Frontier Psychiatrist

Posts Tagged ‘live music

Chicago_Wicker Park_Fall_Peter Lillis

Wicker Park in Autumn

Something clicked in October, and I found myself at eight shows in just 15 days, likely due to a mix of early onset Seasonal Affective Disorder and rise in tours before the end of the year. It’s a lot of music to consume, and while I’m still digesting it all, I’m already planning for more. Below are the eight shows I saw in the last two weeks. Below that are the nine shows I plan to see before the end of the month. Care to join?

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Brilliant Corners_Popular Amusements_Frontier Psychiatrist

It turns out that there is such a thing as a comfortable music festival experience. After an exhausting, disorienting and soaked (but successful) festival season, last weekend’s Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusement at Chicago’s temporary Riverfront Theater proved that a music fest can be as rocking as it is sanitary. All it takes are some pop legends, a few $7 PBR tallboys and a circus tent.

The second year of the showcase festival received minimal buzz, which is surprising for an event that went the extra mile to bring surprising and timeless performers. Anchoring each night of the weekend respectively were John Cale, Conor Oberst and Bobby Womack, three recognized monsters of their genres and generations. Add behind-the-scenes composing genius Van Dyke Parks and rising progressive artists Zola Jesus and Helado Negro, and you have a stellar, if short, weekend lineup.

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Chicago_Skyline_Frontier Psychiatrist

The overwhelming nature of life in a world-class city presents a multitude of opportunities, for better or for worse. In the age of oversharing and over-reflection, isolation can creep up on you. it’s easy to say ‘fuck it’ and fall into the cold world of Cap’n Crunch feasts and Instant Netflix pity parties. In order to combat the potential doldrums of the solitary urban experience, I take advantage of my surroundings and see as much live music as possible. In just 15 days, I saw 13 acts, ranging from the virtuosic to the epileptic, and everything in between.

This is how I spend my time. If it sounds like something you’d like to do, you are encouraged to join.

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Starting this evening, mild-mannered businessmen and dirty, smelly hippies alike will begin the trek to Manchester, Tennessee for the 11th Annual Bonnaroo, which kicks off this Thursday. As always, we’re looking forward to waffle ice cream sandwiches, good friends and the hottest 80 degrees you can imagine. Headliners Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Phish, and a fantastic middle-tier make this year’s Roo perhaps the best lineup yet.

As we learned last year and at SXSW, a fantastic festival lineup creates issues for anyone shooting for the full experience. Below, we have marked what we think are the hardest decisions of the weekend. While most decisions are usually made in the last minute, we’re here to help inform you of the tough choices you’ve got coming.


The Motown Opener
DANNY BROWN – 7 pm @ This Tent vs. DALE EARNHARDT JR JR – 7:15 pm @ The Other Tent

The first matchup of the weekend, positions Detroit madman rapper Danny Brown during the same slot as Detroit indie rockers Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr. Despite the clear difference in style, this show presents issues for anyone looking to support the fledgling Motown, which never fails to deliver great music.With his junkyard flow and black humor, Danny Brown is one of those artists we dig and fear equally. His last record, 2011s XXX–Brown stepped out, exploring debauched subjects in an introspective manner. Since then, he’s had great features on tracks from Das Racist, Action Bronson, El-P and Mr. Muthafuckin Exquire: the 2012 hip hop dream team (minus Kendrick Lamar, who plays at 10 pm on the same stage.)

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The Weeknd at Lincoln Hall in Chicago

Abel Tesfaye is undoubtedly a star in the making. His commitment to quality and character is apparent on all of his free releases. The ongoing question around his art deal with his reality: if these are actually his Thursdays or if he’s just an excellent, disturbed storyteller. If his show revealed anything, it’s that he’s fucking pumped to be doing this well this young. While Abel’s giddiness on stage seems at odds with his recorded melancholy, it also suggests a complexity beyond his deranged, masochistic persona.

On his first-ever tour, 22-year-old Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) celebrated his sensational success in the biggest U.S. and Canada markets, announced less than a month ago. Each show sold out in seconds despite a lack of promotion, much like his records would, should he have decided to sell them. Fans were content to pay the $30+ fees ticket price, disregarding his lack of performing experience and opener: they knew this would likely be a rare opportunity to see the potential superstar in such an intimate space. He delivered.

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Ceremony live punk performance at SXSW 2012

Ceremony @ SXSW

My first published piece as a music critic was titled “Please History, Repeat Yourself”, and was written in maybe 20 minutes for my high school newspaper sometime in my sophomore year (2002.03) . Like an emo-Andy Rooney, I lambasted the radio rock we were stuck with, begging for some punk/grunge revival that I dreamt about. And this was before Green Day went off the deep end.

Now, in just the last two+ years, we’ve seen the release of some of the best high-profile punk albums of the last 15. The relative success and warm reception of records like The Monitor and David Comes To Life are bringing new audiences into punk, seemingly noting a rise in mainstream acceptance of quality punk. At SXSW this year, we enjoyed fantastic, enraging and frightening punk performances from new-classic bands like Ceremony, Titus Andronicus, The Men and Cloud Nothings, each willing to bend punk guidelines to best fit their message and approach. After all this time, it feels like my sophomoric wish is on the verge of being granted. Not everyone agrees, however.

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