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The Big Takeover #84
Concerts
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Vampire Weekend - ‪Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (San Francisco, CA) - October 1, 2019

15 October 2019

Anticipation for Vampire Weekend’s sold-out San Francisco concert was sky-high after the band’s six-year absence.

Judy Collins

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2019 - Golden Gate Park (San Francisco, CA) - October 6, 2019

15 October 2019

Closing day at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 19 at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Where else could you see Judy Collins, The Meat Puppets and Michael Nesmith in one afternoon?

Jon Langford and The Skull Orchard Welsh Male Voice Choir

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2019 - Golden Gate Park (San Francisco, CA) - October 5, 2019

15 October 2019

Day 2 of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 19 in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, and the crowds are treated to country rock courtesy of Margo Price, folk mastery from Joan Shelley and psychedelicized Led Zeppelin tunes from Robert Plant.

The Waterboys

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2019 - Golden Gate Park (San Francisco, CA) - October 4, 2019

15 October 2019

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2019 kicks off in style with rousing sets from The Waterboys, Bettye Lavette and St. Paul & The Broken Bones at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Adrian Belew – Arcada Theatre (St. Charles, IL) – October 2, 2019

3 October 2019

Avant-rock trailblazer Adrian Belew brought his quartet to the Arcada Theatre with material from 2019’s Pop-Sided album. Songs representing stints with psychedelic pop heroes the Bears, prog-rock titans King Crimson, and uncategorizable legend Frank Zappa rubbed shoulders with Belew’s solo favorites.

Riot Fest: Day 3 - Douglas Park (Chicago, IL) - September 15, 2019

18 September 2019

Premier punk rock festival Riot Fest returned to Chicago for its 15th anniversary. Coverage of Day 3 includes Guided By Voices, the B-52s, Patti Smith, Nick Lowe, the Raconteurs, unlikely mosh pit instigators the Village People, and more.

Adam Ant w/Glam Skanks – Vic Theatre (Chicago, IL) – September 7, 2019

9 September 2019

British New Wave icon Adam Ant took fans at the Vic Theatre on a time warp 37 years backward to 1982, performing his top-selling solo album Friend or Foe. [Updated 9/9/2019 with approved photos.]

Robert Smith at Pasadena Daydream by Cecilia Fonseca

Pasadena Daydream Festival – Brookside at the Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA) - August 31, 2019

7 September 2019

The Cure delivered a celebratory performance at the Pasadena Daydream Festival last weekend, along with stand-out sets from Pixies, Deftones, Mogwai, Throwing Muses and The Joy Formidable.

Mark Knopfler – Chicago Theatre (Chicago, IL) – September 1, 2019

2 September 2019

Mark Knopfler has consistently defied the conventional definitions of guitar hero and rock star – while earning his reputation at the top of the heap. Knopfler brought worthy new songs from Down the Road Wherever to Chicago.

Squeeze – Chicago Theatre (Chicago, IL) – August 31, 2019

1 September 2019

The Squeeze Songbook Tour date celebrated the band’s 45th anniversary and a rich back catalog that long ago earned appellations naming the songwriting engine of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook as the Lennon and McCartney of their generation. It’s a heavy crown for any songwriters to bear, but Difford and Tilbrook have done their best to keep it gleaming.

Iron & Wine and Calexico - Knitting Factory (Boise) - August 22, 2019

23 August 2019

With minimal purple and pink hues lighting the stage, the camp fire-esque performance was all about the music (well, and Beam’s award-worthy beard) and the gentle sparks that crackle and pop between mutually admiring musicians.

Iron Maiden - Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre (Tinley Park, IL), August 22, 2019

23 August 2019

One of the world’s premiere heavy metal bands of the 20th century, British powerhouse Iron Maiden continue to be a force in the new millennium. The sextet returned to the Chicago area on Thursday, bringing its “Legacy of the Beast” tour with dazzling spectacle, virtuoso playing, and relentless energy.

The Alarm – House of Blues (Chicago, IL), August 16, 2019

19 August 2019

Mike Peters has written anthems to match the best of them, and the Alarm’s recent output and performances suggest more rousing sessions to come.

The Stray Cats - Meijer Gardens Amphitheater (Grand Rapids, MI), August 15, 2019

19 August 2019

The Stray Cats revived rockabilly for generations of music fans in the ’80s, and the trio’s own songs continue to resonate. The band has returned with worthy new material from its 40th anniversary album.

George Clinton – The Mountain Winery (Saratoga, CA), August 3, 2019

19 August 2019

George Clinton’s farewell One Nation Under A Groove tour featured Parliament-Funkadelic, Fishbone, Dumpstaphunk, and Miss Velvet & the Blue Wolf. For all of current society’s decisiveness, there was nothing but unity and diversity in the house as everyone was “getting down for the funk of it.”

Steve Earle and the Dukes - Egyptian (Boise) – August 9, 2019

12 August 2019

It was a shame Earle wasn’t able to sell out the Egyptian, especially after Garth Brooks drew a record-breaking 86,000 attendees a month prior at the nearby Albertsons Stadium. But for those in attendance, who value authentic country music, Earle’s performance will be as memorable as his career — and his mentor Guy Clark’s.

Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, the Beach Boys - Ravinia Festival (Highland Park, IL), August 3, 2019

8 August 2019

Starr’s good-spirited message of peace and love remains well worth sharing, and the evening proved to be a great escape from the news cycle as well as a joyous musical celebration for generations of Beatles and Beach Boys fans.

Spoon, Cage the Elephant, Beck - Huntington Bank Pavilion (Chicago, IL), July 31, 2019

2 August 2019

Music fans up the road at Lollapalooza may have had their pick of more than 40 bands, but the Night Running tour packed adventurous musical variety onto one stage. Fans left Northerly Island confident that they had just seen the most spectacular rock show in Chicago.

Sally Timms of the Mekons

The Mekons with Skokie Girls – Lodge Room (L.A.) - July 22, 2019

31 July 2019

The Mekons stormed into Los Angeles and rocked a packed house at Lodge Room last Monday, mixing songs from their new album Deserted with classics dating back to the mid-1980s.

Peter Frampton - Huntington Bank Pavilion (Chicago, IL) - July 28, 2019

30 July 2019

Peter Frampton performed his final Chicago concert on Sunday, July 28, 2019. The set included hits like “Show Me the Way,” “Baby, I Love Your Way,” and “Do You Feel Like We Do” alongside Humble Pie favorites and new songs from #1 Billboard Blues album All Blues.

Andrew Bird – Chicago Theatre (Chicago, IL) – July 16, 2019

22 July 2019

Andrew Bird played a hometown show that made a strong case for the accurate naming of his new album My Finest Work Yet.

Dave Alvin - "King of California" at City Winery (Chicago, IL) - July 11, 2019

13 July 2019

The show encapsulated Alvin’s breakthrough as a songwriter and solo voice, and served as a calling card to draw people back for the new songs and stories he continues to tell.

Ribfest - Knoch Park (Naperville, IL) – July 3-6, 2019

9 July 2019

Thirty miles from downtown Chicago in Naperville, Ribfest continues to be a summertime destination event for music fans in Illinois. This year, the crowd of thousands enjoyed Living Colour, Billy Idol, ZZ Ward, Grand Funk, Bad Company and more.

Billie Eilish - Minneapolis Armory

Billie Eilish – The Armory - Minneapolis, Minnesota - June 8, 2019

8 July 2019

Loudly singing along to the opener “Bad Guy” nearly drowned out Billie Eilish‘s amplified vocals in the cavernous Minneapolis Armory. After years of bubbly pop stars, the outcasts and weird kids finally have their own major pop star to look up to.

Paul McCartney – TaxSlayer Center (Moline, IL) – June 11, 2019

14 June 2019

A multi-generational crowd assembled at Moline, Illinois’ TaxSlayer Center to hear the most celebrated catalog in popular music, delivered by the living legend responsible for it.

Amygdala - High Note Cafe (Boise) – June 9, 2019

10 June 2019

A band with such an ambitious, sprawling sound may have seemed an unlikely fit for the minuscule venue, but the intensity of their performance inspired the tightly packed crowd to mosh, marvel and mentally connect with the band’s affecting themes.

Fontaines D.C - Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin - June 3, 2019

4 June 2019

Fontaines D.C’s homecoming performance, and Kevin Burke was there to bear witness

Call Of The Void - Shredder (Boise) – May 22, 2019

24 May 2019

With fire in their sails and fury in their throats, the Boulder quartet barnstormed the Shredder in Boise on Wednesday night, pulverizing the well-attended club with 45 minutes of sludgy punk-metal.

Tom Green - Liquid Laughs (Boise) – May 18, 2019

21 May 2019

In a sweet-and-sour set, the self-deprecating Tom Green revealed a soft exterior behind the crusty-looking iconic comedian of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Lord Dying - Shredder (Boise) – May 11, 2019

16 May 2019

Maximum riffage from Portland, Oregon, tore apart the Shredder in Boise on Saturday night courtesy of Lord Dying, a four-piece progressive-sludge unit.

Johnny Marr - The Vic Theatre (Chicago, IL) – May 13, 2019

15 May 2019

Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and his sharp three-piece band returned to Chicago’s Vic Theatre to play material from 2018’s Call the Comet, other solo gems, breakout side project Electronica, and heavyweight hits from the Smiths. The seamless blend of old and new songs was a potent reminder of Marr’s role as the principal architect of the Smiths’ sound.

Graham Parker - City Winery (New York, NY) - May 6, 2019

7 May 2019

Far from a spent force, at 70, Parker is still an artist well worth your time, particularly in a live setting.

Treefort Music Fest - Boise, ID - March 20-24, 2019

14 April 2019

Treefort Music Fest is intended both to draw rising national talent to Boise and showcase what the city’s own music scene has to offer. And, as it occurs just as brisk breezes replace patches of ice in the downtown area, the spring-timing couldn’t be better.

Mott the Hoople ’74 - Chicago Theatre (Chicago, IL) – April 3, 2019

6 April 2019

It was a rare opportunity to see Ian Hunter flanked by pianist Morgan Fisher and guitarist Ariel Bender, the players who stood together during the heyday of Mott the Hoople leading to 1974 albums The Hoople and Live.

The Monochrome Set - Monty Hall (Jersey City, NJ) - Saturday March 2, 2019

4 April 2019

These legends are making vital new music every bit the equal of anything in their catalog.

Swervedriver - Warsaw (Brooklyn, NY) - Friday March 29, 2019

3 April 2019

Still, Swervedriver got a good crowd reaction and managed to play the best set I’ve ever seen them play

The Monkees – Mystic Lake - Shakopee, Minnesota - March 14, 2019

2 April 2019

In March 2019 (and less than a month after the death of Peter Tork), The Monkees presented “The Mike & Mickey Show” in the Minneapolis area, showcasing longtime reunion holdhout Michael Nesmith and the most constant member and main voice of The Monkees, Mickey Dolenz.

Murray A. Lightburn

Murray A. Lightburn - Hotel Café, Los Angeles – March 8, 2019

22 March 2019

Murray A. Lightburn from The Dears performed an intimate acoustic show at the Hotel Café in Los Angeles to promote his latest solo album Hear Me Out.

Sleaford Mods and Vulpynes - The Academy - Dublin, Ireland - Friday, February 7

17 March 2019

Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn strip music to the barest of bones – a skeletal rhythm track and a forceful vocal attack.

In Flames - album cover

In Flames - Knitting Factory, Boise – March 13, 2019

14 March 2019

Mere days after the Boise outpost of Michael Dorf’s dwindling Knitting Factory franchises reopened after a fire tore down most of the structure last fall, what heavy-metal band took the stage to help rechristen the venue? In Flames, of course.

Kikagaku Moyo

Kikagaku Moyo with The Mattson 2 – The Regent - Los Angeles - March 6, 2019

10 March 2019

Tokyo psychedelic ensemble Kikagaku Moyo played to a capacity crowd at the Regent last Wednesday with support from The Mattson 2.

Necrot - Ignacio Orellana

Necrot - Neurolux (Boise) – February 27, 2019

28 February 2019

Featuring heavily dissonant riffs laden with death-metal vocals, Necrot gave a blitzkrieg of a performance that alternately dizzied and tizzied the club crowd.

Andy Gill from Gang of Four

Gang of Four – The Roxy - Los Angeles - February 6, 2019

13 February 2019

Post-punk legends Gang of Four brought their influential blend of funk, disco and noise-rock to the Roxy last week. Founding guitarist Andy Gill led the band through a propulsive set that mixed newer material with classics from the band’s early years.

Neon Music

Club FOXES Presents: Life on Mars - Fais Do-Do (L.A.) – Jan. 31, 2019

5 February 2019

The musical legacy of 1970s glam rock was celebrated last Thursday at the Fais Do-Do in Los Angeles, as guest singers performed classics from the era accompanied by a solid house band.

Ty Segall, William Tyler @ Thalia Hall (Chicago) - November 2, 2018

4 February 2019

Two guys, two guitars, and one small stage in the middle of the room.