Saturday, December 24, 2011

Macabre-Yakuza-Novembers Doom-A Corporate Death (show photos/metal)

It was a happy headbanger happening as Holiday of Horrors rocked Reggie's Rock Club December 23rd.   Unfortunately my lens broke during the first band, and we tweaked it enough to shoot, but I had to replace it right after that.   Good thing Santa came the next night and had me on the good list.   The bands were all a lot of fun.   Yakuza, in particular, has been one of our favorites for years.   And it was interesting to check out A Corporate Death-also Bruce Lamont.    

We had another bonus.  We grabbed a table on the 2nd floor, while trying to fix my lens, and ended up meeting the wife and 8 year old daughter of the lead singer of Novembers Doom.   His daughter's in 3rd grade, like Sagezilla, and couldn't have been more excited to see her Dad sing!   We're hoping to catch up with the whole fam for a video interview soon.

Friday, December 23, 2011

(show photos/ Irish Punk & Club Rock) The Buddies at Empty Bottle

The Buddies filled The Empty Bottle with their guitar heavy, Irish rock, right before the holidays.   Appropriately enough, their lead singer was sporting a Shane MacGowan tee, and after their set, we had a lively discussion about The Pogues last show at The Congress.   I had the great pleasure of shooting it, but was stuck in the press pit for sooooo long waiting for them to come on, after the openers, that we were sure Shane had flipped out or passed out, and that the show was not to be.   The other photographers were joking that we should have brought board games.   Finally, the band materialized and pulled off a brilliant show!

Thankfully, The Buddies showed up on time to play their Irish punk.   Check out our prior coverage here.   The Buddies have been called a southern rock version of The Clash and they were fun to check out, live.   They have the unique distinction of having a rockin' girl on drums/accordion.   Drummers are notoriously hard to photograph and usually lurk, hidden in the shadow at the back of the stage.   The Buddies are no fools, though, and had one of the best lit drummers I've ever shot.   Play to your strengths.   Want to hear more or check out upcoming shows.    Here's their main web site.

Briar Rabbit, Damn Choir and Crane Wives at The Burlington 12-16-11

It was sweet to finally hear all of these guys live, as their reputation preceded them.  Check out our prior coverage here.   It was also our first look at The Burlington's relatively new "back room" concert space in Logan Square (3425 W. Fullerton).   The lights and sound were nothing to write home about, but the intimate space is reminiscent of a basement party at someone's home, in an entirely good way.   They also have a respectable beer selection.   There did seem to be a force field beyond gravity at work in the center of the room, as multiple beer filled glasses hit the floor and shattered in about the same spot, hours apart. 

The Damn Choir 
The band has a unique sound and good chemistry.   Katy Myers on cello was a particular stand out. 

Here's the scoop from their site:  
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Genres: Folk / pop / Alternative
Members: Gordon Robertson, Katy Myers, Steve Stokes, Ryan Farnham, Jack McClain

The Damn Choir's use of guitar, cello, keyboards, vocals and drums, along with Gordon Robertson's introspective lyrics, create songs that range from meandering and melancholic to pulsing and vengeful.

The Damn Choir began in January of 2009 on a freezing and fated night in Chicago. Gordon Robertson sat slumped at the bar, drowning his post-horrific-break-up dejected self in whiskey and happened to meet cellist Katy Myers. Although at first Myers rejected Robertson's musical advances, eventually she gave in and agreed to give him a chance.

Within weeks the two were musically inseparable and involved in an (arguably unhealthy) co-dependant friendship. After playing for months under the name, “Gordon and Katy,” the two recorded an album, re-named the band, and began the journey that would lead them to eventually recruiting Sherri Stouffer on keyboards and vocals, and Ryan Farnham on Percussion. The four-piece creates a sound that rises and falls in harmony with the spirit of Robertson’s angst-filled lyrics.   Check 'em out here on Facebook.

This was Briar Rabbit's music video release party and when audio issues prevented the sound from playing on the grand unveiling, the audience prevailed upon the band to play it live.   So what could have been a disastrous derailment turned into serendipity.   His sound is described as folk/indie/pop and you can check it out by clicking on the link above.

You'll have a chance to see Briar Rabbit live again in the near future at one of our fav. local venues, Schubas, along with more great musicians.

Starting on Monday, January 9 2012, Clip Art will headline a weekly residency at Schuba’s Tavern. Each week will feature unique sets, special guests and the finest opening acts Chicago has to offer. Clip Art is led by Andy Rosenstein, keyboard player for JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound.

All shows are 8PM/$6/18+

1/9 - w/ Algebro + Any Kind
1/16 - w/ Dick Prall + Paper Thick Walls
1/23 - w/ Briar Rabbit + The Sometimes Family
1/30 - w/ Baby Teeth + Jennifer Hall

 Photo Credit:  Brad Meese

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

O'MY'S at Reggie's 12-19-11

We've heard all the buzz, but had to see it to believe it.   All we can say is oh my...indeed.   The O'My's rocked Reggie's Monday night with a sold out show.   

We've covered a number of musicians at Reggie's and we've never seen a line around the block like this one.  These young musicians were fantastic live and are certainly ones to watch.  Check out our prior O'My's coverage and their first music video by clicking here.

Not crazy about the fans with the backward ball caps.   Ever other show we've shot for years, from jazz to metal to punk, people have been cool and made space for the camera.  Not here.  The ball cap boys shoved in front, then thrashed around and stuck their hat heads into the middle of a ton of what would have been great shots.  Ah well.  Things were crazy at the door, too.  Two different door men went to check the press list for me and neither one came back.  After being stuck at the door a half hour while the band I was planning to shoot nearly finished, I finally made it in.   


To their credit, the door staff weren't complete petty tyrants.  They did let the bass player's dad in, when he pleaded that he was on the guest list and missing his son's set.   And there was a fair amount of legit drama going on, like an underager getting kicked out for sipping his 21+ girlfriend's beer.   It just sucks when one person doing their job prevents someone else from doing theirs!   We've shot a lot of shows at Reggie's and NEVER had trouble at the door before.   All's well that ends well.   I got there in time to catch their last few songs and get my shots.

Nevertheless, Reggie's is still one of our favorite small venues.   The sound is great and what's not to love about a club with Wesley Willis' giant mug on the wall and an inexplicable sewer grate mid stage.   Makes for some of the most unique shoe shots.   They also have a great selection of both cheap beer and tasty craft brews for those who dig quality or quantity.

We were elated to finally catch the O'My's live, even if it was short and sweet.   We had another gig and couldn't stick around past their opening set, but they backed many of the later bands.  Rumor is, their trumpet player is just 17, and lives, eats and breathes music.  All the horns were amazing, and I though the keyboard player was going to overturn his instrument in addition to the mic!   His fingers were practically on fire.  With strong lead vocals and a flexible line up that ranges from 2-10 members, the O'My's are forging a well deserved name for themselves on the Chicago scene.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

O'MY'S Debut Video & LIVE at Reggie's Monday, Dec. 19 (18+)

Here's another local band you'll wanna check out, if you haven't discovered them already.   This is their debut music video "My House" above!
Then come check 'em out live at Reggie's
Monday, December 19 • 9:00 PM • Ages 18+ • $17.00 

The COOL KIDS (backed by THE O'MY'S)
Chicago's own hip hop the way they like it.Chuck Inglish & Sir Michael Rocks with VIPJ and The O'my's backing them up.

ASHER ROTH (backed by THE O'MY'S )
Before "Asleep in the Bread Aisle" dropped on 4/20, there wasn't much to base an opinion on besides a catchy party song and the first white boy rendition of a Gangsta Grillz tape, "The Greenhouse Effect" hosted by DJ Don Cannon himself.

The O' My's, a group which was haphazardly conceived in the summer of 2007, have since become one of the most adored young bands from Chicago. The O'My's make music that garners comparisons to the soul and blues of Chicago's past, yet the essence of the music is beyond pretension and their sound is far from contrived. 

Guitarist Maceo Vidal-Haymes and Pianist Nick Hennessey (who share songwriting and vocal duties) are the beating heart of The O'My's. The band can consist of anywhere from 4-10 members with Haymes and Hennessy being the only constant contributors.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Metal: The Sword Opens for Kyuss at The Vic--LIVE Show Shots

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The Sword was an extra bonus, opening for Kyuss last Friday night at The Vic.   Check out their main site here at    I was sucked in before they even started, when I saw the set list included a song called Freya.   

We're big into Nordic Gods & Godesses, scifi, mythology, creative legends/story lines and runes.    My last name's the Norse symbol for fire, passion and creativity.   I actually even have a cousin Freya, who's blond haired, blue eyed and nearly 6' tall.   When I checked out the band's website and saw tabs for Lore, and Homeworld I was totally captivated.   Not to mention they rock...hard.

At least some of these boys look far more like Northern Europeans or Vikings than natives of Austin, Texas.   But thankfully they're Texas boys.   Instead of their own brand of caribou or salmon from the frozen Nordic tundra, The Sword has their own limited edition hot sauce!   I'm stoked to be able to continue our series on "Musical Taste" that we started with The Toasters microbrew.  We're featuring bands that have a signature beer, food or consumable.   If anyone knows of one you'd like to see here, hit us up in the comments tab to the top right. 

Hand-crafted to the band's specifications in their hometown of Austin, Texas by hot sauce artisan Brian Rush at Tears of Joy, The Sword's Tears of Fire Hot Sauce will unleash a supernova of searing heat and rich flavor upon the unsuspecting palate. This singular concoction was limited to only one batch and is not available in stores. But there is a chance, however slim, that you might possess a bottle of your very own! The Sword will choose ten lucky winners to have their taste buds blown to the planet Acheron.

Unfortunately, they only made 1 batch and their give away ended in April :(.   One can only hope they'll make more.   I adore hot sauce and would love to try a ghost pepper.   I practically drink Tabasco for breakfast, with eggs, and only once met a pepper that kicked my butt.   Last December in Mexico, I gulped down a pale green pepper I thought was a banana pepper and it just about killed me.   It was so hot I seriously couldn't breath and turned red like a cartoon.   I thought smoke was going to pour out my ears!   It was pretty intense. 

I'm also happy to say The merch tab has black ONSIES!   So your punk kin and banger babies can be stylin'!  

Back to the band, their live performance was a lotta fun.  
They've opened for Guns N' Roses, Kylesa and Rwake and were just touring with Monstro, whom we shot in Chi Town last month.   Check them out here, playing an intimate set at Ultra Lounge with Black Tusk!

The Lore (from

“Before forging the blade, the swordsmiths underwent fasting and ritual purification. They then worked at their anvils in white clothes, like the robes of the priests. Their efforts were well rewarded.”

One of the foundations of the metal revival of the past ten years, Austin TX’s The Sword have released two flawless slabs of vintage heaviness on Kemado Records, toured the world with Metallica, and were one of the first bands to lock into a whole new legion of fans through Guitar Hero. Summer 2011, the band cast its gaze to the stars for Warp Riders, their third full-length and their most ambitious effort to date.

Warp Riders is The Sword’s first concept album, a science fiction maelstrom put to the storming, relentless riffage and pounding rhythms upon which the band has staked its reputation. It’s also their most flat-out, supercharged, adrenaline-pumping work yet, a chrome-plated war machine that lords over the blackened sky. From the street-prowling anthems “Night City” and “Lawless Lands” to the two-part showdown of “The Chronomancer,” to the furious mechanics of closing track “(The Night the Sky Cried) Tears of Fire,” The Sword forces eminent domain ruling over heavy metal for the next decade, and welcome all challengers for an ill-fated shot at the title.

Warp Riders tells the tale of Ereth, an archer banished from his tribe on the planet Acheron. A hardscrabble planet that has undergone a tidal lock, which has caused one side to be scorched by three suns, and the other enshrouded in perpetual darkness, it is the background for a tale of strife and fantasy, the battle between pure good and pure evil. 

How it’s told – through the dueling lead guitars of J.D. Cronise and Kyle Shutt,



and the concussive rhythm section of bassist Bryan Ritchie and drummer Trivett Wingo – underscores the narrative with molten steel and unreal precision.

Guitarist and lead vocalist J.D. Cronise explains the lineage of Warp Riders: “I’m pretty sure the first concept album I ever heard was Operation: Mindcrime by Queensrÿche when I was a kid, which I was way into. Even though I never really understood the whole story, I was nonetheless enthralled by how the album created its own world. I wanted to create a setting for our songs that would be unique and different, but still a place where epic sagas unfold in proper Sword fashion.” Inspiration took hold from “lots of things … the legend of Atlantis, old Heavy Metal magazines, the films of René Laloux, a childhood dream, and The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda to name a few.”
The story of Warp Riders, entitled “The Night The Sky Cried Tears Of Fire” (written by Cronise), follows Ereth as he discovers a mysterious orb and meets the Chronomancer, a being beyond time and space who enlists him in a quest to restore the planet’s balance. Along the way he encounters strange warriors, mysterious witches, ancient androids, and a crew of space pirates with a vessel that will alter the course of history…  a vessel known as, The Sword. 

Kyuss Lives! at The Vic--Live Show Shots 12-2-11

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Overview From The Band's Site:   
There has been void in rock n’ roll that hasn’t been filled in almost 16 years.  Fear not music fans, for you will be deprived of that “Kyuss Sound" no longer.  John, Nick, and Brant are back, and along with Bruno Fevery on guitar, are hitting North and South America on tour AND plan to hit the studio to record the first new material in over a decade.  Hopefully you have prepared ladies and gentlemen, KYUSS LIVES!

Sure, in the intervening years, we've had Queens of the Stone Age, with Josh Homme on lead guitar and vocals.   He's the one hold out who would not return to resurrect Kyuss.    Nick Oliveri also played with Queens for a number of years, 1998-2004, but he's back touring with Kyuss Lives! and the energy and synergy is undeniable.

With 3/4 of the original line up back on board, a sizable tour, and rumors of new material, it looks like the boys are back.

Seen on the scene:   This righteous little head banger can forever count Kyuss Lives! at The Vic in Chicago as his first show.  At the ripe old age of 2nd grade, he knew many of the lyrics and was rockin' out!   

Glad to see Oliveri back with a bass in his hands instead of a rifle.    This past summer he had an unfortunate adventure with a S.W.A.T. team that resulted in a felony domestic violence arrest.  Hopefully his days of disrespecting girlfriends are in the past.

Kyuss always lived on in our ipods, on shuffle play.   But I'd almost forgotten just how good so much of their music is.   This show took me back.   For a few days after, it was all and only Slacker Radio's Kyuss station, till my kids finally staged a mini revolt.   They don't have any new material yet, but if you've got a fan on your holiday list, they do have some sweet desert themed Kyuss Lives! merch.   It will be interesting to see what this year brings, and if they can pull it off without Homme, and truly rise from the ashes with new material.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Play Locally: On A Heavier Note...Kyuss Lives! At The Vic Tonight

Check out Kyuss TV on YouTube

Another blast from the past that'll blast your eardrums, is going down at the same time, at The Vic tonight.  Some of our favorite L.A. metal heads rock The Vic with 3 openers.  Kyuss Lives!   The band is back for chapter 2...the legacy continues, with 3/4 of the original members.    L.A. metal heads rock The Vic tonight with 3 openers.   Here's the approximate set times and opening bands.  6:30 Bible of the Devil, 7:20 Black Cobra, 8:10 The Sword, 9:20 Kyuss.

Still waiting on the verdict on photo/press credentials but we're hoping to master the art of cloning to be in two places at the same time and bring you some sweet show shots.

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