Jeff Elbel is obsessed with music (just like you), which explains his affection for The Big Takeover. As far as he can recall, he has contributed to every issue since #43 with R.E.M. on the cover. His featured articles have included interviews with heroes Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil, “Saint Bob” Geldof of the Boomtown Rats, and Sharon Jones of the Dap-Kings. Jeff works for a NASA consultant group by day, and fills as many of the other waking moments as possible chasing his daughters and performing with groups including his rock and roll band Ping. Jeff also freelances for the Chicago Sun-Times, and is nearly always sleep-deprived.
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.
Get Pocket Full of Fire as a primer of band’s prowess through a collection of its best songs recorded live, but don’t miss a chance to see this compelling culture clash in person.
This live set will be warmly received by Deadheads and fans of intuitive and skillful jam band playing. Not many songs are duplicated among these three shows spanning five years, but there are a handful of opportunities to hear how the band flexes and twist songs in different moments.
This third and final set in Omnivore Records’ series of Buck Owens’ Capitol Records singles is a treasure for fans of the Bakersfield sound, and a testament to the power of Owens’ friendship and collaboration with guitarist/fiddler Don Rich.
The Frank Zappa reissue campaign hits a high-water mark with this lavish 40th anniversary presentation of the bandleader’s 1978 live album recorded over seven concerts between Christmas and New Year’s Eve in 1976 at New York City’s Felt Forum and the Palladium.
Scissor Sisters was the best-selling album of 2004 and a dance-pop smash in the UK, but failed to reach gold-record status in the band’s native USA. This high-quality LP reissue provides fresh opportunity for reevaluation.
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.
It’s difficult to understate the influence that Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western had upon its initial release during the Civil Rights Movement. This reissue welcomes fresh listening to an acknowledged treasure of American music.
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 UK Singles Volume One puts a twist on what could have otherwise simply been another greatest hits collection.
Fresh reissues allow listeners to appreciate these overlooked Badfinger albums from 1974 for them for the gems they are.
In contrast with his music’s meticulous prog-rock precision, real-world paranoia, isolation, and gothic gloom, Steven Wilson fills the venerable Royal Albert Hall with thrills, abandon, camaraderie and euphoric spirit.
“It’s already been seven years since R.E.M. called it a day,” says BBC producer Mark Cooper. “It’s lonely without them.” This pile of well-preserved pop may not stop everybody from hurting as R.E.M.‘s retirement enters its eighth year, but it can coax smiles to temper the loss.
The Stones’ 1968 release Beggars Banquet is a rarely-disputed classic and the final complete album from the quintet’s original lineup including Brian Jones. The LP’s two sides are led by the group’s sharpest forays into social protest, “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Street Fighting Man.”
Radiohead fans enamored of Thom Yorke’s experimental excursions into electronic music sold out the ornate and stately Chicago Theatre. The set list was built around Yorke’s solo material, primarily focused upon 2014’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. The singer was clearly in his element while pursuing a musical vision purely his own.
This newly restored Rolling Stones concert film recorded in 1994 includes 10 songs and 5 bonus cuts not included on the original 1995 Voodoo Lounge Live release.
Coverage of Chicago’s Riot Fest includes text and photos of Johnny Marr, Elvis Costello, Gary Numan and more.
Radiohead in 2018 continues its decades-long campaign of confounding expectations and challenging the norms of conventional rock bands. An adventurous crowd in Detroit offered strong support on Sunday. Photos by Andrew Potter.
Review and photos by Philamonjaro. The Pretenders’ playing is as vibrant and visceral as ever. The catalog of songs by Chrissie Hynde, Martin Chambers and company reveals rock and roll with substance, savvy arrangements and a mountain of melodic hooks. No pretending here; this band is the real deal.
Irish rockers U2 performed two dates at the United Center in Chicago, IL for its eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour. The set list leaned heavily upon U2’s recent bookend albums Songs of Innocence (2014) and Songs of Experience (2017). Photographer Philomonjaro was on hand to capture the action on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.
You may never hear the last part of this record of charming lullabies, because you will be asleep before you get there.
The five guitar-laden pop-rockers on Gulfstream are emotionally potent while still connecting at the gut level, offering a promising start for a series of releases that extends into 2018.
With the extensive The Great Circle Tour 2017 barreling toward its final date in Sydney, the reactivated Midnight Oil showed no sign that it ought to return to retirement. The band’s activist posture and reinvigorated music are more potent and relevant than ever.
Australian activist rockers Midnight Oil stormed the stage at Cleveland, Ohio’s House of Blues for a night of political agitation and feral rock and roll. Cover photo by John Welk.
Paul McCartney brought his One on One tour to Chicago on Tuesday. Here’s an unconventional review of the former Beatle’s unconventional connection to some of his ardent fans – through the eyes of 11-year-old Melody Elbel. Photos by Curt Baran.
Gorillaz launched their North American tour supporting Humanz under a full moon at Chicago’s Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island.
Perfecta was the fifth album and unintentional swan-song by soulful alt-rock band Adam Again. The 1995 release has been long out of print, but is being prepared for high-end vinyl reissue by Lo-Fidelity Records. Guitarist Greg Lawless talks about why he believes Perfecta is even more essential than the Orange County, CA band’s avowed masterpiece Dig.
U2’s first of two nights at Chicago’s Soldier Field transcended mere nostalgia. The veteran Irish rockers shared the “desert songs” of 1987’s landmark The Joshua Tree album with a multi-generational assemblage of devoted fans as an act of spiritual communion.
This is a fun release for Record Store Day that mimics the cornerstone of countless mixtapes made by teenaged prog-rock nerds of decades past, self included. For the first time, “Cygnus X-1, Book I: The Voyage” and “Cygnus X-1, Book II: Hemispheres” are officially bundled together into one complete story.
Calling It’s Hard a covers album is a feint, even if it harkens back to the Bad Plus’ landmark early recordings and bracing interpretations of material by artists as disparate as Abba, Rodgers & Hart, and Nirvana. These songs find the band in full creative and cerebral flight.
Highlights from the final day of Lollapalooza’s 25th anniversary touched all extremes of the eclectic lineup. The mix included hip-hop, psychedelic folk, alternative rock, EDM and more. Read here for coverage of Sir the Baptist and Local Natives.
Saturday’s sunshine was a welcome transformation in Grant Park, and it made for a perfect music-watching. Most of the musicians also mentioned their gratitude for this particular form of climate change from the stage. Read here for reports on the Joy Formidable, Leon Bridges, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, and Dua Lipa.
Read here for Lollapalooza 2016 Day 2 coverage including Radiohead, M83, Foals, Frightened Rabbit, and more rain.
Lollapalooza’s 25th anniversary got off to a soggy start, but day one included many highlights including Yeasayer, The 1975, Kurt Vile & the Violators, and Lana Del Ray. Read the article for the rundown on Yeasayer’s set.
Chicago’s premiere punk-blues piano-and-drums outfit are back with a modern spin on Serge Gainsbourg’s 1963 single “Chez Les Yé-Yé.”
Many have crowned Riot Fest as Chicago’s best-curated music festival of the year. The opportunity to see back-to-back sets by Echo & the Bunnymen, funk maestro Bootsy Collins’ Rubber Band and country music legend Merle Haggard was too wonderfully eclectic to miss, crowned shortly afterward by a stage-shredding performance from Iggy Pop.
Paul McCartney closed the first day of Lollapalooza 2015 with nearly 130 minutes of beloved Beatles, Wings and solo material. He also sprung a few surprises.
Poi Dog Pondering recently wrapped a four-night stand at City Winery Chicago in support of new project Everybody’s Got a Star. Rock photographer Philamonjaro was on hand to document night three.
Following welcome releases by Jellyfish, Lone Justice, Camper Van Beethoven and Dream Syndicate, the music fans at Omnivore Records now fill a longstanding void by launching its series of reissues by Scott Miller’s late, great psych-pop band Game Theory. First up is an expanded edition of the band’s 1982 debut album.
The crown jewel of Legacy’s 2014 Record Store Day offerings is a 50th anniversary edition of “The Pink Panther – Music from the Film Score Composed and Conducted by Henry Mancini.” A better marriage of quirky-yet-stylish music and popular film is hard to imagine.
Paisley Underground favorites The Bangles, The Three O’Clock, Dream Syndicate and Rain Parade reunited in December for a show benefitting Education Through Music – Los Angeles. Chicago-based rock photographer Philamonjaro was at L.A.‘s Henry Fonda Theatre to document the evening in this photo essay.
Daniel Lanois will release “Papineau” on Valentine’s Day 2014. The new single captures a disagreement between a father and daughter over matters of the heart.
Omnivore has been good to fans of 90s alternative pop princes Jellyfish. While last year’s Stack-a-Tracks explored the band’s instinct for lush and psychedelic pop arrangements, Radio Jellyfish presents the essence of the band.
Dave Davies’ lofty position in the pantheon of popular music would be secure even without the existence of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the Kinks’ extensive body of work. His upcoming tour will feature songs from new album “I Will Be Me” alongside Kinks favorites. Davies discusses family foundations, sibling rivalry, and inspiration drawn from good times and hard times.
Both of these potent slices of instrumental soul are available on Menahan Street Band’s full-length LP The Crossing, but there’s something so right about playing them as a well-matched pair on a 45 r.p.m. single.
Famous production clients aside, Daniel Lanois’ haunting musical textures have earned him a devoted following. The Canadian artist is currently focused upon his solo material and traveling to support it.
The Who performed its landmark concept album Quadrophenia on two nights in Chicago, IL. The set list may have been known in advance, but the veteran British rockers played with conviction and fire.
This two-disc set collects thirty-three Queen videos, featuring the British rockers’ best-loved songs. Having guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor on hand via commentary is worth the price of admission.
With an appealing blend of classic and alternative styles, Eclectric earns comparisons to crafty pop provocateurs like Tears for Fears, Eurythmics, and Level 42.
Seventeen studio albums into its career, this is clearly a band that is not bored or running a treadmill. Some of the usual comparisons tangentially apply, including Genesis, Radiohead, and Pink Floyd. With “Sounds,” Marillion both challenges and entertains.