Friday, March 30, 2012

Fiona Apple

Last week, Fiona Apple played two intimate shows at Lincoln Hall. On the day of the first show, I came to terms with the fact that I just wasn't going to be able to see her - the tickets has sold out in seconds months ago and I wasn't one of the lucky ones. I was hoping that a ticket might magically appear, but figured it was highly unlikely. On the second day of her show, I tried to put Fiona out of my mind because I received great last minute seats to The Black Keys concert at the United Center. And then a phone call came from my friend, Nancy: "If you can be here in 30 I've got a Fiona ticket for you." I thought for a moment and then hauled ass out the door, determined to make it to both shows. And I did! (Photos of The Black Keys show will be my next post.) 

But back to Fiona: I wasn't sure what to expect, given her lengthy departure from the limelight, but she was as incredible as ever. Even though she was under the weather (to the point where she had to cancel her show the next night in D.C.) she belted out classics from all three of her albums and treated the crowd to a few new tunes from her upcoming release. Like Tori Amos, she seems almost possessed by her music - and that intensity is quite a beautiful thing to witness. I am forever grateful to Nancy for giving me the opportunity to see Fiona live, after all of these years, in such a special setting.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Toots and the Maytals

The night before St. Patrick's Day, my friends Rebecca and Brian offered me a ticket to go see Toots and the Maytals at the House of Blues Chicago. Although my knowledge of Toots is somewhat limited, I knew it would be a feel-good show, so I happily accepted. I'm glad I did because the show was a blast; my face hurt from smiling by the end of the night. Toots was rocking a Thriller - I mean killer - red and black leather outfit, which only enhanced his charismatic stage presence. Along with the Maytals, Toots kept the crowd dancing the whole set, ending with an extended version of arguably their most famous song (because it is awesome), "54-46 Was My Number." 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Snow Cone in March? Don't mind if I do.

Um, in case you live under a rock, you know that Chicago has been blessed with ridiculously awesome weather lately. I've barely recognized my friends this winter because no one has been suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD - appropriate acronym, I might add).  It's a wonderful and bizarre phenomenon...and of course we're all terrified that Mother Nature is smirking at us, just waiting for the right opportunity to blast the city with a "wintery mix." But rather than worry about possible impending doom, I've been roaming around Chicago with a perma-smile on my face. Happy Spring, everyone!

Green river for St. Patrick's Day 

Headed to O'Hare?

Marina City (or as I like to call them - The Wilco Towers

Oh, Marilyn.

Everything is blooming. 

A couple of crazy asses on a raft.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Atlas Sound and White Rainbow

Atlas Sound is the solo side project of Bradford Cox - the mastermind behind ambient/punk/psychedelic band, Deerhunter. I'm a fan of both projects, but was particularly excited to see Atlas Sound live, especially after listening to his excellent 2011 album, Parallax, on repeat for weeks at a time. He did not disappoint live. The show, which was at my favorite Chicago venue, Lincoln Hall, was mesmerizing. Cox took the audience on a journey, floating around the stage from one instrument to the next, transporting the audience into his world of sound. Portland's White Rainbow (Adam Forkner) put on a solid opening set, aside from the fact that he kept putting on sunglasses during his uptempo moments and removing them during his downtempo moments. If he can let's go of some of his gimmicks, he'll be someone to watch out for. 

White Rainbow

Uber fan. Hipster hair.

Atlas Sound (Bradford Cox)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Travel Log 2012: Saugatuck and Douglas, Michigan

Sometimes you just need a little break from the norm and I did a couple weekends ago. My girlfriend, Susan, and I hopped in the car and 2.5 hours later we were in the quaint lake town of Saugatuck, Michigan. We lunched at the Saugatuck Brewing Co., which has a delicious and extensive selection of beers, and from there checked into the Bella Vita Spa and Suites for the evening. Between the excellent location and our delightful suite, I highly recommend Bella Vita. We spent the rest of the evening wandering around the area, as you will see below. In the morning, we did more wandering and then had a quick bite to eat at the fantastic Everyday People Cafe in Saugatuck's neighboring town, Douglas, before we hit the road back to Chicago. We will surely be back, as Saugatuck and Douglas have enough charm and points of interest to keep us coming back for years. It was the perfect daycation.

A bassist and Barack. 

More music at The White House Bistro.

 Oval Beach is beautiful no matter what time of year you see it.

Goin' "Old School" in Douglas. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cloud Gate: Luminous Field

For ten days in February, Millennium Park was home to a really incredible video and sound installation by the Chicago-based artistic ensemble, Luftwerk. The exhibit, Luminous Field, transformed Cloud Gate into "a digital canvas of light and geometrical form," as the website explains.

The only day I could make it down there to see the installation was Presidents' Day so literally every family from the Chicagoland area was there. It was...fine, I'll admit was annoying as hell. Yet, despite children running around screaming and people just throwing their bodies on the ground, all of which combined to ruin certain auditory and visual elements of the exhibit, it was still really beautiful to see. 

The inside of Cloud Gate - known by locals as "The Bean" - is inverted so its design, combined with the installation, created cool abstractions. 

More from inside The Bean...