Highlights from Lollapalooza 2016

By: Seth Johnson

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Photo by Maclay Heriot

We sent writer Seth Johnson to cover Lollapalooza 2016. Here’s a roundup of what he liked most.

Big Grams

Saturday at this year’s Lollapalooza was packed with standout female artists, including Big Grams, Chairlift (also included in this list) and Grimes. Although a rather unusual combination in theory, Big Boi (also of Outkast) and Sarah Barthel of Phantogram made for a very entertaining duo, often combining both of their strengths to create some pretty special moments. During the course of their set, the two even did a few live mashups, including one that was one part “Ms. Jackson” and one part “Mouthful of Diamonds”.

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Photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman


Years ago during the Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix craze, I remember seeing Chairlift open for Phoenix at a show in Chicago and thinking they were pretty rad. Since then, I would definitely say the band has grown and matured, which was evident throughout their performance at this year’s Lollapalooza. Fronted by Caroline Polachek, the Brooklyn band played a dazzling Saturday set, that featured several selections from their 2016 full-length, Moth, including “Ch-Ching,” “Moth to the Flame” and “Romeo”.

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Photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman


Of all the up-and-coming acts I checked out at this year’s Lollapalooza, the biggest standout was certainly D.R.A.M. (which stands for Does Real Ass Music). Throughout his set, the 28-year-old singer/rapper captivated the audience with his charismatic energy, repeatedly cuing fans to shout “Yeah doe” if they loved their momma. Throughout his rather short set, D.R.A.M. made sure to touch on all of his hits, including the insanely catchy “Cha Cha” and the Lil Yachty-featuring “Broccoli”.

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Photo by Roger Ho

Joey Purp

After hearing Indianapolis rappers like John Stamps and Oreo Jones mention Joey Purp, I figured I would go check out his early set on Friday at Lollapalooza. This turned out to be a great decision (thanks homies) as Purp impressed with his energy, style and flow. While many may know him from the song “Girls @” featuring Chance the Rapper, the Chicago emcee has plenty more to show off to the world, which can be heard on 2016’s iiiDrops.

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Photo by Greg Noire

LCD Soundsystem

While I am an unabashed LCD Soundsystem fanatic (I even went to their “final” show at Madison Square Garden), there’s no doubt that the band’s set at Lollapalooza was truly something special. Although they supposedly have a new album on the way, LCD stuck to the hits with this appearance, playing songs from all three of their excellent full-lengths. This included an epic final four songs, where the band went from “Home” to “New York I Love You” to “Dance Yrself Clean” to “All My Friends”. Oh James Murphy, how we missed you.

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Photo by Cambria Harkey

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Photo by Cambria Harkey


In keeping with their latest two albums, M83 played a very danceable set of tunes that featured songs like “Go!,” “Midnight City” and “Steve McQueen”. As expected, Anthony Gonzalez’s compositions were even more grandiose in the heart of a big city like Chicago, as building towered all around. As an old school M83 fan myself, I personally was pleased to hear the band close with “Couleurs” from Saturday = Youth and “Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun” from Before the Dawn Heals Us.

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Photo by Charles Reagan Hackleman


Radiohead made the most of the festival’s longest time slot, playing a career-spanning set that exceeded two hours. After opening up with the first two tracks from A Moon Shaped Pool, the iconic British band quickly dove into a smattering of songs both old and new, giving hardcore fans the set they always dreamed of. In addition to expected numbers like “Everything in Its Right Place,” “Karma Police” and “My Iron Lung,” Thom Yorke and company also whipped out some deeper cuts like “Street Spirit (Fade Out),” “There There” and “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi,” giving everyone a little something to smile about.

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Photo by Cambria Harkey

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Photo by Cambria Harkey

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Photo by Cambria Harkey

7 Unforgettable Sets from Pitchfork 2016

By: Seth Johnson
Photos: Berto Campos

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We sent writer Seth Johnson and photographer Roberto Campos to cover Pitchfork Music Festival over the weekend. Here’s a roundup of what they liked most.

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Anderson Paak

Although his set overlapped with Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds set, Anderson Paak brought it on Saturday night, treating fans to several selections from his excellent 2016 album, Malibu. From one song to the next, Paak had an irresistible energy reminiscent of fellow California rapper Kendrick Lamar (who’s apparently a fan of Paak). Unlike Lamar, however, Paak is also a skilled singer and drummer, which makes his live show an absolute treat.

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Beach House

Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally closed out an unusually chilly July day in Union Park with a perfect set of tunes from the entirety of their career. From “Sparks” to “Walk In The Park,” the Baltimore duo captivated a field full of fans, even bringing some to tears. In particular, Legrand made a valiant point of speaking to the modern state of our world, saying, “Love is the key word, and fear is the bad word.”

Broken Social Scene

It’s not often that Broken Social Scene tours. But when they do, they make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. With this Friday set, Kevin Drew and company stayed true to form, flooding the festival with a massive wall of glorious sound. In addition to classics like “7/4 Shoreline,” “Cause = Time,” and “Fire Eye’d Boy,” Broken Social Scene also gave fans a taste of their forthcoming record, which has yet to receive a release date.

Kamasi Washington

Sunday was a day full of grooves at Pitchfork, with sets from Holy Ghost!, Miguel, Neon Indian, Thundercat and more. Out of all of these, I was anticipating Kamasi Washington most, simply based on the strength of his 2015 triple-album, The Epic. As expected, Kamasi did not disappoint, lighting up the stage with his phenomenal band of jazz wizards. To make things even cooler, the saxophonist even invited his dad up on stage to play a song with him too.

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Despite an early lineup slot, Porches were able to get Sunday off to an appropriately dance-y start, playing a set that consisted mostly of songs from their 2016 gem, Pool. During the set, Dev Hynes (a.k.a. Blood Orange) came up on stage and joined Aaron Maine on vocals for a song, putting the cherry on top of an overall awesome set.

Later on in the evening, Porches also impressed at a sold-out Empty Bottle after show that featured Bloomington’s Hoops and Chicago’s Varsity as opening acts.

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Sufjan Stevens

In typical Sufjan Stevens fashion, this set was an elaborate, all-encompassing experience that featured costumes, dancers, lights and more. Despite the recent release of his somber 2015 album, Carrie & Lowell, Stevens packed the set with upbeat tunes, too, including several from The Age of Adz. To cap off the night, the beloved indie icon closed out with a cover of Prince’s “Kiss,” sending crowds off into the Chicago streets wishing they could’ve had even more.

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Like many, my ears have been taken hostage by Whitney’s marvelous debut album, Light Upon the Lake. After seeing the band at Culture Shock in Bloomington, Ind., I knew they’d be great live, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact, they even brought out a string quartet for the final four songs of their set, making their gleaming pop songs that much more enchanting.

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MOKB Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015 Mix | Auditorium Shores, Austin, TX | November 6th – 8th

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We have had the pleasure to attend many festivals over the years, but Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, TX is the only one that uniquely stands out on its own. While others try to present “cool”, FFFF always comes off as non-pretentious embracing all of the kids who were always apart of an alternative clique in high school. With that very calculated idea, the fest always ends up featuring a variety of artists who are generally making their only festival appearance of the year along skateboarding, wrestling, comedians, and more. Combine that with its more intimate feel size (each stage sans the main stage feels like a club show) and you incredible experience every year.

This year’s event is an important one with it being the 10th anniversary. The lineup represents this momentous occasion featuring stacked list including the likes of Grimes, Wu-Tang Clan, Neon Indian, Odesza, Rae Sremmard, Lauryn Hill, Alvvays, Fuzz, Viet Cong, Toro y Moi, and it goes on and on. Because there are so many to choose from, we decided to throw a little Spotify mix (found below) of some of the acts we are looking forward to seeing. If you have been waffling on whether or not to go, you can still grab passes here.

MOKB Forecastle Festival 2015 Mix | Louisville, Kentucky | July 17th – 19th

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Forecastle Festival 2015 will be hitting the banks of the Ohio River this weekend in Louisville, KY. The fest has grown from more of a regional event to one of the best in the United States. Every year, it seems the lineup quality from top to bottom gets better and better and this year is no different. From the hometown heroes of My Morning Jacket, Houndmouth, and the up and coming White Reaper to ILoveMakonnen, Alvvays, Lower Dens, The War on Drugs, Broncho, Twin Peaks, First Aid Kit, and so much more. We’re not even including the late night after festival shows that are highlighted by our girl Ellie Herring opening up for arguably the most talked about artist in the world at the moment, Jamie xx.

As you can see, the quality from top to bottom is on point. Add in the manageable size of the festival grounds (what can we say, we are old) and it is really one of the better live experiences out there. So with that being said, we have put together a Spotify mix of some of the artists/bands you should go out of your way to catch this weekend. We will see you there.

Fun Fun Fun Fest Announce Their 10th Anniversary Lineup

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One of the best music festivals in the land, Fun Fun Fun Fest, have announced the lineup for what will be the 10th anniversary of the event. Being held at Auditorium Shores in Austin, TX from November 6 through the 8th, artists at this years lineup will include Grimes, Wu-Tang Clan, D’Angelo, CHVRCHES, Toro Y Moi, Neon Indian, and so many more that we could single out. It could arguably be their best lineup yet. Tickets will be available today starting at 11am EST here. Watch Bill Nye the Science Guy give you all of the details below.


Jane’s Addiction (performing Ritual de lo habitual), D’Angelo and The Vanguard, CHVRCHES, Future Islands, RIDE, Cheap Trick, ANTEMASQUE, Toro y Moi, American Football, The Growlers, Fuzz, Mikal Cronin, The Charlatans UK, Viet Cong, Alvvays, Speedy Ortiz, Murder By Death, Cass McCombs, Steve Gunn, BRONCHO, Grifters, Creepoid, East Cameron Folkcore, A Giant Dog, Think No Think, Ringo Deathstarr

Wu-Tang Clan, Chromeo, Schoolboy Q, Grimes, ODESZA, Neon Indian, Rae Sremmurd, MSTRKRFT, Hudson Mohawke, Gesaffelstein (DJ set), Peaches, Joey Bada$$, Big Freedia, Afrika Bambaataa, Slow Magic, Lido, Doomtree, BADBADNOTGOOD, Anamanaguchi, Shamir, Bomba Estereo, Snakehips, TOPS, Haelos, Two-Nine, Roger Sellers, The Outfit, TX, SURVIVE

Venom, NOFX, Gogol Bordello, Coheed and Cambria, Drive Like Jehu, L7, Dag Nasty, Desaparecidos, American Nightmare, Converge, Chain of Strength, Skinny Puppy, Babes in Toyland, Parquet Courts, OFF!, La Dispute, Title Fight, Fucked Up, Head Wound City, Dwarves (performing Blood, Guts & Pussy), King Khan and BBQ Show, Benjamin Booker, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Nothing, together PANGEA, Power Trip, Joanna Gruesome, American Sharks, Future Death

Photo Recap: Pit Stop Music Festival

Festival season is upon us. People will inevitably trek across the country to see the largest and most well-known festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo in order to have the typical festival experience: seeing most of the bands you want to see from a few hundred yards away, overpaying for beer, and getting a painful tank burn before falling back into your friend’s car for the seven hour drive back home. It’s a long, messy, unpredictable but memorable weekend that’s become quintessential to what summer is all about.

The Pit Stop Festival in Bloomington back in March, however, brought a little intimacy back to that festival feeling. Held over three nights at a handful of local venues, Pit Stop’s goal was simple: “Bloomington isn’t flyover country; it’s where great independent music puts wheels on the ground. Pit Stop is a three-night sprint of live music featuring national, regional & local acts. Like SXSW for the Upland South, catch the best of indie rock, Americana, hip-hop and more as they roll through our town.” It brought a few of the same pitfalls as its larger festival brethren (due to show times I couldn’t see everyone I wanted to see), but it also found a few of the same unmissable draws in its list of headliners and local talent. Even though I was left with the same sense of exhaustion and slight dehydration at the end of Pit Stop that I’ve found myself in at previous festivals, I still had the same thought as I packed up my camera a remembered where I parked: I can’t wait to do this again next year.

Hiss Golden Messenger

William Tyler

Mike Adams At His Honest Weight




Strong Roots

DJ Spikes

Maps & Atlases

The Alamo Freeze

Words and Photos by Doug Fellegy (via Flickr)

Day 3 Recap : Lollapalooza 2014 : Grant Park, Chicago, IL

Written by Ryan Hickey

Our third and final day of Lollapalooza started with somewhat of a surprise. Well, two surprises. First, we were greeted by rain at the start of the festival, which was not originally predicted. Second, while taking an alternate route to the Bud Light stage, we stopped by the Toyota Soundwave tent and caught a few minutes of Wrestlers, a Houston-based live electronic group. Turns out they are a Red Bull Sound Select artist, and I won’t be surprised if you start to hear more about them soon.

We reached our original destination, the Bud Light stage, for Trombone Shorty, the passionate multi-instrument and voice talent from New Orleans. Trombone Shorty, along with the members of his band, Orleans Avenue, oozes talent and Big Easy funk influence. However, Shorty has clearly evolved from his New Orleans roots, often performing songs that feature aggressive guitar riffs and other hard rock traits. Their entire set absolutely ripped, with Shorty leading the way in a highly energized performance that combines big band organization, NOLA energy, and rock n’ roll edge. Further, it was refreshing to finally be around a crowd that just enjoyed the show and danced.

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Our next venture took us to The Grove stage for RAC. Now, as a DJ I have been familiar with and quite fond of RAC’s remixes of popular and indie songs alike. Like any great remix artist, they tend to completely recreate songs, often times leaving people asking themselves what they like better, the original or the remix. The live show, in which the group performs these remixes live, only increased my appreciation for them. From what I can tell, they use hardware for preprogrammed beats in lieu of a drummer, but the guitars and keys are performed live. In addition to performing some of their original work like “Tear You Down,” they delighted the crowd to some of their more popular remixes, including “Something Good Can Work” (Two Door Cinema Club) and “Blue Jeans” (Lana Del Rey).

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Day Three seemed to find us exclusively at the north end of Grant Park, and the theme continued back at the Palladia stage for Run the Jewels. This rap power duo, which officially formed in early 2013, is one of the best ongoing collaborations to emerge from the hip hop world. El-P and Killer Mike, both established as solo artists, teamed up officially after prior collaborations together. While too many Lolla attendees missed this great set, the MCs performed their namesake track, as well as “36 in. Chain”and “Sea Legs.” The latter part of their set featured an appearance by fellow Lolla performer DJ Z-Trip.

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While the festival would continue for a few more hours, our final stop was back at the Bud Light stage for the electro-funk-pop act Chromeo. Confession: I’ve been a big fan of their music and have included it in my DJ sets for a while now, so I was looking forward to seeing the live version. Not only did the Canadian duo deliver an electrified set, the crowd returned the favor with an all-out dance party. Aside from OutKast, this seemed to be about as much fun as we witnessed among the crowd throughout the weekend, at least for the over 21 contingent. Longtime fans were treated to a ‘greatest hits’ type set, with everything from “Night By Night,” “Hot Mess” and “Tenderoni,” as well as current single “Jealous” from their new album (White Women). I think the only thing that could have possibly made this show better is if it had been after dark. I suppose we’ll just have to go see them again sometime.

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Lollapalooza was a great experience once again. My only hope is that the younger generation will take the following advice to heart: let the denim diapers go out of style, put down the flavored blunt wraps and stop pushing people to get where you’re going at festivals.

Day 2 Recap : Lollapalooza 2014 : Grant Park, Chicago, IL

Written by Ryan Hickey

While the prediction of low 70s weather turned out to be a little off, the warmth was not to be hated by this blogger. Day two brought beautiful sunshine and a highly anticipated lineup, both of which we took head on.

Our first stop was at the Samsung Galaxy stage for Jungle, a relatively new modern soul group from London. Jungle has been around since early 2013, and gave the day two early bird crowd a smooth start to the day with their blend of old school funk and sample-laced trip hop beats.

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After Jungle’s set, we made the park-wide trek over to the Palladia stage to see Parquet Courts. They took the stage and introduced themselves with a brief “We’re Parquet Courts from Brooklyn, New York” and jumped right into their set. This band is also relatively new to the scene, forming in 2010. Interestingly enough, their sound reflects a heavy influence of 80’s punk, and I would be surprised if they did not absorb some inspiration from the likes of Sonic Youth in their formative years.

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We took the next of many trips back across Grant Park to catch the grimey, southern rock sounds of Phosphorescent. Led by singer-songwriter Matthew Houck, whose voice has Springsteen-like qualities, Phosphorescent’s musical topics are often similar to other southern/country songs, covering addiction, heartbreak and other facts of life.

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Following the first mini marathon of shows, we nestled into the press area to recharge and prepare for an excellent second phase of day two. Fitz and the Tantrums started this next round. The enthusiastic neo-soul act runs their shows with lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick in perpetual motion. Their message is all positive and the band leads by example when it comes to making music fun. In addition to a plethora of originals, the band also covered the Eurythmics classic “Sweet Dreams” and during another jam, saxophonist James King played the chorus lick from Jason Derulo’s current club hit, “Talk Dirty.” If you enjoy dancing and having a good time at a show, do yourself a favor and see them when you can.

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Back across the park we walked again to the Palladia stage for the highly anticipated performance from legendary New York rapper Nas. Considered by many fans and critics to be one of the most gifted MCs to ever put out a record, Nas came out (on time) and jumped right into his first song without any gimmicks or delays, incredibly refreshing for a rap performance. A huge crowd had gathered and old school heads joined in yelling lyrics to the opening “New York State of Mind.” Nas celebrated the 20th anniversary of his smash record Illmatic and delighted the crowd by playing nearly every song from the record. Before going into “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” Nas acknowledged Michael Jackson as his musical inspiration (the song samples MJ’s “Human Nature”). Nas absolutely ripped it and it was great to see.

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We made a quick stop to see a few songs from Spoon, the 20+ year-career band from Austin. Their straightforward approach to rock has been churning out albums since the early 90s, including their newest release, They Want My Soul (August 5th, 2014). While the crowd seemed to be showing signs of fatigue from the long day, Spoon rocked and rolled the crowd back into action.’

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Finally, we reached the Samsung Galaxy stage for our Lolla 2014 ‘manifest destiny: OutKast. It seemed as if the entire city of Chicago showed up with a plus one for this show, and rightfully so. The Atlanta rap duo’s return to the stage this summer after a long hiatus has been the talk of the town along with the headliner at many major festivals. Unlike many of their rap brethren, though, OutKast does not mail it in when it comes to performing. Their show comes complete with live band (including the same horn players who have recorded on their studio albums), DJ and backup singers and is absolutely electric. Not only carrying the torch with hip hop tradition, their live band is able to layer elements of Motown, rock and funk into their sets, almost completely separating them from their competition (which they alluded to in “Rosa Parks” by telling their fellow rappers to “move to the back of the bus”).

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OutKast began their set with an energetic “B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)” and proceeded to play every hit song they ever created, in which there are many. The crowd sang along to classic jams from all of their records, as well as solo work from Andre 3000 and Big Boi. Both rappers wore interesting attire, with Big Boi in a unique ‘short suit’ and Andre donning a blonde wig and a jump suit that read “Across cultures, darker people suffer most. Why?” on the chest. Andre’s suit also sported a “SOLD” tag dangling from the waist, presumably referring to slave trade, but perhaps also a knock on the music industry. While OutKast has never been afraid to address such controversial topics, they also know how to keep their shows ‘for the people’ and are the consummate crowd-pleasers. It felt great knowing this may be the one and only time I get to see these rap legends, and that they could not have been more impressive on stage.

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