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The Big Takeover #84

Jeff Elbel

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.

Mister Rogers - It's Such a Good Feeling (Omnivore), Johnny Costa Plays Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (Omnivore)

18 August 2019

Kids from ages one to at least 53 will welcome these utterly charming companion albums featuring Fred Rogers’ gentle truths and Johnny Costa’s sometimes-mellow, sometimes-stunning jazz piano.

Soundgarden 35 – Badmotorfinger, Superunknown, Down on the Upside 2xLP reissues (A&M/Universal)

15 August 2019

Universal celebrates the Seattle heavyweight’s 35th anniversary and the 25th anniversary of its Superunknown LP with 180-gram, colored double-vinyl reissues of band’s three most influential albums.

The Rolling Stones - Bridges to Bremen (Eagle Vision)

15 August 2019

A clutch of then-fresh songs are testament to the notion that the Glimmer Twins had gas in the tank as a songwriting team during the ‘90s. After 21 years in the vault, Bridges to Babylon is a worthy addition for those who love the Rolling Stones’ eternal road show.

Roger Daltrey - The Who's Tommy Orchestral (UMe)

9 August 2019

Roger Daltrey has sung enduring classics like “Pinball Wizard” and “See Me, Feel Me” from the 1969 rock opera Tommy too many times to count. However, he has never performed the material in quite the way that Who fans can hear on for The Who’s Tommy Orchestral.

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.

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.

Carole King – Live at Montreux 1973 (Eagle Vision)

27 July 2019

After 46 years in the vault, Eagle Vision is releasing Carole King’s landmark 1973 performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival for the first time.

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.

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.

Gangstagrass - Pocket Full of Fire (Rench Audio)

12 June 2019

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.

Jerry Garcia Band – Electric on the Eel (Round Records)

8 June 2019

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.

Buck Owens and the Buckaroos - The Complete Capitol Singles: 1971-1975 (Omnivore Recordings)

30 May 2019

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.

Frank Zappa - Zappa In New York: 40th Anniversary Edition (Zappa Records)

25 May 2019

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 - self-titled (UMC/Polydor): LP reissue

25 May 2019

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.

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.

Ray Charles - Modern Sounds in Country and Western (Concord Records)

1 May 2019

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.

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.

ELO - The UK Singles Vol. One: 1972-1978 (Legacy Recordings)

19 January 2019

The UK Singles Volume One puts a twist on what could have otherwise simply been another greatest hits collection.

Badfinger - self-titled, Wish You Were Here (Real Gone)

18 January 2019

Fresh reissues allow listeners to appreciate these overlooked Badfinger albums from 1974 for them for the gems they are.

Home Invasion

Steven Wilson - Home Invasion: In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall (Eagle Vision/Universal)

12 January 2019

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.

R.E.M. at the BBC

REM - REM at the BBC (BBC/Craft)

3 January 2019

“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.

BB50

Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition 2LP+7” (ABKCO)

22 December 2018

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.”

Thom Yorke photo by Rachel DiLouise.

Thom Yorke - Chicago Theatre - December 4, 2018

10 December 2018

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.

The Rolling Stones, “Voodoo Lounge Uncut,” (Eagle Vision/Universal)

16 November 2018

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.

Riot Fest: (Chicago, IL) - September 14-16, 2018

25 September 2018

Coverage of Chicago’s Riot Fest includes text and photos of Johnny Marr, Elvis Costello, Gary Numan and more.

Radiohead - Little Caesars Arena (Detroit) - July 22, 2018

23 July 2018

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.

The Pretenders - The Riverside Theater (Milwaukee) - July 10, 2018

22 July 2018

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.

U2 - United Center (Chicago) - May 22, 2018

26 May 2018

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.

Caspar Babypants - Sleep Tight (Babypants Music)

16 November 2017

You may never hear the last part of this record of charming lullabies, because you will be asleep before you get there.

Silverplanes - Gulfstream EP (Volume Unit)

29 October 2017

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.

Midnight Oil - Riverstage (Brisbane, Australia) - October 17, 2017

26 October 2017

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.

Midnight Oil (Cleveland, OH) - August 27, 2017

31 August 2017

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 (Chicago, IL) - July 25, 2017

28 July 2017

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 by Jamie Howlett

Gorillaz (Chicago, IL) - July 8, 2017

10 July 2017

Gorillaz launched their North American tour supporting Humanz under a full moon at Chicago’s Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island.

Greg Lawless of Adam Again remembers "Perfecta"

20 June 2017

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.

Photo of U2 by Kevin Mazur.

U2 (Chicago, IL) - June 3, 2017

5 June 2017

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.

Rush - Cygnus X-1, Book I & II 12" (UMe/Anthem/ole) - Record Store Day

14 April 2017

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.

The Bad Plus - It's Hard (Okeh/Sony Masterworks)

3 September 2016

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.

Lollapalooza Day 4: Sir the Baptist, Local Natives, Flume (Grant Park, Chicago, IL) – Sunday, July 31, 2016

1 August 2016

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.

Lollapalooza Day 3: Joy Formidable, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Leon Bridges, etc. (Grant Park, Chicago, IL) – Saturday, July 30, 2016

31 July 2016

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.

Lollapalooza Day 2: M83, Radiohead, Foals, etc. (Grant Park, Chicago, IL) – Friday, July 29, 2016

30 July 2016

Read here for Lollapalooza 2016 Day 2 coverage including Radiohead, M83, Foals, Frightened Rabbit, and more rain.

Lollapalooza Day 1: Yeasayer (Grant Park, Chicago, IL) – Thursday, July 28, 2016

29 July 2016

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.

Video premiere: "Chez Les Yé-Yé" by The Claudettes (exclusive)

17 November 2015

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.”

Riot Fest: Day 2 (Douglas Park, Chicago, IL) – Saturday, September 12, 2015

30 September 2015

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.

Lollapalooza Day 1: Paul McCartney (Grant Park, Chicago, IL) – Friday, July 31, 2015

1 August 2015

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 – City Winery (Chicago, IL) – Sunday, December 28, 2014

30 December 2014

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.

Game Theory - Blaze of Glory (Omnivore)

20 August 2014

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.