PHOTOS: Conor Oberst at the Metro in Chicago

With LA indie rockers Dawes as his backing band, Conor Oberst performed songs off his new solo album “Upside Down Mountain.” Highlights included “Time Forgot” and “Zigzagging Toward the Light.” There’s was plenty of room for some Bright Eyes songs in the set – including “Old Soul Song For the New World Order,” “Soul Singer in a Session Band,” and “Poison Oak” among others. More photos below. 

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Blurred Lines: My Bloody Valentine in Chicago

It was the NOISIEST show I have ever been to in my life. And no – this was no metal or hardcore punk show. This was shoegaze – the ‘90s genre known for its musicians so focused on their instruments, it looks like they are staring at their shoes. You know it’s gonna be loud when there’s a sign at the door that says “Use the provided earplugs.”

But ‘90s shoegazers My Bloody Valentine conquered the crowd with their onslaught of fuzzy, feedback-flooded guitars, bone-smashing bass and brain-clobbering drums. It was beautiful. It was loud. It was the last time I will ever see My Bloody Valentine. Once was enough, thanks. But it was worth it.

In homage to the album cover of their 1991 masterpiece – “Loveless” – I present 3 time-lapsed photos of the band at last night’s show at the Aragon Ballroom. 




My Bloody Valentine – “Loveless”

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PHOTOS: Riot Fest 2012

A Mind-Blowing Lineup of Punk and Indie in Chicago’s Humboldt Park

Fat Mike of NOFX 

They say punk is dead. Stale. Watered Down. Redundant. Old hat. Chicago’s Riot Fest proved the naysayers wrong. Ogle these Riot Fest snapshots and the brief commentary underneath each pic. F*** yeah!



The one band of the weekend that defies genres – combining a smattering of punk, funk and ska. 


Iggy And The Stooges

At a shocking age 65, the shirtless and ripped proto-punker Iggy Pop is a master performer – frolicking and rollicking all over the place and proving that age ain’t nothing but a number. 


Elvis Costello And The Imposters

Riot Fest wasnt all about punk. Elvis Costello delivered a tight set of hits like “Pump It Up,” “Radio Radio” and more. There was also a sprinkling of indie rock including The Jesus And Mary Chain, Built To Spill and Awolnation. 



Veteran punkers NOFX delivered a frenzied set of electrifying anthems derived from their extensive catalog of hits. Their raw power inspired an endless punk-rock singalong and a massive circle pit. 




Chicago ska-punks Slapstick reunited for their first show in 15 years. This is a band that reached legendary status in the Windy City in the late ’90s. Skanking and moshing galore. 


Less Than Jake

The guy wearing the horse mask was in the crowd and Less Than Jake invited him up to dance on stage. 


The Descendents

The Descendents have been around since 1978, one of the original punk bands. Old-school and awesome. 


The Promise Ring

Rare appearance from the Milwaukee-based band that spearheaded the emo movement in the late ’90s.  


Andrew WK

Mind-boggling that Andrew WK’s notable party-punk debut came out 10 years ago. Sounded just as fresh as 2002.  




 The cheese-metal band drenched the crowd in fake blood. 


Cool Mohawk

Riot Fest also featured a carnival as a backdrop, complete with rides, burlesque dancers, fire breathers and a wandering marching band.


Fire Dancer



 Burlesque Performer


Marching Band

It isn’t.

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Riot Fest 2012 Preview

The ConorTV Playlist Vol. 3

There was Pitchfork. There was Lollapalooza. Now, Chicago strikes again. Yet another unique festival. 

Riot Fest leans punk with bands like NOFX, The Descendents and Rise Against among the highlights. Legendary acts like Iggy & The Stooges, Elvis Costello and The Jesus And Mary Chain also perform, along with indie rock favorites Built to Spill and The Promise Ring and ska bands like Less Than Jake, Fishbone and Slapstick.

Check back here on Monday for a recap of the entire festival. Meanwhile, enjoy this Riot Fest Spotify playlist.

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Lollapalooza 2012

…And Justice For All


Justice Reigns Supreme Over a Sold-Out Lolla Crowd – The Wise Choice Over Jack White

The French really know how to make electronic music. Daft Punk. Air. M83. Les Rythmes Digitales. And then of course Justice – one of two headliners Sunday night at Lollapalooza in Chicago. 

The Paris-based duo brought their booming bass, fist-pumping beats and acidy keyboard sounds to an otherwise lackluster day at Lolla. It wasn’t rock, but it did indeed rock – a performance that was absolutely sick. It felt like a gigantic rave circa 1999.

Completely refreshing after a day saturated by rock ‘n’ roll, Justice knocked it out of Grant Park. I could’ve watched Jack White’s solo show – and if it were the White Stripes, I maybe would’ve considered it – but Justice was definitely the wise choice.

After I was blown away by Daft Punk in 2007, I opted for Justice, knowing that a huge electronic dance party was the better bet for a festival crowd. This wasn’t quite as good as Daft Punk’s set five years ago, but it was close.

The Walkmen

The Walkmen delivered a afternoon set of indie rock hits that rivaled any rock band of the whole weekend I’m guessing – I only went to Lolla on Sunday because I couldn’t get a 3-day pass and Friday and Saturday were sold out.

The Gaslight Anthem reminded me of my punk days in high school. Except this was a different kind of punk, which I will call punk-for-grownups. Huge singalongs.

But the best rock band of the day was At the Drive-In – a group that is the epitome of post-hardcore. The ground surrounding the Red Bull stage was caked in mud and I was praying that a moshpit wouldn’t break out. It did so I quickly moved out of the way but I still managed to get my feet all muddy since I was wearing sandals.

This was the first Chicago reunion show for the post-punk boys from El Paso, TX.  I saw them 12 years ago when I was in college. They opened for Fugazi at the Safari Club in Des Moines, Iowa. Now they’ve reached legendary status. And they’ve still got it. 

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