literally below zero weather isn’t that far, and that he only wanted to take people all the way to the city.  At least my roommate told the driver to go f himself.  I liked walking that far and then watching 4 northbound trains go by while waiting another 15-20 minutes for a southbound train.  Did this really long review actually have anything to do with the concert?  I guess I’ll add that she didn’t wear the Alexander McQueen 10’ armadillo shoes.  Setlist (someone should correct this if it’s wrong):

Lollapalooza 2009: Day 2

I think I survived Day 2.  Here’s what I saw:

Santigold: Easily the best performance of the day.  It was the last day of her tour, and everything was polished to a tee.  She had probably the best atitude/morale I’ve seen so far and seemed geniuinely excited/thankful to be playing Lolla.  Annd, her vocals sounded the complete opposite of someone that is on the last day of tour.  Pretty amazing, expecially considering the strange vocals she does.  Santigold had two dancers with her, each one standing on either side of her on the stage.  The dancers wore matching gold and black costumes and did choreographed robotic/show choir/military type moves during her set.  So, dance party ensued.

Her setlist isn’t up yet, but she played all of her bigger songs from Santogold, including “I’m a Lady,” “Anne,” “Unstoppable,” “Lights Out,” and “Creator.”  She also played a cover of the Cure’s “Killing an Arab.”

Animal Collective: I’m not very familiar with this indie weird-noise band, but I do enjoy the song that has the iPod-ish music video.  I wasn’t incredibly impressed and we couldn’t see anything, other than the art-school looking animations they played on the jumbotron.

The video isn’t very good, but it kind of gives you idea of what it was like.

Tool: The headliner for Saturday is another band I’m not wild about, but I stayed long enough to see them play “Stinkfist” and to admire their 80-foot tall pentagram and skull.  Tool is one of those bands that has really cultish fans that sing along to every song and wear Tool shirts to Tool concerts.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: They played at the same time as Tool and were the last-minute replacement for the Beastie Boys.  I wandered to the other end of the park after thirty minutes of Tool (so like 2 Tool songs) to see them play.  As much as I like this band, I was a little disappointed, even with the last-minuteness in mind.  Karen’s outfits weren’t half as wild as I was hoping and thought she was known for.  Her outfits were 1) a slightly native looking flag drapped over her shoulders 2) a boring floral dress that could have been worn by any girl there 3) her leather jacket that she seems to love.  Also, she had to stop two separate songs because she “forgot the lyrics.”  One of those songs was “maps.”  Seriously, that’s one of her major songs with the easiest lyrics.  Maybe she was nervous or drunk or who knows?

1. Runaway
2. Phenomena (Listed as “Phenom (Beastie Break)” on setlist )
3. Heads Will Roll
4. Pin
5. Dull Life
6. Gold Lion
7. Cheated Hearts
8. Skeletons
9. Hysteric
10. Soft Shock
11. Honeybear
12. Zero
13. Turn Into
14. Maps (acoustic)
15. Y Control
16. Date With the Night

Bands I wish I could have seen on Day 2, but couldn’t cause it’s a huge, hot, crowded fest: TV on the Radio, Atmosphere, Diplo.  Today, my eye is bothering me and the heat is worse than yesterday.  And, there aren’t really any bands I’m dying to see, so I probably won’t be there as long.

-ALLISON

Lollapalooza: Day One

I’ve heard a lot of people say things along the lines of “I would die before going to Lollapalooza.” or “The crowds and heat are atrocious!”   Well, even though the latter is definitely true, I still couldn’t not buy a three-day pass.  Here’s my rundown of day one:

Ben Folds: I’m not a huge fan or terribly familiar, but I do have a couple of his albums (Whatever and Ever and Amen and The Unauthorized Biorgraphy of Reinhold Messner).  I didn’t recognize all the songs he played, but hearing hits, such as “Kate” and “Army” was enjoyable.  Grade: B

1 Bitch Went Nutz
2 Effington
3 Landed
4 Bitches ain’t shit
5 Dr. Yang
6 Hiroshima
7 Rockin the Suburbs
8 Kate
9 Narcolepsy
10 You Don’t Know Me
11 Army

Crystal Castles: This band is some indie techno import that I was really excited to see.  Maybe it was the fact that we were standing kind of far back and it was raining and cold, but I wasn’t that impressed.  Overall, the performance seemed uninspired, or inspired by Karen O.  Grade: C-

Thievery Corruption: Ugh, I hate most global sounding stuff that isn’t actually global, and TC was no exception.  Supposedly, one of their songs was played in the movie, Garden State.

Peter, Bjorn and John: This is a band that opened for Depeche Modes and one that I’ve been meaning to check out.  I didn’t get to see much, and I think I’m still going to have to listen to an album or two to understand them.

Nothing to Worry About
Living Thing
It Beats Me Every Time
??
Amsterdam
It Don’t Move Me
Lay It Down
Just the Past
Young Folks
Objects of My Affection
Up Against the Wall

Of Montreal: I’ve seen these guys before.  It was enjoyable like the last time and they do wacky shit, so good show.  Wacky shit examples: girl on cross-like structure; 10-foot long orange hairy arms; bunches of balloons and confetti; weird masks; etc. Grade: B+

1. Nonpareil of Favor
2. Bunny Ain’t No Kind Of Rider
3. Id Engager
4. For Our Elegant Caste
5. Moonage Daydream (David Bowie cover)
6. The Party’s Crashing Us
7. Rapture Rapes the Muses
8. A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger
9. Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games
10. Beware Our Nubile Miscreants
11. Touched Something’s Hollow
12. An Eluardian Instance
13. Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse
14. She’s A Rejecter

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Depeche Mode: Ah, the main band I really wanted to see.  And, it was nothing short of amazing.  DM made use of the jumbotrons by incorporating some goth art (a red, blinking eyeball above a picture of a single crow) and some confusing art (a young black man’s face. then a fat person in a circle running like a hampster wheel.  then an old gandolf-looking man.  let me know if you get this.).  They played for about an hour and forty-five mintues and played a good mix of new and old stuff.  Unfortunately, they did not play my favorite DM song, But Not Tonight.  Oh, well. Another note is that DM could not have played in a more appropriate atmosphere than they did last night: completely overcast sky that threatened rain against the super modern skyscrapers.   Grade: A+

1. In Chains
2. Wrong
3. Hole to Feed
4. Walking In My Shoes
5. It’s No Good
6. A Question of Time
7. Precious Thing
8. Touch Me
9. Home
10. Come Back
11. Policy of Truth
12. In Your Room
13. I Feel You
14. Enjoy the Silence
15. Never Let Me Down Again
(Encore)
16. Stripped
17. Personal Jesus

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I would be okay if Lollapalooza was only one day because it’s 94 degrees out today and I’m already exhausted.  I’m lazy, but if you are really interested in looking at all the set-lists/photos, etc, the Lolla website is pretty handy.  hope i survive the next two days.

-ALLISON P.!

CONCERT: MORRISSEY w/ The Courteeners (Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL 4/4/09)

Time number 5 for Morrissey and me. Paris, Austin, Omaha, Kansas City and now, having just released his new album Years Of Refusal, Chicago. Mandy and I made the pilgrimage to the historic Aragon Ballroom in downtown Chicago (the place with the tall stage), stopping only for gas, bladder relief and a great meal at The Chicago Diner. After waiting in line for a bit and being frisked, we managed to jockey for a position in the fourth row. There we waited, as the temperature rose with the increasing body heat. Then…lights off! Show!

thecourteeners

The openers were a band from Manchester, England called The Courteeners. I’d heard a bit about them before, but was basically unfamiliar with them until today. They put on a good show….it’s a thankless task to open for pretty much anybody, but when you’re opening for someone with such a fantically devoted audience as That Guy Who Used To Be In The Smiths Who Isn’t Johnny Marr, Andy Rourke or Mike Joyce, I’m sure it can be especially punishing. Having said that, they went over pretty well with the crowd. The Courteeners’ sound isn’t a million miles away from, say, The Libertines (in fact, I’d say it’s more like three houses down), but they do what they do well, and their single “Not Nineteen Forever” was a definite highlight for me. It made me want to hear more from them, so mission accomplished. After these lads exited the stage, videos were projected onto a large sheet that covered up all but the very front of the stage. This was done between sets during the 2007 shows as well, and most of the videos were the same as then (New York Dolls performances, etc.). Since then, he seems to have developed (or exposed) an interest in 60’s Dutch rock band  The Shocking Blue (perhaps best known on these shores for their song “Venus” and “Love Buzz”, which was covered by Nirvana and released as their first single), as three performances of theirs were included here. As the final video ended, the sheet fell to the floor, exposing a backdrop with the gentleman on it, “Refusal” emblazoned across his chest:

sailor

And then Morrissey appeared.

morrissey-naked

(But not, unfortunately, like this.)

The man emerged from the wings dressed to the nines in a dapper tux, with his band uniformly wearing black shirts and slacks with white ties featuring their leader’s face. “Good evening, Chicago“, said Morrissey in a “Da Bears voice as “This Charming Man” sprang to life. It was great to finally hear rthis song live; he had never played it since going solo until this year (I remember when my brother and I went to see Morrissey in Paris in 2004; between songs someone requested “This Charming Man”, to which Steven parroted in what can only be described as a “retard” voice “This Chauming Mahn, This Chauming Mahn). It lacked some of Johnny Marr’s more Johnny Marr-ish parts, but it was still delightful to hear the song that made me love The Smiths in-person.  “Something Is Squeezing My Skull” (a highlight of the new album and its next single) came next and saw Morrissey whipping his mic cord around as he is wont to do; it was quickly followed by Vauxhall & I‘s “Billy Budd” and Refusal‘s “Black Cloud”, before making way for that one song, “How Soon Is Now?”.

As the opening tremelo of “How Soon..?” was sounded, the crowd went predictably wild. There’s a reason that this song has been included in most of Morrissey’s setlists since 2004…for most people, this is his signature song, and the Smiths song most likely to be known to a non-Smiths fan. However, I would fine if he dropped it. Obviously, it’s a great song but I’ve seen it live at least four times. But much like I wish Oasis would give “Wonderwall” a rest at shows, I wouldn’t mind “How Soon” being relegated to the mothballs for a bit. Having said that, it was probably the best live version I’ve seen to date.

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Two tracks from Moz’s “comeback” album You Are The Quarry, “Irish Blood, English Heart” & “How Could Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?” came next and cleared the way for a spirited rendition of The Smiths’ “Ask” (which featured the lyrical change “If it’s not love/Then it’s military might/Then it’s macho military might that will bring us together”). Refusal‘s first single “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” saw longtime Morrissey collaborator Boz Boorer show off his mean clarinet skills, and acted as a jangly prelude to the mid-tempo glam of “The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores” (strangely, four tracks from 2004’s Quarry were included the set, but none from 2006’s Ringleader Of The Tormentors). A languid bass intro signaled the beginning of “Death Of A Disco Dancer”, one of the highlights of The Smiths’ final album Strangeways Here We Come; its performance saw Morrissey stationary at the microphone, while the band worked up the song’s queasy groove. After finishing his vocal contribution Morrissey left the stage, allowing the musicians to jam out on the song’s outro in a way that Marr, Rourke & Joyce may have done had they ever performed it live. Definitely a concert highlight.

Morrissey reappeared, newly de-tuxed and dived into “The Loop”, a personal favorite and one of his most rockabilly numbers (upright bass and all). “Does anybody want to stare into an open grave?”, he asked as the band kicked into “I Keep Mine Hidden”, the final song to be written and recorded by The Smiths. I was really surprised when I saw this appear on setlists earlier this year, as I never thought it would get a live airing (like “Disco Dancer”, The Smiths didn’t survive long enough after recording it to consider playing it). In this instance I was quite happy to be wrong, as its jaunty arrangement translated well to the live arena.”One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell” followed, making way for another high point, a perfomance of “Seasick, Yet Still Docked” from 1992’s Your Arsenal. The stage was bathed in blue light as the song’s melancholy progression reverberated throughout the Aragon. Lovely ambient keys added pathos to this song, so often overlooked.

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The rocking continued post-haste thereafter, as “Best Friend On The Payroll” from 1995’s soon-to-be-reissued Southpaw Grammar thundered to life, acting as a bridge between the sorrowful “Seasick” and a wistful “Let Me Kiss You”, which concluded with the obilgatory take-off-shirt-and-throw-it-to-the-crowd bit. A trio of tracks from Years Of Refusal ended the main set (“When Last I Spoke To Carol” sounded great, in particular), and after the cursory stage exit and applause Moz & Co. came back on-stage and launched into “First Of The Gang To Die”, a performance that saw him dispense with most of the words in favor of various gutteral grunts and squawks. You are reminded when seeing him live how much of a weirdo Morrissey actually is. And with that the stage was vacated and the show was closed.

On the way back, I listened to The Ricky Gervais Guide To… and the new Depeche Mode album twice.

Overall, time no. 5 was quite good, but I am incredibly biased. I feel the setlist could use some work; when one has over 200 songs available, both with The Smiths and solo, should such greats as “Reel Around The Fountain”, “Suedehead” or “Glamorous Glue” be left on the sidelines while the likes of four songs from You Are The Quarry and “How Soon Is Now?” are allowed to run rampant? No, obviously, but that’s what comes with being a Morrissey fan. I really get the impression that he plays what he wants to play, and isn’t trying to cater to the audience (“How Soon?” excluded). I mean, he waited 21 years to play “This Charming Man”, one of his most beloved songs. The performance was a great, I just wish the set was a bit more varied. But that’s ok…as long as he’s playing live, I’ll still see him. It’s always a treat. Where will time no. 6 be? Will there be a time no. 6? Who knows these things? Lord knows I don’t. But until next time…keep watching the skies!

SETLIST

1.) THIS CHARMING MAN

2.) SOMETHING IS SQUEEZING MY SKULL

3.) BILLY BUDD

4.) BLACK CLOUD

5.) HOW SOON IS NOW?

6.) IRISH BLOOD, ENGLISH HEART

7.) HOW COULD ANYBODY POSSIBLY KNOW HOW I FEEL?

8.) ASK

9.) I’M THROWING MY ARMS AROUND PARIS

10.) THE WORLD IS FULL OF CRASHING BORES

11.) DEATH OF A DISCO DANCER

12.) THE LOOP

13.) I KEEP MINE HIDDEN

14.) ONE DAY GOODBYE WILL BE FAREWELL

15.) SEASICK, YET STILL DOCKED

16.) BEST FRIEND ON THE PAYROLL

17.) LET ME KISS YOU

18.) SORRY DOESN’T HELP

19.) WHEN LAST I SPOKE TO CAROL

20.) I’M OK BY MYSELF

ENCORE

21.) FIRST OF THE GANG TO DIE

VIDS:

STAGE ENTRY & THIS CHARMING MAN (SNIPPET)


BLACK CLOUD & HOW SOON IS NOW?


SEASICK, YET STILL DOCKED

WHEN LAST I SPOKE TO CAROL

DEATH OF A DISCO DANCER (CARNEGIE MUSIC HALL, 3/09)


I KEEP MINE HIDDEN (BBC CONCERT, 2009)

THIS CHARMING MAN (BBC CONCERT, 2009)

G.



The point of rating tragic news??

Maybe I’m missing the point completely, but The Chicago Tribune online lets people rate news stories on a 1-5 star scale.  There’s no explanation as to what people are rating.  So, I assume the ratings are based on pertinance of information, coherence of information,  amount of information, level of enjoyment/dissatisfaction and/or level of journalistic reporting.  Whatever the assumption, it comes across as really tacky when tragic news stories are rated on this ambiguous five-star scale. 

Man, 23, shot, killed on Southside

Woman’s body in street near Marina Towers

ninjagarden

Lollapalooza 2009 Rumors

Chicago is way excited about two things right now:  the 2016 Olympics bid and Lollapalooza.  I have compiled some rumors/facts and welcome any other rumors people have heard, especially concerning the $60 festival tickets, as they eventually jump to close to over $200.

  1. Beastie Boys, Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon and Jane’s Addiction are rumored to play.
  2. The ever-elusive $60 souvenier tickets go on sale this week.  An email was sent, I believe, Monday stating this.  Last year, the tickets sold out in either 1 minute or 10 minutes.  Ridiculous.
  3. My personal prediction was that Coldplay is going to play, but their tour schedule has since filled up, with dates on both August 7th & 9th.  They still could play August 8th, but I’ve heard that bands can’t have a show for a certain amount of days before and after they play Lollapalooza.
  4. Last I heard, which was probably on the Chicago Tribune, is that Chicago is one of the front runners for the Olympics bid, but recently someone important, whom I can’t remember his name or title, withdrew his association with the bid. 
  5. When I look at the evaluation scores, Chicago is third. 

**Update [2:41 pm]:  The $60 tickets came and went at 2:05 pm this afternoon.  Last year, they sent an email right before they released the tickets.  The year before, an email a day in advance.  And this year, no warning.  I don’t think my mind/blood pressure can handle this again next year…

ninjagarden

Circa Ceramics=Sweeet!

I went to an art festival today and these guys were my favorite…

It’s all kind of kitschy, but I really like it. And I was happy to find that they were actually local artists b/c it’s always kind of a let-down to go to a local art festival, only to find nationally imported art.