[Pictures] Ruth B brings her “Safe Haven: Part 1” to Evanston

Ruth B brought her “Safe Haven” tour to Evanston, which supports her debut LP of the same name. Describing this as a “mini tour,” and only going to a few cities, it wouldn’t be surprising to be touring more cities and going to bigger venues soon. Check out pictures from the intimate show below.

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THEY. shuts down Chicago with their first headlining show in the city

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After coming to Chicago as an opening act for Bryson Tiller’s TRAPSOUL tour and Jeremih and PARTYNEXTDOOR’S Summer’s Over tour, THEY. were finally headlining their own.

THEY. introduced themselves as stars in their own right by coming out in hooded capes by emerging from the crowd in hooded capes to “Africa.” Wordless, THEY. stood facing each other, letting the track play out. However, when the opening bars to “Deep End,” the first THEY. song I fell in love with, they threw off their capes and were completely turned up.

What I find most interesting about concerts is that you can see the motivating force behind an artist. You can see if they are doing all this for the money, to party all the time, for their ego…I’ve seen any number of reasons. The best reasons I’ve seen which I see in THEY. is that they do this because they feel as if they aren’t meant to do this and can’t do anything else. This is how they express themselves. Drew shared a story about how he didn’t fit in growing up and when he was younger on his birthday some TP’d his house. He said the Nu religion movement and The Wolf Pac was the space where everyone can be themselves. Dante then initiated the crowd into the Wolf Pac with these words:

THEY.’s motivation is to be able to exist in a place where they can be themselves and express themselves. They want the same for everyone else.

While performing all their songs off Nu Religion: Hyena, it was a sonic journey to say the least. A lot of times with music, the lyrics or the beat are great, and the other is an afterthought. With THEY. considering the marriage of both these aspects, the songs are stronger, taking you to the mindset that they want you to be in.

Highlights from the show also included performing Motley Crew, with the whole audience doing the whip motion for “riding around Sunset Boulevard.” And while a lot of the time the show was very hype with songs like “U-Rite,” they did slow it down for “Silence” and a cover of The Weeknd’s “High for This.”

I’m very excited for what is next for THEY. I got to meet them after the show and they were very sweet. With how they interact with fans in person and online and the amount of attention and care they put into their music, I think THEY. will go far.

Check out more pictures from the show, their tour diary and the album below.

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[Pictures] Vince Staples brings his Life Aquatic tour to Chicago

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Vince Staples brought his Life Aquatic Tour to the Metro on Saturday and Sunday. I caught the Saturday show and I was more than impressed.

The Metro isn’t the biggest venue, so I was surprised by how his large set was. He had three large TV screens that had images appear like fish and skeletons that made you feel like you were underwater near a sunken ship. The blue strobe lights also added the feeling that you were on an underwater execution.

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Despite the nautical theme of the set, Vince was in his usual uniform of a hoodie, jeans and Converse high tops. He was extremely energetic throughout his entire set, which included songs from his debut full length album “Summer ’06” and his EPs “Primma Donna” and “Hell Can Wait.”  In the middle of the show, he also performed his singles that he is featured on. For instance, one of the highlight was his performance of “Smoke & Retribution,” his song with Flume.

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The highlight of the night was during the encore, when he performed “Norf Norf.”  It was crazy to hear people shout out Northside, Long Beach in Chicago, and I’m sure it was a surreal moment for him.

Vince Staples will be back in Chicago for the Pitchfork Music Festival in July.

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PARTYNEXTDOOR and Jeremih’s Summer’s Over Tour Chicago stop becomes awkward with Jeremih’s performance being cut short

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I was really excited to go to the Summer’s Over Chicago tour stop with headliners Jeremih and PARTYNEXTDOOR. I like both of their music a lot, I think they are a great match and I was hoping they would perform some new songs together because Jeremih had mentioned they were working on an album together.

So I went to this concert to see two headliners and only saw one. I didn’t come late. Allegedly Jeremih did. I heard rumblings among the crowd that Jeremih wasn’t even here at about 8:30, and his set time was at 7:50. When PARTY came on at 9 and I heard the show was suppose to end at 10, I assumed Jeremih wasn’t going to come out at all.  A pretty sticky situation for people that have been waiting hours and paid for two acts, but PARTYNEXTDOOR show was amazing.

I didn’t know what to expect from PND’s set. It’s not like he dances or anything, and his music is a bit moody so I wasn’t sure how it was going to transition on stage. What was presented was actually this really intricate laser show that lit up the entire stage. I was impressed, not only because it was visually appealing, but also because although he was surrounded  by these lasers, he had the stage presence to stand out among the theatrics.  Also, the images on the screen in the backdrop (women, dripping moons) it seemed like we were transported in the mind space PARTY wanted us to be in.

The show is going great; PARTY is performing songs from all three albums, including my favorite “Break From Toronto” from the first “PARTYNEXTDOOR.” The concert seems to be coming to an end and then…Jeremih comes out! And its awkward, mostly because its confusing. He comes out saying that it was only right for him to come out, you don’t know what goes on backstage. Only right for you to come out..you are a headliner. Literally it is only right for you to come out because that is what was promised. This is your hometown show. After performing “Planez” they cut out his sound and turn off the lights. He kept talking and then he performed “Don’t Tell ‘Em”  after they turned back on the lights and sound.  In between songs he talked about not letting people control your destiny and how they hate that he his performing right now. After performing “oui” he tried to go into “Body” but then his sound was cut out again. He screams that “they are some haters, fuck y’all” throws his mic and leaves.  So. Awkward. PARTYNEXTDOOR then comes out and performs “Come and See Me” and then that’s the end of the show.

People were angry, obviously. Some were confused. It was weird and not explained at all.

Jeremih then touched on it by on Twitter:

According to tweets, Jeremih didn’t show up for the Detroit show and the South Carolina tour stop was canceled early in November.

Whatever is going on, lets hope everything is resolved for the rest of the tour.

See pictures from PARTYNEXTDOOR’s set below.

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Alessia Cara brings her “Know-It-All” tour back to Chicago

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When Alessia Cara announced her “Know-It-All Part II” tour, I was excited but confused. She had previously brought the “Know-It-All” tour to Chicago back in January and had a set at Lollapalooza. Other than being on the remix of Troye Sivan’s “Wild,” Alessia hasn’t released any new music since “Know It All.” I wasn’t sure how this show was going to be any different than what I saw before. However, the “Know-It-All Part II” concert was a completely new, exciting experience.

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First off, Alessia is touring with Nathan Sykes and Ruth B this time around. It is a good match because all three of their vocals are incredible. While I was only familiar with Nathan Sykes because he was in the band The Wanted and had dated Ariana Grande. I liked his performance and was intrigued enough that I would check out his album “Unfinished Business” when it is released on Nov. 4.

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I wasn’t familiar with Ruth B at all, but I was impressed with her voice. She just started writing songs a year ago so I’m hoping her songs evolve. Right now it seems like her voice doesn’t match her lyrics.

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While he was not on the bill, Sebastian Kole, Alessia’s co-writer whose vocals are featured on “Stone,” performed a few songs in celebration of the release of his album “Soup.”  Alessia also brought him out for a performance of “Stone” where he ended up crying while performing. It was beautiful to see someone so overwhelmed by the emotions of performing in front a huge crowd.

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What made Part II different than the first leg of the tour is the production value. The last tour was at smaller venues and a bit more bare bones, only featuring her name on the drum. This show however included lights and multiple screens that changed according to the songs. For example, “Seventeen,” included home video footage from when Alessia was a child.

What I liked most about the show is how intimate it was. Even though Part II took place in bigger venues, Alessia was still very personal with the audience, talking after each song, and even shouting out a fan whose mom reached out on Twitter saying it was her daughter’s first concert.

While the show was intimate with songs like “Stars” and “River of Tears,” Alessia can simultaneously have her voice fill a big venue with songs like “Wild Things,” where she beat the drums to start up the song.

I think the highlight of the night was her cover of Frank Ocean’s “Swim Good” that she sang while playing the guitar. It reminded me of her YouTube days where she was just singing covers in her bedroom.

Other info:

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I like to know tour merchandise information as much as I can before the show, so I took a picture of most of the merchandise. The t-shirts are $30 and the hoodie is $50. The signed posters are $20. What isn’t pictured is a hat with the Alessia Cara symbol (curly headed girl with beanie) on it for $25, a pin of the symbol for $3, a sticker for $2, and silicon bracelets with lyrics for about $3 I believe. I grabbed the shirt with her picture on it and I got tons of  compliments on it when I wore it out.

Check out more pictures from the show below.

 

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[Photos] Vic Mensa at Chicago’s Vic Theatre

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Vic Mensa returned to his hometown after his headlining show at Lollapalooza last month with his #VicattheVic show at Chicago’s Vic Theatre. But instead of the show being shadowed by the prospect of Kanye being a surprised gust like the Lolla show was, the focus was all on Vic.

Vic started the show with “Dynasty,” the opening track of his EP “There Is A Lot Going On.” He then followed with “16 Shots,” a song detailing the death of Laquan McDonald. During the performance, Vic is apprehended by actors dressed like cops and acts out the death of Laquan McDonald. After being shot, Vic body lies still as he continues to be shot. Narration details what happened the night of McDonald’s shooting.

The video shows Laquan walking southbound down the middle of Pulaksi. There are squad cars visible in front of him and also squad cars behind him. The shooter’s squad car is visible as it drives past Laquan. Two officers then exit that vehicle with their guns drawn. At that point, Laquan begins to look away from the officers at a southwest angle toward the sidewalk. When Laquan is about 12 to 15 feet away from the officers, the width of an entire lane of the southbound traffic, one officer begins shooting. Laquan immediately spins to the ground and the video clearly shows that the officer continues to shoot Laquan, multiple times, as he lays in the street. 16 seconds pass from the time Laquan hits the ground until the last visible puff of smoke rises from his torso area. An officer then approaches Laquan, stands over him and appears to shout something as he kicks the knife out of his hand

The concert also included other political statements. His song “Free Love” was about accepting all love and “Shades of Blue” was about the Flint water crisis.

The show also included a guest appearance from Joey Purp and they performed “773 Freestyle.”

He ended the night with the title track of “There’s A lot Going On,” a song about the highs and lows of the past few years. Vic climbed the top of the platform on the stage, overlooking the crowd. For a city with a lot going on, Vic Mensa might be the beacon of hope it needs.

Check out pics from the show below.

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[Photos] Bastille’s Lollapalooza After Show at The Vic Theatre

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Bastille performed a Lollapalooza after party show in Chicago at The Vic Theatre. Getting the crowd ready their Lollapalooza performance, Bastille played songs off their old album “Bad Blood” and their upcoming album “Wild World.” Check out pictures of the performance below and click here to see previous pictures of Bastille performing in Chicago.

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