Taylor Swift // Live in Chicago

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TAYLOR SWIFT // LIVE AT SOLDIER'S FIELD

PHOTOS COURTESY OF: Randal Hicks | WORDS COURTESY OF: Heather Mummert

On Friday, June 1st, Taylor Swift performed the first of two shows in Chicago.  She performed at Soldier Field to a record-breaking crowd of over 61,000 in attendance.  As with her new album, Reputation, the theme of her show was all about snakes.  They were everywhere and all on stages she performed from.  Shortly before she came out the video stream playing for the anxious audience showed videos and interviews with fans at listening parties for the new album around the world.  Then it moved into a visual history of Taylor Swift.  Next, we see the silhouette of Taylor before the ellipsis at the beginning of the lead-off track on the new album “…Ready For It?”.  It gave us a powerful visual of a strong-willed Taylor and the word rep flashing throughout the song’s performance.  

She moved into two more tracks off the new album before doing a collaboration of three of her older hits, “Style,” “Love Story,” and “You Belong With Me.”   She then moved into the second act of the night with a costume change.  She started this off with the first single off Reputation, “Look What You Made Me Do.”  Followed by two more new songs all performed with her huge entourage of back-up dancers.  She then changed up her look a bit in her third act. She moved out of her sparkly black costume into something that looked like it came from the 1989 tour; rainbow vertical stripes and sparkly.  She kicked this off with Delicate and an acoustic version of “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” followed by “Our Song.”  During “Shake It Off” she brought out both openers, Charli XCX and Camila Cabello to sing and “shake-it” with her.

She went through her hits through the next two acts.  Songs ranging from “Blank Space” and “Bad Blood” off 1989 to “Long Live” off of Speak Now.  She mashed this up with New Year’s Day.  Shortly before the end she played a video that was narrated by herself that felt more like Beyonce’s Lemonade than a Taylor Swift original.  She closed out the show with yet another mash-up, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.”  It came together nicely and ended the show on a high-energy note.

Taylor did not fail to give a full energy, visual show.  Exactly what we would expect when you go to see her live.  She is a great performer and great at making the crowd feel part of the entire experience.  From the color-changing bands that were given upon entering the venue to the different changes they make throughout the night to the music she is performing.  She also let everyone know that it helped her to see all 61,000 fans in attendance that night.  What you see is what you get with Taylor.  She is a performer and she brought it to Chicago this weekend

Kimbra // Live in Louisville

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KIMBRA + ODESZA + KASBO // LIVE AT IROQUOIS AMPHITHEATER

WORDS + PHOTOS COURTESY OF: Emily May

Electronic band Odesza, who is touring in support of their latest album A Moment Apart, performed recently in Louisville, KY to a packed house!  Iroquois Amphitheater is a perfect warm weather concert setting, being outdoors with a covered seated area and surrounded by a wooded park.  A long line had formed by the time doors had opened, with the crowd filing in and quickly claiming their seats before visiting the concession stands and merch tables. Opening the show was Swedish record producer and DJ KASBO, who was thrilled to be on his first US tour.  He was in good spirits as he played, receiving cheers and applause from the crowd.  Performing a mix of original songs, as well as a couple of covers, he had the crowd dancing with their arms in the air for his entire set!  Next up was New Zealand electronic artist Kimbra.  As she walked out on stage with her band, she looked fierce with a sleeveless and black sequenced body suit and thick soled boots.  Adorned with colorful imagery and words in bright pinks, purples, greens and yellows, it was apparent she was ready to have a good time!  She had the crowd cheering and dancing from the moment she began!  She often walked along the front edge of the stage to sing directly to the audience and was accompanied by band members Timon Martin (guitar/vocals/keys) and Spencer Zahn (bass/keys).  Although she experienced some technical difficulties with a piece of her equipment, Kimbra apologized and kept the show going, telling the audience she was struggling this evening before launching into her hit "Human" from the new album Primal Heart.  She also sang the new songs "Everybody Knows"and "Like They Do On The TV".  Kimbra is a very expressive singer, dancing on stage and feeling the music during each song, with the emotion visible on her face.  Towards the end of her set, she mentioned wanting to meet fans after the show and said that she would be signing things at the merch table.  She then ended her set with "Top Of The World".  She put on an amazing performance!

 

As the sun set in Louisville this evening, Odesza took the stage to an eruption of applause and screams!  The band came out onto a symmetrical platform that was set up towards the back of the stage.  With Harrison Mills (also known as Catacombkid) and Clayton Knight (also known as BeachesBeaches) centered along the center part, with trumpet player Jonathan Gipaya and trombone player Jason Cressey each stationed on the side sections.  Odesza puts on a brilliant light show, with each song awash in different and colorful lighting.  The back of the stage housed a large screen, with the front of the platform containing screens as well, each of which displayed colorful imagery that was often in synch with each other.  A few songs into the set, the band set off confetti cannons, filling the air with red paper confetti that the crowd went wild for!  For the past few years, Odesza has played with a live band, which includes an amazing eight person drum line!  Throughout the evening the drummers would come out onto the stage an perform synchronized routines that were thrilling to watch.  With their wardrobe changing between all white and all black throughout the set, as well as snare drums that glowed, they often performed in a slight haze of fog, that added to the mood of their performance.  The drummers and horn players often took turns on the side platforms as the night went on, adding to the surprise and excitement of the evening.  Odesza's live show is an amazing production to witness and the audience this evening were on their feet and dancing with their hands in the air from the time the band took the stage.  It was a special evening of music!

Tank & The Bangas // Live in Louisville

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TANK & THE BANGAS // LIVE AT HEADLINERS MUSIC HALL

PHOTOS COURTESY OF: Emily May

Touring in support of their latest album entitled Smoke.Netflix.Chill, New Orleans band Tank and the Bangas performed in Louisville, KY recently to a sold out crowd of passionate fans!  It was clear from the beginning of the night that the crowd was ready to have a good time, and as the band took the stage, the crowd erupted in cheers and applause!  Lead singer Tarriona "Tank" Ball is a powerhouse on stage, dancing and interacting with the crowd for the entire evening.  You can see the joy on her face as she performs, and can see the fun that her band has, as well.  "Tank" mixes slam poetry, which she gained attention for before starting the band, with a fun and unique mix of rock, funk, soul and hip hop.  The entire set was a party on stage, with the band members having a great deal of fun with each other, as well as with the crowd.  The band performed a nice mix of songs from their catalog throughout the evening, keeping the crowd singing and dancing all night long, often leading them in sing-alongs.  Towards the end of their set, the band performed an amazing cover of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, turning the the fun they were having on stage up to 10!  Tank and the Bangas always give their fans an incredible live show, making it easy to see why they won NPR's Tiny Desk Contest last year!  New Orleans rock/funk/soul band Sweet Crude opened the show!  Singing in a mix of English and French, they were fun and lively and got the crowd energized for the night ahead!