The Gaslight Anthem // Live in Chicago

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THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM + MATT MAYS + JOE SIBS // LIVE AT THE RIVIERA THEATRE

PHOTOS COURTESY OF: Emily May

In honor the 10th Anniversary of their album The '59 Sound, The Gaslight Anthem embarked on a short tour around the country recently, performing the album in it's entirety, along with a few additional songs.   Making a stop at The Riviera Theatre in Chicago, the band performed to a sold-out crowd, filling the 2,500 capacity venue with excited fans!  As I arrived at the venue, the line outside was long, with fans waiting anxiously for the doors to open so they could secure their spots for the show, buy merch and grab a drink. The floor and balcony filled up quickly as fans filed into the venue, buzzing with energy and anticipation for the night ahead.  The crowd erupted in cheers and applause as the band took the stage.  Starting the set with "Handwritten", the band proceeded to perform "Biloxi Parish", "Spirit of Jazz" and "Mae" before lunching into The '59 Sound.  The fans were having a great time, singing along with the band and dancing to the entire album.  Although singer Brian Fallon did not not talk much throughout the set, he did take some time about halfway through the show to chat with the crowd.  He joked that he hadn't talked much up until that point because he was focused on playing for the fans but decided to say a few words so that the crowd couldn't later call him out on Twitter for not talking to them.  He mentioned that the band had a day off recently in Buffalo and wondered why they couldn't have had their day off in Chicago instead, saying that Buffalo wasn't a very exciting place to have a day off!  He joked around a bit with the crowd and said that he loved the people of Chicago because they can take a good back and forth, that they are not a stiff people!  The band then continued their set, performing several songs from their other albums once they had completed The '59 Sound, including "Mulholland Drive", "Underneath The Ground", "1930" and "Boomboxes and Dictionaries".  Ending the evening with "American Slang", the band waved and bowed to the crowd as they left the stage.  It was an incredible evening being able to hear such an amazing album performed 10 years after it was recorded!  Canadian indie rock musician Matt Mays and Joe Sib, punk rock musician and co-founder of SideOneDummy Records, opened the show with Sib performing a short comedy routine before Matt Mays and his band came out on stage.  

Against Me! // Live in Louisville

AGAINST ME! + TYPESETTER + GRLWOOD // LIVE AT MERCURY BALLROOM

PHOTOS COURTESY OF: Emily May

Punk rock band Against Me! performed recently in Louisville, KY to a packed venue.  Having formed in 1997, the band has amassed a large and devoted fan base, many of whom this evening were ready to have a good time.  The crowd went wild as the band took the stage, starting things off with "FuckMyLife666" and continued to perform a variety of hits, including "Piss and Vinegar", "New Wave", "Joy", "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" and "I Was A Teenage Anarchist".  The band was full of energy, giving the crowd a fun and lively performance, with singer Laura Jane Grace interacting and chatting with the crowd several times throughout the evening between songs.  The crowd sang along to every song, cheering with fists in the air and crowd surfing during many of the songs.  At one point a crowd surfer made his way to the front, reaching out his right hand in hopes of shaking Laura Jane Grace's hand.  She obliged, briefly shaking his hand before finishing out the song she was playing.  Towards the end of the set she mentioned how sad she was that this was the final stop of the tour, telling the crowd how seeing so many people come out for the show made her feel better and that it was a great crowd to end the tour with.  Ending the set with "Black Me Out", the band left the stage, only to come back out moments later for an encore.  The encore set started out with Laura Jane Grace singing acoustic an cover of The Mountain Goat's song "Going To Georgia", followed by an acoustic version of "Two Coffins", joined on stage only by drummer Atom Willard.  The rest of the band then hopped back on stage to finish out the encore with "Tonight We're Going To Give It 35%", "Reinventing Axl Rose" and "We Laugh At Danger (And Break All the Rules)".  It was a really fun night of great music and energy!  Typesetter and GRLwood opened the show!   

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